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Spirituality, Inspiration and Joy with His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj at BAPS

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STAFFORD: On Thursday, August 10, over 3000 devotees and well-wishers gathered to welcome His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, TX.  With deep joy and excitement, devotees officially welcomed Mahant Swami Maharaj on his first trip to Houston, TX as Guru and President of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, continuing the life work and mission of his guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj following his earthly departure.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj initially came to the United States in 1974.  From that initial visit through 2014, he visited North America a total of thirteen times with the goal of fostering growth and development of spiritual activities.  Before his passing in 2016, he had appointed Mahant Swami Maharaj as his successor and the sixth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj on August 13

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj on August 13

On his swagat or welcome assembly the youngest devotees from ages 4-10 welcomed Swami in a traditional manner with garlands and performances reciting our Vedic scriptures. The 10 day event began at 5:30 am daily with over 3000 attendees for puja darshan. Puja darshan is where one dedicates their first part of their day to connect with Bhagwan before starting their daily activities.  

Special cultural programs were held day to day for children and youth ( Bal-Balika Din, Kishore-Kishori Din, and Yuvak-Yuvati Din), a women’s cultural program (Mahila Din), and a 2-day family shibir focusing on strengthening family unity.

Yuvak – Yuvati Day, young adults, recalled moments of the gurus of BAPS under the theme “Eva Sant Ne Namu Hu Shish.” Amal Patel, said, “The message of Bhagwan Swaminarayan that he will be ever present through the ideal devotees is evident through our lineage of gurus in BAPS.” He added, “Even today we can see the same characteristics that Pramukh Swami Maharaj had in Mahant Swami Maharaj.”

Cultural Performances by the youth of BAPS.

Cultural Performances by the youth of BAPS.

The high school aged youth or Kishore-Kishori day program themed Je Je Hariye Karyu Het gave many an opportunity to make memories for the first time with their guru. In the evening assembly, Mahant Swami Maharaj guided them by saying, “[In life] education and spirituality are needed.  Both are necessary for success.”

With the theme of Mandiram Param Shantidham, an inspirational program for women by women focused on the peace and stability we find through the Mandir. Special guest Rekha Muddaraj, news anchor on KHOU Channel 11, helped kick things off by sharing her own personal story of how spirituality and religion shape her family, career, and personal life. Mrs. Muddaraj said, “My parents instilled culture in my sister and I.”

In an emotional evening charged with love, inspiration, and tremendous joy, community leaders, devotees, and well-wishers alike filled the seats of the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land, TX on August 13, 2017. This day marked the one year anniversary where millions of people from all around the world heard the shocking news that their beloved guru had just taken his last breath. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s eternal love, inspiration and presence can still be felt through His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj embodies the very same teachings, life, and legacy. All felt the joy of reviving the old memories of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and a feeling that he is still with us today through Mahant Swami Maharaj. Colonel Bhalla commented, “It was a unique experience for me when I had the good fortune of offering my respects to Mahant Swami Maharaj ji. Standing before him, I felt distinct emotional vibration- a vibe that is hard to explain except that it was like an electric energy going through my whole body.”

Other events that were celebrated were Janamashtami and the new assembly hall mahapuja in the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj. Throughout the 10 day visit many dignitaries such as Senator John Cornyn, Governor of Texas Greg Abbot, Congressman Pete Olson, Consul General Anumpan Ray, Mayor Leonard Scarcella, Mayor Joe Zimmerman, Mayor Allen Owen, Mayor Pat Halisey, Mayor Slyvester Turner and Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls welcomed His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj with proclamations and key to city.

In Mahant Swami Maharaj’s concluding blessings to the assembly, he emphasized to the attendees to live value-centric lives filled with spirituality and faith in God as well as maintaining respect and samp (togetherness) within our families, “Samp is needed in this entire world…however, samp begins at home”. Throughout his life, Mahant Swami Maharaj has emphasized the importance of unity as the foundation for families, organizations, and communities.  His life communicates the core values of BAPS rooted in mutual understanding, tolerance, respect, and consideration for individuals.

For further details email at media@na.baps.org

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