HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 96th Birthday Celebration


INDIA: An 11-day celebration on the occasion of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 96th birthday was held at Swaminarayan Nagar, Surat. For ten days, the 400-acre celebration site became an attraction for all eyes primarily because of the extraordinary exhibitions and evening cultural programs. The cultural village was the creation of volunteers from all over India – 18,000 male and female volunteers offered their services day and night. Pramukh Swami Maharaj passed away on August 13, 2016, in Sarangpur.

Volunteers put in their best to pay homage to their beloved guru in the creation of the cultural village.   The festival hosted over 1.5 million visitors as well as 60,000 students and 2,000 teachers from 125 schools. The festival ground included a large entrance gate, a grand Mandir made from fiberglass and eight exhibitions showcasing Indian culture, heritage and values.  Each evening, a spectacular light and sound show on the mandir itself revealed the social and spiritual significance of mandirs in our modern world. The 11-day celebration also featured a women’s cultural program, blood donation camp as well as an anti-addiction drive. During the celebration, 44 youths were initiated into sadhu-fold.  


The culmination of the festivities was the celebration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 96th birthday on December 7, 2016. The programs focused on Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s grand and divine social and spiritual works. Through skits, video shows, cultural dances and speeches, the program portrayed Swamiji’s tireless travels for the uplift of mankind, creation of mandirs like Swaminarayan Akshardham and disaster-relief programs conducted by BAPS. Pramukh Swami Maharaj traveled from large cities to remote villages to foster love, peace, harmony, spirituality and faith within individuals – irrespective of race, class, creed or color. His inspiring call, “In the joy of others, lies our own…” reflects the spirit of his life and work. The birthday celebration was a celebration of his life and work as a humble servant of society who spent his life using the power of his inner goodness to lift others up. The birthday celebration was also unique in itself. The date (December 7), day (Wednesday), Tithi as per Hindu calendar (Magsar Sud atham) and Nakshetra at the time of his birth in 1921 matched exactly today.

The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vijay Rupani, praised the personality of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and his mammoth contributions for the welfare of Gujarat. He also announced that the upcoming International sports stadium in Palanpur area of Surat would be named as Pramukh Swami International Stadium. Shri Amitbhai Shah, President of BJP, spoke glowingly about how he had experienced peace whenever he met Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

To commemorate the universal works of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the Government of India paid tributes by releasing postage stamps of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Swaminarayan Akshardham.

Thereafter, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the current spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, blessed the congregation of 200,000, saying, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj lived a universal life. He worked for the all-round betterment of all, regardless of the background. His humility was unparalleled; he respected all and cared for people of all classes and denominations. He emphasized unity and family cohesion for a progressive and happy society.”

In conclusion, a grand aarti was performed by the 200,000 devotees and well-wishers offering respect to Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Grand celebrations for his birthday have been planned across North America on December 11 and December 18.

All readers are invited to the celebration. More details on www.baps.org  

About BAPS
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a worldwide socio-spiritual organization in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, is dedicated to community service, peace, and harmony.  Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families, and individuals. Through a number of social and spiritual activities, BAPS endeavors to produce better citizens of tomorrow who have a high esteem for their roots – their rich Hindu culture.  Its 3,300 international centers out of which over support these activities of character-building. BAPS aspires to build a community that is morally, ethically and spiritually pure, and free of addictions.

About Mahant Swami Maharaj
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. His devout, humble and service-focused life earned him the innermost blessings of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj travels throughout the world inspiring people through his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. His virtuous lifestyle and profound devotion to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and gurus are ideals toward which devotees strive. Mahant Swami Maharaj became the guru and President of BAPS upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.

About Pramukh Swami Maharaj
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. He dedicated his life to the well-being of others, traveling throughout the world to foster love, peace, harmony, righteousness, faith in God, and service to humanity. With genuine care and compassion, he reached out to all members of society irrespective of class, color, or age. Recognized and respected as one of India’s greatest spiritual teachers, he lived by and promoted the principle: “In the joy of others, lies our own.”