Interfaith Harmony & Uplift of Under-privileged Highlight Grand Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centennial Celebrations in India

HH Mahant Swami Maharaj interfaith leaders during assembly.

AHMEDABAD: Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Centennial Celebrations in Ahmedabad, India continued this week with themes centered on Devotion to Guru; Health & Spirituality Day; De-Addiction Day; and Interfaith Harmony & Tribal Traditions.  The last two key events highlighted Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s spiritually driven vision of one world and one human family.

On December 20th, 2022, religious leaders and representatives from around the world representing the Jain, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist faiths gathered to solidify interfaith bonds through collective dialogue recalling Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s love and sacrifice which saw no race, religion, color, caste, creed, language or borders.

Festival grounds of the Pramusk Swami Maharaj Centennial Celebration.

In his United Nations Address at the Millennium Peace Conference on August 29, 2000, Pramukh Swami Maharaj expressed, “We religious leaders should not dream of only one religion in the world but dream of a world where all religions are one. Flourishing together is the secret of peace. We must not progress at the cost of others, but sacrifice a part of ourselves for the good of others. For true religion is that which inspires love for one another.”

In recalling Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s commitment to interfaith harmony, HH Dalai Lama addressed the assembly by a letter, stating, “I send my greetings on the occasion of the centenary of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He truly practiced the ancient Indian wisdom of nonviolence and compassion. The leadership of individuals like him have made India a role model of religious harmony.”

HE Abdul Rahman Bu Ali, Thought Leader of Bahrain said, “The historic BAPS Mandir in Abu Dhabi is more than inspirational, it is civilizational—bringing countries and religions together. There will also be a BAPS temple in Bahrain. Leaders like Pramukh Swami Maharaj do not die but remain alive and continue to inspire, guide, and touch countless hearts across the world. Mahant Swami Maharaj is the best successor to the best predecessor.”

Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni Ji, Jain Muni, President, Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati said, “Rarely do luminaries like Pramukh Swami Maharaj take birth on this earth. He was a bridge to unite all different faiths together. When we face an environment of religious intolerance, the BAPS Swaminarayan tradition has been a torchbearer for religious tolerance.”

In closing, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj said, “I bow at the feet of all the religious leaders who have come to the interfaith conference today. Everyone is doing tremendous work in their own respective fields. We learned a lot through our dialogue, and everyone will leave with divine memories.”

Touching on the common thread of humanity, the program on December 22nd, “Glorious Tribal Traditions: Celebrating Humanity” focused on Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s relentless efforts to uplift tribal communities.  Despite advancing age and health issues, Pramukh Swami Maharaj visited over 250 tribal villages not yielding to sweltering heat or winter nights.  He sanctified thousands of homes, personally met with individuals, listened to their challenges, introduced spiritual teachings and practices to help lead disciplined, addiction free, productive, purposeful lives while maintaining traditions.  In addition to providing basic necessary resources, including medical care and educational institutions; he inspired BAPS swamis to travel the region extensively to elevate remote villagers from poverty, illiteracy and addictions. The impact is clear, tribal children graduating from BAPS have gone onto prestigious universities like IIT Mumbai and are now doctors, engineers and professionals.

Harsh Chouhan, Chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, said, “Our community has a silent sorrow, that no one understands us, but Pramukh Swami Maharaj was able to and inspire others to do so. Because he did not employ the standards of others, rather listened with his heart. For him, the tribal folk and city-dwellers were the same.”

Honorable Mangu Patel, Governor of Madhya Pradesh, said, “As a guru, Pramukh Swami Maharaj did not just give blessings and preach; he believed himself to be the servant of God and therefore servant of all humanity. He worked relentlessly in tribal areas, going from hut to hut, promoting de-addiction and uplifting them socially and economically. By freeing 4 million people from addictions, he actually freed 20 million people from misery when counting all their family members. He has been there during the highs and lows for all of Gujarat and its people. He created over 110 mandirs in tribal areas. His life has become a glorious chapter in human history.”

In his concluding blessings, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj said, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj provided a distinctive definition of Adivasis. He said, ‘The oldest, ‘adi’, is God, and those in whose hearts God resides ‘vasi’ are Adivasis.’ This was not just wordplay, he truly believed and lived this. He often said, ‘Although others may consider tribals backward, I see God in them.’ Considering them his family, he stayed at their homes and ate their food without distinction. Through his selfless love, he transformed the lives of thousands of tribals.”

Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired numerous de-addition campaigns including a few with over 25,000 children going door to door, bringing education, awareness of health consequences and realistic impact on families.  Seeing the sacrifice of children in such mass efforts cannot help but move people to re-evaluate the power of addition on their lives. These efforts were also a central focal point at the month-long festival at Pramukh Swami Nagar.  Exhibitions and powerful theatrical performances capturing the devastating impact of vices on families, especially on future generations, struck a chord with attendees. Immediate response was voiced by many attendees inspired to break from the shackles of addiction and begin new lives with their families.  The generational impact of such campaigns is clear in the statistics from the Adivasis to communities across Gujarat and India. Pramukh Swami’s vision and work for a better world through personal transformation continues with inspiration from HH Mahant Swami Maharaj.

The month-long celebration is Mahant Swami Maharaj’s vision to provide inspiration from the life, efforts, teachings, actions, and contributions of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

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About BAPS

The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a spiritual, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to improving society through individual growth by fostering the Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service. Its worldwide network of 3,800 centers supports these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically, and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit

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.”

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.