Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s International Impact Highlighted during Centennial Celebrations

Dr. S. Jaishankar, Indian Minister of External Affairs, at the celebration ground in front of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s grand murti.

AHMEDABAD: Week four of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s centennial celebrations brought Diksha Din (monastic order initiation), programs on Women’s Empowerment, and international days for tens of thousands of devotees and well-wishers traveling from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and North America. Attendees enjoyed grand programs from each region and a magnificent musical tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj by 170 children and youths from 10 countries.

Daily professional conferences, including medical, business, and other sectors, continued to bring luminaries from various sectors together for collective dialogue with learned Swamis and fellow associates. Talks focused on responsible and ethical practices and working together to serve communities and the nation while progressing in their respective fields.

Stage Guests from USA and Canada on the ‘BAPS North America Day’ Celebration on January 7th.

On January 5, hundreds of women from BAPS centers around the world presented an inspirational program titled “Women’s Day: Celebrating Women’s Empowerment” before an audience of tens of thousands at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar. Through devotional songs, dramas, dances, videos, and speeches by women dignitaries of various fields, they paid tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s immense efforts to foster the holistic empowerment and development of millions of girls and women worldwide.

On January 6, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj continued the ancient Hindu tradition sustained by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and lineage of BAPS gurus of initiating seekers into the monastic order. During the ‘Diksha Ceremonies’, 46 highly educated and devoted youths were initiated into the monastic order on their lifelong path of worldly renunciation, self-realization and service. The youths join over 1,100 BAPS Swamis from around the world, comprising of doctors, engineers, teachers, MBAs, pharmacists, etc., from prestigious universities like IIT, IIM, Oxford, and Harvard. These youths left the comforts of home and promising careers to undergo rigorous learning and eagerly serve God, guru and society.

On January 5, hundreds of women from BAPS centers around the world presented an inspirational program titled “Women’s Day: Celebrating Women’s Empowerment” before an audience of tens of thousands at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar.

In the evening, Dr. S. Jaishankar, Indian Minister of External Affairs, shared the following message during the assembly: “The world called Pramukh Swami Maharaj ‘the People’s guru’ and ‘the global guru’ because he had traveled to over 50 countries, visited more than 17,000 cities and villages, established more than 1,200 mandirs, and wrote more than 750,000 letters. He met global leaders and kings, but also ordinary and poor people whom he embraced. As a result of his efforts, BAPS is taking India and the world forward.

“Last year, when the war erupted in Ukraine, around 20,000 Indian students were stranded in the cold. They needed to be brought home. While the Indian government was trying to decide what to do, BAPS brought volunteers from 11 countries to the Polish border and served hot meals three times a day. I was meeting other ministers of bordering countries who still remember the selfless spirit of BAPS volunteers who helped not only other Indians but people of other countries and ethnicities.

“When I think of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and Pramukh Swami Maharaj, I see four big concepts: 1) Compassion, 2) Service, 3) Community and 4) Humanity. Firstly, BAPS is both local and global because it is connected to the land wherever it serves the people. They create their own identity without discriminating against anyone. Secondly, BAPS also employs technology and modern methods while remaining faithful to its traditions, culture, heritage, and values. The balance and symbiosis of technology with tradition can be seen in the temples BAPS builds around the world. Thirdly, BAPS also acts and leads by example. And fourthly, BAPS operates on a grand scale, but at the end of the day, every aspect of the community and guru is personal. The personal touch is everywhere. One needs a different mindset to never forget each individual. This is what is unique about BAPS.”

On January 7, over 500 children and youth from more than 75 centers across North America performed a touching cultural program titled ‘Beyond Boundaries: North America Day’ paying tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s tireless spiritual travels around North America that led to unimaginable transformations in hundreds of thousands who were inspired to preserve their timeless cultural and spiritual heritage. Following the program, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and dignitaries from around the world paid tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s inspiration of personal spirituality, Hindu mandirs, humanitarian service and interfaith harmony in North America.

In 1974, Pramukh Swami Maharaj consecrated the first BAPS Swaminarayan mandir in North America in New York City. Videos and testimonials recounted his tireless travels and personal outreach during 14 visits throughout North America at the expense of his health to nurture cultural and spiritual values over generations. His tremendous efforts led to the creation of 114 mandirs across North America, including majestic traditional stone mandirs in Toronto, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Robbinsville, New Jersey, which includes the Akshardham Mahamandir which is under construction. The program captured the role of mandirs and Swamis in upholding cultural and spiritual teachings and helping Indian communities across North America lead values-based lives.

The program also captured key milestones in the history of Hinduism in North America. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has been at the forefront of nurturing intercultural and interfaith dialogue in North America. In 1991, he inspired a month-long Cultural Festival of India in New Jersey visited by 1.1 million Americans who came to experience the richness of Indian culture and Hindu spirituality. In August 2000, Pramukh Swami Maharaj called for harmony through dialogue as he represented Hinduism at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious Leaders at the United Nations in New York. In 2022, on the occasion of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Centenary Celebrations, BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institutes were established in Robbinsville, New Jersey (USA) and in Toronto, Canada dedicated to advancing quality research, learning; and expression of Hinduism, its cultures, philosophies, affiliated languages, and rich collection of literature.

In his blessings, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj highlighted Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s selfless intent in building and sustaining mandirs. In responding to praise on the beauty of BAPS mandirs, Pramukh Swami often said that Mandirs are built not to draw compliments; they are created and sustained through unity, sacrifice, hard work; and inspire positive personal transformation; all of which bring peace within people, communities, and nations.


The month-long celebration is His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s vision to provide inspiration from the life, efforts, teachings, actions, and contributions of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The festivities will conclude on January 15 with a grand finale program in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, dignitaries, community leaders and devotees from around the world.

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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.