NEW YORK (TIP): BAPS Pramukh Swami Maharaj was paid rich tributes by dignitaries, devotees, community leaders and well-wishers.in many parts of the world including the US.
Tens of thousands of people gathered at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs in New York, Robbinsville, Edison, Parsippany and Jersey City (in New Jersey) as well as in Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas and Washington DC to pay tributes to the life of H.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj on September 17 and 18.
The fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha passed away on August 13 at the age of 95. From establishing mandirs across the world to humanitarian work to creating community infrastructure for education and healthcare in remote towns, Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s contributions to society have spanned across generations.
Tens of thousands of people honored Pramukh Swami Maharaj in special assemblies held throughout USA. Assemblies were also held across the globe in September to pay tributes to his life and achievements. Attendees shared memories of their uplifting interactions with Pramukh Swami Maharaj, reminiscing upon the heartfelt connection that cemented his influence and wisdom in their lives.
President Obama shared a personal message with BAPS tribute assemblies. He noted that Pramukh Swami Maharaj “was a trusted ear and revered voice for countless people, and the lessons of his humility stirred not only the hearts of his followers, but also of men and women across the globe who were fortunate enough to have crossed his path. May the memory of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj continue to guide you, and may his legacy give us the courage to be our best selves”.
President Bill and Hillary Clinton noted, “Pramukh Swami didn’t just teach virtues – he lived them every day…We hope that humanity will build upon his legacy for generations to come.”
Dr. Bhupi Patel, a Long Island community leader praised the departed guru’s social contribution especially in de-addicting hundreds of thousands. Anand Patel, President-FIA described Pramukh Swami’s life as an open book.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s impact on people’s lives was also felt by those who met only his disciples. Robbinsville, NJ Mayor Dave Fried said, “From interacting with his disciples who all live lives of humility and service, I can only imagine the life that their Guru, Pramukh Swami, lived. Through his disciples, he has left a permanent mark on the world, and especially on Robbinsville.”
The speakers and guests from the Indian community present at the assembly at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Robbinsville, NJ on September 17, 2016 included Dr. Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, Deputy Counsel General of India; Dr. Navin Mehta, ENT surgeon; H.R Shah, Chairman of TV Asia; Sunil Hali, Publisher Indian Express; Sharad Shah, Chairman Share and Care Foundation; and Swami Shantananda, Resident Acharya, Chinmaya Mission, NJ to name a few.
A message from the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was read out.
The speakers and guests from the Indian community present at tribute assembly in Long Island on September 18 included Dr. Subramanian, Cardio-thoracic surgeon who performed on Pramukh Swami Maharaj; Vijay Nambiar, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special advisor to Myanmar, Mahendrapal Gulati, President VHP. Former Senator Michael Balboni, Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson were also present.
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi had visited Sarangpur, Gujarat and addressed saddened devotees before the funeral rites saying, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj was a stalwart among humans who embodied compassion and humility… Today you have lost a Guru, but I have lost a father.”
Pramukh Swami Maharaj has been succeeded as BAPS head by Mahant Swami Maharaj.