By Vivekjivandas Swami
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha
A side-effect of fame is forgetting –forgetting the ordinary people in life. Common individuals are often lost with glory. And when glory is coupled with a busy lifestyle, the trivial needs of ordinary individuals are most certain to be neglected. This year, as we celebrate the centennial of HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, I recall an incident that taught me that real love is in the small details. Swamishri, even though he was the guru of thousands, stayed grounded and tended to the smallest needs of ordinary individuals. That was his genuine expression of love.
In December 1995, the Amrut Mahotsav Festival was being celebrated in Mumbai, India. The festival was organized in celebration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 75th birthday. This grand celebration, which lasted 37 days, was possible due to the tireless efforts of more than 21,000 volunteers. The festival brought India’s culture to life through beautiful folk dances, intricate architecture, and vibrant music. Over 8.1 million people visited the festival grounds. One of the many inspiring exhibitions organized throughout the festival grounds was the creative Children’s Village, called “Baal Nagari.”
On one occasion, Swamishri expressed his wish to visit the children there. He arrived where children were performing, appreciated their efforts, and gave them encouragement. At the entrance of this area of the festival grounds, a young boy named Suketu welcomed Swamishri with a garland of flowers. After accepting the garland, Swamishri lovingly gave the sanctified garland back to Suketu. Then, Swamishri continued with his visit and moved on to the rest of the Children’s Village. However, it seemed that Suketu had a wish that he wanted to be fulfilled. He wished to get a copy of the photo taken when he welcomed Swamishri. But amidst the crowds and excitement that followed Swamishri through the site, how would anyone hear his request?
Suketu had faith. He wrote a letter to Swamishri, asking him for a photo of that moment. Despite all of Swamishri’s responsibilities as the guru and president of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, upon reading the letter from Suketu, Pramukh Swami Maharaj inquired about the whereabouts of that photograph. He made sure it was located, and that it was sent to Suketu’s home. Of course, when Suketu received the photograph, he became ecstatic.
This seemingly simple moment, captured in time, became his lifelong memory -not to just keep in his hands –but to also keep in his heart. Love is in the details!