Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centennial Celebration was inaugurated on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, in Ahmedabad by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (B.A.P.S.).
The opening marked the public dedication of the month-long festival spread over 600 acres that includes inspiring attractions, insightful exhibitions and enlightening programs that are free to all visitors.
Prime Minister Modi and Mahant Swami Maharaj commenced the auspicious inauguration ceremony amid the chanting of Vedic mantras and puja from the Sant Dwar, the majestic 380-foot-wide entrance gate honoring the great sages and saints of India. Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, and senior swamis of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha also participated in the ceremony.
Upon entering the festival grounds, Mahant Swami Maharaj and the Prime Minister were greeted with a colorful welcome dance by hundreds of BAPS children and youths. The Prime Minister then offered his heartfelt tribute by placing flowers before the beautiful 30-foot sculpted image of
Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
After the ceremonial opening, the Prime Minister was guided through the enchanting glow garden, where artistic renditions of moral stories and inspiring values reflected Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s efforts to illumine the lives of countless people globally. The Prime Minister then observed the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav display, celebrating 75 years of India’s independence through a tribute to Indian heroes and inspirational figures.
From here, Prime Minister Modi reached the stunning 67-foot-tall replica of New Delhi’s Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir. They circumambulated the temple and sacred images consecrated within, including Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his spiritual successors, Bhagwan Shri Sita-Rama, Bhagwan Shri Radha-Krishna, and Bhagwan Shri Shiva-Parvati. Prime Minister Modi then offered flowers and prayed at the holy feet of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the installed deities.
The Prime Minister then arrived at the Bal Nagari, the children’s cultural wonderland, where he was greeted by the BAPS children who created and produced the shows and exhibits. The Prime Minister viewed the three innovative musical shows in the Nagari. The ‘Sea of Suvarna’ is
the story of “Swarna the Goldfish,” performed by 270 BAPS girls, emphasizing the importance of both hard work and prayers for success. The ‘Village of Buzo’ is the emotional journey of a tribal boy and the sacrifice of his parents, highlighting the value of respecting parents. Finally, the ‘Jungle of Sheru’ is about a young lion whose journey inspires the realization of our inner strength and true identity.
Finally, the Prime Minister joined Mahant Swami Maharaj on the main assembly stage, where they were enthusiastically greeted by tens of thousands of devotees present while millions watched live around the world.
On this occasion, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak MP, shared a personal video message of tribute, offering his admiration and gratitude to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj for his countless contributions to the U.K. and the world.
The Head Swami of Akshardham in Gandhinagar, Anandswarup Swami said, “What was it in Pramukh Swami Maharaj that attracted so many and inspired them to positively transform their lives and selflessly serve? Pramukh Swami Maharaj was so simple and made himself easily
accessible to everyone because he saw God in all. So anyone who came into his contact experienced so many virtues in him: selfless love, limitless compassion, contentment, divinity, peace, and the presence of God.”
BAPS senior swami Ishwarcharan Swami said, “On this historic inauguration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s centenary celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken out time to come solely due to the strong bond of affection and reverence that he had for Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”
Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendrabhai Patel said, “As we have come together to celebrate the centenary of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s fifth spiritual successor Pramukh Swami Maharaj, all of us remember the manifold ways his life inspired us. He served all of humanity his entire life with a vision that transcended bodily distinctions. He inspired countless to transform their lives. After the terrorist attack on Akshardham, his actions set an example for the world of peace and forgiveness that became renowned as ‘the Akshardham Response.’ He provided comfort to all in need,
providing aid to the disaster-stricken. He personally inspired thousands to become addiction-free. One of his greatest contributions is the inspiration of family unity. This is a festival to pay tribute to the invaluable contributions he had made to society.”
On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I want to congratulate Mahant Swami Maharaj for inspiring this magnificent Nagar and the swamis for conceptualizing and creating it. It is not only impressive; it will be a source of inspiration for generations to come. This festival is great
not just because of its scale and beauty but because of the experience of divinity and grand vision behind it, where everyone can learn about our heritage, history, faith and values.”
“Pramukh Swami Maharaj taught me that the greatest goal in life is to serve others, and he inspired me to serve till my last breath.”
“Pramukh Swami Maharaj did not give me great lectures but delivered profound truths through simple words and his example. He cared for me even when I was not in the office, just as a mother would for her child. His presence always gave me peace and reassurance.”
“I dearly miss Pramukh Swami Maharaj. But today, I feel his love and spiritual energy through Mahant Swami Maharaj, who continues to inspire me to serve everyone in our country.”
Mahant Swami Maharaj, in his blessings, stated, “Why has Narendrabhai Modi come? He is very intelligent and can grasp the entire nagar in an instant, but he has come solely to offer his homage to Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”
The colorful evening concluded with a maha-aarti with tens of thousands of devotees as they paid tribute to their guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who personified his universal teaching, “In the joy of others lies our own.”
Ishwarcharandas Swami, international convenor of BAPS, extended an invitation to everyone to visit ‘Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar’ and enjoy the free inspiring presentations, exhibitions and attractions.