Ahmedabad, Aug 17 (IANS) The mortal remains of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, head of the Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), were consigned to the flames at the Sarangpur Mandir campus around 3 p.m. on Wednesday in the presence of a galaxy of political leaders and thousands of followers.
BJP President Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Kathakar Morari Bapu, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Samajwadi Party MP Amar Singh, businessman Anil Ambani, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, state BJP President Jitubhai Vaghani, and state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki, among others, were to the first to reach the Sarangpur Mandir in the morning.
They were followed by Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch L.K. Advani, who reached Ahmedabad around the same time and left for Sarangpur.
Meanwhile, ‘palkhi yatra’ (palanquin procession)’ of Pramukh Swami’s body had to be cancelled due to the alterations in his body which was kept under minus 10 degree temperature in a glass container since August 13 evening after he passed away.
The ‘darshan’ for general public had been closed.
Amit Shah, who attended the godman’s cremation, told reporters that the Swami had been a divine help in his life whenever he felt ‘broken’.
“Bhagwan Badhu Saru Karshe (God will set right everything) is what he would say and I would feel great solace and my hope would be restored,” he said.
“The great saint dedicated his entire life for his cause, but I want to reveal something personal today. In one’s life, there are moments when one feels broken. When I went through such times in my life, he would be the first person to call me,” Shah said.
He said the Pramukh Swami had done a lot to institutionalise the saint tradition, getting crores of people to give up addictions and inculcating ‘samskara’ in children through his organisation.
Jaitley said the deeds of Pramukh Swami would set an example in the history of this time.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May had on Tuesday expressed her condolences to the British Hindu community over the death of Swaminarayan sect’s spiritual head Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
“I would like to pay my condolences to the British Hindus, especially the BAPS, on the passing away of Pramukh Swami Maharaja,” May said.
“Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired millions with his powerful motto: In the good of others lies our own. This legacy of selfless service will continue to benefit humanity for a long time to come,” she said.
Ahmedabad, 13 Aug 2016: Today, on 13 Aug 2016 Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of BAPS celebrated for his worldwide socio-spiritual services, passed away at Sarangpur, Gujarat, at the age of 95 years.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor in the guru parampara tradition of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. For more than seven decades he had been travelling tirelessly, visiting over 17,000 towns and villages in India and abroad. However, for the last two years, because of old age and frail health, he had been residing at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Sarangpur under the able care of expert doctors.
Most recently, Pramukh Swami Maharaj had been affected by a chest infection from which he had gradually recovered. However, due to his longstanding heart problems, he passed away peacefully at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Sarangpur.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was born on 7 December 1921 to a humble farmer’s family in the small village of Chansad, near Vadodara in Gujarat. In 1939, he renounced home to become a renunciate and received initiation into the sadhu-fold from his guru, Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj and was named Sadhu Narayanswarupdas.
On completing his Sanskrit studies, he was appointed as the kothari of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Sarangpur in 1946 at the age of 25 years. Then in 1950, aged 28 years, Shastriji Maharaj selected him as the President (Pramukh) of BAPS in his place. Since then, he had been fondly known as ‘Pramukh Swami’.
Shastriji Maharaj passed away in 1951, declaring Yogiji Maharaj as his spiritual successor. Thereafter, Pramukh Swami served under the guidance and blessings of Yogiji Maharaj. In 1971, after the departure of guru Yogiji Maharaj, Pramukh Swami Maharaj succeeded him as the fifth spiritual guru of BAPS. Over the next 45 years, his unremitting satsang travels, selfless services to society, saintly virtues and profound devotion to God earned him the respect and reverence of countless worldwide.
His untiring efforts in uplifting the tribals, liberating thousands from vices and addictions, providing relief and rehabilitation to innumerable people in times of calamity and catastrophe, and inspiring character and faith in hundreds of thousands of children and youths were some of his many outstanding services to society.
He also created and consecrated 1,100 mandirs and giant cultural complexes like Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi and Gandhinagar to portray the cultural and spiritual heritage of India.
Renowned spiritual masters and heads of state have been deeply touched by his humility, saintliness and noble works. These include His Holiness The Dalai Lama, India’s late president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prince Charles, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the late Sheikh Isa bin Salman al Khalifa of Bahrain, and many royals, heads of state and other dignitaries. All were profoundly touched by Swamishri’s spiritual personality and humanitarian services to society.
The news of his earthly departure has created a pall of deep sadness among countless devotees and well-wishers. A massive concourse of devotees and others are streaming into Sarangpur for his last darshan and to pay their final respects to him.