The Legacy of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj
India is not the wealthiest nation in the world when it comes to assessing success through economics. But no one can question the country’s real wealth determined by the eclectic existence of spiritual ideas and religious leaders. Throughout the country’s history, there has been the birth of some of the greatest spiritual beings who have inspired, educated and progressed the development of society for the greater good. Some of them have travelled outside India and made impact internationally.
In recent times, one such leader has made a distinct impression in a multitude of areas. His Holiness Swami Pramukh Maharaj not only helped developed individuals but inspired people to develop their unique skills and working together for a peaceful society. Through his leadership, the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha have built some of the most eye gazing temples all around the world utilising modern eco-friendly technology and methods. The humanitarian work associated with these temples is impressive with precision organisational systems with solid teamwork which can stand up to or outdo any manual on success.
Hinduism is not the simplest religion to explain to people. However, if one goes anywhere in the world, the Swaminarayan Temple is distinct and attracts people from all backgrounds to take notice. The Neasden Temple in London, for example, has given Hinduism a positive profile and attracted high-profile figures to visit it. Swami Pramukh Maharaj was a master at galvanising people, ideas and help bring about profound change which was both spiritual and physical that the ordinary people, regardless of their faith, could see.
BAPS is a global organisation with over 1,100 temples encompassing over a million devotees. But what is even more amazing is that most Hindus would visit Swaminarayan Temples because they are seen as places of true worship, security and where people do service for society. The Neasden Temple in London does a whole host of humanitarian work and during major festivals like Diwali attracts over 50,000 people. These figures are dwarfed by one of the modern wonders of the world with the BAPS temple in Akshardham in Delhi which was built in 2005. It is estimated that 70% of tourists who visit Delhi, also visit the temple. Akshardham itself is in the Guinness Book of Records of being the largest Hindu temple in the world.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was a keen advocate of interfaith operation. In the 2000 Millennium Peace Summit at the United Nations, he emphasised the goal of cooperation and mutual respect among religions, for "religion is that which spreads love for one another".
He stated that all faiths should coexist in harmony as "flourishing together is the secret of peace". The quantity of followers should not be an indicator of religion, but moreover the quality of its spirituality. In his words, "a Hindu should become a better Hindu, a Jew should become a better Jew, a Christian should become a better Christian, a Muslim should become a better Muslim. If the follower of every religion becomes a better and true follower, then our world will be a much better world".
His Holiness will dearly be missed, but he will never be forgotten. His teaching will continue in the quest for a peaceful world. Something that is so needed in modern times.
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