Spiritual guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj dies at 95

Pramukh Swami's last rites will be conducted on August 17, said a close associate.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: August 14, 2016 2:06 am
Pramukh Swami Maharaj passed away today at Sarangpur. Pramukh Swami Maharaj passed away today at Sarangpur.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual guru and head of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) of Swaminarayan sect, passed away at Sarangpur in Gujarat’s Botad district Saturday evening. He was 95. Under treatment at Sarangpur temple of the sect for lung infection, he breathed his last at 6 pm. “He was a heart patient and was being treated for a lung infection. His last rites will be conducted on August 17,” said a close associate of Pramukh Swami Maharaj as a steady stream of devotees started arriving at Sarangpur to pay their final respects. For the last two years, old age and frail health had restricted Pramukh Swami to remain within the BAPS Swaminarayan temple at Sarangpur.

Thousand of his devotees started thronging temples of his sect in various cities and towns and women were seen crying at those temples, mourning his death. Condolences poured in from all quarters on Saturday evening after the news of his death spread. Posting a picture of the spiritual guru holding his folded hands, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter: “HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj was a mentor to me. I will never forget my interactions with him. Will miss his presence.” In another tweet, he wrote: “HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, a stalwart among humans who embodied compassion & humility. His service to society will always be remembered.” Political leaders cutting across party lines and other religious leaders also expressed their condolences.

Also read | Pramukh Swami Maharaj passes away: Political leaders react

Paying tribute, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said he will always be remembered as a “crusader of humanity, religion and spirituality”. His death is a huge loss and he leaves behind a rich legacy, the Congress president said. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said the spiritual guru’s message of compassion and service will remain an “inspiration”.

“Deeply saddened by the passing away of HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj. His message of compassion & service will remain an inspiration,” the Congress vice-president said on Twitter. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, deputy CM Nitin Patel and former chief minister Anandiben Patel too expressed grief over Swami’s demise.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will be in Gujarat to pay his tributes to Pramukh Swami Maharaj on August 16. “Pramukh Swamiji was epitome of the great philosophy of uniting theworld with his teachings,” AAP leader Ashutosh tweeted.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of BAPS, was born as Shantilal Patel at Chansad village in Vadodara on December 7, 1921. He left home in 1939 to become a sadhu. He was just 28 when he was appointed as BAPS pramukh (president). He became the spiritual guru of BAPS in 1971 after Yogiji Maharaj, the fourth spiritual successor of BAPS, passed away.

During his lifetime, he created and consecrated 1,100 temples and giant cultural complexes like Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi and Gandhinagar. In his first overseas tour after becoming guru, he consecrated the first BAPS mandir in New York in 1974. At the age of 62, Pramukh Swami suffered a heart attack. Later, in 1998, he underwent a heart bypasssurgery in New York. In 2012, he also got a pacemaker implant in Ahmedabad.

In 2000, he addressed the Millennium World Peace Summit of Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations and in 2004, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the US government. He travelled extensively, both in India and abroad, holding “satsangs” and creating a large base of devotees.

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  1. P
    Aug 13, 2016 at 7:17 pm
    One douche down!lt;br/gt;Those fellows are like head of Talibans, "Brahmin Taliban".
    1. M
      Aug 13, 2016 at 9:44 pm
      The Sunni ISI established the most primitive form of governance. It based its laws on an extreme interpretation of the Islamic Sharia. It made women only as objects of pleasure and made non-Muslim women who were captured like the Yezdi's as slavez. Most of these women were repeatedly raped and hundreds died as well. Despite news of the atrocities of the ISI on women filtering out to the West and Muslim world, the supply of recruits to join the ISI continued. One reason for this was the justification by the ISI that they were following Islamic principles which lay down that captured women can be kept as slaves. In a similar vein, the ISI leader Al-Baghdadi captured an American aid worker and repeatedly raped and impregnated her. She was killed in an American air attack that was targeting Baghdadi. The Yezidi women who are non-Muslims, in particular, recieved harsh treatment. Shia and Christian women were also not spared and made slaves. Even the Sunni women were given no rights and were confined for seex to their homes
      1. A
        Aug 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm
        Another destroyer and illegal occupant of yamuna bank. Good riddance to bad saffron rubbish.
        1. B
          ben p
          Aug 19, 2016 at 1:40 am
          Bapa was my guru, inspirer and father figure. There is no saint like pramukh swami who only gave to others and never expected any thing from taker. Many hospitals, schools, colleges , dorment and other social insutes in the India and the world were gifted to people by this great guru / swaminarayan bhagwan himself. His transparent life was so simple that became benchmark for his followers and other shishya saints. His personality was super divine and in his presence I felt the presence of God in him. India lost a great personality who spread Hinduism all around world and gave message of peace to others that helped Indian community to take pride in being Hindu as always polite and peaceful citizen. Also ruling presidents of USA, Canada, India, England and other countries had visited pramukh swami and expressed the touch of divine presence in swam. We will miss you physically but we know that you will live in our hearts and guide us to do right things in life , help people who are in dire need , pray for our enemies , commit good karma in life and stay in touch with Swaminarayan bhagwan by doing daily pooja and commitment to temple. Thank you bapa for turning a man in to human being.
          1. R
            Rangaesh Gadasalli
            Aug 13, 2016 at 9:28 pm
            one of the greatest Gems of India. No king or emperor in the history of India has built more than 1000 temples in his life time. Guruji was a pleasant soft spoken individual and had a magnanimous personality. Never got into any controversies. In BAPS temples we could see people of all faith coming and admiring The tradition of the temple. By undertaking projects to help the police,school boards and helping disaster victims all around the world BAPS temples have become true representatives of Sanatan dharam and culture of India. Hope the NDA govt considers him for an award of Bharath Rathan. His memories will remain for long time. Jai swami narayan.
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