HIS LIFE IN BRIEF

HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj

A peaceful, humble, simple and spiritual personality. A rare soul who has always lived for others and remained in constant rapport with God. He is an advocate of world peace, and revered as one of the most influential spiritual leaders of the world. Pramukh Swami Maharaj lives by his maxim, ‘In the joy of others lies our own’ and has dedicated his life to selfless service for the spiritual and social uplift of society. Over the last seven decades, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has inspired countless aspirants, and for the betterment of humankind, he has visited over 17,000 villages, towns and cities. In addition to the renowned Swaminarayan Akshardham complexes, he has gifted the world with over 1,100 mandirs. These mandirs and cultural complexes have become hallmarks in preserving culture and performing social services. Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the fifth spiritual successor in Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s succession of Gunatit gurus, and he has uplifted and inspired spirituality in the lives of numerous people. Many aspirants have experienced the bliss of God in his presence. Many aspirants have reached the highest spiritual state, and today, many others continue to tread this path.

TIMELINE

A chronology of Important Events and Contributions from The Life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj

  • 1921
    7 December (Magshar sud 8, VS 1978)
    Born in the village of Chansad near Vadodara, Gujarat; named Shantilal.
  • 1939
    7 November (Aso vad 11, VS 1995)
    Leaves home to become a sadhu.
  • 1939
    22 November (Kartik sud 11, VS 1996)
    Initiation into parshad order by Shastriji Maharaj, Ahmedabad.
  • 1940
    10 January (Posh sud 1, VS 1996)
    Initiated into sadhu order by Shastriji Maharaj at the Akshar Deri, Gondal; named Narayanswarupdas Swami.
  • 1939-1946
    Sanskrit studies, vicharan with Shastriji Maharaj, various services in the mandirs.
  • 1950
    21 May (Jeth sud 4, VS 2006)
    Appointed as Pramukh (President) of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) by Shastriji Maharaj, Ahmedabad.
  • 1951
    10 May (Vaishakh sud 4, VS 2007)
    In Sarangpur, Shastriji Maharaj returns to Akshardham. Yogiji Maharaj becomes spiritual guru of BAPS. Pramukh Swami serves the BAPS under the guidance and blessings of Yogiji Maharaj.
  • 1959-60
    24 October to 3 July 1960
    Overseas Satsang Tour to East Africa with Yogiji Maharaj.
  • 1968
    27 November
    Pramukh Swami’s 48th birthday celebrated in presence of Yogiji Maharaj, Mumbai. Yogiji Maharaj instructs devotees to celebrate Pramukh Swami’s birthday every year.
  • 1971
    23 January (Posh vad 11, VS 2027)
    In Mumbai, Yogiji Maharaj returns to Akshardham; cremation rites in Gondal. Pramukh Swami Maharaj becomes spiritual guru of BAPS.
  • 1971
    In Sankari, murti-pratishtha of the first shikharbaddha mandir by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Over the next 45 years, he consecrated 1,100 mandirs in India and abroad.
  • 1973
    3 December
    Kalash Mahotsav, Ahmedabad; initiation of 56 youths into sadhu order.
  • 1974
    First overseas satang tour after becoming guru. Received many ‘Key to the City’ honours. Consecrated first BAPS mandir in USA in New York. Over the next 40 years he consecrated 6 shikharbaddha mandirs and 70 hari mandirs in North America.
  • 1981
    7 March to 13 April
    Bhagwan Swaminarayan Birth Bicentenary Celebrations, Ahmedabad; 37-day festival. Initiation of 207 youths into sadhu- and parshad-order. Visited by 8 million people.
  • 1983
    5 February
    Pramukh Swami Maharaj, aged 62, suffers heart attack, Sundalpura. Even afterwards, for 30 years, he continued to serve tirelessly day and night.
  • 1984
    7 April 1984
    Meeting with Pope John Paul II, Vatican City.
  • 1985
    Grand 33-day Cultural Festival of India celebrated at Alexandra Park, London. Pramukh Swami Maharaj honoured in Suvarna Tula ceremony at QPR football stadium. All donations received gifted to Karamsad Medical College.
  • 1985
    22 October to 19 December
    59-day Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami Birth Bicentenary Celebrations, Ahmedabad. Initiation of 200 youths into sadhu and parshad orders. Over 8 million visitors.
  • 1987-1988
    Cattle camps and famine relief activities in Gujarat.
  • 1988
    Twelveth overseas Satsang Tour. Pramukh Swami Maharaj honoured in British and Canadian parliaments.
  • 1989-90
    International Children’s Convention (Adhiveshan), Vidyanagar; 15,000 children participated.
    International Youth Convention (Adhiveshan), Vidyanagar; 21,000 youths participated.
  • 1991
    12 July to 11 August
    Cultural Festival of India, Edison, New Jersey, USA; Over 1 million visitors.
  • 1992
    Grand 35-day celebration of Yogiji Maharaj’s Centenary. Inauguration of Swaminarayan Akshardham, Gandhinagar.
  • 1993
    Relief and rehabilitation activities following earthquake in Latur, Maharashtra.
  • 1995
    20 August
    Murti-pratishtha of the BAPS shikharbaddha mandir in Neasden, London.
    Swamishri’s Amrut Mahotsav celebrated in Mumbai, during which he publically dedicated an eye hospital. Thereafter, over next two decades, he established 7 hospitals and 11 mobile medical vans to provide quality healthcare to countless people.
    BAPS granted affiliation to the United Nations as ‘NGO in Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the UN’
  • 1996
    8 July
    Guinness World Records recognizes Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London as the ‘Largest Stone Hindu Mandir Outside India’.
    BAPS volunteers serve after cyclone in Andhra Pradesh.
  • 1997
    Pramukh Swami Maharaj received at St. James’ Palace by HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales.
    BAPS volunteers serve during floods in Gujarat.
  • 1998
    7 July
    Swamishri undergoes heart bypass surgery, New York, USA.
  • 1999
    Murti-pratishtha of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Nairobi.
    Visit to Israel where Pramukh Swami Maharaj prayed at holy sites for Christians and Jews.
    Meeting with Rabbi Lau and Rabbi Doran Bakshi.
  • 2000
    Pramukh Swami Maharaj addresses the Millennium World Peace Summit of Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations, New York, USA.
  • 2000
    Historic meeting with US President Bill Clinton and Secretary-General of the UN Kofi Annan.
    Cattle camps and relief aid for victims of drought in Saurashtra.
    Inauguration of BAPS Swaminarayan Vidya Mandir for Girls, Karamsad.
    In Dabhoi, opening of general hospital for the underprivileged.
    De-addiction campaign by BAPS children. Over 400,000 de-addicted.
  • 2001
    BAPS serves after earthquake in Gujarat: Emergency aid to 409 villages, infrastructure constructed in 15 villages and colonies; 49 schools built.
    Guinness World Records recognizes Pramukh Swami Maharaj as one of the 20 most influential people of the world.
  • 2004
    50th anniversary of BAPS Bal Mandal celebrated at Swaminarayan Akshardham, Gandhinagar, in the presence of H.E. APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India. 20,000 children attended.
    Pramukh Swami Maharaj receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the USA government.
  • 2005
    6 November (Kartik sud 5, VS 2062)
    Opening of Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi, by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, H.E. President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh and other dignitaries.
    BAPS volunteers serve after tsunami affects Andaman, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry: Emergency aid to 51 villages.
    Release of ‘Mystic India’ large format film.
  • 2006
    BAPS serves during floods in Surat and other parts of Gujarat. Public dedication of two reconstructed tsunami-affected villages: Pattipulamkuppam and Mahabalipuram.
  • 2007
    De-addiction Campaign by BAPS children. 630,000 people pledge to give up addictions.
    Inauguration in Sarangpur of the Youth Training Centre for the all-round development of youths.
    Grand 4-day BAPS Centenary Celebrations, Ahmedabad.
    ‘Guinness World Records’ honour Pramukh Swami Maharaj as having consecrated the most mandirs and declare BAPS Akshardham temple in New Delhi as the largest Hindu temple in the world.
  • 2008
    BAPS Mandir in Neasden, London, wins UK government’s ‘Pride of Place’ Award.
    Assistance to victims of floods in Bihar and Hurricane Ike in USA.
  • 2009
    Relief aid to flood-affected in South Gujarat.
    BAPS Mandir in Neasden, London, wins ‘Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services’.
  • 2010
    Swamishri inaugurates the ‘BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute’, New Delhi.
  • 2011
    ‘Reader’s Digest’ selects Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi as one of ‘The Seven Wonders of the 21st Century’.
    Shilapujan Ceremony for Akshardham in New Jersey, USA.
    BAPS assist victims of ammunitions blast in Tanzania and tsunami-earthquake in Japan.
  • 2012
    Swamishri has pacemaker implant, Ahmedabad.
    Inauguration of BAPS Yogiji Maharaj Hospital in Ahmedabad.
  • 2013
    Over 60,000 youths attend BAPS Youth Activities Diamond Jubilee in Ahmedabad.
    Inauguration of BAPS Shastriji Maharaj Hospital in Vadodara.
  • 2014
    10 August (Shravan sud 15, VS 2070)
    Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs murti-pratishtha of new shikharbaddha BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Robbinsville, NJ, USA.
    15 August
    Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs the Bhumital Pujan ceremony of Swaminarayan Akshardham Mahamandir in Robbinsville, NJ, USA. During the year-long celebrations of Shastriji Maharaj’s 150th Anniversary, 23,000 trees are planted and 572,000cc of blood donated.
  • 2015
    20 June, Sarangpur
    Former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, presents his book ‘Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji’ to Swamishri.
  • 2016
    3 to 13 May 2016
    The centenary celebrations of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Sarangpur, was celebrated in Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s presence.
    On 12 May, Pramukh Swami Maharaj performed the maha-abhishek and 100th patotsav arti of the murtis in the main mandir.
    On 13 May, Pramukh Swami Maharaj blessed the centenary celebrations assembly in Sarangpur.