During his visit to Gujarat,
the President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam visited Pramukh Swami
Maharaj at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir on Shahibaug road, Amdavad.
The President delayed his visit to Bhuj to make time for this meeting
with Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The President was welcomed and garlanded
at the main gate by Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and Pujya Viveksagar Swami.
A red carpet was carried out for the President and his route was lined
by young children showering flowers to welcome him. Hundreds of devotees
lined his route to greet him with applause and cheers. Despite the large
number of people, the President was pleased by their discipline and
the efficient crowd management by the BAPS volunteers.
As the President entered the meeting
hall, sadhus chanted the 'Shanti Path'. Pramukh Swami Maharaj warmly
welcomed the President by Garlanding him. The Chief Minister of Gujarat
Shri Narendrabhai Modi, Shri Vadibhai Patel, Secretary Shri Y.S. Rajan,
Secretary Shri Sheridan and other dignitaries accompanying the President
were also garlanded. Pramukh Swami Maharaj said to the President, "It
is a great pleasure for us that you have come to such a pious place
as the Mandir, especially during this holy month of Shravan."
Replying, the President said, "After
becoming President I had it in my mind to meet you and seek your guidance.
Today I have this opportunity."
Then the President asked, "Unity
of thought is important for our country. How can this unity be attained?
This unity is the foundation for the country's progress. Swamiji, spiritual
organizations like your Swaminarayan Sanstha have a great effect on
the people and they can bring about this unity. I had a thought in my
mind that this great region of Gujarat, on which great peace icons such
as Mahatma Gandhi, who talked of peace, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who
unified the kingdoms of India, Vikram Sarabhai, who made such great
scientific and technological discoveries, and spiritual organizations
like your Swaminarayan Sanstha can come together and create unity throughout
Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj replied,
"What you say is very valid. There is a great need for unity and
cooperation. What you have said about Gandhiji, Sardar and spiritual
organizations is at the heart of our Indian Culture. Our Indian tradition
teaches us that we are all the children of God and we should live together
and work for the progress of the country.
"In the current situation, spirituality
and belief in God in people's lives is decreasing and as a result differences
are surfacing, thus resulting in many problems. But, we believe that
if we remain united, the country can truly progress. Such feelings are
indeed great. If there is enmity between the people, of what benefit
is it? On a spiritual level, God resides in everyone. And if we see
God in every one then towards whom do we direct our enmity? With whom
will we fight? Our Guru, Yogiji Maharaj, used to give this same message
that we should live with unity and cooperation. Our work is done only
through unity. He often told the story of a king who once called his
soldiers and told them, 'Break this bundle of arrows.' Nobody was able
to do so. Then the king took one arrow and gave it to the weakest person,
who was able to effortlessly break the arrow. Similarly, if we have
unity nobody can break us. We need such unity and cooperation throughout
In response the President said, "Yes
Swamiji, let us work together."
After some general discussions, Swamishri blessed the President, "God
has placed you on this high position in India. You merit this honour.
May God do great deeds through you. You have faith in God and study
the Gita and Bhagvat. You have noble intentions for the progress of
India and desire that there is unity everywhere and no disputes remain.
This is a great traditional Indian sentiment. Through you God will inspire
all. We will also pray that through you all differences are resolved.
Other leaders of this country also share your feelings, so this task
will definitely be achieved. And we will pray to God that all are inspired
President Kalam said, "I will
try my best to be of service to the country."
As the President was departing Swamishri
said, "It is good that you have come to Gujarat. May the difficulties
be resolved by you, may there be peace everywhere and may all be inspired."
Returning to his car, the President's
route was lined by a large number of devotees. Seeing them, the President
said, "A true spiritual leader can inspire spontaneous joy. Pramukh
Swami has the purity and energy to reach every heart."
The President was inspired and delighted
by this 22-minute meeting with Pramukh Swami Maharaj.