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The Inspirer and Present Guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

He has a heart wherein the whole world can live


The present spiritual leader of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS), Pramukh Swami Maharaj, represents a succession of spirituality that began a little over 200 years ago in 1781. The year marked the birth of the founder of the Swaminarayan Faith, Lord Swaminarayan (1781-1830).

Born in the village of Chhapaiya, near Ayodhya, in North India, Lord Swaminarayan renounced home at the age of 11 to embark on a pilgrimage on foot that took him across the length and breadth of India. He received initiation from a Vaishnav Guru, Ramanand Swami, and eventually settled in Western India. He spent the next 30 years of His life in Gujarat and Kathiawad, spearheading a socio-spiritual revolution. With a faithful following of 2000 sadhus, He established the Swaminarayan Sampradaya. He introduced innovative social reforms and undertook charitable work to help the poor and needy. In the tradition of the Bhakti Sampradaya He constructed six grand temples. His work concentrated on promoting personal morality and moulding spiritual character. In His own lifetime, He was worshipped as God by some two million devotees. By the time He passed away at the age of 49 He had earned a reputation as a great socio-religious reformer. The movement He founded emerged as one of the purest forms of Hinduism.

Through His spiritual presence, Lord Swaminarayan continues to provide energy and experience through a succession of God-realised spiritual masters. The first guru in the succession was His choicest devotee, Gunatitanand Swami (1785-1867), the manifestation of Aksharbrahman. He in turn was followed by Bhagatji Maharaj (1829-1897).

After him, Shastriji Maharaj (1865-1951) furthered the teachings by establishing the philosophy of Akshar and Purushottam. In consonance with the teachings of Lord Swaminarayan, Shastriji Maharaj propagated the worship of Lord Swaminarayan as Purushottam and Gunatitanand Swami as Aksharbrahman. He built five glorious temples and established the dual worship of God along with His choicest devotee. He founded the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS) - a socio-spiritual organization in 1907.

The fourth spiritual master was Yogiji Maharaj (1892-1971), whose work spread the message of Lord Swaminarayan overseas to East Africa and England, also planting seeds in the USA. He passed away after placing the oars of the Faith in the hands of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 1971. Under his able leadership and guidance, BAPS has continued to contribute to the peace and harmony of society.

Inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the Sanstha has enjoyed remarkable success in international festivals celebrated in 1981 (Bicentenary Celebrations of Lord Swaminarayan), 1985 (Bicentenary Celebrations of Gunatitanand Swami) and 1992 (Centenary Celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj). The spectacular ‘Cultural Festivals of India’ held in London, 1985 and in New Jersey, 1991 were overwhelmingly successful in conveying the timeless messages from the rich heritage and culture of India.

A whole array of educational, enviromental, medical, social, moral, cultural, spiritual and other humanitarian activities flourish under Swamishri's guidance.

Swamishri himself leads an austere life, without personal gains or comforts. Possessing nothing, wanting nothing, he goes around giving his all. Despite his age, he untiringly travels from tiny tribal huts to modern metropolitan cities all over the world, promoting a virtuous life full of moral and spiritual power. At his tender word, thousands have shed addictions and walked the path of God.

His striking humility, profound wisdom and simplicity have touched many. His love for mankind and respect for all religions is weaving a fabric of cultural unity, interfaith harmony and universal peace.

The sole reason behind his unique success is a deep and fluent communion with God.

Gunatitanand Swami Bhagatji Maharaj Yogiji Maharaj Shastriji Maharaj Pramukh Swami Maharaj Bhagwan Swaminarayan Gunatitanand Swami Bhagatji Maharaj Yogiji Maharaj Shastriji Maharaj Pramukh Swami Maharaj Bhagwan Swaminarayan

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