Pramukh Swami Maharaj


Words: Tushar Desai


“In the joy of others lies our own,
In the progress of others rests our own,
In the good of others, abides our own,
Know this to be the key to peace and happiness.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj

His Holiness the late Pramukh Swami Maharaj impeccably synthesized the ancient spiritual and philosophical values of Hindusim and India with a contemporary focus and relevance on a statistically staggering global scale.

Born into an impoverished but devout Patel family on December 07, 1921, an energetic and bright young child named Shantilal who loved cricket and swimming, unhesitatingly transited into a life of celibacy, non-attachment, non-selfishness, spiritual realization and humanitarianism at the tender age of 18.

Such were his values, dedication, administrative and executive abilities that, still a raw 28 years of age, he was appointed as the “Pramukh” of his sect. Ever since then he has been, and continues to be lovingly and respectfully addressed as “Pramukh Swami”. Turning 50, he became the spiritual head of the BAPS (Bochasanvasi Akshar Purshottam Sangathan) and over the next 45 years, the world witnessed the Techno-Spiritual presentation of enduring Hindu and Indian values and percepts on undeniably magnificent, global scale.

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tejas patel

“Swamiji had a very healthy heart. He was suffering from old age related ailments but he never complained.
It was only during health check ups that he would share them with me when I enquired.”
Dr Tejas Patel
Apex Heart Institute – Heart Hospital In India

In his mortal lifetime, His Holiness Pramukh Swami consecrated over 1,100 Hindu Temples all over the world. The first overseas Temple was consecrated in New York in 1974 and today, North America alone now has 6 Shikharbadda Temples and 70 Hari Temples consecrated by His Holiness. The world’s largest Hindu Temple outside India, at Neasden, London, as well as the world’s largest Hindu Temple, the Akshardham Temple at New Delhi, bear tribute to the sheer scale of His Holiness’s Vision, Planning and Execution.

His Holiness led and inspired many Disaster Relief Services, with his followers continuing to shower their generosity for those less fortunate, setting up numerous Hospitals, Schools and Residences. His Holiness set a personal example of selflessness and humility by carrying out varied menial jobs related to community service, including sweeping and cleaning premises, washing utensils and so on, rather than resting on the adulation, love and respect that he received from millions of followers and devotees.

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pramukh swami and shri hari

As soon as news were made public, dignitaries across the country, including Sri Sri Ravishankarji, Shri Morari Bapu, Shri Ramdevji Maharaj, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Shri Amit Shah, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Shri Rahul Gandhi, Shri Arun Jaitley, Smt. Anandiben Patel and others expressed grief, pain and condolences. They paid homage to the exemplary work done by Swamishri. Several followers from across the globe chartered flights to India to pay their last homages.

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Tushar enjoys watching the grass grow and leaning against the wall to keep it from keeling over. His Soul resonates to the Cosmic timescale of Zillions of Light Years and is baffled by those who are tuned into microseconds of existence. He may one day finally, get around to replying to email addressed to


Take the instance of “Ahimsa” (non-violence): after the savage and brutal attack by terrorists on the Akshardham Temple at Gandhinagar in 2002, he tirelessly endeavoured to preserve communal, social and national harmony and unity; so much so that the Commander of the National Security Guard, the elite commandos of the Nation asserted: “What the Pramukh Swami did was unbelievable.

He pieced Society back together.” (Ajay Umat, Akshardham Ideal Terror Response, The Times of India, September 28, 2011).

His Holiness never projected supremacy, his astounding accomplishments on the material plane notwithstanding. More admirably, His Holiness never even propagated his religious beliefs; quite to the contrary he believed and stated that:

“A Hindu should become a better Hindu, a Jew should become a better Jew, a Christian should become a better Christian, and 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.”

Small wonder then, that His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj is considered by his followers and devotees to be “the perfect servant of God, totally filled with God and therefore worthy of reverence and worship.”

He had been suffering from a chest infection in his last days from which he was gradually recovering. However, due to his longstanding heart problems, he breathed his last on 13 August 2016, at 6 pm at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Salangpur, Botad district, Gujarat, India.

The world experiences a physical loss with his mortal passing, but humanity is fortified by his Life, his Thoughts, his Teachings, his Acts and his all too brief sojourn on Earth.