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Param Shakti: BAPS Founder Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 100th Birth Anniversary Celebrated Across North America

Param Shakti: BAPS Founder Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 100th Birth Anniversary Celebrated Across North America

  • The celebrations climaxed with the ‘‘World Is One Family" event at the United Nations in New York.

To celebrate Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 100th birth year, BAPS centers across North America hosted events commemorating his life and his guidance towards ‘Param Shanti’, or everlasting peace. Over 160,000 people, including several lawmakers, attended celebrations to honor the spiritual leader who served the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha for over 65 years, the organization said in a press release.

Ruchira Kamboj, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, delivers keynote address during a celebration at the United Nations in New York, Dec. 7.

“Through his spiritual guidance and leadership, Pramukh Swami Maharaj established the international presence of BAPS with the creation of over 1,100 traditional Hindu mandirs as centers of peace and worship around the world, BAPS said.

The ‘Param Shanti’ programs included “vibrant dance performances, engaging skits and testimonials, as well as archives of historical footage and audio clips of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s travels and interactions with people from all walks of life,” said the press release. “Each portion of the program spoke to one of three qualities — humility, love, and faith — that allowed Pramukh Swami Maharaj to embody ‘Param Shanti’.”

For some attendees and guests, “the program was an introduction to a great soul whose life embodied a plethora of virtues to imbibe in their own lives, for devotees, this was the culmination moment of anticipation, celebrating the life and achievements of their beloved guru,” BAPS said.

Ria Soni, BAPS volunteer and first-year medical student at NYU shares stories from Project Stree during a celebration at the United Nations in New York, Dec. 7.

Recalling the key themes of the event in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams said, “It is now time for us to live the life that he lived. We must be of that level of humility, faith, and love. The lesson he gave us we must pass on to our children. And we must be living examples of how we expect them to be.”

In Toronto, Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered felicitations via video message to the attendees. “Today we are celebrating the rich life of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and everything he did to build and grow BAPS. Throughout his life, His Holiness left a mark in Canada and around the world he spread his lifelong message, ‘In the joy of others, lies our own’.”

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According to the Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif.), “Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s message of love and joy” has inspired BAPS volunteers to partner with her office to serve those in need in the community. “I have always been honored to partner with BAPS and proudly represent the mandir in Congress,” she said at the celebration held at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, CA.

The programs culminated with an event at the United Nations in New York on Dec. 7. Titled ‘The World Is One Family’, “the program honored the work Pramukh Swami Maharaj did to serve humanity and to bring people from different backgrounds together in the spirit of harmony,” BAPS said. Prominent speakers included Ruchira Kamboj, representative for the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, as well as Bawa Jain, Secretary-General for the World Council of Religious Leaders and founder and president of The Centre for Responsible Leadership.

Professor Sejal Sanglani, a BAPS volunteer and Professor of Pediatric Respitory Medicine at Imperial College in London, shares stories from Covid-19 efforts during a celebration at the United Nations in New York, Dec. 7.

Similar celebrations were held in cities around the world on the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia as well as in the Middle East and New Zealand. The final grand celebrations will be hosted in Ahmedabad, as part of a month-long celebration stretching through January 15, 2023. An entire festival site across 600 acres has been prepared and dubbed as ‘Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar.’

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