BAPS Family celebrate Pramukh Swami’s life at Sydney Opera House

The major event took place as part of centennial celebrations for the movement's spiritual leader Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

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In the Joy of Others, Love, Serve and Give – these are the ideals that devotees of the BAPS (Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha) Aastha live by. After all, it is the legacy of their cherished Guru, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj (1921-2016).

Thousands of community members and dignitaries joined the global BAPS Parivar (in-person and on-line) at the iconic Sydney Opera House for a spectacular tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj as part of his Shatabdi Mahostav or centennial celebration. Mahant Swami Maharaj, Pramukh Swami’s successor blessed the gathering.

An immersive exhibition in the foyer was followed by an expansive cultural showcase at the Concert Hall, culminating with mahaprasad and a grand fireworks finale at Royal Botanic Gardens.


Pramukh Swami centennial celebrations Sydney
Source: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Swayamprakashdas Swami, fondly referred to as Pujya Doctor Swami travelled from India to preside over the ceremony. A highlight of the evening was the Maha Aarti performed by Doctor Swami and other Sadhus. Among the special guests who addressed the gathering were Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen, Consul General of India Manish Gupta, NSW Corrections Minister Geoff Lee and Victorian Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs & Citizenship Services Craig Ondarchie.

Welcoming the guests to this historic celebration, Praful Jethwa of BAPS Sydney described the profound and far-reaching contributions of Pramukh Swami. “He was a divine individual, living example of great leader and humble servant. Even though he always lived for others, he remained absorbed entirely in God. Which is why thousands of individuals exhibit a zeal for him and sing his praises on his Shatabdi Mahotsav,” he noted.

Pramukh Swami Centennial Celebrations in Sydney
Source: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Acknowledging the ongoing societal contribution of BAPS in Australia, Hon Chris Bowen stated: “We send a message to the world that the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj is celebrated here in Australia and around the world and his teachings are as important here in Australia as they are in any corner of our planet. Pramukh Swami Maharaj does not walk the earth anymore, but his ideas, his thoughts, his teachings, his encouragement, are alive today. This is a special day and let it be remarked around the world, that here in Australia’s most iconic building we marked the 100th anniversary of the life of an iconic man.”

BAPS’ Sydney Opera House event is particularly significant: as part of his spiritual odyssey, the fifth successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan Pramukh Swami had visited the iconic monument back in 1984, heralding a new chapter down under. Befittingly, the newly renovated Concert Hall provided the perfect setting for centenary celebrations as hundreds of performers spanning many age groups wove in and out of the stage in traditional phento, kediyu and chorn.

Source: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

The tastefully curated program flow included Shloka chanting, musical recitals, dance performances as well as a drama on life, work and legacy of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The richly layered sound, light and visual effects and stunning backdrops helped create a surreal atmosphere. As both Ba and Bapa to millions worldwide, Pramukh Swamiji always found time for everyone in the global Parivar, reaching out in person, via phone or through letters .

His inspirational journey and impactful contributions were re-lived by young Nikhil Trivedi as he travels to Australia to forge a new life for himself, finding meaning and purpose in the process through the personal guidance of Swamiji. Like others in the BAPS Aastha, he dedicates himself to pursuit of Dharma, Samskrithi and Seva, devoid of any addictions.
As an altruistic crusader for social upliftment through community outreach, Pramukh Maharaj established numerous welfare projects. Through vivid storytelling and inspiring monologues, the BAPS social vision for inclusive harmonious and egalitarian future was recreated on stage through live performances and tableaus.

Source: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Likewise, Pramukh Swamiji has been instrumental in establishing spiritual and cultural centres through creation of Akshardhams. One such shining example will be the grand BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir and Cultural precinct. Currently under construction in Kemps Creek, this Shikarbaddha Mandir will offer rich insights into ancient treasures of Hindu culture and serve as a lasting reminder of the moral and spiritual teachings of Swaminarayan Sansthan.

The Shatabdi Mahotsav will culminate with a month-long celebration in Gujarat later this year. “Children, youth and adults will pay homage and attempt to mould their lives to abide by Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life lesson – in the joy of others, lies our own,” Jethwa concluded.

Read More: BAPS Research Institute launched in Sydney


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