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Pramukh Swami Maharaj of BAPS: Compassion for all

Pramukh Swami Maharaj saw God in all he met – showed this through his actions

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Observe the ocean superficially or from afar, and you will not be able to appreciate it fully. But take a deep dive to experience its wonders, and you’ll understand its true worth and greatness.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life was similarly deep, like an unfathomable ocean. Only those who dive deep into his life can realise his greatness and universality.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj perceived people of all classes, religions, countries and climes to be equal. He abundantly showered his compassion, love and respect upon all.

Once as Pramukh Swami Maharaj prepared to depart the BAPS Mandir in the village of Bochasan, India, the devotees rushed towards him for a last darshan. But Manibhai of Thasra, who was blind, remained seated where he was. Pramukh Swami Maharaj saw him, went up to him and placed his hand on his head. Surprised, Manibhai asked, “Who is it?”

“It’s Pramukh Swami,” Swamiji replied.

On hearing His Holiness’ voice, Manibhai was deeply moved.

“Oh, Swami,” he exclaimed in a voice choked with emotions. He was so overwhelmed that he could utter no more words. Everyone around understood Manibhai’s heartfelt emotions and realised that Pramukh Swami Maharaj belongs to all.

Yes, everyone felt that Pramukh Swami Maharaj was theirs. He never differentiated between people regarding their caste, colour, religion or wealth. That is why Mamdibhai of Botad, who was fasting in the month of Ramadan, requested for prasad from the hand of Pramukh Swami Maharaj to conclude his fast. Not having any prasad on him at the time, Pramukh Swami Maharaj promised to have some sent to him from the village of Paliyad, where he was headed. He kept his promise, and Mamidbhai was overcome with joy.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj respected everyone, and everyone in turn respected him. He was a ‘samdrashta’.

In 1974, Pramukh Swami Maharaj visited the home of Chandubhai Patel in London. Cjandubha’s neighbour, Mr. Stringer, walked in. While getting acquainted with him, Pramukh Swami Maharaj learnt that his sons had left him. Mr. Stringer was living a solitary and unhappy life. Pramukh Swami Maharaj instructed Chandubhai to look after Mr. Stringer. Then, at Mr. Stringer’s request, Pramukh Swami Maharaj also sanctified his home next door. Ten years later, in 1984, when Pramukh Swami Maharaj was in London again, Mr. Stringer came to the mandir for his darshan. Pramukh Swami Maharaj recognised him instantly and blessed him. Mr. Stringer thanked Pramukh Swami Maharaj because Chandubhai, on his instruction, was still caring for him. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s care and compassion extended to people of all countries and cultures.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj cared as much for the poor as he did for the rich. He respected both the higher class as well as the lower class, poor and rich, and literate and illiterate. Pramukh Swami Maharaj perceived the true form of all beings as the soul. The art of equality could be learnt from him. Pramukh Swami Maharaj once introduced Hira Bharwad, a cowherd serving in Sarangpur mandir in Gujarat, to an affluent devotee, Harshadbhai Rana of Nairobi in Kenya. Pramukh Swami Maharaj had equal respect, honour and love for both.

On another occasion, Pramukh Swami Maharaj said to an assembly of tribals in Pavi near Jetpur in Gujarat, “I see God in you all.” Pramukh Swami Maharaj rarely talked about his own virtues, methods or insights. But his words revealed his perception of equality towards all. He saw God in everyone. To accept a human as a human and to see a human in a human being is humanism. But to see God in a human is divinity. This is the highest perception and state of seeing others with equality.

In Mumbai, a youth once asked Pramukh Swami Maharaj, “How does Bhagwan Swaminarayan talk to you?” Pramukh Swami Maharaj replied explicitly, “The same way you are talking to me.” Pramukh Swami Maharaj was God-realised and that was the essence of his life and work, and the source of his infinite virtues. He harboured no differences or prejudices towards anyone. He not only wished for the good of others, but did his best for them. “I have never ever thought of hurting anyone,” Pramukh Swami Maharaj said famously.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s perception and actions of equality towards all reflect his great, divine personality. His love, care and respect for all will forever remain as a beacon of inspiration for generations to come.

Following in the footsteps of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the present spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, continues the legacy of seeing the Supreme in all human beings.  Through his work own today, many people have been transformed to experience inner peace.

This article series aims to pay tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the BAPS movement in his birth centennial.

To learn more about Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life and work, please visit www.pramukhswami.org

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