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Mahant Swami Maharaj initiates 58 BAPS youth into monastic order (VIDEO)

The ceremony began at 8am with the preliminary initiation rituals performed by senior BAPS swamis. Following the rituals, senior BAPS swamis addressed the assembly. Then Mahant Swami Maharaj completed the initiation rituals and blessed the new initiate with a new name.




Pramukh Swami - centenary celebration

New Delhi: His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj initiated 58 BAPS youths into the monastic order in a grand initiation ceremony at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar in Ahmedabad before an audience of tens of thousands on the morning of 10th January, 2023.

The 58 highly educated and devoted youths were ordained as swamis, receiving bhagwati diksha (saffron robes), and embarked on their lifelong path of worldly renunciation, self-realization and service to God and society. Together with the ordination of 46 youths as parshads four days ago, this marks a total of 104 youths from around India and the world receiving ordination from Mahant Swami Maharaj on the occasion of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Centenary Celebrations in Ahmedabad.

Of the 58 youths taking initiation, there are 6 postgraduates, 30 engineers, 19 graduates in other fields, two MBAs and an architect. These youths left the comforts of home and promising careers to eagerly walk on the path of renunciation. The youths have come from around India and the world, including 5 from America, 7 from Maharashtra, and 46 from Gujarat.

The newly initiated monks will continue their rigorous monastic training at the BAPS ashram in Sarangpur (Hanuman), Gujarat, where they lead a life of simplicity and austerity steeped in devotion, service and learning. The seven-year training course helps them become proficient in their personal spiritual endeavours related to worship, service, austerities and learning. The learning curriculum covers a deep study of Swaminarayan Hindu theology, history and literature as well as of the Ramayana, Mahabharat, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures. It also includes a study of languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati and English, and world religions.

The ceremony began at 8am with the preliminary initiation rituals performed by senior BAPS swamis. Following the rituals, senior BAPS swamis addressed the assembly. Then Mahant Swami Maharaj completed the initiation rituals and blessed the new initiate with a new name.

Senior BAPS swami and mahant of Akshardham Gandhinagar, Anandswarupdas Swami, said, “Former President of India Dr Abdul Kalam described in his book Transcendence how in his first meeting with Pramukh Swami Maharaj he felt that divinity was radiating from him. Many youths experienced this divine aura of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and were inspired to become swamis. The type of youths who renounce the comforts of worldly life to become swamis is also remarkable. Of the 1159 swamis in BAPS, there are 10 doctors, 12 MBAs, over 70 with master’s degrees, over 200 engineers, and over 700 graduates. 55 are British citizens, 70 are American citizens, 125 were the only son and 35 were the only child of their parents, such is their and their family’s sacrifice. Mahant Swami Maharaj has initiated 240 individuals who have renounced the ambitions of youth and dedicated their lives to their spiritual progress and service to God and society.”

Pramukh Swami - centenary celebration

Thereafter, Senior BAPS swami Swayamprakashdas Swami (Doctor Swami) said, “Bhagwan Swaminarayan has said, ‘There is no deed greater than devotion to God.’ For this, one must learn worldly sacrifice, which is not only for swamis, but for all. If we understand the rarity of this human birth, then each of us must resolve not to waste our life in addictions, useless media, or frivolities. Like the child-devotee Dhruv, we must cultivate an unwavering resolution to attain God and remove everything from our life that will not help us to attain that. One of the fundamental purposes of celebrating this ‘Festival of Inspirations’ is to be able to practice this knowledge in our day to day lives.”

Finally, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj said, “All these newly ordained youths are great. It is very difficult to dissociate from the world and renounce everything. Many talk of it but cannot put it into action. However, these youths have. I express my heartfelt thanks to their parents as well, because their child is like their own heart, which they have offered joyously to God.

“The newly initiated swamis have now joined the many already here. While your life will be spent in service and offering devotion, all should be extremely firm in their religious observances. Through this you will be protected. You can do this because you are brave beyond measure. Remain steadfast in all your vows and understanding.”

Several new initiates and their family members also shared some of their experiences.

Jitendriyadas Swami, originally from New York who studied construction management and architecture, said, “The other-worldly love and peace that I can experience from Mahant Swami Maharaj is priceless; it cannot be purchased by any amount of money, and so renouncing for him has not been difficult. And now that I am serving God, I have no worries about my family, as they will be well looked after by God himself.”

Keshavchintandas Swami, a graduate in business management systems from Philadelphia, said, “There are thousands of people in the world who have degrees like mine. But the opportunity to serve a guru like Mahant Swami Maharaj is indeed rare and invaluable. And to be ordained at the centenary celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj is a truly momentous and memorable occasion. Receiving diksha from such a pure guru is like receiving new life.”

Gunvaibhavdas Swami, a BE Civil Engineer from Patna, shared, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj have showered me with so much unconditional love and they have done so much for our society and our nation, I feel that we can never repay them fully. It is their selfless life that inspires me to take this path of renunciation, service and devotion.”

Shweta Patel, sister of Gurumaydas Swami from Robbinsville, New Jersey, said, “When my brother was young, he had brought home a sacred image (murti) of ‘Thakorji’. He was very devoted to it, attending to it with deep reverence and adoration. Now, whenever it will be Rakshabandhan, I will tie a rakhi to Thakorji, knowing that my brother is in the service of God. Now that he has become a swami and joined the 1100 other swamis of BAPS, I feel that I have not lost a brother, but gained 1100 brothers instead.”