The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir at 61 Claireville Drive, Toronto, celebrated the 95th birthday of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj on Sunday December 20, 2015. Devotees and the community came together to commemorate the many years Pramukh Swami Maharaj has dedicated to guiding the lives of individuals all over the world. Their heartfelt prayers were exemplified through the theme of this year’s program, “Shatam Jiva Sharadaha (May you live long)”.
Devotees of all ages came together to prepare for this program. Youth rehearsed for weeks before the festival, practicing devotional songs and traditional dances to share their enthusiasm and love for their guru with the program attendees. They also prepared skits and speeches reminiscing on the influence that Pramukh Swami Maharaj has had on individuals.
“Swamishri’s life is filled with countless incidents of selfless love for individuals and dedication to cultivating spirituality in communities around the world”, said Kishor Patel, a participant in the program. “Today, through this celebration, we tried to relive some of those moments to provide a better appreciation of his continuous spiritual service.”
As part of the celebration, BAPS, through its humanitarian wing BAPS Charities, announced a donation towards a $100,000 commitment to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world. The donation will support the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation’s Billion Dollar Campaign for Personalized Cancer Care which is a multi-faceted, integrated approach towards finding the right treatment, for the right patient, at the right time. Earlier this year, BAPS Charities contributed $30,000 to the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund through UNICEF and most recently, BAPS Charities North America has responded with relief efforts for the Flood Relief Fund in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, which has experienced the heaviest rainfall in over a century.
The celebration united the participants of the program with the audience through celebrating and learning from the exemplary life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Throughout his life, he has traveled to all corners of the world and positively impacted the lives of countless individuals. Even to this day, at the age of 95 and leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, he continues to inspire and advocate for the betterment of individuals, families and communities.
About Pramukh Swami Maharaj:
His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, has inspired millions of people across the world to lead a God-centred, morally pure life. As the present leader of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has traveled extensively, emphasizing the importance of family harmony, community service and spiritual progress. He embodies the essence of Hindu life. His compassion for humanity, universal wisdom and striking simplicity has touched many world religious and national leaders.