Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was born in a farmer’s family on 7th December 1921, in the village of Chansad, located near Vadodara. His childhood name was Shantilal. From his childhood, his inclination was to perform spiritual austerities in the Himalayas. However, during his adolescent years, he was attracted to the pure life of Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj, Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s third spiritual successor. After completing his initial studies at the age of 18, he renounced the world and was initiated by Shastriji Maharaj in 1940, and renamed Narayanswarupdas Swami. His striking humility, noble services, saintliness and selfless desire to help all, won him the love of everyone. In 1950, when he was only 28 years old, Shastriji Maharaj appointed him as the president of BAPS. From then on, he affectionately became known as ‘Pramukh Swami’. Yogiji Maharaj declared Pramukh Swami Maharaj to be his spiritual successor and guru of BAPS (Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha), a role he commenced in 1971.
As a President of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj had overseen the growth of BAPS from an organization centered in Gujarat, to one spread around the world, maintaining many Hindu Mandirs and centers outside of India. He built more than 1,100 Hindu temples, including the Swaminarayan Akshardham temples in New Delhi and Gandhinagar. He was believed by his followers to be in constant communion with Swaminarayan, and ontologically, the manifestation of Akshar, the eternal abode of Swaminarayan.
Akshardham Temple or Swaminarayan Akshardham complex is a temple, and a spiritual-cultural campus in New Delhi. Akshardham Temple displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture. 'Akshardham' means the divine abode of God.
The temple, which attracts approximately 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi was constructed by Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and was officially opened on 6th November 2005 by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. It sits near the banks of the Yamuna adjacent to the 2010 Commonwealth Games village in eastern New Delhi. The temple, at the centre of the complex, was built according to the Vastu Shastra and Pancharatra shastra. The complex features an Abhisheka Mandap, Sahaj Anand water show, a thematic garden and three exhibitions namely Sahajanand Darshan (Hall of Values), Neelkanth Darshan (an IMAX film on the early life of Swaminarayan as the teenage yogi, Neelkanth), and Sanskruti Darshan (cultural boat ride).
Set of two Commemorative Stamps (Se-tenant pair) on Akshardham Temple, New Delhi and Pramukh Swami Maharaj was released by Shri Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shri Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat in presence of HH Mahant Swami Maharaj on the occasion of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 96th Janma Jayanti Mahotsav held at Surat on 7th December 2016.