Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Pramukh Swami Maharaj – A Beacon of Values, Hope & Faith By Chirag Patel

Pramukh Swami MaharajThe land of the great king Bharat, known as Bharat, now widely known as India is a mystical land. Every Indian, from this auspicious land, at our core, we are born with the hint of Sanatan Dharma based faith and spirituality. While the level of intensity varies, mostly, one or another way, we Indians stay connected to our Santana ways of life. One side effect of this life is that many times it is being misinterpreted that only those who are in need, who are miserable and those who cannot fight their battles in this world turn to Spirituality. You will rarely see younger generation engaged in Spiritual way of life, a Sanatan way of life. Those who “Have” things, and believe themselves as “Happy”, forget the true and very essential reason of our original value and faith-based Sanatan way of life, which will allow us ‘Brahmanand’. There is a reason.

But first, we must understand the difference between what we call ‘Happiness’ and what our scriptures describe as ‘Brahmanand’ or ‘Param Anand’. At the bottom most level of this incremental level of happiness is the day-to-day worldly happiness we enjoy through our senses. It is also known as ‘VishayAnand’, but for the sake of simplicity, we will call it ‘Happiness’. At the top, is the happiness in its purest form, which arises from God, is termed as ‘Brahmanand’ or ‘Param Anand’. Let’s pick ‘Param Anand’.  From the day we began to learn, understand, and hence dream, we all want our lives filled with happiness. The meaning of happiness and the means to happiness changes as we grow in this world, but the endeavor remains ongoing till we die.

Kalam meet Pramukh SwamijiMany people live their entire life mimicking what others seem to do and live a happy life, but a few, those who ask questions and those who seek deeper meaning of our human life, search for true happiness that is filled with peace and sense of satisfaction. And that becomes the quality of one’s life, eventually. Those who have embarked on this journey to experience the highest level of happiness, known as ‘Param Anand’, almost every person leans towards a spiritual way of life. They see a need for different perspectives and lenses to see and experience the world. They don’t necessarily give up their prized possessions or comforts of the current materialistic life, but they learn & understand that all those THINGS matter less and less. What matters more and more gets revealed to them through this experience where they experience a much more powerful and satisfying ‘Param Anand’ in life that is lived based on the values and faith.

Now, for them the entire equation of happiness changes. Deep craving of spirituality and the need of faith-based life grows more and more in them. These awakened souls continue to turn towards this value and faith-based life that Spirituality offers.

One such soul was, one of India’s most loved, admired and globally recognized Scientist, President and People’s leader, Dr. A P J Kalam. He was at the top of his game, one may say, in 2001, as a principal scientific adviser of the Government of India. A man of science, who lived his entire life working with Energy, observing the power of it and absorbing the universal effect of it on people, nation and probably himself, as well. He was, undoubtedly, the best in his field in India, and recognized internationally as a man of Science and Principles. Dr. Kalam did not know who Pramukh Swami Maharaj was, until he met him as a result of a very interesting incident that took place in the wake of the Earthquake that struck Bhuj in Gujarat in 2001.

Amitabh Bachchan meets Pramukh Swami MaharajKalam recalls this incident in the book “Transcendence”, which he wrote as a result of his experiences with Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Kalam recalls, “I met Pramukh Swamiji, my ultimate teacher, unwittingly. Fate and my curiosity had drawn me to him. Earlier, as principal scientific advisor to the Government of India, I had visited Bhuj to review the rehabilitation work in the aftermath of the earthquake. There, on 15 March 2001, I met Sadhu Brahmaviharidas, a disciple of Pramukh Swamiji. He asked me a startling question which elicited a spiritual response. He asked: ‘After the detonation of the first atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer remembered the Gita: “Time I am the shatterer of the world”. What came to your mind after you detonated India’s first atomic bomb? I was puzzled by this question, and said, ‘The energy of God does not shatter, it unifies, ‘ to which he replied, ‘Our spiritual leader, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, is a great unifier. He has unified all our energies to regenerate and restore life from the rubble of damage.

I was moved and expressed my desire to meet such a swami. What began as a chance introduction became a divine destiny.

Kalam thought that he was going to meet a Sadhu, Spiritual Head of BAPS. Just like when Narendra was to meet Ramakrishna Paramhansa at the Dakshineswar Mandir, not realizing who was Ramakrishna and not realizing that his life was going to be upgraded, enhanced to a higher level of experience, Dr. Kalam did not anticipate the profound impact this first meeting will have on his life and future. 14 years after this meeting, Kalam writes, Pramukh Swamiji put me in the God Synchronous Orbit.

Kalam saw something different in Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Pramukh Swami Maharaj was Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s fifth spiritual successor. As a true spiritual entity on this earth, Aksharbrahm. He was the president of the BAPS and loved by millions beyond one’s imagination.

Narendra Modi meets Pramukh Swami MaharajKalam called Pramukh Swamiji his “Ultimate Teacher” who put him in God Synchronous orbit in just 14 years of his journey with him. In the book “Transcendence”, Kalam shared the insight he observed. “For many years, since I met Pramukh Swamiji in 2001, I wondered about his vision, his calmness, and the influence he has over hundreds of thousands of his devotees. Finally, I found the answer in the writings of Michio Kaku and Steven Weinberg. I realized that there is a fourth level of consciousness, wherein the consciousness of the self is transcended and becomes cosmic consciousness. When I see the majestic Akshardham temples, I see within them Pramukh Swamiji’s passionate commitment to transcendental values such as beauty, truth, wisdom, justice, charity, fidelity, joy, courage, and honor“. Kalam elaborates, “Expansion of one’s consciousness begins with fundamental Knowledge – understanding of one’s place in the universe, and the interconnectedness of all with the Divine.”

This is the fundamental way Pramukh Swamiji has transpired millions to live Spiritual life right from childhood, that is rooted in VALUES. Our core values help us fight with the corrupt elements of time and maintain a balance in life that allows us to continue our journey towards Param Anand.

With a value-based life, individuals develop stronger morals and character which results in a HOPE for better society. Such a person with a stronger character and moral life, is naturally drawn to do things that are beyond human capabilities. We start feeling the power of the divine that governs this universe, working with us, within us to enhance our life. This divine joy, ‘Param Anand’, sense of satisfaction is different, out of norm. Once cannot express it as just ‘Happiness’ or ‘Fun’, as it is way more than that and way above this plain flavor of Happiness.

This is FAITH & it is built upon the foundation of values and hope. In turn one realizes that it was all along their faith in the words of this Spiritual Beacon, a luminary like Pramukh Swamiji, that allowed them to see their own potential and develop faith in themselves to achieve the impossible. This is what Dr. Kalam saw in Pramukh Swamiji. A beacon of Value, Hope and Faith for our humanity. The spiritual master who leads his pupil to the ultimate ‘Param Anand’ in life.

These awakened souls can now differentiate between the worldly way of life where our life ends but the chase to happiness never ends and the spiritual way of life where one can constantly feel the sense of Param Anand, regardless of whether you have materialistic possessions or not.

Akshardham_Gandhinagar_Gujarat Mandirs built by Pramukh Swamiji, provides the platform for youth activities, seminars and spiritual discourses. The lessons learned here equips us to identify and differentiate between what we can control and what we cannot control. This helps us to put our chase to glory, fame and riches in perspective.

I want to highlight 2 contrast comparisons.

Rafael Badziag, a contributor at CNBC asked 21 self-made billionaires about their biggest regrets—here are the 5 most common ones.

  1.     Not jumping on great opportunities
  2.     Not living in the present
  3.     Not starting soon enough
  4.     Not being bolder
  5.     Not changing fast enough

Grace Bluerock is a social worker in Murfreesboro, TN who has experience working with individuals in community settings as well as in the private practice setting. She is the author ofLive the Life of Your Dreams by Doing Work You Love”. Working in hospice care for six years, she shares 9 regrets expressed by hospice patients that can teach us how to live a better life.  

  1.   They wish they had been more loving to the people who matter the most.
  2.   They wish they had been a better spouse, parent, or child.
  3.   They wish they had not spent so much time working.
  4.   They wish they had taken more risks.
  5.   They wish they had been happier and enjoyed life more.
  6.   They wish they had lived their dream.
  7.   They wish they had taken better care of themselves.
  8.   They wish they had done more for others.
  9.   They wish they had chosen more meaningful work.

Contrast is very evident at the end of life. Quite a stark view on what really matters towards the end of life. When I look around in the life of the most famous, influential, and powerful leaders, the story remains the same.

Aurangzeb, one of the most powerful Mogul who ruled over north India, had dying regrets.

“I came alone, and I went as a stranger. I do not know who I am, nor what I have been doing,” the dying old man confessed to his son in February 1707.”

Blinded by ambition that drove Napoleon to glory, power and riches, the broken little emperor was finally banished to St. Helena by his enemies whereupon he reportedly said, “I have never known six happy days in my life.”

One can argue that these were the emperors of old times, what about the current world we live in. We are all chasing that illusive dream.

Olga Rickards is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach to high achievers.

She shared the insights of her over four decades of studies revealed what even the most successful people regret on their deathbed, and here is the list of some ugly truths that might give you shivers:

 Most dying people regret not the things they did but the things they didn’t do.

  1. They grieve over their dreams that have gone unfulfilled.
  2. They wish they had not worked so hard.
  3. They regret making money at the expense of relationships.
  4. They wish they had taken the time to love more and to express their love.
  5. They regret not staying in touch with friends and not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved.
  6. They wish they had the courage to express their feelings instead of suppressing them.
  7. They wish they had the courage to live a life true to themselves, not the life to fulfill somebody else’s expectations or to prove they are good enough.
  8. Many of them confessed they never really knew themselves or weren’t clear on what they really wanted out of life.
  9. Many of them said they felt as if they hadn’t really lived.
  10. And here is a sobering fact: most dying people regret postponing their happiness to “one day”. Guess what? That day never came!

watershowShe poses the very obvious question though. Olga asks “Why do we invest so much of our limited time, energy, and money into our businesses, but not our own happiness? Well, simply put, most of us just don’t know how to create a happy, fulfilled, truly successful life. When you and I went to school, they taught us a lot of stuff we never use in real life, but they didn’t teach us what happiness and success really are about. Our degrees printed on fancy paper didn’t come with a Happy Life manual; we are left to figure it all out on our own.”

Spirituality helps here to bridge this gap. Pramukh Swamiji’s teaching of value-based life – “Immorality may give you great gains, but a dry piece of bread given with morality will guarantee peace of mind. Do not become lazy and negligent. Fruits obtained without effort do not give peace and joy. Do not be trapped by greed and superstition. Walking through life in consonance with instructions given by God will ensure that we are not met by unhappiness.” helps us see with a different lens.

Greatest advantage of such a Spiritual feeling is that any person on this earth, regardless of age and background, regardless of education and social status, can feel this Param Anand, when they are exposed to such spiritual wonders created by Pramukh Swamiji.

In Akshardham, at Gandhinagar, there is a light and sound water show, called ‘Sat-Chit-Anand Water show’, based on the famous story of ‘Nachiketa’ from our Upanishads. Thousands of visitors enjoy this immersive & enlightening show. Once a family of young children from the USA visited this show. One of their kids was a 9-year boy who enjoyed the show and as a curious kid, asked many questions to satisfy his curiosity to learn how this light and sound with fire in between can co-exist. The chief guide there, Nishithbhai, explained him the details with patience. Then the boy said, “It feels different here. I feel peace”. A powerful experience for such a young mind which may help him guide in his future to aim for true and achievable ‘Param Anand’.

Amitabh Bachchan, who does not need any introduction amongst any Indian, idolized by many and a legend of India. On December 5th, 2010, Amitabh Bachchan visited Gandhinagar Akshardham. After watching this ‘Sat-Chit-Anand Water Show’, he exclaimed “Adbhut, Adbhut, Adbhut“. He met the sadhus and volunteers who set up and operated the show. He also learned about how Pramukh Swamiji inspired this entire show and guided it to finish. Before leaving, he autographed the visitors book, “I have come to Akshardham for darshan many times, but in today’s experience my mind has experienced peace. And I have understood the truth about atma and Paramatma.

After his visit, Shri Bachchan also wrote about his feelings regarding his visit on his daily personal blog :

Amitabh BachchanBut the day ended in another spectacular and amazing moment – a visit to the Akshardham Temple in Gandhi Nagar….The laser imagery on flowing fountains and building images on them with a story tale between Nachiket the son of a Saintly father that banishes him to YamRaj the disciple of Death, was a delight to watch. The deeper meanings of Atma and Parmatma were exquisitely woven into the …

Such a fulfilling experience and then to be able to speak on phone to Pramukh Swami ji, whom I have met on a few occasions, to seek his blessings, was an ideal end to the most, how should I put it, ethereal hours in a day.

Time after time, such experiences have been the triggers for many individuals to push themselves above and beyond our daily lives, and out of seeing worldly monotonous ways of life.

With the help of Pramukh Swamiji’s constant and readily available motherly nurturing in all three human needs- Physical needs, Mental Fights & the experience of power of Atma – they are pushed into what Kalam explains as the fourth level of consciousness.

I will now elaborate on the level four consciousness that I have observed in Pramukh Swamiji. Imagine that you are a two-dimensional being and that a fence has been created around you and what you want. It would appear as a rectangle. The only way to get what you want is by cutting through the fence, and so everything you cut through fences.

If you were suddenly given a three-dimensional consciousness, you would look from above at the two-dimensional rectangle and realize that you could simply reach in and take hold of what you want, and that the rectangle or fence was not an obstacle from this higher perspective. But you are still faced with obstacles and hurdles. It is not that things have been delivered on a platter to Pramukh Swami.

There have been problems, obstacles, resistance, even hostilities – but he never reacted to them. Why? Because he accessed an even higher level of consciousness.

The fourth dimension is a higher dimension of consciousness that comes through the divine connection. We are enveloped in a vast universe of light, consciousness, and love. We can reach upward to the higher parts of our being and access this source of inspiration, creative ideas, energy, wisdom, understanding and spiritual vision.

With a four-dimensional consciousness, we are in touch with our intuition: an infallible source of guidance and wisdom that leads to rightful action, good choices and decisions, harmonious relationships, and a sense of well-being. This is the consciousness that brings us all the resources we need in every moment and is the source of our abundance. Many blessed souls throughout the history of mankind could expand their consciousness into higher dimensions. Pramukh Swamiji is such a blessed soul.

Pramukh Swamiji has become part of the ocean of consciousness. With his blessings, thousands of his devotees have shifted from their old ways of blocking the true manifestation of their destiny. They have stopped trying to figure everything out; they have ceased trying to control and manipulate the universe into giving them what they want and put their aspiration and their trust in Pramukh Swamiji. They no longer think that having what they want is dependent upon someone else’s power or decisions. They no longer measure their progress or success in traditional cultural terms, but instead by their feeling of righteousness. They have realized that if they do not try to control things mentally, the universe will give to them more beautifully than what they could possibly have envisaged. Pramukh Swamiji has taught four generations of people to rise from within–and their rise has been phenomenal.“

What Kalam has observed in his 14 years of experience with Pramukh Swamiji, millions of followers are experiencing for many years. We are celebrating the centennial celebration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj – a beacon of Values, Hope and Faith on this earth who has enhanced all our lives. A grand celebration has been planned on December 10th, at FAU’s Performing Arts Auditorium of the Boca Raton campus. We would love to see you all there. Come and join us in this celebration of our life and culture.

 Param Anand is waiting for you.

About the Author
Chirag Patel is a lifelong volunteer with BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, where he currently helps coordinate all Mahila Pravirti in North America. He is a Software Engineer by education, and is a Product Manager for a Multi-National telecommunications company. He has been an active member of the South Florida community for over 25 years.

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