Pramukh Swami Maharaj (7 December 1921 – 13 August 2016) was the guru and the fifth spiritual successor of Swaminarayan. He was the President or pramukh, of the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a major branch of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, a Hindu denomination.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was born on 7 December 1921, in Gujarat, India. His childhood name was Shantilal. True to his name, he was a man of peace. From a young age, he wanted to perform spiritual austerities in the Himalayas. As a teenager, he got attracted to Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj, Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s third spiritual successor. He renounced the world after finishing his studies at 18 and was initiated by Shastriji Maharaj in 1940. Through his humility, his noble service, his saintliness, and his selfless desire to help everyone, he won everyone’s love.
President of BAPS
Yogiji Maharaj was declared as Shastriji Maharaj’s spiritual successor in 1951 when he passed away. After that, Pramukh Swami served under Yogiji Maharaj’s guidance and blessings. After becoming the spiritual successor of Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj in 1971, he has continued to guide countless people to live spiritual life. As Pramukh Swami Maharaj said, “The joy of others is our own” It’s not only a call to action for humanity but also a reflection of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s humanitarian work.
He’s visited more than 17,000 villages, towns, and cities out of compassion for humanity. He’s built more than 1,100 mandirs around the world, including the renowned Swaminarayan Akshardham complex in New Delhi and Gandhinagar. Keeping culture alive and performing social services are hallmarks of these mandirs and cultural complexes. Regardless of caste or creed, his borderless love has touched the lives of many, young or old, literate or illiterate.
In his selfless love and effort, he has inspired youth to become volunteers for BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, a worldwide spiritual organization. During his lifetime, he initiated 1,000 youth into the swami fold, starting with his first ceremony in 1971. His guidance led these swamis in their service to God and society after they gave up worldly ambitions. One of the best things that have ever happened in this realm was the bicentenary celebrations of Swaminarayan in 1981 and of Gunatitanand Swami in 1985 when 200 and 173 swamis were ordained on the same day. He initiated 68 youths on 14 March 2012 during a ceremony in Sarangpur, Gujarat.
His selfless work has been praised by revered spiritual luminaries, national leaders, and others.
He died on 13 August 2016, in Gujarat, India.13 August 2016, 7 December 1921, Pramukh Swami Maharaj