De-addiction Day: Celebrating Transformation

24 Dec. 2022, Saturday, Ahmedabad, India

During his lifetime, Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired over 4 million people worldwide to give up addictions. These included entrepreneurs, world leaders, research scientists, farmers, and tribal communities. On ‘De-addiction Day: Celebrating Transformation’, dignitaries paid homage to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s tireless efforts in this area.

In 2007, 28,000 children and youths followed the footsteps of Pramukh Swami Maharaj by personally contacting over 2.1 million people. Of these, 633,000 people pledged to give up addictions, saving 344 crore rupees. Impressed by such a massive de-addiction campaign conducted by BAPS children, President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam invited the youngsters to Rashtrapati Bhavan on 5 July 2007 to congratulate them.

In May 2022, to commemorate Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Centennial Celebrations and India’s Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (75 years of India’s Independence Day), BAPS children once again conducted a large-scale de-addiction campaign. 16,000 BAPS children enthusiastically reached out to and personally met over 1.4 million people. Of these, over 400,000 people pledged to give up their addictions.

At Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar, the exhibition Tod do ye bandhan” (Break free of these bonds) inspires 50,000 people a day to free themselves from the shackles of addictions.

On the occasion of ‘De-addiction Day: Celebrating Transformation’ at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar, dignitaries joined His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj to pay tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s tireless efforts in convincing people to renounce addictions as well as inspiring large-scale de-addiction campaigns that transformed the lives of millions around the world.

Adarshjivandas Swami, the biographer of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, narrated episodes from the life of Pramukh Swami that illustrated his faith in the power of prayer and worship in inspiring people to live an addiction-free life.

BAPS youths then sang the kirtan ‘Kyu Rizega Rama’ accompanied by traditional Indian instruments.

BAPS scholar Anirdeshdas Swami spoke on the exemplary service of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in this sector and hailed him as the ‘De-Addiction Ambassador for the World’. Anirdeshdas Swami said, “Addictions cause immeasurable destruction to one’s body, mind, family and society. Two centuries ago, Bhagwan Swaminarayan began de-addiction campaigns, which Pramukh Swami Maharaj revived on a mass scale. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s noble purpose, selfless personality, tireless efforts and honest means produced extraordinary results. The de-addiction work that hundreds of thousands of people could not do, Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired with his selfless love for humanity.”

An engaging video presentation showed how Pramukh Swami Maharaj transformed countless lives to live a pure and healthy life by giving up addictions.

Padma Shri Dr. Pankaj Shah, Director of the Gujarat Cancer Research Institute, said, “For the last 50 years, my life’s mission has been to stop the spread of cancer. Stopping tobacco usage would reduce cancer incidence by 40%. These addictions not only destroy the consumer but also the whole family – physically and financially.

“I have witnessed Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s initiatives to stop addictions. During summer vacations, BAPS children travelling through society to convince people to renounce addictions have been the most effective I have seen in my entire life. The power of an innocent child to convince adults to throw away their addictions is truly divine. These de-addiction programmes by Pramukh Swami Maharaj are being carried forward by Mahant Swami Maharaj and will have far-reaching effects towards creating a better addiction-free and cancer-free society.”

Dr. Satish Poonia, President of BJP Rajasthan, also shared his views. “The unforgettable lessons I learned through the musicals and exhibitions here are too immense to articulate in words. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has transformed lives and cultivated love for our culture, traditions and values among children and youth. In the age of technology, people have become distanced from nature and spirituality. ‘Swaminarayan’ is the name which brings people back to nature and spirituality. My experience here will inspire me for the rest of my life.”

Other dignitaries present at the event included Mahesh Desai, Managing Director of Meera & Ceiko Pumps, Ashish Dhakan, Managing Director & CEO of Prama HikVision India, and Mehul Patel, Managing Partner & CEO of NewCrest Image.

The evening programme concluded with His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s blessings. “We heard about the transformations of the millions through de-addiction programmes by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He was so pure that he purified all who came into contact with him. Whoever connected with him transformed into a person who started living a clean and pure life. Pramukh Swami Maharaj taught us to live a beautiful life. A short but beautiful life has a strong positive impact on family and society. Identifying your own faults and working towards self-improvement is vital. Do not sully the purity of your soul in your race to acquire money and power. Being poor and pure is an infinitely better way of living. Only see good, do good, and wish good for all.”

De-Addiction Services of BAPS
Inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj

During his lifetime, Bhagwan Swaminarayan inspired 3,000 monks to travel through villages where they counselled people to give up addictions. Pramukh Swami Maharaj continued this movement, ensuring that people led an addiction-free life in India and worldwide. Today, Mahant Swami Maharaj inspires countless to shun the shackles of additions.

On the occasion of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Centennial Celebrations, BAPS children aged 12 to 14 conducted a large-scale de-addiction campaign between 8 and 22 May 2022. 16,000 children personally reached out to over 1.4 million people at their homes, shops, factories, bus stands and many public places during the 15-day campaign. Of these, over 400,000 people pledged to shun their addictions and that they, too, would convince others to give up their addictions.

Over 50,000 BAPS children participated in the de-addiction rallies organized at 100 BAPS centres across India on World No-Tobacco Day on 31 May 2022. During these rallies, the children appealed to all to support social uplift through de-addiction and a healthy lifestyle.

In a public assembly in 1985, Joseph Maturia, Kenyan Minister at the time, had pledged to give up alcohol in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. When he met Pramukh Swami Maharaj again on 12 May 2007 at the BAPS mandir in Nairobi, he said, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj had inspired me to give up alcohol 22 years ago. Since then, I have never had a craving to drink alcohol. He has truly transformed my life for the better.”