National Sant Sammelan: Celebrating Saintliness
25 Dec. 2022, Sunday, Ahmedabad, India
‘National Sant Sammelan’ of Over 250 Mahants and Acharyas
at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar in Ahmedabad
A special convention held in the presence of
over 250 esteemed sadhus, mahants and acharyas from all over India
21 such conventions held across India earlier this year
in honour of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s centenary celebrations
Bhagwan Swaminarayan rejuvenated the monastic heritage during his presence on earth over 240 years ago. He brought about a peaceful transformation in society by inspiring thousands of people to live a spiritually moral life through the more than 3,000 sadhus (Hindu monks) that he had ordained. Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s fifth spiritual successor, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, brought further glory to this sacred sadhu heritage throughout the world.
To pay tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s broad vision, saintliness and genuine respect for sadhus of all sampradayas, a National Sant Convention was held on 25 December as part of the centennial celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in which more than 250 leading swamis, mahants and acharyas from all over India gathered.
The esteemed delegates arrived at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar in the morning, where they were ceremoniously welcomed at the main ‘Sant Dwar’ entrance gate by hundreds of BAPS swamis before being led on a colourful procession through the Nagar.
The convention then commenced in the conference hall amid the chanting of Vedic verses.
Excerpts of Speeches from the National Sant Convention
Viveksagardas Swami, Senior Swami of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha: “I bow down to everyone present in the National Sant Convention on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. This spiritual confluence of so many revered sadhus from different sampradayas feels like the Kumbh Mela. We may be sadhus of different sampradays, but our root is one. For decades, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has always held sadhus from any sampradaya in the highest esteem. In 1981, during the bicentennial anniversary celebrations of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, he convened around 3,000 sadhus from all over India to offer his respects. Everyone has also had great respect for Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s saintly life and work for Sanatan Hindu Dharma. Just as Swami Vivekanand introduced Hinduism to the West at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Pramukh Swami Maharaj spread Hindu culture across the world by building more than 1,200 mandirs.”
Pujyapad Parmatmanand Ji Maharaj, President of Bharatiya Acharya Sabha: “I firstly bow to the globally revered Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The land of Gujarat is incredibly sanctified as many sadhus have blessed it with their holy feet. The very breath of any religious organisation is its sadhus and the saintliness they uphold. Pramukh Swami Maharaj nurtured an order of sadhus who uphold the utmost saintliness. In spite of years of challenges, Hindu culture has been preserved because it is being protected by God himself as well as the sadhus who have gathered here today.”
Ravindra Puri Maharaj, President of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad: “I bow to Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who was a divine person. Throughout his life, Pramukh Swami Maharaj propagated Hindu culture to every corner of the world. Everybody now bows on seeing sadhus in saffron robes. Thus we are all indebted to Pramukh Swami Maharaj for increasing the pride of sadhus in our community.”
Krushnamuni Maharaj: “Many sadhus have contributed in making the Indian culture universal. It is the duty of the sadhus to continue building society through our way of life and our work just as Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired countless with his saintliness.
Gnandevsinhji Maharaj, Chairman of Nirmal Akhada: “I bow to all the sadhus of all sampradays in India, as well as to Pramukh Swami Maharaj and all the swamis of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. It is only due to the grace of Pramukh Swami Maharaj that we are able to be in the presence of all these sadhus of India at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar. Pramukh Swami Maharaj made all in his company spiritually immortal. He embodied a sadhu with the highest form of compassion and lived as a true servant of humanity.”
Acharya Shri Avichal Das Ji Maharajshri: “Anyone who wants to understand the role of a sadhu should look towards Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He was the best example. The Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar we see today is a result of the tireless work and meticulous planning of the sadhus. There are many religious sampradayas in India, and each needs a legacy to continue. True to this, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has nurtured an order of more than 1,000 sadhus. It is easy to preach on religious teachings, but only the sadhu who has renounced his home and family in the true sense can uplift society. This spirit of service and dedication is particularly apparent at this Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar.”
Atal Peethadheeshwar Swami Vishwatmanand Saraswati: “It is a matter of pride that we are all present at Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s centenary celebrations. India is a land of saints, ascetics and sages, and it is a matter of great fortune for us all that a great personality like Pramukh Swami Maharaj manifested here. Anyone who comes to Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar will become more familiar with Hindu culture.”
Shri Shri Acharya Balkanand Ji Maharaj: “All sadhus and volunteers have immersed themselves in Pramukh Swami Maharaj as they serve at this Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar. Those who seek refuge of Pramukh Swami Maharaj will experience that all their sorrows and pains disappear. Even though Pramukh Swami Maharaj is not physically here today, his presence will remain alive for eternity.”
Jagadguru Shri Dharacharya Ji Maharaj: “Today one can see the forms of dharma (righteousness), gnan (knowledge), vairagya (worldly detachment) and bhakti (devotion) at this most sacred Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar. Pramukh Swami Maharaj would have been overjoyed to see all the sadhus here today. Bhagwan Swaminarayan infused divinity into the blessed land of Gujarat and liberated those in his association. Pramukh Swami Maharaj upheld the principal duty of a true sadhu to connect all swamis and devotees to God. Hindu culture and heritage will remain alive through sadhus like Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”
Ramanandacharya Ji Maharaj: “Today, in BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, one can witness the devotion and dedication of young sadhus. Only here can they channelise such dedication among youths and spread the message of Sanatan Dharma in different countries.”
Mahamandaleshwar Yatindranand Giri Ji Maharaj: “Pramukh Swami Maharaj was born to spread Sanatan Hindu Dharma across the globe.”
Mahant Shri Devi Prasad Ji Maharaj: “Today I understand how legendary Pramukh Swami Maharaj is when I see so many virtuous sadhus present here to give him a tribute.”
Mahamandaleshwar Bhagwat Swarupdas Ji Maharaj: “It was our great fortune that Pramukh Swami Maharaj had visited our ashram in Haridwar with 250 of his sadhus. Even though we all belong to different sampradayas, our religion and ultimate goal is the same. If we all attach our mind to a sadhu like Pramukh Swami Maharaj, we will undoubtedly attain ultimate liberation.”
Swami Brahmeshanandji Acharya Maharaj (Goa): “Today, the entire world’s expectations are on Hindu values and culture to inspire an ethical lifestyle. The Swaminarayan Sampradaya is spreading the message of eternal Vedic Hindu principles across the world. The Sant Convention that has taken place today at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar will spread the message of Hindu unity to the entire world.”
Jitendranathji Maharaj, Head of Devnath Peeth: “Devotion to God has spread worldwide from Gujarat, and praises of Akshar Purushottam are reverberating in all directions. The swamis of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya are at the forefront of relaying the message of Hindu culture to all corners of the world. I firmly believe that if God wanted to descend on this earth in the form of the Guru, then that would be through Pramukh Swami Maharaj. In my opinion, the Swaminarayan Sampradaya will play a prominent role in making India an exemplar for the countries of the world.”
Maha Mandaleshwar Dilipdasji Maharaj, Mahant of Jagannath Mandir, Ahmedabad: “Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s works for religion and society were so phenomenal that today, on the occasion of his centennial celebrations, Hindu religious leaders from all over India have gathered here.”
Pujyapad Acharya Jeeyar Swami Laxmiprapannaji: “A true swami inspires life-transformation not by impressing people, but by the purity of their life. Pramukh Swami Maharaj was such a swami. I pray that swamis like Pramukh Swami Maharaj are born on this earth again and again.”
Mahant Fuldolviharidasji: “Swamis protect society and the nation, and God is ever-present in a swami like Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”
Maha Mandaleshwar Atmanand Saraswatiji Maharaj: “Through the association of a true guru, one becomes pure. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has created such a society where people live a pure life.”
Pujyapad Chaitanya Shambhu Maharaj: “In my view, Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Centennial Celebration is the largest celebration of the century. If we imbibe the principles of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in our life, we will certainly become virtuous. Mandirs ignite spirituality, and by building over 1,200 mandirs, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has immensely served society. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has fostered family values by inspiring family home assemblies, and he has guided educated youths to tread on the path of God. The colour saffron is not just a symbolic colour for the swami’s robes, but it enkindles Hindu values. Pramukh Swami Maharaj was a confluence of speech, action and spiritual discernment. If we wish to celebrate Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s centenary in its truest sense, we will have to walk on the path shown by him and imbibe his teachings in our life.”
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s Blessings: “I feel really blessed to have the darshan of swamis and mahants from across India all at once. I offer my prostrations to you all, because all of you are greatly serving society.
“I am indebted to you that you have taken out time from your busy schedules to visit the Pramukh Swami Maharaj centenary celebrations. Pramukh Swami Maharaj often said, ‘True religion is that which fosters mutual love.’ Today, as swamis and mahants from so many different sampradayas have gathered together, we see his words becoming a reality. I pray that we are all able to work together to serve society, and that I may forever be the beneficiary of all of your blessings.”
Jagadguru Shankracharya Shri Sadanand Saraswati Maharaj: “I am delighted to be here at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar, and I would like to thank Mahant Swami Maharaj for organising these centenary celebrations. If all of us sadhus and mahants are unified, then we will be able to serve society in the best possible manner.”