Seva Day: Celebrating Selfless Service
28 Dec. 2022, Wednesday, Ahmedabad, India
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and several dignitaries paid homage to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s selfless service to millions around the world as tens of thousands gathered to commemorate ‘Seva Day: Celebrating Selfless Service’ at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar on 28 December 2022.
A glimpse into Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s relief work:
Gujarat Drought of 1987
- Operated cattle camps for 8 to 12 months
- Saved the lives of more than 10,000 cattle
- Over 3 months between March and May 1988:
- Buttermilk distributed to over 12,757,000 people across 195 towns
- 223,800 kg of food grains disturbed across 13 districts
- 31,295,000 kg of hay distributed
- 18,000 kg of sukhadi sweets distributed
- Education assistance provided by distributing books and waiving fees at Gondal Gurukul
Bhuj Earthquake of 2001
- 40,000 meals served daily for 45 consecutive days; 1.8 million meals served in disaster-affected areas
- Construction and rehabilitation of 15 adopted villages, including a total of 4,190 homes constructed
- Re-construction of 49 destroyed schools benefiting more than 15,000 students
- Supplies freely distributed to 91,000 disaster-affected victims
- Relief materials provided to 409 villages
- 2,500 people helped with employment
COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020-21
- Over 180,000 PPE kits distributed
- Over 200,000 villagers treated through mobile clinics
- Over 250 hospitals supported at various levels in India and abroad
- Over 1,000 hospital beds donated
- Over 5,000 litres sanitising solution donated
- Over 3,000,000 people benefited physically, mentally and spiritually from specially created online satsang platforms
- Over 256,000 people provided with comfort and guidance through phone calls
- Over 11,000 volunteers served at various levels in this relief work
- Cryogenic tanks with 132 metric tons of liquid oxygen provided
- Oxygen cylinders containing a total of over 7.8 million litres of oxygen distributed
- Over 1,300 oxygen concentrators distributed at multiple areas
In an assembly of tens of thousands at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar on 28 December, several leaders and dignitaries joined His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj to pay tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s tireless and selfless services to society around the world. Pramukh Swami personified his own universal teaching, ‘In the joy of others lies our own’.
Adarshjivandas Swami, the biographer of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, narrated episodes from the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in his series ‘Pramukh Charitam’.
A video presentation visually depicted Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s selfless, compassionate works both in India and abroad.
Many dignitaries joined His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj to pay tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s divine and selfless life.
Renowned director and producer Arvind Babbal shared, “In my first encounter with Mahant Swami Maharaj, I felt as if I was in the presence of my father. The loving way he held my hand was such that I did not need to say a single word. It was a profound moment that I will cherish as long as I live.”
Dr. Afroz Ahmad, Member of the National Green Tribunal of India, said, “I was with the Narmada Control Authority for thirty years, and this was a big challenge for me as there was vehement opposition to allowing Narmada to enter Gujarat. I was stressed as to the outcome because politically and legally there was massive opposition – not just nationally, but internationally. When I came to Gujarat, I was told to meet Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Every hurdle we faced was solved through Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s blessings. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s words have led to the upliftment of society, helping eradicate poverty and further democracy. He blessed me that I would be a judge one day and today I am pleased to state that I have been appointed a judge at the National Green Tribunal.”
P.K. Laheri (IAS), Former Chief Secretary of Government of Gujarat, added, “For over forty years, I have had many opportunities to meet, travel with and learn from Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Words fall short of describing his true greatness. The key thing that touched me from his life was that in all situations, he calmly accepted God’s will and saw himself only as God’s instrument. His heights of spirituality were such that despite fully engaging in solving the problems of the hundreds of thousands of people who came to him, he was ever calm and blissful because he was absorbed in God.
“He devoted himself to accomplishing the Narmada Dam project. He would proactively help in the coordination work and on other fronts. The deaddiction campaigns he inspired were another exemplary social contribution of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He always looked to uplift others during the course of his entire life.”
Sudhanshu Trivedi, Member of Parliament and Senior National Spokesperson for BJP, shared his sentiments. “Tulsidas has said that the hardest thing to do is serve with the purest intentions, but serving like this was natural for Pramukh Swami Maharaj. I feel that his ideals of service, his pure thoughts and sentiments are still alive. Pramukh Swami Maharaj had immense compassion for all of society, and so he worked his entire life to nurture family unity. His inspiration to countless people led them to live with love with their family, which was not just beneficial for the family but for the prosperity of the nation. Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired the entire world to imbibe Hindu values and perform selfless service. I am confident that due to his inspiration, India will rise in the 21st century, not to dominate the world, but to motivate the world.”
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Member of Parliament and President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, shared, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar seems to be a dream constructed by the gods. Thousands of people like me take inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but today at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar, I have come to the source of inspiration for great leaders like him.
“Some time ago, upon visiting the seminary for the training of swamis in Sarangpur, I realized that BAPS was fostering a revolution of service, virtues and spirituality. Today, I have seen so many successful professionals who are serving here as volunteers. I saw doctors, CEOs, engineers are offering their service, which is an indication of the messages taught by BAPS in India and across the world. I was impressed by their enthusiasm as well as their discipline and commitment. The art of developing civil societies on the foundation of strong values should be learnt from BAPS.”
In his blessings, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj said, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s entire life was dedicated to the service of others. He did not spend a second of his life devoid of service. He might appear to be sitting calmly, but his thoughts were always focused on how to serve others and help them progress.
“Pramukh Swami Maharaj served with the purest of intentions. He would explain, ‘We must not serve with the expectation of public acclaim, but to do concrete work that positively impacts society. We should not limit our service to our own circle, but we must expand it to encompass everyone, such that our entire life is immersed in service.’ In this way, Pramukh Swami Maharaj served society sincerely and without distinction.
“Pramukh Swami Maharaj saw service as devotion to God and his gurus. This is an element of service that is forgotten. We should serve with the intention to please God, not to gain accolades. Pramukh Swami Maharaj often said, ‘God recognizes our service, so whether others recognize it or not does not matter. We must serve with the firm conviction that God sees our service. We should not just superficially serve to show others. Pramukh Swami Maharaj embodied these ideals of pure and true service, without any thought of public acclaim.”