The backbone of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’s spiritual and humanitarian activities is its volunteer force: 55,000 volunteers and sadhus. These volunteers and sadhus form a diverse group of professionals and skilled workers that come from different geographical, academic, and social backgrounds, making the most colorful and effective mosaic of leaders and workers.
Sadhus make a lifetime commitment to the altruistic service of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, their guru, and society. They strictly adhere to the five vows prescribed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan: eight-fold celibacy, detachment, humility, and aversion to wealth and taste. Sadhus leave behind their ties to the material world so that they can truly serve selflessly. Their strict vows are not taken due to lack of self control but rather to increase the efficiency and focus with which they aid society. They come from Europe, North America, Africa, India, and eastern Asia. Some of these sadhus have studied at the best educational institutions in the world, and others have worked at the largest corporate conglomerates. These sadhus have left their academic success and promising careers to commit to a life of service.
BAPS Swaminarayan sadhus undergo a rigorous, 7-year training program in Sarangpur, India. Here, they learn philosophy, traditional music, Vedanta, world religions, and several Indian languages. This expansive curriculum prepares them to capably manage and serve society.
The 55,000 volunteers are networked in 3,850 centers around the world. Many have professional careers, and while others have left such positions to serve fulltime, most volunteers continue to balance their social, family, professional, and volunteer roles. Available at a moment’s notice, these volunteers donate close to 15 million hours annually. They offer services through monetary contributions, physical service, strategic planning, and grassroots-level execution.
The selfless service and dedication of these sadhus and volunteers support all of the activities organized by BAPS.