Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, visited the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto on Sunday, September 26, 2010. The President upon his arrival was greeted in a traditional manner by Pujya Gnanpriya Swami, Head Sadhu of the Mandir, and the Directors of BAPS Canada.
Inside the Mandir, Dr Kalam paid respects to the murtis (sacred images) by offering flowers. Dr. Kalam was happy to learn that the Mandir was an 'eco-friendly' place of worship. After viewing the beautiful wooden carvings in the Haveli, Dr. Kalam entered the main assembly where was welcomed by the large community gathering.
After a traditional welcome ceremony, Dr Kalam enjoyed a wonderful program presented by the BAPS Children's forum. Other dignitaries present at this special welcome assembly included, Consul General of India in Toronto, Mrs. Preeti Saran, Dr. V.I. "Lucky" Lakshmanan, Vice-Chairman & CEO of Process Research ORTECH.
In his address, Dr Kalam expressed his honor to visit the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto. "This is the second time that I am visiting this great place." he said. "I'm also happy to see the wide spectrum of community and spiritual activities which BAPS provides to enhance the human value system that is very important."
Dr. Kalam also remembered the many times that he has had the privilege of meeting and receiving the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. "My experience with Pramukh Swami Maharaj goes back many decades. My first meeting with Pramukh Swami Maharaj was in June 2001, nearly a decade ago. My discussion with Swamiji was on the fusion of science and spirituality and the role it can play in the nation's development." he said.
The President learned about the many humanitarian activities of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He was pleased to learn that BAPS Charities in Canada had recently pledged $100,000 to Toronto's Sick Kids Foundation. Consul General of India, Mrs. Priti Saran presented prizes, to the young girls who had collected the most pledges during the recent BAPS Charities Walkathon.
As Dr. Kalam departed, he personally offered his best wishes to the assembly as the BAPS Children's Chorus sang a prayer for the success of the Presidents mission of seeing India a developed nation by 2020.