On Wednesday, September 18, senior United States Congressman Steny Hoyer honored renowned scholar of Sanskrit and Hindu Philosophy, Bhadreshdas Swami of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sampradaya, in a special ceremony on Capitol Hill and decreed that that his ground-breaking five-volume Sanskrit text, the Swaminarayan Bhashyam: Commentary on the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutras be preserved in the United States Library of Congress.
The Swaminarayan Bhashyam, written by Bhadreshdas Swami, is a classical-style Sanskrit commentary on some of the most prominent scriptures of Hinduism which are revered by almost one billion Hindus worldwide. Throughout the history of Hinduism, great Acharyas such as Adi Shakaracharya and Madhvacharya have established and continued a tradition of writing commentaries on the Prasthantrayi – the ten principal Upanishads, the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutras – to propound their spiritual insights establishing various schools of Hindu philosophy. Continuing this ancient tradition, Bhadreshdas Swami has written a classical commentary on the Prasthantrayi expounding the scriptural insights revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan, and establishing a school of Hindu thought known as Swaminarayan Darshan. Many modern scholars have lauded the Swaminarayan Bhashyam as one of the great contributions to Hinduism and Indian philosophy in the past several centuries. Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. Krishnamurti Shastri says that this “poetic commentary presents new insights into the secrets of Vedanta in comparison to any previous views on the subject.”
Established in 1800, the United States Library of Congress is the national library of the US and the research library of the US Congress. It also has a mission of preserving books of special significance and great value as a form of intellectual wealth for the government and people of the United States of America. On Wednesday, September 18, 2013, House Minority Whip, Congressman Steny Hoyer, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the 535-member body, invited BAPS sadhus to Capitol Hill to take part in a special ceremony to honor Bhadreshdas Swami for his work on the Swaminarayan Bhashyam, and to accept the texts into the US Library of Congress. A letter from International Convener of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, was read out to Congressman Hoyer, explaining the significance of the work and commending him for his promotion of multi-cultural understanding.
After the ceremonial presentation of the Swaminarayan Bhasyam, Congressman Hoyer presented the texts in a separate ceremony to an officer of the Library of Congress. She was very pleased to receive texts of such intellectual and spiritual value and welcomed the texts of ancient Indian wisdom as an important addition to the cultural and intellectual wealth of the national library.
These volumes address the modern needs of religious and social pluralism and harmony along with explaining universal ethical and spiritual values. As Bhadreshdas Swami explained to Congressman Hoyer, “When the rajarshsis (sages of government) and the Brahmarshis (sages of spirituality) come together, the result is the spread of peace in the world.” Congressman Hoyer averred that, “Surely these commentaries written by you will bring peace and blessings to the millions who will read and benefit from them.”