After HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj renounced his mortal body on 13th August, millions of devotees and well-wishers flocked to have his final darshan over the subsequent three days, offering him their heartfelt tributes.
At 11am on Wednesday 17th August, HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s palanquin was carried by sadhus to his residence where senior sadhus performed the panchamrit (a mixture of honey, sugar, milk, yoghurt and ghee) snan ritual. Following this, at about 3pm, he was placed in a palanquin and was taken into the mandir grounds where around 70,000 devotees had assembled for the last rites. Fifteen LED screens were set up to relay the cremation rituals live. The atmosphere in the mandir precincts was solemn and awash with profound devotion.
After 3:45 pm, Swamishri’s palanquin was placed on the funeral pyre, comprising of neatly arranged logs and neem wood. Yogacharya Baba Ramdevji and Shri LK Advani offered their tributes to HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Shri Amit Shah (President of BJP), Shri Vijay Rupani (Chief Minister of Gujarat) and many other social, political and religious luminaries were present during the last rites. Shri Ramdevji Maharaj offered his respects saying, “Aksharbrahman Pramukh Swami Maharaj descended on earth by God’s will and he left by God’s will. He shall continue to enlighten us all by his divine consciousness.”
Hymns singing the glory of Aksharbrahman from the Vedas were recited. The glory of the God-realized sadhu as revealed in the Vachanamrut, Upanishads and Shrimad Bhagwat was sung. Thereafter, everybody joined in the chanting of the Swaminarayan Mahamantra. Sadguru Ishwarcharan Swami extolled the greatness of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and said, “It was Swamishri’s wish to have his final rites performed at this spot to enable him to behold Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj in the main mandir and remain in the divine sight of Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj from the Smruti Mandir.”
Thereafter, the Janmangal Namavali was recited. HH Mahant Swami performed the ritual of applying chandan (sandalwood) on Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s forehead and ghee on his holy feet, followed by arti and mantra pushpanjali. The devotees present and the hundreds of thousands of people viewing the live broadcast on TV watched HH Mahant Swami circumambulate the funeral pyre while holding the bundle of burning straw, ignited from the holy flame brought from the Akshar Deri in Gondal. Following this, senior sadhus also performed circumambulations. Amidst Vedic chantings, HH Mahant Swami set alight the funeral pyre which was met with an eruption of tears and cries from all corners of the assembly. Sadhus and devotees paid their final respects as they walked past the funeral pyre.
To commemorate HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s departure, a 7-day discourse on his life, work and saintliness commenced on Thursday, 18 August in Sarangpur. As a permanent memorial, a 'smaarak' is planned to be set up at the sacred place of his final journey.