Over 2,300 devotees and well-wishers representing various religions, communities and cultures joined many leading dignitaries, including Swami Satyanandji (Secretary, Divine Life Society, South Africa), Mr Ismail Vadi (Gauteng M.E.C. for Roads and Transport), Mr Imtiaz Cajee (activist and nephew of Ahmed Timol, an Apartheid-era freedom fighter), Mr Ashwin Trikamjee (President of the South African Hindu MahaSabha), Mr Naren Singh (Inkhata Freedom Party’s M.P.), Mr Navin Lakha (member of the South African Earthquake Fund), and Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi (Former chairman of BHP Billiton SA and President of SA Chamber of Mines) and others to pay tribute to HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The assembly honored Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life and workthrough videos and speeches.
Tapovatsal Swami spoke of Swamishri as a complete person and role model, and his ability to inspire people from of all walks of life.
Narayancharan Swami personally served Swamishri for over three decades and shared a personal and heartfelt account of Swamishri’s divine personality.
Each of the guest speakers emphasized Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s selflessness, dedication to service and awe-inspiring presence. Mr Ashwin Trikamjee described how his meeting with Swamishri felt like a blessing and how Swamishri’s dedication to his values allowed him to rise beyond the human challenges of power, greed, jealousy and attachment.
Swami Satyanandji recounted his meeting, as a teenager in Durban, with Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and recognized the impact Swamishri had on his choosing to follow a spiritual path. Swami Satyanandji also described the close relation between Swamishri and the late Swami Sahajanandji (Spiritual Head of the Divine Life Society of South Africa), and praised Swamishri’s strict observance of his sadhu vows.
Mr Navin Lakha recalled Swamishri’s dedication and compassionin helping the victims of the earthquake in Maharashtra in 2005.
Mr Naren Singh passed on condolences from Prince Buthelezi (president of the Inkatha Freedom Party) and spoke of Swamishri’srich legacy of spiritual wisdom and guidance, and focus on education.
Mr Imtiaz Cajeewas touched that Swamishri had paid attention to his struggles as a post-apartheid activist and the pain he experienced as he tried to come to terms with the terrible death of his uncle (the esteemed freedom fighter, Ahmed Timol). He explained that it was through interacting with BAPS saints and Swamishri himself that he was able to come to terms with the anger and hatred he felt towards his uncle’s murderers, and thus move on. The most valuable lesson Swamishri had taught him, was the necessity and value of forgiveness.
Pujya Viveksagar Swami, who accompanied Swamishri on his worldwide satsang travels for over 40 years, described his experiences, which revealed Swamishri’s ocean of virtues and especially highlighted Swamishri’s viture of forgiveness following the terrorist attack on Akshardhamin Gandhinagar.
The assembly concluded with mantra pushpanjali, in which everyone paid tribute by offering red rose petals to Swamishri’s murti.