As part of the birth centenary celebrations of Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute in South Africa was ceremoniously inaugurated at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Lenasia, South Africa. The inauguration assembly took place in the esteemed presence of Mahamahopadhyay Bhadreshdas Swami, other swamis and learned guests from the world of academia, as well as 600 devotees and well-wishers.
The proceedings began with the traditional Vedic lighting of the inaugural divo, symbolizing the destruction of ignorance by the kindling of knowledge and wisdom.
Thereafter, children from the BAPS Children’s Forum recited shanti (peace) mantras in the traditional Ghanpath format. Then, the children recited verses from the Swaminarayan Siddhant Sudha. To the amazement of all present, children as young as six years old recited these mantras with great fluency and confidence.
Chief guests for the evening included Pujya Swami Vedananda Saraswati of the Sannyas Council of South Africa, and professors from leading universities, including Prof. Anil Sooklal, Prof. Anil Chuturgoon, Prof. Anand Singh, Shri Pradeep Ramlall and others. Each of them commended BAPS and pledged their support in this noble undertaking.
In his keynote address, Mahamahopadhyay Bhadreshdas Swami said that research and enquiry are basic characteristics of Vedic culture and tradition. He cited incidents from the Upanishads which demonstrate the importance of enquiry in order to gain knowledge and experience. He also said that the research institute will provide a forum to gain a deeper understanding of Vedic truths. He urged all to take full advantage of this opportunity to enrich their knowledge and understanding of Hindu Dharma.
Guruhari Param Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj blessed the event with a recorded video message.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute now has chapters across Africa and the world. The institute will facilitate the in-depth study of Hindu shastras, Sanskrit, and the Akshar–Purushottam Upasana.