Former Chief Minister of Gujarat, India, Shri Vijaybhai Rupani, visited the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Los Angeles, CA on February 13, 2022, along with his wife, Smt. Anjaliben Rupani, his son, Rushabhbhai Rupani and his sister-in-law, Smt. Alkaben Bakshi.
Vijaybhai was traditionally welcomed by Pujya Divyacharandas Swami, Head Swami of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Los Angeles.  His wife and family members were similarly welcomed. Vijaybhai Rupani and his family were given a brief tour of the mandir during which they did darshan, performed abhishek of the murti of Shri Neelkanth Varni and admired the art and architecture of the mandir. 

Addressing the weekly satsang assembly Vijaybhai Rupani said, "Previously, Swami Vivekanand came to America and introduced Hinduism to the western world through his speech in Chicago. Years later, through the efforts of HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS Mandirs enlighten people about Hinduism in America and around the globe. Understandably, such an achievement requires arduous effort. Such effort leads to faith and trust from society. Today, because of this tremendous undertaking by HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj and HH Mahant Swami Maharaj, people of the world have been able to experience faith and conviction towards Bhagwan Swaminarayan and BAPS. Indians who live outside of India are consumed with work and have little family time. It brings me joy that these mandirs have become vibrant centers to help youth connect with India, our religion, and our culture."

 

In noting the contributions of BAPS and Pramukh Swami Maharaj to society, Vijaybhai recounted, "Our Gujarat is recognized as Gandhi's Gujarat and as Sardar's Gujarat. Today, because of HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj's efforts, Gujarat has also come to be known as Swaminarayan's Gujarat and as Pramukh Swami's Gujarat. Gujarat has always received timely aid, guidance, and esteemed blessings from HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj during the good times and bad. Whether it be instances of flooding, the earthquake in Kutch, a drought, a charitable need in tribal areas, or matters of social-political concern, through his constant guidance and invaluable blessings, Pramukh Swami has helped Gujarat pull through the most difficult of circumstances."

 

I vividly remember when terrorists entered Akshardham in Gandhinagar. Pramukh Swami Maharaj's guidance allowed peace to prevail. He sent a message and an appeal to the masses to maintain peace. Without that appeal, Gujarat would have witnessed violent riots. 

 

During the earthquake in Kutch, Pramukh Swami Maharaj carried out timely initiatives to aid the victims. I was the chair of the implementation committee. Keshubhai Patel was the Chief Minister. Pramukh Swami Maharaj would call him every evening. What the government could not do, Pramukh Swami resolved to shoulder.

 

This year, we will celebrate the centennial celebrations of HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj in Ahmedabad. As the former Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat, I invite all of you to attend these celebrations. Together, let's celebrate this occasion magnificently. Let's make this celebration a memory of a lifetime. I am delighted to have the opportunity to do darshan of this mandir today. Thank you all."

 

The visit concluded with Vijaybhai and his family offering Pushpanjali (flower tribute) to the sacred image of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in commemoration of the centennial birth celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj taking place this year.


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