In this world where life revolves around materialistic pursuits, dozens of organizations came together to celebrate “In the Joy of Others,” Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life motto of selfless service, at the Festival of Inspirations in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
Pujya Gnanvatsaldas Swami initiated the evening, emphasizing the profound meaning behind the motto, showcased by Pramukh Swami Maharaj and carried forward by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. He reminded everyone that true service occurs not to earn money but rather to earn punya, the merits of one’s actions. When done selflessly, community service is one of the principle aims of human life that enriches us personally to an extent described at the highest levels in the Hindu scriptures. By looking at the lives of Pramukh Swami and Mahant Swami Maharaj, we learn many aspects of selfless service and begin to understand the thought process and emotions by which they serve others. Recalling that Pramukh Swami had inaugurated Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi in 2005 out of devotion to God and so that millions could live better lives with virtues and values, these same sentiments were echoed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj just a few days prior about the Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey. When engaging in community service, much can be learned by our gurus, such as: it should be without jealousy or competition, nor obligation to society, the moral responsibility of every human being on this earth that we must give back to the community some part of ourselves, to enrich ourselves and others, and working with professional perfection, with the end result in mind. We learn this from extraordinary personalities who work from their hearts rather than their heads. The greatest contribution we can ever give to society is a pure and spotless character for oneself and to cultivate that in others.
Through the work of countless community service organizations, the collective purpose of keeping the Indian legacy alive in faraway lands has been carried on through the decades that live this purpose through their service. Organizations centered around culture and traditions maintain the foundation of Indian culture and heritage for future generations. Service and charity organizations focus on making others a priority through their financial support and other services. Institutions of teaching and education have provided invaluable service through the continued transmission of knowledge and values from one generation to the next, as well as financially supporting education initiatives across the globe. Finally, some organizations strengthen unity and harmony amongst all by building networks and sharing resources, demonstrating how each community can maintain its own personal identity by accepting and imbibing the best of what America has to offer all of us. All of the organizations and guests present at this program represent and live Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life motto of “In the joy of others, lies our own.”
It was an honor to invite several such representatives to speak on behalf of their organization. Mr. Anurag Kumar, President of Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America paid homage to the shared goals of this evening’s program. He expressed the positive impact of having all great organizations with a common purpose together in the United States. Mr. Syam Kosigi, Vice President of Seva International USA spoke on the powerful impact of partnerships and working together. “It is not possible to achieve great heights in seva without the help of our partner organizations.” He also insightfully shared that serving humanity is serving divinity. Mr. Rajiv Shrivastav, a volunteer at Hindi USA, recalled a poignant quote - “when you bring community services, it is the beginning. Living with the community is progress. And working with all community organizations is a success.” President of Share and Care Foundation, Mr. Saumil Parikh, reflected that “our children need us to create a bridge to our motherland India. The best way is to create a bridge of service, seva. With service, we create these possibilities for others.” Mr. Mahendra Jani, President of Vivekananda Vidyapith conveyed that moral and spiritual development helps one face crises, and there are many advantages of character-building education given to the children. Finally, Mr. Shrikanth Datta, a member of the Shri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Gita Foundation, summed up the evening’s sentiments quite eloquently when he said “Bhagwan Shri Krishna says whatever you see which is powerful and magnificent, understand that to be a splendor of mine. We are witnessing the glory of our sanatan dharma, the glory of the Bhagwan, and the powerful vision of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in the form of Akshardham. Take this as a valuable treasure for generations; this is a temple built by volunteers.” The program concluded by witnessing lived personal experiences of “In the joy of others lies our own” through these organizations and how Pramukh Swami Maharaj helped in times of need.
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj expressed gratitude to the service organizations present and emphasized unity and cooperation. He believes that by embracing unity, as seen in the creation of Akshardham, we build stronger communities where everyone is welcomed.