Mahant Swami Maharaj gave 46 BAPS Youths Parshadi Diksha in Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centenary Celebration
Mahant Swami Maharaj initiated 46 BAPS youths into the monastic order in a grand initiation ceremony at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar in Ahmedabad before an audience of tens of thousands from around the world on the morning of 6 January 2023. The 46 highly educated and devoted youths received parshadi dikshaa and embarked on their lifelong path of worldly renunciation, self-realization and service to God and society.
Of the 46 youths taking initiation, there are 4 postgraduates, 22 graduates, 18 engineers, a teacher, a pharmacist, an MBA and an MPH. Having graduated from prestigious Indian and foreign universities like IIM, Rutgers University (USA) and Melbourne University (Australia), these youths left the comforts of home and promising careers to eagerly walk on the path of renunciation. The youths have come from around India and the world, including nine from America, one from Africa, and others from Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Gujarat.
The newly initiated parshads will continue their rigorous training at the BAPS seminary in Sarangpur, Gujarat, where they will lead a life of simplicity and austerity steeped in devotion, service and learning. The seven-year training course helps them become proficient in their personal spiritual endeavours related to worship, service, austerities and learning. The educational curriculum includes a deep study of Swaminarayan Hindu theology, history and literature as well as of the Ramayana, Mahabharat, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures. It also includes a study of languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati and English, and world religions.
The diksha ceremony started at 9 AM with the preliminary initiation rituals performed by Sadguru swamis. Following the rituals, senior BAPS swamis addressed the assembly. Then Mahant Swami Maharaj completed the initiation rituals and blessed each new parshad with a new name.
One of the heads of the BAPS Seminary in Sarangpur, Gnaneshwardas Swami, said, “Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s goal was to redeem countless souls by removing the primordial ignorance of ego, ‘I’ness and My-ness.’ Knowledge and understanding are key to solving problems—personal, social and global. To uplift society, Bhagwan Swaminarayan created a cadre of swamis who did not just preach but connected with each individual to inspire social, moral and spiritual upliftment.
“As the swamis visited thousands of homes in hundreds of villages, society improved and grew prosperous as people were freed from the shackles of addictions and superstitions. Bhagwan Swaminarayan believed in spiritual progress through social progress. The swamis were renunciates who worked for society but remained detached from it, with no selfish motives, striving only to put humanity onto a better path. Their contribution to society was and is immense, as even today they continue to walk this path of improving society.
“Four decades ago, Pramukh Swami Maharaj established a seminary for swamis in Sarangpur. The seminary provides knowledge across a vast range of subjects from religious and cultural studies to music, art and creative studies. This holistic education develops swamis who, while spiritual, remain in touch with contemporary society, enabling the new generation to connect with our timeless principles to guide them onto the right path.”
Then, Swayamprakashdas Swami (Doctor Swami) said, “On the occasion of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Centenary Celebrations, 46 youths are being initiated into the monastic order. The Indian spiritual tradition puts a special emphasis on sacrifice. In the Shrimad Bhagwat, we find the story of Dhruv, who renounced home at the age of 5 and performed austerities to please Vishnu Bhagwan. Even Prince Siddharth, upon seeing sorrow in society decided to leave his palatial home. He performed immense spiritual endeavours, became enlightened, and was renowned as Gautam Buddha. This tradition of sacrifice has continued up to the modern era. In his lifetime, Bhagwan Swaminarayan initiated over 3,000 swamis who possessed the virtues of morality, spiritual wisdom, worldly detachment and devotion. All the youths being initiated into the monastic order today are contributing to the betterment of society. I express my gratitude towards them and their family members.”
Finally, Mahant Swami Maharaj said, “It is only due to the wish of Yogiji Maharaj and the grace of Pramukh Swami Maharaj that these youths took initiation into the monastic order today. In this materialistic world when people are chasing luxuries, these youths are forsaking them to contribute to a larger spiritual cause. Through these youths, the universal message of spirituality espoused by Bhagwan Swaminarayan will spread everywhere. These youths will serve society by inspiring many people to follow the path of morality and spirituality. I pray that all the new initiates inculcate the values of saintliness, achieve a God-realized state and attain ekantik dharma. Upon taking initiation, you are very close to God who is the emperor of countless universes. Therefore, your parents don’t have to worry. I express my immense thanks to the parents of the new initiates. It is easy to surrender money and luxuries but not easy to lovingly offer one’s child. As these parents have done this great service for God and society, I will pray for their peace and happiness.”