Pramukh Swami Maharaj honoured on his centennial birth anniversary
Image courtesy: Hindu Matters in Britain
On the occasion of the centennial birth anniversary of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the Westminster City Council on Wednesday, 7 December paid a special tribute to the revered spiritual guru (master).
A plaque was unveiled at Victoria Tower Gardens, in Westminster, Central London, with the message: “In blessed memory of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj (1921-2016). Creator of Neasden Temple. Dedicated to His Selfless Service of Humanity.”
This plaque was installed during a tree-planting ceremony at the Victoria Tower Gardens by the swamis and devotees from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, commonly known as the Neasden Temple.
The location is a huge green space situated at the heart of Westminster among prominent landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, the River Thames, Millbank and Lambeth Bridge, and is one of the several notable memorials in the area.
Girish Patel, a trustee at the Mandir, said, “Trees hold great significance in Hindu culture as an embodiment of goodness and charity. They give more than they take, helping us breathe and flourish. So planting a tree is a fitting way to celebrate the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who embodied goodness and selfless giving. Our heartfelt gratitude to Westminster City Council for their kind gesture.”
The tribute was part of the year-long celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s centennial birth anniversary which have been observed internationally.
On 14 December, an inauguration ceremony of the month-long centennial celebrations attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and distinguished guests, was also held in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
During the ceremony, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak sent a video message extending gratitude to the guru for making immense contributions in the UK.
He said, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj lived by the maxim, ‘In the joy of others lies our own.’ In the UK, he was the inspiration behind our magnificent Neasden Temple, a familiar sight on our London skyline known as much for its service to the local community as it is for its beauty. That dedication to seva is found in all fourteen of the mandirs that Pramukh Swami [Maharaj] inspired across the UK.
“During the pandemic, they [the mandirs] stepped up not only to help the Hindu community but thousands who needed support during that difficult time. Over the past 50 years, these efforts have not gone unrecognised. Roads have been named after Pramukh Swami and our iconic Wembley Stadium arch has been lit up to pay tribute to his service and support for our country.
“So, as you gather to mark Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 100th birth anniversary, let me pay my respect to his enduring memory and the incredible legacy he has passed on. I wish you every success with these anniversary celebrations.”