the Akshar Purushottam
Sanstha has expanded into an
international organisation. With
centres all over the world and
over 550 sadhus, it is a firmly
established Faith in todays
society. Its activities range from
building a traditional seven-spired
temple in London to teaching the
backward classes of Gujarat
to read and write.
However, with the growth of any
organisation there are always a
few people who are curious
about the objectives of the new
Sanstha. For example,
Why do you spend so much
money in celebrating big
festivals?, Are you not
damaging the future of the country
by initiating young graduates as
sadhus?, Is the Swaminarayan
Sanstha a part of Hinduism?
Such questions are put to
Swamishri by reporters, sceptics
and even detractors of the
Sanstha and its activities.
Whatever their motives may be,
these questions give us a clear
picture of this Sanstha and its
objectives; for todays
society and for the future.
as President (Pramukh) and spiritual master, is the person to answer
such queries. For it is through his efforts that the Sanstha has become
what it is today. In fact, it is fair to say that Pramukh Swami is
|1985. During the Aksharbrahman
Gunatitanand Swami Bicentenrary Celebrations - an interview for the
Sansthas records department...
Anandswarup Swami : People benefit in many different ways from festivals.
But in your opinion what is the greatest benefit?
Swamishri : Through festivals peoples faith in dharma increases,
they imbibe good qualities and receive inspiration to lead better
Secondly, from the Sampradayas point of view, the devotees
are given an opportunity to do seva through which their soul is
strengthened and thus their bhakti becomes more intense too.
And thirdly, what is the greatest benefit in the eyes of the Akshar
Purushottam Sanstha? Shriji Maharaj brought Gunatitanand Swami with
Him from Akshardham. However, during Gunatitanand Swamis lifetime
people did not realise his true glory. However, Bhagatji Maharaj
and Shastriji Maharaj revealed his greatness as Akshar - Gods
eternal abode; only then did people begin to realise who he really
was. It is Shriji Maharajs wish that this knowledge spreads
throughout the whole world and that millions understand this philosophy.
Through this festival, millions from here and abroad have come to
know of this knowledge. This is the greatest benefit of all!
What is your message to the devotees and volunteers?
Swamishri : We are glad that we have been able to celebrate the
Bicentenary Celebrations of Gunatitanand Swami successfully. Gunatitanand
Swami came here to teach a principle - to become Aksharrup
and attach ourselves with Purushottam. All that remains for
us to do is to make this firm in our lives and then spread this
message everywhere. Happiness and joy in this life is attained by
becoming Aksharrup - we should have such a firm conviction that
I am not the body, I am the atma. So now we have to
imbibe this message and practice it in our daily lives. Because
we believe ourselves to be the body our intentions and emotions
are forever changing. But now we should keep one intention, we should
keep unity and we should keep one aim.
Our work should continue. We should develop a greater feeling of
love and compassion for each other and a sense of togetherness.
We have to put aside our own personal ambitions and work in such
a way that the Akshar Purushottam philosophy flourishes. And that
Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj become pleased with us.
We are often misled by our own assumptions, but remember Swami only
wants to make us Brahmarup. When can we be said to be Brahmarup?
When we let go of our own preconceptions and beliefs. We should
do whatever the guru says, and imbibe whatever message he gives
us. We have to progress together. We have to work in such a way
that everyone feels that they want to be a part of it and that no
one becomes disillusioned. We should try to encourage others.
In the future, along with seva, may our enthusiasm increase but
never decrease. May we never break our bonds with each other. We
should in the future come together and do as much seva as possible,
and spread the worship of Akshar Purushottam. In the main, our spiritual
understanding and faith in Lord Swaminarayan should not lessen or
change. And a life that pleases God should be built.
Today, youths are not interested in dharma and religion.
However, in this Sanstha there are many youths who are giving seva
here. What is the reason behind this?
Swamishri : There is only one reason. In this Sanstha there have
lived such Saintly individuals as Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj.
They made many sacrifices for this Sanstha. Just as people are ready
to sacrifice everything for the chance to go abroad. Very few men
can dedicate their lives to God. They had no selfish motives, they
were ready to give everything for God. Because of them, people today
are inspired to do such good deeds and give such seva.
Materialism is increasing with leaps and bounds. In light
of this, what does the future hold for this Sanstha?
Swamishri : Materialism may be increasing, but what has always been
the truth will remain to be the truth. At present, it seems that
dharma is declining but in the end people will realise that science
has not been advantageous to us; that it has only brought us closer
to our destruction (referring to nuclear weapons). Then they will
turn back and revert to dharma. So there is no reason for us to
This Sanstha has a bright future because Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji
Maharaj have laid such solid foundations. Because their lives were
so pure and detached from the world, young sadhus and youths have
been inspired to come forward and join this mission. So the future
will always be bright. Basically our foundations are morals and
upasana. These are firm in our Sanstha. The gurus life will
always be a constant source of inspiration. So there will be no
(28 October 1985, Amdavad)