BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Atlanta
Welcomes Mahant Swami Maharaj



On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, devotees and well-wishers gathered to welcome His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Atlanta, GA. With deep joy and excitement, devotees officially welcomed Mahant Swami Maharaj on his first trip to North America as Guru and President of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, continuing the life work and mission of his guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj following his earthly departure.



Following his arrival, a welcome assembly was held by BAPS community members on June 23, 2017. The welcome assembly marked a special occasion for devotees who had worked together for several months planning for Mahant Swami Maharaj's arrival. In preparation for his arrival, devotees prepared traditional Hindu gifts of honor such as garlands and shawls. Children and youth practiced their talents for the many scheduled programs during his visit and cultivated their knowledge of spiritual texts and devotional songs to memory as an expression of their heartfelt gratitude.



The welcome assembly included US Congressman Rob Woodall, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, and Mr. D.V. Singh, Head of Chancery, Consulate General of India in Atlanta. Also present were leaders of the city of Lilburn: Mr. Bill Johnsa, City Manager, Chief Bruce Hedley, Chief of Police, Mr. Doug Stacks, Director of Planning and Economic Development, and Ms. Nikki Perry, Public Relations Manager as well as leaders of numerous Hindu and non-faith based organizations from the Greater Atlanta area.



The theme of the welcome assembly focused on the presentation of a Hindu Vedic pujan to officially greet Mahant Swami Maharaj. This pujan consisted of the recitation of scriptural shlokas and various offerings. Following this pujan, BAPS youth from throughout the Southeast region performed a traditional swagat dance. The welcome assembly was concluded with blessings from Mahant Swami Maharaj.

“You can tell a lot about a place and its people and you make me swell with pride with this warm greeting. This congregation and its people welcome everyone. Everyone has been invited. That’s not easy to do to reach out and make them feel welcomed. BAPS has done that,” expressed Rob Woodall, U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. Woodall also remembered the life motto of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj (In the joy of others, lies our own) when he mentioned, “While I had never heard the phrase before in my life, I can tell you now with conviction that the joy in these faces is truly found in the joy of others in our community.”



While meeting Mahant Swami Maharaj before the assembly, Woodall shared, “I am in awe internally of thi spiritual fortitude of your volunteers.”

As part of Mahant Swami Maharaj three-month tour across North America, he will visit eight cities in the United States. He will attend numerous celebrations including the ten-year anniversaries of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs in Atlanta, Toronto, and San Jose as well as a Murti Pratishta, a ritual to sanctify the murtis, for abhishekh in Robbinsville, NJ. Special celebration days for children, young adults and women are also planned in each location. Devotees have spent months developing dynamic cultural programs and preparing facilities to support thousands of attendees at each event.



Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s vision continues to be his driving force behind guiding spiritual activities and organizational efforts. Throughout his life, Mahant Swami Maharaj has emphasized the importance of unity as the foundation for families, organizations, and communities. His life communicates the core values of BAPS rooted in mutual understanding, tolerance, respect, and consideration for individuals. During his tour, he aims to continue to inspire devotees throughout North America to live a healthy, balanced life, filled with spirituality, morals, family values, and respect for others.

For more details regarding His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s North America visit, please visit www.baps.org/msm17na  or follow #MahantSwami on social media.




About BAPS

The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace, and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families, and individuals. Through various spiritual and humanitarian activities, BAPS endeavors to develop better citizens of tomorrow with high esteem for their roots and culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit www.baps.org.

About Mahant Swami Maharaj
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. His devout, humble and service-focused life earned him the innermost blessings of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj travels throughout the world inspiring people through his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. His virtuous lifestyle and profound devotion to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and gurus are ideals toward which devotees strive. Mahant Swami Maharaj became the guru and President of BAPS upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.

About Pramukh Swami Maharaj
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. He dedicated his life to the well-being of others, traveling throughout the world to foster love, peace, harmony, righteousness, faith in God, and service to humanity. With genuine care and compassion, he reached out to all members of society irrespective of class, color, or age. Recognized and respected as one of India's greatest spiritual teachers, he lived by and promoted the principle: “In the joy of others, lies our own.”

Pramukh Swami Maharaj initially came to the United States in 1974. From that initial visit through 2014, he visited North America a total of thirteen times with the goal of fostering growth and development of spiritual activities. Before his passing in 2016, he had appointed Mahant Swami Maharaj as his successor and the sixth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.