His Name is Forever Etched in Time, My Guru, Pramukh Swãmi

A Poetry and Photo Tribute to His Holiness Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj on his 99th Birthday.

Mauktik Dave
Akshar-Purushottam Darshan
8 min readDec 22, 2020


Enu nãm amar thai jãshe, itihãs ma gavãshe, Pramukh Swãmi guru mãrã.
(His name will be etched forever in time and history will sing his name, my guru, Pramukh Swãmi.)

O Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj, your name has already been forever etched in time and history will sing your praises for generations to come. On your 99th birthday, the least we can do is remember you as we sing your praises…

His Holiness Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj (1921–2016) · The 5th Spiritual Successor to Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan · Leader of BAPS from 1971–2016

On May 21, 1950, you received the presidency,
That day, you made a single promise to your guruhari.
Without caring for your physical needs,
You will wholeheartedly uphold and fulfill your duties.
For the next sixty-six years, you did just that,
Sacrifice your physical needs to leave a lasting impact.

Swãmishri, you had a singular, focused vision,
Whatever wishes your gurus had, became your mission.
Yogiji Maharãj said, “Akho brahmãndne rangvu chhe,”
So you built over eleven hundred mandirs to pave the way.

1995 — Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj before the Neasden Temple, the first BAPS traditional mandir outside of India.

Building thirty-four traditional mandirs, outside of India there were eight,
And two Akshardhãm mãhã-mandirs too, which are grand and great.
These traditional mandirs uphold Indian architecture and arts,
It became a surprise to those who didn’t know it was built part by part.
These mandirs have become a hub for sevã, or social service,
Selfless service to society was given a revived purpose.
Not only have these mandirs became central in helping the community,
but in the central shine, house Akshar-Purushottam Maharãjni murti.

Swãminãrãyan Akshardhãm, New Delhi

Yet, your vision was unique, nothing that we could comprehend then,
But now we understand as we are witnessing history again.
In the middle of the Middle-East, a sea of harmony rises,
The Abu Dhabi Hindu Mandir was a vision full of surprises.
In the United States, you decided to wish for something unique,
North America Akshardhãm, a blessing that no one could believe.
Many more accomplishments you have, yet accredit it all to your gurus,
It was only due to their grace,” is what you said and understood.

Artist rendition of the future BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi to be completed in 2022

But another wish of your guru has been fulfilled,
Having educated youth to renounce the world and become spiritually skilled.
From engineers, businessmen and lawyers,
To farmers, the illiterate, and doctors.
You took everyone under your wing,
Becoming their father, friend, teacher — everything.
You did not even have to talk to inspire a thousand youths,
Your pure life was enough for them to accept you as the truth.

A glimpse of the sadhus that Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj had inspired to renounce worldly desires and relations.

But these sãdhus are nothing less of extraordinary,
For they have upheld sanskriti around the world, a role so heavy.
From learning Sanskrit, arts, philosophy, literature, and even world religions,
To meeting dignitaries, offering devotion, and carrying out your vision.
Even inspiring and blessing learned sadhus, like Bhadreshdãs Swãmi, to write
the Swãminãrãyan Bhãshyam to bring the Akshar-Purushottãm Darshan to light.
Yet these sadhus, despite living in the world, developed dharma, gnãn, vairãgya, and bhakti,
To make you rãji, to feel internally blissful and happy.

O Pramukh Swãmi, you have gifted us a legacy of sadhus and mandirs,
May we repay you by continuing your legacy for many more years.

Over a quarter of a million homes, you have traveled to,
But you made a home in millions of hearts, without them having a clue.
Unlike many, traveling to different countries wasn’t your passion,
Rather it was the strength of your devotee’s heartfelt devotion.
Hot or cold, rain or shine,
Dust or fog, day or night.
You did not relax for a moment in your life,
You kept on going to solve your devotee’s plight.

1999 — Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj walking over countless ditches to reach the Mahavir General Hospital in Surat to visit a child who was met with an accident. Read more.

You kept on walking, never stopping to rest,
Noting that each devotee’s request was addressed.
Your compassion, love, and respect knew no bounds,
Traveling to over fifty-two countries and over seventeen thousand towns.

You uplifted many from addictions and vices,
Giving relief and aid when people were in crisis.
Rebuilding communities following floods, droughts, and earthquakes,
Giving hope to those who felt unsure and afraid.
Building cattle camps, hospitals, and schools,
You equipped society with humanitarian tools.
Through BAPS Charities, you gave us different ways to help others,
Locally, nationally, and in communities of one another.

1979 — Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj visiting each house, consoling those who lost family and friends, during the Morbi Disaster. Watch here.

O Pramukh Swãmi, you have sacrificed your feet, traveling for our sake,
May we repay you by living for others, with harmony and unity, never taking a break.

1939 — When trying to emulate the sitting posture of his guru, Shastriji Maharãj (right), instructed young Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj (left) to always fold his hands.

Taking a photo with your guru, his posture you tried to emulate,
But he said to always fold your hands, whatever you do, whatever the date.
Such humility you kept for all ninety-four years,
No matter young or old, dignitaries or volunteers.
Whether it was the middle of the night or middle of the day,
You kept folding your hands, humbly, to always pray.
You would pray for all, regardless of their faith,
“May God do the good to all,” is what you said every day.

1990 — Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj woke up at 2:30 am to pray for those affected by the droughts in India. Read more.

When praised for building the impossible — Delhi Akshardham,
You prayed, saying it was the grace of your gurus — Shãstriji and Yogiji Maharãj.
When the worse could happen— the Gandhinagar Akshardham Attack,
You kept on folding your hands, teaching us how to properly react.
In honor and fame, to insults and pain,
Prayer was always the first step in anything.
This state of equanimity that the Bhagavad Gitã explains,
Is what we want to perfect, but what you already attained.

2002 — Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj in prayer for the victims of the Gandhinagar Akshardham Attack. Read more.

Despite being busy and a grand figure for millions,
Taking the time out for us was your brilliance.
Reading and responding to every letter you received,
No matter how long, you would take the time to carefully read.
Even on your birthday, when the crowd is chanting your name,
You ignored the fame to keep responding to letters filled with pain.
Handwriting over seven hundred thousand responses with love and care,
Regardless of sitting on the ground, in a car, train, plane, or chair.

Regardless of comforts, Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj would continue to respond to letters from devotees.

O Pramukh Swãmi, while in a state of equanimity, you have answered our dilemmas through prayers and letters,
May we repay you by remaining humble, praying, and lending a hand to others.

1983, 1996, 1998, 2008, 2012
You kept on going, even though your heart was compelled.
Regardless of the pain, hardship, or suffering, you faced,
That sweet, pure smile, you always had on your face.
However, seeing or hearing of another person’s plight,
Your heart filled with compassion upon their sight.
Your compassion touched millions, it was known,
you lived by your motto, “In the joy of others, lies our own.”

1998 — Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj, undergoes heart bypass surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

You accepted everyone, regardless of age, religion, or creed,
Only looking at their heart, their character, their virtues, and good deeds.
Respecting all with the utmost honor,
And for you, humility was what made you calmer.
As a father for the world, everyone was your child,
For everyone that came to you, you smiled.
You opened your heart, accepting all that came to you,
But in the end, it was in our hearts that your murti was glued.

Left: 2002 — Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj blessing the 11th President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam in New Delhi. Dr. Kalam would go on to write about this moment in 2015 in his second-to-last book (right), Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji.

O Pramukh Swãmi, you have opened your heart to all,
May we repay you by tolerating discomforts and respecting all, no matter how big or small.

And when you decided to leave on that faithful day,
The world was shaken in so many ways.
No one could comprehend nor grasp your decision,
Yet you seemed peaceful, knowing you fulfilled your guru’s vision.
And your final wish was nothing less of what we thought,
A gesture of your guru bhakti, a gesture for your love for God.
For your guru looking upon you with his grace,
and towards Akshar-Purushottam Maharãj for a final gaze.

2016 — Left: Yagnapurush Smruti Mandir (his guru, Shãstriji Maharãj’s, memorial) · Center: Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj’s Funeral Pyre · Right: BAPS Sarangpur Mandir (where the murtis of Akshar-Purushottam Maharãj are housed)

But you did not leave us alone, for you are Aksharbrahma,
The lineage of Gunãtit gurus must continue on in this satsang.
We have realized that your legacy is not lost, that you are still with us,
Through the mandirs, sadhus, devotees, and memories you have given us.
But your parting gift to us, the greatest gift of all,
Your legacy continues through Mahant Swãmi Maharãj.

1995 — Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj (right) and Mahant Swãmi Maharãj (left) during Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj’s 75th Birthday Celebration.

O Pramukh Swãmi, you have sacrificed so much for our sake,
May we repay you by remaining faithful to your legacy and pleasing Mahant Swami Maharaj every single day.

O Pramukh Swãmi!
Your memories continue to this day,
Your work continues to this day,
Your virtues continue to this day,
Your prayers continue to this day,
Your blessings continue to this day,
Your love continues to this day,
Your legacy continues to this day,
Aksharbrahma continues to this day,

May we say Pramukh Swãmi Maharãjni Jay!
May we say Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj Shatãbdi Mahotsavni Jay!

Enu nãm amar thai jãshe, itihãs ma gavãshe, Pramukh Swãmi guru mãrã.
(His name will be etched forever in time and history will sing his name, my guru, Pramukh Swãmi.)

It would be remiss to put those verbs in the future tense because Pramukh Swãmi Maharãj’s name, as we have seen, has already been etched in the hearts of millions and within the books of history.
Hence, it is more fitting to sing:

Enu nãm amar thai jãy chhe, itihãs ma gavãy chhe, Pramukh Swãmi guru mãrã.
(His name is being etched forever in time and history is singing his name, my guru, Pramukh Swãmi.)

All images belong to BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
This is part of a a series of poems and articles dedicated to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj on the occasion of his Birth Centennial Celebrations in 2021.