AN INSPIRATIONAL SPIRITUAL SAGA
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, also known as Swami Keshavjivandasji, serves as the current spiritual leader of BAPS (Bochasanwasi Akshat Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha). With over six decades of dedicated service under the mentorship of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj, he has extensively travelled worldwide to deliver impactful discourses. His insightful teachings have enlightened numerous devotees and inspired them to embrace virtuous, addiction-free lifestyles. An epitome of spiritual wisdom, HH Mahant Swami continues to influence individuals globally through his transformative messages.
“HH MAHANT SWAMI MAHARAJ EXEMPLIFIES LOVE AND HUMILITY IN EVERY BREATH. HE PASSIONATELY ADVOCATES FOR THE VIRTUES OF SERVICE, SAINTLINESS, AND DIVINITY. HIS SERENE SPIRITUALITY AND ENLIGHTENING DISCOURSES SERVE AS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR MANY”
HH Mahant Swami Maharaj serves as the 6th spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and currently holds the revered position of ‘Guru’ within the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. This global socio-spiritual organisation, founded in 1905, champions a vision of strengthening global harmony for building a just, peaceful, and happy world. The crowning jewel of this vision is BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham, an architectural marvel in New Delhi and New Jersey, the USA. BAPS Global Network consists of more than 1100 Hindu temples and 3,850 centres around the world. Guided by the spiritual leader, these temples and cultural complexes serve as the symbols of Indian heritage and culture. These holy shrines also actively engage in community welfare activities.
HH Mahant Swami Maharaj has been an epitome of saintliness for over 90 years. He was born to a Gujarati couple, Dahiben and Manibhai Narayanbhai Patel, on September 13, 1933, in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India. A few days after his birth, he received blessings from Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj, the founder of BAPS, who named him Keshav. His family affectionately called him Vinu.
Vinu’s formative years were spent in Jabalpur, where he completed his 12th grade at Christ Church Boys’ Senior Secondary School. He continued his academic pursuits in his native place, Anand in Gujarat (India), where he enrolled at the College of Agriculture. However, his encounter with His Holiness Yogiji Maharaj in 1951-52 marked a turning point in his life. Impressed by his dedication and attention to detail, Yogiji Maharaj inspired him to embrace the path of renunciation. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, he took “parshad diksha’’ from Yogiji Maharaj in 1957. He was also renamed Vinu Bhagat during the ceremony.
Gradually, his spiritual journey with Yogiji Maharaj gained momentum and he was assigned to oversee daily correspondence and services. In 1961, during the Kalash Mahotsav of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Gadhada, Yogiji Maharaj bestowed Bhagwati Diksha upon 51 educated youths, including Vinu Bhagat, who was then 28 years old. Thereafter, he assumed the title of Swami Keshavjivandas.
Following the Diksha ceremony, Yogiji Maharaj instructed the 51 newly initiated sadhus to pursue Sanskrit studies in Mumbai. Swami Keshavjivandas assumed the role of head (‘mahant’) at Dadar Mandir and earned the title of Mahant Swami over time. After the earthly departure of Yogiji Maharaj in 1971, Mahant Swami dedicated himself completely to Pramukh Swami Maharaj–Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s fifth spiritual successor. After their first meeting in 1951, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj immersed himself in the saintliness and spiritual loftiness of his guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Following his guru’s wishes, he tirelessly traversed India and the world to spread moral values and inspire and strengthen satsang in devotees. Gradually, he was summoned to take a leading role in significant celebrations. Additionally, he served as a trusted advisor for crucial decisions about the organisation.
In 2012, Pramukh Swami Maharaj declared HH Mahant Swami Maharaj as his spiritual successor. Following the former’s demise in 2016, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj assumed the mantle as the sixth guru in the Gunatit Parampara tradition of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Today, he leads BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and also presides as the guru and spiritual guide for countless devotees worldwide.
AN ARCHITECT OF POSITIVE CHANGE
Through his visionary approach, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj plays a significant role in transforming society by transcending boundaries and enhancing humanitarian values. The revered spiritual leader demonstrated his exceptional compassion and leadership during the tumultuous COVID-19 pandemic and the onset of the Ukraine war. He also mobilised volunteers with a resolute call to action. He instilled in them a shared understanding of protecting life despite geographical boundaries. Several relief initiatives and awareness campaigns were sparked as a result of his heartfelt appeal. Additionally, the spiritual guru motivated everyone to face those challenging times with resilience and relentless commitment.
GIVING BACK TO SOCIETY
HH Mahant Swami Maharaj is the epitome of inspiration in the socio-spiritual landscape. His legacy is marked by virtues of austerity, self-control, devotion, humility, and selfless service. His influential leadership and active participation in a variety of Satsang endeavours, including mega-festivals, and activities for children and youth, along with Akshardham projects, and other initiatives have made him a global figure.
HH Mahant Swami Maharaj exemplifies love and humility in every breath. He passionately advocates for the virtues of service, saintliness, and divinity. His serene spirituality and enlightening discourses serve as a source of inspiration for many. He knows that the youth are our future. Therefore, through selfless love and consistent efforts, he has guided countless youth to embrace volunteerism. Under the radiance of his guidance, children and adolescents flourish like blossoming flowers. His altruistic endeavours have been applauded by esteemed spiritual luminaries, national leaders, and dignitaries.
Revered as a preeminent Hindu guru, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj not only inspires individual faith but also advocates community service and global harmony. Among his impactful contributions is the establishment of numerous Hindu Temples that serve as symbols not just of Hindu cultural heritage but also as centres for devotion, education, and celebration. Since taking on the leadership of BAPS in August 2016, he has overseen the inauguration of over 350 new temples globally, with numerous others in various stages of development.
In 2017, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj was honoured with the prestigious ‘Key to the City’ by mayors of various cities, including Toronto, Lilburn, Irving, and Chicago. This recognition underlines the global impact of his spiritual leadership and the reverence he commands beyond the boundaries of BAPS.
Furthermore, in 2020, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj authored “Satsang Diksha,” a book that outlines a path believed to lead followers to Moksha. His discourses have enlightened countless devotees by motivating them and transforming their lives.