It was a day of reflection and celebration at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, Illinois, on Sunday, July 16. Devotees and well-wishers, along with the Governor of Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner, and several other elected officials, came together to celebrate the life of guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who passed away on August 13, 2016. The event was held in the presence of the current guru of BAPS Mahant Swami Maharaj.
Addressing the assembly Governor Rauner said, “Together we help each other to make our world a better place and a better future for our children and our grandchildren.” Other officials who came to the event included Kevin Wallace, Mayor of Bartlett.
“I can’t say enough of what BAPS in Bartlett has done for our community,” Wallace said, according to a press release from BAPS.
Several other city mayors and representatives from surrounding communities including Carol Stream, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, West Chicago, Schaumburg and Oak Brook also came for the celebrations. Each of them presented Mahant Swami Maharaj with a ‘Key to the City.’
“My respect for Pramukh Swami is deep-seated. He was a guru for 40 years but a leader in BAPS for over 70. He traveled tirelessly from rural, tribal huts to modern metropolitan cities all over the world for the sole purpose of promoting spirituality and service,” said Sushma Patel, a volunteer at the mandir.
Through dances, speeches, skits, and video presentations, the program highlighted Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s leadership and spiritual qualities.