Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau Attends 10th Anniversary Celebrations of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada attended the 10th anniversary celebrations of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto on Saturday July 22, 2017. The celebrations took place in the presence of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the current spiritual leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (www.baps.org).The celebrations were attended by more than 10,000 people from across Canada and around the globe.
As Prime Minister Trudeau entered the Mandir grounds, he was welcomed by the BAPS youth who presented a colourful traditional dance. Climbing up the steps of the mandir, he was welcomed with a garland by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS. The children and youth then sang the Canadian and Indian national anthems. In the presence of His Worship John Tory, the Mayor of Torontoand His Excellency Mr. Vikas Swarup, High Commissioner of India to Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau inaugurated a special plaque to celebrate the auspicious occasion.After admiring the breathtaking beauty of the Mandir and paying respect to the sacred images of God Bhagwan Swaminarayan and deities, Prime Minister Trudeau had a personal meeting with His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. He then made his way to the assembly, where he was greeted and welcomed by thousands of well-wishers. Prime Minister Trudeau thenaddressed the assembly, recognizing the contributions that the Mandir has made to the community.
The Mandir was inaugurated by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 2007 and has helped enrich the lives of individuals, families and communities across Canada through the development of family and youth programs, community outreach, and spiritual assemblies. A true labor of love, the Mandir offers weekly services and year-round programs organized by volunteers and Swamis within the BAPS community.
Many dignitaries joined devotees, well-wishers and community leaders in celebrating the ten-year anniversary.
Special guests at this historic occasion included:
- The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
- His Worship John Tory, the Mayor of Toronto
- His Excellency Mr. Vikas Swarup, High Commissioner of India to Canada
During the celebrations, His Worship John Tory, the Mayor of Toronto, presented His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, with the Key to the City of Toronto, the city’s highest honour. The key is bestowed by the Mayor to distinguished persons and honoured guests of the city of Toronto.
As a central place of Hindu worship, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was inaugurated on July 22, 2017 and was made possible by the spiritual support, guidance, and inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Today, Mahant Swami Maharaj carries forward this work and legacy as the current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.Through his leadership and guidance, Mahant Swami Maharaj invites people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds to visit and explore the mandir, its architecture, and its Hindu teachings.
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan in Toronto is the first of its kind in Canada, and community volunteers welcomed the ten-year anniversary celebrations in the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj with the same zeal and excitement they experienced back in 2007.
Over the past ten years, the mandir has welcomed people from all walks of life, leaving a lasting impression in their lives. Specialprograms, events and festivals at the mandir provide an opportunity for community members to explore and practice Hindu traditions and faith. The mandir is also the site of various charitable initiatives that include health fairs, blood drives, and community walkathons for people of all ages – merging the spirit of service with volunteerism.
The BAPS Mandir in Toronto unites families in spirituality, setting the tone for the anniversary events.Highlights from the program included video footage of the inaugural ceremonies and colourful traditional dances.Devotees shared stories of reaching milestones in their spirituality, growing closer to one another, and practicing peaceful living – all inspired and guided by the role of mandir in their lives. The celebrations concluded with anaddress by Prime Minister Trudeau and with blessings from Mahant Swami Maharaj who encouraged all to uphold unity, maintain faith, and further develop one’s spirituality in strengthening the mandir as a community place of worship.
Follow #BAPStoronto10 and #MahantSwami on social media for more details regarding anniversary celebrations and His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s North America visit.
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 heritage. Its 3,300 international centres 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.