Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Former U.S. President Bill Clinton conveyed their sincerest condolences on the passing of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Secretary Clinton wrote, “Pramukh Swami’s deep sense of devotion led him to spend his life revitalizing communities in need…His example helped his followers find more harmony – both with others and within themselves. And we hope that humanity will build upon his legacy for generations to come.”
In her statement, Secretary Clinton specifically highlighted the core reason that millions around the world had called Pramukh Swami Maharaj their spiritual guru: “Pramukh Swami didn’t just teach virtues – he lived them every day.”
Secretary Clinton fondly recalled that President Bill Clinton was “fortunate enough to visit with his Holiness, both here in the United States and at the Akshardham Mandir in Gujarat.”
President Clinton first met Pramukh Swami Maharaj on October 4, 2000, beginning a unique friendship with the late Guru of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. At this first meeting where President Clinton learned about BAPS’ humanitarian, spiritual, cultural, educational, environmental, and medical activities, the highlight remained a touching moment of spiritual connection when Pramukh Swami Maharaj presented a sanctified rosary to President Clinton and showed him how to chant the rosary in a traditional Hindu manner.
President Clinton then met Pramukh Swami Maharaj on April 5, 2001, at Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. President Clinton learned a great deal about the work that BAPS had performed in helping Gujarat recover from a devastating earthquake. President Clinton was so touched by Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s work that he told Swami that he had a “heart of gold.” Indeed, during that same
meeting, President Clinton had stated, “When I look into his eyes, they are filled with integrity . . . The first time Pramukh Swami met me in Miami, I saw in his eyes that he is a man who has not come ahead by eclipsing others. He has come forward by always placing others before him.”
At the conclusion of this April 5, 2001, meeting, President Clinton remarked to Pramukh Swami Maharaj, “On meeting you I feel and believe that I am fortunate. It is a great thing for me to be blessed by you here today.”
Just two days before the Secretary Clinton and President Clinton offered their condolences, millions of tearful devotees had gathered for the cremation rites of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, one of India’s most commonly known Hindu ascetics revered by millions around the world. The fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and spiritual leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha departed his mortal body on Saturday, August 13 at the age of 95.
Over 2.1 million devotees from around the world rushed to the village of Sarangpur in Gujarat, India, to pay their last respects before his final rites were performed on Wednesday, August 17. The atmosphere was filled with comforting friends and strangers sharing memories with each other of their uplifting interactions with Pramukh Swami Maharaj, reminiscing upon the heartfelt connection that cemented his influence and wisdom in their lives.
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, visited Sarangpur, Gujarat from Delhi and addressed saddened devotees before the funeral rites saying, “His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj was a stalwart among humans who embodied compassion and humility…Today you have lost a Guru, but I have lost a father.”
Secretary Clinton’s thoughts echoed the sentiments from heads of states in all parts of the world, including British Prime Minister Teresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and HRH Prince of Wales. “His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj exemplified the values of British Hindus whose contribution helps make the United Kingdom one of the world’s most successful multi-cultural, multi-faith democracies,” stated Teresa May.
India Post News Service