Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pramukh Swami...

In my previous post, I mentioned that Pramukh Swami's throne looked a bit too ostentatious for an ascetic. Who are we to judge, you may ask. Fair point. But we're argumentative Indians and we like to nitpick.

No one disputes the good work BAPS has done, especially in times of calamities like earthquakes, floods etc. But it's hard to dispute that - to the outsider - BAPS seems to be a bit of a personality cult built around Pramukh Swami. That's understandable - given his influence and work - but also something the Swaminarayan sect should watch out for. See, for example, the rapid dissolution and disintegration of the once-impressive Swadhyay Parivar.

A related issue is the succession plan and the top-level leadership within an organization. For example, democratic governments and even the Catholic Church have very good succession plans and a very healthy system where successors are prepared and given due prominence. BAPS, afaik, has a very strong second-tier leadership also. But the outside world is not familiar with these personalities at all. To us outsiders, it seems to be all about Pramukh Swami and "his" massive fancy temples.


Thanks Samir for rethinking on your stand and bringing out new thoughts.

I would like to add few..

Spirituality is something that goes beyond politics and I personally do not see "Voting" for pope as an ideal for BAPS (or any other hindu sect for that matter).

Indian sects (or any other sects) are laid on good faith. On perception of a right Guru. (for example Jesus/Krishna/Muhammad was followed by his devotees on grounds of good faith and righteousness. Fairytales kept aside)

This phenomenon is sometimes maliciously exploited.

But the exceptions can not make a rule.

And on the contarary making of rules can not stop exceptions from occuring.

In Hindu tredition, the current Guru identifies and names next guru and so on. (and mistakes happen here as in case of swadhyay parivar) But i beleive that such mistakes will lead to self-study for all of the devotees that its the ideas of religion which are important and not "only" the person.

In case of BAPS, I have seen particularly that religious ideas are not forgotten and Pramukh swami's personal ideas are NOT imposed.
Rather I have observed that Pramukh swami always quotes his Guru or Swaminarayan bhagwan for teaching his followers.

One more point :
There is also a freedom that an individual attains to higher grounds of spiritual experiance and guides the devotees. And this "individuality" has led to formation of so many sects. Which I beleive is good for free thought and philosophy rather that one dogmatic papel doctrine imposing an elected person as chief of all devotees.

Pramukh swami (or any other right sadhu) has the faith of his devotees with him.

The electoral system as a basis of choosing a guru in free hindu thought/philosophy or any other religion is fundamentally wrong as I personally beleive.

(see the crusade history)

One last point :
Electoral system of catholic church has not taken out the Pomp of the pope. It rather has fueled it. Pope maintains his own Nation, Army, Fleet of vehicals, big ornate palaces (excuse me, call them monastaries please).
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