The Canadian chapter of the BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute was inaugurated on June 4, 2022, at the BAPS Swaminarayan Complex in Toronto. The institute was inaugurated as a part of the centenary celebrations of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj in the presence of the spiritual community and government leaders. Thousands witnessed the historic ceremony in person and via live telecast across Canada and worldwide. In addition, representatives from more than 40 Hindu Mandirs and organizations were present for the occasion.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute is dedicated to advancing quality research, learning, and expression of Hinduism, its cultures, philosophies, affiliated languages, and rich collection of literature. Furthermore, the institute will strive to foster social harmony, interfaith dialogue, public engagement, and academic discourse as it generates opportunities for the highest level of value-based education, innovative research, and creative expression.
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual guru of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and the visionary and inspirer of this research institute, participated in the inauguration ceremony via live webcast from India, lighting the inaugural lamp (deep–pragatya) symbolizing the spreading of the light of knowledge throughout the world. He also sent a special message saying, “In the spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” meaning the world is one family; let’s reach out to extend the circle of global harmony.”
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj joined the assembly via video link from India and inaugurated the Institute by lighting a lamp, symbolising the spreading of the light of knowledge throughout the world. Guests and members of the congregation in London followed by lighting their own sacred lamps. Mahant Swami Maharaj then blessed Professor Hegarty as well as representatives from various Hindu organisations who had gathered to celebrate the historic inauguration.
HH Mahant Swami Maharaj had sent Mahamahopadhyay Bhadreshdas Swami from India to preside over the inauguration event. Bhadreshdas Swami is globally acclaimed for his seminal contributions to Indian philosophy and his erudite scholarship on Hindu beliefs and culture. As the author of the ground-breaking Sanskrit commentarial and philosophical texts, the Swaminarayan-Bhashyam and the Swaminarayan-Siddhanta-Sudha, he is one of the world’s leading scholars of Hindu philosophy.
Many scholars have lauded the Swaminarayan Bhashyam, written by Bhadreshdas Swami, as one of the greatest contributions to Hinduism and Indian philosophy in the past several centuries. This monumental work is a testament to the continuing tradition of spiritual inquiry that has remained vibrant over millennia within Hinduism. These volumes address the modern need for religious and social pluralism and harmony in the world, along with explaining universal ethical and spiritual values. During the inauguration ceremony, Bhadreshdas Swami gifted this scripture to Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, to be made available to all Canadians to appreciate for generations to come.
During his keynote speech, Bhadreshdas Swami said, “This institute aims to promote the spirit of benevolence and harmony by spreading the message of the ancient, sacred sentiment of “Vasudev Kutumbakam” – the whole world is one family.
The chief guest for the inauguration ceremony Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, shared, “Today’s event marks a special milestone of the opening of the BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute, which will serve all of humanity. The institute is dedicated to advancing education, advancing quality research, learning, reflection, and the democratization of wisdom. It is a key part of our country’s future and access to Hindu culture.
Its main objective is promoting universal harmony, and I can’t think of a more amazing addition to our country as an institute about promoting universal harmony for everyone.
We are all here to celebrate a key milestone for Hindu Canadians and all Canadians because this institute will advance knowledge, universal harmony and understanding, and an appreciation of the power of education to transform lives and change hearts. I want to thank the leadership at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir for always bringing the community together; just as for this auspicious occasion, they have brought 40 Hindu Mandirs together from across the country – which is something that I have never seen before!”
Hon. Candice Bergen, Leader of the Official Opposition, also sent a congratulatory message saying, “It is with great joy that I offer my heartfelt congratulations to you on the launch of the BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute in Canada. I know that the research institute’s work will strengthen the Hindu community in Canada, and I look forward to seeing the fruit of your efforts as you continue to enrich our country with the beauty of Indian culture and heritage.”
The Hon. Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education for the Province of Ontario, said, “We are proud of the work you do, your leadership, your sacrifice, and your commitment to building this country. The central vision of this institute is to bring light and togetherness at a time of great division in the world. We need more of this, and we applaud your leadership. We applaud the work of BAPS in Canada and around the world.”
Pandit Roopnauth Sharma, President of the Hindu Federation, who participated in the inauguration ceremony, said, “I am privileged to be a part of this great milestone event for Sanatan Dharma. I want to recognize the wonderful work BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha does here and worldwide to promote Sanatan Dharma. There is still hope for Hinduism when we have giants of our dharma like Bhadreshdas Swami present with us. Swamiji walks in the footsteps of Panini, Shankaracharya, and other great giants of Hindu philosophy.”
● Deepak Anand, MPP for Mississauga—Malton