For the first time, representatives from 38 leading spiritual organisations, government, academics, and a large number of community people gathered under one roof on the Sunday 7th July 2022, in BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, 45 Clare Road, Brisbane, for the historic launch of the BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute in Australia in the presence of Mahamahopadhyaya Swami Bhadreshdasji.
Swami Bhadreshdasji is the author of the internationally acclaimed Swaminarayan Bhashyam and Swaminarayan Siddhanta Sudha.
He is the first author in 1,200 years to write a traditional Sanskrit commentary (“bhashya”) on all texts of the Prasthanatrayi – three foundational and leading scriptures of the Hindu faith comprising the Upanishads, Brahmasutras and the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.
In his presence, the BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute was launched in Australia with the blessings of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and is a part of the centennial celebrations of BAPS’ fifth spiritual successor, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The inauguration event commenced with Dhun, Kirtan, Stuti and a video on Pramuk Swami Maharaj’s work and legacy. The audience was given a glimpse by children and youth of how this institute will nurture future generations to learn about Sanskrit, Vedic philosophy and Hindu culture. A choir of children and youth enlightened the attendees with their proficiency in Sanskrit shlokas of Siddhant Samamnay.
The traditional ceremony of Deep Prgatya and blessings by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj formally inaugurated the event via video. Locally, Swami Bhadreshdasji and the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP – Treasurer of Australia, Archana Singh Hon. Consul of India, QLD, Dr Adam Bowles from The University of Queensland, Dr Ashutosh Misra from Institute for Australia India Engagement (IAIE), Lisa Ward – CEO, Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ), Umesh Chandra – President, Queensland Multicultural Council and Publisher Brisbane Indian Times, Usha Chandra – GOPIO – Ex-President, Mano Krishna Mohan (L) – VHP president, QLD, Sashikalaji – President, Basava Samithi of Asia Pacific, Brisbane Chapter, Ram Mohan – Chair, Multicultural Queensland Social Network, Anoop Nannuru – President, Federation of Indian communities of Queensland (FICQ), Palani Thevar – Vice President, United Nations Australia Associations (UNAA) QLD Division, Prof. Prasad Yarlagadda – President, Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Shyam Das – Vedanta centre Springfield, Dr AnilbhaiDalsania – HSS QLD Chapter, Dr Sunil Sharma – President, Gold Coast Hindu Cultural Centre, KrrishnamohanKanduri – Hindu Organisations& Temple Association (HOTA) Coordinator, QLD Chapter, Pandit Parameshvara – Hindu Priest.
In his speech Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP – Treasurer of Australia spoke about his feeling of affinity with BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. He went on to say “that the purpose of us on this planet is to elevate other people”, which is aligned with the ethos of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj “In the Joy of others lies our own, in the good of others lies our own”. Dr Chalmers stated that if “all Australians share this value of kindness and warmth towards each other, there will be love and harmony all over, and we as a nation can do anything”, which was met with rapturous applause from the audience.
Dr Adam Bowles, Deputy Head of School, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, The University of Queensland. In his address, Dr Bowles mentioned that he is full of happiness as his vision is that studying the Sanskrit language will become mainstream through this research institute. Dr Bowles has shown appreciation for Swami Bhadreshdasji for his tremendous work on “Prasthanatrayi” in such a short period.
Dr Ashutosh Misra, PhD, MPhil, MA, BA. – The CEO and Executive Director of the Institute for Australia India Engagement (IAIE): He expressed pride and happiness in seeing this research institute being brought to life. As an academic, he feels that this research institute is a bridge that will fill the gap in learning Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy in the coming years. Therefore, he extended his support and participation in the research institute.
In his keynote address, Swami Bhadreshdasji stated that the BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute in Australia brings to life the vision of Yogiji Maharaj – BAPS’ fourth spiritual leader – to teach children and youths to read, write and deliver discourses in Sanskrit. He further mentioned that anyone from society is welcome to pursue research at this institute. The researcher will benefit from learning the ancient Sanskrit language to study ancient Hindu knowledge and gain their understanding. Hindu knowledge is about inclusiveness, happiness, moral values, and a life with purpose and fulfilment.
Everyone commended the work undertaken with BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute in Australia and looks toward supporting this vital initiative for the growing Hindu community in Australia.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute will commit to the teaching of Sanskrit, classical Vedic literature and Hindu beliefs, values, affiliated languages, and practices. In addition, it will nurture interfaith dialogue, public engagement, and academic discourse as it generates opportunities for the highest level of value-based education, innovative research, and creative expression.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute in Australia is dedicated to advancing research, learning, and the expression of scholarship and culture. Through various educational initiatives, the institute seeks to promote the highest level of academic excellence in all branches of study. It will provide opportunities for value-based instruction, innovative research, creative expression, mutual discussion, and social service will inspire quality, original, productive, and responsible scholarship. The institute seeks to inspire and educate individuals and provide them with the right tools and opportunities to foster personal success, develop awareness and strong communal ties, and ultimately change the world by broadening horizons, inspiring expression and instilling service.
For more information, visit www.research.baps.org.