One of the most revered Scholars and Spiritual Leaders of the contemporary world was honoured in both sides of the Tasman in recent weeks.
Bhadreshdas Swami was facilitated in Melbourne by Victorian Parliament Speaker Colin Brooks on August 31, 2019 and by his devotees in Auckland at press time on September 13.
Felicitations in Melbourne
Mr Brooks presented him a Certificate of Honour on behalf of the Victorian Parliament for his contributions to Hinduism.
Mr Brooks was accompanied by former Legislative Council President Bruce Atkinson and Legislative Council (Northern Metropolitan) Member Craig Ondarchie at a brief ceremony held in the Parliamentary Building in Melbourne.
Bhadreshdas gifted a set of ‘Swaminarayan Bhashyam’ to Mr Brooks.
Among others present at the event were Indian Consul General Raj Kumar, Hindu Council of Australia President Abhijti Bhide, Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations Forum President Rajiv Baheti.
Lecture in Auckland
Bhadreshdas is scheduled to be accorded a Special Reception at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre on Friday, September 13. Organised by Swaminarayan Mandir, Avondale, the event would include an address by him on ‘Towards Better Living, through the Bhagavad Gita.
The event is open to all.
Trilogy of Scriptures
The Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and Brahma Sutras are collectively known as ‘Prasthantrayi.’
These scriptures impart ‘Gnana’ or ‘eternal truth’ to the soul for practice in everyday life.
The Brahma Sutras, in Sanskrit, systematise and summarise the philosophical and spiritual ideas in the Upanishads.
Prasthantrayi mean three sources or axioms that refer to the three canonical texts of Divine Philosophy, especially of the Vedanta Schools. They envelope the Brahma Sutras, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. These were written or came into existence thousands of years ago.
Many Sages, Saints and Acharyas including Ramanujacharya, Shankaracharya and Ekanathar have written commentaries known as ‘Bhashya’ for the benefit of devotees and common people for easy assimilation and practice.
The Bhashya itself evolves as successive saints and scholars revisit the Scriptures.
One such is Bhadreshdas Swami, who is currently on a visit to New Zealand.
Known as ‘Swaminarayan Bhashyam’ the works of Bhareshdas is considered as a significant part of Vedantic Philosophy.
A disciple of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the previous Head of Swaminarayan Sampradaya or Tradition, he is revered by political, religious and community leaders worldwide.
First in 1200 years
This is the first time in last 1200 years that a new Hindu Bhashya has been written since Shankaracharya’s Advaita Darshan of such proportions.
It is said that for the first time, a Bhashya, founded on all three Prasthantrayi as well as a Vad Granth (critical reflection on the Bhashya) has been authored within one’s lifetime.
In doing so, Bhadreshdas has achieved a very special and rare feat as an Acharya to the amazement and appreciation of renowned Sanskrit scholars.
Bhadreshdas had to abandon the project since a part of the completed work was lost.
He was inspired by Pramukh Swami to continue his efforts.
Bhadreshdas admits that though he had lost hope, he could rewrite the lost parts as if in a state of trance, with the Grace of his Master.
Bhadreshdas earned worldwide recognition for his studies, works and contributions to Hindu philosophy and scholarly Sanskrit literature.
His Bhashya and numerous articles preserve and promote the traditions and values of Hinduism. They inspire people towards a more spiritually-centred life and spark new meaning and perspective to the shlokas and words in the Prasthantrayi.
Bhadreshdas holds doctorates (PhD and D Litt) and teaches and guides PhD students.
He travels widely in India and abroad to spread the message of the Akshar Purushottam Siddhant of BAPS Swaminarayan Sampradaya.
Ragavan Rengachariar is our Religious and Spiritual Correspondent. A qualified Accountant and Banker, he is a Fellow of the New Zealand Credit & Finance Institute Incorporated and Associate of the New Zealand Institute of Management. Mr Rengachariar is Founder-Trustee of the RAMS Foundation, a Trust registered under the New Zealand Charities Commission. He lives in Auckland.