The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a worldwide socio-spiritual organization in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, is dedicated to community service, peace and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families and individuals. Through a number of social and spiritual activities, BAPS endeavors to produce better citizens of tomorrow who have a high esteem for their roots - their rich Hindu culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these activities of character-building. Under the guidance and leadership of His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is morally, ethically and spiritually pure.
Born in 1781, in the small town of Chapaiya in Northern India, Bhagwan Swaminarayan brought about a social and spiritiual renaissance to a society plagued by corrupt rulers and immoral religious leaders. As a child He was known by the name of Ghanshyam and mastered Hindu scriptures at the age of 10. At the age of 11 He renounced his home and family, commencing an epic journey across India. Along this pilgrimage for 7 years, 1 month, and 11 days, Bhagwan Swaminarayan, known as Nilkanth Varni, travelled all of India from the Himalayas in the north to Rameshwar in the south. He finally stopped in the small town of Loj, and soon after established the Swaminarayan Sampraday. He inspired devotees to live moral and spiritual lives by observing five basic principles: addiction-free living, vegetarianism, refraining from stealing, abstaining from committing adultery and maintaining purity of the mind body and soul. His discourses were compiled in the Vachnamrut, a scripture containing the essence of all of the Vedas and other ancient Hindu scriptures. He also established a code of ethics for his devotees in the Shikshapatri. By the time He passed away, at 49, Bhagwan Swaminarayan had initiated over 2,000 sadhus, who were willingly ready to carry on his philosophy, especially His choicest devotee Gunatitanand Swami.
His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, has inspired millions of people across the world to lead a God-centered, morally pure life. As the present leader of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj travels from village to village, continent to continent, emphasizing the importance of family harmony, community service and spiritual progress. He embodies the essence of Hindu life. His compassion for humanity, universal wisdom and striking simplicity have touched many world religious and national leaders.