Washington: Top US lawmakers and political leaders have paid glowing tributes to Pramukh Swami, the spiritual head of the Swaminarayan sect, who passed away last week, saying his service touched the lives of millions around the world.
Several lawmakers said Swami, the creator of Akshardham and spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, was a man of character and commitment whose spiritual personality and humanitarian services profoundly touched society.
"My condolences to the BAPS (Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Sansthan) community on the passing of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj who inspired us with his life of selfless service," said Senator Mark Kirk.
"Saddened to hear of the passing of HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj whose service touched the lives of millions around the world," said Delaware Senator Christophe Coons.
In a separate statement, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie offered his deepest condolences over his demise.
"New Jersey had a special connection with Pramukh Swamiji, who visited the state during every US tour, spreading a message of unity and uplifting countless lives. He will be remembered by all for his selflessness and service to others," he said.
Offering heartfelt condolences to Swami's disciples, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said he reminded people that a life dedicated to service of God and the spiritual upliftment of humanity is a life that can be considered truly successful and forever remembered.
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick in a statement said, "Pramukh Swami Maharaj was a man of character and commitment. He led campaigns against addictions, inspiring many to seek an addiction-free life. His spiritual personality and humanitarian services profoundly touched society."
Congresspersons Grace Meng and Chris Van Hollen said Swami was an inspiration to millions of people around the world and spread peace throughout his long and inspiring life.
Swami also consistently emphasised on inter-faith harmony and the collective uplifting of the moral and religious life of mankind.
"His life, devotion and teachings will grace our world for centuries to come," said Pramila Jayapal, who is running for US House of Representative seat from Washington State.
"We cherish Pramukh Swami Maharaj and his devotees in our thoughts and prayers, and we hope that now, more than ever, we can continue to live by the profound principles of love, faith, and service that he represented," said Congressional candidate from Illinois Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Ro Khanna, who is looking to enter the US House of Representative from California, said after terrorists attacked Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar, Gujarat – killing numerous visitors and saints in their path – Swami had advocated for love and compassion to prevail, not bigotry or hatred.