Felicitation Ceremony of Mahamahopadhyaya Swami Bhadreshdasji at Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, India

It has been nearly 150 years since a bhashya, or commentary, on any of the Upanishads, Brahmasutras, and the Bhagavad Gita – collectively known as the prasthantrayi – has been written. Inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Swami Bhadreshdasji is the latest in the lineage of acharyas to author bhashyas in Sanskrit on the prasthantrayi. The creation of the bhashyas by Swami Bhadreshdasji is considered by many scholars to be this century’s most important work in Vedanta philosophy.

Senior representatives of 27 prestigious universities from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states gathered at the C.C. Mehta Auditorium of Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara to honor Mahamahopadhyaya Swami Bhadreshdasji for authoring two contemporary Sanskrit texts: ‘Swaminarayan Bhashyam’ and ‘Swaminarayan-Siddhant-Sudha’.

Organized by Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara, the occasion was graced by the vice chancellors of Gujarat University, Saurashtra University, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University, Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University, Bhakta Kavi Narsinh Mehta University, Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kachchh University, Gujarat Vidyapith, Shri Govind Guru University, Shree Somnath Sanskrit University, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, and other universities. Chancellor Shri Balvant Jani from Dr. Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya, Sagar (Madhya Pradesh) was also present, while the vice chancellors of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati, and Jagadguru Ramanandacharya, Rajasthan Sanskrit University offered written statements honoring Swami Bhadreshdasji and his works.

The event began with the singing of Vedic mantras. Thereafter, M.S. University’s vice chancellor, Shri Parimal Vyas, gave a welcome address.

Pujya Viveksagardas Swami spoke about the significance of writing bhashyas on the prasthantrayi within the Sanatan Vedic tradition as well as the history of Bhadreshdasji’s bhashyas. Pujya Viveksagardas Swami also expounded upon the importance and relevance of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s Akshar-Purushottam Darshan.

Following the addresses of the vice chancellors of the various universities, Pujya Doctor Swami gave the concluding remarks.

Swami Bhadreshdasji was presented felicitation plaques by the vice chancellors or representatives of the 27 universities.

The event concluded with the singing of the national anthem.

Many great scholars have written bhashyas on the Upanishads, Brahmasutras, and Bhagavad Gita in the past. Shankaracharyaji’s bhashya was the first of its kind to be recognized within this tradition, followed by the bhashyas written by Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Nimbarkacharya, Vallabhacharya, and others, who respectively went on to establish the Advaita, Vishistadvaita, Dvaita, Dvaitadvaita, Shuddhadvaita and various other schools of Vedanta philosophy.

Baldev Vidyabhushan, the 19th century follower of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Achintyabhedabheda School of Philosophy, was the last author of a bhashya on the Brahmasutras around 150 years ago. Thereafter, no bhashya has been written until Swami Bhadreshdasji’s Swaminarayan Bhashyam. Inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and blessed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, Swami Bhadreshdasji took on this monumental task and made it his life’s work. He presented the completed five-volume, 2,150-page bhashya to Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj on 17 December 2007 at the BAPS Centenary Celebrations in Ahmedabad.

Swami Bhadreshdasji has also written a vadgranth entitled ‘Swaminarayan-Siddhant-Sudha’, establishing Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s unique philosophy, Akshar-Purushottam Darshana. This Sanskrit text uses the authority of Hindu scriptures such as the Upanishads, Brahmasutras, and the Bhagavad Gita, to support the philosophical doctrine of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s Akshar-Purushottam Darshana as found in The Vachanamrut – the principal scripture of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya.

After Shankaracharya’s bhashya, this is the first time in 1,200 years that a bhashya has been written by one author on all three texts of the prasthantrayi. Also, it is the only time in the history of Vedanta philosophy that a vadgranth has been written by the same author of a prasthantrayi bhashya. Hence, many Vedanta and Sanskrit scholars from around the world consider Swami Bhadreshdasji’s works to be one of the greatest accomplishments of modern time.

Through these works, the lost art of writing Sanskrit texts has been revived in this day and age. These texts are not only important for the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, but are gifts to society that will foster the study of Sanskrit and Vedanta for generations to come.