Page 780 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 5 April 2022
some of the ways in which the ACT government is working to make this a reality, in addition to hearing from the Leader of the Opposition, and especially from a former Canberra Woman of the Year and social entrepreneur powerhouse, Cindy Mitchell. My sincere thanks go to the IWIN Committee for hosting such an enjoyable and inspiring event, even with a few challenging logistical circumstances.
The following day was the Molonglo Valley Multicultural Day, which I know many members in this place attended. I congratulate the Molonglo Valley Community Forum for their gumption, and for all of the effort in pulling together what was such a great event, with so many performances, and a real generosity of spirit that was present at the event—and, of course, the rain held off.
In one weekend these were just five events, but I think they do show the absolute diversity and vibrancy of our great city. It is quite extraordinary to think about it.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.45): I rise tonight to acknowledge the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha organisation, or BAPS, and His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 100th birth anniversary year.
BAPS is a Hindu socio-cultural organisation affiliated in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families and individuals. BAPS has millions of followers around the world and, as a volunteer-driven organisation, it has thousands of volunteers carrying out seva, or selfless service, in communities around the world. The BAPS volunteers are inspired by their gurus, their spiritual leaders, to serve their communities.
This year BAPS is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. His Holiness was initiated as a sadhu or a Hindu monk in 1940 and served communities for over 76 years. His Holiness presented at the United Nations Millennium Peace Summit in 2000, urging peace and harmony around the world. He lived his life by the ethos “In the joy of others lies our own”, and inspired countless others to follow that ideal.
During his leadership of BAPS, His Holiness travelled to over 17,000 villages, towns and cities in 50 nations and visited over 250,000 homes. His Holiness visited Australia in 1984, 1996 and 2002. Representing their gurus—His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj until August 2016, and now His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj—senior BAPS sadhus have visited the Australian parliament on numerous occasions and prayed for peace, prosperity and a bright future for all Australians.
As with BAPS congregations around Australia and the world, BAPS volunteers, inspired by their gurus, contribute here in Canberra to our community—for example by: regular blood donation drives; raising funds for charitable organisations like the Canberra Hospital Foundation and others; providing hot meals and food packs during the COVID-19 restrictions, especially to international students and others in situations of vulnerability; participating in clean-up days and tree planting drives; promoting peace, unity and harmony through participation in an interfaith forum for the Royal