Glowing tributes were paid to the 11th President
BELTSVILLE, MD: The final book of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Transcendence: My spiritual experience with Pramukh Swamiji, was launched at the BAPS (Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha) temple here on August 16.
More than a thousand people attended the event, where the life of the 11th president of India was celebrated. Glowing tributes were paid to Kalam, who died of a heart attack on July 27, and his lifetime of lifetime of dedicated public service and contributions to India’s development were remembered by speakers.
The Transcendence, which took two years to write with co-author Arun Tiwari, describes Kalam’s interactions with Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of the BAPS, over a period of 14 years.
Indian American entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam, Minister Consular at the Embassy of India A.K. Sinha and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker were guests of honor at the event.
Islam described Kalam as a selfless public servant and “great unifier in death as well as in life.” He said the former president bridged India’s “religious fault lines the way few national leaders have done since Mahatma Gandhi” and his “acceptance of Param Pujya Pramukh Swamiji as his spiritual guru and the relationship between the two, as detailed in the book, tell us that he was able to transcend religious differences in a genuine way.”
Islam said Kalam’s story was one that is uniquely Indian: “the newspaper boy who went on to become the head of the nation; the boy who grew up in a remote village in the tip of the country, who went on to spearhead the nation’s nuclear and missile programs; a scientist who had the temperament of a sadhu; a man of great wisdom and sagacity, who led a very simple life.”
Sinha and Baker praised the works that BAPS volunteers do in the social and cultural spheres.
According to BAPS, similar book events were held at a number of BAPS mandirs across the United States.
BAPS, founded more than a century ago on the pillars of practical spirituality, seeks to address the spiritual, moral, and social challenges on a global scale. Its universal work through a worldwide network of over 3,850 centers has received many national and international awards and an affiliation with the United Nations.