Pramukh Swami Maharaj
Pramukh Swami Maharaj (born Shantilal Patel, 7 December 1921; ordained Shastri Narayanswarupdas) is the current guru and Pramukh, or president, of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, an international Hindu socio-spiritual organization. BAPS regards him as the fifth spiritual successor of Swaminarayan, following Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, and Yogiji Maharaj. He is believed by his followers to be in constant communion with Swaminarayan, and ontologically, the manifestation of Akshar, the eternal abode of Swaminarayan. Pramukh Swami Maharaj received initiation as a Hindu Swami in 1940 from Shastriji Maharaj, the founder of BAPS, who later appointed him as President of BAPS in 1950. Yogiji Maharaj declared Pramukh Swami Maharaj to be his spiritual successor and guru of BAPS, a role he commenced in 1971. As president of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has overseen the growth of BAPS from an organization centered in Gujarat, India, to one maintaining Hindu Mandirs and centers outside of India. He has also spearheaded the efforts of BAPS Charities, which is the charitable service organization affiliated.