Ahmedabad: The mortal remains of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, head of the Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), were consigned to the flames at the Sarangpur Mandir campus around 3 pm on Wednesday in the presence of a galaxy of political leaders and thousands of followers.
BJP President Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Kathakar Morari Bapu, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Samajwadi Party MP Amar Singh, businessman Anil Ambani, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, state BJP President Jitubhai Vaghani, and state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki, among others, were to the first to reach the Sarangpur Mandir in the morning.
They were followed by Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch L.K. Advani, who reached Ahmedabad around the same time and left for Sarangpur.
Meanwhile, 'palkhi yatra' (palanquin procession)' of Pramukh Swami's body had to be cancelled due to the alterations in his body which was kept under minus 10 degree temperature in a glass container since August 13 evening after he passed away.
The 'darshan' for general public had been closed.
Amit Shah, who attended the godman's cremation, told reporters that the Swami had been a divine help in his life whenever he felt 'broken'. Bhagwan Badhu Saru Karshe (God will set right everything) is what he would say and I would feel great solace and my hope would be restored," he said.
"The great saint dedicated his entire life for his cause, but I want to reveal something personal today. In one's life, there are moments when one feels broken. When I went through such times in my life, he would be the first person to call me," Shah said.
He said the Pramukh Swami had done a lot to institutionalise the saint tradition, getting crores of people to give up addictions and inculcating 'samskara' in children through his organisation.
Jaitley said the deeds of Pramukh Swami would set an example in the history of this time.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May had on Tuesday expressed her condolences to the British Hindu community over the death of Swaminarayan sect's spiritual head Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
"I would like to pay my condolences to the British Hindus, especially the BAPS, on the passing away of Pramukh Swami Maharaja," May said.
"Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired millions with his powerful motto: In the good of others lies our own. This legacy of selfless service will continue to benefit humanity for a long time to come," she said.