‘You should always help others who are in need’: BAPS devotees honour late spiritual leader by giving blood

Members of a global Hindu organization in Manitoba are honouring their late guru’s 100th birthday by donating blood this month.

It’s an important cause for devotees of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha – otherwise known as BAPS – a socio-spiritual faith founded more than 100 years ago in India.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the group’s spiritual leader until his death in 2016 at the age of 94. He promoted blood donation and asked his followers to give often.

“He always wanted to help others and was looking for ways he could help the community,” said devotee Vina Patel. “Donating blood was definitely one way he always had in the back of his mind. That was an essential thing he wanted to do.”

Patel said she was inspired by Maharaj. “When I saw his dedication to community service – his love to help others – I was just fascinated, I was so fascinated that I wanted to support.”

Since spring, members of the Winnipeg BAPS chapter have taken turns making weekly group blood donations. The group has almost reached 100 donations so far.

“The response from the fellow devotees has been amazing, just incredible,” said Patel.

BAPS Charities is now a national partner of Canadian Blood Services. The organization aims to collect more than 1,000 units of blood, plasma, and platelets this year, potentially saving 3,000 lives.

“Pramukh Swami Maharaj always taught us that whatever community you live in, you should always give back to your community. You should always help others who are in need,” said Patel.

“It made me feel very happy, just to know that my donation can save someone’s life.”

The Hero in You campaign continues throughout the month of November with the goal of filling 90 more blood donation appointments.

You can book a blood donation appointment by using the GiveBlood app, going to blood.ca, or calling 1-888-2-donate.

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