BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir stands in continuation of a millennia-old Hindu tradition of worshipping the Divine through murtis enshrined in mandirs.
Within the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, mandirs enjoy an almost 200-year history that was initiated by Bhagwan Swaminarayan himself. In a sermon delivered on 25 November 1822, Bhagwan Swaminarayan revealed the reasoning behind these mandirs. He explained: “It is so that upasana [correct theological worship] is upheld that I have built such mandirs” (Vachanamrut, Gadhada-II.27).
This theology is embodied in the murtis enshrined within the Mandir. (Click here to learn more.)
Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s first spiritual successor, elaborated on the spiritual significance and role of a mandir, also using it as an analogy. Just as one needs a mandir to enshrine a murti, he explained, similarly, one needs a purified soul to hold God therein (Swamini Vato 3.13).
A physical mandir helps one internalise the purity, peace, and presence of God all around. In describing a mandir, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj also explains: “A mandir is a place of paramount peace… to realise God.”
Based on these and other guidelines from Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the Mandir in London has been created as a place of:
- WORSHIP – where a consistent pattern of devotional rituals, ceremonies and practices is observed throughout the day, every day
- LEARNING – where young and old can engage with and learn about Hindu beliefs, values and practices to kindle a spiritually uplifting and fulfilling lifestyle
- CELEBRATION – where year-round Hindu festivals allow for vibrant and joyous celebrations for the whole community
- BEAUTY – where exquisite art and architecture are offered as a humble tribute to the inexpressible majesty and unbounded glory of the Divine
- COMMUNITY – where dialogue and understanding help foster greater respect, harmony and cooperation among people of different faiths, races, ethnicities and cultures
- CHARITY – where the selfless spirit of volunteerism reaches out to serve the wider community and contribute meaningfully to our country