Download Fun With Family All Activity PDF

Download Fun With Family All Activity PDF

The mandir, known as a Hindu place of worship, serves as a center for BAPS spiritual, cultural and humanitarian activities. As of 2019, the organization has 44 shikharbaddha mandirs and more than 1,200 mandirs spanning the five continents. In the tradition of the Bhakti Movement, Swaminarayan and his spiritual successors began to erect mandirs to provide a means of maintaining proper devotion to God on the way to moksha, or final liberation. BAPS mandirs thus facilitate devotional engagement with the Akshar Purushottam Upasana, in which followers strive to attain the spiritually perfect state of Aksharbrahman, or the ideal devotee, thereby gaining the ability to properly worship Purushottam, the Supreme Divinity.

The offering of bhakti, or devotion to God, remains at the center of mandir activities. In all mandirs, murtis or sacred images of Swaminarayan, Swatinarayan, Gunatitana and Swami, gurus and other deities of BAPS, they are consecrated in the inner sanctuary. After completing the prana pratishta or life force installation ceremonies, the deities are believed to reside in the murtis and are therefore subjects of direct worship through daily sacred rituals. 

In many mandirs, the murtis are adorned with clothes and ornaments and devotees come to perform darshan, the act of worshiping the deity by seeing the holy image. A ritual of shaking lighted lamps in circular motions to light the different parts of the murti while singing a song of praise, Aarti is performed five times a day on shikharbaddha mandrels and twice a day on smaller mandrels. In addition, food is offered to the Murtis in the midst of singing devotional songs three times a day as part of the thaal ritual, and sanctified food is distributed to devotees. Daily readings and speeches on various Hindu scriptures also take place in the mandir. Many mandirs are also home to sadhus or BAPS monks.                                    
On weekends, assemblies are held in which sadhus and devotees make speeches on a variety of spiritual topics. Religious assemblies are also held for children and adolescents of different ages. Throughout the year, mandirs celebrate traditional Hindu festivals. Assemblies are organized with special speeches, kirtans, and other performances to commemorate Rama Navami, Janmashtami, Diwali, and other major Hindu festivals. The members of the sect are known as Satsangies. Male satsangies are usually started by obtaining a kanthi from a sadhu or an older male devotee, while women receive the vartman from older followers.

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In addition to being focal points for religious activity, BAPS mandirs are also centers of culture. Many forms of traditional Indian art have their roots in Hindu scriptures and have been preserved and flourished in the context of the mandirs. Many BAPS mandirs outside India hold Gujarati classes to facilitate scripture study, instruction in traditional dance forms in preparation for performances at festival assemblies, and music classes where students are taught how to play traditional instruments. like the table. Many devotees see the mandir as a place for the transmission of knowledge of Hindu values ​​and their incorporation into daily routines, family life and careers.

In addition to the religion and culture teaching classes, the mandirs are also the site of activities focused on youth development. Many centers host college preparatory classes, leadership training seminars, and skills development workshops in the workplace. Many centers organize women's conferences aimed at empowering young women. They also organize sports tournaments and initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles among children and youth. Many centers also host parenting seminars, marriage counseling, and family bonding events.

BAPS mandirs and cultural centers serve as centers for various humanitarian activities led by local volunteers. Mandirs in the United States and the United Kingdom organize an annual walk to raise funds for local charities such as hospitals or schools. Many centers also host annual health fairs where needy community members can undergo health screenings and consultations. During weekend assemblies, doctors are regularly invited to speak about various aspects of preventive medicine and to raise awareness of common conditions. In times of disaster, the centers closest to the affected area become centers of relief activities ranging from providing food to rebuilding communities.

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During Swaminarayan's time, the spread of his group had been slowed by opposition from Vaishnava's displays and others hostile to Swaminarayan's bhakti teachings. Due to the hostility of those who found Swaminarayan's growing popularity and teachings unacceptable, sadhus and devotees during Swaminarayan's time moderated part of the public presentation of their doctrine, despite their own convictions, to mitigate violence towards their newly formed devotional community. The original doctrine taught by Swaminarayan continued to be broadcast in less public forums, but over time Shastriji Maharaj sought to publicly reveal this doctrine, which claimed that Swaminarayan and his most select devotee, Gunatitanand Swami, were ontologically Purushottam and Akshar, respectively. However, when Shastriji Maharaj began to speak openly about this doctrine, hereafter the Akshar-Purushottam doctrine, he met with opposition from some sectors of the Vartal diocese. As the opposition against him became violent, Shastriji Maharaj had no choice but to leave Vartal to escape violent physical attacks. Thus, Williams points out, the very basis for the separation of the Vartal diocese and the raison d'ĂȘtre for the formation of BAPS was this doctrinal issue.

Swaminarayan is seen as God (Purushottama) by BAPS followers. Therefore, his writings and speeches form the basis of BAPS's theological principles. Regarding the philosophy of Swaminarayan, Akshar plays a fundamental role in the general scheme of the final liberation. To that end, Swaminarayan indicated that those who want to offer pure devotion to God (Purushottama) and want Moksha should absorb the qualities of the Gunatit Guru. As Akshar, embodied as Gunatit Guru, he personifies the ideal devotion that transcends Maya. Swaminarayan's philosophical position that liberation is unattainable unless one "identifies with Akshar (a synonym for Brahman) and offers the highest devotion to Purushottam" is also found in various Hindu scriptures [Mundaka Upanishad 3/2: 9 , Shrimad Bhagavatam I / 1: 1, Bhagvad Gita XVIII / 54]. It follows that the doctrine that Shastriji Maharaj propagated, as Kim observes, "did not result in the rejection of any scripture; instead, it was the beginning of a distinctive theology that added a unique but powerful qualification [which Akshar interprets] in the form of the living guru. "