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US: BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Jersey holds historic Kalash Pujan on Rakshabandhan

"Today, as we embrace the significance of Rakshabandhan, the day of protection, remember that Bhagwan Swaminarayan himself stands as our shield," said Mahant Swami Maharaj.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Edison (New Jersey) Published on: September 04, 2023 18:48 IST
A massive crowd at the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham temple
Image Source : BAPS SWAMINARAYAN AKSHARDHAM A massive crowd at the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in New Jersey

On the auspicious occasion of Rakshabandhan last month, a historic Kalash Pujan took place in New Delhi's BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey in the United States in the presence of spiritual leader Mahant Swami Maharaj on August 30.

The event was held to honour the contributions of volunteers over several years in the creation of Akshardham, which is poised to become a landmark of Hindu art, architecture and culture in the Western hemisphere, according to a press release.

India Tv - Devotees at the Kalash Pujan at Akshardham temple in New Jersey

Image Source : BAPS SWAMINARAYAN AKSHARDHAMDevotees at the Kalash Pujan at Akshardham temple in New Jersey

"To the volunteers who collectively contributed millions of hours in the making of Akshardham over 12 years, this event signified the fulfillment of their late spiritual leader, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s wish to create a place where one and all can feel at peace and find inspiration to lead a virtuous life," read the release.

The Kalash signifying an essential element of traditional Hindu temples and holds great religious significance. The 'Nidhi Kalash' at the base of the Akshardham temple was consecrated by Mahant Swami Maharaj in 2011. This event was marked by the use of 'Amrut Kalash' that represented the pinnacle point, as Swami Maharaj performed pujan on the steps of the temple.

India Tv - Spiritual leaders performing the Kalash Pujan

Image Source : BAPS SWAMINARAYAN AKSHARDHAMSpiritual leaders performing the Kalash Pujan

The kalash further acts as a divine ‘antenna’, capturing the surrounding divinity and channeling it through the pinnacle to the idols positioned directly beneath it. A total of 18 kalashes were consecrated in the midst of Vedic chanting in a spiritually charged atmosphere, as per the release.

During the event, Mahant Swami Maharaj said that the Kalash at the top of the Akshardham temple symbolises the divine culmination of all efforts. "Today, as we embrace the significance of Rakshabandhan, the day of protection, remember that Bhagwan Swaminarayan himself stands as our shield," he added.

India Tv - The Kalash Pujan in BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey

Image Source : BAPS SWAMINARAYAN AKSHARDHAMThe Kalash Pujan in BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey

"The kalash is considered significant because upon its placement, the shikhar becomes complete. When it adorns the shikhar, its inherent beauty flourishes, and it fills us with profound joy," said Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami, while mentioning that thousands of devotees from North America came together in voluntary service to create the temple.

India Tv - The event marked a pinnacle moment for the temple

Image Source : BAPS SWAMINARAYAN AKSHARDHAMThe event marked a pinnacle moment for the temple
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Spiritual leaders have said that the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham will become a beacon of peace, unity and selfless service after the completion of its creation. "Like planets revolve around a sun, we need a focal point in our lives. Akshardham is such a center point representing our faith, our people, our culture. I can see people from all denominations, all faiths centering in this place of spiritual grace,” said Acharya Ishan Shivanand during a recent visit.

What is BAPS?

BAPS is a spiritual, volunteer-driven fellowship dedicated to improving society through individual growth, through the values of faith, service, and global harmony. It employees thousands of full-time and part-time volunteers in over 100 communities in North America and 3,500 communities globally. Its current spiritual leader is Mahant Swami Maharaj and works to promote spiritual equality.

The Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in New Jersey was created by BAPS as a landmark of Hindu architecture and culture and was created by thousands of volunteers over a span of 15 years under the inspiration of spiritual leaders Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj.

Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. He became the President of BAPS after Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.

ALSO READ | US Congressional delegation visits Delhi's Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, performs 'abhishek'

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