Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA -62

Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA  

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
12246 Running Bird Lane,
Austin TX 78758-2634 USA
Phone: (1-512) 835 2277
Fax: (1-512) 835 2278

The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is a spiritual, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to improving society through individual growth by fostering the Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service.

In the joy of others lies our own.” – Pramukh Swami Maharaj

True spirituality speaks the language of love.” – Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Better the world around you by bettering yourself.” – Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Bhagwan Swaminarayan established the Swaminarayan faith and renewed the ideals of Hinduism in 18th century India. He established a spiritual way of life and code of conduct to be followed. ‘Satsang’ is the word used by Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s followers to describe the process of associating with God and the guru to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Literally, ‘sat’ and ‘sang’ in Sanskrit mean ‘association with the truth.’ Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s followers are commonly referred to as ‘satsangis’ as they identify with Swaminarayan satsang.
Satsangis live their daily lives in accordance with a righteous code of conduct, or dharma, which is defined by the Swaminarayan scriptures as well as by the living guru. As explained by the current guru, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, “Paraspar preeti prasaravey te dharma,” which means, “That [code of conduct] which increases love and peace is worthy of being called dharma.”

The central religious tenet for BAPS satsangis is bhakti, or devotion to God. Bhakti, when combined with dharma, gnan (spiritual knowledge), and vairagya (detachment), leads to one becoming an ideal devotee, or an ekantik bhakta. This is achieved in the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha by devoting oneself to God as per the example set by the guru. The guru is the ideal bhakta of God; hence, the guru guides spiritual aspirants on the path to spiritual bliss, a state that he enjoys continuously. 

 In the Hindu tradition, the discussion and understanding of philosophy is a fundamental tool for a spiritual aspirant to attain moksha, liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and death. The sound philosophical base of the Swaminarayan Sampraday, and particularly the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, is grounded in the Aksharbrahma-Parabrahma philosophy derived from the Vedas and revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan. This philosophy teaches aspirants to worship Paramatma and to realize their true form to be the atma and not simply the body. The attainment of ekantik dharma is at the heart of the practical application of this philosophy in the life of a spiritual aspirant. Bhagwan Swaminarayan taught His followers that the path to moksha is a comprehensive approach combining dharma, bhakti, gnan, and vairagya. This philosophical understanding is maintained with the continued presence of Aksharbrahma in the form of the guru. Today, Pramukh Swami Maharaj offers spiritual guidance on the path towards moksha to millions of people by leading a life of utmost discipline and adherence to the Aksharbrahma-Parabrahma philosophy.

Hindu Beliefs

Hindu Sanatan Dharma is often known as a democratic religion. The Vedas say that there are many paths to the same destination: moksha. That is why Hindu Sanãtan Dharma embraces a great diversity of beliefs about God or Bhagwan, the universe, and the path to moksha. Though followers of Hindu Sanãtan Dharma may seem to be following different paths to Bhagwan, the core beliefs are the same. These core beliefs form the essence of Hindu Sanãtan Dharma and have been practiced since the beginning of time. All Hindus believe in the revealed scripture (the Vedas) and one Supreme God. All paths lead to a common goal of salvation, of the soul's freedom from a temporal body. Hindus also believe in the sacredness of life, compassion, service, reincarnation, and the laws of karma and dharma. Most Hindus build mandirs which are dedicated to the Supreme and believe that a true guru is needed on the path to moksha. 

Mandirs are a longstanding Hindu tradition. A mandir is a place of worship for Hindus. A mandir is a place where the mind becomes still and man experiences inner peace. For centuries, the mandir has remained a hub for life, a community forum where people forget their differences and voluntarily unite to serve society. It functions as a center for learning about man, nature, and Bhagwan. A mandir is where ethics and values are reinforced into the lives of children and adults. It is where people celebrate festivals and seek refuge during difficult times. It cultivates talents in various arts, music, and literature that are offered in the service of Bhagwan and the community.
Devotees visit mandirs to offer worship and devotion to the murti of Bhagwan, which is installed within the inner sanctum. The murti is consecrated by reciting Vedic mantras after which it becomes the manifest form of Bhagwan, not just a statue sculpted from stone or metal. Devotees revere and worship the murti as a living form of Bhagwan; they bathe it, adorn it in exquisite garments and ornaments, feed it, and put it to sleep. Furthermore, devotees come into contact with sadhus who reside at the mandir. The sadhus hold spiritual discourses to impart knowledge to the devotees and explain the philosophical doctrines of Hindu Dharma. The sadhus help transform hundreds of lives by leading people on the path of spirituality and morality. Moreover, the sadhus help console and free people from their addictions and bad habits.
In the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha there are two types of mandirs. The first type is known as the shikharbaddha mandir. These mandirs are built according to the principles of ancient Hindu Shilpa Shastras in the north Indian Nãgara style in which there are three shikhars and domes. Mandirs also represent a living form of Bhagwan, which is why devotees lovingly build such grand and majestic mandirs with intricate carvings. Footwear is removed upon entering a mandir because it is not only a place of worship but an object of worship as well; every part of a mandir is sacred. In the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, shikharbaddha mandirs usually have the following features:
1.   Aarti – performed five times a day.
2.   Mahapuja – performed every morning between the two morning aartis.
3.   Katha – performed 3 to 5 times a day.
4.   Sadhus – the only individuals allowed to care for the murtis, such as adorning the murtis with clothes and ornaments, and live within the mandir complex.
5.   Murtis – made of either stone of metal; in the first shrine are Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and Shri Rãdhã-Krishna Dev; in the center shrine is Shri Akshar Purushottam Maharaj – Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami; in the last shrine is Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj – Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s childhood form.
The second type of mandir found in the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is known as the hari mandir. Hari mandirs are generally built of cement, concrete, and steel and serve as a place of worship. They mainly have stone murtis of Shri Akshar-Purushottam Mahãrãj, Shri Rãdhã-Krishna Dev, and the BAPS guru paramparã. The pujari of a hari mandir is generally a householder devotee who performs ãarti twice a day. He is also responsible for adorning the murtis with clothes and ornaments and looks after the upkeep of the entire mandir. He holds katha twice a day. BAPS sadhus regularly visit the hari mandirs to deliver discourses and for home visits in the neighboring cities and villages.

Service - Seva

Hinduism preaches serving both God and humanity, as one begets the other. Seva is a Sanskrit word that means more than just service or to serve. It means to serve without the existence of one’s own identity – to serve selflessly. Bhagwan Swaminarayan revived the true meaning of seva and initiated many humanitarian projects among His followers, ranging from digging wells to serving the ill. His personal example, set as a teenager while traveling through southern India, was the selfless service of an ill stranger. Sevakram was a Brahmin who had contracted dysentery. Neelkanth Varni, as Bhagwan Swaminarayan was known at that time, stopped on His travels to nurse Sevakram back to good health, staying for over two months until he was well again.
Pragji Bhakta, the second spiritual successor, set very high standards of seva. For many months, he served the mandir, sadhus, and devotees for twenty hours every day and slept for only four hours. Yogiji Maharaj, the fourth spiritual successor, stressed seva as a form of bhakti and personally engaged in seva like washing utensils and sweeping the floor. Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth and current spiritual successor, has shown the same inclination for seva and never tires of it. Even over the age of 90 , he still spends hours personally meeting and writing to devotees for their well-being and personal growth.
Following the lead of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the devotees of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha also regularly engage in seva. Medical activities are organized to help communities. Educational initiatives guide children on future courses to follow. Volunteers engage in relief activities when a disaster strikes in their area. Blood drives, career fairs, walkathons for charity are among the activities conducted regularly by volunteers from BAPS centers across the world. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s adage, ”In the joy of others, lies our own,” propels the organization to devote time and energy towards humanitarian activities in the service of others.  


India’s ancient traditions and rituals are as relevant today as they were centuries ago. The rites and rituals, art, architecture, dance, theatre, music, and alternative wellness methods passed down for generations have touched millions of people and continue to influence the lives of many around the world. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha reinforces these traditions through activities around its global network. Celebrating festivals, performing special Vedic prayers and rituals, preserving ancient art and architecture, and promoting a healthy lifestyle through yoga and a vegetarian diet are all integral parts of BAPS’ cultural and development activities. These activities celebrate Indian traditions in over 3,850 communities worldwide.

Mystic India

Mystic India is a large format film that rediscovers India by tracing the journey of an 11-year-old child yogi, Neelkanth Varni. From the snow-capped cliffs of the Himalayas, through the dense jungles of eastern India, to the crystal sand beaches of southern India, Neelkanth’s travels share the story of more than a billion different people, their customs, and languages, all unified by their diversity. Mystic India is directed by Keith Melton, and the score is composed by EMMY Award Winner Sam Cardon and renowned flutist Pandit Ronu Majumdar. The film sports a cast of over 45,000 and captures the breathtaking sights, sounds, and awe-inspiring festivals of India. The film was awarded the Audience’s Choice Award in 2005 at the 10th International Large Format Film Festival in Paris, France and has since been used by various educators to teach cultural diversity and Indian heritage to their students. It depicts a true portrait of India’s mysticism.
“I have visited India many times, and would like to go back again. Mystic India has captivated my heart and soul…again.” – Audrey Smith, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
For more information, visit www.MysticIndia.com.

Mandir Timings

Daily Arti
7:00 am & 7:00 pm
Darshan Timings:
Monday - Friday

7:00 am to 12:00 noon

4:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Saturday- Sunday

7:00 am to 8:30 pm

Weekly Assembly

Bal Sabha
Sunday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Balika Sabha
Sunday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Kishore Sabha
Sunday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Kishori Sabha
Sunday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Yuvak Sabha
Sunday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Yuvati Sabha
Sunday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Mahila Sabha
Sunday 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Satsang Sabha
Sunday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Driving Directions

I 35 (North or South):
1. Take the exit 245 toward Parmer Lane/FM-734
2. If you are coming from I 35 North then turn Right on Parmer Lane
3. If you are coming from I 35 South then turn Left on Parmer Lane
4. Turn Left on Metric Blvd
5. Turn left at Running Bird Lane (First Left)
6. The Mandir is at the NW corner of Running Bird Lane and Cedar Bend Dr.

From Mopac Expy / Loop 1 (North or South):
1. Take the exit Parmer Lane/FM 734.
2. If you are coming from Mopac Expy/Loop1 North turn Left on Parmer Lane.
3. If you are coming from Mopac Expy /Loop1 South turn Right on Parmer Lane.
4. Turn Right on Metric Blvd
5. Turn left at Running Bird Lane (First Left)
6. The Mandir is at the NW corner of Running Bird Lane and Cedar Bend Dr.

From Braker Lane (East or West):
1. If you are coming from Braker East turn Right on Metric Blvd.
2. If you are coming from Braker West turn Left on Metric Blvd.
3. Turn Right on Cedar Bend Dr.
4. The Mandir is third property on the left side.

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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