Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in United Kingdom-6

Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in United Kingdom

BAPS  Swami Narasyan  Sanstha, Sothend-on-Sea Essex, UK

The address for this Mandir is
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
190 Queensway
Southend-on-Sea Essex UK SS1 2LU
 Phone: 01702 617381

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. 

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. 
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Southend-on-Sea, hosted its first one-day satsang shibir on Sunday 8 May 2011.
The shibir, themed ‘Kariye Raji Ghanshyam’, was aimed at learning how to please Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj through the three key principles of Mahima, Milan and Mamatva.
The day comprised of discourses by sadhus, group discussions and team building activities, all of which were enjoyed by almost 90 devotees.
The first session, on Mahima, highlighted how one can fully appreciate the glory of devotees and sadhus by taking examples from Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s time as well as those present now. The second session, Milan, focussed on serving together with unity and fraternity. The third and final session, Mamatva, inspired all to develop greater affection for the mandir.
A deeper understanding and practice of all three principles would help one progress spiritually and ultimately result in inner peace and happiness due to the grace of God and guru.
In addition, the ladies also enjoyed garba in the presence of Harikrishna Maharaj which provided the perfect end to an enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable day.


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

Rituals are an important part of everyday life in the Hindu tradition. These rites and rituals are not rooted in blind faith or superstition; rather, they have a practical application and relevance to people’s everyday lives. BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha followers live by the code of conduct established by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and by the guidance of the current guru. These practices stabilize the mind and purify its thoughts. They are the answer to maintaining one’s focus on God admidst one’s daily routine. This section provides an introduction to these timeless Hindu rites and rituals. 

The word ‘puja’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘puj,’ meaning to worship or to adore. Nitya Puja, or daily puja, is a prayer ritual performed every morning by Hindu devotees. A devotee can communicate with God during daily puja and convey one’s concerns and feelings directly to God. Puja helps an individual concentrate on the divine murti of God and His gunatit sadhu. It helps to calm the mind and quiet its many thoughts. Each morning, after having brushed and bathed but prior to eating or drinking, devotees put on freshly washed clothes and sit facing in a northern or eastern direction on a clean piece of cloth, or asana. The northern direction symbolizes the path for spiritual progress, and the sun rises in the eastern direction, symbolizing enlightenment. Devotees then lay out before them the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the guru parampara on another asana while reciting a Sanskrit verse inviting them to grace their puja. Thereafter, a male devotee places a tilak-chandlo made from chandan and kumkum on his forehead, while female devotees apply a kumkum chandlo. During puja, followers of Bhagwan Swaminarayan meditate on His divine form and their atma, acknowledging that their existence is separate from the body. They then engage in dhyan, yoga/pranayam, mansi, mala, dandavat, pradakshina, and prarthana. Devotees recite another shloka signaling the end of the puja and then read 5 shlokas from the Shikshapatri. After finishing puja, devotees say “Jai Swaminarayan” to those present and bow down, or perform panchang pranam, to their parents. Beginning each day in this manner spiritually prepares one’s mind for the stress associated with daily tasks. 


Seva, or selfless service to society, is a cornerstone of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. Bhagwan Swaminarayan initiated this tradition of integrating service with spirituality in the late 18th century through a groundbreaking program of social work.  Today, Pramukh Swami Maharaj continues this tradition through a wide range of humanitarian activities including:  (1) health and wellness; (2) education; (3) environmental awareness; (4) community empowerment and (5) disaster relief.  Together with its international and independent partner BAPS Charities, BAPS and its tens of thousands of volunteers continue to uphold this Spirit of Service, enriching their own lives and the lives of those they serve

Culture and heritage are a distinct part of the identity of an individual and a community. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha hosts a variety of initiatives to help Indians stay connected with their cultural roots. The Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi and Gandhinagar stand as a testament to the 10,000 year old culture of the Indian subcontinent and will remain a tribute for future generations. Various exhibitions and special Mega Festivals bring India to the doorsteps of Indians living both geographically and ideologically outside of India. Mystic India, the first large format film ever produced about India, transported the mysticism of India to the hearts and homes of millions worldwide. BAPS mandirs preserve ancient Hindu traditions. They are a celebrated example of majestic Indian architecture and promote a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle prescribed by the ancient sages. Through BAPS’ many cultural initiatives, millions of people can experience they beauty of India and its traditions.



How Festivals Enrich Society :
India is a land of a thousand holy festivals and rituals. Its colorful panorama reflect the religion, culture and custom of one of the most ancient and richest of civilizations. Hinduism worships and celebrates the birth and victories of its deities and holy men through festivals and rituals.
Through colors, sounds and profound sentiments it elevates and motivates the inner core of individuals. Its festive ambience invigorates and enthuses the individual from the monotony of daily life.
This special section provides a window to the history, significance and experience of a selected number of annual festivals, rituals and customs in Indian culture. Like the golden sun, festivals refresh and recharge humanity in more than one way.
Aesthetically : Festivals are a poetry of arts and crafts, and encourage the latent talents of people.
Emotionally : Festivals lend joy and zest to the monotony of life, providing entertainment and enrichment through discourses and seminars, music and melodies, dances and rhythms of a meaningful life.
Socially : festivals bring man closer to man in peaceful understanding. Social harmony is nourished as people of different nationalities, races, religions and backgrounds come together to share their joys and delights.
Morally : Festivals promote higher and better life. Guiding masses away from drugs and addictions, hatred and violence, they nourish the values of service, sacrifice, discipline, unity and cooperation - restoring man's moral dignity.
Culturally : Festivals retrace old traditions and strengthen our cultural roots by providing deeper insights.
Spiritually : Festivals inspire and consolidate faith in God. An atmosphere of purity and prayers elevate the soul and helps generate a feeling of universal brotherhood, inter-religious harmony and personal piety.

Contact us:
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
190 Queensway
Southend-on-Sea SS1 2LU Essex UK
Phone: 01702 617381

E-mail: info.southend@uk.baps.org


Om Tat Sat

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

(The Blog  is reverently for all the seekers of truth, lovers of wisdom and   to share the Hindu Dharma with others on the spiritual path and also this is purely  a non-commercial blog)


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