February 13, 2008
The Honorable Houston Mayor
Bill White accompanied by his wife, Andrea White, visited
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, Texas on the
evening of February 13, 2008.
The Mayor arrived shortly after
6:30 pm and was introduced to several national and local
BAPS volunteers. Dressed in colorful Indian clothes, children
greeted Mayor Bill White in the traditional Hindu manner
by applying a chandlo to his forehead and tying a nada chhadhi
on his right wrist, to the accompaniment of vedic prayers
Mrs. White was also welcomed
in the traditional Hindu manner by the ladies volunteers
of BAPS. She had recently visited the mandir and was familiar
with the traditional welcome.
The Mayor and Mrs. White then
proceeded to the central dome of the mandir, before taking
part in sandhya (evening) arti. After the arti finished,
the head sadhu of the Mandir, Pujya Anirdesh Swami welcomed
the Mayor with a garland.
Mayor White commented to the
sadhus on the beauty of Bhagwan Swaminarayan's murti along
with the mandir. The couple then proceeded to the sanctum
sanctorum where they offered flower petals at the central
shrine. Both spent several minutes absorbing the peace and
beautiful intricate architecture of the Mandir. More than
the carvings, the spirit and volunteer efforts with which
the mandir was built astounded more so. They were genuinely
appreciative of all the BAPS community service activities
in the Houston area.
Upon seeing the murti of Pramukh
Swami Maharaj, Mayor White recalled his visit with Pramukh
Swami Maharaj. He was amazed that even at the age of 87,
Pramukh Swami Maharaj continues to travel around the world
and how his inspiration, divinity and guidance are felt
by all. Finally, the Mayor was presented with a beautiful
picture of the mandir as a memento of his visit.