the Akshar Purushottam
Sanstha has expanded into an
international organisation. With
centres all over the world and
over 550 sadhus, it is a firmly
established Faith in todays
society. Its activities range from
building a traditional seven-spired
temple in London to teaching the
backward classes of Gujarat
to read and write.
However, with the growth of any
organisation there are always a
few people who are curious
about the objectives of the new
Sanstha. For example,
Why do you spend so much
money in celebrating big
festivals?, Are you not
damaging the future of the country
by initiating young graduates as
sadhus?, Is the Swaminarayan
Sanstha a part of Hinduism?
Such questions are put to
Swamishri by reporters, sceptics
and even detractors of the
Sanstha and its activities.
Whatever their motives may be,
these questions give us a clear
picture of this Sanstha and its
objectives; for todays
society and for the future.
as President (Pramukh) and spiritual master, is the person to answer
such queries. For it is through his efforts that the Sanstha has become
what it is today. In fact, it is fair to say that Pramukh Swami is
C.B. Patel : Many people do not consider the Swaminarayan Sampradaya
as part of Hinduism. Others claim that the name of Radha-Krishna
has been completely removed.
Swamishri : This Sanstha is definitely a part of Hinduism! In the
same way as many other religions, our beliefs are not different
from Hindu dharma. We can see this immediately if we read the Sampradayas
scriptures. In all the temples built by Him, Shriji Maharaj has
installed images of all the incarnations of God. Whereas the Vaishnavs
only install images of Shri Krishna and followers of Lord Rama only
install images of Sita and Rama. Does that exclude them from the
eternal Hindu Culture? That is their faithful devotion to their
God. Shriji Maharaj has written that one should respectively bow
before all devas, but keep faith in only one - Purushottam
Narayan. In all the temples of the Sampradaya, there are images
of devas and they are all served food and worshipped. When Shriji
Maharaj talks about Brahman and Parabrahman, He does so using knowledge
from the Vedas. He has never ostracised any deva.
Dipak Bavaskar : How does mankind benefit from Satsang and from
Swamishri : There are many benefits. By going to the temple mans
faith in dharma is strengthened. He develops bhakti towards God,
his life is transformed and his evil instincts are destroyed. The
result of all this is that he experiences everlasting bliss. He
experiences every type of peace - at work, in his home, in society
and in his mind. Above all, he attains spiritual peace in his soul.
By doing Satsang, he learns how to live in society without becoming
entangled in it.