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“Today was a great experience and was well worth it. I would like to come again.”

Kishores and kishoris of BAPS UK held their first ‘Bring-A-Friend’ Day at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London on Friday 4 April 2008. More than 500 young satsangis and their guests from around the country were treated to a memorable evening of hospitality and spirituality.

A warm and professional welcome set the tone for the evening as guests were collected from tube and train stations and greeted by senior karyakars. As they entered the Mandir complex, friends were allowed a special photo opportunity with their satsangi host.

Friends were then treated to a guided tour around the Mandir and ‘Understanding Hinduism’ exhibition before coming to the Abhishek Mandapam where everyone was offered the opportunity to ritually bathe the murti of Shri Nilkanth Varni.

The guests then gathered inside the Haveli for a cultural programme, which opened with a special screening of Mystic India. The inspiring history of the Mandir was retold through a video presentation, followed by a vivid enactment of Alexander the Great and his time in India where he learnt the power of spirituality. Personal experiences of kishores and kishoris were narrated in an emotional passage of the evening to illustrate the powerful positive impact the Mandir has had in the lives of youths today.

Yogvivek Swami, the head sadhu of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, later addressed the assembly and spoke of the need for values along with education, and the Mandir as a centre for cultural, social and spiritual well-being. The cultural programme ended with insightful video presentations about BAPS Youth Activities in the UK and the inspirer of BAPS’ worldwide activities, Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

The conclusion of the evening was fittingly provided with a grand and traditional vegetarian meal. As the guests departed, everyone was presented a gift pack of informative reading material and mementoes of the Mandir.

In all, the evening proved a great success for everyone involved. Kishores and kishoris said they felt much more confident about sharing the message of the Mandir, Swamishri and the Sanstha with others. Some had brought up to 12 friends. Their friends all agreed that they had had an inspiring and enjoyable evening.

A selection of the guests’ experiences as noted in the Visitor Book is provided below:

“Thank you so much for letting me come to see this great place. Thanks also for your hospitality. I loved the food.”

Simon Jenkins

“What an amazing place… kind of awe-inspiring. Thank you for having us.”

Jemima

“I very much enjoyed finding out more about the Hindu culture. I feel I know a lot more about it and it has answered quite a few questions I had. I would like to thank you all for being so welcoming and for the delicious meal you have provided. God bless you all.”

L.J.

“I really enjoyed my time here today. It was a real eye-opener. I have been past the Mandir but never been in! Thanks to my friend, that I came today.”

Shivani Patel

“Very interesting and very beautiful. Lovely to understand more about my friend’s beliefs.”

Laura

“The experience was magical and provided a new insight into other cultures. I will definitely find more information as I believe it has provided motivation to inspire all.”

Daniel Lee

“My experience this evening has reminded me of how life should be lived – through righteous values which many people tend to neglect!”

Neil Hirani

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