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Social Services in Dharmic Dimensions” by Ms. Anju Bhargava

The inaugural lecture at the recently opened BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute in Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi, was held on 14 November 2010, with support from the BAPS Women’s Wing in New Delhi. Titled “Social Services in Dharmic Dimensions” the lecture was delivered by the chief guest, Ms. Anju Bhargava, founder of the Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) and a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood partnership, a Senior Vice President at Bank of America and a Principal Director at Global Synergy Associates.

The event was chaired by Ms. Nitaben Shah, Director of Gujarat State e-governance and senior BAPS Women’s Activities volunteer for the past 30 years. The program opened with Vedic prayers and traditional lighting of the lamp, after which Ms. Bhargava was honoured with flowers. This was followed by a brief introduction to the BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute and BAPS Women’s Wing activities.

Thereafter, in her presentation, Ms. Anju Bharagav emphasised on seva in society through Mandirs, Churches, Mosques and other religious places of worship. Explaining the importance of rituals, Ms. Bhargava said, “Many people feel rituals are unnecessary. Why should we have rituals? What is the meaning behind them? They think that it is a mindless way of doing something. It is not mindless, it is actually mind-expansion, when you understand this with the philosophy, with the stories, and that really it is an inner journey, which is our philosophy, Sat-chit-anand, and which is the Hindu goal of life.”

Then, during the Q&A session the chief speaker insightfully answered the audience’s questions and engaged in a healthy discussion on society and spiritualism.

Finally, chairperson, Ms. Nitaben Shah, addressed the gathering, “Dedicated volunteers can work with enthusiasm if they have strong leaders. BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha performs successfully because it has a great spiritual leader, Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”

In this way, this inaugural function was successfully concluded and will now continue at regular intervals throughout the year.

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