As part of the year-long festivities celebrating the 20th anniversary of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, sadhus from London as well as India visited more than 4,750 homes in 51 centres across the UK and parts of Europe.
Following in the footsteps of Pramukh Swami Maharaj – who has personally visited the homes of thousands of devotees and well-wishers in more than 50 countries – the aim of these padhramnis (home visits by sadhus) was to strengthen family unity and spiritual values.
Each visit lasted at least 30 minutes, allowing an opportunity for young and old family members to discuss any challenges or ask questions. Sadhus addressed these questions and also prayed for peace and well-being in the respective households.
The three-month project was managed by a team of over 850 volunteers, some of whom also travelled the 9,350 miles with the sadhus, visiting homes as far afield as Aberdeen in the UK to Mariestad and Jönköping in Sweden and Lisbon in Portugal.
As a result of the visits, families often resolved to spend more time with one another, for example by having their evening meals together, as well as to perform daily rites and rituals, such as puja, arti, ghar sabha, and cheshta. Many others pledged to relinquish addictions and attend weekly assemblies at their local mandirs or centres.
One young businessman shared that initially he was very apprehensive of sadhus visiting his home. “I had promised my father that I would be present when they [the sadhus] come, only to stop him nagging at me. But I had an excuse ready to leave after five minutes as I was sure they could't possibly say anything that would interest me. Instead, I ended up chatting with them for almost an hour, and was surprised how easily we connected. I learned so much from them, most importantly about myself and how to improve my life and relationships.”
The padhramnis thus served to strengthen core satsang values and bring families closer together.