The NSW Premier, the Hon. Mike Baird visited the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Sydney on Sunday, 15 March 2015 to take part in a special blessing ritual in front of hundreds of devotees and visitors.
Mr. Baird offered prayers for world peace and harmony by offering ‘abhishek’, the ceremonial pouring of sanctified water on the sacred image of Sri Nilkanth Varni.
A number of other dignitaries, including Liberal State MP's, Dr. Geoff Lee, Member for Parramatta and Tony Issa, Member for Granville were also present in the gathering.
In an address to the assembly, Mr. Baird praised the positive impact of the Indian community in NSW and reflected on his recent visit to the Indian state of Gujarat on the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister.
He said “I have had much opportunity to reflect on the Hindu faith and I know of the journey that Hindus have taken from India and East Africa to Sydney. One of the great things about the faith is its focus on unity and harmony. Despite us being close to an election I did go the Vibrant Gujarat Festival in January and what a treat and pleasure it was. I had the opportunity to again meet the Prime Minister and he shared his ongoing vision for India."
Mr. Baird praised the spirit of volunteerism and selfless service shown at the BAPS Mandir which is thanks to its spiritual leader His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.