The weekend of June 2-3, 2018 marked a historic occasion for the greater Milwaukee area, as the very first BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in the state of Wisconsin officially opened its doors to the community. The two-day celebration commemorating the Mandir opening attracted devotees and well-wishers from all parts of the local and regional community.
Satsang in the greater Milwaukee area began through the inspiration of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who personally visited and blessed the devotees of the region during his vicharan in 1984 and 1988. Since then, a handful of families regularly came together to conduct satsang assemblies. Over the years, the congregation grew and the need for a mandir became evident. Over the past several years, the devotees wholeheartedly dedicated themselves to make the dream of a mandir into a reality. Their hard work and sacrifice culminated in the inauguration of the new mandir.
The festivities began on Saturday, June 2, 2018, with a Vishwashānti Mahāyagna, where devotees prayed for peace in the world and the good of the community. That same afternoon, a kirtan ārādhanā (singing of devotional hymns) was performed by swamis and devotees.
The auspicious occasion of Murti Pratishthā took place on Sunday, June 3, 2018. Devotees and members of local Hindu community partook in the Vedic mahāpujā. Thereafter, Sadguru Pujya Ghanshyamcharan Swami conducted the Pratishthā rituals, infusing divinity in the murtis, amidst the chanting of Vedic mantras and prayers. The murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Aksharbrahma Shri Gunatitanand Swami, Shri Guru Parampara, Shri Radha-Krishna, Shri Sita-Ram-Hanumanji, and Shri Shiv-Parvati-Ganeshji were consecrated. These murtis were originally consecrated by HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj in Sarangpur, India on February 6, 2015.
During the afternoon, the women of BAPS Milwaukee came together for a special Women’s Cultural Program. Through dances, dramas and speeches, these women portrayed the integral role that mandir plays in positively shaping their lives. For those in attendance, it was an opportunity to reflect on the timeless traditions and values that the Mandir instills in all.
The completion of the mandir marks a new chapter for the devotees of BAPS Milwaukee and one they eagerly awaited. The mandir will become a focal point for cultural, spiritual and charitable enrichment for generations to come.