Under the inspiration of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha continues to perform the social services initiated by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj based on the values promoted by Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
To help ease the impact on the poor and needy during the current coronavirus pandemic lockdown, over 1,000 sadhus and 5,000 volunteers of the BAPS have joined in the BAPS relief efforts taking place in India and abroad. The BAPS has also contributed to the Prime Minister’s and Chief Minister’s Fund.
BAPS is serving the community in the following ways:
1. Public Awareness
International Festival Cancelled
Even before the first case of coronavirus infection was detected in Gujarat, in the interest of public health and safety, the BAPS cancelled an international festival scheduled from 5 to 10 March, for which preparations had been ongoing over the past year.
All Public Assemblies and Satsang Programmes Cancelled
Worldwide, every week, hundreds of thousands of people attend the total of 20,000 assemblies for children, teenagers, youths and adults that are conducted at the 4,500 BAPS mandirs and centres. All these assemblies have been suspended and the need for social distancing and personal hygiene has been widely promoted.
In addition, prayer and mahapuja sessions are being held to provide inner peace and strength in these challenging times.
While maintaining social distancing, the sadhus and thousands of experienced volunteers provide guidance and comfort via the phone to many.
2. Spirituality at Home
In place of the weekly assemblies at BAPS mandirs and centres, online assemblies and apps, enabling everyone to participate from home, provide regular spiritual guidance and reinforce the importance of adhering to the government guidelines to contain the pandemic.
These creative and enjoyable assemblies and apps, presented in various languages, reinforce spiritual, social and moral values and family harmony.
3. Emergency Relief Activities
To support the needy amid the present hardships, BAPS centres throughout India – Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Navsari, Bharuch, Rajkot, Gondal, Silvassa, Mahuva, Junagadh, Dhari, Petlad, Pindwada, Sarangpur and others – continue to provide local communities as required, in the following ways:
Daily, hot freshly cooked meals are packed for distribution to the needy. Over 100,000 meals will be provided during the lockdown period.
During the lockdown, over 60 tons of fresh vegetables, such as potatoes, brinjals, cabbage, cauliflower, gourd, tomatoes, chillies, lemons, ginger, etc. are being distributed, providing for 24,000 meals a day – over 500,000 in total for 21 days.
Around 10,000 ration kits containing one month’s supply of flour, dal, rice, oil, spices, gur, etc. have been distributed to needy families.
In addition, with the combined efforts of the Collector of Vadodara and the BAPS Mandir in Atladara, 100,000 such kits are being prepared by BAPS volunteers.
Over 5,000 N95 masks and 8,000 care kits have been distributed.
Also, suitable BAPS premises have been offered for emergency medical use.
4. International Relief Efforts
BAPS centres in USA, Canada, UK, Africa and Australia have also actively contributed as per the local needs in combating the pandemic.
5. Selfless Efforts by Sadhus and Volunteers
While maintaining social distancing and appropriate hygiene standards, 1,000 sadhus and 5,000 volunteers are currently engaged in executing these various relief activities.
6. Prime Minister’s and Chief Minister’s Fund Contribution
In addition to spending millions of rupees to provide these relief provisions, the BAPS has contributed 72 lakh rupees to the Prime Minister’s and Chief Minister’s Fund.