A special online programme for mahilas was webcast on Saturday 15 August as part of the series of events celebrating the 25th anniversary of London Mandir.
The programme, titled ‘Sarvasva Arpanam: Inspiration, Creation and Celebration’, centred on the inspirational sacrifices by women that made the Mandir possible and their continuing contributions over the last 25 years.
The documentary-style production drew upon rare video footage, historical photographs and personal accounts from young and senior devotees.
Women shared their experiences of the incredible sacrifices made to raise funds for the Mandir as well as their physical seva during its construction – all whilst continuing to support their families and further their own careers. They creatively presented the six-day Mandir Mahotsav festival through a series of couplets, narrations and drawings. Their vivid descriptions and treasured personal memories brought to life the divine atmosphere of the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 1995.
Over the last 25 years, the Mandir has brought together multiple generations and supported countless women through every stage of their life journey. Its profound impact on the wider community was illustrated through written and recorded messages from prominent figures, led by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Rt Hon Priti Patel. She reflected on the Mandir’s contribution to London’s “multi-culturalism” and the way in which “it has brought together people of all faiths and no faiths and all backgrounds”.
Carolyne Downs, CEO of Brent Council, described the Mandir as “one of the most important sites in Britain”. Dame Cressida Dick, Head of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, praised the Mandir’s work “in promoting universal values of social stability, moral dignity, family unity, cultural harmony, moral integration and global responsibility”. Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, spoke of the experience of “peace, calmness and serenity” during her visits, and commended the Mandir’s support for the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The celebrations concluded with heartfelt prayers of gratitude from all women who pledged to uphold the Mandir’s noble values of charity and service for generations to come.
Radhika Patel, aged 20, shared her impressions of the programme: “Learning about the commitment and dedication of women to help create this magnificent mandir has provided me with even more motivation to serve like they have. I also now understand the sacrifices that my mother and grandmother and many other women made to fulfil the vision of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”
The 2.5-hour programme vividly revealed how and why women of all ages are an indispensable part of the Mandir’s past, present and future.