The COVID-19 global pandemic has brought uncertainty and unrest on an unprecedented scale. At a time when world leaders and scientists are doing all they can to manage and ultimately overcome the virus, people of faith have also come together to contribute.
In the UK, Sunday 22 March 2020 was declared as a ‘National Day of Prayer and Action’, inviting people of prayer across all faiths to unite and seek help, solace and strength from God.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha observed the day with a special abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
The ceremony began with the auspicious lighting of the divo while the Shanti Paath, an ancient Vedic peace prayer, was sung.
Swamis prayed for all those affected around the world by the disease, and paid tribute to the healthcare professionals and frontline personnel who are working tirelessly to help the afflicted. They also prayed for the families who have sadly lost loved ones.
The ceremony was streamed live online with devotees around the UK and in Europe joining with the abhishek of Nilkanth Varni simultaneously in their homes.
During the abhishek, swamis at the mandir and thousands in their respective homes recited the 108 auspicious and liberating names of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Together, they offered their personal and heartfelt prayers.
Although separated by physical distance, worshippers were connected digitally, side by side through technology, with a common and profound sense of devotion and prayer.
A mother from Watford who performed the ceremony at home with her family shared, “Thank you for organising the wonderful and divine abhishek. My husband and I are on the front line serving patients and risking our health daily. These prayers have given me the strength to confront this challenge. I have prayed to Maharaj [Bhagwan Swaminarayan] and Guruhari Mahant Swami Maharaj to protect me, my family and my colleagues and for all those who have suffered through this terrible tragedy.”