The internationally renowned Indian yoga guru, Jagadish Vasudev, better known as Sadhguru, visited BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London (popularly known as ‘Neasden Temple’), on Saturday 19 March 2022.
Sadhguru is a proponent of Hindu spirituality and has been teaching yoga in southern India since 1982. In 1992, he established the Isha Foundation near Coimbatore, which operates an ashram and yoga centre that provides educational activities. He is the author of several books and a frequent speaker at international forums. In 2017, he received the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, for his contributions to social welfare.
Sadhguru was received at the ceremonial gates by trustees of the Mandir and then greeted with a traditional welcome by Yogvivekdas Swami, Head Swami of the Mandir, on behalf of Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
After paying his respects at the shrines in the upper sanctum and performing abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni, Sadhguru met with members of the Hindu community and engaged with volunteers at the Mandir to understand some of its outreach work, such as the relief efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic and BAPS’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
A special evening assembly was held in the presence of Sadhguru, attended by Lord Rami Ranger CBE, Bob Blackman MP, Virendra Sharma MP, and several other leaders of Hindu temples and associations. During an interactive dialogue, Sadhguru explained his global ‘Save Soil’ campaign and elaborated upon his incredible solo motorbike journey from London to the Kaveri in India – 30,000 kilometres across 25 nations in 100 days – to raise awareness about the need to increase the organic content in cultivable soil.
Sadhguru also paid tribute to the Mandir’s charitable community services: “When human beings are committed beyond their own life, they will do things that most others cannot imagine. That I see here [at the Mandir], and that I deeply appreciate.”
Sharing his impressions of his visit, Sadhguru spoke of the “enormous amount of dedication, focus and devotion” taken to create this “exquisite” Mandir, and paid tribute to the legacy of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj by reflecting on the many people who attend and make use of the Mandir, “fulfilling the purpose [behind the creation of the Mandir by Pramukh Swami Maharaj].” He also drew upon the lasting impact of the activities undertaken by BAPS across the UK and Europe. “These are things that will live forever and inspire people for a long time to come.”
Nitin Palan MBE, a lead BAPS volunteer in the UK, added, “It was an honour to welcome Sadhguruji and support his important global campaign. Here in communities across the UK, BAPS will be doing our bit, too. As a part of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s centennial birth anniversary this year, we are contributing to the ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ project by encouraging households to plant a tree at their home. We wish Sadhguruji all the best in his mission of raising vital awareness about saving our soil.”