As the fireworks lit the clear night sky and excitement filled the ground with a marching band from Dallas, TX joining dancers across the courtyard, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj celebrated a grand dedication of the rich history of Indian culture and Hindu Sanatan Dharma as embodied through BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey on October 8, 2023.
Today’s celebration remembers, reveres, and respects all the values that have been instilled within the foundation of Akshardham. Experiencing Akshardham is opening a window into thousands of years of Indian history.
Great sages of India gave generous gifts that helped advance civilization and humankind. Yoga and Ayurveda created a legacy of well-being to restore harmony between body, mind, spirit, and our surroundings. Sanskrit, a rich and abundant language, was used by scholars who hailed as monuments of human intelligence. Acharyas inspired curiosity, encouraged discovery, motivated technological advancements and nurtured exploration in diverse fields of study. Through faithful devotees of Hinduism, the expression of poetry, devotional songs, dance, music and the arts have been carried forward. These influences from India’s rich heritage have converged in the building of Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
A place of spirituality and where worship and traditions come together, Akshardham will now stand alongside great mandirs of centuries past as a pinnacle of devotion for generations to come. At the inauguration of the Akshardham in Gandhinagar and Delhi, Pramukh Swami Maharaj prayed to Bhagwan Swaminarayan that they inspire people to live virtuously to attain peace and joy. The same has been the purpose of Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey. In every stone, there can be found seva (service), shraddha (faith) and samvadita (culture).
The program highlighted how Akshardham was built by sacrifice, by unity, by thousands coming together for one common goal. It represents the stories of the 12,500 volunteers who will forever be etched in history. A story of joy. A story of determination. A story of the unimaginable. A story of countless prayers. A story of service with devotion. It teaches us that the foundation to peace is to have faith and devotion to God, the twin virtues from which Akshardham was born. Pujya Anandswarupdas Swami elaborated on how this Aksdhardham in the United States marks the third of its kind following the locations in Gandhinagar, Gujarat and Delhi, India. Through stories of personal transformations, he conveyed how these Akshardham Mahamandirs have inspired people to do no wrong and see the goodness in humanity while nurturing faith in God.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan, to whom this grand and majestic Akshardham pays homage, introduced social and religious reforms that removed misguided practices. He served the poor and needy. His teachings continue to grant peace and bliss. Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami, who tirelessly carried out Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s vision and Mahant Swami Maharaj’s dedication for Swaminarayan Akshardham, highlighted how Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s wisdom and legacy are carved within every inch of Akshardham, which will spread the messages of his teachings and Sanatan dharma.
In a fitting tribute to our divine gurus who made this magnificent landmark of devotion possible, Pujya Brahmaviharidas Swami echoed the sentiments in all of our hearts. He revealed that we each feel the memory of Pramukh Swami Maharaj is within us. But the greatest proof that he is with us is the proof that the journey Pramukh Swami Maharaj began has been completed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. Sometimes things invisible are more important than things visible. The mahamandir can be seen, but not the foundations upon which it rests. This Akshardham rests upon the invisible foundations that Guruhari Mahant Swami has laid. He is the soul and breath of all the volunteers who served day and night. The world will not forget our gurus because they gifted this Akshardham for generations to come. Time will not forget them because some moments freeze in time, while other moments freeze time.
In his blessings on the grand dedication celebration, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj expanded on how Bhagwan Swaminarayan and swamis, during their time, established Vedic Sanatan Dharma. In the same manner, from the first BAPS mandir in North America in the 1970s till now, Pramukh Swami Maharaj had worked tirelessly to spread the same message laid out by Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He recalled the hard work by the volunteers who helped build Akshardham and how they became instruments in fulfilling Pramukh Swami’s inner wish to create this landmark. Now, many will benefit as they visit Swaminarayan Akshardham.
Several honorable dignitaries attended the grand dedication assembly, sharing their touching impressions on Swaminarayan Akshardham. Through the Consul General of India, New York Randhir Jaiswal shared a message from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PM Modi stated “I am pleased to learn about the opening celebrations of the Akshardham Mahamandir in Robbinsville, New Jersey. It is an occasion of profound spiritual significance for vast religion of devotees worldwide. India’s enduring and illustrious spiritual heritage, holds timeless and universal relevance. Spirituality constitutes an integral element of our socio-cultural heritage and principles. Our philosophy and traditions emphasize that the ultimate goal of an individual's life revolves around seva or selfless service.”
Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami said this Akshardham is a gift to humanity. The stories of Akshardham are of devotion, volunteerism, love, vision, perseverance, and more. This Akshardham is dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s divine abode, Indian tradition, and preserving Hindu Sanatan Dharma.