A Millennial Moment
Dedication Assembly | BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi, UAE | 14 February 2024
The iconic new BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi was inaugurated on 14 February 2024 by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj along with the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and the eminent Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence for the UAE, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan.
The new Mandir, constructed on land generously gifted by the UAE president and ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was guided and inspired by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a global Hindu fellowship.
The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi is the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East, and stands as a testament to the enduring friendship between India and the UAE, embodying the spirit of cultural inclusivity, interfaith harmony, and community collaboration. 
After arriving at the Mandir, Prime Minister Modi was warmly welcomed by Anandswarupdas Swami on behalf of BAPS and thereafter by community members from across India and the UAE as well as religious leaders from diverse faith communities. 
During an extensive interactive tour of the temple campus provided by Brahmaviharidas Swami, Prime Minister Modi learned about some of the inspiring features of the Mandir that promote universal compassion, respect, charity, and learning.
Inside the Mandir, upon seeing His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the Prime Minister bowed respectfully to the global Hindu leader, before participating in a short Vedic ceremony paying homage to the seven Hindu deities enshrined under the seven spires of the Mandir, themselves reflecting the unity of the seven emirates of the UAE. 
His Holiness and Mr Modi then conducted a grand arti (ceremony of light) of the deities, which was simultaneously performed by thousands at BAPS temples and homes across the world, with millions more watching online through the live webcast.
After meeting volunteers, children, artisans and others from all over the world who have supported the construction of this magnificent temple, Prime Minister Modi helped carve ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ into a block of stone. The message of ‘the world is one family’ has been the foundational principle of the Mandir, guided by the life and work of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj.
Prime Minister Modi and Sheikh Nahayan then arrived in the assembly where thousands had gathered to celebrate the opening of the Mandir.
In his keynote address, Prime Minister Modi said: “Today, the UAE has written a golden chapter in the history of humanity through this Mandir.”
“The BAPS Hindu Mandir is for all of humanity. So I have every faith that the Mandir will usher in a new age of faith and hope, bringing the whole world together in harmony and collaboration.”
“The magnificent Mandir that we see today in Abu Dhabi is because it was first envisioned years ago [in 1997] by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Today, Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s heart will be glowing with joy at its fruition.”
“We must also thank my brother Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan [the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi], because it is his generosity that has made possible a mandir so beautiful and magnificent. On behalf of all Indians, I thank Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and the UAE Government.”
The Prime Minister then called for a standing ovation from the audience as an expression of heartfelt gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In his blessings, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj emphasised the importance of the new Mandir as “an abode of love, peace and harmony.” He then explained, “Harmony can be achieved when we do not expect harmony from others, but instead when we strive for harmony ourselves. For that, we must ask ourselves: ‘What can I do, what can I say, and what can I think to nourish harmony?’”
His Holiness added, “Harmony is the power of God, and humility is the way of God. With this understanding, we can serve humanity.”
He went on to pray for the prosperity, progress, and peace of the UAE, India, and the world.
Sharing his sentiments on this momentous occasion, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan first thanked Prime Minister Modi for visiting the UAE. “We are proud to welcome a great friend from a great and friendly country.” 
The Tolerance and Coexistence Minister also welcomed His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and thanked him for building the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi. He said, “Today marks the beginning of something special. The new Mandir will serve as both a place of worship and as a community centre for all.” 
After introducing Mahant Swami Maharaj as “a powerful advocate for human harmony” and “a renowned global leader whose teachings are a source of spirituality, inspiration, and joy,” HE Sheikh Nahayan added, “Your visit, Your Holiness, is an opportunity for us to marvel at your example in working cooperatively to resolve conflicts between different communities and to build a spirit of tolerance as a gateway to understanding, mutual respect, and peace.”
In his address earlier in the assembly, Brahmaviharidas Swami, who has been leading the Mandir project from conception to completion under the guidance and inspiration of Mahant Swami Maharaj, also thanked the generosity of the UAE leadership and the leadership of Mr Modi, and applauded the friendship between the two that helped create the Mandir. He added, “The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi gives hope to all of humanity that the miracle of harmony is indeed possible and worth pursuing.” 
In the morning, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj had performed the Vedic consecration ceremony that ritually infused the sacred images with the divine presence of God.
Together, the consecration ceremony and dedication assembly formally opened the BAPS Hindu Mandir to the world as a gift to generations, to nations, and to the future. 

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