International

UK PRIME MINISTER, HOME SECRETARY VISIT BAPS MANDIR

November 10, 2021 09:42 AM

Raj Sadosh

Abohar/London.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Priti Patel, Secretary of State for the Home Department, celebrated the vibrant Hindu festival of Diwali and the Hindu New Year with members of the local community at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as ‘Neasden Temple’.

This was the PM’s fifth visit to the Mandir. He was greeted in a traditional Hindu manner.

The Home Secretary was similarly welcomed upon her arrival at the Mandir earlier and joined the PM to offer a fruit basket at the central shrine of the mandir’s inner sanctum. They spent several minutes absorbing the peace and intricate architecture. They also observed the annakut – literally, ‘mountain of food’ – artistically arranged before the deities as the first meal of the New Year, offered in thanksgiving for God’s gracious providence and to be later shared amongst worshippers. They performed the Abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni, the teenage form of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

Sharing his impressions, Mr Johnson said: “What His Holiness [Pramukh Swami Maharaj] has contributed to the United Kingdom has been incalculable. I saw it here today at the Neasden Temple. I have been here many times, but I don’t think I have ever been here at a time when the Neasden Temple has been so central to the life of the whole of the London community.”

The distinguished guests viewed exhibits summarising Neasden Temple’s nationwide Covid-19 relief efforts – an initiative inspired by Mahant Swami Ji Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS).

Sharing his impressions, Mr Johnson said: “What His Holiness [Pramukh Swami Maharaj] has contributed to the United Kingdom has been incalculable. I saw it here today at the Neasden Temple. I have been here many times, but I don’t think I have ever been here at a time when the Neasden Temple has been so central to the life of the whole of the London community.”

Priti Patel said, “The Temple has been at the forefront of every single activity in the local community, but also at a time of a national crisis which, of course, the pandemic was. She also spoke about the “incredible work” of the Mandir, which Johnson lauded as “an absolutely perfect representation of community spirit in action”.

Sanjay Kara, a BAPS trustee in the UK, said, “It was an honour to have the PM and the Home Secretary join the local community of British Hindus to celebrate Diwali at Neasden Temple. We offer our prayers that they can serve the public ably and look forward to working with them in support of our great nation.”

 
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