BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills, CA

On the weekend of December 22-23, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami and Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami attended the inauguration of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills, near Los Angeles, California.

Saturday we toured the mandir and conducted a series of interviews for an article in Hinduism Today about the temple, followed by attending the first part of the Vishwa Shanti Maha Yagna. Finally, we met with Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami, known affectionately as Kotari Swami, one of six revered satgurus (the equivalent of the acharyas in our swami order) of the BAPS fellowship. Meeting with the BAPS swamis is always a special moment of satsang among brothers.

Sunday morning we arrived at the temple early to participate in the official inauguration, opening of the doors and then the Prana Pratishtha of the murtis inside. After the arati we were taken downstairs for abhishekam of Nilkanth Varni, the golden murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan as a young boy traveling barefoot in the forests of India, then to the giant tent set up as an assembly hall for speeches, video presentations and cultural performances. There, several swamis of the BAPS order spoke, and Bodhinatha gave a wonderful speech, which we hope to post to YouTube soon. The whole of the morning's events was webcast live, and an edited version should be available soon at www.baps.org.

Jai Swaminarayan! Aum Namah Sivaya!

Happy Day Three of Pancha Ganapati!

The third shakti of Lord Ganesha is this same love extended to all persons one has dealings with in the external world: business associates, a casual merchant and the public at large. It is honest and harmonious relationships in conducting the business of trade and dealings in goods, finance and the distribution of the wealth of the world. This is a most important vibration to be felt, and constantly felt. This shakti of the Lord is tenuous to hold onto, for worldly and materialistic forces, as you well know, militate against this kind of harmony. But once these lower powers are conquered, worries cease, concerns are alleviated and heartfelt joy comes. Such is the grace of loving Ganesha. As the Tirukural (120) declares, "Those businessmen will prosper whose business protects as their own the interests of others."

Media Studio Progresses

Several teams are at work on the renovation of the monastery publications building. One is at work doing the all-important demolition. Another is working on design for the floors and walls. A third is engineering the drawings, permits, budgets and work flow (critical path planning). A fourth is busy assembling the ceiling. It is not to be an ordinary ceiling. No. This ceiling is made entirely of Kauai woods (mostly camphor and Rainbow Eucalyptus), milled at the monastery and shaped and planed by our team of thondars. Now they are doing the final touches, sanding, assembling the units and varnishing.

The ceiling is made of eighteen four-foot-square panels. Inset in them are three-foot panels of Indian tribal art and kolams. The colors are soft, since these panels will be the reflective surfaces that bathe the room in indirect light.

The slideshow shows the team at work today and four of the kolam art panels.

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