The traveling monks spent two days at the feet of Dakshinamurti, housed at the famous Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. We wanted to visit and pay our respects to Dayananda Saraswati. The second day of our visit was his second mahasamadhi celebrations.
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam (Under the auspices of Arsha Vidya Pitham) is an institute for the traditional study of Advaita Vedanta, Sanskrit, yoga, Ayurveda, astrology, and other classical Indian disciplines--founded by Pujya Dayananda Saraswati. Home to several resident monks, the center's 14 acres has housing for retreat getaways, advanced seminars and long programs ranging from one to three years.
Please visit their website, linked above, for all their details.
We had the fortune to have two meetings before leaving The Big Apple
After visiting the Sri Chinmoy Aspiration Grounds, Swami Parameshanandaji was able to take the monks over to a temple he helps support called the New York Hindu Milan Mandir. This mandir is located in "little India" around Jamaica, Queens—the most diverse city in America.
New York is home to Sri Chinmoy's home and spiritual headquarters where he trained others in the contemplative life. He named it Aspiration Ground and it is alive and well; it is a place to get away from the disturbance of the city noise and dive within. This was Paramacharya's second visit to this oasis in the middle of a Queens town, a park of peace that has kept this region balanced for decades. On October 11 this Bengali Guru's devotees will mark ten years since his Great Departure. As you will recall, Sri Chinmoy was among the most prominent Indian masters to bring meditation and true sadhana to the West. He was our Hindu of the Year in 1997 and he presented Gurudeva with the U Thant Peace Award at the United Nations in 2000. So this visit of the shishyas of two illumined masters was sweet and profound.
A divine friendship between two orders--BAPS Swaminarayan Fellowship of over 1,000 sadhus and the small Nandinatha Sampradaya--was celebrated during an event with thousands of devotees in attendance. When the BAPS monks heard that Hinduism Today's editor, Paramacharaya Sadasivanathaswami, was coming to New York, they reached out to share that the timing was amazing. Satguru Mahant Swami Maharaj, successors to Pramukh Swami Maharaj, was completing three months in America and they hoped Paramacharya could honor Mahant Swami on the stage on his final night when he was to say farewell and return to India.
The night was also special in that a major scriptural text was being released, and the author, Swami Bhadreshdas, has been working with Paramacharya on projects for about two years. Bhadreshdas has also visited Kauai Aadheenam when he presented an earlier 11-volume work to Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami.
It was a true confluence of the highest nature. This humble slideshow portrays only a fraction of the astounding love and bhakti that the BAPS Fellowship brings wherever they go. The sheer number of monks and sincere devotees in one place is intoxicating. Our hope is that you get a sense of the detail and perfection that this order puts into their temples, their gatherings and their teachings. Jai Swaminarayan! Jai Kailasa Parampara! May we keep this bond for yugas to come.