New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy visited Swaminarayan Akshardham in Delhi as part of the first official trip that a sitting governor of the state has ever taken to India.
New Jersey is home to what will soon be the one of the three BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham complexes worldwide, as well as seven other BAPS Swaminarayan mandirs and a robust Hindu community.
Murphy traveled with a large delegation including New Jersey’s First Lady Tammy Murphy legislators, economic advisors, healthcare and technology officials and professors. The delegation was greeted by Pujya Gnanmunidas Swami and other senior BAPS swamis on behalf of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the sixth spiritual leader of BAPS, according to a press release.
The delegation offered respects at the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir and performed abhishek, the ceremonial pouring of sanctified water from 151 holy bodies of water from across India on the murti of Shri Neelkanth Varni.
They also toured the educational Sanskruti Vihar, a cultural voyage that displays 10,000 years of India’s heritage and contributions to society and attended the weekly assembly of devotees, where the governor spoke to those in attendance.
Murphy emphasized during his message to devotees that he hopes his work as leader of New Jersey will add to the rich history of friendship between New Jersey and India.
“Together, I firmly believe that we cannot just open the doors of progress and opportunity in New Jersey, but also here in India, and in doing so, we will be able to have a very real, and very positive impact on the lives of countless people and their families,” he said.
Murphy personally met with HH Mahant Swami Maharaj in Robbinsville, NJ in 2017 and noted during his visit that he looks forward to meeting him again during Mahant Swami Maharaj’s upcoming trip to the United States.
Speaking at Akshardham, Murphy said: “In the words of the late Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and I quote him, “In the joy of others, lies our own. Each of us, through our faiths, are living embodiments of this principle. Each of us knows that touching lives through kindness, through helping the sick and the vulnerable, and through extending a hand to all throughout our community — whether here in India or in New Jersey or elsewhere — will allow us to live that life and to stand as examples for the generations who follow us.”
He added: “When a community comes together with a common goal and under a common purpose, nothing is impossible. That is true whether we are talking about 1,000 or 1 billion people. It is this spirit that I see here, and I feel in Robbinsville, and Edison, which is alive across the state of New Jersey, and which is alive in this historic and peaceful relationship between India and the United States.”
A message was also conveyed by New Jersey’s First Lady, who said: “Wishing all of our Indian brothers and sisters in New Jersey, in India and around the world a happy Navratri and a happy Diwali. Bless you all and look forward to seeing you back home real soon.”