In ceremonies and celebrations stretching over three days, a new Hindu temple was inaugurated in Chesapeake, Virginia.
From Friday, July 19 to Sunday, July 21, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir – Chesapeake, Virginia, celebrated its opening on Dock Landing Road, with prayers, scripture recitals, cultural and devotional dance performances, and a peace procession through the streets of the City.
Visitors from the entire county and many from abroad gathered to witness the inauguration ceremony being performed by Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj, who is the spiritual leader of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, a global religious organization, a press release from the Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan-North America, said.
Dignitaries attending the opening ceremony included Mayor of Chesapeake City Dr. Richard W. West, who expressed delight on meeting Acharya Swamishree Maharaj
“I can sense the aura of peace when coming to this place and meeting Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. I realize that he is a very special individual and I welcome him and you all to Chesapeake. I have attended many ribbon cutting ceremonies, but nothing is as humbling as the event that I have the honor of seeing today,” Mayor West is quoted saying in the press release.
A check towards the Mayor’s special charity appeal, and another to the Chesapeake Fire and Police Departments was presented by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
The three day event also included a ‘Peace Procession’ through the streets of Chesapeake, featuring the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band, North America’s first and only Indian-American bagpipe band.
During the finale, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj ceremonially weighed the idol presiding in the Mandir against pure silver ingots, which represented the donations from devotees.
In accordance with the ancient Hindu rituals, they were then installed in the main shrine. The event was relayed live.
During one of his speeches at the festivities, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj recalled, “This weekend, the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 spaceflight and man’s first landing on the moon. That day was an impressive accomplishment for the progression of our understanding of the world beyond this Earth.”
“Similarly, this date will also go down in history for Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, because the opening of this Center will provide a base for the spiritual progression and understanding for countless people living in Virginia,” he added.
Virginia was the very first colony to be established in the United States, when European settlers first arrived here in the year 1607 CE, organizers noted in the press release. “This weekend, we celebrate the arrival of the Supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa to this great state!” they said.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj blessed the gathering and the new mandir with the following words – “May the sublime message of morality, peace, and truth be spread throughout the world. Compassion, love for all, and universal understanding are the essentials of humanity. These are the virtues that please the Lord. These are the values that need to be instilled throughout society.”
Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandal, Virginia, is a registered non-profit organization, which is affiliated with the worldwide organization, Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. Associated centers exist in many states of North America and Canada. The one in Chesapeake is the newest location.
Among the activities that this institution performs are – providing food and shelter to the poor, medical and educational assistance to the underprivileged, and urgent relief assistance during times of natural disaster. All donations received from devotees “are returned to the communities in which they live in and various charities across the globe, the press release said.