Great Britain is "great" in every aspect of the word. It is one of the better countries to live in today. Over the years, it has welcomed people of all nationalities, faiths, skin colour, and tradition. It provides services to all its citizens equally. Be it law and order, health services or education, Britain has many unique services open for qualified people of all backgrounds to reach their highest aspirations. There is freedom of faith here. The country has over 200 Hindu temples.
Shrinathdham National Haveli is a Vaishnavite temple centered in Harrow. It also has group assemblies in other towns and cities of the UK besides purpose-build and traditional havelis in the US, Australia and Kenya. The first Haveli in Leicester is quite active. Vrajdham Haveli, Leicester has its headquarter at Bhaktidham Haveli in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. The new haveli's Patotsav Mahotsav was inaugurated on August 30. It is a week-long celebration.
The inauguration was blessed with the presence of Vaishnavacharya Shri Dwarkeshlal Ji, popularly called JJ Shree. Head of the mission, he was accompanied by his predecessor and father, and their divine family. Trustees Subhashbhai Lakhani, Jagdishbhai Patel, Minaben Popat, Dalpatbhai Kotecha, and Pramodbhai Thakkar serves very diligently. The National Haveli and Community Centre is located at 2a Rosslyn Crescent, Harrow, HA1 2SU. Phone number is 020 8861 1207, and for more information, one can e-mail them at [email protected]
A rather unique Souvenir was published on the auspicious occasion. It is full of information on the Sampradaya of the Organisation. The issue involves information on Characters and history of Pushti Marg, introduction to Pushti Marg philosophies, Shrinathji- the Divine form of Lord Krishna, Shri Yamunaji, and various utsavs of Pushti Marg with extensive questions and answers that would prove to be very helpful for the young, old, and all those interested in the Sampradaya.
Dear Readers, I believe it would be Interesting for you to know that the three basic foundation stones of Pushti Marg are Gnan Marg, Karma Marg, and Bhakti Marg. All three aspects have been brilliantly expressed in the souvenir. In all honesty, the special souvenir deserves all appreciation and praise.
At the inauguration ceremony, the audience flocked in hundreds, included a majority of young, educated people from UK and abroad. At the ceremony, JJ Shree delivered a very inspired address. He briefly narrated the discourse of the Sampradaya. He wholeheartedly appreciated the Souvenir board.
I was invited to speak at the event too. I referred to the historical background of the Sampradaya. It began in the mid-16th century during the Mughal era. Among Emperor Akbar's wives were Rajput princesses, who were encouraged to follow Krishna worship. The King had also installed Hindu shrines where pooja and aarti were regularly carried out. It is also historically recorded that Akbar himself participated in them with full enthusiasm. One of his wives, Begum Chand Bibi who was a Muslim, was a staunch believer of Vaishnav Pushti Marg and composed several hymns and bhajans that are popular even today.
I also mentioned well-known Pakistani-Canadian journalist Tarek Fatah's recent article from the Toronto Sun. He had written in favour of India's revocation of Article 370. The beauty of Bhakti Marg is that there are 80 per cent Hindus in India. Hinduism is a broad religion that exercises enormous harmony. It is non-violent. There is only one God but sages worship under different names.
Sanatan Dharma which is commonly called Hindu religion is a continuous faith tradition older than others. It has no one particular founder or book. It is like a big tree with its long roots that symbolise values, thoughts and principles. It's trunk supports the branches that are the Sampradayas. Sanatan Dharma is more a way of life than a religion.
I recollected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent 2-day visit to the Gulf, especially Bahrain and Dubai. He was felicitated as a friend of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with the prestigious 'Order Zayed' in Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed had said, "My brother Modi has arrived." With his visit, Modi has shown to the world that Islam in the Gulf is not as extreme as is viewed. I also mentioned the similar ceremony that was organised to welcome Modi at a Vaishnav Temple in Bahrain. He launched the $4.2 million redevelopment project of the almost 190 year old Haveli.
It is also worthwhile remembering there are centuries old temples in other places. There is a huge mosque near the Dham in Harrow. While this is unique in other countries, it is exceptionally normal in India. All religions live in perfect harmony, striking the perfect balance for a less-flawed society.