Inspirer: His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Purushotampriyadasji Maharaj  
   
 

 

   
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History of Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey
Introduction

Lord Swaminarayan’s Philosophy

A favored philosophy of Lord Swaminarayan was of tyaag (to abstain from worldly associations). When only eleven years of age, Nilkanthvarni (Lord Swaminarayan’s teenage name) renounced the material world, His family relations and home and embarked on a forest expedition to show the importance of tyaag. Despite His love of a life of tyaag, Lord Swaminarayan relinquished this for the benefit of His disciples.

Lord Swaminarayan explained to the needy mortals that for any worthwhile deed to succeed, whether it be worldly or spiritual, bhakti (devotion) is essential. He also dispelled numerous false beliefs and superstitions (e.g. the killing of newborn female babies by drowning in milk, the burning of a widow on her deceased husband’s funeral pyre) from society, which otherwise hindered the path to aatyantik moksh (ultimate salvation). Using education as a basis for improving one’s life, Lord Swaminarayan encouraged His devotees (both male and female) to be hardworking, compassionate and free of all vices.

Further information on Lord Swaminarayan's Philosophy... 

His Divine Holiness Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa’s First Visit to the USA

His Divine Holiness Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa was the first sant from the Swaminarayan Sampraday to introduce the Swaminarayan religion to the United States of America. Gurudev Acharya Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on October 20th, 1970.

He and His sants toured the entire United States, visiting New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Washington D.C., Seattle, and various other places.  The disciples resding in these areas were graced with His divine darshan. Jeevanpran Swamibapa also  consecrated(pavitra karyu) the water of  the world-renowned Niagara Falls in Canada. Wherever Jeevanpran Swamibapa traveled, he held spiritual and cultural programs, including grand assemblies, through which He preached the Swaminarayan philosophy. During His vicharan in the United States, Jeevanpran Swamibapa founded Shree Swaminarayan Sidhant Sajivan Mandal, USA and also established the first temple in the United States, Shree Swaminarayan Temple Seattle in the state of Washington.

Shree Swaminarayan Temple Seattle: the first temple in the USA
Shree Swaminarayan Temple Seattle: the first temple in the USA

His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Tours the USA and Establishes Shree Swaminarayan Sidhant Sajivan Mandal, New Jersey

In 1979, Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa handed the helm of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi to His Divine Holiness Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swami. Acharya Swamishree further developed Jeevanpran Swamibapa’s legacy by continuing to tour and preach the divine teachings and supremacy of Lord Shree Swaminarayan in the United States.

In 1970, Acharya Swamishree had visited the USA with Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. After 16 long years He came to the United States in 1987 with 16 sants for 16 days. It was during His tour of the United States in 1987 that Acharya Swamishree established Shree Swaminarayan Sidhant Sajivan Mandal, New Jersey. Even before the foundation of the mandal, the disciples of New Jersey had held samayas and gatherings at disciples’ homes and community halls. They continued to hold assemblies in the same manner. Acharya Swamishree fulfilled the prayers of His humble devotees in the USA by returning in 1992, 1995, 1998, 1999, and 2001-2006.

Acharya Swamishree established Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey, a Hari Mandir, in Secaucus while visting the United States in 1995. He installed the divine murtis of Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Shree Jeevanpran Abjibapa, and Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa in this temple.  

Ground-Breaking of Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey

It wasn’t until August 29th, 1998, after ongoing tries to fulfill our beloved Gurudev’s dream of building a temple in the USA, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree broke ground in the heart of Secaucus, New Jersey on what would be Swaminarayan Gadi’s first Sikhar Bandh Mandir in the United States.

The Ground-Breaking Ceremony of Shree Swaminarayan Temple, New Jersey
The Ground-Breaking Ceremony of Shree Swaminarayan Temple, New Jersey

Murti-Pratishta Mahotsav (Installation of the Divine Idols) of Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey

Jeevanpran Swamibapa’s dream came to reality in the year 2001, as the temple was ready for opening. His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree, sants, and disciples from all over the world had gathered to celebrate the opening and the Murti-Pratishta Mahotsav of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Secaucus, New Jersey. Disciples had come from places as far as India, England, Africa, and Canada, as well as the rest of the United States. During this grand festival which was held from August 1st-5th, 2001, Acharya Swamishree conducted the inaugural ceremony of the temple and installed the divine idols of Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Shree Jeevanpran Abjibapa, and Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. Throughout the five days of the celebration, several Parayans (scripture recitals), parades, fireworks, a religious drama, a devotional singing night, and devotional dances were held in honor of the occasion. The murtis from the older temple had been installed in the Hari Mandir, Shree Swaminarayan Temple Chicago, on June 24th, 2001.

On August 5th, 2001, the Suvarna Tula of Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Shree Jeevanpran Abjibapa, and Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa was performed. This was the first time the auspicious ceremony had been held outside of India. At the Suvarna Tula, the divine murtis were weighed against 750kg of pure gold. This historical event was truly a memorable occasion.

Acharya Swamishree performs the Suvarna Tula of Lord Shree Swaminarayan
Acharya Swamishree performs the Suvarna Tula of Lord Shree Swaminarayan

Since the opening the temple has and will serve as the inspiration for spreading the divine teachings and ascendancy of Lord Shree Swaminarayan. The temple has and will be Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s center for moksha-seeking Mumukshu.

Further information on the Murti-Pratishta Mahotsav...
Click here to view recorded highlights of the Suvarna Tula

Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey Since the Murti-Pratishta Mahotsav

Much has happened at the temple since the Mahotsav. His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree has made annual visits to the USA to spread the glory of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and to fulfill the humble requests of the disciples living in the country. He has toured all over the nation and has encouraged disciples to hold gatherings on religious holidays even if they are far from the temple, as one can please and praise the Lord from any location.

In 2004, for the first time in Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan’s history, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree sent nine sants to the USA to preach the Lord’s philosophy throughout the country. In August of that year, Acharya Swamishree was escorted via helicopter from John F. Kennedy International Airport to the temple. He flew over the entire grand city of New York.

Acharya Swamishree arrives in a helicopter from John F. Kennedy International Airport
Acharya Swamishree arrives in a helicopter from John F. Kennedy International Airport

In 2005, the disciples of the United States of America celebrated Acharya Swamishree’s 63rd birthday on a boat cruising the Hudson River which flows next to the world’s greatest city, New York City. Approximately 750 disciples from all over the world took part in the unique event, where there was a limit of only 600. During the occasion, young disciples ranging from ages two through twenty donated $8000 to Acharya Swamishree.

Acharya Swamishree's birthday celebration crusing on the Hudson River
Acharya Swamishree’s birthday celebration cruising on the Hudson River

 

Young disciples of the USA present Acharya Swamishree an $8000 birthday gift
Young disciples of the USA present Acharya Swamishree an $8000 birthday gift

   
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