Inspirator: His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools visit to the London Temple  


On 31st August 2003 HDH Acharya Swamishree the spiritual leader of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan was pleased to welcome Stephen Twigg MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Schools to London temple. The minister was present at the temple to partake in the annual education awards of the Sanstha.

The functions commenced with the youth of the Sanstha performing classical Indian dances, which symbolised various aspects of Indian culture, in order to please HDH Acharya Swamishree. The values of truth, love and undiluted faith to the Lord were represented through the medium of dance. Each of the dances was taught to the youngsters by older members of the community.

Lord Swaminarayan propounds that it is through education that His disciples can further themselves and better serve the community, thus HDH Jeevanpran Swamibapa places great emphasis on the role of education within the Sanstha. For the Sanstha education is not just a matter of academic skills; education also encompasses social, cultural and moral schooling. The principles of the Swaminarayan religion enable individuals to lead a just, dignified, respectful life and provide them with the knowledge to confront and overcome any adversities they may face.

HDH Jeevanpran Swamibapa established schools and colleges in some of the most underprivileged areas of India, in order to provide access to education to the poorest in society, where it was previously unavailable. HDH Acharya Swamishree continues to progress the work of HDH Jeevanpran Swamibapa by providing guidance and support to these schools and colleges. Within the Sanstha, much effort is taken to teach overseas members, especially the youngsters, the culture and traditions of India and the Sanstha. Through preserving these values and traditions, individuals develop a rounded identity.

Stephen Twigg MP, joined HDH Acharya Swamishree in recognising the educational achievements of both the young and old members of the Sanstha. Each member that had achieved a high standard in their academic examinations was presented with a certificate and prize; with many having gained professional qualifications, degrees and vocational qualifications. In addition to these conventional academic achievements, HDH Acharya Swamishree also presented prizes to the younger members of the Sanstha who had undertaken examinations on the religious principles of the Sanstha as elucidated in the Sanskar Dipika and those that had undertaken Gujarati examinations.

In addition during this event, HDH Acharya Swamishree and Stephen Twigg launched three new websites of the Sanstha; Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band, Swamibapa Cricket Club, and Shree Swaminarayan Baal Mandir.

In his divine blessings, HDH Acharya Swamishree emphasized the importance for younger members of the Sanstha to learn their mother tongue, Gujarati, as it is only through this dialect that they can fully understand the scriptures of the Sanstha and thus the true principles of Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa. HDH Acharya Swamishree was immensely pleased that many of the children had achieved full marks in the Sanskar Dipika examinations, and said in his divine blessings:

“Religious education is paramount; for this is the type of education that says no to drugs, alcohol and violence and yes to a moral life, which teaches us to respect others, the community in which we live and ourselves. This is true knowledge; a true education.”
“… as parents we must all ensure that our children learn our mother tongue, culture and traditions. Through doing this they can progress within the Sanstha, and attain the divine blessings of Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa.”

Stephen Twigg MP was presented with a ceremonial pagg and shawl by HDH Acharya Swamishree in recognition of the charitable work that he is involved with. In his speech to HDH Acharya Swamishree and the congregation, Stephen thanked HDH Acharya Swamishree for the warm reception he had received, and the stated how fortunate he was to have received the blessings of his eminency. He congratulated the children and young adults on their achievements, stating:

“Education is also important for sustaining the moral character of our community … so it is wonderful tonight that we are recognising the achievements of young people in your community. The emphasis that you place in your community on education is reflected in the success that we recognise this evening.”

“I think that your community with its great emphasis on community as well as on education has a great deal to teach the wider population … and I think what is seen tonight is that the children and young people of this community are a wonderful advertisement for your community.”

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