Sometime after Sunday evening services on Sunday, January 27th, 2019, Shree Swaminarayan Temple – Louisville, Kentucky, on Bardstown Road was broken into and vandalized. A window near the downstairs entrance of the temple was shattered, and the vandals had sprayed messages of hate and profanity in black paint across walls inside our temple. An image (Murti) of our beloved Lord Shree Swaminarayan was also sprayed with black paint.
Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan is a worldwide organization for spiritual, cultural, and social welfare. Our fellow disciples come to our temple to pray, find inner peace, interact and learn from one another, provide good teachings to their children, and practice the highest of morals and ethics – just as followers of all faiths. Service to society before self, expressing kindness to all, and doing things for the betterment of humanity are some of our key teachings. Ultimately, we seek to find oneness with Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and love one another as brothers and sisters, regardless of faith, race, sexual orientation or social background. As such, it was a shock to our organization to find our temple vandalized with discriminatory and hateful messages.
However, instead of dividing our Louisville community, this incident has brought us all together, thanks to the leadership and support of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad, State Representative Nima Kulkarni, Congressman John Yarmuth, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beschear, Kentucky Governer Matt Bevin, and many others. Mayor Fischer has invited the community to help clean up the vandalism at our temple from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019. During this time, there will also be an interfaith gathering at the temple to spread the message of peace and unity. The Louisville Metro Police will also provide extra security at the temple during its weekly services this Sunday. We are truly greatful for all the messages and shows of support we have received from our local Louisville community, the United States, and the world. From all of us, and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
His Divine Holiness Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj, spiritual leader of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, has said, “We want to convey the message of peace and wellness as our Vedic religion teaches us. No matter what these people have done, we pray to God that they come onto the right path and wish well for their lives." Accordingly, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi temples all across the world will offer prayers for peace and unity during their services this weekend.
We pray to Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree, Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, and His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj to provide wisdom to those who committed this hateful crime as well as those who are filled with such hate, and to instill within them sentiments of peace and acceptance of all, regardless of their faith or social background.
The temple and its representatives may be reached at Kentucky@SwaminarayanGadi.com.
Jay Shree Swaminarayan.