Saturday, May 23, 2015

Chino Hills (LA, USA) Swaminarayan Temple is an achievement of people's will and determinations.

Chino Hills (LA, USA) Swaminarayan Temple is an achievement of people's will and determinations.

Many of you know about BAPS, Shri Pramukh Swami and Swami Narayan Temples in the world. Swami Narayan Swaroop Dasji (Pramukh Swami) became president of BAPS 57 years ago and still heading the organisation at 92Y. They started from the scratch, cooking khichadi by using cut kerosene tin as patili; constructed more than 1000 'Hari Mandirs' and 50 "Shikhar Mandirs (average, each one costing 100 Cr +)" in 5 decades, all over the world under the leadership of Shri Pramukh Swami Maharaj. BAPS runs many educational institutions and do social services. And always ready to serve people, whether Kutch earthquake or Kedar calamity.  

Mostly professionals, the cadre of their 'Sadhus' are innovative, industrious and highly active. Though, it is open for a 'Sadhu' to return in 'Samsar', but hardly a drop in a decade as they are prepared through systematic training and probation modules.

No body takes credit here. If you ask 'Hari Bhaktas', they will say "Swami Kripa". If asks Swami/Sadhus, they say "Pramukh Swami Kripa". If ask Pramukh Swami, he will say "Yogiji Maharaj's Kripa". Whatever 'sankalp' Shri Pramukh Swami proposes, the BAPS team materialise it as per his directions. It is one of the best teams on earth doing positive acts for mankind, preserving the positive culture of Hindu Society. 

City of Chino Hills is a southeastern suburb of Los Angeles, USA. In a town of 75000 population, there are few Gujaratis living in. Shri Pramukh Swami came here in 2007 and selected a place near the highway to build a Shikhar Temple of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The land was purchased and Haveli was constructed as 'Hari Mandir' to start with. The area is earthquake prone zone as the fault line is passing through nearby. Building a 'Stone Temple' in a earthquake zone was an uphill task. The Temple was designed but local administration (City Council) denied permission. Kothari Swami Sarva Darshanji lead team of Sadhus and Haribhaktas were trying hard and not leaving single stone unturned to make things happen. But the Mayor and Council members were against.  They were not ready to give permission of a height of the building beyond 42 feet. And Shikhar Mandir can't be built with that height. The task became challenging after 'pran pratistha' of 'idols' and laying foundation stone by Shri Pramukh Swami in 2009.

The mission 'Chino Hills' started. The Sadhus and Haribhaktas started meeting people, describing BAPS activities and the Project of the temple. Personal meetings, handouts, workshops, collection of supporting letters and trying for persuading the Mayor and Council members through their families and friends continued. The 5 city council members meet of the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, with opportunity for residents to voice their opinion during the open forum. Finally, an open hearing started with the presence of the Mayor and 5 council members. Before entering into the hall, the Mayor and 2 council members were against, 2 were in favour and 1was neutral for the project. 500 people attended the open forum. When the meeting took place, their mind changed. Except one, the people present in the hall stood up in favour of the project. The Mayor and Council members finally approved the project unanimously permitting construction of a shikhar temple of stone with a height of 78 feet. The Mayor said, "technically my mind is against the project, but my heart favours, therefore I favour it". The hard nut was finally cracked. 

Money matters. But Chino Hills temple was built by all with their "tan, man and dhan". No millionaire has built it. "Women Haribhaktas" gave away everything they have. Children and teenage saved 1-2 $ a day from their pocket money and entertainments and donated $1M to build the temple. A school boy collected 25-50 cents from his peers, by standing in a food queue in school, gathered $500 and donated. The youth learned  wiring to make iron bar pillars and columns structures, and did it. Many devoted their 24×7 time. Rakeshbhai, who knew nothing about building a temple, is now playing a lead role in guiding construction in other places in USA. 

The Temple is unique and only one of such a stone structure erected with combined vibration control solution technics of earth resistance. It was designed to withstand largest earthquake of a certain probabilities. Cost doubled but its steel plates and load bearing columns separating base structure and main structure, transferring load over columns to with stand seismic activity of higher magnitude. The hand carving on wood in Haveli and Stone carving on temple are intricate, and based on traditional Indian religious symbols and architecture. 

Its outer walls are made of sand stone and inner temple is made of marbles. The intricate carving, is the best of present time. All made in India, transported and assembled here in America. 

And when one enters into the temple, one meditate without efforts. All say, "never seen before, never experience before".

Do visit. Chino Hills BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, the temple of Shri Pramukh Swami's Sankalp; lead and follow up by Sadhus; determinations, dedication and Samarpan of Haribhaktas. 

High Fly the Flag of Hindu Culture of "Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam" (whole world is one family).

8 November 2014, Sky


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