indica News Bureau-
Concerned over the health of their devotees and to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the US, many temples of the Hindi community have been shut for devotees till such time the situation comes under control.
In a press release the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha said that following the orders of public health agencies, has decided to close all mandirs in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia, as well as suspend all public social and religious activities, including conferences, until further notice.
Many devotees who are members of the BAPS community appreciated the move in the interest of public health. The community started many online platforms to continue guiding the devotees and keeping up the religious teachings for children.
Bhavisha Modi, Realtor Associate in Princeton, New Jersey, said, “I find it very reassuring that we have found a way to continue my children’s weekly religious instruction in English, as well as the Gujarati assemblies that I attend on Sunday evenings online. There are even online webcasts planned to teach spiritual lessons together as a family. I find it amazing that these platforms were created globally in less than a week. It speaks volumes on the organization’s infrastructure. It also shows that we take our spiritual life seriously.”
To prevent large gatherings, BAPS mandirs will be closed throughout USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia, but devotees will be given daily darshan through the websites of each mandir.
Dr. Kashyap Patel, a cardiologist in Atlanta, Georgia, said, “Satsang happens in social settings. But in exceptional times, we have to find other ways. We realize that our gurus and seers insisted that we accompany each other and serve each other on the spiritual journey, but this calamity has changed the world – for the moment. That doesn’t change the fact that my spiritual life gives me the wisdom I need to approach the difficulties my family and I face. My gurus, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, have always stressed the importance of family values, communication within the family, and using spirituality as a means to come together and find pragmatic solutions to everyday issues. Now is the time I apply them.”
The organization is working closely with local authorities in towns and cities within which their mandirsare located. It will comply with local regulations and find ways to support the local community as they have during past calamities and disasters.
Dr. Viral Desai, an optometrist in Houston, Texas, said, “The situation is unfortunate, but I find that I will use this time to come closer with my family through spiritual discussions, conversations, and bonding time. We have learned a lot of important and practical concepts through Satsang. Now that we have more family time due to less traveling, I will be able to apply those concepts for stronger bonding.”
Due to new guidelines from the County Health Department and an abundance of caution for our community, we have come to the following decision.
The Sunnyvale Hindu Temple also closed the temple to the public till March 31, saying that the closure may last longer if necessary.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly but was needed to protect our devotees, employees and the general public. As everyone knows the spread of the virus has steadily grown larger and will continue to do so unless drastic measures are taken. After declarations from Federal, State and County authorities were given we immediately took proactive steps to limit the potential spread of the virus, but the rate of spread has continued to grow. With the new guidelines issued by the County Health Department, we felt it was prudent to temporarily close the Temple to minimize any potential spread and protect our community”, the temple said in a press release on March 13.
The release further assured the devotees that the daily puja and abhishekam will be held regularly and the temple maintenance staff will clean the temple premises thoroughly.