Why do we need a mandir?
mandir makes a man.
A mandir makes a society.
A mandir purifies a society.
A mandir fosters morality.
A mandir stills the mind.
A mandir inspires bhakti.
A mandir helps one sustain a unique cultural identity.
A mandir inspires peace and bliss.
A mandir keeps alive traditional architecture, art, craftsmanship,
music, worship rituals and festivals.
A mandir is a place for realising God.
All these together make up a mandir.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj often asks : “Schools will educate
the mind, but who will educate the Jivatma ? Hospitals will
mend a broken arm, but who will mend the broken heart? Cinemas,
amusement arcades and night-clubs will excite the mind,
but where will one go for peace of mind?” His answer
: “A true mandir is the answer to these questions.”
How should we follow the
rules of Vegetarianism?
Answer: By thinking deeply about the following points:
(1) It is Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s command in the Shikshapatri
and so as His true devotees, we should aim to please Him.
(2) It is also our Guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s command
and wish that we be strict vegetarians. To earn his blessings,
we should do that which pleases him and not to do that which
would hurt him.
(3) All creatures on earth have a right to a free life. Therefore
we should worry about the miserable life that cows, pigs,
chickens, etc. have to spend in small pens or cages, just
for the sake of satisfying the taste of people who eat them.
(4) Think of the sin (paap) committed by the person who kills
the animal, who processes it, packs it, transports it, sells
it and cooks it. Each commits sin equally. For this, he will
suffer later in this life or in the next. This is mentioned
in the Manu Smruti.
(5) Practically as vegetarians, we should carefully read labels
on food packets, chocolate wrappers and tins for ingredients
which are not suitable for us; such as, gelatin, egg lecithin,
egg powder, garlic or onion powder, etc.
(6) By not eating commercial foodstuffs at all, and not eating
Eating foods made at home, by satsangi friends and relatives,
and at the mandir.
What is Maanta?
Answer: ‘Maanta’ means to pledge or observe
a religious vow as a way of praying to Bhagwan to overcome
a problem in life or just for gaining spiritual merit (punya).
Forms of Maanta
Devotees pledge to visit tirths (sacred places and shrines)
usually by observing some physical hardship, such as by walking
(some barefooted), gabad yatra - rolling on the road –
or doing dandvats all the way! During the journey, some observe
ektana - eating one meal a day, some do farar - eating farari
foods, and some observe a complete fast if the journey takes
only a day or two.
(1) walking to: Ambaji (north Gujarat), Shri Nathji
(Rajasthan), Dakor, Amarnath & Vaishnav. Devi in Himalayas,
Kedarnath, Yamunotri, etc.
(2) Fasting, as above. Some may observe avoiding sweets
or ghee until their pledge has been fulfilled. Some observe
dharna-parna - eating on alternate days only–, for 1
month during Shravan or Chaturmas (4 months of monsoon) or
even longer periods.
(3) Offering alms to ascetics and pilgrims in maths
Maanta in BAPS Sanstha
(1) Devotees offer mahapuja or pradakshina of Akshar
Deri, the miraculous shrine in Gondal. Mahapuja is also performed
in all shikharbaddh mandirs.
(2) Some do abhishek of Nilkanth Varni at the Bharuch
mandir with the holy water from the nearby river Narmada.
(3) Drape a woollen shawl on Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s
image at the mandir in Yagnapurush pol in Amdavad.
(4) Do an extra number of mala.
(5) Chant the Janmangal Namavali - 108 divine names
of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Types of Problems
For chronic and painful illnesses, to beget offspring, for
overcoming poverty, to overcome an undesirable swabhav (behaviour)
such as anger, hate, jealousy, lobh, taste etc., to progress
in studies or pass an upcoming exam or interview, etc.
Maanta is a self-chosen pledge to offer extra devotion to
Bhagwan and please Him and the Satpurush in return for deliverance
from the ups and downs in daily life.