“As concerns around the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic grow, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, following the guidance of public health agencies, has decided to close all mandirs in Canada, USA, Europe and Australia, as well as suspend all public religious activities, including conferences, until further notice.
At a time when prayer, reflection and family activities can bring calm, solace, and peace of mind, BAPS is using novel means to hold its weekly assemblies and instructive activities for all age groups through interactive online forums. Devotees and the community can continue to benefit and gain solace through on-line daily Murti Darshan, Arti and weekly Satsang Sabhas. These steps are being taken to proactively protect the health and safety of volunteers, visitors and local communities.
“It is wonderful that we have found a way to continue our weekly Satsang assemblies for both adults and children online”, said Rakesh Brahmbhatt, a devotee with a young family, “It is amazing that these platforms were created by BAPS globally in less than a week.”
The organization is working closely with local authorities in towns and cities within which their mandirs are located. It will comply with local regulations and find ways to support the local community as they have during past calamities and disasters.
The spiritual leader of BAPS, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, offered prayers for the well-being of all saying: “We have offered our personal prayers for everyone, for those who are directly or indirectly affected by the virus, for those self-isolating, and also those who are helping to treat the ill and contain the infection from spreading; especially the brave medical personnel as well as the world leaders and governments who are collectively and proactively serving round the clock to find solutions. It is a time for humanity to unite across countries, cultures, communities, religions and science, in every way possible to protect and safeguard each other through responsible behavior – honesty and integrity, self-discipline and selflessness, care and compassion.”
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha will continue to assess the situation and develop its guidelines regarding mandir visits and resuming activities based on recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada and local government authorities. Further information about individual mandir statuses can be found at: www.baps.org/global-network