A new multidisciplinary book has been launched here in the UK which seeks to offer a better understanding of the evolution of the Swaminarayan Hinduism, a modern sect of Hinduism.
Titled “Swaminarayan Hinduism: Tradition, Adaptation, and Identity,” the book is co-authored by Raymond Brady Williams, a Professor at the US’ Wabash College and Yogi Trivedi, an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University.
The book seeks to offer a better understanding of Swaminarayan Hinduism’s growth, beliefs and practice.
Led by 94-year-old Pramukh Swami Maharaj, President of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS), Swaminarayan Sanstha which is an international Hindu socio-spiritual organisation has built over 1,000 temples around the world so far, Yogi Trivedi, an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Journalism and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion of Columbia University has said.
Speaking at the launch of the book at the King’s College London on Friday, Trivedi said, “Pramukh Swami, the current guru of BAPS, has built over 1,000 temples around the world. The BAPS temples in Neasden (London), Atlanta, and Toronoto have attracted the attention of Hindus and non-Hindus alike.”
“These temples are centres of cultural and social activity. Children learn Gujarati, the performative arts, and the history, doctrine, and practice of Swaminarayan Hinduism at these temples, thus ensuring the transmission of the knowledge to future generations.
“There are perhaps more Swaminarayan Hindu temples in North America than those of any other sampraday or sub- tradition of Hinduism, and BAPS is particularly well known for its creation of the Swaminarayan Akshardhams that can be found in Gandhinagar, New Delhi and now one under construction in Robbinsville, New Jersey,” Trivedi said.
Trivedi said these Akshardham complexes present a unique integration of religious ritual and cultural education.
Swaminarayan Hinduism, which witnessed its inception in 19th century Gujarat, is a contemporary spiritual tradition, in which followers worship Swaminarayan as a form of Vishnu.