Madana-gopala Dasa being welcomed by BAPS leaders with tilak and gifts during the multi-day inauguration festivities at the BAPS Akshardham Temple, Robbinsville, NJ
The largest Hindu temple in the U.S. recently held a multi-day inauguration celebration in Robbinsville, New Jersey. Leaders from Hindu organizations worldwide participated in the festivities held on the 183-acre BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham property, named for its founding Hindu spiritual organization.
Madana-gopala Dasa, Co-Director of ISKCON Communications North America, was among the leaders of Hindu organizations welcomed by BAPS leaders.
“Speakers at the event included Swami Mukundananda of JKYog, Tony Nader of the Transcendental Meditation organization, and keynote speaker Swami Govind Dev Giriji Maharaj, one of the key leaders of the Ayodhya Temple in India, who gave a rousing speech on the importance of unity among followers of Sanatana Dharma,” said Madana-gopala Dasa.
ISKCON of New Jersey has built a cordial relationship with the BAPS organization over the last few years. In March 2023, BAPS leaders were personally sent by HH Mahant Swami, the head of their organization, to bless the new ISKCON Parsippany Temple project.
Earlier that day, Madana-gopala Dasa was invited to speak at the 16th annual Hindu Mandirs Executive Conference (HMEC), attended by about 200 Hindu Leaders from across North America and held in Monroe, NJ. He spoke on the importance of interfaith engagement for Hindu organizations. “Interfaith dialog promotes understanding and tolerance. We focus on the common ground, which naturally leads to the reduction of prejudices and any latent fear of each other, the more we talk to each other,” Madana-gopala Dasa told leaders, “How likely is someone to come and deface your property if we have just shared an open conversation last week with them? We learn to see each other as persons.”
Speaking of the positive interfaith engagements with other communities, he concluded, “When we engage in dialog with members of other faiths, we can think about how Bhaktivinoda Thakura encouraged us to see that this is our own Lord being worshiped somewhat differently by them, but it is the same Lord.”