God is commercial too?

I got an email today highlighting all the fanfare behind the inauguration ceremony of the Swami Narayan Temple in Atlanta, Georgia in United States. While I’m a religious person myself, I have seen it how ISKCON temples in India are commercialized. The devotees are literally robbed for a feel good factor and so called devotion to lord Krishna.

Here is the proof of the commercial extravagance of these so called devotees in the business of making the black money white.

Some details of BAPS Swaminarayan Temple at Lilburn, Atlanta

  • It is one among the top ten largest traditional Hindu Vedic stone temples outside India.
  • The largest temple of the BAPS Swaminarayan sect in United States.
  • The temple is located on 30 acres of land.
  • The total area of the mandir is 22442 sq. ft
  • The exterior of the Mandir is made of Turkish Limra limestone.
  • The main floor is made of Italian Carrara marble.
  • The ground floor and basement is made of Indian Sandstone.
  • Smallest stone 15 gm to largest stone of 5.2 tones.
  • Total stone material is 8430 tones.
  • Total 40,000 stone pieces.
  • Total stone structure 85,000 cu. Ft
  • The length of the Mandir is 213 feet
  • The width of the Mandir is 122 feet
  • The height from the ground is 78 feet
  • The width of main dome is 23′ 3′
  • The Mandir has tapered ceiling.
  • Inside and outside ‘parikarama’ for devotees to circumambulate around deities.
  • Number of Shikhars (pinnacles) is 5.
  • 4 Small Pinnacles (Samaram)
  • Number of small domes is 6 and one large dome.
  • Number of Torans (arches) is 129.
  • Number of Zarukhas (balconies) is 4
  • Number of Sinhasans (throne) is 9.
  • Number of windows is 14.
  • Number of Pillars is 151.
  • 75 ceilings with 39 different designs
  • Apart from this the Mandir has numerous windows and pillars, which are intricately carved, and also marble steps.
  • Central heating and cooling.
  • Under floor heating with Gel tubing.
  • Fiber optic lighting.
  • Estimated cost of the Swaminarayan temple is $19 million.

Other Interesting Facts

  • The pillars of the temple are intricately hand-carved and each pillar depicts a famous incident from Hindu scriptures.
  • The construction of the Mandir is based on ‘Shila Shastras’ – ancient Hindu text dealing in building and sculpture techniques.
  • Some stones like marble and limestone were imported from the respective countries to India.
  • The stones were hand-carved in India and later imported to United States.
  • Intricate geometric patterns, rosettes, feathers, leaves and other designs which number to more than 500 were hand-carved in India.
  • Each section of the temple weighing from 50 grams to five tons after carving in India had a bar code.
  • Each section thus imported was then assembled in Lilburn – just like playing the jigsaw puzzle.

Where did all the money to develop such a place come from? For gods sake, PLEASE. Do not commercialize god. Stop playing with our sentiments.

8 thoughts on “God is commercial too?

  1. Oh how misplaced your thoughts are. If you have truly visited the Mandir with an open and honest mind, you would have experienced GOD. Far better than experiencing the devil, in Las Vegas, where $19 million might just buy you a floor in one of those grand hotel!
    The temple has and will keeping on improving many, many lives in more that just a moral stand point.
    Further, most of the money came from the sects followers and did not force anyone, nor bribe nor blackmail anyone. It was from THEIR heart, for us, to take pleasure from, as well as for themselves.
    Also, this sect does not force their believes on anyone unlike some of the other religions where they receive monies, for conversion practices.
    Great of you to point out all the fine details, that shows the sects brilliance in bring so much together and making it a GREAT building (Mandir), which is winning the hearts of Atlantans.
    By the way have you visited the Vatican, Mecca or many, many other churches, thank god is commercial otherwise there would boring old you!

  2. I have visited ISKCON and Akshardham temples all across India and I have no second thoughts about it. While the temples are marvels in architecture, please don’t call it god’s abode. If you want to make better use of the money, donate it to the needy ones. Even the ‘prasad’ in your temples is sold. How many schools have you opened with that money? How many sick people have you treated?

    Don’t talk about god if you don’t understand him. God resides in the minds, not in extravagant temples. There were much better ways to spend that $19 million than to woo some Atlantans with that structure. I condemn you for commercializing god!

  3. Pingback: Opinions, Criticism and Stupidity « Mayur’s Weblog

  4. wow, ur are definately lost in your life, people that are needy because they made irresponsible choices. BAPS already gives to the needy. their website is http://www.bapscharities.org/ I understand that you you felt that it was way to expensive, but the cost is based on the uprising of EVERYTHING! Also, all the money you talk of is done by donations and with over 900 volunteer(not paid people) giving over a 1,000,000 hours of work. We never commercialize this, you saw what you wanted to see and that’s the way you portray it. This Sanstha is not in for the money making, but the the betterment of peoples lives. please visit http://www.swaminarayan.org for more information. If you have any questions please email info.atlanta@usa.baps.org
    For a direct link to the Mandir visit: http://www.swaminarayan.org/globalnetwork/america/atlanta.htm

    Thank you and Jai Swaminarayan

  5. what purpose does a beautiful building serve when there is no substance in the people that seem to believe in it. everytime i go to the mandir in houston i feel as if i have walked into a fashion parade and networking plaza. why is free food provided to these fat high cholesterol, hypertensive, diabetic freaks when there are children in india who go to bed hungry every night. isnt it better to build cheaper not so extravagant temples and cure hunger or illiteracy in our beloved home country? baps can do way better with all the donations that they leech out of people.

  6. The purpose of a mandir is to “house” God, and allow devotees to gather. It is a place of worship, and of spiritual growth. If everyone were pious and absolute, then would there be a need for a mandir? NO. But people aren’t, they are aspiring to reach a higher state.

    To say that a mandir gives the sense of a “fashion parade” is wrong. I mean think about it, who was it that noticed the fashion… the people at the mandir or YOU?

    To give people food is not only an Indian tradition, but it is apart of its sanskruti. Every time you visit a family member, are you offended that they have offered you a drink or something to eat? … Idiot!

    Its funny how you mention that BAPS could do better with the way they spend donations… well Mr. Financial Guru, what should BAPS spend its money on now, after building hospitals, schools, dorms, and devastation reliefs…etc?

    **** At the end of the day, it is in the eye of the beholder. You see commercialism; I see spiritualism manifested into a mandir. People do not visit a hospital for fun, but to be cured. People go to a mandir to be elevated, not to reconfirm a spiritual arrogance! Go to the mandir and look at it with divine lens. Don’t look at flaws, looks within to amend your own flaws. I have flaws, you have flaws, and we all have flaws… so why not devote our attention in-wards?

    • I agree with you sir. As I have said earlier, I have nothing against the people who worship or their beliefs. All I wanted to point out is that the money could have been put to a better use. There are my hungry and uneducated children around.

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