I had a healthy debate with one of my friend and a blogger today. The topic was expressing opinions and criticism. While we didn’t start this as a debate, all I was trying to do was offer him a friendly advice. There is a very thin line difference between expressing opinion and lambasting some one (read criticizing). I tried hard to explain, demonstrate and convince him about how he crossed the line almost every time and why he should be less critical about people around him that are not his responsibility or interest. I know him as a man with possessed intelligence, and I made an honest attempt to advice him to be a little more considerate. In the wake of argument, he pointed out that I had written a post regarding commercialization of god by Swaminarayan sect. He said I was no different at being critical at things too. So I thought this needed clarification.
Let me clarify that whatever I say or write here are my individual opinions. I don’t believe in taking unnecessary digs at people unknown and unrelated to me. I wrote about the swaminarayan temple because I thought the money ($ 19 million) could well have been used for a better purpose. I don’t mind people collecting money in the name of god as long as they are being put to good social use. I have realized that being critical without being helpful is actually delirious. I’m sorry to all the people whom I have criticized. Let me tell that in future if I’m going to raze people in future, I will also make sure I will have a solution or advice for what I think is missing.
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.