On 25 November 2006 the High Commissioner
of U.K., Right Honourable Paul Boateng, and his wife, visited
the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Durban.
The honoured guests were welcomed in traditional
Hindu manner with the chanting of Vedic verses, tying of the
sacred nadachhadi and the marking of the auspicious kumkum chandlo
on their forehead. This was followed by a presentation of flower
bouquets and other gifts.
An Akshar Deri badge was pinned on Right
Honourable Paul Boateng’s jacket, as sign of welcoming
him as an old acquaintance of BAPS Sanstha.
The atmosphere was charged with spirituality
and divinity when the arti was performed by our honoured guests
and devotees. Thereafter, the guests enjoyed a short video of
“Swaminarayan Akshardham” in New Delhi. The viewing
of Akshardham inspired and motivated the guests that they pledged
to visit this exquisite monument in the near future.
The Right Honourable Paul Boateng
then addressed the gathering. In his speech he praised the work
of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
The Right Honourable Paul Boateng
and his wife departed from the Mandir, charged with the spirit
of love and devotion, God and spirituality. The visit lasted
from 3.20 to 4.45 pm.
Transcript of the High Commissioner
of U.K., Right Honourable Paul Boateng
“Greetings! It’s great to be
here at the temple in Durban and to greet you as British High
Commissioner, yes, the representative of Britain in South Africa,
but also to greet you as someone whose life has been affected
by the privilege of meeting and sharing with Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
So many of us who have met Swamiji, are left with the overwhelming
impression of goodness, of knowledge and of deep spirituality.
This is a man of our time, who draws on
values which are timeless. The values of love, of sharing, of
peace and of community. These values are timeless, they know,
no territorial boundaries, they are to be found wherever good
people come together in our world.
Swamiji’s great gift is the way in
which he binds us all together!
I met him first in 1988, in the Houses of
Parliament in Great Britain. He touched my life then, just as
I know, he has touched yours!
To be here in Durban, in this temple, is
for me very much to be at home. To feel the link, that binds
us all, whether we are in Delhi, in Durban, in Johannesburg,
in London, in Leicester, wherever we are in the world.
Neasden and the temple in Neasden for me
and for my wife are very important, because our home too is
in Brent. Our home is within walking distance of the temple
I know the contribution that Neasden, it’s
adherents, the worshipers, those who teach there, I know the
contribution they make to the spiritual life of my country.
I know the contribution that this place, this temple, the teachers
here and you all make to the spiritual life of South Africa.
Together, people of the spirit, people who
adhere and seek to it here, to those timeless values of love,
peace and community. Together we can, with those values, with
one another, with the love and spirit that Swamiji shares, that
makes him one of the great spiritual leaders of our world. Together
we can change that world and make it a better place.
I greet you in the name of Her Majesty’s
Government and I look forward very soon to the arrival of Swamiji,
here in South Africa, when with you, I can join with you in
greeting him and hailing him for what he is - a Great Teacher,