Hindu Temple Ready for Worship in Boynton Beach
Hindu community celebrates one-year anniversary of Boynton temple
Nicole Sterghos Brochu
June 24, 2002
BEACH+ For years they gathered in one another's homes to pray and celebrated in
rented halls, aware of only a small group of worshipers like themselves and
wishing they had a formal temple.
On Sunday, a year after their prayers
were answered with the opening of a 9,500-square-foot temple on Southeast 18th
Avenue, the followers of the ever-expanding Hindu sect Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar
Purushottam Swaminarayan, or BAPS, met once again to give thanks for the
blessings the temple has bestowed on them.
Not only has it allowed the
sect members to gather as a family to pray, meet and guide their children in the
moral teachings of their religion, it has brought hundreds of BAPS followers
from across South Florida together in a communion of spirit and
"It brings the community together because everyone has a
common goal, and that's inner peace," said Aashika Patel, 15, whose family
travels from Coral Springs to attend services and meetings. "A lot of kids pray
here, too. It's good because it keeps kids focused on things that are more
beneficial to them than meeting at the mall or going to movies or things that
corrupt the mind."
At Sunday's special gathering -- held to celebrate the
first anniversary of the temple's opening -- more than 250 worshipers slipped
off their shoes, took their places on the floor, chanted spiritual hymns and
used a tray filled with flower petals, holy ink powder and other designated
items to offer their prayers.
At the end of the one-hour ceremony,
platters of curried vegetables, dried nuts and fried pastries filled the altar.
The food, presented to the idols as a holy offering, would be shared by the
worshipers at another festive celebration Sunday night.
The event was so
special -- it was graced by the actual presence of three living saints -- that
Nirmal Patel decided to immediately celebrate his engagement to his girlfriend.
Originally planning the engagement for December, Patel -- who is not related to
Aashika Patel -- said he moved up the date at the direction of one of the
"When they say something, we do it," said Patel, 23, a Motorola
software developer from Boca Raton, recognizing another special benefit. "If
they bless us today, our married life will be very special."
Sterghos Brochu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-243-6603.
Copyright © 2002, South Florida
Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel