New Vaishnavas on the block

Meet the new neighbors:

Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a socio-spiritual Hindu organization with its roots in the Vedas. It was revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781-1830) in the late 18th century and established in 1907 by Shastriji Maharaj (1865-1951). Founded on the pillars of practical spirituality, the BAPS reaches out far and wide to address the spiritual, moral and social challenges and issues we face in our world. Its strength lies in the purity of its nature and purpose. BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families and individuals. This is done by mass motivation and individual attention, through elevating projects for all, irrespective of class, creed, colour or country. Its universal work through a worldwide network of over 3,300 centers has received many national and international awards and affiliation with the United Nations. Today, a million or more Swaminarayan followers begin their day with puja and meditation, lead upright, honest lives and donate regular hours in serving others. No Alcohol, No Addictions, No Adultery, No Meat, No Impurity of body and mind are their five lifetime vows. Such pure morality and spirituality forms the foundation of the humanitarian services performed by BAPS.

And they’ve purchased an old Lutheran church at NW 34th and Meridian.

I mention this mostly because there are people out there who think this state is wall-to-wall Baptist. Heck, the Buddhists are just down the street, and there are two masjids — er, mosques — within two miles of me.


  1. Tatyana »

    12 February 2012 · 11:16 am

    Yes, but how many atheists are there in OK? Does one have to fake interest in so-called spiritual matters to feel at home in your state?

  2. CGHill »

    12 February 2012 · 12:40 pm

    There is a small but busy group of Oklahoma Atheists — slogan “A Non-Prophet Organization,” which is pretty goshdern spiffy if you ask me — who don’t have an actual building but who conduct regular meetups and maintain the usual social-media connections.

  3. Tatyana »

    12 February 2012 · 1:10 pm

    Those are not real atheists, if you ask me – they are the antithesis of believers: same declarative style and passion for proselytizing.
    real atheist just can’t care less for deities, rituals or Instructive Texts of Wisdom – as well as for “mass motivation and individual attention, through elevating projects for all, irrespective of class, creed, colour or country…& universal work through a worldwide network”.

    We are simply not interested.

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