This film tells the story of a small regional Hindu sect that has gone global; the Swaminarayan movement was founded 200 years ago in the state of Gujerat by a man who declared himself to be the ultimate manifestation of God.
His first followers were poor peasants, but this group, many of them Patels, has since spread all over the world as shopkeepers, teachers and increasingly as successful entrepreneurs and highly educated professionals.
|Hindu temple in India|
Today they are building vast religious complexes across America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Their most impressive centre, which uses the techniques of Disneyland to convey a message of Hindu pride, was built in the Indian capital, New Delhi.
So influential has the Swaminarayan movement become that both the prime minister and president of India presided over the recent opening of the Delhi centre.
But has the movement grown so absorbed in creating a corporate presence, involved in finance, politics and influence – as well as charity work – that it now risks losing its spiritual heart? Are networking and power-play submerging the original message?
Watch this episode of God's Business here:
God's Business: Hinduism Goes Global aired from Monday 24th September 2007