Gandhi Peace Centre
The Gandhi Peace Centre in Balaji grounds was built with the support of Mrs Rajashree Birla from Aditya Birla Group. The Centre with facility for an exhibition on the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi, practice of Yoga and Meditation, a Study Centre with facility for lectures, meeting place for interfaith activities with participants from far and wide was completed in 2018.
The building was conceived on the principle of simplicity to reflect the life of Gandhi and the circular form to reflect the eternity and universality of the principles that guide one’s spiritual life. The welcoming entrance with a focus on Gandhi with emphasis on the Logo of Non-violence convey the objective of the Centre. In contrast, the ornate temple complex surrounding Gandhi Centre is so designed as to calm one’s senses permitting the mind to concentrate on the soul without being distracted by disturbing sight and sound.
The spiritual aspect of the temple and the community activities of Gandhi Peace Centre together with the faith Hills, form the two wings of the Balaji temple complex to complement each other and bring the ideals to reality.
The Centre, opened on 10 November 2018, contains the exhibits depicting the life of Mahatma Gandhi on the ground floor. The symbolic objects like spinning wheels, the posters, the message boards illustrate the message conveyed by Gandhi in various stages of his life. The interactive parts of the exhibits make the study of Gandhi’s life into an enjoyable experience for our younger generation. Those who are interested in the serious study of Gandhi’s life and his principles can do so at the study Centre on the first floor with the use of an array of computers with built-in programmes. The space on the first floor provides the opportunity for teaching Yoga and Meditation for promoting mental and physical balance needed for the fulfilment of one’s spiritual aspirations. This facility will be open for use to the individual groups and the educational institutions.
Currently, the temple conducts regular classes on Yoga and Meditation, meetings and lectures on Interfaith, Cultural activities and classes for our children on performance arts such as music and dance in the Community Centre. These activities will be integrated in a wider scale with the activities of Gandhi Peace Centre by inclusion of the study and promotion of Gandhian principles for the youth.
A world with more people committed to Peace, multicultural Tolerance and Understanding, Non-violence, Self-discipline, and being unselfish can be the only realistic way to build a peaceful world avoiding conflict.
The temple began its life many decades ago as a mere dream. Due to the perseverance of those visionaries and the unflinching support from many thousands who helped, contributed in their own way and those who have served as volunteers, the temple has now expanded to serve the community and visitors from across the globe. Addition of Gandhi Peace Centre opens a new horizon in our objectives of teaching and spreading the message of Peace and nonviolence to all, particularly to the children who visit our temple regardless of their religion, faith or creed. We will have the guides to guide the visitors. The growth from an acorn to a fully-fledged oak tree will not happen overnight, as we have learnt from our experience. However, unlike the temple which took decades to get to where it is now, Gandhi Peace Centre has the potential to grow faster and get utilised to its full potential due to its location here, where the visitor numbers are constantly growing. It is to our younger generation that will inherit the earth that we need to teach peace and nonviolence. We already have the enthusiastic support from the University of Birmingham with their ideas and suggestions for making the most of the facility we have in the Centre. The Interfaith activities will be part of the work in this centre. The trustees of SVBT (Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple) will strive relentlessly to bring to reality what once was the dream of many. In this world, rife with communal strife, ignorance based religious intolerance leading to violence, there is a need for us all, particularly our next generation, to understand and follow the path of non-violence and peace.