chapter  3
15 Pages

Blessed food from Jalarām’s kitchen

Narrative, continuity and service among Jalarām Bāpā devotees in London
WithMartin Wood

Jalaram Bapa image or murti can be found in numerous pan-Hindu, Sanatana Dharma mandira and on domestic shrines in Gujarati homes around the country. This chapter focuses on the United Kingdom (UK) diaspora context based on qualitative field research undertaken at the tradition's West London Greenford Mandir. In the UK alone the Jalaram Bapa tradition has established two substantial places of devotional worship specifically dedicated to him: the Jalaram Prathana Mandir in Leicester and the Shree Jalaram Mandir Greenford, London. The chapter shows that the ethical and spiritual message of Jalaram has been absorbed by the prasadam, affecting the circumstances of those who consume it. Devotees of Jalaram Bapa in Greenford are drawing on a long tradition of seva through the distribution of free food to those in need irrespective of religion or social status. The Jalaram tradition distinguishes itself from other devotional sammpradayas, such as the Swaminarayan and ISKCON traditions, it places great emphasis on egalitarianism from the start.