Arya Samaj Greater Houston Celebrates Foundation Day

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HOUSTON: The Arya Samaj Greater Houston (ASGH) celebrated its 23rd Foundation Day during the weekend of August 16 and 17, with great enthusiasm and fervor.

The program started on Saturday, August 16, at 9:45 am with the Indian flag hosting ceremony to celebrate India’s Independence Day.  A group of DAVSS students lead by Smriti Srivastava sang a patriotic song and the national anthem.  It was followed by Yajna with selected Vedic mantras, Bhajans and a spiritual discourse, which concluded at 12 pm with Aarti, Shanti Path and Prasad.  The same pattern was repeated in the following three sessions, with a music program added in each evening.

The highlight of the celebration was the Chatur Veda Yajna (Yajna reciting mantras from all the four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda) spread over four sessions on Saturday and Sunday. About 70 families participated in the Yajna as Yajmaans. This required enormous coordination and planning, and it is to the credit of ASGH volunteers who executed this effort perfectly, leading to smooth and uninterrupted proceedings. The Yajnas were led by the ASGH resident priest, Acharya Dr. Suryanarayan Nanda who made a special effort to explain the meaning of the mantras by presenting slides with English translations of the mantras. His explanation and messages were highly inspiring and appreciated by the audience.

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The annual Foundation Day celebrations commemorate the founding of ASGH by veteran Vedic missionary Shri Ram Chand Mahajan in 1991. The Samaj started in the building facilities on Highway 6, graciously provided by Rita and Sunil Mehta. In August 1997, Arya Samaj Greater Houston started functioning from its current campus on Schiller Road, which includes the main Temple building and Dining Hall, the recently expanded DAV School building, the beautiful outdoor Yagyashala and surrounding lawns.

A special feature of this year’s celebration was the series of Pravachans, or lectures, by Acharya Ashish Darshnacharya, a visiting Vedic scholar from India. The discourses covered in the two sessions on Saturday related to the Vedas, their divinity (Why are the Vedas divine?) and their importance (Vedas:  Source of Science, Spirituality and Healthy Living). These topics, and the interactive and interesting presentations of ideas, kept the audience engaged.

On Sunday, which was also the day of Janmashtami, special messages were delivered to commemorate the birth and virtues of Sri Krishna. The other topic of discourse was Vedic Views on Science of Creation of Universe by Arya Samaj’s own Acharya Surya Nanda. Here again, the audience was spellbound to perceive the wealth and depth of scientific knowledge contained in the Vedas.

Variety was added to the program by including a music segment during the evening sessions on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday ASGH’s Bhajan group lead the musical proceedings. Also Smriti Srivastava, DAV music teacher, presented a music program with her students and performed a variety of bhajans and patriotic songs. On Sunday evening, ASGH’s other music teacher and volunteer, Vinita Arora and her students entertained the audience with melodious bhajans and songs.

Each session ended with the distribution of prasad and a sumptuous meal, allowing the attendees to mingle with their friends, engage in discussion with the Acharyas and make plans for the following sessions. By Sunday evening the satisfaction of a job well done was writ large on the faces of the numerous ASGH volunteers.  Plans are being made to surpass this performance next year, when this occasion will coincide with the 25th Arya Maha Sammelan (an annual conference of all Arya Samajs in North America) to be held at ASGH.

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Following the Foundation Day celebrations, a two-day workshop was conducted by Acharya Ashish Darshnacharya at ASGH on four practical aspects of application and practice of Vedic philosophy.  The workshop topics were: Importance and Practice of Prayer/ Yajna/Yog/Pranayam in daily life, Concept of God, How to prepare our children to practice and defend our values with pride, and Basics of Vedic Scriptures.  These sessions were interactive, well attended and generated a lot of interest among the audience.

Arya Samaj Greater Houston is located at 14375 Schiller Road, Houston, TX 77082, (www.aryasamajhouston.org or Tel. 281-752-0100) and conducts Satsang every Sunday from 10 AM to 12 Noon. The DAV Sanskriti School is held every Sunday during the Satsang hours. The DAV Montessori School offers pre-school and elementary education for children from 2 to 7 years. Yoga, Sanskrit and Upanishads classes are held twice a week at ASGH.  Arya Samaj has highly qualified priests who can conduct all Vedic Sanskars at Arya Samaj premises, your home or place of your business.

Contact Dev Mahajan (713-468-4339), Shekhar Agrawal (281-242-8280) or Bhushan Verma (713-504-2707) for any information regarding ASGH or its schools and services. 

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