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Diwali, Now and Forever at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford

STAFFORD: During the last week of October, lights and candles were lit, sweets prepared and shared, and warm greetings and well wishes were exchanged as millions of Hindus around the world celebrated the festival of lights, Diwali. Diwali presents Hindus around the world with an opportunity to renew the rich traditions of their roots with great fanfare.  

In marking the season, volunteers of all ages came together to organize a Diwali celebration at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, TX from October 15 – October 31. Colorful intricate designs called rangoli, decorative oil lamps and Annakut offerings of vegetarian food before the sacred images of God filled the atmosphere with a renewed spirit of the festival.

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The Diwali celebrations were kicked off on October 15 with the Kids Diwali Carnival. Kids of all ages from the Houston area experienced the 5 days of Diwali with interactive booths. Children also enjoyed the annual Diwali fare filled with games, activities and sweet treats. BAPS youths take great measures to organize and conduct this annual event for the younger participants.

Then on October 22 the grand Diwali theatrical performance titled “Diwali, Now and Forever” gave the audience of how spiritual gurus throughout history have guided us through darkness. Every year the Diwali program ends in a grand fireworks display, this year it ended in an emotional tribute to the late His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj; lighted orange and white balloons flew into the sky as rose petals showered down on the stage. A beautiful video presentation at the end thanked HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj for giving the world his inspirations, messages and work now and forever.

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The Hindu New Year, October 31, began with many from the community participating in the maha arti at 7:30am. Throughout the day visitors were engrossed in darshan of the grand Annakut – an offering of 1000 vegetarian delicacies in front of Bhagwan. Devanshi Patel of Sugarland, TX said “many of the volunteers have been working around the clock to get the food prepared and many of the youngsters participated in the fruit carvings.” She added, “this is one time of the year we get an opportunity to offer our first meal to God.” Thousands of attendees experienced the culture and traditions of the auspicious holiday as they offered prayers, well wishes, and resolved to mark the New Year with spiritual enlightenment.

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Many relished the familiar atmosphere of Diwali and reminisced their childhood days as they immersed themselves in the beautiful sights, traditional songs, and delicious cuisine of the holiday. Bhaskar Patel, who has been working in Mumbai, India for the last 2 years said, “My wife and I made a special trip back to Houston to attend the festivities of the New Year at the Mandir.” He explained, “This Mandir allows me to be with my family and still feel like I am back in India, where else am I am going to have this feeling in the US.”

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The festivities brought devotees together to serve a common purpose, develop spiritually, and please their guru His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and inspirer, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.  Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired the celebration of Hindu festivals at BAPS centers worldwide to keep the rich traditions and culture of India alive with emphasis on the true historic and spiritual purpose of Hindu festivals.

About BAPS:
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families and individuals. Through various spiritual and humanitarian activities, BAPS endeavors to develop better citizens of tomorrow with high esteem for their roots and culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit www.baps.org.

About Mahant Swami Maharaj:
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. His devout, humble and service-focused life earned him the innermost blessings of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj travels throughout the world inspiring people through his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. His virtuous lifestyle and profound devotion to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and gurus are ideals toward which devotees strive. Mahant Swami Maharaj became the guru and President of BAPS upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.


CONTACT:

BAPS North American Headquarters.
Phone: 732-777-1414.
Email: media@na.baps.org

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