25th Arya Mahasammelan

Arya Samaj 1in

HOUSTON: On Thursday, July 30, Arya Samajis from all over the world descended on Houston, Texas to celebrate and attend the 25th Arya Mahasammelan. The event marked the silver jubilee for Arya Pratinidhi Sabha America, which was established in 1991 as a Congress of Arya Samajs in North America.  This was the second time for Arya Samaj of Greater Houston (ASGH) to host the Arya Mahasammelan, having previously hosted it in 2006.    Next year’s Mahasammelan will be held in Florida.

Arya Samaj 2in

The theme for this year’s Mahasammelan was “Arya Samaj Movement in North America”, with separate streams for the Youth.  Over the last ten years, the number of Youth delegates has consistently grown – from about 10 in 2006, when Houston last hosted the event to over 50 Youth delegates this year.  Attendees came from all over the United States, Canada, Britain, and India. Each day’s events kicked off on the healthy foot with yoga and meditation sessions followed by Yajnya held at ASGH.  The primary stream had  a jam packed day filled with lectures by learned scholars on Arya Samaj movement, its context and meaning in the present day environment, Ayurveda, Yoga, and the Vedas, ending on a fun filled note with dinner followed by a cultural program featuring some of the Youth delegates, children of DAV Montessori & Sanskriti Schools from Houston.

This was my second time as a Youth delegate, and on Friday, while my parents and grandmother stayed in the main hall of ASGH, I headed over to the DAV School building where we got to meet and interact with youth from other cities. We were then treated to a series of thought provoking lectures from many scholars, on a broad array of topics, including the Principles of Arya Samaj, Vedic philosophy and concepts, the 16 sacraments, and the science behind Yoga, among others. The best part was the Q&A session after each lecture with the speaker, so we could more fully understand the topic. Throughout the day and between lectures, we got to talk with our peers, make new friends, and play fun icebreakers- during which we ruined 4 rolls of paper streamers, balanced 5 dice on a stick, and proceeded to play every game imaginable with plastic cups. Lots of cheering was involved. The day culminated with an outstanding cultural program including a wonderful performance by DAV Schools’ children, a hilarious skit by Arya Yuva Mandal Houston, and a beautiful rendition of ‘Saare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara’ by an orchestra conducted by Mrs. Vinita Arora.  The next day proved to only get better with a tour of the world famous NASA Space center, and an excursion to Kemah where we ate, went on roller coaster rides, and took a walk along the boardwalk. We made it back just back in time for a gala dinner, followed by another cultural program with some great performances. At the gala dinner, which was attended by the Consulate General of India, Arya Pratinidhi Sabha honored visionaries and leaders of the Arya Samaj Movement who had helped make Arya Samaj into what it is today. It was inspiring to see so many great people share the same stage that day. Sunday, sadly, was the last day of Mahasammelan, and after the last Yajnya, and some closing remarks, all the fun was over, waiting to be repeated next year, in Florida. In the meanwhile, I made some great friends I hope to keep in touch with, and can’t wait to attend next year’s Mahasammelan.