Celebrate with ISKCON of Houston – Diwali and Govardhan Pooja


HOUSTON: Get ready Houston!

During the most auspicious month of Kartik (October – November) we provide you opportunities for two great festivals to look forward to at ISKCON of Houston located at 1320 West 34th Street in the Heights area. Diwali, a festival of lights, will be celebrated on Thursday, October 23 and Govardhan Puja (New Year), on Friday, October 24.

Diwali, also referred to as Deepavali literally means “row of lights”. While this festival is traditionally celebrated by lighting lamps, on a deeper level it signifies the victory of good over evil and the journey of a soul from darkness to light. As described in ancient texts of Ramayan, Diwali commemorates the day Lord Rama returned to His kingdom after defeating the evil King Ravana. The text of Mahabharata has mentioned this day as the day the Pandavas returned from their exile. Reflecting on scriptural significance of this day one has a chance to deepen one’s own faith and also to celebrate this festival with love, light and joy. ISKCON of Houston – as a time-honored tradition – will have a spectacular candle light arati in the newly constructed grand temple at 7 pm on Thursday. Program will begin at 6:30 pm to set the mood, there will be a talk about the significance of this auspicious occasion before the evening culminates in a most beautiful candle light darshan of the Deities.

The glorious celebration of Govardhan Puja (New Year) begins with mangala arati, the greeting of Deities with lamps, the very next morning at 4:30 am. Govardhan Puja is a festival inaugurated by none other than Lord Krishna Himself when He manifested His divine past times in the sacred land of Vrindavan. After convincing His father Nanda Maharaj, that the worship of demigods is futile and it was the sacred hill of Govardhan that was providing for all their necessities, He prescribed the form of worship to Govardhan. The festival is celebrated by offering hundreds of delicious bhoga preparations that devotees make with love and affection to offer to Giriraj – King of all hills, who once carried Krishna and His cowherd friends. This day also reminds us that Krishna protects His devotees in all calamities when he performed the past time of lifting Govardhan to shelter the residents of Vrindavan from torrential rain that Indra – the God of rain, sent to punish them for neglecting His worship.

Govardhan hill is considered as one of the most holy sites for followers of the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition. ISKCON of Houston is fortunate to host an actual shila (sacred rock) from the very same Govardhan. On Friday, you can witness abhishek of Sri Giriraj shila, which refers to the bathing of this Deity in auspicious substances such as milk, honey and fresh fruit nectars. Abhishek is at 7 pm, followed by discourse. All the variety of cakes, sweets, pudding, breads, sweet rice and many more foodstuffs are offered to Giriraj Govardhan. This is known as annakut darshan (mountain of food). After offering the delicacies to Giriraj Govardhan, the feast will be served to everyone.

This festival bonanza is not to be missed and the free vegan/vegetarian dinner feast on both days is simply a delicious bonus!

For further details, call at 713-686-4482 OR visit 1320 W 34th Street, Houston TX 77018 and www.iskconhouston.org.