Chinmaya Mission Houston Celebrates Diwali with Serenity and Joy

By Rajesh Thatte

Houston: Dipavali, the auspicious Hindu festival of lights was celebrated with serenity and joy at Chinmaya Mission Houston over a two-day period.

On Wednesday November 3, priest Sri Ganesh Sathayanarayana performed the Astalaksmi Puja at Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya. The Sivalaya is now open to the public following all safety guidelines. While the inclement weather that Wednesday may have prevented many devotees from attending the Puja in person, the Zoom webinar session enabled a lot of them to participate virtually from comfort of their own homes. Sri Ganeshji guided the devotees present at the temple as well as those participating virtually with detailed instructions.

Then, on Sunday, November 7, Chinmaya Mission celebrated again, as one family, the Dipavali Puja at Smriti hall. Out of abundant caution, the organizing team in Chinmaya Mission had limited the number of families attending the inperson celebration to seventy. What was most missed was the vibrant and cheerful presence of young children due of pandemic restrictions. The celebration included the annual Dipavali Puja and Gurudaksina ceremony. The festivities began with a short address by Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty (affectionately called Uncle). Pujya Uncle expressed his joy to see at least some of the Chinmaya Houston families in person after the pandemic-driven break of almost two years. With great affection, Uncle encouraged the attendees to remain steadfast and devoted in the studies of scriptures.

The main Puja started with the invocation of God Ganesha followed by Lakshmi Puja and Vishnu Sahasranama Puja. As always, Sri Ganeshji skillfully guided all attendees in person and those attending via online conference. The pujas ended with the traditional Shanti path and vaidik arati praying for the wellbeing of everyone. The day’s program concluded with the important annual Gurudaksina ceremony. Gurudakshina is a sacred Hindu tradition of offerings from students (members) to Gurus and Acaryas of the Chinmaya Guru Parampara, a symbolic event of gratitude. And each CMH family received a beautiful gift from our Acaryas on the auspicious occasion. As emphasized by Pujya Gaurang Uncle in his Dipavali message, to help keep up the study of scriptures in daily life, Chinmaya Mission Houston has published the Gita 365 and the Upanishad Daily apps. These apps deliver, in a concise form, Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda’s timeless teachings of Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads daily to mobile   devices and are available on all mobile platforms. To add worship to  scriptural studies daily, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya is now open to public for darshan and pujas during regular hours.

For more information about Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya  and its activities please visit, or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233. Photo by Rajesh Thatte.