Diwali Celebrations at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

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By BAPS Correspondent

STAFFORD: Many years ago Rupal Patel recalls reading comic books on Ramayan in India. She remembers that anytime she would have a question, her grandmother would narrate the journey of Bhagwan Ram and Sita by memory.

She was always intrigued when hearing about when Ram would triumph over Ravan and bring Sita back to Ayodhya.  She felt a sense of peace and restoration of balance. After each narration, Rupal would take away a new moral and apply it to her life. It is with this spirit that millions of Hindus celebrate the festival of Diwali every year.

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Diwali program started with a vedic sholk by a group of 10 year old kids

Now that she lives in Sugarland, Texas and thousands of miles from India she misses Diwali and its atmosphere. She misses the assortments of sweets or mithai during Diwali. In order to sustain those memories, for the last 10 years, she and her family attends the celebrations at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford.

For the last two weekends, Diwali has been celebrated in grand scale at the Mandir. On October 11, children of all ages got to participate in a special Kid’s Diwali Carnival. Each child took part in a special sabha or assembly followed by carnival rides. The day ended with each child lighting their own divos and participating in a special grand Diwali arti on the Mandir.

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Unity in Diversity Diwali Program highlighted India’s culture, music and language at BAPS

The celebrations continued at the Mandir on Saturday, October 18 with an outdoor Diwali program titled “Unity in Diversity.” The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was beautifully lit with orange, white and green representing the Indian flag. Along with Rupal’s family, several hundred visitors were welcomed with beautiful rangolis and divos. The Diwali program highlighted India’s diverse culture, language, music, character and most importantly unity.

Throughout the program a special laser show was displayed lighting up the dark skies with beautiful colors. Rupal Patel’s daughter was amazed when the fireworks started to pop at the end of the program. Each visitor left with the sentiments of being proud Indians and happy citizens of the community in which they live in.

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Ferris Wheel ride at the BAPS kids diwali carnival

In an age where traditions and morals are challenging to maintain, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj invests time to build the roots of ancient rituals for generations. On the surface, Diwali is the most colorful holiday with fireworks, rangolis, and beautiful decorations, variety of mithais, fancy flowers and lit divos. But the true essence of Diwali is an internal journey of dispelling darkness in the forms of ego, anger, jealously, greed, and envy and invoking the light to bring in positive virtues of patience, contentment, compassion and inner-stability. Pramukh Swami Maharaj is a living example of positive virtues that we can strive towards with sincere efforts.  Through introspection at this auspicious time, we can overcome our negative virtues and bring out the light from within.

Crowd enjoying the Diwali program at BAPS

Crowd enjoying the Diwali program at BAPS

Rupal Patel left this Diwali with the hope that the coming year will bring joy and peace to her family and instill moral values for her children to pass onto coming generations.  Not only was she able to be a spectator of the beautiful colors of Diwali, she left with a sense of ease by applying virtues displayed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj into her life.

About BAPS
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a worldwide socio-spiritual organization 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 social and spiritual activities, BAPS endeavors to produce better citizens of tomorrow who have a high esteem for their roots. Its 3,300 international centers support these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is morally, ethically and spiritually pure, and free of addictions.

About Pramukh Swami Maharaj
His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, has inspired millions of people across the world to lead a God-centered, morally pure life. As the present leader of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has traveled extensively, emphasizing the importance of family harmony, community service and spiritual progress. He embodies the essence of Hindu life. His compassion for humanity, universal wisdom and striking simplicity has touched many world religious and national leaders.

For further information visit www.baps.org