Diwali Traditions Brings Generations Together at BAPS

Beautifully lit BAPS temple during Diwali with spectacular fireworks

STAFFORD: Over years some traditions dwindle away as generations pass. Diwali is one time where the twinkle of the flickering candles brings families and friends together to celebrate good over evil.   While the ancient tradition of lighting divos on Diwali erase physical darkness, the festival’s rich traditions and rituals go deeper – inviting individuals to make efforts in removing darkness in the forms of anger, envy, greed, arrogance, and resentment.

This year, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Houston, TX celebrated Diwali under the theme “Hamara Parivar” – Kindling Generational Harmony. This theme showed the importance of families taking care of one another; kids taking care of parents and vice versa.

Annakut at the BAPS temple

Annakut at the BAPS temple

The five days of Diwali (including the Hindu new year) are rich in cultural traditions and rituals that symbolize new beginnings and a renewed commitment to family. The bright colors of Rangoli (intricate designs made of colored powder), the lighting of divos, and the elaborate variety of vegetarian foods offered to God (called an Annakut), all mark a renewal of the good within and the goodwill towards everything around us. Diwali presents Hindus with an opportunity to connect with and celebrate the traditions of their roots with great fanfare. Many community members including public office officials attended the celebrations at the mandir.

Devotees celebrate with Annakut during the Hindu New Year
Meghal Bhatt recalled, “when I was growing up, my dad would talk about Diwali in India and being here at the mandir gives me an opportunity to have my kids participate in the festivities without traveling all the way to India.” He added, “my son’s favorite part was seeing fireworks over the beautiful mandir.”

Offering his prayers to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, guru and President of BAPS, prayed for devotees around the world for continued personal, and professional growth in this New Year. Mahant Swami Maharaj took the occasion of Diwali to remind individuals and families about the importance of leading spiritually centric lives, grounded in strong values and increased attachment to God.

This year, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs across North America marked the auspicious festival of Diwali and its associated five days of celebrations with an elaborate Annakut, lighted divos, fireworks, and even a special children’s Diwali celebration.

The celebrations were open to all. Visitors participated in celebration activities, offered prayers for new beginnings and had the opportunity to taste in the delicious offerings of the Annakut.

BAPS Youth perform drama of Shravan

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.      

About Pramukh Swami Maharaj

 Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. He dedicated his life to the well-being of others, traveling throughout the world to foster love, peace, harmony, righteousness, faith in God, and service to humanity. With genuine care and compassion, he reached out to all members of society irrespective of class, color, or age. Recognized and respected as one of India’s greatest spiritual teachers, he lived by and promoted the principle: “In the joy of others, lies our own.”