Prayer and Gratitude Illumine Chinmaya Prabha

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At Chinmaya Prabha, Houston, on Nov.8, Dipavali was welcomed with heartfelt prayers and deep gratitude to the Lord and the Guru.
Photos: Jayesh Mistry

By Padmashree Rao

HOUSTON: Light has great significance in any religion. As a shining representation of the eternal Truth that dispels the darkness of ignorance, it stands for everything that is joyful, inspiring, beautiful, and peaceful. Such is the central spirit of Dipavali, the Hindu festival of lights, which literally means “an array of lights.” Celebrated across India and by Indians all over the world, the theme of this festival is uniquely unifying and uplifting in all the various ways it is cherished.

At Chinmaya Prabha, Houston, on Nov. 8, Dipavali was welcomed with heartfelt prayers and deep gratitude to the Lord and the Guru. Unfailing in both discipline and devotion, every aspect of the Dipavali puja invoked tradition, introspection, and the spirit of community with equal fervor. In two sessions, over 800 families, sharing the social and spiritual cheer of the auspicious festival, gathered and prayed.

That morning, everywhere in Chinmaya Prabha, the aesthetic beauty of Dipavali decorations captivated the senses. The colorful rangolis, brilliant lights, and intricate floral arrangements caught every eye; the fragrant incense spread a divine aroma; the devotional bhajans and chanted hymns elevated devotees to a higher realm of listening and speech; all around, the sacred brightness of Dipavali was almost tangible to touch and feel.

In an atmosphere so inspiring, the message of Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty emphasized how Dipavali is about treasuring the true wealth of spiritual values. He pointed out that while the material wealth that Goddess Lakshmi provides is very important for a good standard of living, the wealth of universally good values ensures a high quality of life. And, to gain such values, the Grace of Lord Narayana and the scriptural guidance of the great Guru Parampara are essential.

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Acaryas Gaurangbhai Nanavaty, the priest of Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya, Sri Ganeshji, perfoming Laksmi puja.

In tune with his message, Sri Ganeshji, the priest of Saumyakasi Sivalaya, conducted the Dipavali puja leading the congregation with Ganesha puja. Then all families offered worship with the Lakshmi Ashtottra Shatanamavali and chanted the Visnusahasranama. The hour-long puja concluded with the Vedic and Chinmaya aratis.

The way to God is through the Guru, declare our scriptures. True to that, especially in this birth centenary year of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, the ancient tradition of symbolically conveying gratitude through the Guru Dakshina ceremony was significant.  Acarya Gaurangbhai gently accepted the love and regards of all Chinmaya families on behalf of the Chinmaya Guru Parampara.

Another notable feature of this year’s Dipavali celebration was the three-week Food Drive organized by the Houston Chyks (Chinmaya Yuva Kendra members) to support the Houston Food Bank. The joy of sharing food particularly with the less fortunate is one of the highest forms of charity according to Hinduism. That value was highlighted in this effort to make Dipavali truly dazzle in the community.

Gurudev had said to the millions of seekers worldwide, “As you stand in wonderment at the beauty of the rows of lights everywhere, learn to feel elated at the Light of Divine Consciousness that flutters in the hearts of all living beings around.” The members of Chinmaya Houston glimpsed at such elevating brightness during this Dipavali 2015. Hari Om!

For further information on Chinmaya Mission Houston and its activities visit or call Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233