Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Arya Maha Sammelan

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By Dr. Harish Chandra

HOUSTON: Yoga as taught by the great Sage Patanjali in his classic Yoga-Sutras (also called Yoga Darshana) emerged as the core action plan from the 25th Arya Maha Sammelan (Conference) organized by the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha America (APSA – coordinating body for all the Arya Samajes in the USA and Canada) hosted by the Arya Samaj Greater Houston (ASGH) July 30 to August 2. More than 200 delegates from India, UK, Europe, Canada and several states of the USA participated. Scholarly presentations overwhelmingly supported the view that the Vedas consist of true knowledge, both of matter and spirit, that was the basis of the clarion call of Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati (1825-’83), the founder of Arya Samaj in 1875.

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Eternal relevance of the Vedas makes it incumbent for everyone to bring its beautiful knowledge and legacy to every human being. There is an urgent need for this knowledge in North America. It was further argued that the developed world is affluent and will appreciate the spiritual knowledge of the Vedas whereas the population elsewhere is struggling for basic material needs. One presentation after another listed the benefits that the people can obtain from Patanjali’s prescription of Ashtanga Yoga, including Vedic learning and ability to manage their body and mind in perfect harmony with the nature.

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Dr. Ramesh Gupta (Arya Samaj Garden State, New Jersey) went into details from a neuroscientist’s perspective to list benefits of Dhyana and Samadhi through intricate functioning of brain. Almost every speaker borrowed at least one concept from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to highlight its relevance in North America. The most talked about concepts were Yama and Niyama (duties towards others and self, the first two limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga) that should not come as a surprise because Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmcharya and Aparigraha are indeed universally accepted moral code of conduct. Dr. Rajinder Gandhi (Arya Samaj of New Jersey) presented a comprehensive study that explained the documented benefits of meditation in recent research papers from the Vedic perspective. ASGH reacted to the widespread sentiments in a constructive way by announcing start of a 4- month course on Patanjali Meditation from Wed 26 August and Sat 29 August at its serene hall. True to the universality of the message, both the batches will be offered worldwide via webinar. Those interested can obtain details from For any query, write to: The course is open to all irrespective of gender, age, national, religious or cultural origin.
There was a special flavor in the conference due to the rich cultural presentations from the pupils of DAV Montessori School and DAV Sanskriti School. These schools running in the premises of ASGH must have been greatly successful as indicated by a skid of great personalities presented by the alumni of these two schools who continue to stay connected, hooked and tuned to ASGH in the form of Arya Yuva Mandal (AYM – Arya Youth Group) even after graduating from the schools. Guests showered extensive praise for the volunteers of ASGH including youngsters of AYM. Devinder Mahajan humbly accepted the accolades from the APSA officers on behalf of the ASGH family.