BAPS Mandir Resonates with Peace and Purity on Diwali
"Raaj mare din din Diwali re"- a saint and poet expressed these words hundreds of years ago, words which evoke a sentiment that everyday should be celebrated with as much joy and enthusiasm as the Diwali festival is celebrated. Majestic white pillars, blissful water fountains, and a peaceful ambience transformed the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) mandir into a haven for peace and purity. This year's theme, inspired by the construction of one of the largest Hindu temple outside of India, located in Lilburn, GA, was "Mandir: A Pilgrimage to Purity."
The joyous five day Diwali festival culminated in a grand celebration on Sunday, October 22nd as the volunteers of BAPS presented an Annakut of 2007 different vegetarian delicacies. While the sweets were placed nearest to the Lord, other foods such as fruits, vegetables, cakes and fried savory delicacies descended from the heavens to our worldly level. A mound of cooked rice was placed in the center symbolic of Mt. Govardhan that is mentioned in the Ramayan. By offering this bounty of sumptuous food to the Lord on this day, the devotees thank the Lord and therein pray that through the whole year they avail His sanctified 'prasad'.
The celebrations commenced on Thursday, October 19th with the Dhan Teras ceremony. The underlying sentiment of Dhan Teras is Lakshmi pujan in which Hindus thank the Lord for blessing them with wealth and prosperity in the past year and pray for continuing success.
The Diwali festival continued on Friday with Kali Chaudas- where devotees pray and offer pujan to Hanumanji to remove inauspiciousness and fear of evil spirits. Saturday marked one of the most joyous days of the auspicious season—the celebration of Diwali. On this the darkest (moonless) day of the month, people light divas symbolically, praying to the Lord for inner enlightenment. On the same day, devotees participated in the Chopda (Sharda) Poojan ceremony, where financial books were closed for the previous year's accounts and new accounts were opened for the coming year. Saints also blessed the devotees with financial prosperity and success for the upcoming year.
Perhaps the greatest beauty of the whole event was the volunteerism and hard work that it inspired. Hundreds of volunteers young and old alike dedicated their time and energy into organizing and implementing all of these events. Their efforts were realized and rendered the Diwali celebrations a success—following in the theme for the year, peace and purity were certainly attained by all.
~BAPS Staff Writer
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