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STAFFORD, TX – Fireworks lit the skies over the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford on November 14, 2015. It was a beautiful Saturday evening with the youth of BAPS performing a cultural Diwali program called “Sambhavami Yuge Yuge…” This program emphasized the ever presence of Bhagwan’s avatar from the time of Bhagwan Ram to Bhagwan Swaminarayan through educational dramas, entertaining dances and inspirational videos.
The five days of Diwali are filled with optimism and enthusiasm as volunteers and devotees work side by side to build the annakut and prepare for Diwali events at each Mandir. Over the past week, visitors felt as if they had been transformed back to India with colorful lights, sparkling divas, and decorative rangolis. Pragnesh Prajapati of Sugarland said, “We have been planning for over 6 months and it’s been great to see devotees of all ages come together to help out for the festivities.” During this time of togetherness, reflection, and introspection, devotees at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford organized various events to share in ancient traditions with the local community.
On November 12, the Hindu New Year was celebrated at the Mandir with a grand maha arti at 7:30 am followed by a stunning offering of over 1000 vegetarian delicacies, the annakut. Devanshi Patel describes the annakut as, “It’s a grand first offering and your best recipes are put together to serve Bhagwan, and it’s amazing how everyone prepares the meals by getting up early to have their best dish ready on time.”
Diwali serves as a time to gather with friends and family to welcome the New Year and celebrate the year past. Celebrating Diwali with great enthusiasm and excitement inspires every generation of Indians to honor their deeply rooted Hindu heritage. Hina Prajapati said “ I have been in the states for only a few years and Diwali at the Mandir transforms me back to India and this is such a great way to keep our traditions.“
The Mandir and the festivities are inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS. Throughout the week devotees welcomed guests to the Mandir with well wishes for the New Year. Swamis will continue to visit with community members to offer their prayers for peace and prosperity among families.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir will continue the Diwali celebrations for their youngsters on November 21st. The Kid’s Diwali Celebration will be fun and educational. Children will learn the history and origin of this festival, play variety of exciting games, and will be given an assortment of gifts and goodies.
This year His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj celebrated Diwali and Annakut in Sarangpur, Gujarat, India. He blessed the devotees on the New Year day.