NEW BRUNSWICK — Diwali, the last day of the year in the Hindu calendar, is an opportunity for reflection
and growth. BAPS Campus Fellowships organized special Diwali celebrations at college campuses across the country to encourage thousands of college students to reflect on how they could spend the upcoming year living up to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life motto: “In the joy of others lies our own.”
On Oct. 24, Rutgers University was host to a Diwali campus celebration organized by the BAPS Campus Fellowship in New Brunswick, NJ. Food, candles, and colorful Indian outfits transformed Livingston Student Center’s Hall into the site of an authentic Hindu celebration. Students were welcomed to the BAPS Diwali
Campus Celebration in a traditional Hindu manner, as volunteers tied sacred threads (called nadachadi) on their right wrists, as a symbol of each soul’s bond with God. This beautiful display of Hindu culture attracted a diverse audience, including individuals for whom this was the first experience of a Hindu festival.
The Diwali campus celebration not only allowed college students to experience a traditional Diwali celebration, but it gave them the opportunity to get personally involved. In between classes, extracurricular activities, and exams, college students took the time to prepare Diwali decorations and food for the annakut, a traditional offering of food to God on the Hindu New Year.
Pooja Patel, a freshman majoring in Biology, who had the opportunity to be involved in these preparations, said, “Diwali was something my parents celebrated and were really excited for, but that didn’t have the same significance for me. Being a part of this celebration really gave me a greater sense of pride in my culture.”
The celebration’s universal message of selflessness, viewed through Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life, similarly resonated with students. This message found expression in video presentations, devotional songs, and speeches by college students and remarks by BAPS Swamis who graced the event.
Expounding the event’s theme, Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s motto, “In the Joy of others lies our own”, Pujya Chaitanyamurtidas Swami said, “We all want to be happy and being happy is very important in life. If you are happy, you are motivated, you work hard and success follows. However, equally important is to give joy to others and that will bring greater and everlasting joy to us.”
Shail Amin, a junior majoring in aerospace engineering said, “The Swami’s speech, showed me the value of sharing, the value of caring. I am proud that my Hindu faith has a very practical set of teachings that should guide my life.” Darshana Patel, a senior majoring in Finance said, “I am impressed by how Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s has lived a life that truly exemplifies ‘in the joy of others lies our own. I am inspired to live this principle.”
Yogi Patel, a sophomore majoring in Accounting, who took an active part in organizing the event said, “It was great seeing so many students around campus get together for a Diwali celebration. I enjoyed the event. I thank everyone especially the Swamis for coming over to guide and bless us.”
Despite residing in India, Pramukh Swami Maharaj continually inspires young Hindus all over the world to celebrate their Hindu heritage and customs. These festivals allow for families to meet and celebrate the Hindu festivals and pass on traditions to future generations. In addition to events on university campuses, BAPS celebrates Diwali and the Hindu New Year on a grand scale in its 85 temples around North
America, becoming a locus of Hindu faith and culture for thousands of Hindu families.
(Photos courtesy of BAPS Campus Fellowships)
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