Hundreds of Melbournians gathered at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Mill Park on 5 November to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. The festival is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Diyas or lamps are lit, andpujas and prayers conducted to thank God.
Hundreds of different vegetarian food dishes — sweets, savouries, curries, pickles, soups, juices, and desserts — known as Annakut or ‘mountain of food’, were offered to thank God for His providence over the past year and to continuously seek His blessings for the year ahead.
Devotees along with several notable dignitaries attended the celebration. Honourable Member of Parliament and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier of Victoria Mr Craig Ondarchie, and Federal Labor MP for Scullin Mr Andrew Giles were among the dignitaries who attended. In their speeches, they said they were humbled by how peaceful and serene they felt by visiting the Mandir, and were pleased to see how volunteers were dedicating time and effort for the welfare of others.
BAPS sadhus Pujya Jnanpurush Swami and Pujya Adarshmuni Swami were present for the celebrations and performed Vedic rituals. They swamis travel throughout Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the Asia Pacific region to share spiritual knowledge and improve well-being of society under the inspiration and spiritual guidance of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who even at the age of 93 years continually inspires millions to preserve their heritage, culture and values and to live an addiction-free pious life.