BAPS volunteers gather at Swaminarayan Mandir to celebrate Diwali and the idea of family bonding
Diwali, commonly known as the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the sentiments of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. It is a time during which Hindus from around the world light traditional lamps and pray for peace, prosperity and the Lord to dispel ignorance during spiritual enlightenment.
With the blessing of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, spiritual head of the BAPS, hundreds raised their voices in prayer and gratitude on Sunday, 22 October, at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Green Fields. The congregation, dressed in vibrant traditional clothing, raised flames aloft in presence of BAPS Swamis Pujya Paramchintan Swami and Pujya Priyachintan Swami.
Annakut, the following day after Diwali, marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. On this day, Annakut, or ‘mountain of food’, is offered to the lord.
In the assembly hall were mountains of colourful vegetarian food and drink prepared by devotees given as thanks to images of the deities and with hope for peace, prosperity, good health and happiness in the year ahead.
One of the BAPS volunteers discoursed on Unity, explaining that a “family that eats together, prays together, plays together and stays together”.
Members of Parliament, leaders of various Indian and Hindu communities and BAPS guests attended the event and watched the spectacular display of fireworks.
Keynote speeches were delivered by Minister for Multicultural Affairs Zoe Bettison, who also represented the Premier of South Australia Hon Jay Weatherill, South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs David Pisoni, Member for Torrens Dana Wortley and Mayor of Salisbury Council Gillian Aldridge.