BAPS Campus Fellowships hosted their Annual Diwali Celebration for over 3,000 attendees at 24 university campuses across North America. College-aged kishores and kishoris in various states, and often at remote campus locations, balanced their academic schedules to plan and organize the event. The student volunteers hand-prepared a variety of vegetarian food items to offer an annakut before Bhagwan in upholding cornerstone elements of the Diwali tradition.
Many delegates arrived wearing traditional Indian clothing, and were welcomed in accordance with Hindu custom by applying a chandlo (red vermillion mark) to their forehead and tying a nada chhadi (red sacred thread) on their right wrists. The program was themed, “In the Joy of Others” which alludes to a well-known point of wisdom from Pramukh Swami Maharaj, “In the joy of others lies your own.” Pujya Swamis reminded all faculty, staff, and students in attendance to think of each other during this festive time, and work for the betterment and advancement of society at large in setting personal and professional goals. Furthermore, Swamis shared their insights on Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s vision for youth development around the world. Students were encouraged to develop a practice of prayer and spiritual study in their daily lives, enabling them to find peace through faith over time. Spirituality and optimism inspire harmony and love within our families and communities.
At each celebration, Pujya Swamis and Chief Guests introduced the newly released book “Transcendence” written by the late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to communities of Indian-American students. Discussions around the book focused on leadership, spirituality, and social responsibility as students learned about Dr. Kalam’s personal journey with His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Together attendees performed aarti, thaal, and shared in learning about the deep significance of Diwali in Indian culture. BAPS Campus Fellowships help to preserve satsang and Hindu heritage throughout a youth’s college experience, enabling Indian students to remain connected, or become introduced, to their culture.