“We get knowledge from education, but the foundation of life lies in values like morality, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, to be helpful to others, to see the good in others’ works and to elevate our country and society.” – Pramukh Swami Maharaj, October 6, 2003
Youths across North America university campuses rekindled their flame of character, integrity, and spirituality through the annual BAPS Campus Diwali Celebration hosted by the BAPS Campus Fellowship. This year, 35 campuses across North America held the Campus Diwali Celebrations. Collegiate youths across North America, often at remote campus locations away from childhood friends and family, balanced their academic schedules to plan, organize, and participate in this event. The student volunteers’ hand-prepared a variety of vegetarian food items to offer as an annakut, upholding cornerstone elements of the Diwali tradition. Over 5,000 students, faculty, and community members participated in these celebrations.
The program was themed, “In the Joy of Others” with a special focus on truth, simplicity, and integrity. 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 nadachhadi (red sacred thread) on their wrists. Revered Swamis, through motivational speeches, inspired all faculty, staff, and students in attendance to think of each other during this festive time and work for the betterment of society at large in setting personal and professional goals. Through the lens of mental well-being and transcending today’s result-driven culture, this year’s program showcased how to live a simple and truthful life.
Furthermore, Pujya Swamis shared their spiritual insights on how Bhagwan Ram himself was an ambassador of change. Students were encouraged to develop a practice of prayer and spiritual study in their daily lives, enabling them to find peace through faith, truth, and simplicity. A key message was that spirituality and simplicity inspire harmony and love within our families and communities. In this manner, the program inspired today’s youth to imbibe Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s motto “In the Joy of Others” in their lives and experience the happiness and joy of Diwali every day of their lives.
Under the spiritual guidance of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS continues to promote and organize activities that celebrate the spirit and values of Hindu festivals while simultaneously augmenting today’s youth with vital life lessons. These lessons equip youths with the potential to share peace, love, harmony and provide selfless service to the community.