Youths across North American 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, over 20 campuses across North America held the Campus Diwali Celebrations. Collegiate youths, often at remote campus locations away from childhood friends and family, balanced their academic schedules to plan, organize, and participate in this event. In addition, the student volunteers hand-prepared various vegetarian food items to offer as an annakut, upholding cornerstone elements of the Diwali tradition. Over 4,500 students, faculty, and community members participated in these celebrations.
The program was themed "In the Joy of Others, Lies our Own" to commemorate the Centennial Celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The celebration took place with an exhibition and live stage program on the true meaning of Pramukh Swãmi Maharaj's life motto:
"In the Joy of Others, Lies our Own," encouraging us to celebrate small acts of kindness done consistently
"In the Progress of Others, Rests our Own," showing the importance of putting others ahead and mentoring the future generations
"In the Good of Others, Abides our Own," emphasizes putting aside negativity and ego to appreciate others' virtues and wishing well for them fully
"Know this to be the key to peace and happiness," meaning it's worthwhile to commit to the joy, progress, and good of others because it will lead to the ultimate fulfillment of life.
This powerful message of Pramukh Swãmi Maharaj was illustrated via interactive exhibits and motivational speeches by swamis. 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. Guests, faculty, staff, and students were inspired to think of each other during this festive time and work for the betterment of society at large when setting personal and professional goals. This year's program showcased how to live a simple and truthful life through the lens of mental well-being and transcending today's result-driven culture.
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. 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.