The Honorable Roy Cooper, Governor of North Carolina, celebrated the vibrant Hindu festival of Diwali and the Hindu New Year with worshippers and members of the local community at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Raleigh on Monday, October 24, 2022.
This was the Governor’s first visit to the Mandir, where he was greeted in a traditional Hindu manner with auspicious marks of welcome and goodwill before being taken on a brief tour of the Mandir complex. The Governor offered flowers at the central shrine of the Mandir’s inner sanctum, where he spent several minutes absorbing the peace and admiring the craftsmanship. He then performed the abhishek (an ancient Hindu practice of prayerfully pouring water over a sacred image) of Shri Nilkanth Varni, the teenage form of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. During the tour of the Mandir, the Governor spoke about how peaceful he felt.
In the presence of BAPS devotees and esteemed members of the local Hindu community, Governor Cooper proceeded to sign the proclamation proclaiming October as Hindu Heritage Month and October 24 as Diwali in the State of North Carolina.
After the signing of the Proclamation, the Governor stated that when he walked in, he was able to feel the reverence and the sincere spiritually of the Mandir, but also the welcome and the lightheartedness of the community before commenting on the “incredible work” of the Mandir, which he appreciated as “done clearly with love”. He closed out his remarks by inspiring the audience to carry the true meaning of Diwali into the New Year. He concluded with, “As we do deal with dark times, as we do deal with despair, I want us to remember as we come together that light will prevail over darkness, and that good will prevail over evil, and that hope will prevail over our despair.”