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 15 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 'Diwali Inspires' to share the light that Diwali brings into our lives via culture, community, and reflection. Diwali inspires culture through eternal traditions that bring the community together through service and kindness. The program enabled delegates to reflect on the values of Diwali that they can imbibe in their lives: simplicity, the power of prayer, and seeking inspiration from a Guru. The exhibition and program also provided an introduction to the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham North America, a timeless landmark serving as a beacon of inspiration for all.
These powerful messages of 'Diwali Inspires' were illustrated via interactive exhibits and motivational speeches by Pujya 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.
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.