Diwali Celebrations 2023
The sentiments behind the Diwali festival, is that all darkness, i.e., ignorance, worldly desires and thoughts should be removed from within us and replaced with the light, the divinity of the Lord. Lamps are symbolic of truth and knowledge of the Lord. Therefore lamps/diyas are lit everywhere allowing us to remember and reflect on the true purpose of this festival period.
This day is the final day of the Hindu year, Aso vad amas. Traditionally the New Year's accounts are sanctified on this day. The sky during this night would be moonless, therefore the lighting of the diyas eradicate this darkness; yet another symbol of good over evil.
This Year’s Diwali celebration and the start of Samvat 2080 (the Hindu New Year) was celebrated at Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir – Nairobi with great enthusiasm. The preparations for Diwali started much earlier before the grand day. Disciples conducted seva wherever possible, from planning, lighting and other beautiful decorations, preparation of the Annakut delicacies and organising.
On Sunday the 12th of November 2023, devotees gathered in the Mandir and assembled a superlative and beautiful Annakut surrounding Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Ved Ratna Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Several sweet delicacies, savouries and a variety of dishes prepared by devotees were symmetrically and elegantly aligned on the Annakut stand along with several fruits and vegetables. Beautiful rangolis and cakes were also displayed along with the Annakut.
Devotees gathered at 4.30pm and the evening begun with Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa’s divine Ashirwad followed by Dhyan (meditation) for half an hour to please Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, Ved Ratna Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and Gnan Mahodadhi Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj. Thereafter, was Shree Ghanshyam Madhurashtak, Kirtan Bhakti and dhoon. Right after this was thaal ucchav followed by Annakut Aarti, Sandhya Aarti Niyams and Chopda Poojan. Business owners place their account books and ledgers infront of Lord Swaminaryanbapa Swamibapa and Ved Ratna Acharya Swamishree Maharaj seeking blessings for their businesses.
To conclude the evening, Mahaprasad was served to all.
Hindu New Year, Samvat 2080 Celebrations
The Hindu New Year, Samvat 2080 fell on Monday, 13th of November 2023. The day’s event began at 6:00 am with Mangla Aarti Niyams followed by Kirtan Bhakti. Devotees gathered to receive divine discourses via audio from Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa after which, devotees prayed for forgiveness of past misdeeds and for spiritual strength and wisdom for the coming year so that they can please the Lord more and more. Devotees also prayed for the new year to commence with prosperity and blessings. Thereafter was Ashirwad from our beloved Gnan Mahodadhi Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj followed by Sneh Milan.
Thousands of Hindus visited to witness the exquisite Annakut and receive blessings from Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Ved Ratna Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
Devotees in Mombasa, Uganda and Tanzania also celebrated Diwali and Hindu New Year by offering Annakut to Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Ved Ratna Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
Devotees exchanged greetings and wishes for the New Year. Annakut Prasad was later served to all in the evening.