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Diwali, the Festival of Lights, symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. For Hindus, the purpose of Diwali is to remove all sources of darkness (ignorance, greed, worldly desires and thoughts, etc.) from within us and replace them with light, which symbolizes the true knowledge and divinity of the Lord. Diwali and the Hindu New Year are a time when followers of the Hindu faith come together and share the joy in their lives. They put aside their differences and work towards fostering a sense of community all around them. It is an eagerly-awaited holiday for Hindus all over the world and is celebrated with grand festivals.
On Saturday, November 6th, 2010, disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Temple, New Jersey celebrated the Diwali festival and New Year. Hundreds of disciples from all over the United States, as well as members of the New Jersey Indian community, had gathered for the celebration. During the festival, a grand annkut, which consisted of over 350 different Indian and international delicacies disciples had prepared, was offered to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. The annkut featured different dishes, sweets, snacks, baked goods, and fruits – ranging from burfi to roti to pizza – all beautifully arranged in front of the Lord. Disciples also performed kirtan-bhakti, gave speeches about the importance of Diwali and Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa’s divine prowess, and offered aarti to the Lord. Afterwards, annkut prasad was served to everyone.
The other mandals of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi across the United States as well as the Canada mandal also held Diwali celebrations to please the Lord during this auspicious time of year.