Monday 30 November 2020 | Kartik Sud 15, Samvat 2077

Mon 30 Nov 2020

Diwali, Hindu New Year and Annkut - Sunday, November 15, 2020 | Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey

The word Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word Deepavali and literally translated means a row of lights. For this reason, the Diwali festival is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights. 

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 are lit everywhere allowing us to remember and reflect on the true purpose of this festival period.

The Diwali festival lasts for 5 consecutive days. Each day has a significance that was derived from various different episodes of Hindu legends. Depending on the region of India, these legends will vary. However the essence behind each story is the abolishment and conquering of evil, replaced by the establishment of good.

Annakut, Thaal, Aarti Donations

This year’s celebrations will be significantly different due to the current circumstances, with the temple open for only limited events, and many of the events taking place online - all for the convenience and safety of all. In order to alleviate congestion at the temple during this time, and to allow everyone to be able to make Annakut Aarti and Thaal donations, we are are pleased to take donations online via the donations page.

The temple will be open for Annakut darshan on Sunday, November 15, 2020 from 10am to 4pm. During this period, please follow the guidance from the volunteers to maintain social distancing as per government regulations.

Schedule and Openings

Due to the current circumstances, the Temple will not be open for any gatherings. All sabha will be online only. 

Ramaa Ekadashi

Wednesday, November 11

7:00pm - 8:30pm - Sandhya aarti and niyams followed by katha

Dhan Teras

Friday, November 13

The first day is called Dhan Teras. It is also sometimes called Dhantrayodashmi. Dhan literally means wealth. In the past, the number of cattle that was owned determined one's wealth; therefore, the cow was offered worship on this day. Over the centuries, this has evolved to offering poojan to Laxmi, the deity of wealth. In this context, Laxmi is personified through currency and a ceremony involving money is traditionally performed on this day. The sentiments behind this are that we must remember never to obtain money in any manner that contravenes the path of morality, of dharma.

Dhan poojan times:
6:45am - 11:03am
12:24pm - 1:47pm
4:32pm - 7:31pm

7:00pm - Sandhya aarti and niyams

Diwali & Kali Chaudas

Saturday, November 14

This day is the final day of the Hindu year and Kali Chaudas. Kali is the deity of strength. Hence this day focuses on acquiring the divine strength to abolish idleness and immorality. Historically people offered poojan to Hanuman. It is said that this removes all fear of evil spirits and establish auspiciousness within us. By eradicating evil, we become internally enlightened. This internal evil refers to the evil spirits that reside within us, lust, anger, greed, avarice, etc. Once these have been banished from within us, we can offer true devotion unto the Lord.

Chopda poojan times:
8:07am - 9:30am
12:24pm - 4:33pm
5:54pm - 7:31pm

5:00pm - 8:00pm - Online sabha followed by sandhya aarti, niyams and Hanumanji poojan

Annakutotsav & Sadguru Din

Sunday, November 15

Aso vad (15) amass. Traditionally the New Year's accounts are sanctified on this day. Fireworks are exploded; a symbol of the burning of evil, and the resurrection of good light, the truth and divinity of the Lord. Divas are lit in homes and temples. Rangoli, elaborate patterns are artistically created using powdered paint at the entrance of homes as a welcoming symbol. The sky during this night would be moonless, therefore the lighting of the divas eradicate this darkness; yet another symbol of good over evil. The sentiment for a disciple of the Lord when lighting a divo is to pray for forgiveness of past misdeeds and for spiritual strength and wisdom for the coming year so that he can please the Lord more and more.

Nidar Sidhantvadi Sadguru Shree Ishwarcharan Swamibapa relinquished His human darshan on this day in Samvat 1999. Therefore, disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan also commemorate Shree Sadguru Din on this day.

Annakut Darshan: 10:00am - 4pm
6:30pm - Sandhya aarti and niyams

Annakut darshan can be done in-person and will also be available online.
Sandhya aarti and niyams will be available online only.

New Years Day - Nootan Varsh & Bhai Beej

Monday, November 16

Today is the 1st day of the New Year, Kartik sud 1.

The new crop that had been planted after the monsoon season would have grown during the final month of the year, Aso, and would now be ready. This crop is harvested and first offered to the Lord on the first day of the year. This is the origin of annakutotsav, the offering of a vast array of elaborate dishes to the Lord. Ann literally means food (grain) and kut translates as mountain. Hence a vast mountain of different foods is placed before the Lord.

This auspicious day is filled with happiness and joy. It is said that he who remains joyous on this first day will also remain so for the rest of the year. But he, who wastes it by being miserable, will encounter the same sentiments for the forthcoming 12 months. For a disciple of the Lord, the sentiments are slightly different. They would spend the day visiting the Mandir, take part in the singing of kirtans, and performing devotional practices to the Lord. That way, the rest of the year would also be filled with the same divinity.

The final day of the Diwali festival, Bhai beej falls on the second day of the year. Traditionally, a sister would serve her brother with food on this day. Disciples of the Lord come together in the Temple and partake in the prasad of the Lord, as all of the Lord's children are brothers and sisters.

7:00pm - Sandhya aarti and niyams