The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) had the honor of hosting the first Meet-and-Greet for its Community Partners to invite them to join hands for a successful Diwali Mela celebration. Personal invitations were sent to all the Hindu organizations in the DFW metroplex with the purpose of establishing a common vision and seeking unity and support. Nearly eighty non-profit organizations and various Temples participated in the event. A simple Meet-n-Greet social gathering commenced with a dinner followed by an official introduction of the representatives of all the participating organizations. Each leader was welcomed with a flower bouquet and provided with an opportunity to share their perspective regarding the Diwali Mela.
The highlight of the evening was the exceedingly inspirational message delivered by Swami Mukundananda, the founder of JKYog and Radha Krishna Temple. He emphasized the importance of uniting together to organize the most wonderful Diwali Mela! Here are some highlights of his talk as well as that of some community leaders and partners.
Swamiji started off by acknowledging the tremendous diversity in the Hindu community members that were present that evening. The diversity was obvious in the variety of native languages spoken, different Isht-devas worshipped, different affiliations with Temples, and the variety in customs. Swamiji indicated that the gathering was evidence of our unity within the diversity, and vice versa. This is what represented the spirit of the Indian culture.
Swamiji defined culture as a group of people who develop some common nodal points with regard to what they perceive as excellent in terms of beliefs, values, ideas, aspirations, traditions, rituals, etc. When these nodal points are passed down from one generation to another, it creates the culture of a community. Describing how the Indian community had made a significant impact in the US in six decades, Swamiji also acknowledged that the American values of liberty, equality, and justice for all had made it possible for us to practice our culture. It is the culture that we love dearly, one that shaped us, made us who we are, and what we want to pass on to the next generation. To accomplish this goal, we need a flagship event – one that will unite us all and one that belongs to the entire community instead of a single organization. The Diwali Mela 2023 would be that event.
Swamiji shared how Diwali came to be celebrated – the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after 14 years. By lighting the lamps and lights, we invite God into our hearts because we are bereft of God-consciousness. We invite God to bless us with divine love, divine knowledge, and divine faith. Celebrating the festival of lights at a very grand scale gives us the opportunity to make our children proud of the fact that they too are a part of this glorious community.
Swamiji gave the example of how the Golden Gate Bridge in California (inaugurated in 1937) holds the weight of tons of vehicles each day. Providing statistics on the length, width, and height of the bridge and its supporting cables, Swamiji emphasized that it was still standing due to the strength in the unity of all the thousands of smaller cables. Quoting our scriptures, Swamiji emphasized that our strength was in our unity in this day and age of Kali. Unity would also enable us to support each other during difficult times. Swamiji noted that unity was the reason that states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York had successfully made Diwali a state holiday. Given that the population of the Indian community is increasing significantly in Texas, it is our opportunity to unite to make Diwali a state holiday in the future.
Swamiji provided a vision for what it would look like if we celebrated Diwali Mela as one organization. Every community would have the opportunity to showcase its unique cultural performances on the stage.
Swamiji also reiterated that each representative of their community organization was successful in their own professional life and yet contributed to building the organization.
Narrating the story of the farmer who grew award-winning corn, yet distributed the corn to the neighboring farms because the pollen from other farms could nourish or harm his own farm. By doing good for neighbor’s farms, he did good for his own farm too. The Diwali Mela would be a symbol of our unity. The goal to bring 50,000 people to the celebration would mean that all the organizations would need to invite all their members from the community.
In the end, Swamiji acknowledged the historical precedence of Mr. Satish Gupta for providing a solid foundation for the Diwali Mela and his commitment to ensure its success.
Founder, President, and CEO of SB International and Co-organizer of Diwali Mela, Mr. Satish Gupta described the festival’s history in previous years. He stated that just as Christmas was to Christianity, Diwali was to Hinduism. He said that the Diwali Mela was a gift for our children and grandchildren so they could experience the festival instead of imagining it. He highlighted how everyone should work together to make this event an experience so our children know its symbolism and its connection to our culture and roots. The celebration was important to rekindle our beliefs and build our strength as a community. He ended by requesting everyone’s support to make it the most successful event of the year.
A very well-known community leader, Co-Founder of HungerMitao Movement, and a motivational speaker, Mr. Raj Asava said that he had not witnessed such unity in the Indian community during his 49 years of being in the US, as he observed on the day of this gathering at the Radha Krishna Temple. He emphasized that unity was not just the right thing to do but the right thing for future generations. He stated the importance of giving back to the community which is our Karm Bhoomi. He credited Swami Mukundananda for the miraculous task of inspiring everyone and pledged his 100% support to make the Diwali Mela 2023 the most successful of all!
Similarly, Mrs. Srigowri Koduri, the leader and representative of Jeeyar Educational Trust (JET) USA, started off by acknowledging the August presence of Swami Mukundananda and all the community leaders under one umbrella to support Diwali Mela 2023 – our flagship event. She stated that on behalf of JET USA, His Holiness, Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji had communicated his blessings to everyone to enable the grand success of the Diwali Mela. She also expressed how wonderful her experiences had been in collaborating with the Radha Krishna Temple under Swami Mukundananda’s guidance. She looked forward to future collaborations for the greater good of the community and expressed full support in the planning and execution of the Diwali Mela.
Dr. Shradha Talati, the leader and representative of the DFW Hindu Temple (Ekta Mandir), shared how inspired she felt to see everyone supporting the Diwali Mela by assembling under one roof for the very first time. She said that it was very heart-warming to see the group’s unity and they could achieve anything with such inspiration. She too pledged her full support.
Similarly, many other community leaders made a unanimous pledge and commitment to support the Diwali Mela 2023 to make this the most monumental event and the ultimate community celebration of the year!
Various organizations and their respective members have the opportunity to join hands and be an integral part of the Diwali Mela 2023 by participating in these activities.
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