For Immediate Release: November 14, 2011
Media Contact: Dr. Ved Chaudhary
Dr. Siva Subramanian
Historic Nation Building Commemoration of 9/11 Anniversary With 3,000 Diwali Lights And UtsavSeva (Festivals of Service) – Observance of Victory of Good with Selfless Service, at Battery Park, NY
New York, November 14, 2011: Hindu American Seva Charities and Hindu Temple Society of North America organized a historic event to light 3,000 candles to celebrate Diwali and offer selfless service to honor those impacted by 9/11 on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. The Hindu Festival of Lights, signifies the joyous victory of good over evil, light of knowledge over darkness of ignorance, and spirit of unity and selfless service worldwide.
The public event was held at a historic immigrant entry point, Castle Clinton, 17 Battery Place in New York on Sunday November 6th, at 4 pm. HASC collected non-perishable canned and packaged food to replenish food banks in New York.
Dignitaries and distinguished guests included: Seson Adams, Special Assistant to the Comptroller John Liu, Mirna Velasquez, Director of Immigration Affairs from the office of Rep Joseph Crowley, Larry Levy from the 9/11 Commission, Ashok Ramsaran, Executive Vice President of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, Renee Lobo, NYC Commissioner of Human Rights, Dr. Reddy, Chairman of Hindu Temple Society of North America, representatives from BAPs Swaminarayan, and many other Hindu leaders.
The candles were part of a large display decorated by colors of the flag. The devotional singing by the Temple choir and the anthems by the youth invoked the unity of our pluralistic values and traditions.
HASC encouraged temples across the country to unite with the New York, organize food drives, light candles and offer prayers of peace. HASC thanks the many temples for their support.
“Many months in the making, HASC’s pioneering effort to connect Diwali, a Universal holiday with the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is a way to celebrate victory of goodness and light of knowledge and augment nation building as we move forward in healing and strengthening our country and the world,” observed Anju Bhargava, Founder, Hindu American Seva Charities
The UtsavSeva movement of community and nation building through festivals has now become global. Inspired by the UtsavSeva concept, Samarth trust in India organized a unity movement to spread universal brotherhood, where eternal (Akhand) lamps from spiritual centers of many faiths and various Gurus and teachers, culminated into one single lamp, called Bharat Jyoti, on Diwali day. The Bharat Jyoti lamp traveled all over India to promote the spirit of unity with remembrance of “Bharat Putras.” HASC and Samarth both paid homage to those who have served in each of their country and to memorials of global significance, including the 9/11 memorial.
Diwali is the celebration of the awakening of the Inner Light. When this inner realization blossoms then there is universal compassion, love, and the awareness of the oneness of all things. The foundation of Indian civilization is the pluralistic acceptance embodied in the ancient Vedic scriptures; the perennial Vedic thought: “Ekam Sat, Vipraha Bahuda Vadanti” The Truth is One;
The Sages describe the One in many ways.” Acceptance of this Truth gives people a way to express their differences while finding a common ground. And, it shares a special connection with American values; It exemplifies the ideals of “E Pluribus Unum”— out of many, one. Global Pluralism.