November 26th, 2008
(Notes By Abhaya Nand Maharaj- General Secretary)

The World Brahman Federation held its Deepawalee celebration in Princeton, New Jersey on November 26th 2008. The Hall was exquisitely decorated with lights, balloons, flowers, fruits, and colorful decorations. The altar for Mahalakshmi Poojaa was also very beautifully and appropriately decorated.

Twelve children ranging in ages from five years to teenagers performed the Mahalakshmi Poojaa. Before the Poojaa began Dr. M.G. Prasad explained to the audience why we Hindus perform the Maha Lakshmi Poojaa. “A Poojaa is a ritual worship and adoration of The Supreme Being according to Sanatan Vedic tradition. The ultimate purpose of Pooja is to attain four-fold goals namely Dharma, Artha , Kama and Moksha. Maha Lakshmi Pooja is not for obtaining wealth but to attain your lakshya (goal, characteristic), a word derived from Lakshmi.  A Poojaa is synthesis of the three paths, devotion, knowledge and action. A Poojaa is based on devoted and knowledgeable actions. A Poojaa connects with all senses. Poojaa provides spiritual experiences not only to the performer but also to the participants. Poojaa can be seen as an act of loving invitation to the guest, i.e., God. Indeed, the Vedas describes God as ATHITHI among other things. An athithi is someone who comes to our home unannounced. A Poojaa has two main parts, namely, internal, that is, mental, and external, that is, ritualistic. In the external ritualistic part 16 things are offered to God, such as, washing hands and feet, bathing, offering cloth, sacred thread, chandan, Kum kum, sandoor, betel leaves, coconuts, flowers, oil lamp, incense, and prostration with devotion and purity of heart.”

After his short talk Dr. Prasad began the Poojaa ceremony with an intense and prolonged blowing of the Conch. Children, ready with the decorated thali and picture of Maha Lakshmi, chanted the mantras after Prasadji, and performed the Poojaa as Prasadji directed. There was absolute quietness in the hall and everyone concentrated on the Poojaa. All others in the audience chanted the mantras with Prasadji. It was really an enlightening sight to see so many youngesters perform the Poojaa so well. Indeed it was a sight to behold. Parents should feel some pride in that as well for the wonderful upbringing. Prasadji also mentioned the special place women have in the Hindu society.

After the Poojaa, Maha Lakshmi Aarti and Universal Aarti were sung, ending with the Shanti Paath.
After that charnaamrit, prepared by Seemaji, was enjoyed by everyone. Children participated in the cultural program under the direction of Ranjanaji, Geethaji and Rajivji. Children were rewarded with the picture of Maha Lakshmi and a prayer booklet to take home.

Next, the President of WBF, Mr. Nirmal Choubey, welcomed all the attendees, more than fifty in all. He explained the objectives and goals of WBF. He also announced the upcoming WBF elections which shall be held towards the end of December. The new EC will hold office for the next three years starting on January 1, 2009. Great deal of enthusiasm was shown to hold another similar function in near future. It was a very successful model and WBF will use that as an example for other functions involving both children and parents. Mr. Choubey announced the formation of Mid Atlantic States Chapter (currently mainly NJ and NY). Mr.Aswath Hansoge, Dr. M.G. Pradad, and Dr. Rajesh Shukla kindly accepted the position of Chapter Patron. Mr. Rajiv Tewari was requested to arrange the next meeting. Four families became members of the WBF and three others promised to become. The WBF has plans to establish Chapters in other states as well.

A sumptuous dinner was served. It was followed by a Kavi Sammellan. Pt. Rahul Upadhyaya from Saettle, Dr. M. G. Prasad, Pt. Anoop Bhargava, Pt. Surendra Nath Tiwari and Ghanshyam Guptaji from Pennsylvania entertained the audience and kept them laughing and spellbound for the next hour. Surendraji’s kavita written by Deenkarji highlightesd the qualities of Brahmans. Earlier Sudhir Pandeyji recited a poetry about Kavis that really fired up Guptaji. The multilingual poetry recital program was well received and was a good model for future programs. Here are some comments as evidenced by some of their e-mails we received so far.

“Thanks for the good diwali party. Every thing was well organized and well done. Puja was very good and arrangement was well organized. Thanks for the good diwali party.” 

“Every thing is well organized and well done. Puja was very good and arrangement was well organized.” I don't want to take any money for prasad. I think you guys are doing great. I'll become the member of WBF.”

Special thanks goes to Anoop Bhargava and his wife Rajini for organizing the Deepawali Function. I do not know how we would have managed without the tireless efforts of Anoopji. He arranged the Hall, ordered the food, the sound system, brought the decorations, sent our flyers to all prospective members, and arranged the Kavi Sammellan. WBF is also greatly thankful to Dr. M. G. Prasad and his wife Geetha for decorating the Poojaa Thali for the children, decoration the Altar, providing the Maha Llakshmi picture and the Prayer book for the children and performing the Poojaa ceremony. Prasadji and his dear wife are true Brahmans . Anything they do is selfless and in the true spirit of community service. They are indeed a role model for the community. WBF is greatly indebted to them. Thanks also the Shivaji Pathakji for managing the registration process and his good wife Dr. Ranjana Pathak, for being the emcee of the cultural program.. Thanks to Virendra Ojhaji, his wife Sunita and daughter Preeti for helping set up the tables , heating the food and serving it and also helping clean up the hall. Virendraji is a workhorse. His untiring service to the community is commendable. Many thanks to sudhirji for showing up early and helping in any way he could. 

Finally, hats off the all of you and your children particularly, for attending the function and making it a grand success.

President's note: Mr. Aswath Hanasoge, Executive Vice President, Dr. Rajesh Shukla, Vice President, Mr. Abhaya Maharaj from the current Executive Committee and Dr. M G Prasad from current President's Counsel (Trusteeship) attended this event.

Profile of Dr. Prasad

Profile of Mr. Anoop Bhargava