Balboa Park in San Diego was the setting for the second edition of the Diwali Festival on October 25th. Some of Bodhinatha’s devotees went to join in the fun. The event began with a procession of members of the local Indian immigrant population organized by state of origin.
The Diwali Festival was sponsored by Mingei International Museum and the San Diego Indian American Society, in association with the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) and SDMAís Council for the Art of the Indian Subcontinent (CAIS).
The festival was open to the general public and was meant to educate and entertain at the same time. It featured arts, a cultural program and procession, music, dancing, Indian food, family activities and the traditional ceremonial lighting of lamps. It was an outstanding example of how Hindus can educate the American public about one of our fun traditions.
The devotees report that the bhangra drummer pictured here was really very good and inspired our Sikh brothers to liven up the procession with some Punjabi dancing.
Usha and Diksha Katir were there to report on the event for TAKA.
Gunamaya Sivananda was also there accompanied by her brother Alejandro and mom Martha Osuna.
Food provided by five local restaurants was available at a Food Court overseen by this stunning icon of Nataraja.
One thousand and eight small oil lamps, arranged in graceful patterns, and 50 large brass lamps, (one for every state in the US, presumably,) were lit at sunset by distinguished women from San Diego and the eveningís Guest of Honor, Sushmita Thomas, Consul General of India, San Francisco. Click the link to see a short video of the lamp lighting ceremony at last year’s Divali Festival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WsPCMML3z0
"Temples with multiple deities can be confusing, especially for today's Hindu youth. For clarity, we need to bring forward a more precise understanding of the different Hindu denominations and how the different Gods are viewed from within each denomination. For spiritual advancement it is best to focus on one deity and get to the vibration that deity. When we hear teachings from various Hindus, it is important to understand and identify which denomination they are speaking from. This will avert confusion when that teaching gets contradicted in a different context where someone is talking about the same subject but from a different philosophical background."
Bodhinatha reviews the main characteristic of Saivite philosophy and practice with an indepth focus on the four stages of religions evolution, chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana. He highlights how this shows that Saiva Siddhanta is unique and quite from the modern practice of Hinduism as Vedanta