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
The letter "Ya" in the Panchakshara Mantra, Namasivaya, stands for the soul. Bodhinatha uses the Panchakshara Mantra to show how the soul is initially drawn by Siva's veiling grace, which leads the soul to maturity through experience in the world. Then comes Siva's revealing grace. When we've had enough of the world, Siva's grace pulls us toward God. The mantra also has the simple, two-syllable form. Si- Reflecting on God the Transcendent Absolute, Va-God as the All Pervading Consciousness