Diwali in White House

October 16th, 2009 - 1:01 am ICT by Sampurn Wire  

Hindus have applauded US President Barack Obama for celebrating Diwali in White House in Washington DC on Wednesday.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended Obama for becoming the first US President to personally grace the occasion, which was held in the historic East Room. Obama reportedly lit the ceremonial diya (oil lamp) amidst chanting of mantras and bowed respectfully before a Hindu priest.

Obama reportedly said on the occasion: “This coming Saturday, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists, here in America and around the world, will celebrate this holiday by lighting Diyas, or lamps, which symbolize the victory of light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. And in that spirit of celebration and contemplation, I am happy to light the White House Diya, and wish you all a Happy Diwali, and a Saal Mubarak.”

“penn MASALA”, world’s first Hindi a-cappella group of students at the University of Pennsylvania which combines South Asian music with a Western musical style, performed. Indian mithai (sweetmeat) was distributed on the occasion, according to reports.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in this statement, invited Obama to visit a Hindu temple in the near future and participate in arti (ceremony performed in adoration of a deity by circular movement of a lighted lamp). Zed also urged him to issue a US postal stamp marking Diwali festival.

Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about 2.3 million estimated Hindus in USA.

-Sampurn Media

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