by Mahi Tomar
Arya Yuva Manda
Over the weekend of April 6-7, Arya Samaj Houston celebrated its 28th Sthapana Divas (Foundation Day). Arya Samaj was founded by Maharshi Dayanand on April 10, 1875, in Mumbai with the clarion call “Back to the Vedas” – the root of the Satya Sanatana Vedic Dharma – a rational and scientific philosophy that answers all the problems facing the world. The current worldwide progress seen in stress relief and mental peace by meditation, good health by vegetarian food, universal franchise and women equality, women education, equality of all humans, compassion and kindness, getting rid of superstitions, etc. have their seminal connection to the movement known as Arya Samaj.
The celebration began with the 3rd annual community-wide Public Health Fair on Saturday, reflecting the Sixth Principle of Arya Samaj – the prime object of Arya Samaj is welfare of the world via physical, spiritual and social development. The fair included: 3K/5K walk, Yoga session, blood tests and EKG, coupled with one-to-one consultation with five specialist doctors. People could also register as a bone marrow donor or an organ donor. There were also public health awareness lectures by another three specialist doctors. Emphasis was on heart condition and diabetes – the two prominent medical conditions affecting the Indian community – and their control by means of food and life style changes.
Sunday was dedicated to a colorful extravaganza that began with the hoisting of the saffron flag depicting the light of the Supreme Being – OM, followed by a special Yajnya, the classical practice that teaches us to dedicate life to spread goodness around the world. Acharyaji’s message further amplified the core teachings of Arya Samaj. Sanjay Jain made a balanced presentation about the organization and its various arms. Given the time limitation, he must have found it difficult to choose the items that are feathers in the cap of Arya Samaj Houston. The children of its both the schools then took charge – DAV Montessori & Elementary School and DAV Sanskriti School (the Sunday School). The school children Mahi Tomar and Soumil Goyal were emcees. Recitation of the Veda-Mantras was followed by an ensemble of songs and poems by the little children of all ages, including 4 yo. A thoughtful diversion came from Shrey Mukerjee, a 3rd grader narrating his experience at the Sanskriti School, talking in Hindi on “Why a Child Loves Arya Samaj”.
The 7th and 8th graders performed a humorous skit about Good and Bad Karma, how it works, and what impact it has on everyday life. Three 5 yo girls of the DAV Elementary School stole the show, speaking extempore in a coordinated manner, in Hindi, on the ideals of Maharshi Dayanand and inspiring their friends to emulate his teachings. The finale came from the little children who were dressed as him and rendered a song with the inspiring message. The festive mood was reflected in the meal served at the end. The discipline and decorum were noteworthy, particularly that the crowd was huge and heterogeneous, thanks to the volunteers and teachers of both the schools and Arya Samaj.