The New Jersey chapter of Yogi Divine Society celebrated the Hindu New Year Nov. 21, in Edison, N.J. organizing an elaborate “Annakoot” display of 1,008 food items. The celebration was attended by the organization’s religious leader, Sadhu Premswaroopdasji, and more than 2,500 devotees from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Delaware. According to organizers, the cuisine offered up to their Lord, included not just Indian but also Mexican and Chinese cuisine.
A community “Mahapooja” commemorated the start of reconstruction of the Yogi Divine Society temple at Lake Hiawatha, N.J. Amid the chanting of vedic hymns, devotees venerated the bricks to be used in the construction.
The Mahapooja was conducted in the presence of the idols of Lord Swaminarayan and Gunatitanand Swami. Sadhu Sugneyjivandasji chanted vedic hymns and explained their spiritual and religious significance. The Mahapooja ended with a traditional dance performed by youth in colorful traditional costumes.
Sadhus Guruprasaddasji and Premswaroopdasji held a discourse on the importance of the temple and of their revered leader, Bhagwan Swaminarayan, as well as the importance of “Gunatit” Saints using examples from the life of the Yogi Divine Society founder and President Sadhu Hariprasaddasji.
The “Annakoot” displayed on the temple’s stage included 1,008 vegetarian delicacies traditionally arranged in tiers, which were sanctified in a ceremony involving singing of hymns and prayers. The cuisine ranged from traditional Indian foodstuffs to Italian, Mexican and Chinese dishes and included a variety of juices, milkshakes and chocolates, a release from organizers said. The “Annakoot Darshan” was followed by the Aarti and lunch.