Nawan Nagar, October 2023
Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra (VMRK) hosted a celebration of the autumn Navratri festival (Ashvin Navratri) from October 15 to 23 at its Nawan Nagar center in Haryana, India. This vibrant festival honors Goddess Durga (the Divine Cosmic Mother) and her nine divine manifestations.
Spanning 40 acres of land surrounding the Nawan Nagar center, the venue was adorned with an attractive display of lights, flowers, balloons, and rangolis, creating an atmosphere filled with joy and merriment. With the event approaching, attendees from various parts of India eagerly arrived and stayed at the center throughout the festivities. During the festival, locals from nearby places joined in the celebration each evening, adding to the lively spirit of the occasion.
At VMRK, hospitality is always paramount. VMRK offered complimentary accommodation and wholesome food to all attendees, with special arrangements for those observing fasting during the Navratri festival. Moreover, convenient transportation services were provided from nearby bus and railway stations, ensuring a hassle-free experience for all participants.
Each day, the event commenced in the evening and extended well past midnight. Attendance overflowed beyond the three large tents set up for the occasion. Additional space had to be allocated in the open area adjacent to the tents. The security volunteers guided attendees to the seating areas, while seven large LED screens and audio equipment ensured that the event was accessible to all across the grounds.
Every night in the presence of Sant Baljit Singh Ji, the attendees clapped and sang along as the professional singers sang devotional songs in praise of the Divine Mother. As usual, a highlight for all was catching a glimpse of Sant Baljit Singh Ji, who walked amongst the attendees for about an hour each evening. Offering their heartfelt greetings by calling out “Jai Mata Di” (which means praise to the Universal Mother), Sant Baljit Singh Ji responded with the same sentiment “Jai Mata Di,” bringing immense joy to everyone present. Little boys and girls eagerly presented flowers to Sant Baljit Singh Ji, who accepted them before gifting them back. This beautiful exchange brought much happiness to the children.
On many nights, following the joyous performances by the professional singers, Sant Baljit Singh Ji delivered insightful talks. He emphasized the profound importance of wholehearted love and devotion to God, the significance of meditation in self-realization, and the role of the Master on the spiritual path. In one talk, the Master said: “It is important that you develop in-depth and heartfelt devotion within your heart. In the end, this is what will be considered.”
It is important that you develop in-depth and heartfelt devotion within your heart. In the end, this is what will be considered.
Sant Baljit Singh Ji
Celebrating kanya pujan
On Navami, the final day of Navratri, many parents joyfully dressed their little girls in traditional Indian attire, as all centers of VMRK, including Nawan Nagar, celebrated kanya pujan. In keeping with the fundamental Indian beliefs, known as Sanatana Dharma, the little girls were revered as embodiments of the Divine Cosmic Mother and were offered a special bhog, consisting of puri, halwa, black chana, vegetables, kheer, and fruits. They were also adorned with shringar, featuring sixteen types of adornments. These nine auspicious days symbolize the continuous presence of the Divine Cosmic Mother on her throne (asana), while all gods and demigods worship her. In conclusion, after these nine days, all gods and demigods break their fast by offering food to the Divine Cosmic Mother. It is in this spirit that the little girls (aged between 2–10 years) are bestowed with this honored meal.
Throughout the 9-day celebration, attendees fully immersed themselves in the captivating beauty and splendor of the Navratri festival. The devotional ambience, cultural unity, and joyous celebrations made this event truly unforgettable.
Ashvin Navratri charitable services
VMRK regularly performs charitable activities and these activities intensify on special occasions like Guru Purnima, Navratri, and during spiritual discourses. During Ashvin Navratri 2023, VMRK conducted medical camps, blood donation camps, and distributed hygiene kits and educational materials. These activities were held from October 13–24 at its center in Nawan Nagar and surrounding regions that extended further to the slums in Haryana, Punjab as well as to the hilly and remote areas of Himachal Pradesh. Volunteers from different regions of India established teams to plan the charitable activities, pack the educational and hygiene materials, and undertake the activities.
A summary of these charitable services is presented in this blog post. For detailed descriptions of how these programmes are usually run, please read the following blog posts:
- Charitable services at VMRK Pimpalner, February 2023
- Serving communities around Pimpalner in February 2023
- Charitable services at Ashvin Navratri 2022
- Serving villages and slums during Ashvin Navratri 2022.
Medical and hygiene camps
VMRK hosted round the clock free medical camp at its Nawan Nagar center for the general public. An 18-bed Clinical Treatment Center staffed by a team of 75 medical doctors and paramedical and nursing staff offered free consultation, treatment, and medication to patients. In addition, patients with muscular and joint pain were given physiotherapy treatment.
At the entrance, volunteers stood ready with wheelchairs to provide patient assistance, and three fully-equipped onsite ambulances were on standby for emergency services. Thousands of patients benefited from the medical camp and more than 700 patients received emergency medical assistance at the Clinical Treatment Center.
VMRK also organized medical camps for 8 days in slum areas within a 25-kilometer radius. In Haryana, medical camps were held in Kherawali and Marranwala, while in Himachal Pradesh, VMRK offered medical camps in Barotiwala, Jharmajri, Kotla, Rambagh, Parwanoo, and Kamli. Each camp was served by a doctor, a pharmacist and 5–7 VMRK volunteers. During the initial days, the team faced weather challenges due to heavy rains, waterlogging, and muddy conditions. Nonetheless, they persevered to deliver free medical services to more than 900 patients.
On observing that these slum residents are prone to infections and allergies due to unhygienic conditions, VMRK’s team also provided hygiene education and distributed more than 2,600 personal hygiene kits alongside these medical camps.
Blood donation camp
During this Navratri, VMRK organized four blood donation camps in collaboration with the blood bank of Govt. Medical Superspeciality Hospital, Sector-16, Chandigarh; Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir; Punjab Red Cross, Sector-16, Chandigarh; Govt. Medical College & Hospital, Sector-32, Chandigarh; Indian Red Cross, Ludhiana. A total of 217 people came forward to be assessed as blood donors, and after the preliminary health checks, 164 were cleared to donate. A total of 164 units i.e. 65.6 liters of blood were successfully collected.
After donating blood, the donors were taken to a resting area where refreshments were served. Each donor received a certificate and a badge from the hospitals or Indian Red Cross as acknowledgement and appreciation of their blood donation.
The hospitals expressed their gratitude and appreciation to VMRK for organizing the blood donation camps.
Donating educational materials to students
VMRK conducted an extensive drive to provide educational material to the underprivileged students in the remote schools situated within a radius of 150 kilometers from Nawan Nagar. Some of the schools were inaccessible by roads but reachable only through dirt tracks. VMRK reached 61 schools and more than 5,000 students received educational material.
Principal, Govt. Model Sr. Sec. School, Barotiwala, Himachal Pradesh