Guyanese and other Caribbean Hindus in New York and in other parts of America have been observing various religious festivities and auspicious days over the last month. They have been engrossed in religious fasting and holy observance, not dissimilar to their brethren in Guyana, Trinidad, the Caribbean and in various other parts of the large Caribbean diaspora. Currently, they are observing the holy Nav Ratri period or nine days (and nights) of fasting that began Monday and concludes this coming Tuesday. This is the holiest period in the Hindu calendar. During this auspicious period, they observe or worship the feminine aspects of the lord, focusing on Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. It is a period of gross spiritual uplifting to cleanse the mind of evil or wicked thoughts. It leads to a new awakening of Hindus in their pursuit of the lord.
Guyanese Hindus have been blessed to be spending time in the city over the last month having access to holy places (Mandirs and specially built tents) for worshipping. They took advantage of religious services presided over by popular and well known pandits visiting from Guyana, Trinidad, and Suriname.
Pandit Rajin Balgobin of New Amsterdam has been conducting nightly Navratri Puja in Richmond Hill and also presided over services at varied locations over the summer since Monday. His services are known to be packed to capacity and the tent at the Arya Samaj ground was filled on cool Fall nights in the city. He is among the most favorite pandits in America. Pandit Vishnu Panday of East Bank and other visiting pandits from Guyana, Trinidad, and Surinam also presided over yajna in parts of America including New York over the last month. Pt Panday has a large following in America, Canada, and the Caribbean. Services are generally open to the public as is also the custom or tradition in Guyana.
Large numbers of NY Guyanese Hindus took advantage of the many opportunities of Bhakti or devotion in the city. They participated in the week long Ramayana at Sri Surya Mandir in Jamaica in mid August and the one at the Arya Samaj ground in late August for another week, Janam Astmi puja (birth of Lord Krishna) in August, various public yagyas in Kuly thru now, Lord Ganesh Chaturthi, Pitri Paksha puja or praying for the souls of the ancestors, and now Nav Ratri. The religious festivities continue thru Diwali on October 22.
Guyanese Mandirs are known to observe every auspicious day in the Hindu calendar with special puja. So there is never a shortage of a religious event for Hindus. And visiting Caribbean pandits graced many of these pujas.
As Guyanese in Mandirs remarked, it is a joy to be in a place of worshipping where one can imbibe Bhakti or devotional service to one’s heart contentment. As Guyanese Hindus did or are currently doing in the USA in terms of worshipping, those in Guyana also observed the holy periods at Mandirs and at their place of abode. Almost all Mandirs in Guyana have been holding special nightly service as their counterparts in the diaspora in the USA and beyond. As in NY, Mandirs in Guyana have been beautifully lit up for the Navratri festival that ends with the observance of Dussehra. This is also the period for Ram Leela plays.
As pandits stated in messages to worshippers at satsangs or services in USA, may the Divine Power of the Lord shower blessings always to all.