On September 30th 2018, the devotees of Shri Surya Narayan Mandir embarked on the 10th anniversary of our annual Walkathon. This event was part of the year-long series of events in commemoration of the mandir’s 25th anniversary. Every year, during the period of Pitri-Paksh, devotees of SSNM assemble in the courtyard to commence this five-mile walk, in honor and appreciation of our ancestors. This event, also, aims to raise funds to establish the Surya Sanskriti Kendra and for the Pt. Ram Hardowar Scholarship Award Funds: a program designed to assist Hindu students to advance their general education and talents by offering them scholarships.
This year’s walkathon started off with blessings and gratitude from our Acharya, Guruji Pandit Ram Hardowar. He added that the significance of this five-mile journey was to bring Hindu awareness to the community. Guruji’s sentiments were followed by the important safety tips and encouragement from members of the NYPD, 103rd Precinct.
Over the years, SSNM Annual Walkathon has been a prime source of inspiration and encouragement for many of us to collaborate and to strengthen our Hindu identity. It is wonderful to see Hindus, ranging from all different ages, coming together and uniting as one group, clad with the same SSNM T-shirts. As we proceeded through the streets of Jamaica, Queens, we reverberated the air with chants: “We are Hindus, mighty mighty Hindus!” and “Ek Ta Mai Bal Hai!” (In unity lies strength). These chants were supported by bright and vibrant signs with important messages: Be a Lena (giver), not a Dena (taker) and Matri Devo Bhava (Mother is Bhagwan)/Pitri Devo Bhava (Father is Bhagwan). These messages, while educating passersby on the core tenets of our Sanskriti, also helped to share common universal values. It was really heartwarming to see people of different cultures joining along with our singing and chanting.
The SSNM 2018 Walkathon was a grand success and a fulfilling experience for devotees and everyone that joined.
Written by: Amisha Tewari