New York's Navratri revellers await PM Modi's arrival
The nine day 'Navratri' festival, which includes fasting, praying and dancing to please the mother goddess, has taken off splendidly at the 40-year-old temple in New York. The joy of devotees has received a tremendous boost as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already left for his five-day visit to USA.
Mahamandaleshwar Swami Shri Satyanandji Maharaj, the President of Shree Geeta Temple Ashram, said, "Prime Minister Modi and I know each other for around fifty years. His memory power is very good. He can recall any person who had met him even forty years back. I met him five years back when the president of Geeta Mandir expired in India."
"I cannot express how happy I was when he became the Prime Minister of India. It is not about only belonging to Gujarat (Prime Minister Modi's home state), but when a person like him becomes the Prime Minister, everyone would have been happy about it," said Satyanandji Maharaj.
"Prime Minister Modi's work and persona is such that people invite him on their own. It is a matter of immense pride that he is adding to the pride of our country," he concluded.
The Geeta Temple Ashram in Elmhurst, Queens, serves the Hindu community in New York with programmes, rituals, and festivals on a regular basis, and was established by Swami Jagdishwarananda in 1979 with the help of devotees.
Some of the regular temple visitors marvel at the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be fasting during his entire visit, which boasts of a packed schedule.
Vibha, who has been with the Shree Geeta Temple in Elmhurst since the last 24 years, told ANI, "It is a matter of great pride that PM Modi is keeping his fast even after keeping such a packed schedule. It reflects the discipline and values that have been imbibed in him."
A number of Gujaratis present at the event said that they have been to Gujarat and seen the transformation. Their American friends are also curious to know more about Prime Minister Modi.
Jayesh Bhat, a reserved priest of the temple, said, "It is a big proud moment for all of us who are living in the U.S. and since he won with majority, broke all the records in the world, so everyone is giving him the respect."
"Being a Gujarati myself, everybody out here is asking us about him. What he will be doing, and we tell them that he has developed Gujarat already and is now concentrating on the whole country. So in the future you will see the difference in next few months," he added.
Every Navratri, ten nights of 'garba' are held at the Geeta Temple in Elmhurst, New York. Young men and women come here every evening to participate in the 'garba' dance.
Harshu Bhat, a child participant in the Garba dance performance at the temple, said, "I have been to India and know my PM as well. I am really looking forward about his visit here. I want to meet him, attend his speech and know more about him."
A huge Gujarati diaspora resides in the United States, with around 100,000 in the New York City alone, according to the Gujarati Samaj of New York.
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