We love to celebrate in a group, celebrate life, celebrate festivals, generally congregate in temples for puja, bhajan, kirtan, discourse and so on. Buddhists, participate in group chants and meditation. For the Jains, congregating together is more a means to spiritual and karmic development through meditation, offerings, and prayer. Sikhs congregate in temples where they read and sing scriptures and listen to sermons. This is specifically called satsang, which is good company.
This is especially true outside India wherever Indians live. Somehow the community prayers and celebrations give us the feeling of being at home and enjoying festivals with our loved ones. Temples become a meeting point for such activities and we do not feel we are living in a different country. We recreate the same kind of ambience and prepare the same kind of food stuff that we would normally do on such days and exchange with our friends.
Another important point not to be missed during such congregations is if we involve our friends from the local communities, they get to see a slice of India which is unique and different for them. Many of them are so impressed that they plan a vacation to India.
This year we organized the Chopda Pujan at the Sanatan Hindu Union Temple in Kisumu where members from our community participated and conducted the group prayer. This is the first time this event was organized at the temple. It was definitely a special occasion for all of us.