2020 Virtual Diwali: our plans for celebrating together apart

virtual diwali poster with diya and lotus
Event time: 
Monday, November 9, 2020 - 12:00pm

Namaste Friends,

This is a bittersweet time. Under normal circumstances, in the week preceding Diwali, the HSO Board members and I are aswirl in last minute preparations. We are confirming the vegetarian Indian dinner menu, practicing the Diwali puja mantras and hymns, prepping the music tracks and packing up the myriad supplies used to decorate the puja and dining space in the Omni Hotel’s ballroom.  But 2020 is a different year and while we will deeply miss our usual festivities we pray that Goddess Lakshmi blesses you and your loved ones with well-being and abundance. 

Since we cannot celebrate in person, I am posting a series of videos meant to spark your tastebuds and get you into the Diwali holiday mood. I am also sharing some musings I have presented about Diwali on various platforms. If you have favorite Diwali recipes you would like to share please email me at asha.shipman@yale.edu.

The week culminates with the HSO hosting an online viewing of the Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthaanam Temple’s virtual Lakshmi puja and aarati beginning at 5:45 PM on Friday November 13.  

Please know that you are in our hearts and thoughts as we celebrate Diwali 2020 - an unusual celebration in what has been a remarkable year so far. 


lakshmeem ksheera-samudra raaja tanayaam

shreeranga dhaameshvareem

daasi bhoota samasta deva vanitaam

lokaika deepaankuraam

Salutations to Goddess Lakshmi, who is the daughter of the king of the milky ocean,

who is the queen of the abode of Mahā-Viṣhṇu, who is served by all the celestial maidens,

who is the source of light (knowledge) for the universe.


shreeman manda kaṭaaksha labdha vibhava

brahmendra gangaadharaam

tvaam trailokya kuṭumbineem sarasijaam

vande mukunda priyaam

Oh Goddess, who has received the everlasting Grace from the Lord Brahma (Creator), Indra and Shiva, who is the mother of the three worlds, who is seated on a lotus and who is the beloved of Mukunda (Lord Nārāyaṇa).


siddha lakshmi moksha lakshmi

jaya lakshmi saraswati

shree lakshmi vara lakshmiishcha

prasanna mama sarvada

Salutations to Mother Lakshmi.

O Mother, May Your different Forms,

Siddha Lakshmi, Moksha Lakshmi, Jaya Lakshmi, Saraswati,

Sri Lakshmi and Vara Lakshmi,

Always be Gracious to me.

aum shaantiḥ shaantiḥ shaantiḥ