Aum, written as “Om”, is the most important Hindu symbol. Om is considered the primordial sound, the first breath of creation. The Om sign also signifies God, creation, and the oneness of all creations of God. This sacred sound is also considered the greatest of all mantras.
The Yale Hindu Students Council (HSC) is an undergraduate student organization whose vision is to promote an awareness of Hinduism within the Yale and New Haven community. They organize the annual Yale Diwali Puja, Holi and a variety of other festival celebrations and cultural events throughout the course of the year. Events are meant to stimulate an exchange of ideas on religion, and are above all educational.
The Yale Hindu Prayer Room is located in the basement (room 014) of Bingham Hall. The room is meant as a prayer space and also as a venue for small community events, such as HSC’s pujas, and study breaks.
Pujas occur on Wednesdays at 7 pm in the Hindu Prayer Room. Festivals are celebrated as close to their actual date as possible. On those occasions there will be no weekly puja. Cultural events such as the popular Chat, Chaat and Chai Study Breaks as well as cultural/religious discussions may also occur instead of the weekly puja. Activities are publicized on HSC’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/YaleHSC/timeline).
Navratri Homa is an annual fall event celebrating Navratri, nine festival nights dedicated to worshiping the Goddess in her many forms. The Homa is a fire ritual propitiating the Goddess as Durga for her blessings. Here is a link to past Navratri Homa photos.
Saraswati Pujas are held in the beginning and the end of each semester. Saraswati is the patron goddess of learning and Hindu students often address prayers to her at these times.
The Yale Diwali Puja is an annual prayer and dinner event that celebrates Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. The program includes a puja, lighting sparklers on Beinecke plaza, Indian cultural performances and a catered Indian dinner. The event is open to the Yale and local New Haven community. Here is a link to past Diwali Puja photos.
Holi is an outdoor celebration of spring held on the last day of undergraduate classes in April. Rooted in Sri Krishna’s playful sporting with his friends we infuse the air with hundreds of pounds of colored powder. This is an exuberant end to the spring semester! Here is a link to past Holi photos.