Green International Yoga Day Celebrations at Parmarth Niketan

A beautiful celebration of the International Yoga Day took place on the banks of Mother Ganga, in the lap of the Himalayas in the birthplace of Yoga, in the sacred city of Rishikesh at Parmarth Niketan, with the blessing, vision and leadership of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Pujya Swamiji) and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji(Sadhviji).

The grand Yoga gathering, which took place in the holy presence and with the blessings and inspiration of Pujya Swamiji, brought hundreds of pilgrims together and started with a large Yoga class, which included the International Yoga Day protocol, as circulated by the Ministry of AYUSH, and also included asana, pranayama and chanting by Yogacharyas Sadhvi Abha Saraswatiji and Indu Sharmaji.

The hour long session included also a beautiful meditation and words of inspiration by Sadhviji in which she congratulated and lauded the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modiji on the momentous achievement of bringing the world together as one family for Yoga.

Participants from over 30 countries joined eagerly and enthusiastically in the celebrations, at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), including countries such as India, America, Africa, Austria, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Nepal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine amongst others.

Sadhvi Bhagawatiji said, “It’s wonderful today the world is celebrating Yoga, breaking boundaries and barriers and touching people from every walk of life, with the message of union- of Yoga- and oneness. We laud and support our visionary and dynamic Hon’ble Prime Minister for this incredible achievement and also thank the United Nations, including the 177 countries, involved in their unanimous and prompt acceptance of this appeal. Even though Pujya Swamiji and I were supposed to be in New York at the United Nations, I am glad we are here today, here on the banks of Mother Ganga, here at the sacred purnahuti (completion) of Pujya Morari Bapuji’s Green Shri Ram Katha. This is truly, as Pujya Swamiji says, not necessarily the United Nations but most certainly the United Creations.”

Pujya Swamiji said, “Yoga is not what you do but it’s what you are. Yoga literally means union, not merely union of our head to your knees, or your palms to the ground, but rather the union of ourselves, our small self, with the Divine, the big Self. It is not merely flexibility of our bodies, but it is also the flexibility of our selves to live with less and to be more. It is not only practised on the mat but off the mat, in every minute and every moment of our lives. It is the conscious and green living that allows us to serve as instruments of peace, love and harmony within our communities, our cities, states and nations. Because if you are in peace then all you can manifest and exude is peace and if you are in pieces then all you can manifest and exude are only pieces. Today, at the auspicious completion of the Green Shri Ram Katha, here at the birthplace of Yoga, the sacred land of Lord Shiva-the king of all Yogis, and on a day were as many of our brothers and sisters in the west celebrate Father’s Day its such a divine blessing to be here receiving Pujya Morari Bapuji’s blessings, who for many is like our Bap (father). Just like a father helps protect, nurture and serve his family, providing discipline, love and direction to his children, so to may we allow Yoga and the divine message and teachings of the Shri Ram Katha to be the ultimate source of nourishment for our mind, body and soul.”

The Yoga Day celebrations continued with the beautiful and divine completion of a nine day Green Shri Ram Katha by Pujya Morari Bapu, who shared, “I express my great gladness on the first annual International Yoga Day. I also congratulate our visionary and dynamic Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and offer my salutations and oblations to the rich spiritual-cultural tradition of India, of which Yoga is the divine nectar. I would also like to add that Yoga, Ganga Seva (Service of the River Ganga-Mother Ganga), Gau Seva (Service to our Sacred Cow), protection and sharing of Brahma Vidya (Knowledge of Bhramin) is not the cause of any particular group but it’s the responsibility and the right of every individual, every human being on this planet. As our holy scriptures share that out of all living creatures human beings are the most beloved to the Lord and out of all human beings those who have humanity and service in their hearts are most dear to Him. Yoga teaches us to nurture, nourish ourselves so that we can not only be better human beings but can also be more humane and this is the paramount need of the hour. Inspired by this beautiful occasion, even I practised Yoga and Pranayama for the first time this morning.”

Pujya Swamiji inspired everyone in a pledge to live green and to turn every festival, holiday, birthday and all occasions into a green occasions. In so doing, recognizing and acknowledging our inherent oneness-union- with the world and all of creation. He also shared that Yoga was the key to living sustainably, living green, as well as fundamental to ensuring our actions, words and thoughts are aligned and in harmony with Mother Nature as well as in service of our world family.

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