Make Ganga Your Green Valentine
As people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day this week with gifts of chocolate and roses, as symbols of their love and devotion, it is the perfect time to renew our commitment to our Mother Ganga and Mother Nature. Children all over the world will make Valentine’s Day cards for their mothers. On the banks of Mother Ganga in Rishikesh, Pujya Swamiji inspired everyone to dedicate this Valentine’s Day, not only to their loved ones, but also to the divine and unconditional love that Mother Nature showers us with every day. He shared that this love is always on, has always been on and will continue to be on with no hesitation, no expectation, no discrimination and no vacation.
The evening yagna (fire) ceremony was performed for World Peace & Environmental Protection, a prayer that all people may be free, not only of the peril of death by gun, bomb and grenade, but also free of the perils of polluted air, toxic water and nutrient-depleted soil. Thereafter a sacred water blessing ceremony took place in which people from Brazil, Indonesia, America, Canada, Europe, Spain, Argentina, Austria, Uruguay, Mexico, Cyprus, New Zealand, Italy, Palestine, China and so many others joined to pour the sacred Gangajal onto a globe, a symbol of the whole world. From the vital fluid which nourishes us in utero, to the rain which irrigates desiccated fields, to the rivers which quench parched mouths and bring livelihoods to those living along the banks, to the oceans which house an entire rich world of their own, every moment and every aspect of our lives, no matter our caste, creed or race, is inextricably linked to water. They collectively prayed to that all beings and all creatures on Earth should have access to sufficient and safe, life-sustaining water because water is life.
During the Ganga Aarti as the sun’s last rays danced off the waters of Mother Ganga everyone joined together to sing, pray, give thanks and commune together in the presence and love for both the Creator and also the Creation. Pujya Swamiji said, ‘Let us take this divine occasion to come together in action and bridge the gaps and the social inequalities in our society. We invite you all to join us to help build a bio-toilet for girls in the local Degree College of Rishikesh. While this sacred land of the Himalayas is known for its temples and while temples are needed for the purification of our thoughts and for connecting with the Divine, toilets are equally important as they are temples for our bodies. With green solutions such as bio-toilets in which the treated waters of toilets can be used to nourish and irrigate farms we can move From Temples to Toilets and bridge the gap and connect the Soul to our Soil.”
Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji said, ‘Music carries within it great potential and possibilities: breaking through the boundaries of language and culture. It is so beautiful that we have come together to share our music and the sacred mantras to heal and help all. As great leaders of social change and service have shared that greatest hunger and thirst is not for bread and water but for love and compassion. Divine music fills that hunger and quenches that thirst.’
Visiting musicians from all over the world dedicated their music for Ganga singing their Brazilian, American tunes as a collective kirtan for the Divine. Pujya Swamiji blessed and honoured Karl Anthony and his twelve year old female vocalist Shivani as well as his entire group, who collectively call themselves Mantra and have travelled from America on tour to offer divine chanting in order to heal and unite all. He also honoured a Brazilian group of musicians from an organization called the Path of the Heart who enchanted all with their beautiful Ganga Lahri song. Isaac Tigrett, well known as the Founder of both the Hard Rock Cafe and The House of Blues, and David Cornsweet, eminent philanthropist from America, were also honoured for their spirit of giving back and serving for the welfare of humanity and the environment. Famous rapper and four time Grammy Award winner, Macklemore, from America also had visited recently with his fiancé Tricia Daves and was inspired by Pujya Swamiji to dedicate his music to inspire social change towards protecting and preserving the environment for world peace.
The sound of blissful music and sight of divine dancing alongside the soothing ripples of Mother Ganga and majestic Himalayas aligned the five senses to the soul. The evening concluded with a collective pledge that not just the 14th of Feb but everyday should be dedicated to Mother Ganga, Mother Earth and Mother Nature.