Purnahuti of Nine Day Green Katha by Pujya Morari Bapu at Parmarth
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Pujya Swamiji) bid Pujya Morari Bapuji farewell with a beautiful Tulsi plant as a symbol of Bapu’s love for beloved and respected Goswami Tulsidasji, author of the epic Ramcharitmanas/ Ramayan, which, like the seeds of the sacred Tulsi plant, had been planted in the hearts of the thousands of pilgrims who listened to the katha over the last nine-days. The plant was given with the prayer that the purity, sanctity and divinity associated with the sacred Tulsi plant would grow and thrive in the hearts and the lives of the thousands of katha participants. The nine-day Green Katha concluded yesterday with a special International Yoga Day and Father’s Day celebration.
During the course of the Green Katha, respected saints and political leaders including, Pujya Gurusharanandji Maharaj of Vrindavan, Pujya Sant Shri Rameshbhai Oza (Bhaishri), Pujya Swami Ramdevji, Pujya Dr. Pranav Pandyaji, Pujya Brahmacharya Brahmaswarupjiji of Jai Ram Ashram, Pujya Acharya Balkrishanji, and political leaders including His Excellency the Governor of Uttarakhand, Shri Krishna Kant Palji, Uttarakhand Ministers of Water, Education, Agriculture and Urban Development came together to offer their respects to Pujya Morari Bapu and express their happiness that the Green Katha was taking place at the beautiful and divine Parmarth Niketan ashram.
During the katha, in honour of Yoga off the Mat, the following pledges and green initiatives had been inspired by Pujya Swamiji:
Green Katha and Kathakar Social Responsibility which was centered on ensuring the decorations and wastage of money and resources in grand kathas are minimized and instead the same finances are channeled to social impacting projects, such as tree plantations, educational programmes, rehabilitation efforts, Gau Seva, amongst many other activities.
Pilgrims and Yatris participating in the Green Katha were continuously reminded to:
- Preserve and protect their natural resources as well as their sacred water bodies,
- Plant and care for at least nine trees in honour of the nine day katha, on every festival, holiday, birthday and special occasion
- Reduce if not completely stop the use of plastics, polythene and plastic bottles
- Stop littering and trashing their surrounding environment while starting to segregate solid waste and manage organic waste with composting in their homes
As a symbol of this Green Pledge, Parmarth maintained the Green Katha initiative in action by:
- Significantly reducing the use of plastic, theramacol (Styrafoam)-thousands of pilgrims/yatris were given free Prasad everyday in steel cups and plates
- Instead of water bottles, Parmarth provided filtered water and clay pots full of cold and clean water to keep yatris hydrated in the heat
- The use of flowers decorations, other forms of souvenirs was stopped, instead only green Rudraksh saplings were provided as gifts to all dignitaries and revered leaders
- Yatris and pilgrims were encouraged to segregate their waste between wet (organic) and dry (recyclable and non-biodegradable) waste
- Organic waste was composted, recyclable waste was segregated to a great extent and non-recyclable waste also disposed in the best possible way.
- All efforts were made to ensure adequate sanitation, dedicated volunteers ensured that all public toilets and urinals were clean and pleasant for all yatris
Other beautiful Green Initiatives, launched by Pujya Swamiji’s green vision and leadership during the nine-day Green Katha included:
- Green Bio-Toilets along the banks of Mother Ganga: A special bhoomi poojan ceremony with Pujya Morari Bapu, Pujya Swamiji BHEL’s Executive Director, Shri Prakash Chandji and members of FICCI and DRDO team took place on June 17th at the Triveni Ghat, Rishikesh for a large bio-digester toilet complex being planned there. The first phase of this project has chosen 25 key locations around the banks of Mother Ganga in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, sites of popular pilgrimage, and will be funded by CSR initiative of BHEL and supported by FICCI and Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), an interfaith alliance for improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), of which Pujya Swamiji is the Co-Chairman.
- Clean Drinking Water Systems: Pujya Morari Bapu, Pujya Swamiji and Shri Mantri Prasad Naithaniji, Hon’ble Minister of Drinking Water and Education of Uttarakhand, launched a clean drinking water filter on the Parmarth Niketan Ganga Ghat to provide clean drinking water to thousands of yatris visiting every day and serve as an example for thousands of Ghats along the banks of Mother Ganga to provide the basic and much needed facility. It was also shared that all bio-toilet structures being planned by BHEL, FICCI and GIWA would include water filtration systems to provide cleaning drinking water to all.
- International Memorial Garden- Smriti Van, in memory the lives lost in the Uttarakhand floods of 2013, was commemorated and launched on the 16-17th June by Pujya Morari Bapu, His Excellency the Governor of Uttarakhand, Shri Krishna Kant Palji, and Hon’ble Agriculture Minister of Uttarakhand, Dr. Harak Singh Rawatji, on the second anniversary. The memorial garden has been planned in Rambara, Kedar Valley and the first tree was planted by Pujya Swamiji and Hon’ble Shri Harak Singh Rawatji during Pujya Swamiji’s recent visit to the region earlier this month.
- Rehabilitation of Nepal- Rebuilding the Buddha Temple the symbolic inauguration of rehabilitation and reconstruction project of a sacred Buddha temple, being undertaken by Pujya Swamiji’s divine leadership, vision and direction, by Divine Shakti Foundation, an organization founded by Pujya Swamiji, in Earthquake Hit Nepal village was also conducted on 20th June by Pujya Morari Bapu, Pujya Dr. Pranav Pandyaji, Vice-Chancellor of Dev Sanskriti Vishwa Vidyala, Haridwar and Acharya Balkrishanji, Vice-Chancellor of Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar.
On the occasion of the completion of the Green Katha, 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.