Highlights in the Life of H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj (Muniji)




As our world is plagued more and more by the tragedies of war, violence and animosity amongst religious traditions, the need is enormous for peace, harmony, understanding and universal brotherhood. These very values and principles lie at the foundation of Indian culture and Sanatan Dharma.
Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam  (the whole world is one family), unity amongst diversity, and equality for all are inherent tenets of the Indian spiritual tradition and are universal messages of our divine scriptures. 

With the goal of spreading peace, love, tolerance and harmony, the
Vishwa Dharma Yatra began its world journey in the Caribbean on July 16. Scheduled to cover fifty cities in forty countries over the next four months, this World Pilgrimage is carrying forth the wisdom, insight and universal truths of Sanatan Dharma for the benefit of all of humanity.

Select Dharma Gurus (spiritual leaders) are traveling the globe, not preaching Hinduism, but rather reaching people through Hinduism, teaching people through Hinduism and touching people through Hinduism. They are also carrying with them a sacred Kalash in which soil from each city is placed. At the end of the Yatra, this kalash, filled with soil from across the globe, will be carried back to India and kept there as a monument of peace, love and unity and as a testament to the ideal of the whole world as one family.

The entire yatra was organized by World Council of Hinduism and Hindu Leaders' Forum and local organizations in every city, and sponsored by Dr. B.K. Modi, and Shri M.L. Mittal, and with the help of devotees and organizations across the globe.. Smt. Anjleeben Pandya (or Energyben as Pujya Swamiji calls her) was the coordinator for the entire Vishwa Dharma Prasaar Yatra. The yatra began in August, 2001 in the Caribbean Islands, then moved through USA/Canada, through Miami, Atlanta, Washington, Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles. (See usayatra2001 update for full report of Caribbean and USA yatra ). Now, in September, 2001, the yatra moved to Europe and Russia, spreading messages of peace and harmony, at the same time that a disaster was being planned in other parts of the world…

September 7: -- Leicester, UK

The yatra was off to a beautiful start in Leicester, UK. The Dharma Gurus travelling through Europe included HH Pujya Sri Shankaracharyaji Divyanand Teerth Maharaj Bhanupura Peeth (M.P.), HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Muniji), HH Pujya Swami Saidas Baba, HH Acharya Brahmadev Upadhayayji, and Singh Sahib Shri SS Manchandaji.

In Leicester, the program was held at the Shri Prajapati Community Centre, and organized by Shri Ashok Verma and Shri Kishore Ruparelia.

More than 2500 people gathered for the occasion.

Speeches were given by the Dharma Gurus of the yatra and divine bhajans were sung by Shri Anup Jalota.

Additionally, Dr. B.K. Modi spoke about the Yatra itself, its purpose and its mission, and
Shri M.L. Mittal, (a very dedicated soul who has devoted himself fully to the cause of Sanatan Dharma and who is committed to using it to bring betterment throughout the world) spoke about the Hindu Leader's Forum, a new body formed of the top leaders of the Hindu community which is co-sponsoring the Yatra.

In Leicester, from left to right, Shri SS Manchandaji, HH Pujya Swami Chidanandji (Muniji), HH Sri Shankaracharyaji Divyanand Teerthji, HH Acharya Brahmadev Upadhyayaji, Shri Anup Jalotaji

The saints, dignitaries and local coordinators fill the Kalash with the soil (and heart) of Leicester

September 8: -- London: 

The function at the Hare Krishna ISKON Mandir in London was a historical event - drawing a crowd of many thousands, and uniting leaders of numerable sects of Sanatan Dharma on one stage, with one mission.

The function was organized by
Dr. Giridhari Lal Bhan and Shri Kishore Ruparelia in cooperation with the Hare Krishna Mandir and so many other organizations and devotees.

HH Sri Shankaracharyaji Divyanand Teerthji gave a beautiful, inspiring lecture on the presence of God in our lives.

Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Muniji) urged the audience not to forget the richness and depth of their Mother Culture. He said that 3 things are most important in life: Mother, Motherland and Mother tongue.
from left to right, Shri SS Manchandaji, HH Swami Shivaram Swamiji, the head of ISKON, England, HH Sri Swamiji Divyanand Teerthji, HH Pujya Swami Chidanandji (Muniji), HH Acharya Brahmadev Upadhyayaji, HH Swami Saidas Babaji  

Pujya Swami Saidas Baba used a story from the Ramayana to elucidate the role the guru should play in the lives of his disciples, and he stressed the importance of saints and divine company in the lives of children.

HH Swami Shivaram Swamiji, the head of ISKON, England, also graced the occasion.

Additionally, Dr BK Modi spoke about the importance of Hindu Unity and about the purpose and theme of the yatra.

Shri M.L. Mittal - as Chairman of the Hindu Leaders forum -- awarded the Hindu Vibhushan to Shri Manubhai Madhwani for his commitment to Sanatan Dharma and to his great leadership role in the Hindu Community of UK.

Shri Bawa Jain, Secretary General of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders spoke on the Summit itself, its repercussions in the world community and on the background and purpose of Hindu Leaders Forum.

from left to right, Shri SS Manchandaji, HH Sri Shankaracharyaji Divyanand Teerthji, HH Pujya Swami Chidanandji (Muniji), HH Acharya Brahmadev Upadhyayaji, HH Swami Saidas Babaji, Shri Ashok Pandeyji and Shri Anup Jalotaji

Shri Ramesh Jain, from Germany, spoke about the One Teacher One School project.

Additionally, the Mayor of London graced the occasion with his presence

Shri Anup Jalota filled the two, overflowing tents with devotion and joy.

September 9: -- Paris : 

On September 9th, the yatra team boarded a private plane, provided by Shri ML Mittalji, and traveled to Paris. We were taken immediately to the home of Shri Lalit Bhandari for lunch and press interviews.

The program took place in a beautiful old theatre - of the sort created and existing only in Europe. It was a 3 or 4 story circular theatre house, such that the majority of the audience sat in balcony wings.

The program was organized and MC'd beautifully by
Shri Madhu Sudan Sukhwal and here in Paris, we were joined by Smt. Anuradha Paudwal who brought the divine melody of her voice to the land of Europe. .

In addition to the inspiring lectures from the saints, Dr. BK Modiji, and Shri ML Mittalji spoke on the importance of maintaining the connection to our culture, heritage and spiritual tradition, and of the need for all Hindu peoples to come forward and come together.

The saints perform aarti to the beautiful sound of Smt. Anuradhaji's voice

September 10: -- Frankfurt, Germany: 
On September 10, we flew to Frankfurt, Germany, and drove through quite a bit of beautiful countryside and rolling hills to the home of organizers
Shri Krishan Jivaji and Shri Ramesh Bahety.

Additionally, in Frankfurt we were joined by Shri Ramesh Jain, the coordinator for the Europe leg of the yatra who efficiently and gracefully helped in the organization of the European tour.

In the evening program, the revered saints shared inspiring words:

HH Sri Shankarcharyaji Divyananda Teerth Bhanupura Peeth (M.P.) spoke about how the world is being too focused on differnences and competition. He said that the concept of a "global village" is becoming popular due to visions of the world as a market. He said that said that in the modern era concept of global village is coming up. He emphasized the need to come together in love, rather than only in business terms.

Pujya Swami Chidanandji (Muniji) emphasized as well the importance of love as the main factor through which all else moves. He said that Europe has come together and established the Euro currency for financial dealings, but now the entire world must come together under the currency of love for all of the other dealings.

Pujya Swami Saidas Baba, Pujya Acharya Brahmadev Upadhyayaji and Shri SS Manchandaji also gave inspiring and uplifting messages.

The Hindu Vibhushan award was given to Prof. Weber of Frankfurt university for his efforts to spread the true wisdom of Hindu culture.

Additionally, Mr. Topden, the Consul General of India attended the program and expressed his great support and appreciation for the yatra team, and he emphasized the importance of the role played by Indian saints in removing the darkness of ignorance in the world.

Dr. BK Modiji underscored the important role that Hindu/Sanatan Dharma can play for the entire world. However, in order for the world to benefit, this wisdom must be propogated.

Shri Mohan Lal Mittal said that now, the future is in the hands of the youth, and - in order to lead the world toward a bright future, they must be taught the values and ethics of their Hindu culture.

Smt. Anjleeben Pandya (or Energyben as Pujya Swamiji calls her) the coordinator for the entire Vishwa Dharma Prasaar Yatra, sang a beautiful Ekta Mantra.

The program was concluded with beautiful Bhajans and aarti by Smt. Anuradha Paudwal filling the audience with joy, peace and the love of the Divine

September 11: - Munich, Germany

 We flew to Munich on the morning of September 11, and it was there - in the mid afternoon - that we heard the shocking news of the tragedy.

While initially the yatra team thought to cancel the entire program, it was eventually decided that we would simply have messages of condolences prayers for the departed souls and their loved ones, prayers for peace throughout the world, and blessings by the saints and simple kirtan.

The name of the hall in which the program was held was "The Black Box," named as a theater hall. However, on this night, it truly lived up to its name. The hall was filled with sadness, despair and unanswerable questions of "why?" It was incredible to see the number of people who came at all. We were expecting that most would stay home, glued to television sets. But, rather, they came together to share, to grieve, to question…

In the midst of this "Black Box" there was a ray of light. That light came from the stage on which the saints sat and gave messages of love amidst an act of hate, messages of peace amidst an act of violence, messages of comfort amidst an environment of terror.

The saints spoke about the nature of evil and yet about the everpresent nature of the soul - which can never be harmed.

Additionally, Pujya Swami Chidanandji (Muniji) sang a beautiful bhajan about the need to turn to God in this hour of pain. He sang of turning our lives over to Him, for nothing else on Earth is certain..


The evening concluded with somber sankirtan by Smt. Anuradhaji and then with several moments of silent prayer.

A young boy named Abhinasdas joins Smt. Anuradhaji and sings with all of his heart for peace and love in the world.

All rise for silent prayer

The program was organized by Shri Vijay Shankar Lugani and Shri Krishna Javaji

September 12 - Lisbon, Portugal

Hearts heavy with sadness and yet committed to continuing the spread of messages of peace and messages of unity, the Dharma Prasaar Yatra team left Germany and continued on to Lisbon, Portugal to the Radha Krishna Mandir. The Mandir was inaugurated nearly 3 years ago by
HH Pujya Sant Shri Rameshbhai Oza, HH Pujya Swami Gurusharananandji Maharaj, HH Pujya Swami Chidanandji (Muniji), HH Pujya Indira Betiji and many other revered saints. The temple came to fruition through the dedication and piety of Shri Kantilal and Smt. Vibhutiben Jamnadas and is now the largest Radha-Krishna Mandir in all of Europe.

A mere three years after its prana pratishtha, it was beautiful to see the way the temple was flourishing. The Divine breath was breathed into it 3 years ago by the hands of the saints; they ignited the divine heart beat that turned the murtis to deities. Yet, by the dedication of Shri Kantibhai, Smt. Vibhutiben and the entire community, that heart beat has continued and grown even stronger day by day.

Shri LM Mittal, Shri Kantibhai Jamnadas and Dr. BK Modi


Prior to the program, Pujya Swamiji (Muniji) conducted a youth session with the thirsty-for-knowledge youth of Lisbon. All were fluent in Gujarati, a fact which Pujya Swamiji appreciated.

After the Youth Session, the official program began at the statue of Mahatma Gandhiji and his wife Smt. Kasturba. Seeking the blessings of Gandhiji and his divine Shakti, the saints and dignitaries then proceeded to the main temple for the program.

The saints and dignitaries pray at the statue of Mahatma Gandhiji

The program began with an introduction by Shri Kantibhai and was followed by Dr. BK Modiji's speech. Dr. Modiji focused on how peace can only be attained through peace, and that now is the time to build a new world.

Following Dr. Modiji's speech, Shri Mohanlal Mittal spoke about the formation of the Hindu Leader's Forum and emphasized the importance that the Forum can play in bringing peace, harmony and understanding to the world.

Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Muniji) spoke in Gujarati, the native tongue of nearly all of the attendees, and he declared that the program was dedicated to the memory of the departed souls, and dedicated to the prayer that the entire world will move toward peace and reconciliation. He spoke about the message of Mother Ganga, and how we must let Her purity and divinity flow within us, at all times, regardless of where we live.

Pujya Swamiji with the mayor of Lisbon

Swamiji Sankaracharya Divyananda Teerth spoke about the importance of continuing the yatra and about the importance of attaining world peace. He gave great insight into the nuances of philosophy, showing the existence of One God and One Truth, although the paths and names might be many.

The mayor of Lisbon came and joined hands with Shri Mittalji, Dr. Modiji and all the saints for the special Kalash ceremony and added the soil of Lisbon to the beautiful Kalash.

Shri Kantibhai Jamanadas received the Hindu Vibhushan award due to his founding role in the Temple and to his great leadership in the community.

The yatra group plus the Portugal devotees
Left to right: Shri LM Mittal, Shri Kantibhai Jamnadas, Mitesh Jamnadas, HH Sri Shankaracharyaji, Dr. BK Modiji, Pujya Swami Chidanandji (Muniji), Darshana Jamnadas, Smt. Vibhutiben Jamnadas, Smt. Veena Modi, Smt. Anuradha Paudwal, Trusha Hetulkumar, Hetul Pandia

September 13:
- Copenhagen, Denmark:  
From Portugal, we flew to Copenhagen, where - immediately upon arrival - there was a special Press Conference at the Amacer Kulturpunkt hall, the venue also of the function.

Pujya Swamiji with Smt. Anuradhaji and Dr. Modiji

In the wake of the tragedy in New York, the majority of questions focused on finding meaning, through spirituality for this terrible event.

The program was coordinated by
Shri Ramesh Kumar Mudgil and began with bhajans by Smt. Anuradhaji, bringing the audience into a peaceful, spiritual mood.

Speeches were given by the Dharma Gurus - HH Sri Swamiji Divyanand Teerthji Maharaj, HH Pujya Swami Chidanandji (Muniji), HH Swami Saidas Babaji, HH Acharya Brahmdeo Upadhayayji and Shri SS Manchandaji - as well as by Dr. Modiji and Shri Mittalji.

After the program, there were beautiful bhajans by a local spiritual group of Danish people (non-Indians) who were filled with great bhakti toward Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. They were only planning to play one bhajan, as it was already nearly 11:00 pm; however, they were so divine, that everyone urged them, "one more, one more," until they had filled the hall with several love-filled songs.

The saints with the group of devotional singers  

September 14: - Oslo, Norway:  
To the beautiful, Scandinavian city we flew on the 14th. Oslo seemed like a picture-perfect fairy-tale town, with the lush green hills and the water flowing nearby.

The program took place at the Sanatan Mandir Sabha and was organized by
Shri Ombir Upadhyayaji and Shri Vijay Kumar.

Carrying on in the tradition begun in Lisbon, there was a special youth conference prior to the main program, in which HH Sri Shankaracharyaji of Bhanupura Peeth (M.P.) and Pujya Swamiji (Muniji) spoke with a hall full of eager, wide eyed youth.

The mandir was beautiful and - as Pujya Swami Chidanandji said in his speech - the people had not only turned their homes into mandirs, but they had turned their mandir into their home!

It was the last evening Shri ML Mittalji was with the yatra, as he had to return to London the following day. So, he was given a special garland of flowers and effusive appreciation by the saints.

Shri Mittalji speaks humbly after having been garlanded and lauded by the revered saints

A special event of the evening was a special solo tabla performance by Shri Ashok Pandey who - after weeks of playing with Shri Anup Jalota and then Smt. Anuradha Paudwal - finally gave a solo performance on the tablas. The audience came to its feet in exuberation and his music set a wonderful tone for the entire evening.

September 15: - Amsterdam (The Hague):  

The program in Holland was organized by Shri Ramesh Ramautar Singh and Prof. Mohan Kant Gautam, in conjunction with several other organizations. It was held at the Ockanburg Sporhall, and had a huge audience of Hindi speaking devotees.

Speakers included HH Sri Shankaracharyaji Divyanand Teerth Maharaj, HH Pujya Swami Chidanandji (Muniji), HH Acharya Brahmadev Upadhyayaji and Dr. BK Modiji, in addition to the local leaders.


HH Pujya Sri Shankaracharyaji, HH Pujya Swami Chidanandji, and Shri Ashok Pandey and Shri Mohan Singh

September 16-17: - Moscow:

We flew to Moscow on September 16th, for the final days of the European/Russian leg of the Vishwa Dharma Prasaar Yatra. A city far removed from its steretyped image, Moscow is actually incredibly developed, clean and safe.

The program was held at the huge Moscow Palace for Youth and was hosted by the ISKON foundation of Russia. The local coordinators and organizers were Shri Shiv Kumar Bahety and Shri Vijay Kumar.

The only difficulty in Moscow was the language. So many people spoke neither Hindi nor English, although they all understood the international, universal language of love and friendship. Thus, the speeches were all translated, line by line, by two very talented youth - one who translated English to Russian and the other (not even an Indian!) who translated Hindi to Russian.

Additionally the program was graced by the attendance of Dr. Alexander Lakshin, a rabbi in Moscow and the Director for the Center for Information and Educational Programs.

Due to the translation situation, the saints gave simple, universal messages of truth, peace, love and brotherhood.

The program concluded with a beautiful dance and music program by local youth.

Pujya Swamiji with HH Swami Gopal Krishan Swamiji

Pujya Swamiji with HH Swami Gopal Krishan Swamiji and HH Bhaktivijnan Swamiji

On September 17th, the flight back to India was not until evening, thus we enjoyed darshan at the beautiful Hare Krishna Mandir in Moscow as well as the darshan of
HH Swami Gopal Krishan Swamiji, the head of the Hare Krishna Movement in Russia, HH Mahamantradasji and HH Bhaktivijnan Goswamiji.

As we boarded the plane back to Delhi, everyone agreed that it had been a great success, spreading wisdom, insight, inspiration and the "touch" of Indian culture to Europe.

September: - Rishikesh, India:

In the wake of the tragedy in New York and Washington, we had special prayers and chanting of Vedic Mantras on the banks of Mother Ganga. We offered our deepest prayers that the departed souls may rest in peace, and that those who are shattered, broken and bereaved by this tragedy may find solace and serenity.

We pray for those who have committed this atrocious act and for all those who have plans or desires to commit a similar act -- we prayed that God may bestow wisdom and compassion upon them, so that they can see the folly of their ways and transform themselves.


We pray for peace to the Heavens, peace to the Earth, peace to all the humans, all the animals, all the plants and peace for every being in the universe.

September 27: - Rishikesh, India:

After death follows life. So, it has at Parmarth Niketan. As we were still saying daily prayers for the departed souls, so we were blessed with a ceremony of life - a wedding. Mr. Nigel Tolley, from Australia and Dorine from Holland were married here on the holy banks of Mother Ganga in a beautiful ceremony. It was so special to see people from the West who came all the way to India, to the lap of the sacred Himalayas, to sanctify their vows.

Upcoming Events

September 15-October 15: Purushottam Mas - A month full of special, divine activities. Pandit Shri Madan Mohan Shastriji will be delivering a month-long Bhagwat Katha At Parmarth Niketan. Write to to reserve your place.

October 9-15: Kundalini Yoga Camp - A special camp to energize and awaken the divine energy inherent in each of us, given by renowned Kundalini Yogini Gurmukh

October 14: Heart Camp -- Free Cardiac screening, testing and treatment for the local, indigenous and indigent population of the Himalayas, given by Dr. Kasliwal and the team from Escorts Heart Institute 

October 28-31: International Ayurvedic Conference -- , to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister, and to be concluded by the governor concluding on October 31 with a Free Ayurvedic camp.

October 31 - November 2: Free Medical Camp- with medical specialists coming from Bombay, from Beach Kendy hospital, Jaslokh hospital and Hinduja hospital.

Pujya Swamiji's Itinerary
October - November 2001

October   November  
1 Indore   1-14 Rishikesh  
2 Delhi   15-16 Delhi  
3-22 Rishikesh    17-30 Rishikesh  
23 Bombay        
24-26 Porbandar        
27-31 Rishikesh