H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj (Muniji)
August - September 2004  


Himalayan Yatra Special

(Click on link to go directly to that section)

India's Independence Day
Rakhsha Bandhan at Parmarth 
Pujya Bhaishri's birthday in Bombay
Pujya Bhaishri comes to Pamarth 


Medical Seva of the Month Award:
Dr. Raja Sabapathy

Pujya Swamiji's Divine Message:
A Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi

Links to Previous Newsletters 
and Divine Messages

August 15 -- Rishikesh
India's Independence Day was celebrated with a flag hoisting ceremony by the Rishikumars in the Gurukul garden and then by a special yoga demonstration.


August 30 -- Rishikesh
On the sacred day of Rakhsha Bandhan, all new rishikumars had their janeo sanskar or sacred thread ceremony (see www.parmarth.com/sanskaras.htm for details of the meaning of this important ritual). All of the other rishikumars had their threads changed, and everyone had mundan performed. 




August 31 - September 1 -- Bombay


Pujya Swamiji traveled to Mumbai for the celebration of the birthday of Pujya Shri Rameshbhai Oza (Pujya Bhaishri). A function was held in Ghatkopar and Pujya Swamiji stayed in Bombay on the 1st as well to meet with devotees.



September 5 - 12 -- Divine Himalayan Yatra

From September 5 - 12, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji led a group of 40 yatris to Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib and Valley of the Flowers.




The divine yatra began on the 5 September with 25 yatris from India, USA and Europe, along with 15 of the beautiful young rishikumars of Parmarth Niketan. Sivamani, the world famous drummer, also accompanied the yatra and brought the divine sound of his drums to the holy land of Badrinath.  


We departed from Rishikesh in the early hours of the 5th September and stopped for puja, prayer and kirtan at Dev Prayag (the confluence of the Bhagirathi, Alakananda and Mandakini rivers - the place where Ganga actually starts) and Rudra Prayag (the confluence of the Alakananda and Mandakini) before reaching our destination of Joshimath. 

Pujya Swamiji in prayer at the sangam at Dev Prayag

In Joshimath we visited the sacred Shankaracharya temple and the ancient caves where the Adi Shankaracharya sat in meditation and tapasya and where he received the divine inspiration for his enlightening commentaries and writings. The very tree under which he sat, and the very cave in which he meditated are still preserved today and we had darshan of both as well as offered our prayers in the temple dedicated to his memory. We also had the opportunity to sit in mediation in the cave where Sri Shankaracharya sat. Even today, thousands of years later, the vibrations of peace, solemnity, holiness and spiritual ecstasy can be felt. 


Yatris in front of Joshimath Temple;                                        Sivamaniji plays his drums


Early in the morning of the 6th we departed for Badrinath, with a special stop at Hanuman Chatti. Standing outside the sacred Hanuman mandir, we chanted the Hanuman chalisa and prayed to the divine epitome of devotion and surrender.


Prayer and song at Hanuman Chatti


After taking prasad (lunch) at our Parmarth ashram in Badrinath, we went to Mana, the last village in India before the Chinese border (just 3 km past Badrinath) where we had the darshan of the sacred Saraswati river and also of Vyas Guffa, the cave in which Maharishi Vyasji composed the Mahabharata, as well as the Puranas and classified the Vedas into four parts. We also had the darshan of Bhima pul, the bridge created by the mighty Bhima for Draupadi to cross over the Saraswati river.



(clockwise from top):    View of the Saraswati River flowing through Mana, Pujya Swamiji and the Rishikumars
outside of Vyas Guffa, the cave in which Maharishi Vyasji meditated and
composed the divine scriptural epics







Bhim pul (bridge)



Walking in the Himalayas



Sitting in the outside temple where Draupadi entered Samadhi, overlooking the Saraswati river, Pujya Swamiji leads the rishikumars in prayers and chanting





Yatris sit with Pujya Swamiji in Mana; View of the Saraswati River flowing from the Himalayas

The 6th evening and 7th morning were very special as it was the sacred time of Lord Krishna's birthday, Janmashtami (see  for the meaning of Janmashtami).  We celebrated with the darshan and puja of Lord Badrinarayan. Pujya Swamiji was the Chief Guest at all of the Badrinath Janmasthami celebrations, pujas, festivals and processions....everywhere He was accompanied by the devoted yatris, young rishikumars and Sivamani's divine drumming. 



Pujya Swamiji in Divine Masti



Singing outside the Badrinath Mandir

We accompanied the processions carrying Bhagwan Badrinarayan and also a baby Krishna throughout the holy city of Badrinath - the only time during the year that the divine deity is moved and also the only time that the priest of the main temple crosses the Alakananda river.


All along the way, we danced, sang God's glories and rejoiced in His presence in our lives.


On the 8th September, we left Badrinath for the trek from Govind Ghat to Ghangaria (the base camp for treks to Hemkund Sahib and Valley of the Flowers).  Along the way, we stopped in a large apple orchard where we were invited by the owners to pick as many apples as we could. It was a beautiful sight to see the rishikumars climbing trees and filling their pockets with fresh, juicy, Himalayan apples.  With a generous donation to the family that owns the orchard, we continued on our way to Govind Ghat. 




Picking fresh apples in the orchard


Picking apples to the sound of divine drumming; Sivamaniji with the 85-year old woman who runs the orchard

After packing up horses with our luggage we began the 14 Chanting, singing and dancing along the way, we trekked the 14 km up to Ghangaria, on the winding path along the Lakshman Ganga river.

Rishikumars and yatris enjoying the horseback ride



Walking along the banks of the Lakshman Ganga to Ghangaria

On the 9th, after beginning the day with prayer and song, we took the 5 km trek to Valley of the Flowers where we enjoyed the glorious landscape and had a special meditation along the Pushpavati river. The young rishikumars climbed the top of every high rock and danced up and down the mountainous paths.  We also learned how the ancient rishis used to write on the bark of the " bhoja patra" tree (birch tree).

Pujya Swamiji in prayer along the Pushpavati river




Clockwise from top: Pujya Swamiji demonstrates how the ancient rishis used to write on the bark of the bhoja patra trees;
in meditation in Valley of the Flowers; Meditation and quiet contemplation
on the banks of the Pushpavati river
in Valley of the Flowers











It was incredible to sit in those
sacred valleys, knowing that here,
on this hill or here, by this river, enlightened rishis and
sages performed their tapasya
and received their divine
visions and wisdom.




Trekking through Valley of the Flowers


In the evening we saw a special educational film on all of the species of plants found in this sacred Himalayan valley; the film also detailed each of their medicinal and household uses. The Himalayas are a true repository of not only divine inspiration and majestic beauty, but also they are God's pharmacy, which each plant the antidote to a different illness or ailment.

Chanting in the forest above a nearby temple

On September 10th we ascended 6 km to Sri Hemkund Sahib, the sacred lake of Sikhism and also the site of the Lakshman temple (where it is said that Lakshman went to perform tapasya). We performed puja in the Gurudwara and also at the Lakshman temple. Further, the people of the Lakshman temple appealed to Pujya Swamiji for help in renovating and beautifying the temple, to which he readily agreed and pledged his assistance.


After having darshan in the Gurudwara, we all went to the edge of Lake Hemkund Sahib where Pujya Swamiji led a special purification puja.

A few really courageous and pious souls even had a bath in the freezing temperature and rain!!



In front of Hemkund Sahib

On September 11th we descended the 14 km back to Govind Ghat and then drove back to Rudra Prayag before returning to Rishikesh.


Pujya Swamiji feeds the bellies and also the hearts of the local people, especially the children!

The yatra was an exhilarating and inspiring experience for all.

September 20 -- Rishikesh
Pujya Shri Rameshbhai Oza (Pujya Bhaishri) came to Parmarth Niketan on the occasion of his birthday by the Indian calendar. He was giving katha in Haridwar for 9 days and so he graced Parmarth Niketan with his beautiful presence for Aarti and also for awhile afterwards.




Pujya Bhaishri performs divine Ganga
Aarti and kirtan/bhajans at Parmarth,
and shares beautiful words of wisdom.






After the Aarti, Pujya Swamiji offered special garlands of flowers and of chandan (sandalwood) to Pujya Bhaishri and also to Respected Ba, Pujya Bhaishri's mother. As the special occasion was Pujya Bhaishri's birthday, the divine woman who brought him to this world was honored as well.




Pujya Swamiji offers Pujya Bhaishri a special garland
and then wraps Pujya Bhaishri and his divine mother together in a huge garland of jasmine and roses.

September 27 -- Rishikesh


For 10 days, the rishikumars in the Gurukul had been doing special Ganesh puja. On the 27th, the puja concluded and (as per tradition of the holiday) the image of Ganesh was immersed into the divine waters of Mother Ganga.

The children immerse Ganeshji in Mother Ganga

After the immersion, there was a distribution of new items to the children as well as ladoos! A special thanks to Shri Hasubhai and Smt. Hershaben Shah of Harrisburg, USA for sponsoring the distribution of these new items. Your generosity is what helps us care for these 150 divine children in our free, charitable gurukul/orphanages.

Shri Hasubhai Shah and Smt. Hershaben Shah distribute new things to the rishikumars while Pujya Swamiji feeds them ladoos!




Our special Seva award this month goes to Dr. Raja Sabapathy and his team at the Ganga Hospital in Coimbatore.

In early July a young, impoverished girl came to see us. Her arm had been severely and horribly burned in a kitchen accident seven months prior.

She had no use of her hand at all as the thumb and fingers could not touch and therefore she was unable to grip or lift anything.  She could not bring her fingers together or rotate her wrist at all.  With no money, she had no hope of obtaining proper treatment.

We sent her first to the divine doctors at Jolly Grant hospital in Dehradun. They examined her thoroughly and concluded that they did not have the facilities or expertise to properly operate on this severe of a deformation, and they suggested we contact Dr. Raja Sabapathy, the most eminent and renowned plastic surgeon for hands in India.

I sent an email to Dr. Raja Sabapathyji along with photos of the young woman's hand and arm. His response? "Send her to us. We can help her." Further, although the operation and physical therapy would require a month-long stay and several procedures, he said that whatever the ashram was able to pay would be fine. His hospital would cover the rest of the expenses.

On July 20 she left from Haridwar and reached Coimbatore on the 23 July.  Her surgery was a great success. After 4 weeks at the beautiful hospital, she returned at the end of August and immediately exclaimed, "Look, my fingers touch!" She called ecstatically a few days later to say that she had made a chapati for the first time in nearly a year.  She is regaining more and more movement and strength every day and we have full confidence that soon she'll have full use of her hand again.

Moreover, she and her mother both cried as they left Coimbatore. They said that Dr. Sabapathy had made them feel so welcome and so much a part of the family. Even though she speaks only Hindi and Dr. Sabapathy doesn't speak any Hindi, they were able to communicate with the language of the heart.

Dr. Raja Sabapathy has encouraged us to send any and all patients requiring hand surgery to him, including and especially those who are unable to afford treatment, and that they will be honored to perform as much divine seva for the needy as possible. 

We wish there were more doctors like Dr. Raja Sabapathyji!!

And a special Thank You to Poonam and Ramesh Naryani of Tenerife, Spain, who generously and lovingly gave the donation to sponsor this important operation.

A Tribute to Mahatma Gandhiji



On April 17, 2004 at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood, USA a film on the life and teachings of Pujya Swamiji premiered to a sold out audience. The film, titled, "A Day in the Light" is produced and directed by Christopher Miglino. 

The film has already been shown to delighted and inspired audiences at the Sedona Film Festival, the Indian Film Festival in Los Angeles and several other film festivals in USA and Europe. 

See www.adayinthelight.com  to order your own copy of the beautiful film.

If your browser doesn't open the page (some browsers have trouble with it) you can email Christopher directly at chris@yogamates.com to order a copy.











Bathing in Ganga at Parmarth

Itinerary for Pujya Swamiji 
for September - December 2004
September October November
1-5 Rishikesh 1 Rishikesh 2-3 Tenerife, Spain
5-11 Himalayas 2-3 Delhi 4-6 Lisbon, Portugal
12-30 Rishikesh 4-15 Rishikesh 7 Manchester, UK
        8 Leicester, UK
        10-13 London, UK
        14-30 Rishikesh
1-31 Rishikesh