Parmarth Niketan Ashram hosted a huge interfaith gathering in honor of Pujya Swamiji’s 60th Janam Utsav, with the top leaders of the world’s religions coming together in the name of Environmental Protection for World Peace. There were leaders of Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and Bahai from India and from across the world, joining together to discuss the crucial role that religious/ spiritual leaders need to play in protecting and preserving our environment. Revered religious/spiritual leaders, distinguished dignitaries and industrialists, politicians from both major parties and Bollywood celebrities came together, on this momentous occasion, to join hands on the banks of Mother Ganga, and pledge themselves to the cause of Environmental Protection and Preservation.
The festivities began on the 1st November with a 3-day Mahayagna on the banks of Mother Ganga, for world peace and environmental protection. Then on the evening of the 1st we had a beautiful Kavi Sammelan (divine poetry reading).
On November 2nd, the sacred yagnas continued and in the evening, at the time of divine Ganga Aarti we had the darshan and words of revered saints and spiritual masters as well as an incredibly beautiful drumming concert by world famous Sivamani, a beautiful devotee of Pujya Swamiji’s who filled the atmosphere with joy and soul-touching music.
The morning of November 3rd began with the purnahuti (final offering) of the Mahayagna in 60 kunds after which Pujya Rameshbhai Ozaji (Pujya Bhaishri) and Pujya Madhavpriyadasji bathed Pujya Swamiji with the sacred milk and Ganga water from the sacred yagnas, after which they all had a sacred snan in Mother Ganga to the sound of Vedic mantra chanting.
Then, the main event began 4:00 pm with the national and international leaders of all major religions as well as esteemed political leaders of both the BJP and Congress parties, renowned dignitaries and Bollywood stars coming together in the name of Environmental Protection for World Peace. Great emphasis was placed by all speakers on the crucial need today for all leaders to join together — breaking barriers of religion, race and politics — to save Mother Earth. A special emphasis was placed on the dire need to join hands for the protection and preservation of Mother Ganga. Everyone deeply and sincerely appreciated Pujya Swamiji for His lifetime of work for the poor and the needy and now for His tireless and huge-scale programs to protect Mother Ganga. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji was the first one to build ashrams in the holy land of Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash. He was the first one to bring out an Encyclopedia of Hinduism, an 11-volume compendium which was launched by the hands of H.H. the Dalai Lama. Now, in His 60th year, He is giving His life for Mother Ganga. All of the saints and dignitaries were effusive in their praise for Him.
Also, the event included the signing of a historic MOU between Ganga Action Parivar (which Pujya Swamiji founded in 2010) and DRDO and FICCI for the construction of thousands of bio-digester toilets on the banks of Mother Ganga to prevent villagers from having to use the sacred river as their toilet.
The event also included the launch of By God’s Grace, a beautiful coffee table book biography of Pujya Swamiji’s life, published by Mandala Publications of California, USA. The book was launched in USA this summer but this was the first India launch. The foreword has been written by H.H. the Dalai Lama and the preface is by Rabbi David Rosen.
The event was graced by the presence of the following revered saints:
- Pujya Morari Bapuji
- Pujya Rameshbhai Oza Bhaishri
- Pujya Shri Imam Umar Ahmed Iliyasiji, President of All India Imams Organization
- Pujya Kalbe Sadiq Sahib, Vice President, Muslim Law Board
- Pujya Swami Satyamitranandji, Bharat Mata Mandir
- Hon’ble Dr. Rabbi Rosen, Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and Advisor to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel
- Pujya Swami Divyanand Teerthji, Shankaracharya Bhanpura Peeth
- Pujya Sant Jaggi Vasudevji, Isha Foundation
- Pujya Acharya Sudhanshuji Maharaj
- His Grace Archbishop Vincent Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi
- Pujya Dr. Pranav Pandya, Shantikunj and Gayatri Parivar
- Pujya Chief Jathedar Sahibji of the Golden Temple, Shri Giani Gurubachan Singhji
- Pujya Swami Gurusharananandji
- Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswami (Suttur Swamiji), Pontiff Suttur Math
- Pujya Sadhvi Ritambharaji
- Pujya Swami Agniveshji
- Pujya Lokesh Muniji
- Pujya Sant Seechewalji
- Pujya Swami Madhavpriyadasji
- Pujya Acharya Balkrishanji
- Pujya Sumedha Thero
- Pujya Mahant Ravindra Puriji
- Pujya Swami Govind Giriji
- Pujya Swami Harinarayanandji
- Pujya M.M. Swami Asanganandji
- Vivek Muniji
- Dr. AK Merchant, head Baha’i Foundation of India
- Mahant Lalita Giriji
- Mahant Ramanand Puriji
- Mahant Hari Giriji
- Mahant Prem Puriji
- Mahant Kailashanand Brahmachariji
- Mahant Mohan Dassji
- Mahant Balwant Singhji
- Mahant Mitra Prakashji
- Mahant Bhagat Ramji
- Mahant Shiv Shankar Giriji
- Mahant Satish Giriji…Atal Akhara
- Mahant Bhairav Giriji…Anand Akhara
- Mahant Bhagwan Dass Hathayogiji
- Mahant Balram Dassji
- Mahant Raghuvir Dassji
- Mahant Durgadasji Nirvani
- Swami Rishishwaranandji
- Shri Anil Kapoor, Bollywood Actor
- Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Shri Vijay Bahugunaji
- Many respected ministers and secretaries from Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh