Shri Anna Hazareji Holds Inspirational Shibhir at Parmarth
Shri Anna Hazareji stayed at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, from the 9th – 12th June, leading a special training and inspiration shibir for hundreds of dedicated volunteers and soldiers of peaceful, effective change. The workshop was blessed by Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan and Founder of Ganga Action Parivar.
Hundreds of participants came to the banks of Mother Ganga from many different northern states and districts inspired by Annaji’s recent tour. During the workshop diverse participants, journalists, volunteers and Ganga bhakts came from all over the nation and all over the world, including places such as Sri-Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and even America, to take part in this special workshop held in the sacred lap of the Himalayas and on the banks of Mother Ganga.
Today, upon Annaji’s departure, a special tree plantation ceremony was organized by Ganga Action Parivar and led by Annaji and Pujya Swami Chidanandji. Trees were planted in the Rishikesh area on behalf of Annaji’s upcoming 75th birthday where Annaji has committed to working for both a pollution-free and corruption-free India! The trees planted today are symbols of the nearly 200,000 trees that Team Anna and Ganga Action Parivar have agreed to plant jointly in Haryana and Maharasthra this monsoon season. Today’s trees were planted at a gaushala (cow home) created and run by Ganga Action Parivar in an effort to remove the wandering, stray cows from the road. A huge tree plantation program will take place in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh this monsoon led by Ganga Action Parivar. Pujya Swami Chidanandji explained, “Trees are givers of life. They provide oxygen and they absorb carbon dioxide. Trees actually remove the greenhouse gas of carbon dioxide from the air. Therefore, for a green and pollution-free India, tree plantation is of crucial importance.”
On the first night of Annaji’s visit, during the Divine Ganga Aarti, both Pujya Swami Chidanandji and Annaji emphasized the need to re-understand our relationship with the Divine as not only That which exists in an altar in the temple or limited to a corner of our homes but the One which pervades every corner of our lives. Annaji said that: “The time has come that Dev Pooja (worshiping idols) must be done along with Desh Pooja and Prakriti Pooja, whereby the whole nation, and all of the environment, becomes a divine altar, all citizens and natural resources are manifestations of the Creator. Selfless service to them is sacred worship.”
Pujya Swamiji said, “We worship the Creator but we forget the Creation! We must love and revere and serve the Creation just as much as the Creator. Just as Mother Ganga, the River of Life gives, gives and gives with no discrimination, no hesitation, no expectation and no vacation we must emulate Her and commit ourselves to selfless service. That is the way Annaji is — he lives and breathes his conviction and his message. We can only be soldiers of change when first we have changed ourselves.”
On the 11th June, the last evening of the conference, Annaji’s 75th birthday was celebrated in a beautiful and divine way. Annaji’s actual birthday is the 15th but as he left today, the 12th, everyone felt it would be wonderful to celebrate before his departure. Annaji took a pledge that he would make India corruption-free and pollution-free! He said he will work in the next year to inspire people to plant trees and make India “green.” In honor of his birthday, Pujya Swami Chidanandji gave him an elaichi mala, saying that it’s a “green” (eco-friendly) mala for Annaji’s “green” birthday.
Annaji said: “First in my life I received inspiration (prerna) from Swami Vivekanandaji and now I have received that divine prerna from Swami Chidanandji. Being here on the holy banks of Mother Ganga and in the blessed presence of Pujya Swamiji, I am recharged and revived.”