University of Pittsburgh Delegation at Parmarth
Every day people from around the world are blessed to come to Parmarth Niketan for yoga, divine Ganga aarti, satsang and to bathe in the sacred energies on the banks of Mother Ganga. The ashram was blessed with more visitors from the West recently, as this week – in addition to the daily visitors, pilgrims, dignitaries and yoga students – Parmarth Niketan welcomed a delegation from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Led by Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, the group met with the Ashram’s Spiritual Leaders, Pujya Swamiji Chidanand Saraswatiji and Pujya Sadhviji Bhagwati Saraswatiji, to discuss water conservation, reforestation and other environmental issues, as well as how we can all work together to serve, preserve and protect our sacred Mother Earth.
The delegation included: Vice ProVost for Global Affairs, Arielle Armony, Director of Asian Studies, Joseph S Alter, Arjang A Asad, Dean of University of Pittsburgh of their Business School, Thomas O’ Toole, Director of Development, University of Pittsburgh, Aditi Somani, Alumni, University of Pittsburgh and Abhishek and Nelza Mehta, Alumni of University After a warm welcome by Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Sadhviji, the distinguished guests met to discuss the University’s and Ashram’s plans to offer a year-long program for UP University of Pittsburgh students to learn how to solve social and environmental programs on a spiritual path. As Pujya Sadhviji shared, “The University of Pittsburgh is working to create leaders by providing not only the knowledge and the information they need, but inspiring them to be leaders who can create a better and more sustainable tomorrow for all.”
The group joined hundreds of other devotees from around the world along the banks of our divine Ma Ganga to offer puja and prayers to the giver of all life, and then participated in a beautiful water blessing ceremony to show commitment to ensuring that everyone around the world has access to clean water. Each member of the group was also given a beautiful Rudraksha sapling, which they will plant in the Himalayas in the coming days.
Pittsburgh and Parmarth Niketan share a long history together, as Pittsburgh is not only home to the important research and studies of the University, but also to the world’s first Hindu Jain Temple, which was founded by Pujya Swamiji with the Pran Pratishtha of the deities on May 13 th , 1984. The University of Pittsburgh is also where Pujya Swamiji founded the Encyclopedia of Hinduism project.
The Encyclopedia of Hinduism, comprising 11 gorgeous volumes, is the first complete compendium of the depth and breadth of Hindu culture. It is the first authentic ready reference for the world’s oldest living religious tradition. With twelve distinct subject areas spanning history, art, architecture, music, theology, science, women’s issues and much more, the Encyclopedia includes approximately 7,000 entries written, edited and compiled over 25 years by approximately 1,000 scholars from across the world. The Encyclopedia has been presented, previewed and launched at large, historic events in India with the then Honorable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the then Honorable Vice President of India, Shri Hamid Ansariji, Mananiya Mohan Bhagawatji, His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as many other revered interfaith leaders, eminent national leaders and celebrities. It was also launched by the then-Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr David Cameron, at a special event in London.
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