"Days in the Life of a Saint."
January 2000   -     Millennium Special
Jai Gange! 

December 30-January 1st:  

Divine Millennium Experience in Varanasi 

An enormous throne, large enough for over 100 people, floats in the holy waters of Mother Ganga.  It is covered from top to bottom with bright, blooming orange carnations �not an inch is left bare. The lights that shine on this throne �combined with the divine light emanating from the saints who sit upon it -- are bright enough to bring day to the night. For three days, this floating throne was the site of divine darshan, satsang, sandesh, bhajan, pravachan, aarti, puja and Millennium Pledges.  

Pujya Swamiji & Pujya Sant Rameshbhai Oza on the 
morning of the new millennium
The divine people who sat upon this throne, giving their words and their blessings to the audience of tens of thousands, included His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Pujya Sant Dada J.P. Vaswani, Pujya Swami Gurushara- nanandji, Pujya Swami Chidanand Sarawatiji (Muniji), Pujya Sant Rameshbhai Oza, Pujya Dr. Manjit Singh, Pujya Sant Amrendra Muniji, Mananiya Shri Ashok Singhal, Dr. B.K. Modi, and Justice Giridhar Malaviya. The Queen of song, Smt. Anuradha Paudwal, filled the air with her melodious voice.
Pujya Swamiji, H.H. The Dalai Lama, Pujya Sant Dada J.P. Vaswaniji, 
Pujya Sant Rameshbhai Oza, Dr. B.K. Modiji, Shri Ashok Singhalji
lighting the deepak
Pujya Swamiji with Pujya Sant Dada J.P. Vaswaniji
This celebration in Varanasi was the epitome of Indian culture and glory at its best and most pure. While most people around the globe brought in the new millennium with bottles of champagne, fireworks and decadence, under Pujya Swamiji�s divine organization, guidance, leadership and inspiration, this celebration focused on piety, devotion and commitment to the future. Pujya Swamiji�s every day is a message of what one can do if one works for God, so it is only fitting that His New Millennium celebration be this same message, but magnified thousands of times. 
The celebration was organised by Parmarth Ganga Seva Nidhi (Pujya Swamiji is Chairman) and Vishwa Hindu Sanskritik Nigam, with the generous assistance of Dr. Bhupendra Kumar Modi, world renowned industrialist, philanthropist and social humanitarian. The celebration, in every aspect, took place only through Pujya Swamiji�s divine inspiration and guidance, as everyone who knows Him can imagine!  
Pujya Swamiji addressing the gathering at Varanasi
The celebration began on December 30 at the Dasash - wamedh ghat with a glorious Ganga Aarti. Dozens of large, flaming oil lamps,  with wicks blazing in a spiral around them, were offered to the holy Mother Ganga, seeking Her blessings at this special time.  

Ganga Aarti was followed by a beautiful, bhakti-filled musical concert given by Smt. Anuradha Paudwal and Shri Rajender Jain. For 2 ½ hours the sacred air was filled with devotion, piety and sublime song. 

Then, on December 31 at 5:30 p.m, we gathered again to bid goodbye to the second millennium and to herald in the third.  The holy saints arrived by boat �they emerged like golden lights out of a dark, fog filled sky.  

The ceremony was filled with inspiring and uplifting speeches by the holy saints; His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke last, delivering a beautiful, heartwarming, compelling and support-filled message for the 21st century.  
Pujya Swamiji with H.H. The Dalai Lama
The speeches were followed by a divine Ganga Aarti, led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Then, as the last rays of sun of the 2nd  millennium dissipated into the horizon, the revered saints led a World Peace Prayer, in which they prayed -- on behalf of all of humanity -- that the real light, the light of hope, the light of faith and the light of love will never dissipate and will always grow brighter and brighter. Then, on the morning of January 1, we gathered again at 5:30 a.m. as the first sun of the new millennium rose on the waters of Mother Ganga, to offer our thanks and our prayers. 
There was special Vedic chanting, Shehnai Vadan, Shankh Vadan, Aditya Strotra, Surya Vandana and Surya Namaskar. All those gathered offered our pledges and commitments for world peace, and we prayed together that the light of peace, of health and of happiness may to be brought to all of humanity.  We prayed for peace for all people, peace for the country and peace for the world. 

However, as we celebrated the turn of the Millennium according to the calendar used by most of the world, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Muniji) urged everyone to also remember our own culture.  He said that as much of the world feels that we are truly entering a new millennium, we  -- of a different tradition � should see this as a beautiful and auspicious time to direct the energy of the world into noble and humanitarian directions. 

This millennium celebration marked not only a divine entry into the Third millennium, but also something even more tangible and immediate. The Parmarth Ganga Seva Nidhi -- under Pujya Swamiji�s leadership and with the generous support of Dr. B.K. Modi -- has recently pledged to clean up all 94 ghats in the holy city of Varanasi, as the first step to a �Clean, Green and Serene India� movement.  

Although we worship Ganga as Mother, we throw our trash in Her waters and on Her ghats. We pollute the pathways running beside Her current. Pujya Swamiji explained to the audience that this is not only destructive to our Mother Goddess Ganga, but it is also a black spot on our culture. When visitors come to have darshan of this holy river, what do they see?  Rubbish dumped everywhere.  
Therefore, in this urgent and noble program, Parmarth Ganga Seva Nidhi pledges to clean up all 94 ghats along the holy banks of Ganga in Varanasi.  

However, Pujya Swamiji urged, we can not do it without everyone�s help. We all pay a great deal of money to keep our own homes and bodies clean -- soaps, shampoos, cleaning supplies, vacuum cleaners, and even housekeepers to do the cleaning for us. Let us extend this same dedication for cleanliness to our Holy Mother Ganga and let us pledge to restore Her waters and Her ghats to their rightful state of cleanliness and sublimity.  

Dr. B.K. Modi has been a committed and generous supporter of this project since its inception, personally adopting numerous ghats.  Through Pujya Swamji�s divine leadership and guidance and with Dr. Modi�s generosity and dedication, Varanasi will soon be not only sacred, but also sublime, not only holy, but also clean and beautiful. 

 This was definitely one of the largest millennium celebrations that was dedicated to divinity instead of decadence, to commitment instead of consumption, and to healing instead of hedonism. 

January 2:  

Kirpal Bagh, Delhi: Pujya Swamiji is a special guest speaker at the 19th International Human Unity Conference, where tens of thousands of people from across the world gathered to learn about Meditation as an approach to Human Unity. The Conference was led by Sant Shri Rajindra Singh  
Maharaj. Additionally, India Heritage Research Foundation co-sponsored this glorious, uplifting and uniting conference.  

January 7:  
Bombay: Pujya Swamiji was awarded the 1999 Diwaliben Mohanlal Mehta Charitable Trust Award for Progress in Religion. This award of Rs. 3,00,000 was bestowed upon him at a large function in the Nehru Auditorium, Worli, Bombay. The board wrote that �The Panel of Jury and also our Board of Trustees have the highest respect and esteem for you and for your Spiritual Leadership and Inspiration as well as for your untiring efforts to propogate the Hindu Religion in our country and also across the seven seas.�   
Pujya Swamiji receiving the award from Justice P.N. Bhagwati
former Chief Justice of India
Other award recipients that evening included Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, MP and social activist for vegetarianism and animal rights, Albert Schweitzer (in memoriam), and Baba Amte for living according to the Gandhian philosophy and serving the poorest of the poor. Also present at the event was Mrs. Indu Jain, the dynamic and dedicated chairman of Times of India.  
Pujya swamiji addressing the gathering at the award function
When Pujya Swamiji rose to speak, he announced that he would donate the entire Rs. 3,00,000 to the cyclone relief work in Orissa with which He is actively involved. Through Pujya Swamiji�s inspiration and guidance, homes are being re-built, and schools and a hospital are being built for those left impoverished and homeless by the tragic cyclone which swept the coast in October, 1999. 

January 8-9:  

Govardhan/Vrindavan: Pujya Sant Rameshbhai Oza (Pujya Bhaishri) was delivering divine Bhagwat Katha in this holy land and Pujya Swamiji travelled there for two days.  

January 22:  

Inauguration of Nature Cure Conference at Parmarth Niketan: Pujya Swamiji, as President of Parmarth Niketan and as President of All India Nature Cure Foundation, officially inaugurated this conference.  

Other News

Pujya Swamiji has recently been awarded the �Best Citizens of India� Award. His inscription reads as follows:  
�Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj�s motto in life is, �In the Service of God and humanity.� He left his home at 8 years old, under the guidance of his spiritual master, in order to live a life devoted to God and to the service of humanity. Pujya Swamiji spent nine years of meditation, seclusion and silence in the Himalayas to prepare himself for this divine life. Pujya Swamiji is President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India, one of the largest institutions in India. He is also Founder/chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation (IHRF), an international, non-profit, humanitarian foundation. Under his guidance, IHRF is compiling the Encyclopedia of Hinduism and has undertaken the noble project of building 10,000 schools in rural, tribal India. Pujya Swamiji is also the founder and inspiration behind innumerable temples, health care projects, educational institutions and ecological programs across the globe.He is the recipient of innumerable awards, including the Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian award, Hindu of the Year, Devarishi Award,  Bhaskar Award, and Prominent Personality Award, by Lions Club.� 
 Although no one who is blessed enough to be in Pujya Swamiji�s presence is surprised at the number of awards bestowed upon Him, it is still beautiful to watch (and note) how the world sees and appreciates His divine truth. 

Upcoming Events

February 2-7:  

International Yoga Festival: Parmarth Niketan will host � for the 2nd consecutive year � the International Yoga Week, organized by U.P. Tourism. Delegates, students, teachers, yogis and philosophers from across the globe will gather together to learn, to teach, to discuss and to drink of the divine nectar of this sacred wisdom. The inauguration is February 2, and the Keynote Address will be delivered by Dr. Karan Singh. Throughout the week, inspiring lectures on various aspects of yoga will be delivered by H.H. Pujya Swami Veda Bharatiji, Pujya Swami Sakshatkritanandaji of the Dayananda Ashram, Dr. Pranav Pandyaji and Shanti Mayiji.  

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