Divine Maha Shivaratri Celebrations take International Yoga Festival Participants Deeper with Satsang by HH Pujya Mooji and Sacred Shiv Abhishek on the Ganga Ghat
IYF Participants from more than 70 Nations Celebrate Adiyogi Lord Shiva through Yoga, reflection, song, dance, chanting, prayers, and meditation.
RISHIKESH- Highlights from Day 4 of the International Yoga Festival included an 11 am Satsang with HH Pujya Moojiji, as part of our Spiritual Lecture Series, and a special celebration of Maha Shivratri.
With hundreds of people pouring into the Yoga Ghat, we welcomed HH Pujya Mooji back to the International Yoga Festival, at Parmarth Niketan, being held in association with Incredible India, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, where the revered Spritual Teacher engaged those gathered in a thought-provoking and insightful dialogue.
HH Pujya Mooji said: “Sages are sages because they are not caught in the mental traffic of personhood. By observation, without judgement and attachment, we can move from a state of personhood into just presence. In this presence there is nothing that you have to change, fix or do but you can immediately experience your beingness… What value is it to study something that you cannot experience? By experiencing and seeing with the intelligence of being it becomes irrevertible truth and knowing. Today I hope we have planted the seed of knowing and recognition so that you may continue this practice until it becomes very innate and natural to your very existence.”
In closing Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Director of the International Yoga Festival, shared: “There are two ways you can get into Ganga: one way in which just our body and our clothes get wet. A wetness that after a few minutes of sunshine quickly dries and remains just a beautiful memory. But the other way is in which the wetness touches a core part of our being such that it never quite dries. This is the wetness of Truth, the inner bath we experienced today. With the sacred Satsang with Mooji on the most auspicious occasion of Maha Shivratri and the incredible Shivratri celebrations this evening at the feet of Lord Shiva, the universe is conspiring for you to wash away the darkness and that which is holding you back to live in the light and the true presence, the wetness of your Self.”
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, stated: “There cannot be a greater gift, a greater blessing that can be taken away from the International Yoga Festival then to deeply inspire us to live every moment in Yoga, in awareness, such that our entire life becomes a celebration, a divine festival, and our actions become an expression of this joy and we become nothing but vessels and instruments of this joy, peace and love. Let this Mahashivratri inspire us to be like Adiyogi- dissolving the poison, the suffering, the ignorance and allowing the nectar to emerge for all of humanity.”
At 8:30 pm on the Aarti Ghat, the Divine Souls of the Festival celebrated Maha Shivaratri, “the Great Night of Shiva”, as an opportunity to go within, with an intention of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in one’s own life and the world. With Pujya Swamiji, Sadhvi Bhagawatiji, Sadhvi Abhaji and the Parmarth Rishikumars, participants offered that part of themselves that has not allowed them to “be present with the truth” of who they are. In the spirit of light and rebirth, they threw seeds into the fire and let the smoke wash over them and across Mother Ganga.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji said that on Maha Shivaratri, we ask ourselves: “What is it in me that’s not allowing me to be present with the truth of who I am? And not allowing me to be present with the joy, the peace, the love of every moment? What is it in me that’s not allowing me to be in union, in Yoga, with myself, connected to the Divine, connected to the creator and all of creation?”
For early risers, the fourth day of the festival began with an energizing 4 a.m. Kundalini Sadhana class led by Gurushabd Singh Khalsa, Kundalini master and founder of Golden Bridge Yoga. The day continued in the Temescal sweat lodges, with participants exiting sweat-drenched, muddy and purified. Traditional Ashtanga Yoga with Paramaguru Sharath Jois followed, along with “Ashtanga – The Standing Postures in Detail” led by master of T’ai Chi, Ashtanga Yoga and Karate Sensei Sandeep Desai. The other pre-breakfast classes were comprised of “Ganga Yoga: Soma Flow” with Laura Plumb and Sufi Mediation with Mert Güler. In her class “Bahkti: The Power of Love” Gabriela Bozic told students: “The question is can YOU love some more, not what ‘the others’ do or don’t do…Our job is not to monitor other people’s lives, but to live and love in ours to the fullest.”
After a well-deserved breakfast in the garden, the morning moved into a series of courses ranging from “Accessing your Radiant Body” with Kia Miller to “A Split Second: The Awakening Call” hosted by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa. In her class “Give It Up: How to Give Up What Holds You Heavy”, Katie B. Happy told her students: “May I always feel my capacity to be the light. I will operate from my highest frequency. Let ME be proof that God exists. I will transform any resistance or stuckness I feel into life force energy, Prana.”
Nine o’clock held a beautiful Sound Healing ceremony with Sanj Hall at the Sacred Sound Stage, followed by the festival’s staple Spiritual Lecture Series, for which IYF had the pleasure of welcoming world-renowned H.H. Pujya Mooji back to the stage for Satsang.
At 2 o’clock, Jai Hari Singh held yet another yoga class in both Spanish and English, a second “Rebirthing – Renacimiento” class. An initiation to Reiki healing class also took place with Maa Gyaa Suveera, teacher-healer, life coach and mentor in the Healing Arts, in addition to more sound healing, yoga, and mediation classes. A wonderful opportunity to enjoy a sound healing was offered in Tilak Vishwas’ “Krsna’s Flute: Rāga Sound Healing Experience”, and an Oida Therapy class was led by Srila BA Paramadvaiti.
Innovative classes took place in the afternoon session, including Mohan Bhandari’s “Yoga Therapy for Scoliosis” and another of the popular Classical Indian Dance Workshops with the Nrityavali Group. There was even an opportunity to learn about the Big Bang theory in Vedic Literature, with Harinaam Anand at the Sacred Sound Stage.
After a full but rewarding day, participants enjoyed tea and snacks before shifting their attention to two events held by the Ganges: Sacred Havan and Divine Aarti. The evening dinner was followed by The Divine Maha Shivaratri Celebrations: Sacred Shivabhishek and Chantings, held by Parmarth Niketan’s own Pujya Swamiji, Sadhvi Bhagawatiji, Sadhvi Abhaji (Mataji) and Parmarth’s Rishikumars.
The ecstatic vibration of Shiva resonated into an All-Night Maha Shivaratri Chant, which was held on the Sacred Sound Stage. This included an open-mic for participants showcased their talents along with the continuous chanting and music of the Sacred Sound Stage from 10 pm until 7 in the morning. Shiva kīrtan carried us graciously from Day 4 into Day 5 of the International Yoga Festival.