Holi Played with Yogis from Over 101 Nations, Dharma Gurus, Kailash Kher & Sivamani Followed by Ceremonies with Pujya Swami Ramdevji, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Hon’ble Union Cabinet Minister, & Other Dignitaries
RISHIKESH- The colours of Parmarth Niketan Ashram today became brighter as participants from over 100 nations enjoyed a special Holi celebration with revered faith gurus and renowned entertainers. Joining the festivities were HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, famed singer, Kailash Kher and internationally renowned percussionist, Sivamani.
The festivities, which took place during Parmarth Niketan’s annual world-famous International Yoga Festival, used organic colours in order to send a message to the world that celebration and environmental conservation should go hand-in- hand. Organized under the guidance and inspiration of HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President, Parmarth Niketan and Founder, Ganga Action Parivar, the globally-renowned annual International Yoga Festival is being attended by well-over a thousand people, who are coming from across the world to take part in inspiring lectures and courses by over 70 revered saints, yogacharyas, presenters and experts who are teaching 150 offerings throughout the week.
Said HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan and Founder, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance India, “Today, people from across the world enjoyed the colours of Holi in a way that will protect our environment and our health. Let this serve as an example for everyone, everywhere, so that all festivals may become green festivals.”
Said Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Director, International Yoga Festival, “Today’s beautiful celebrations brought the world together in song, dance, joy and colours. We celebrated Holi because we want everyone to return to their 101 nations with their hearts coloured in the colour of yoga, the colour of union, the colour of oneness and peace. The colours on our faces will wash right off, but the colour on our hearts is what everyone will take home with them and be true ambassadors of yoga, of peace and of environmental protection.”
Said International Yoga Festival Participant Ashlee Dana from the United States: “To see faith leaders celebrating a green festival side by side with celebrities and people from so many countries in so inspiring and uplifting. I will carry this experience home with me as a memory and a message for a lifetime.”
After the celebrations, the Closing Ceremony of the International Yoga Festival took place on Parmarth Niketan’s ghats on the banks of the River Ganga. Attending were HH Pujya Swami Avdheshanandji, HH Pujya Swami Ramdevji, HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the Hon’ble Union Minister for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Naikji, Hon’ble Secretary of AYUSH, Shri Ajit Sharan, and other distinguished dignitaries.
After the event, participants joined hands for a Global Interfaith WASH Alliance Water Blessing Ceremony, during which water from the world’s rivers was poured onto a globe with prayers that everyone, everywhere may have access to clean and free-flowing water and healthy sanitation.
Other Activities Held Throughout the Last Day of the International Yoga Festival
The International Yoga Festival’s early morning classes included a Vinyasa Strength class led by Krishnamurthy Mohan Raj of China, Power Yoga and Pranayama by H.S. Arun of Bangalore, India and a class on management of lifestyle diseases by CM Bhandari and Charat Singh.
Anandra George of Hawaii, USA led beautiful and devotional kirtan on the banks of Mother Ganga, invoking the energy of the divine feminine.
After a light breakfast, morning classes included Jivamukti Yoga, led by Jules Febre of New York, USA, traditional Hatha series taught by Sadhvi Abha Saraswati of Rishikesh, India, and Yogic Jogging led by Dr. Radhika Nagrath. The mid-morning classes featured Authentic Power Yoga by Anand Mehrotra, Yuvaa Yoga by Yuva Dayalan of Hong Kong and T.A.
Krishnan of Chennai, Traditional Hatha Yoga by Dr. Indu Sharma of Rishikesh and Yogi Yoga by Mohan Bhandari of China.
After lunch, the Kirtaniyas from California, USA led a kirtan workshop. The Kirtaniyas are well known for their fusion of traditional Indian style vocal music with multi instruments.
Concurrently, Erica Kaufman of Pennsylvania, USA led a lecture on recognizing blessings, Ma Gyaan Suveera taught a Reiki class. In addition, Dr. HR Nagendra of Bangalore, India spoke on yoga as a holistic approach.
At 3:30 a divine satsang with Pujya Sri Prem Babaji took place on the banks of the River Ganga.
After sacred Ganga Aarti and dinner, participants enjoyed drums, music and ecstatic dance with Sivamani and his dynamic musical ensemble. Sivamani’s style is deeply profound and mysterious at one moment; tantalizing and exuberant at the next. However, augmenting the brute power, are his rhythmic style and harmony, which surrounds the discerning listener with warmth, joy and bliss.
Quotations from Presenters and Participants
Jules Febre, Jivamukti teacher from New York: The satsang at IYF is unique and inspirational. The desire to be a powerful advocate for progressive change permeates the atmosphere, and with 101 countries represented, the opportunity for change is real and will continue to grow.
Krishnamurthy Mohan Raj from China: “I come here to heaven. For the whole seven days, I forget who I am and meet beautiful souls. I come to Rishikesh only for my home at Parmarth Niketan.”
Carolina, Chile: “In connection with my whole soul, I feel expanded in love, relaxation and union. Thank you Ganges, thank you Rishikesh, thank you International Yoga Festival for giving us this wonderful stage to remember our true identity.”
Rashina, Suriname: “I’m very proud to represent Suriname. Is a blessing to be here. Being near Ganga is a dream come true.”
Dr. MM Swami, Sevak Parmarth Niketan: “I have seen spirit and perfect dedication of Sevaks from so many different countries coming together to this small city to make this big event possible. This event is itself Yoga, togetherness, consciousness, all working together for one goal.IYF 2017!”