Monday, March 31, 2014


CHETI CHAND FESTIVAL - Cheti Chand is celebrated as New Year's Day by Sindhis people. According to the Hindu calendar, Cheti Chand is celebrated on the second day of the Chaitra month known as Chet in Sindhi. So it is known as CHET-I-CHAND. IT is one day after Gudi Padwa and Ugadi. The Sindhi community celebrates the festival of Cheti Chand in honour of the birth of Ishtadeva Uderolal, popularly known as Jhulelal, the Patron Saint of the Sindhis. 
This day is considered to be very auspicious and is celebrated with pompous and gaiety. On this day, people worship water – the elixir of life. There is a spirit associated with this festival which raises the hope and expectations along with the New Year. This one is a homely affair and is rich in all traditions and customs.

On this day many Sindhis take Baharana Sahib to nearby River or Lake. Baharana Sahib is a collection of sweets and accessories for a ceremony and consists of Jyot (Oil Lamp), Misiri (Crystal Sugar), Phota (Cardamom), Fal (Fruits), and Akha. Behind is Kalsh (Water jar) and a Nariyal (Coconut) in it, covered with cloth, phool (flowers) and patta (leaves). There is also a Murti (Idol) of Pujya Jhulelal Devta. Followers of Jhulelal observe Chaliho Sahab. It suggests that for forty long days and nights they underwent rituals and vigil on the bank of Sindhu. 
They did not shave, nor did they wear new clothes or shoes. They did not use soap or oil or any opulent thing. They just washed their clothes, dried them and wore them again. In the evening, they worshipped God Varun, sang songs in his praise and prayed for their solace and salvation. After 40 days of Chaaliho, the followers of Jhulelal celebrate the occasion with festivity as 'Thanksgiving Day' even till today.

Cheti Chand is the Sindhi New Year Day celebrated on the second day of Cheti month (Chaitra month). This year Cheti Chand falls on Tuesday April 01, 2014. It is the birthday’s commemoration of the Sindhi patron saint Jhulelal. This festival is to give honor the birth of Water God (Varuna Devata), popularly known as Jhulelal. Sindhis keep their shops and activities closed on this day, even food are not cooked at the home, and they gathered at Jhulelal Temple, where after a session of singing, the worship of Jhulelal is made and the procession of Baharana begins. Although the Indian National Calendar is the official calendar for the Hindus, as we have explained many times, regional variants still prevail. As a result, Hindus have a host of New Year festivities that are unique to the particular regions on this vast country. This is one significant characteristic of the Indian cultural mélange, and hence, Hindus in various states of India celebrate the New Year in their own ways. And as we have said before, the ancient spirit of India is to tolerate, accept and harmonize in order to achieve unity in diversity; therefore Indian people respect all regional festivals and religious celebrations. So, our greetings to the Sindhi community for this Hindu New Year (Cheti Chand), and along with them we say in the native Sindhi Language “Cheti Chand jyon Lakh Lakh Wadayun Athav”, which means lakhs of wishes for Happy Cheti Chand! (Editor's note).

A pertinent question is often raised as to what Hinduism has to offer in regard to the emerging concepts of interfaith. Hinduism may be considered as a living link between the ancient tribal system and the organized religions of the later periods. The ancient concept of Mother Earth is also the basic Vedic theme. Reverence of nature, Earth, sun, planets, rivers, and all the cosmos are the heritage of the Hindu philosophy. The reverence to nature is then extended to family. A unified vision of the world as one family has been ingrained as Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Hindu sages have always considered different religions as divergent aspects of the same truth. The sages of the modern era, too, have repeatedly prompted us to create a liaison between the East and the West, to achieve the best possible results without compromising the essential and basic principles.

Dr. Hiro Badlani :
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 55 - “Hinduism and Interfaith”
“The Future Trends in Our World”

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Sunday, March 30, 2014


AHEAD TO A NEW BEGINNING - Just as the colours of Holi are a precursor spring and the vibrant colours in nature; Ugadi is a precursor to new beginnings. This festivity celebrates all things new - a new year, a new season, a new month, a new day. Leaving the past behind and starting afresh with positive expectation is one of the key aspects of Ugadi. Nature too welcomes Ugadi with vivid flowers, tangy green mangoes and fresh green all around! 
Legend attributes the significance of Ugadi to the day that that Lord Brahma embarked on creating the universe. The word Ugadi came from yuga + aadi, yuga means era, aadi means start, the start of a new era and beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon's orbit. The new lunar calendar year commences from this day on.

According to the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya’s calculations; the new year, new month, new season (spring - vasant ruthu) and new day begins at sunrise on Ugadi day, specifically - Chaitra suddha padhyami. Devotees visit temples and seek blessings from God for health, wealth, prosperity, and success in businesses and work. 
A major festival in Andhra Pradesh, Ugadi, is not just the Telugu New Year. This day heralds in the New Year for Kannada, Kashmiri, Marathi and Sindhi communities. In Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the preparations for the festival begin about a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough wash and families shop for new clothes. On Ugadi day, people wear new clothes and decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves colourful rangolis (floral designs).

This year Gudi Padwa falls on March 31st 2014. This Holy festival which marks the beginning of the New Year, new month and new day for Hindus, falls on Chaitra Shukla Pratipadā (the first day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra). In different regions of India, it is known as Gudī padwa (in Maharashtra state) or Yugaadi (Ugādi) (in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh). The most significant aspect of Ugadi is the panchanga sravanam (listening to the yearly calendar or Panchang) and starting the day with Ugadi pachhadi (chutney). Kavi Sammelanam (poetry recitation) is also a typical Telugu Ugadi feature. Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures, and invest in new a house. In India, the regional New Year’s Day is informal and has no official sanction. The regional festivals, marked as New Year's Day, are mainly associated with their respective harvest season; therefore, they may vary from one place to another. Apart from that, the diversity of the festivals is based on the original ethnic variety of Hindu culture. All regional festivals and religious celebrations are respected and appreciated. The ancient spirit of India is to tolerate, accept and harmonize in order to achieve unity in diversity. This is what our spiritual teachers have taught us. So, our greetings for this Hindu New Year (Gudi Padwa)! (Editor's note).

Hindus celebrate their religious occasions with great enthusiasm and revelry. True to the liberal style of their functioning, these religious festivals have much variation. ... Regional festivals are many in the Hindu culture. In addition to the common national festivals, Hindus have many festivals that are unique to their own regions. These regional celebrations are often associated with the harvest season and also mark the beginning of the New Year. As the harvest season differs in various parts of the country, the regional New Year days are also many and, as such, have no official sanction. The importance of agriculture in Hindu society is clearly visible on such occasions. ... Makar Sankrati, Gudi Padva, and Cheti Chand are the New Year’s days in some other regions. All of these New Year’s regional festivals are observed with great enthusiasm and gusto.

Dr. Hiro Badlani :
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 54: "Hindu Festivals"

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Saturday, March 29, 2014


AFP News - Lights went off in thousands of cities and towns across the world for the annual Earth Hour campaign, which is aiming to raise money via the internet for local environmental projects. Sydney's Opera House and Harbour Bridge were among the first landmarks around the world to dim their lights for 60 minutes during Saturday's event, organised by conservation group WWF. 
Hong Kong's stunning waterfront skyline was unrecognisable on Saturday evening, with the city's tallest skyscraper, the International Commerce Centre, stripped of the vast light show usually wrapped around its 118 stories. 
Blazing neon signs advertising some of the world's largest brands were shut off, leaving the view of the heavily vertical southern Chinese city peppered only with tiny lights from buildings' interiors.

An estimated 7,000 cities and towns from New Zealand to New York were taking part. Earth Hour partnered with payments giant PayPal to allow donors to contribute to specific projects from Russia and India to Canada and Indonesia, using Asian fundraising site Crowdonomic. Earth Hour chief executive Andy Ridley said before the lights went off in Singapore that the event had moved beyond symbolism to concrete action. 
"If you want to get real social change you need to have symbolism," he told the AFP news agency. "We are seeing some really big outcomes." Projects under the "Earth Hour Blue" crowdfunding scheme - which aim to raise more than $650,000 in total - include a turtle centre in Italy and funding for forest rangers in Indonesia.

Today, Earth Hour calls on residents, businesses and governments to switch off non-essential lights and other electronic items for an hour beginning at 8:30 p.m. local time Saturday to raise awareness about climate change. The event is being marked in more than 150 countries, organisers said, estimating that thousands of cities and towns would have taken part by the time the ceremonies began in Singapore. Earth Hour will see other landmarks including the Empire State Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow switch off their lights for an hour. Last year, 7,000 cities participated in the movement. A record 158 countries and territories are expected to participate in this year's Earth Hour event, according to the WWF website. The great power of Earth Hour is to have hundreds of millions of people around the world doing something together, all of them joined by a common purpose. It is an incredibly powerful thing. Earth Hour serves to remind people that when we put together billions of small individual acts then it is where the difference arises. Today we are making a small gesture to try that the maximum people around the world can be aware of the sad fact that the planet Earth, our home, is subjected to stresses that may make it uninhabitable for ourselves. There are always little things we can do every day to save energy and protect the environment. These are small gestures of each day which will help to change the trend that is leading us to make the planet Earth, a wonderful creation of the Supreme Lord, an uninhabitable place for all living beings. (Editor's note).

It’s time that humanity revert to and value a simpler, healthier, and more natural way of life. Only in this way may we attain true health, harmony, and prosperity. ... Nature is one of the manifestations of God; if we mistreat the environment, if we live irresponsibly, in any moment we will be sucked into an abyss. God is in each tree, each plant. The waters of the Earth are the veins of the Lord.  We should proceed with absolute compassion and responsibility, because by not taking care of other living beings, our present planet will become a complete desert.  Polluted waters cause the leukemia of the ecosystem. Mother Earth heals you, she allows you to build houses, sustains you, gives you drinkable water; that is our dear Mother Earth. If you cannot see divinity in the mud, in Mother Earth, it would be very astonishing to see it in anything.

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


VATICAN CITY (AP) Pope Francis on Wednesday permanently removed a German bishop from his Limburg diocese after his 31 million-euro ($43-million) new residence complex caused an uproar among the faithful. Francis had temporarily expelled Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg in October pending a church inquiry. 
At the center of the controversy was the price tag for the construction of a new bishop's residence complex and related renovations. Tebartz-van Elst defended the expenditures, saying the bill was actually for 10 projects and there were additional costs because the buildings were under historical protection. But in a country where Martin Luther launched the Reformation five centuries ago in response to what he said were excesses and abuses within the church, the outcry was enormous.

The perceived lack of financial transparency also struck a chord since a church tax in Germany brings in billions a year to the German church. The Vatican said Wednesday that the inquiry into the renovation found that Tebartz-van Elst could no longer exercise his ministry in Limburg and that Francis had accepted his resignation, which was originally offered Oct. 20.
The Vatican said Monsignor Manfred Grothe, currently an auxiliary bishop in Paderborn, would take over but that Tebartz-van Elst would get a new job "at the opportune time." It added that the pope hoped that the faithful of Limburg would accept the decision with "docility and willingness to rediscover a climate of charity and reconciliation." 

Pope Francis has replaced a German bishop whose $43 million new residence complex sparked outrage among Catholics. The so-called ‘Bishop of Bling,’ Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg was temporarily expelled during a church inquiry in October. Tebartz-van Elst spent lavishly renovating his residence, including a reported $20,000 on a bathtub and $620,000 on artwork. That inquiry has now found him incapable of holding his diocese and demanded his resignation, the Vatican said. His conduct of glitz and glamor contrasts with the attitude of Pope Francisco, who since taking office in the Vatican last year, has emphasized charity and combating social inequality. All people who hold a position of importance, but especially those holding religious posts, must not live the lavish style of kingly life. They should not take delicious foodstuff, nor use luxurious clothing. Those who are dedicated to the service of the Lord and represent God on earth, should  live a life centered on austerity, modesty, temperance and sobriety. Our spiritual masters have taught us that Swamis and Brahmanas should not eat luxurious dishes nor dress in fine garments, they should not live a life of material comfort and pleasure, but they always remain humble and serve Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Krishna in their mind and heart. (Editor's note).

The scriptures establish the superiority of he who is recognized to be a brahmana on account of his virtues. ... Inner tranquility, self-restraint, austerity, cleanliness, contentment, forgiveness, simplicity, knowledge, compassion, devotion to God, and truthfulness are all among the qualities of a brahmana. The activities allocated for each of the four varnas are prescribed solely in accordance with the innate qualities of four types of individual. And according to these qualities and their coincident prescribed activities, the four asramas (societal roles at different stages of life) were created. ... The scriptures condemn those who know nothing of the Absolute Truth but conceitedly flaunt the threads they ceremoniously received, designating their brahminical status, by calling them pasu-vipras - animals dressed up like brahmanas.

Śrīla Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja :
"Javala and Satyakama"
'A man’s Virtues define him, Not his Birth'

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Monday, March 17, 2014


RITUALS AND TRADITIONS OF HOLI - The festival of colours, Holi, is celebrated today with great zeal and enthusiasm throughout India. This festival brings people close to each other and becomes a reason to celebrate the colours of life. The festival fills the atmosphere with the hues of love, joy and brotherhood. Apart from the fun filled part of the festival, there are also a few rituals and traditions associated with it. Since rituals form the crucial part of any Indian festival, Holi is no exception. These rituals are: 
Holika Dahan: All of us know the story of the evil sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu - Holika. On the pretext of punishing her nephew Prahlad, she herself got burnt to ashes. Since then the custom of Holika Dahan has been in place. 
Playing With Colours: Usually people offer 'Abeer' or 'gulaal' at the feet of the deity of the house. After that the youngsters are supposed to put gulaal on the feet of the elder members of the family and take their blessings. Only after that everyone starts playing colours with each other.

Matka Ceremony: In some parts of India, for example Mathura and Vrindavan, the ceremony of Matki Pod is organised on Holi. An earthen pot filled with milk is hung at an unreachable height and then the boys form a human pyramid to reach the pot and then break it. The women tease the boys by hitting the boys with a rope made out of sarees to prevent them from reaching the pot. They play colours and sing simultaneously. 
The Sweet Festival: In the evening, after taking a bath and getting rid of the colours, people visit each other's house with sweets. Traditional sweets like the Gujiya is served to all the guests. Apart from the sweets, the special drink called Thandai is also served to the guests on Holi. Thus, Holi brings people together and promotes love, harmony and brotherhood.

Today, March 17, is celebrated Holi (also known as Dol Jatra, Basantotsav). Holi is the Hindu festival of colors and it is celebrated at the end of the winter season, on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna. Holi is observed with great fanfare by Hindus all over the world. These celebrations begin on the eve of the festival with bonfires and prayers. Sanchita Chowdhury, author of the article, lists different Holi's rituals and traditions which reflect the eternal spirit of the festival. She explains that many of these rituals of Holi are meticulously followed, especially in the Northern part of India which only add more colours to this festival. Days before the actual festival begins, people start gathering firewood for the Holika Dahan. On the eve of Holi, the ritual of Holika Dahan is carried out. This ritual symbolises the victory of good over evil. As the fire burns brighter, people gather around the bonfire and sing songs. The embers of this holy fire is then carried home and people light fire in their house with these embers. On the day of Holi, people throw colored powder and liquids at each other. A common greeting during this time is, "Happy Holi." Holi takes its name from Holika and honors the triumph of love over evil. For Hare Krishna devotees, Holi reminds them the story of Prahlad, whose devotion to Lord Vishnu allowed him to survive a burning pyre while his evil aunt Holika died; and especially this year, Holi has fallen on the day after Gaura Purnima, the anniversary of the appearance of Sri Lord Chaitanya, a contemporary incarnation of Krishna who lived 500 years ago in India. (Editor's note).

Hindus celebrate their religious occasions with great enthusiasm and revelry. The Hindu calendar, panchang, is based on the movement of moon around the earth. The dates of the festivals are determined in accordance with this system and therefore vary from the official Common Era calendar. Holi is the festival of colors, which Hindus celebrate as an event of divine incarnation of their most cherished god, Lord Krishna. It is a state festival, with the president and prime minister taking part in this game of throwing pigment colors and getting covered in many different hues. The gaiety and mirth of this festivity is unique, as no other ethnic group in the world has anything similar to this event. It is a celebration signifying the joy and mirth of the community.

Dr. Hiro Badlani:
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 54 “Hindu Festivals”

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Saturday, March 15, 2014


APPEARANCE DAY OF LORD CHAITANYA - Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the combined essence of Lord Krishna and Srimati Radharani, entered this world to rid people of their sins by helping them attain the highest perfection of the human form of life: the Love of God. Now, nearly five-hundred years later, His teachings continue to inspire and enlighten millions of people around the world, from the smallest villages to the largest cities. 
As Sri Chaitanya started attracting more and more followers to His beautiful and selfless path of Bhakti (true devotion with nothing expected in return) His entourage (Advaita Acarya, Gadadhar Pandit, Srivas Thakura, and Nityananda – collectively known as the Panca-Tattva) rendered ever-increasing levels of service to the movement and helped spread it all over India.

His best gift to all of humanity, the Hare Krishna Mahamantra (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare! Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare Hare!), is the only means to attaining salvation in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy – the Kali Yuga. This priceless gift of the Holy Names by the most compassionate Sri Chaitanya is unparalleled in its ease of access (one can chant anywhere, anytime), brevity, power (ability to invoke the Lord’s mercy), and value (it is free!). 
The core beliefs of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya are set forth in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Siksastakam. Some of the fundamental principles are: that Lord Krishna is the Supreme and Absolute Truth; the jivas are the separated parts of the Lord; pure devotion is the duty of the jivas; and complete, unconditional, and pure love of the Supreme Lord Krishna is the final goal.

Gaura Purmina is the appearance anniversary of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534) who is Radha and Krishna combined. This year the festival falls tomorrow, on Sunday, 16 March, and it is observed with great enthusiasm in different parts of India and in many parts of the world. On this day, which is a full-moon day, everyone fasts till moonrise, and people visit the temple to see the Deities of the Lord in the temple room. The devotees present dramas and classes about Lord Chaitanya’s activities. The Deities of Gaura-Nitai receive new clothes, and the devotees engage in kirtans, maha-abhishek, maha-arati and of course, the delicious prasadam feast (sanctified vegetarian food) is served in all the Vaishnavas temples. Our spiritual masters have taught us that Sri Krishna Chaitanya, who came 500 years ago - incarnating “secretly”, but foretold in the scriptures - for the double purpose of experiencing the ecstasy of His devotees' love for Him, and to show the conditioned souls on the material plane how to be a devotee: chanting the holy name, dancing in ecstasy, singing, and playing musical instruments, and thus be raised to the highest platform: pure love of Godhead - eternal, ecstatic, ever increasing. Therefore, Gaura Purnima is the most important celebration within the line Gaudiya Vaisnava, as it remembrance the day of appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the avatar that executed the tasks of deliverance of the dharma for this age of kaliyuga, the "Harinam Sankirtan Yajña, and showed the guidelines of the Gaudya Vaisnava school. (Editor's note).

Vrajanatha: What is the final destination of the soul who is a devotee of Lord Gaura-kisora (Lord Chaitanya)?
Babaji: Krishna and Gaura-kisora are not different. They are both shelters of the feature of sweetness (madhurya-rasa). They do have one difference. Madhurya-rasa (the Lord’s sweetness) has two features: 1. madhurya (sweetness), and 2. audarya (mercy). When sweetness is prominent, Lord Krishna is manifested. When mercy is prominent, Lord Gauranga is manifested. The spiritual world of Vrindavan is divided into two abodes: 1. the abode of Lord Krishna, and 2. the abode of Lord Gaura. The eternally perfect and eternally liberated souls who have sweetness first and mercy second reside in Lord Krishna’s abode. They are Lord Krishna’s associates. The eternally perfect and eternally liberated souls who have mercy first and sweetness second reside in Lord Gaura’s abode. They are Lord Gaura’s associates. ... This truth: that Lord Gaura and Lord Krishna are simultaneously one and different from each other, is a very confidential secret.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Thakur :
Jaiva-dharma (The Universal Religion)
Ch. 17: Nitya-dharma O Sambandhabhidheya Prayojana 
Eternal Religion and Sambandha, Abhidheya and Prayojana
(The Souls Free From Maya’s Prison)  -

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Saturday, March 8, 2014


MORE THAN JUST A COVER STORY If it weren't for the colour of the veil, this could be any other popular glossy aimed at women getting married. But in place of the traditional white, the beautiful young girl staring from the cover wears a black veil and, instead of a smile, she wears a look of pure fear. Child Bride is one of three spoof magazine covers produced by Catapult, a US-based crowdfunding site, as a way of suggesting that International Women's Day on 8 March is more than just a "cover story". 
It is brilliant not just for raising awareness about victims of sex trafficking, slavery and child marriage, but for inverting the typical media approach to International Women's Day, where inspirational women make magazine covers promoting a good cause, or even just themselves. Role models are all well and good, of course, but sometimes the reality of so many female lives is better.

Spoofs can be tricky to pull off – forced marriage and child sexploitation not in general being a barrel of laughs – but these are funny because they look so real at first sight. I particularly like the headlines “He's how old? 60? 70? and other questions not to ask”, “50 RECIPES WE LOVE – So easy an illiterate child could make them” and “Go on … STRESS LESS! Because life's too short to do anything yourself”. Good Slavekeeping, Thirteen and Child Brides are spoofs of the similarly named glossies – Good Housekeeping, Seventeen and Brides – and, indeed, all women's magazines,and cleverly exploit the way they look. 
Maz Kessler, Catapult's founder and creative director, says: “Thankfully, these are fake magazines. Unfortunately, these are real problems.” The campaign was launched to stress that International Women's Day is “more than just a cover story.”

Even in 2014, the rights of women and girls are severely threatened by sex trafficking, slavery, child marriage and other violations around the world. International Women's Day (IWD), observed annually on March 8, continues to spread awareness and garner support — and change — for women across the globe. Catapult, a crowdfunding site dedicated specifically to the advancement of women and girls, has released a startling new visual campaign. Maz Kessler, Catapult's founder says raising awareness through the media isn't enough. She set up Catapult to provide a direct link between donors and projects supporting girls and women. Next to each cover story, a button asks readers to "Do Something About It". Not a bad aim for international women's day. Srila Prabhupada has taught us about the true value of women as heads of households and as a representation of spirituality and Motherhood. They are Laksmi Devi - the Goddess of Fortune - at home, and they worth adoration. However, in many countries million girls are married; robbed of their childhood, denied their rights to health, education and security. In supposedly very advanced materialistic societies, such as New York City, the average age at which a girl first becomes a victim of commercial sexual exploitation is 13. Violence ranges from female genital mutilation, forced labor, sexual exploitation, rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence and even honor killings. Our spiritual master has taught us that these kind of sentiments about men being superior to women, is born from a mind of competition and from an inferiority complex. It is really very far from Krishna consciousness. (Editor's note).

If we truly believe, even theoretically, that we “are not this body,” then why do we care whether our bodily duties are “higher” or “lower” than someone else’s?  Such things are temporary, external, and don’t touch the real self. If doing a “lower” duty will please Krishna and Prabhupada and help us fix our minds on the glorious holy name, why for the sake of pride will we reject it? ... Most difficulties with understanding the position of women can be solved if we understand that all of us have two duties: material and spiritual.  The spiritual duties, the nine processes of devotional service, are equally available to every human being regardless of age, gender, race, intelligence, health, etc. etc. ... Why not just accept the body we have for this life, and work with it so as to please Krishna and make our life peaceful, so that we can concentrate our time and energy on what’s truly important-loving and remembering Krishna.

Śrīmati Urmila devi dasi :
“Prabhupada's Views on Women”

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

Thursday, March 6, 2014


PARMARTH NIKETAN, RISHIKESH, INDIA - Along this current week - March 1st to 7th - has taken place the annual International Yoga Festival which is organized by Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India. This International Yoga Festival is grounded in the authentic origin of Yoga. Participants can practise and learn from masters from the Traditional Yoga Lineages from India, as well as masters of International well known yoga schools & styles. 
During this one-week Festival, attendants have the opportunity to participate in over 60 hours of Yoga classes from world-class Yoga teachers practicing multiple styles of Yoga including Kundalini Yoga, Power Vinyasa Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Kriya Yoga.

The participants were also blessed with the presence, satsang and divine words of revered saints and spiritual masters from within India, including H.H. Pujya Shankaracharya Swami Divyanand Teerthji, H.H. Pujya Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, H.H. Radhanath Swamiji and H.H. Pujya Mooji. Yoga is not merely for our bodies, but rather Yoga is for our bodies, minds, hearts and souls. Yoga literally means "Union" - union of breath with the body, union of the mind with the muscles, and most importantly union of the self with the divine. 
Yoga is not a religion. It does not require you to believe in a certain God or chant certain mantras. Yoga is an ancient science which leads to health in the body, peace in the mind, joy in the heart, and liberation of the soul.

At the 15th annual, world famous International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, nearly 600 participants from 50 countries have come to take part in courses and classes given by more than 50 world renowned yoga experts. Revered Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, founder of Ganga Action Parivar and co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance welcomed all the visitors. Among the highly respected personalities we can mention, Respected Shri Sushil Kumar Shindeji, the Honourable Home Minister of India, Respected Shri Harish Rawatji the Honourable Chief Minister of Uttarakhand; Revered Swami Madhavpriyadasji; Revered Radhanath Swami, - who heads the ISKCON Temple in Mumbai; Revered Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti Swami Maharaja - founder of the Vrinda Mission; Respected Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati dd from Rishikesh; some famous musicians such as Vayasaki Prabhu and Drummer Sivamani; renowned meditation experts such as Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman and more than 50 yogacharyas from 16 countries. Addressing the huge audience, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji said: “The International Yoga Festival is not only a festival OF yoga, but the festival itself IS 'yoga,' a union of North and South, East and West, a union of countries, cultures, creeds and colors, coming together to imbibe the divine nectar of Yoga on the banks of Mother Ganga and the sacred Himalayas.” If we are able to put God at the center of our efforts and spiritual pursuits we will be offering to the materialistic world the real and concrete evidence that the path of Yoga is the solution to the suffering humanity and that it is possible to act as supportive and loving  humans beings, who considered themselves brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of the Supreme Father. If we focus on God's love, and we ignore our envies, jealousies and vanities, we will be able to walk the various paths of Yoga seeing the practitioners of other sampradayas and schools of Yoga as members of a large family and we can live together in diversity without losing the unity among all. (Editor's note).

On the 4th Day of International Yoga Festival, the morning began with Ashtanga Series of yoga taught by yoga-teacher to the celebrities Deepika Mehta from Mumbai; Movement, Flow & Transformation with Roberto Milletti of Italy, meditation with Maa Gyan Suveera, Lila Sun Salutations by Erica Kaufman, and Sukshma Yoga taught by Swami Yogananda. The spiritual lecture series included discourses by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati on “A Divine Balance - from Stress Management to Self Management” and “Rewire your Consciousness with Mantra & meditation: A Talk & Guided Mantra Meditation” by Chandresh Bhardwaj. … Sadhviji explained that “The problems in our lives are caused by the artificial borders we erect between different aspects of our lives - this is my spiritual time, this is my work time, this is my family time. Then we try to 'balance' those aspects and it leads us into stress management classes or onto anti-anxiety medicine. When we realize, instead, that everything is our spiritual life - whatever we do, wherever we go, whomever we're with - it's all part of the sadhana of seeing the Divine in everything, it's all a sadhana in love, peace, presence and true, divine union, then the stress disappears, the depression disappears and the Self appears.”

15th International Yoga Festival
Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh (Himalayas), India.
Report Day 4 & 5

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"