Green Shri Ram Katha by Pujya Bapuji at Parmarth
The beautiful Shri Ram Katha at Parmarth Niketan by Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapuji began with a divine start. With only eight days after confirmation of the Katha, nonetheless, pulled by the call of Mother Ganga and the Divine call of Bhagawan Rama, thousands of people poured in from around the world and from across India to Parmarth, to the holy banks of Ganga. By the Grace of God, the scorching heat was subdued with light rain just a day before the Katha and a cooling breeze set in to welcome all Parmarth’s guests, yatris and pilgrims.
Pujya Swamiji warmly welcomed Pujya Morari Bapuji to Devbhoomi Rishikesh and lovingly introduced the nine day Green Katha, which would be dedicated to Mother Nature, Mother Earth and the environment, with a strong emphasis and appeal to preserve and serve our planet, and it will be also dedicated to the memory of the thousands who lost their lives in the Uttarakhand floods as well as to their families and communities who are still recovering from this tremendous loss. The final day of the katha, June 21, also coincides with the first annual International Yoga Day, so a very special programme has been planned to celebrate this historic event in the birthplace of yoga, in the lap of the Himalayas, on the banks of Mother Ganga.
Both Pujya Morari Bapuji and Pujya Swamiji shared how they had been trying for many years to have the divine Shri Ram Katha by Pujya Bapuji at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), on the banks of Mother Ganga, and that after many, many years the most auspicious occasion had finally come. He deeply appreciated Pujya Swamiji for cancelling His plans to be in USA, at the United Nations in New York for International Yoga Day and instead to celebrate the special day here in Rishikesh, culminating in the final day of the Katha. Pujya Bapuji expressed his great joy at being at Parmarth and said that today he truly felt heaven was here at Parmarth. He also shared that the focus of the nine day katha would be Manas Parmarth and would like to have a open, interactive dialogue about the mention and reference of Parmarth in the Ram Charit Manas.
Also gracing the inaugural day was eminent Yog Guru Pujya Swami Ramdevji who warmly and lovingly offered his oblation to Pujya Morari Bapuji and sharing that Pujya Bapuji had always and still remains a great source of inspiration to him. He shared his happiness that International Yoga Day would be celebrated by millions of people from all across India and that in Rishikesh, Pujya Bapuji and Pujya Swamiji would be leading a very special and deeply inspiring programme.
Also gracing the inaugural day was eminent Yog Guru Pujya Swami Ramdevji who warmly and lovingly offered his respects to Pujya Morari Bapuji and Pujya Swamiji. Pujya Swami Ramdevji emphasized how Pujya Bapuji has been a great source of inspiration to him since the early 1990s when he heard Bapuji’s katha in Gangotri. He shared his happiness that International Yoga Day would be celebrated by millions of people from all across India and that in Rishikesh, Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Bapuji would be leading a very special and deeply inspiring programme.
After the katha there was divine Ganga Aarti with Hon’ble Cabinet Minister for Textiles and Handlooms, Smt Snehangini Churia from Government of Odisha joining for the beautiful ceremony.
The second day of the beautiful Shri Ram Katha at Parmarth Niketan by Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapuji enthralled thousands of people from around the world and from across India to listen to the tales of Bhagawan Rama in the sacred land of Rishikesh, at the divine Parmarth Niketan Ashram, on the holy banks of Ganga in the lap of the Himalayas.
The third day of the divine Shri Ram Katha at Parmarth Niketan by Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapuji was graced by the presence of Pujya Sant Shri Rameshbhai Ozaji (Pujya Bhaishri) and Pujya Swami Rajendra Dasji. During the traditional ritual of offering their respect to the sacred scripture all respected saints offered sacred Peepal leaves to the Ramayana / Ram Charit Manas as a green symbol of their respect and love.
Pujya Swamiji welcomed the respected saints to the katha and introduced the Green Katha initiative by sharing, “The time has come that our festivals, our kathas and our holidays must be green and sustainable. It is time that with every Hanuman Chalisa we must also conduct Safai Chalisas (cleaning programs). Many times our temples and holy places, our pilgrimages are left so dirty and filthy that there is a great need for all of us to make our worship, our pooja, to be to make our spaces clean and green. Through this katha, through our respected Kathakars and their Kathakar Social Responsibility, we can be inspired and charged to make every moment and minute of our lives more green and more sustainable.”
Pujya Bhaishriji also blessed the gathering with his words of wisdom, “Often people ask when will Lord Shri Ram and Lord Krishna be avtarit (reborn) again. I believe that every katha is in itself a darshan of the Lord, a dialogue with the Lord. Every katha is an avtaran, a story of rebirth. Through these kathas we are being graced by the karuna (compassion) of the Lord and with the blessings of our respected saints, like Pujya Morari Bapuji, and sacred pilgrimages like the holy banks of Mother Ganga in Rishikesh we have an opportunity to realize the Lord in our own lives.”
He also added, “I also offer my deepest respects and Pranam to Pujya Swamiji for His great vision and tireless efforts. Often I tell Him that there is too much to fix and change in our world, and that you and I can’t do it all. Yet, wherever He sees a need, a problem to address, He always plans a new initiative or new project to help address it. I offer my deepest respect to this divine nature of His that just keeps giving and serving.”
Pujya Swami Rajendra Dasji, deeply inspired by Pujya Bhaishriji’s words, said, “Indeed Katha in itself is an avtaran of the Lord but every avtaran has a source from which it is brought forth. Just like Mother Ganga’s source is Gaumukh so too it is our good fortune that this Shri Ram Katha’s source is Respected Pujya Morari Bapuji.”
He also added, “At the core of environmental preservation, as Pujya Swamiji inspired and urged us, is the protection of our sacred Gau Mata (mother cow), because Gobar (manure) is the sacred source of nourishment to Mother Earth and thereby Mother Ganga and Mother Nature.”
Pujya Morari Bapuji expressed how fortunate the pilgrims are to be listening to the Shri Ram Katha and to also have the blessings from our saints. He shared also that truly we are living not in Kaliyug but Katha Yug and we are so fortunate to be in a country where this tradition is so abundant and accessible to all. He spoke about the importance of cleaning both our inner and outer environments. Katha serves an important role in inner cleansing. His beautiful words, songs and commentary of the verses of the Rama Charit Manas were a great blessing for all.
Watch this day of Katha online: https://www.youtube.com/
Watch the Katha live on Aastha TV – http://hellotv.in/livetv/
To learn more about this beautiful katha: http://burl.co/53ADD78
In the evening for Divine Ganga Aarti, the Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand, Shri Krishna Kant Palji and his wife Smt Omita Palji joined Pujya Swamiji and Sadhviji and the entire Parmarth family. Pujya Swamiji and Sadhviji shared that it was truly divine Grace to have the Hon’ble Governor with us on the sacred occasion of the second anniversary of the flash floods that wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand in 2013. Pujya Swamiji mentioned that during His recent visit to Kedarnath amongst many plans to rehabilitate and recover the affected regions, plans for developing a International Memorial Garden “Smriti Van” were made with Shri Harak Singh Rawatji, Hon’ble Agriculture Minister of Uttarakhand. They saw the land and planted a sacred sapling in the Rambara, Kedar Valley where a huge landslide wiped out a complete town. They planned to restore Rambara as a beautiful forest in memory of the lost lives as a Nature Contemplation centre, where pilgrims can come and reflect upon their integral and intimate connection with Nature and be inspired to protect and preserve it. The Hon’ble Governor offered his full support to the cause and a two minute moment of silence was held during the ceremony in honour of the departed souls. [To view the Rambara Tree Plantation Story httpsa//www.facebook.com/media/
The fourth day of the green Shri Ram Katha at Parmarth Niketan by Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapu was graced by Pujya M.M. Swami Gurusharanandji Maharaj of Raman Reti, Mathura, Pujya M.M. Swami Asanganand Saraswatiji and Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji ( Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati) . During the traditional ritual of offering their respect to the sacred scripture all respected saints continued the new tradition of offering a sacred green Peepal leave to the Ramayana / Ram Charit Manas as a symbol of their respect and love.
Pujya Swamiji lovingly introduced and welcomed Pujya Swami Gurusharanandji Maharaj. He also shared with Pujya Bapuji that His Excellency the Governor of Uttarakhand had visited the Ganga Aarti the night before with his wife and was so, so delighted to hear about the beautiful green katha and offered his deepest respect to Pujya Bapu.
Elaborating on Manas Parmarth, Bapu shared that, “Parmarth was the expansion of truth, love and compassion.” He expressed the nature of those whose action, words and thoughts were truly dedicated for the welfare of all, truly dedicated to Parmarth.
Briefly commenting on Yoga, which he mentioned was also dedicated to the welfare of all, he shared that if ‘Rog (Disease) doesn’t discriminate between Hindu and Muslim then how can Yog.’ He led the audience in a beautiful interfaith chanting with reverence and respect to all faiths, including Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddha and Christian faiths.
He also divinely narrated the marriage of Mata Parvati to Lord Shiva and inspired the audience into such great song and dance. He introduced how Lord Shiva also was known as the Lord of all ghosts and encouraged everyone to chant ‘Jai Boothnath.’ He also emphasized that in a deeper spiritual meaning the marriage of Shiv and Parvati was the marriage of Vishwas (unwavering faith) and Shraddha (complete dedication or commitment) in our own lives. He also emphasized the importance of the blessings of the Divine Mother in our own lives, whether it be in the form of our mother, grandmother or whether it be in the form of the Divine Mother Goddess- with the grace and compassion of the Divine Mother we are able to exist in our natural state of love, peace and bliss.
The fifth day of the green Shri Ram Katha at Parmarth Niketan by Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapu was joined by Pujya Mahamandeleshwar Swami Asanganand Saraswatiji and Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. The divine katha continued to engage and inspire all yatris and pilgrims to delve deeper into the beautiful Ramayana / Ram Charit Manas and to understand the depth and the meaning of Parmarth as its mentioned in the Manas. To watch the katha: https://www.youtube.com/
During the completion of the katha, the Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture, Shri Harak Singh Rawatji joined and commemorated the second anniversary of the tragic Uttarakhand floods. He also announced the Smiriti Van-International Memorial Garden initiative, inspired and founded by Pujya Swamiji, creating a beautiful forest in the Kedar Valley-Rambara where thousands of trees would be planted in memory of those whose lives had been lost in the deluge.
Later in the afternoon, there was a short but beautiful Bhoomi Poojan (Ground-breaking ceremony) by Pujya Bapu and Pujya Swamiji for a bio-toilet complex in Triveni Ghat, Rishikesh, a project funded and sponsored by BHEL’s CSR Initiative in partnership with FICCI, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, Ganga Action Parivar- Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh).
To learn more about the Smriti Van initiative and several other initiatives that are being planned under the vision and leadership of HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji to rehabilitate and recover the flood affected region, visit us at www.divineshaktifoundation
The sixth day of the green Shri Ram Katha at Parmarth Niketan by Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapu was joined by Pujya Raisaini Babji from Delhi and Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. The divine katha continued to engage and inspire all yatris and pilgrims to delve deeper into the beautiful Ramayana / Ram Charit Manas and to understand the depth and the meaning of Parmarth as its mentioned in the Manas. Watch the katha online at: https://www.youtube.com/
For the divine evening Ganga Aarti, the Hon’ble MLA of Kedarnath, Smt Shaila Rani Rawatji joined and also commemorated the second anniversary of the tragic Uttarakhand floods. She announced her full support for the Smiriti Van-International Memorial Garden initiative and also the efforts being taken by Divine Shakti Foundation to provide sustainable livelihoods for Himalayan farmers as well as creating livelihoods for thousands of women and youth in Uttarakhand.
To learn more about these efforts flourishing and thriving under the divine vision and leadership of HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji to rehabilitate and recover the flood affected region, visit us at www.divineshaktifoundation
The seventh day of the green Shri Ram Katha at Parmarth Niketan by Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapu was joined by Hon’ble Water and Education Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Mantri Prasad Naithaniji and continued to be blessed by the presence of Pujya Swamiji.
Before the start of the katha, the respected dignitaries took part in a special inauguration of Clean Drinking Water Filter on the banks of the Ganga Ghat at Parmarth Niketan, an initiative to provide clean drinking water to thousands of pilgrims who visit the ashram every day and to serve as an example to thousands of ghats throughout the 2,525 km stretch of Ganga to also provide free and clean drinking water without the wastage of more and more plastic bottles. Pujya Bapuji lauded and supported the ‘Ganga Tat Pe Gangajal’ efforts and shared how essential it is that we all come together to provide clean drinking water, affordable and accessible sanitation to all. Hon’ble Naithaniji expressed his deep respect for Pujya Swamiji’s vision and leadership and also shared his continual administrative support for this initiative. To learn more about these WASH efforts flourishing and thriving under the divine vision and leadership of Pujya Swamiji, visit us at www.washalliance.org
The continuation of the divine katha engaged and inspired all yatris and pilgrims to delve deeper into the beautiful Ramayana / Ram Charit Manas and to understand the depth and the meaning of Parmarth as its mentioned in the Manas. Watch the katha online at: https://www.youtube.com/
The eighth day of the green Shri Ram Katha at Parmarth Niketan by Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapu was joined by Pujya Swamiji, Pujya Dr. Pranav Pandyaji, Vice-Chancellor of Dev Sanskriti Vishwa Vidyala, Haridwar and Acharya Balkrishanji, Vice-Chancellor of Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, President of Divine Shakti Foundation.
The continuation of the divine katha engaged and inspired all yatris and pilgrims to delve deeper into the beautiful Ramayana / Ram Charit Manas. Watch the beautiful katha online at: https://youtu.be/
The symbolic inauguration of reconstruction project of a sacred Buddha temple in an Earthquake devastated Nepal village was gracefully carried out, just after the Katha, by blessed hands of our respected saints. The rehabilitation project has been inspired, led and driven by Pujya Swamiji’s divine vision under Project Hope-Divine Shakti Foundation, an organization founded by Pujya Swamiji and lead by Sadhviji.
The pledge to rebuild the temple was initially taken up on the auspicious occasion of Buddha Purnima in May this year, during Pujya Swamiji’s visit to Nepal.
Pujya Swamiji was so deeply touched to see that even after tremendous loss of propertyin the midst of the aftershocks of the Earthquake in Nepal the villagers were most heart-broken and saddened by the loss of their temple. It was then that He inspired them to channel their faith into action and work together to rebuild their temple. Since then Project Hope, with its team of volunteers, is providing all the necessary support and resources in these efforts. To support and donate to the Nepal Rehabilitation efforts, learn more at www.projecthope-india.org and www.divineshaktifoundation
Stay tuned for a video on the very special ceremony by the respected saints during the sacred Shri Ram Katha and their collective pledge to support the temple reconstruction as well as to come to inaugurate the temple with Pujya Morari Bapu after it has been constructed.
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Pujya Swamiji) bid Pujya Morari Bapuji farewell with a beautiful Tulsi plant as a symbol of Bapu’s love for beloved and respected Goswami Tulsidasji, author of the epic Ramcharitmanas/ Ramayan, which, like the seeds of the sacred Tulsi plant, had been planted in the hearts of the thousands of pilgrims who listened to the katha over the last nine-days. The plant was given with the prayer that the purity, sanctity and divinity associated with the sacred Tulsi plant would grow and thrive in the hearts and the lives of the thousands of katha participants. The nine-day Green Katha concluded yesterday with a special International Yoga Day and Father’s Day celebration. (To learn more about the special celebrations, click here).
During the course of the Green Katha, respected saints and political leaders including, Pujya Gurusharanandji Maharaj of Vrindavan, Pujya Sant Shri Rameshbhai Oza (Bhaishri), Pujya Swami Ramdevji, Pujya Dr. Pranav Pandyaji, Pujya Brahmacharya Brahmaswarupjiji of Jai Ram Ashram, Pujya Acharya Balkrishanji, and political leaders including His Excellency the Governor of Uttarakhand, Shri Krishna Kant Palji, Uttarakhand Ministers of Water, Education, Agriculture and Urban Development came together to offer their respects to Pujya Morari Bapu and express their happiness that the Green Katha was taking place at the beautiful and divine Parmarth Niketan ashram.
During the katha, in honour of Yoga off the Mat, the following pledges and green initiatives had been inspired by Pujya Swamiji:
Green Katha and Kathakar Social Responsibility which was centered on ensuring the decorations and wastage of money and resources in grand kathas are minimized and instead the same finances are channeled to social impacting projects, such as tree plantations, educational programmes, rehabilitation efforts, Gau Seva, amongst many other activities.
Pilgrims and Yatris participating in the Green Katha were continuously reminded to:
- Preserve and protect their natural resources as well as their sacred water bodies,
- Plant and care for at least nine trees in honour of the nine day katha, on every festival, holiday, birthday and special occasion
- Reduce if not completely stop the use of plastics, polythene and plastic bottles
- Stop littering and trashing their surrounding environment while starting to segregate solid waste and manage organic waste with composting in their homes
As a symbol of this Green Pledge, Parmarth maintained the Green Katha initiative in action by:
- Significantly reducing the use of plastic, theramacol (Styrafoam)-thousands of pilgrims/yatris were given free Prasad everyday in steel cups and plates
- Instead of water bottles, Parmarth provided filtered water and clay pots full of cold and clean water to keep yatris hydrated in the heat
- The use of flowers decorations, other forms of souvenirs was stopped, instead only green Rudraksh saplings were provided as gifts to all dignitaries and revered leaders
- Yatris and pilgrims were encouraged to segregate their waste between wet (organic) and dry (recyclable and non-biodegradable) waste
- Organic waste was composted, recyclable waste was segregated to a great extent and non-recyclable waste also disposed in the best possible way.
All efforts were made to ensure adequate sanitation, dedicated volunteers ensured that all public toilets and urinals were clean and pleasant for all yatris
Other beautiful Green Initiatives, launched by Pujya Swamiji’s green vision and leadership during the nine-day Green Katha included:
- Green Bio-Toilets along the banks of Mother Ganga: A special bhoomi poojan ceremony with Pujya Morari Bapu, Pujya Swamiji BHEL’s Executive Director, Shri Prakash Chandji and members of FICCI and DRDO team took place on June 17th at the Triveni Ghat, Rishikesh for a large bio-digester toilet complex being planned there. The first phase of this project has chosen 25 key locations around the banks of Mother Ganga in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, sites of popular pilgrimage, and will be funded by CSR initiative of BHEL and supported by FICCI and Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), an interfaith alliance for improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), of which Pujya Swamiji is the Co-Chairman.
- Clean Drinking Water Systems: Pujya Morari Bapu, Pujya Swamiji and Shri Mantri Prasad Naithaniji, Hon’ble Minister of Drinking Water and Education of Uttarakhand, launched a clean drinking water filter on the Parmarth Niketan Ganga Ghat to provide clean drinking water to thousands of yatris visiting every day and serve as an example for thousands of Ghats along the banks of Mother Ganga to provide the basic and much needed facility. It was also shared that all bio-toilet structures being planned by BHEL, FICCI and GIWA would include water filtration systems to provide cleaning drinking water to all.
- International Memorial Garden- Smriti Van, in memory the lives lost in the Uttarakhand floods of 2013, was commemorated and launched on the 16-17th June by Pujya Morari Bapu, His Excellency the Governor of Uttarakhand, Shri Krishna Kant Palji, and Hon’ble Agriculture Minister of Uttarakhand, Dr. Harak Singh Rawatji, on the second anniversary. The memorial garden has been planned in Rambara, Kedar Valley and the first tree was planted by Pujya Swamiji and Hon’ble Shri Harak Singh Rawatji during Pujya Swamiji’s recent visit to the region earlier this month.
- Rehabilitation of Nepal- Rebuilding the Buddha Temple the symbolic inauguration of rehabilitation and reconstruction project of a sacred Buddha temple, being undertaken by Pujya Swamiji’s divine leadership, vision and direction, by Divine Shakti Foundation, an organization founded by Pujya Swamiji, in Earthquake Hit Nepal village was also conducted on 20th June by Pujya Morari Bapu, Pujya Dr. Pranav Pandyaji, Vice-Chancellor of Dev Sanskriti Vishwa Vidyala, Haridwar and Acharya Balkrishanji, Vice-Chancellor of Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar.
On the occasion of the completion of the Green Katha, Pujya Swamiji inspired everyone in a pledge to live green and to turn every festival, holiday, birthday and all occasions into a green occasions. In so doing, recognizing and acknowledging our inherent oneness-union- with the world and all of creation. He also shared that Yoga was the key to living sustainably, living green, as well as fundamental to ensuring our actions, words and thoughts are aligned and in harmony with Mother Nature as well as in service of our world family.