International Mother Earth Day
Today Parmarth Niketan Ashram hosted very special International Mother Earth Day Celebrations, inspired and led by H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, Founder of Ganga Action Parivar and Co-Founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA). Pujya Swamiji inspired local schools and colleges to encourage each student to engage in green actions, such as planting and watering trees, environmental drawing competitions as well as slogan writing/awareness raising campaigns, dedicated to Mother Earth during their school day as a symbol of their commitment to make every day a green day. Ganga Action Parivar and GIWA volunteers helped the schools plan and execute these campaigns.
During the commencement of a week-long Bhagawat Katha at Parmarth Niketan, led by Pujya Shri Mridul Krishan Shastriji of Vrindavan, Pujya Swamiji said: ‘Let us take the message of Lord Krishna to our hearts. Let us make this ‘Hari Katha’ a ‘Green Katha.’ It is time that we come together to not only worship the Creator but also serve and preserve His Creation. Today on the occasion of International Mother Earth Day let us pledge to protect not only Mother Earth but also the sacred rivers that nourish and sustain all of life. Let us make a commitment to work together with our 4T’s: time, talent, technology and tenacity to bring the sacred Rivers Yamuna and Ganga, beloved to Lord Krishna, to life again.’
Pujya Shri Shastriji shared: ‘As Pujya Swamiji has suggested that just like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) let us also have a Kathakar Social Responsibility (KSR). I think its a great idea! I pledge to take this with me and encourage more and more Kathakars to spread this vital green message through their Kathas so that we can collectively preserve and protect our sacred natural, cultural and spiritual heritage for our coming generations.’
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, President of the Divine Shakti Foundation added: ‘Our divine rishis, saints and sages have always revered Mother Nature as the Divine Feminine. Thus, it is so fitting that the United Nations has declared this day as not just Earth Day but Mother Earth Day! The Earth is our Mother, giving and giving life and sustenance to us. However, today we are facing a major crisis in Mother Nature — our water bodies, trees, mountains and soil are being destroyed and decimated. It is time that we go back to these teachings of our ancient sages who taught us to worship Nature and bring these teachings back into practice. Most importantly, it is time that the divine feminine -or Shakti- in the form of our young girls and women be empowered and encouraged to lead this green mission to protect and preserve Shakti and Prakriti, upon which Creation depends.’
Bagus Mantra Leader of Songs of Dharma musical group from Bali said: ‘In Bali we call Mother Earth, Ibu Perthiwi, and it is so beautiful that this stems from the Sanskrit roots of Prithvi. The land, culture, language and spirituality of India, especially originating from the Himalayas on the banks of Mother Ganga, have connected all of humanity to Mother Nature. Therefore this movement that Pujya Swamiji is leading to protect and preserve the environment is really one that belongs to all. It calls for all of us from every corner of the Earth to come together as one world family- Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam- to protect our most precious heritage.’
In the afternoon, pilgrims and seekers from all over the nation and all over the world joined together for a special world water blessing ceremony in which holy waters of Mother Ganga were offered to the globe, as a symbol of the world, with Vedic mantras for peace in the world and with prayers that all of our brothers and sisters across the world may have access to safe and sufficient water for drinking, cooking, bathing, irrigation and livelihood.
In the evening, touched by Pujya Swamiji’s international, interfaith “Green” message a beautiful musical group, ‘Songs of Dharma’ from Bali, Indonesia dedicated their songs, dance and mantras to Mother Earth and Mother Ganga.
The evening concluded with a special Yagna (sacred fire ceremony) and divine Ganga Aarti ceremony and a collective prayer to stay connected to Mother Earth, to practice an “attitude of gratitude” for Her bounties and gifts, and to serve in preserving and protecting Her for ourselves and our future generations.