International Women’s Day 2018
RISHIKESH- The world-renowned, 29th annual International Yoga Festival concluded yesterday, and the over 2000 participants from 97 countries departed today from Parmarth Niketan, having come from all over the world to take part in inspiring lectures and courses by over 80 revered saints, yogacharyas, presenters and experts who taught nearly 200 offerings throughout the week.
The participants go back to their countries full of inspiration to be ambassadors of yoga, ambassadors of love, ambassadors of peace, and ambassadors of unity. New friendships were formed during the course of the IYF, in many cases between people who would never have met and were from countries who are fighting each other. The International Yoga Festival was a true celebration of yoga – which means “union” – as it brought the world together in the name of unity, togetherness, and peace.
Today, International Women’s Day was celebrated at Parmarth Niketan with all the participants and yogacharyas, as well as a number of esteemed women leaders and dignitaries.
The celebration started at 7:00am with Shakti Yoga with Laura Plumb along the banks of Ganga. Laura Plumb, based in California, USA, is an Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher dedicated to the field of Body-Mind medicine. She is founder of Ganga Yoga, in which she was inspired by Pujya Swamiji to develop a new form of yoga that will connect people all over the world to Ma Ganga.
Following Shakti Yoga, a special Shakti Havan was led by Sadhvi Abha Saraswati and the Parmarth Rishikumars, Shakti Dance with Anuradha, and concluding with a divine Ganga Snaan with all participants.
In the evening, the International Women’s Day celebration, in which awards were given to women who are doing and leading excellent work in their communities. The event was graced by Hon’ble Smt. Rekha Arya, Minister of Uttarakhand for Women’s Empowerment and Child Welfare; Hon’ble Smt Ritu Khanduri, MLA; Smt. Radhika Jha, Secretary of Power, Govt of Uttarakhand and Secretary to Hon’ble Chief Minister; Dr. Vandana Shiva, renowned environmental activist and Founder of Navdanya; Smt. Hansa Jayadev, Director of The Yoga Institute; and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, President of the Divine Shakti Foundation.
The celebration was concluded with Parmarth Niketan’s world-renowned, divine Ganga Aarti on the banks of Mother Ganga.
Divine Service During International Women’s Day
A special “Asha Ki Kiran” workshop was also held at Parmarth Niketan on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Smt. Rekha Arya, Minister of Women and Child Welfare, Government of Uttarakhand; Smt. Ritu Khanduri, MLA Yamkeshwar; and Director General Health, Dr. Archana Srivastava attended Inauguration Ceremony.
During the ceremony, women who were serving as role models within the community were honoured. In addition, Asha workers (community-based health workers and activists) were trained to bring awareness through this workshop for health in their communities.
Pujya Swamiji and Sadhvi Bhagawatiji lit the lamp to inaugurate the program Pujya Swamiji inspired the women in service, saying, “Asha Ki Kiran is a yagya. You all are the Ahuti (offerings). A home is only a house without women. Mother is always a ray of hope.”
Sadhvi Bhagwatiji said, “Girls must be enlivened and educated to bring the change in the world. There should be no bias between a girl and a boy. Both are equal. We need to understand women.”
Under the joint aegis of Divine Shakti Foundation and CAN Foundation, Asha Workers of Uttarakhand were trained by Dr Sumita Prabhakar for bringing awareness about health and cancer.
Pujya Swamiji said, “We are citizens of the biggest democracy of the 21st Century. We are one of the nations which are considered the richest in culture and civilization. Since the dawn of civilization, Indian culture has been giving the message of peace and coexistence. Indian women have played a great role in this task. Yet, their existence as a woman has never been accepted. Had they been given due acceptance as a woman, then they would have acquired status equal to men.”