New Year, New You Retreat Starts the New Year with 2020 Vision
Parmarth Niketan offers 5 day spiritual retreat for seekers and devotees to begin the New Year in peace and harmony.
1 JANUARY 2020 RISHIKESH INDIA: Spiritual seekers, devotees, yoga enthusiasts and members of the Hinduja family journeyed from across India and around the world to Parmarth Niketan Ashram on the holy banks of Mother Ganga to end 2019 in prayer and meditation, and to greet 2020 more-deeply connected to themselves and the world by participating in an extraordinary 5 day free spiritual New Year retreat offered by the Ashram.
The special Retreat featured divine and soul-filled programs such as the world-renowned Ganga Aarti, Darshan and Satsang, Yagnas (Fire Purification Ceremonies), Rudrabhishek (Special Puja of the Shiva Linga), Ganga Snan, Nature Walks, Yoga, Meditation and Yoga Philosophy classes and so much more. There was also a special New Year’s Eve campfire, New Year’s Day Yagna as well as the Namimi Gange International Music Festival, featuring traditional Indian music and Kirtan. Special interactions and blessings by Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President and Spiritual Leader of Parmarth Niketan and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance were amongst the highlights of the programme.
Yoga Philosophy and Vedic Chanting classes with Yogacharya Dr Indu Sharma were a special treat, daily morning Yoga Classes with Ganga Nandini were a great way to begin the day and Kirtan/Music Nights led by Dilip Chetry and Parmarth Rishikumars were a soulful conclusion to the day’s events. Offerings of music meditation workshop with Sarod Baba and Gayaki Mata, afternoon Yoga Asana classes with Elise from the UK and Paulina from Mexico, an Intro to Ayurveda Session by Karuna from Brazil, Nature Walks with Swami Sevanandaji from America and Meditation and Clean up led by Rob from Australia were amongst the many special offerings of the unforgettable Retreat.
The New Year was welcomed with a morning Yagna and a beautiful Clean Up along the banks of Mother Ganga, removing vast quantities of waste and refuse from the popular bathing and worship site, followed by a Ganga Snan to allow the waters of Maa Ganga to wash and wet us within.
Pujya Swamiji shared with participants and devotees, “Let us welcome the New Year 2020 with a Vision 2020 of a Clean, Green and Serene World. Now is the time to protect, preserve and serve our Mother Nature, our water bodies and the natural environment, because a polluted environment is not conducive to true health and happiness. I always remind people that if there is no water, there will be no life and no peace, but if there is more water then there will be a greater chance of peace. Hence, there can be a plan A and plan B but no planet B – we have only one planet. Therefore, in 2020 let’s pledge to plant and gift more trees to this planet, end single use plastic, conserve water, protect our rivers, mountains and adopt an organic way of life to provide a healthy and harmonious life for ourselves and the generations to come.”
On New Year’s Eve, Pujya Swamiji, Pujya Sadhviji and members of the Hinduja family – Shri Prakashji, Kamal, Ajay, Namrata and Nitya – presented beautiful saris to the teachers in many of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance- and Divine Shakti Foundation-sponsored and -supported schools. There was also a special blanket distribution to the saints that spent their cold winter nights on the ghat so that they too can feel the warmth of the New Year.
During beautiful Satsangs and the special Swaha ceremony Pujya Sadhviji took the participants deeper and shared, “Let this New Year not just be a change in number, a change in our calendars but actually bring a change in ourselves such that the one who is moving through this year is New. That is what we are here on the banks of Mother Ganga for – to offer to the fire and to Mother Ganga all that holds us back so that we can really live with greater love and connection. Let this trip not only be a Holiday but Holy Days in which we take back the touch and transformation that is possible when we allow for the Divine Grace to flow through our lives, uninhibited and unobstructed.”
On the evening of the 1st January and the concluding day of the last full day of the Retreat 2nd January we welcomed Dr Mahendra Nath Pandeyji, Hon’ble Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to the banks of Mother Ganga for the second consecutive year with his family to herald in the New Year. He shared so beautifully in the Aarti the great power and potential that the banks of Mother Ganga have to bring change in our lives and personally attested that greater responsibility and success he attributed in his own life to the continuous blessings of Mother Ganga. He deeply appreciated Pujya Swamiji’s service and leadership, especially in popularizing the Ganga Aarti, and lauded Parmarth’s contributions to promoting and spreading Yoga and Spirituality across the world, promoting the values of Hinduism in a universal and progressive manner.
The Hon’ble Minister was honoured with a sacred Rudraksha sapling which he and his family planted in the beautiful Ashram premises to remind them of their clean and green pledge on the banks of Mother Ganga.
Blessing the Aarti on New Years Pujya Swamiji said, “Let us celebrate the New Year spiritually; celebrate the New Year, not with alcohol and parties that last for only one night but with spiritual practice that lasts a lifetime. Let us celebrate not with phone but with maun (silence). Let us celebrate searching for Wi Fi but by reflecting on Why I. In this way, we won’t need wine to make us high but the divine presence will make us eternally high, filled with gratitude, blessings and love. “
Pujya Sadhviji offered to participants in a beautiful lecture series on the banks of Mother Ganga to take back what participants had experienced here to their home countries. She said, “Vision 2020 can only happen when we can see with greater clarity and connection. Let us take back the learnings and experience from here to wash our vision such that we are able to see more clearly without the darkness of our egos, unfulfilled desires, expectations, grudges etc. Let us really live every moment and every minute in the truth of our Self- which is divine, whole and perfect.”
Participants thoroughly enjoyed every moment and offering of the Retreat and promised to join again soon with their friends and families at their Himalayan home.