Temples to Toilets Message: 1st Day of Navratri
Pujya Swamiji and Sadhvi Bhagawatiji celebrated the first day of the sacred Chaitra Navratri at the gorgeous Chandrabadni Dham, a sacred pilgrimage place, one of the three Shaktipeeth’s in the Himalayan state, located just 37 kms from Devprayag, near the holy sangam (confluence) of Bhagirathi and Alakananda to form the River Ganga.
They were invited and warmly welcomed by Hon’ble Shri Mantri Prasad Naithaniji, Minister of Education and Drinking Water, Government of Uttarakhand, as the Chief Guests for the official inauguration of the nine day festival held every year in honour of the Navratri celebrations. Pujya Swamiji and Sadhviji were joined by many guests from abroad who are staying at Parmarth, as well as Tommy Rosen and Kia Miller’s yoga teacher’s training students from more than 10 countries, some of which included America, Australia, Denmark, Holland, Venezuela, Canada and many more. Chris Deckker and his crew from Australia and Japan joined on the beautiful occasion to record, document and join the festivities of the sacred celebrations.
During the course of the next nine days, the event will bring together local folk singers, dancers and artists to promote and preserve the rich cultural heritage of Garhwal and also will raise awareness on pressing social challenges.
During His visit, Pujya Swamiji inspired and engaged everyone in a riveting speech in which He shared, “We are so blessed to be sitting in front of the sacred Chandrabadni Temple. However instead of talking about temples, temples, temples, we have been talking about toilets, toilets, toilets. Your beautiful performances highlighted the grave importance of toilets and sanitation in our collective mission for a Swachh Bharat (Clean India). This is the need of the hour. Therefore, we must make it a priority to have first Sauchalaya (toilets) then Vidyala (schools), after which we can consider more Devalayas (temples). As Mahatma Gandhiji used to remind us, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Today we need to understand that Cleanliness is Godliness and Godliness is Cleanliness.”
Pujya Swamiji also gave everyone a beautiful mantra, ‘Mela Ko Maila Nahi Karna Hai,’ inspiring everyone to pledge and ensure their melas and festivals are not taxing their sacred environment and that their holy pilgrimage sites remain clean, green and serene. Everyone was deeply touched and moved by Pujya Swamiji’s simple yet profound message. They were eager to work together to make their village a clean, green and serene pilgrimage that attracts and invites people from all over India and all across the world.