• Tuesday, September 27, 2022

INDIA

Indian president concludes visit to Rishikesh’s Parmarth Niketan Ashram

India’s president Ramnath Kovind takes part in purnahuti, a ceremony dedicated to world peace and health, at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, north India.

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

INDIA’S president Ramnath Kovind, his wife Savita and their daughter Swati concluded a two-day visit to the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, north India, on Monday (29).

Spiritual leader His Holiness (HH) Pujya Chidanand Saraswatiji (HH Pujya Muniji), the head of the ashram, presented the president and his family with a sacred sapling of the rudraksh tree to plant at Rashtrapati Bhavan, his official residence in New Delhi.

The rudraksh is Parmarth Niketan’s signature gift as trees give life and rudraksh trees are believed to give sacred life.

During his visit, the president and HH Pujya Muniji discussed programmes and initiatives taken up by Parmarth Niketan, the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and the Divine Shakti Foundation.

Pujya Swamiji outlined efforts to tackle faecal sludge management, sustainable solid waste management, the development of a Rudraksha Van (forest of rudraksha trees) and Kedar Smriti Van (a forest in memory of those who lost their lives in the Kedarnath floods).

It is only the second time that a president has visited the ashram after Dr Rajendra Prasad was welcomed in 1953-1954.

HH Pujya Muniji said, “I am so glad to be able to share these new innovative technologies with our honourable president who is so dedicated and committed to protection of our water, our air and our natural environment. With his leadership, I know Bharat (India) will continue to become more and more green and eco-friendly.”

The president also met a group of teachers and students of the Divine Shakti Foundation’s free schools and women’s empowerment programmes as well as youth leaders from the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance’s LifeSkills Programme. He also met the team of volunteers who serve at the ashram.

The ceremonial head of state was presented a copy of Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati’s newly released best-selling memoir, “Hollywood to the Himalayas: A Journey of Healing and Transformation.”

Upon their arrival last Sunday (28), the guests performed the purnahuti of the evening, a ceremony dedicated to world peace and health.

The family also took part in the sacred Ganga aarti as they waved oil lamps toward the flowing waters of the River Ganga. The ceremony concluded with the singing of India’s national anthem.

In her welcome address, Sadhvi Bhagawatiji noted how the president, as a child, had to walk eight km each way in order to attend school.

“That dedicated young man grew up to serve as a torchbearer for justice, equality and integrity for people of every race, religion, colour and caste,” Sadhvi Bhagawat said.

“His leadership – as an advocate for the Supreme Court, as governor of Bihar and as president of India – is one rooted in dedication to the welfare of all – sarve bhut hite ratah. And that is also the motto, mantra and mission here at Parmarth Niketan.”

HH Pujya Muniji invited the president to grace the 2022 International Yoga Festival in March next year.

Eastern Eye

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