By: Shubham Ghosh
Days after the conclusion of the week-long International Yoga Festival (IYF) in which 1,500 participants from nearly 90 nations took part, Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand was witness to yet another occasion on Friday (17) marking the curtain raiser of 100-day countdown (96 day to be precise) to the International Day of Yoga 2023 which falls on June 21.
Yoga lovers from across the globe assembled at the venue once again for the event which was held in partnership with Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) in New Delhi, and the ministry of AYUSH of the Indian government.
A special programme of the common yoga protocol was led by Dr Ishwar Basavaraddi, director of MDNIY, in the presence of His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, president of Parmarth Niketan, and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, director of the IYF.
The event took place at the niketan’s Aarti Ghat where the Ganga Aarti is held each evening. HH Pujya Swamiji and Sadhviji gathered with the participants from around the world and rishikumars of the Parmarth Gurukul, a school for young boys offering Vedic knowledge and other practical subjects, at 7 am near the statue of Lord Shiva on the bank of the River Ganges at the niketan.
The aim of the gathering was to raise awareness about the health benefits of yoga for people from every walk of life and culture. People from across the world also took part virtually through live-streaming.
HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji said, “It is a matter of great pride that our nation and the world has leaders like Hon’ble prime minister of India Shri Narendra Modiji who with his visionary leadership achieved the unanimous support of the United Nations to declare the International Day of Yoga.
“This has exponentially increased the awareness and enthusiasm for Yoga worldwide. Today, as we mark the 100 day countdown to the International Day of Yoga it is wonderful to have Parmarth Niketan lead the 96th day of this countdown from the holy banks of Mother Ganga.
“The message to all yogis joining us today from across the world is to be the light of Yoga and oneness and to bring that light to their communities and countries. The mantras, traditions and heritage of Sanatana Dharma have never been only for India, they are for all. We celebrate India’s presidency for G20 and the mantra, the vision and the culture of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ and ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ because this perspective is only possible because of Yoga.”
Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswatiji, said, “Yoga is more than what we practise on our mats. It is a way of life that infuses every minute and moment and every action. As we perform yoga together today at this sacred ghat, we vow to live in yoga every day!
“Internally, within ourselves, we will live in peace and balance and in union with the Divine and with all. Externally, as we move through the world, we vow to live in service to all and in a spirit of true yogic union and oneness as ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ — the whole world is one family.”