By OUR STAFF REPORTER
Rishikesh, 4 Mar: On the 4th Day of the International Yoga Festival organised by Parmarth Niketan in association with Incredible India, hundreds of yoga practitioners trekked to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi-Beatles Ashram for a two-hour session featuring Kirtan, Meditation and Asana practice on the historic grounds. The art and architecture of the ashram lured the Beatles to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s home for enlightenment and, in so doing, forever cemented Rishikesh in the minds of yoga and meditation lovers the world over.
Led by Swami Chidanand Saraswati, President of Parmarth Niketan, and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Director of the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, the event is traditionally one of the most-popular on the roster of Yoga Festival activities.
Sadhvi Bhagawati led the gathering in a guided meditation. She stated, “In this sacred place, where the Beatles came as musicians and wrote beautiful music that touched the world, allow yourself to also be a vehicle in whatever way the life force wants to use you – whether it’s music, or art, or education, or science, or technology, or leadership or on the ground sacred seva, whatever way that sacred energy wants to use you, open yourself to it.”
Swami Chidanand Saraswati then offered an interpretation of Vedic mantras.
The day’s special guest, Dr Michael Beckwith of Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, then led the gathering in a prayer, sharing, “All the love, all the joy, all the beauty, all the wisdom, it’s all here and right here, right now, and we recognise this. We are all one, we are not separate, we all come from the one source of light which is God – this is Yoga.”
The evening was celebrated with a very special performance by America’s The Bluegrass Journeymen – a collective of accomplished musicians presenting traditional American Bluegrass Music, a special addition to the festival this year in collaboration with the US Embassy, whose representatives Catherine Fischer, Public Diplomacy Officer, North India Office, and Robin Bansal, Cultural Affairs Specialist, North India Office, Embassy of the USA. Members of the band included Patrick Fitzsimons, Coleman Smith, Shaun Nicklin, Jean-Luc Davis, William CArdine, Summers Baker, Andrew Conley, Kolkata’s Nabinta Sarkar and Elliot Joseph.
Following the Sacred Havan and Divine Ganga Aarti on the holy banks of Mother Ganga, internationally-acclaimed percussionist Sivamani – a master of instruments including drums, octoban, darbuka, udukai, ghatam and kanjira – carried all musically from Day 4 into Day 5 of the International Yoga Festival with his live concert Ecstatic Rhythm and Soul.