Last night’s astounding musical extravaganza featuring the sublime nirgun style of Padma Shri Sufi-singer Kailash Kher was a beautiful conclusion to the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, in association with Incredible India, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in a most-inspiring and successful events in its 31 year history. Playing to a capacity crowd on the grounds of Parmarth Niketan on his 2nd appearance at the Festival, Kher delighted the crowd with his warmth and exuberance. It was apparent to one and all that he was enjoying himself and at ease in his Himalayan home.
The concert was emblematic of the entire philosophy of IYF 2020 – Vision 2020, off-the-mat yoga representing not just the practice of asana, but how the yogic philosophy represents itself and interacts with the world in daily life. This philosophy, rooted in the brilliant history of Bharat – India – is an experience of a heritage that has the ability to touch and to connect everyone. With over 1500 participants from those 76 countries, International Yoga Festival 2020 went a long way in spreading the message of love and union to the world stage – something that is so badly needed in a time of growing uncertainty.
On the final day of the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, participants, presenters and guests gathered to unite through the divine practice of Yoga hit the mats for one last time before beginning their journeys home – journeys home that replete new insights, new gifts, new appreciation and new recognition that we really are all one family!
This was followed by series of classes, workshops and discourses that exemplified the divine grace of the Festival, and put a crowning touch of enlightenment on the beautiful spirits that journeyed to Rishikesh to be transformed by the wisdom of the Rishis and the practice of some of the world’s great teachers.
Paula Tapia, Sensei Sandeep Desai, Dr. Indu Sharma, Rohini Manohar, Sianna Sherman, Anandra George, Jai Hari Singh, HS Arun, Kia Miller, Katie B. Happyy and Anand Mehotra all returned to offer one final class, and were joined by long time Festival participant Michelle Button, whose Toltec Medicine Wheel: Songs, Prayers and Dances – delighted the devotees.
Speaking about her unique class offerings, Michelle said, “Music is Food for the Soul, the language is Music and Sound, the Guide is Your Heart, The Medicine is Love, the Intention is Union, and the Gift is the Light, to Open to the Harmony of Life in an offering of service at the Sacred Abode of Parmarth Niketan in the United heart of Rishikesh in the flow of Ma Ganga in the spirit of Peace.”
The day’s Spiritual Lecture Series focused on “The Power of Collective Prayer and Intention” as Rev Michael Beckwith, Bharat Mitra, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Prince Ea and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati discussed ways to explore the unlimited potential of group coherence and unified action and the impact both have on communities and the world.
In an electrifying sermon Rev. Michael Beckwith said: “As you scan the room for a moment, you get a sense that each and every individual here is the singular manifestation of a cosmic unfolding that reflects and reveals the Infinite in a way that’s never happened before. Beyond your history is a mystery which you can’t even see right now, but of which you are here participating in and making yourself so available to that it ultimately shocks and surprises you as to what you are here to deliver on the planet. We’re talking about collective consciousness. Now, we’re not all here to save the world, we’re here to serve an emerging paradigm. We don’t want to save a world that is full of fear, doubt and worry, consumerism and materialism; that’s building walls instead of bridges. We’re here to open ourselves to what is emerging. We can’t make something happen but we can make it welcome. We can only localise a cosmic celebration. ”
Bharat Mitra said, “The essence for each and every one of us is God’s presence. Let’s have the courage to allow something to emerge which is beyond understanding, beyond imagination. Let’s be present with the divine invitation to embrace the unreasonable joy of just being available for the unknown, the unknowable to flow through, to express, to celebrate. Let’s be present with receiving this divine invitation delivered with truth and authenticity and courage. Let’s have the courage to remain connected to it, no matter where we are in time. Let’s stay true to that and for those that really feel the calling to be in service of that presence, let’s be open to unity and upliftment and connected so that we can hold together this feeling.”
Finally, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati summed it all up by adding, “There is a provider, an intelligence in this universe that knows what we need. We don’t have to be the ones to figure it out, to make it happen. We just need to be open to that intelligence, to that wisdom. God is coming. Just clean the way and get ready. We don’t need to be caught-up in our way, our ego, our logo, our name, all that blocks us from the light. It’s about each of us emanating, birthing, reconnecting and realising our connection with the Divine.”
Pujya Acharya Balkrishanji shared, “Yogam Sharanam Gachami, Sangham Shranam Gachami, Dhammam Shranam Gachami. Let us pray and practice to find refuge in the shelter of Yoga, in the power of good association and in the path of righteousness. Yoga and Ayurveda is the tree under which the entire of humanity can find the shade of true and sustainable wellness and health.”
In saying farewell, Pujya Swamiji beautifully stated, “What you learned here is not only the teachings but the touch and the transformation that will forever change the way you perceive the world around you. You are the change you want to see in the world and now it’s time for you to be the change and bring the change you want to see.”
Following the beautiful Aarti ceremony, a final Family Kirtan Hour was offered, and both the presenters and participants gathered to enjoy their last moments together before saying goodbye until next year. And, as the official closing ritual of the Festival, an evening of Song, Dance and Theatre Performances by Parmarth Rishikumars and IYF Participants from around the world – brought together a cultural union of the world celebrating the vibrancy and talents of our brothers and sisters, delightfully symbolizing the beautiful tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
With that, the final curtain came down on one of the most successful events in the history of the International Yoga Festival. Despite worldwide challenges and uncertainty, the strength of Yoga and the vitality of the human spirit prevailed, and the healing and transformative magic of Mother Ganga and the majestic Himalayas empowered and emboldened a new generation of spiritual warriors to carry-forth the message of connection to ourselves, each other and all of Creation.
Other Highlights of the day
- Janet Attwood’s The Yoga of Self-Love
- Dr Eden Goldman’s Soothe Your Insides
- Beth Shaw’s Yoga for a Great Mood
- Dr Alejandro Junger’s popular Detoxification workshop
- The Global Days of Unity – UPLIFTing the World – An interactive community session exploring the Global Days of Unity initiative with Bharat Mitra, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Sadhvi Bhagawatiji, Gil Ron Shama, Prince EA and Chris Deckker.