Inaugurated by Shri Ashok Kumarji, DG, Namami Gange and Shri Jagmohan Guptaji, Advisor to Namami Gange, blessed by HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, alongside officials of Namami Gange present on the occasion
As participants from over a dozen ghats across Northern India joined together across more than a dozen cities, spanning three states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for a special two-day training programme curated by Parmarth Niketan, Ganga Action Parivar in partnership with Namami Gange to inspire, motivate and activate these participants leading Aartis in their respective regions to also utilise them as spaces of social transformation, behaviour change and mass inspiration and connection to Mother Ganga
RISHIKESH – A unique first ever Ganga Awareness and Aarti Workshop was held at and organised by Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh in joint partnership with Namami Gange, Jal Shakti Ministry, Government of India and it’s Arth Ganga initiative as well as Ganga Action Parivar and Global Interfaith WASH Alliance.
The entire initiative was conceived upon the Hon’ble Jal Shakti Minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawatji’s visit to the Parmarth Ganga Aarti on the 29th November ahead of Namami Gange’s Run for Unity and they curriculum and modules for the training were curated by Parmarth Niketan and Ganga Action Parivar in alignment with Namami Gange and Arth Ganga and the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India’s Mission to place this initiative of national and global importance. In a meeting with the Director General of Namami Gange and Adviser with Representative from Parmarth Niketan the plan was planned and developed for a pilot training to be held as soon as possible and thereby to take the learnings of this training and implement them in subsequent trainings that can serve as a pivotal role in preserving and protecting cultural assets of our Nation such as the Ganga Aarti as not merely a religious ceremony and Pooja but as an action of social change and transformation and in line with instilling in every citizen of our country great pride in Bharat Mata and Ganga Maiya.
Subsequently this two day training was held from the 1-2nd December, as participants arrived on the 30th November. 32 participants arrived from three states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from 16 ghats from over a dozen cities, some of which included Prayagraj, Devprayag, Champawat, Chitrokoot, Aligarh, Buxar and many others (List of Participants attached for your kind perusal).
The first day at the Ashram began with morning Yoga practice, followed by sacred Yagya and light saatvic breakfast. The participants were all very eager, enthusiastic and curious to take part in this one of it’s kind training and many were already leading the Aarti in their respective regions. The two day event was inaugurated with the blessings of Param Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, with the virtual presence of DG Namami Gange Asok Kumarji and Advisor Shri Jagmohan Guptaji alongside the physical presence of Namami Gange’s Representative and Environment Expert Smt Priyanka Jhaji, Ganga Action Parivar’s Representative Ganga Nandiniji who moderated and curated the programme.
The first day included welcome, introduction and orientation as well as pre-feedback from each participant on the level of experience that they come in with, whether they conducted Aarti in their regions or not etc. Thereafter there was a session by Smt Priyanka Jhaji on Namami Gange and Arth Ganga programme and schemes, followed by a presentation on the purpose, history and vision behind the Parmarth Ganga Aarti that was aligned to teachings and verses of the Bhagavad Gita that helped expand the participants understanding of Arth in context of Dharma to their nation and to protecting and preserving Mother Ganga as the spiritual cultural heritage and lifeline that She is, this was led by Ganga Nandiniji. The power of Ganga Aarti as a platform for social change was emphasized as well as the ability to utilize this space for sankalp and pledges for environmental conservation and river rejuvenation.
There was a brief session on Facts about Mother Ganga and exploring how Mother Ganga is intricately intertwined with India’s social, cultural, economic and spiritual aspects and is the prana of this nation. Thereafter participants were given an activity to reflect on Gangaji Ki Mahima and share an important fact or knowledge that they wished to share about what makes Mother Ganga so special to them.
Post lunch participants assembled in the Ashram’s Satsang Hall with Pujya Sadhvi Abha Saraswatiji and Acharya Dileep Chhetryji to learn briefly about the format and style of Ganga Aartis and primarily of how it was held at Parmarth. They chanted and practiced mantras of invocation to the Divine Mother in the form of Maa Ganga and Lord Shiva. The vedic chanting and mantras uplifted and purified the atmosphere and left the participants rejuvenated.
They then took part in a high energy session by Ganga Action Parivar’s Vandanaji who delved deep into the intricate link of Mother Ganga into all aspects of our life and the necessity to raise social awareness amongst the masses to protect our sacred lifeline, our Mother Earth and our planet. The types of pledges to be taken and the nature of these messages were also discussed with the participants.
The participants then took part in the live experience of the Parmarth Ganga Aarti with Param Pujya Swamiji and the Parmarth Rishikumars after which they concluded the day with sharing and reflections upon their connection to Mother Ganga as well as the aspirations they had as well as the bottlenecks they faced towards making their Aarti experiences even more divine and beautiful like the one at Parmarth.
SECOND DAY SUMMARY
The second day at the Ashram continued with morning Yoga practice, followed by sacred Yagya and light saatvic breakfast. There was a special morning meeting that was arranged with the divine blessings of Param Pujya Swamiji with Chief Pujari and Temple Officer of Kedarnath who were coincidentally visiting Parmarth at this time. The messages and words of pure, exiquiste bhakti and devotion for Lord Shiva and divine chanting of Shiva Stuti truly transcended all expectations of participants as if Kedar Baba was blessing this training and initiative Himself.
The divine morning left everyone speechless and blissful as they took pictures with the special guests and Param Pujya Swamiji and were blessed by them with sacred Rudraksha Malas and an audio pen drive with sacred Ganga Aarti chanting, bhajans and videos as resources and guides to support them.
The second day continued with a collective Ganga Snan and beautiful samohik Bhandara ceremony followed by practice session of the Ganga Aarti and chanting that culminated in the second day’s extraordinary Ganga Aarti as Participants joined from the sacred Shiva Ghat and performed the Ganga Aarti across from Param Pujya Swamiji and pledged with him to be champions of the environment, protecting and conserving Mother Ganga and inspiring the same amongst the masses. They heard messages from Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawatiji and the Hon’ble DG’s video message on the occasion and then also had a very special private session and interaction with Param Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Sadhviji in which they were given sacred Rudraksha saplings as they departed back to their homes.