History Created: Tribal Leaders from 40+ Nations, Hon’ble Vice President of India, Hon’ble UP Governor, Pujya Swamiji and World’s Tribal Leaders Converge at the Kumbh Mela for the Preservation of Nature, Culture & Future
Prayagraj: Resplendent in colorful robes adorned with feathers and a kaleidoscope of patterns, tribal leaders from across the world welcomed Hon’ble Vice President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu and Hon’ble Uttar Pradesh Governor Shri Ram Naik in an unforgettable moment of global unity.
It was so beautiful to welcome Honble Vice President of India @MVenkaiahNaidu & Honble Governor UP @ramnaikofficial to grace the celebration of the #KivaKumbhMela & #IYFParmarth at the #Kumbh2019, giving the message for protecting our Nature, Culture & Future! @IntlYogaFest pic.twitter.com/0oQo5I3OkF
— Pujya Swamiji (@PujyaSwamiji) February 17, 2019
— VicePresidentOfIndia (@VPSecretariat) February 16, 2019
The indigenous elders came from as far away as the jungles of South America and the mountains of Siberia to join an historic conclave of indigenous cultures, being hosted at Parmarth Niketan’s renowned eco-camp at the Kumbh Mela, under the leadership and inspiration of Parmarth Niketan President, HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji.
The purpose of the gathering is to inspire the world to return to environmentally-friendly living and embrace indigenous cultures through the sharing of song, dance, storytelling, spiritual practices, and friendship. Participants include tribal leaders, elders, shamans and medicine men and women from the Amazon, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Brazil and 30+ other nations.
Said HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, “Here, we are witnessing for the first time in history the expressive roots of all humanity, and are finding that all is one. The similarities between rituals, cultures and spiritual practices separated by vast oceans and great continents are undeniable, beautiful, and simply divine.”
He continued, “There is an ancient Sanskrit Mantra which says that the truth is one, but the sages call it by different names. We see that today– as a yoga, a union of cultures– as fire, water, the sun and the air are worshipped and celebrated for their life-giving power.”
The gathering took place directly on the banks of the Sangam, where an indigenous temporary structure two meters deep in the ground was carved from the sands, as per the indigenous traditions. The structure, called a Kiva, is the first of its kind in India. In South American traditions, it is thought that prayers and meditation held within such open air Kivas provide powerful blessings to for the planet. Kiva is translated as “the fire in the temple at the heart of Mother Earth.”
During the event, all pledged together to combine forces as one family to protect nature, preserve ancient cultures and ensure a healthy and sustainable future.
Hon’ble Shri Venkaiah Naidu praised the gathering saying, “I am happy to be with all of you at this conference focusing on a sustainable idea, an eternal truth of our existence, nature shapes our culture and our future is shaped by culture, ethos, and values.” He continued, “Kumbh conveys the immortal message that it is the river that is divine. It is divine nector of worship. It is life giving, so we have to preserve our rivers. This is the message of these festivals.”
Addressing the tribal leaders, he said, “It is astonishing to see how a common cultural thread runs across all our cultures. We worship the sun, the moon, the fire, the five elements, the four directions, and the source of life. Our cultural roots are almost identical. There is a common bond that binds us to Mother Nature. We are reinforcing this bond at the Kiva Kumbh Mela.”
He also congratulated Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji for this historic conclave of thought, spirituality and culture, “I am very happy that Swami Chidanandji has taken this initiative on this holy occasion of Kumbh Mela, bringing this many senior leaders of different traditions and different cultures together. We should really compliment Swamiji for this wonderful initiative. Let us take this message of peace, love, affection and concern for each other and Mother Nature as the holy nectar of this Kumbh Mela.”
Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Ram Naik, shares several beautiful slokas (verses) from our ancient scriptures. In particular, talking about the Sun, he shares, “That we must be like the Sun that keeps giving life, light, and energy to the entire world. If we want to be revered and hailed like Sun by civilizations across the world, we must keep walking and giving – like the Sun. This is the message of the Kumbh Mela to keep moving and flowing like Mother Ganga in our sacred rivers. May this flow of our culture and nature be for ever on for generations to come.”
Said Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Director of the International Yoga Festival and Secretary General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, “Here on the banks of the holy Sangam of our sacred rivers, we also have a Sangam of cultures, colors and creeds. It is a divine confluence of prayer and people into one united humanity, joining hands and hearts for the protection of our water and natural environment. According to the United Nations, by 2030 India will only have half the drinking water it needs and by 2040 the world will be in similar dire straits. Only by coming together as a Sangam of prayer and action can we ensure a future for tomorrow.”
Heriberto Villasenor, Director of Roots of the Earth said, “We are so glad to be here at the greatest festival of water – the Kumbh Mela with the Chiefs of the Original Nations– the Adivasyas. We have come here to pray together for the protection of the waters and rivers of the world so that we may have clean water and clean rivers for all.”
The Indigenous Conclave also coincided in perfect union with Parmarth Niketan’s world-renowned International Yoga Festival, which this year is being celebrated both at its eco-encampment at the Kumbha Mela and its spacious ashram on the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh. This year celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Festival, which annually brings together participants from over 100 nations to celebrate Indian culture and participate in India’s ancient art of Yoga.
By bringing some of this year’s events to the Parmarth Niketan Camp in Prayagraj during the Kumbh Mela, the origins of the festival are being honored. Renowned yoga teachers are currently here leading yoga sessions, talks, and meditation. During the first week of March, the festival will continue in Rishikesh from March 1-7 where yogacharyas, teachers, students and seekers from every corner of the globe will come together to participate in this unique celebration.
In closing Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji added, “For the first time in history we welcome the world’s tribal leaders to the Kumbh Mela. To all of our family from more than forty nations – welcome home and welcome all. Know that your divine experience of Kumbh is the true essence of India. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister of India went to the United Nations and brought an International Day of Yoga. Now I think the time has come for an International Oneness Day. Because the music needed today is the music of oneness, togetherness and allness.”