The Hon’ble President of India, Sri Ram Nath Kovind ji, and First Lady Smt Savita Kovind ji and their daughter Swati Kovind ji were cordially and warmly welcomed this afternoon by HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Pujya Swamiji), President of Parmarth Niketan, for an auspicious two-day visit to the Ashram that began with the divine and world-renowned Ganga Aarti ceremony this evening. Upon arrival, the Hon’ble President and his family was warmly welcomed with the Ashram’s traditional rituals of tilak and amidst of the auspicious sound of the blowing of conch shells and the shower of flower petals by the Parmarth Rishikumars.

After 1953-54 when the then President of India Respected Dr Rajendra Prasadji visited this is the second official Presidential visit to the Ashram. The Ashram welcomed the Hon’ble President and his family to their Himalayan home for a highly anticipated and awaited two day visit.

In the evening as they arrived onto the holy banks of Mother Ganga at the Parmarth Niketan Ghat with Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawatiji they offered their obulations to the sacred waters of Mother Ganga and performed the purnahuti of the evening Yagya Ceremony dedicated to world peace and health.

Admist sacred Vedic chanting, bhajans and sankirtan they enjoyed the melodious and divine setting of this special ceremony, after which they were formally welcomed home by HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji.

Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawatiji shared in her welcome address, “Hon’ble President Ramnath Kovindji’s stellar leadership of India is truly historic. It is a testament to the vision, mission and commitment of a man who, in his youth, had to walk 8 km each way in order to go to school.  That dedicated young man grew up to serve as a torchbearer for justice, equality and integrity for people of every race, religion, colour and caste.  His leadership – as an advocate for the Supreme Court, as Governor of Bihar and as President of India – is one rooted in dedication to the welfare of all – sarve bhut hite ratah.  And that is also the motto, mantra and mission here at Parmarth Niketan.”

Addressed HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, “Our Hon’ble President of India is a beautiful embodiment of the dreams and aspirations of every citizen – how one can rise through dedication, humility and sincerity from a simple background into the First Citizen of the nation.  His life is a divine example of how tenacity, hard-work and selflessness can blossom into the ultimate success. His life journey is one from “I” to “We,” from diversity to unity and today he is a great symbol and leader of oneness and unity in the nation, and he carries this message with him across the world. He is an inspiration to every youth of India and it is a great joy to welcome him and his family.”

Pujya Swamiji shared his admiration for the Hon’ble President, and deeply praised President Kovindji’s incredible life journey, his commitment to the service of the nation and his stellar leadership, as well as memories of their previous meetings. He also shared about the Hon’ble President’s great interest in and commitment to keeping our sacred rivers free from pollution, over-exploitation and extraction.

In line with the emphasis on protection and preservation of Mother Ganga, all water bodies and our natural environment, a new River Ganga anthem inspired by Pujya Swamiji and written by world famous and Grammy award nominee, devotional singer Snatam Kaur and sung by Snatam with Grammy award nominees Deva Premal and Miten Krishna Das, C.C. White and other world-renowned artists was shared with him and presented in the Ganga Aarti. The anthem is a call to all of us to work together to protect and preserve the waters of this holy river from pollution and to work together to ensure our river’s healthy flow.

The couple enjoyed the song and very much appreciated the efforts of Pujya Swamiji, Pujya Sadhviji, the world-famous artists of the song and all the sevaks and volunteers who serve for Mother Ganga. Together with Pujya Swamiji they joined for a sacred pledge to protect and preserve our National River Ganga and Her tributaries and inspired everyone for climate action. 

After receiving the offering of a sacred Rudraksha sapling and sandalwood malas from Pujya Swamiji, Hon’ble President Kovindji offered a powerful keynote address. In it, he stated… (HON’BLE PRESIDENT’S QUOTE TO BE SHARED IN EVENING WITH PICTURES – OR YOU CAN WATCH THE CEREMONY LIVE FROM 5PM HERE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hK2qT2YfJzk)

Immediately following the addresses, the President and First Lady Ms Savita Kovindji and their daughter enjoyed the sacred Ganga Aarti as they waved the beautiful and ornate oil lamps toward the flowing waters of Mother Ganga. The aarti ceremony concluded with a heart-filled singing of India’s National Anthem. Thereafter the Hon’ble President and First Lady walked back into the Ashram admist earthen lamps lit to honour this historic and special visit.

Pujya Swamiji also took this opportunity to cordially invite the Hon’ble President to inaugurate next year’s International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan to be held from 8-14th March, 2022. In the evening there were high-level discussions covering the various programs and initiatives inspired and blessed by Pujya Swamiji and implemented by Parmarth Niketan, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and the Divine Shakti Foundation.  Pujya Swamiji shared numerous solutions and innovations for a variety of topics from faecal sludge management, sustainable solid waste management, development of Rudraksha Van (forest of rudraksha trees) and Kedar Smriti Van (forest in memory of those who lost their lives in the Kedarnath floods) and many other inspiring initiatives in the service of the nation.