Vedic tradition says that to gain prosperity, austerities or yajna must be done; often it is in the form of a sacrifice of some kind. For such a cause as world peace, the magnitude of the sacrifice is difficult to imagine. However, the Portuguese Yoga Confederation has formulated a plan.
On June 21st, the summer solstice or longest day of the year; considered an auspicious occasion for Vedic faith traditions, marked the first Yoga Day, a pan-European scale of its global goal, held in Lisbon, Portugal. The goal of world peace, yoga was used as a remedy for the turmoil of the world’s problems.
In a jam-packed, two-day event 36 speeches, entertainment and yoga demonstrations, with the goal of world peace through united yogic practices of various traditions. On the list of organizations that attended was the Hindu Forum of Europe (HFE), represented by Mahaprabhu das (Martin Gurvich) who also made a speech during the presentations.
“To be a part of a message of love, peace, tolerance, spirituality, and joyfulness,” said Mahaprabhu das, General Secretary of the HFE, he continued, “gives me great pleasure and I hope that the leaders of the world will see more and more how spirituality is a real solution to many of the world’s problems,” he said.
The Portuguese are known for their taking to the Yogic traditions. Jagat Guru Amrta Suryananda Maha Raja, the organizer of the event and founder of the Portuguese Yoga Confederation that has 34 yoga ashrams in Portugal alone. It is his hope that the World Yoga Day will become an official UN and UNESCO day. This vision of World Yoga Day has been moving toward its realization since 2011 at a Yoga Summit in Bengaluru, India.
“We had an overwhelming response all over the world,” said Chandra devi, Vice-President of the organization, she continued “it was a unique gathering with 150 international and national honorable guests [… and] 1000 participants joined together to celebrate this day.”
Some of guests included various Gurus and Swamis, academics, political leaders, ambassadors and Yoga center leaders.
“World Yoga Day is an opportunity,” said Radhanath Swami ISKCON spiritual leader, “is an opportunity for us to unite as spiritual sisters and brothers, in the name of our beloved Lord, and invoke wisdom and blessings upon the world.”
After the success of this year’s event, the organizers are already planning for next year, to be bigger and more encompassing.
By Kumari Sherreitt
Hindu Forum Europe Executive Secretary