By Bhupinder Singh April 7, 2010
Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh Khalsa, Ambassador of Sikh Dharma and Chairman of Guru Ram Das Sikh Mission of America attended the Ganga cleaning project and the launching of Encyclopedia of Hinduism organized by Pujya Swamiji Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj (‘Muniji’) of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India on April 3rd and 4th, 2010. The Chief Guest for both functions was His Holiness Dalai Lama who was staying at the Parmarth Ashram in Rishikesh. Other prominent saints and dignitaries included Swami Ramdev, Swami Gurusharanananda, Swami Murari Bapuji, Swami Rameshbhai Ozaji, Dr. B.K Modi, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal (Chief Minister of Uttarakhand ) and Shri L.K. Advani, Ex-Deputy Prime Minister of India. Famous Indian singer Anup Jalota participated in the events in Haridwar and Rishikesh and mesmerized the audiences with his melodious bhajans and religious songs.
The Dalai Lama who has been living in exile for the past fifty years joined many revered saints and leaders in a series of events organized by Swami Chidanandji at Haridwar and Rishikesh on April 3rd and 4th during the ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. The first event was held at Haridwar on April 3rd which was the preview and blessing ceremony for the Encyclopedia of Hinduism. The Encyclopedia of Hinduism Project was started in 1987 jointly by Swami Chidanand Saraswati and Dr. K.L. Seshagiri Rao. It took almost 15 years to complete and more than 500 writers contributed 10,000 articles on Hinduism. Encyclopedia presents comprehensive overview of the total life experience of Hinduism, covering not only textual material and oral traditions, but also the wide spectrum of regional and global variations. Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh attended all these events with the Dalai Lama and represented Sikh Dharma and the Sikh faith.
On April 4th, there was a gala function at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh where the Ganga water cleaning project was initiated by Swami Chidanandji. Many revered saints and leaders of various faiths were in attendance including Father Domenic Emmanuel from the Christian religion. All of them spoke on the necessity of keeping the Ganga water clean for our future generations.
Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh Khalsa in his address congratulated Swami Chidanand on the launch of the Encylcolpedia of Hiduism and on the commendable project undertaken by Parmarth Niketan Ashram on keeping the Ganga river water clean. He thanked Swamiji on behalf of Sikh Dharma (USA) and on behalf of all the organizations started by Late Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji. He said that Swamiji was a close fiend of Late Yogiji and that Swamiji has worked tirelessly on bringing harmony among various religious factions in India and abroad. Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh further said that cleaning of water resources is the dire necessity in India and that the central and state government departments must ensure proper programs to keep the Ganga water clean from plastic bags and other disposables that pollute the Ganga river. Swami Ramdev read a pledge onstage and every dignitary along with the entire audience took the pledge with raised hands to keep the Ganaga clean. Later in the evening on April 3rd, there was an ‘Aarti’ program at Parmarth Ashram in Rishikesh. Aarti is the beautiful ceremony in which deepas (the oil lamps) are offered to God. One of the meanings of Aarti literally is “remover of pain.” This is beautiful, because there is nothing inherent in the name of the ceremony that says which form or name of God it should be performed to. It should be performed to the Divine Remover of Pain in our life.
Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh had a private meeting with His Holiness Dalai Lama for over half an hour where they discussed various religious issues facing the planet. He also apprised H.H. Dalai Lama of the continuation of the various programs started by Late Yogi Bhajan and his legacy. The Dalai Lama remembered meeting Late Yogiji many times and was very much impressed with his work and efforts for peace in the world. Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh Khalsa invited the Dalai Lama to visit New Mexico which invitation was accepted by the Dalai Lama. Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh will organize and coordinate the visit of Dalai Lama to New Mexico sometime later this year.
Bhai Sahib’s visit to the Dalai Lama, 2010.