First state visit of His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda to Ex-Soviet state Ukraine
On the 4th of June 2004, His Holiness, Mahamandaleshwar Vishwaguru Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwaranandaji, arrived on his first visit to Kiev – capital of the former Soviet State of Ukraine – where he was received and welcomed as a VIP guest at the airport. A press conference was held later that evening, followed by a public lecture, where Swamiji conveyed the message of Yoga and praised India as being the homeland of eternal wisdom and spirituality.
He departed the next day for Cherkasy, after giving a public lecture on Yoga at the famous Kiev-Mohyle Academy. The Mayor of Cherkasy, Mr. Anatoliy Voloshyn, along with the Town Council Deputy, Mr. Yuriy Kuvita, officially welcomed Swamiji at the border of the town. Following a warm and friendly reception and a further press conference, Swamiji held a formal meeting with the Governor of Cherkasy, Mr.Vadym Lyashenko and with the Head of Council, Mr.Genadiy Kapralov.
In the evening, at the House of Children’s Art, a charming and delightful concert played by children was organised in honour of Swamiji. In his lecture he expressed the importance of education, especially the Arts, as they play such a significant role in developing children’s creativity and communications skills.
In the morning of the 6th of June 2004 the Town Mayor, Mr. Anatoliy Voloshyn received Swamiji in his office and invited him for an excursion to see a 1,100-year-old tree in the middle of Ukraine. He was then invited to give a lecture in the Astra Rehabilitation Centre where he visited children with disabilities. In his speech he emphasised the importance of vegetarian nourishment and of the responsibilities parents have in this matter.
That evening Swamiji gave Mantra Diksha to 250 people, including the Town Mayor.
The next day, 7th June, Swamiji fulfilled the invitations of several Universities in Cherkasy. In the morning, the Director of the Medical College of Cherkasy received him with great respect and dignity. Here, Swamiji gave a lecture on Yoga to 500 people and introduced a meditation technique to the students for the development of their concentration.
After this he was again received with honour, by the Director of the Polytechnical University of Cherkasy, where more than 500 people were waiting for Swamiji’s words of wisdom. The Director then kindly offered to arrange for a Ukraine translation of the "Yoga in Daily Life" book, authored by Swamiji.
Later in the afternoon, he was warmly welcomed by the Director of the University of Human Sciences. In his speech to an audience of 600 people, Swamiji talked about the same origin of all cultures and the importance of maintaining traditions. In his thank you speech the Director promised to cooperate in creating a cultural chamber of Ukraine in Jadan, Rajasthan where Swamiji is building the OM Ashram (Om Vishwa Deep Gurukul Swami Maheshwarananda Ashram).
The Town Mayor then accompanied Swamiji to visit the 1,100-year-old tree at "Holodniy Yar" which in English means Cold Valley. He blessed the tree and prayed for further blessings of the tree. Swamiji described this tree as our ancestor, an example of survival and a witness to the history of Ukraine.
Finally on his way back he was shown the lake that inspired the great composer Tchaikovsky to write his beautiful ballet "Swan Lake".