International Day of Non-Violence 2018
The 2nd of October, birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, was proclaimed by the United Nations in 2007 to be the International Day of Non-Violence. Since then, it has been observed annually worldwide by – among others – non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Council and Yoga in Daily Life overseen by Vishwaguru Swami Maheshwaranandaji. In 2018, this special day marked the start of the year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birth, launched by the Indian Government.
Our commemoration on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday anniversary and his advocacy for non-violence, began with social and cultural programs co-organized with Indian governmental institutions, as well as free yoga classes and meditations, satsangs and prayers, dedicated to peace and non-violence at Yoga in Daily Life centers and World Peace Trees.
An event titled "Non-Violence is the Weapon of the Strong" was organized by the Zagreb Association of Yoga in Daily Life along with the Indian Embassy, in Westin Hotel, Zagreb, Croatia, where around two hundred Zagreb citizens, Indians resident in Croatia, and representatives of the City of Zagreb, various embassies and associations, gathered to celebrate together.
With brief reviews on the topic, the audience was addressed by Mr. J.N Majhi, First Secretary of the Indian Embassy; Mahamandaleshwar Swami Vivek Puri, President of Yoga in Daily Life Croatia; Professor Dr. Zoran Kurelić, PhD in political sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Political Science of Zagreb University; Mr. Svibor Jančić, Deputy of the City Assembly of Zagreb; and Mr. Pradeep Urs, Councilor for Cultural Relations of the Indian Government for Croatia. Professor Kurelić pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi had become a great example and symbol for all mankind, explaining that Gandhi's influence was not limited to one country, continent, nor just the time in which he lived. Svibor Jančić gave the audience a very interesting insight into the Croatian peacemaking politics of Gandhi’s time, in the work of Stjepan Radić, a well-known Croatian politician.
Beside the interesting speeches, the audience was shown three short films about Mahatma Gandhi and had the opportunity to listen to bhajans (spiritual songs), and taste Indian vegetarian food specialties and chai (tea).
In Wellington, New Zealand, the Pujaya Mahatma Gandhi Birthday Commemoration Committee with the co-operation of Wellington City Council, the High Commission of India and the New Zealand Association of Yoga in Daily Life, held a successful event on 2 October celebrating both the International Day of Non-Violence and the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
The celebration was organized beside the statue of Gandhi in front of Wellington Railway Station. Mayor of Wellington, Mr. Justin Lester, spoke highly of the principles enunciated by the Mahatma, as did the High Commissioner, who also thanked the City Council for taking good care of the statue. A concept plan to build a Gandhi gruh (shelter) and meditative park around the statue was revealed and warmly received. Chairman of the Commemoration Committee, Mr. Naginbhai Neil Patel, said that Gandhi's principles of love, truth, non-violence, hard work, respect and co-operation are needed more than ever in the present day. He advised of a two-year plan centered around the 150th birthday anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, involving peace walks, street cleaning, tree planting, river cleaning and city sustainability throughout New Zealand, and he announced the support of the mayors of numerous major centers. At the end of the event, attendees, sponsors and volunteers were welcomed to enjoy the vegetarian lunch provided.
On 2 October, representatives from Yoga in Daily Life, the Indian Consulate General and members of the public, including resident Indian community, gathered to celebrate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and the International Day of Non-Violence at the statue of Gandhiji in the Municipal Park of Luxembourg City.
In Adelaide, South Australia, the regular yoga class on 2 October with an extra-long relaxation period, was dedicated to non-violence to self and others on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence. A yoga class with a talk on yoga and ahimsa (non-violence) was organized for the South Australian Ambulance paramedics on 4 October.
In Melbourne, Victoria, a yoga class dedicated to non-violence and an evening meditation were held at the Yoga in Daily Life Ashram, on 2 October.
On 2 October, two free yoga classes were provided to the public by Yoga in Daily Life in Hainan, China, where violence against self, family and society were being discussed, and how yoga and the practice of ahimsa can help to prevent violence. Dynamic yoga was practiced to release inner turbulence, which was followed by the deep relaxation of yoga nidra. Practitioners joined their hands in a circle to symbolize unity and shared food together as a yoga family. Students learned to chant the Peace Mantra and Om Shanti to keep inner peace further.
The YIDL Center in Budapest organized different activities throughout the whole week, from 1-7 October 2018. Each day, prayers were offered for the achievement of a world without violence at the Budapest Guru Ashram and the Hindu Mandir (Temple). On 5 October, a special satsang was dedicated to non-violence at the Guru Ashram and the work of Mahatma Gandhi was commemorated. Peace meditation and a peace prayer were held on this occasion.
The Szeged Association of Yoga in Daily Life organized three satsangs devoted to the principle of non-violence in Szeged and Kecskemét.
At the Ashram in Győr, a satsang and meditation were held on 5 October, to commemorate the International Day of Non-Violence.
On 2 October, the YIDL community of Martin, gathered at the World Peace Tree in the city center to celebrate the International Day of Non-Violence. Children took part in the program, chanting the mantra of happiness. They also quoted Mahatma Gandhi - one of the greatest personalities of India, who fought for freedom and advocated the principle of non-violence. And the children lit candles - symbolizing the light of their hearts radiating all around. The celebration ended with chanting the Peace Mantra.
The Yoga in Daily Life community of Kosice also sang the Peace Mantra and lit candles around the World Peace Tree on 2 October.
A satsang was held to observe the International Day of Non-Violence, on 2 October, at the yoga center of Velehradská in the 3rd district of Prague.