Swamiji's Croatian Tour 2004
Our beloved Gurudev, Mahamandaleshwar Vishwaguru Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwaranandaji began his Croatian Tour on May 5th 2004. He arrived in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, accompanied by his youngest disciple, Mahayogi Swami Avatar Puriji, who immediately caught the attention of the Press waiting to meet Swamiji at the airport.
This was going to be an eventful visit, especially marked by the 20th anniversary of YIDL in Croatia and its accompanying activities (public lecture in Zagreb, international seminar in Cakovec, opening of the Croatian Multicultural Society and Multicultural Television Channel, etc.).
In the afternoon of his first day, Swamiji had an informal meeting with Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and then later held an inspiring public lecture in Croatia's capital. Over 2,000 spiritual seekers came to hear his enlightening words and to contribute, through paying their entry-fees, to humanitarian causes (the total income of the lecture went to Croatian Society Against Leukaemia and Lymphoma). Upon Swamiji’s request, Mahayogi Swami Avatar Puri, being only 4 and a half years old, opened the event with the chanting of ancient Vedic Mantras to purify and harmonise the atmosphere in the hall. The topic of Swamiji’s lecture was the Four Levels of Consciousness (un-conscious, sub-conscious, conscious and super-conscious) and the means to purify them. He explained that with help of Kriya Yoga we can purify the unconscious - and with Guru-Mantra the sub-conscious level. Swamiji emphasised the importance of the right kind of intellect, the Buddhi, which can be of great help for mankind, and that there are no borders for its development. Only by the developing of Buddhi and Self-realisation, does a human become truly Human.
On day two, Swamiji visited Karlovac, a city near Zagreb, to give Satsang for the local community. The rented hall soon proved too small for all visitors and organisers instantly swapped it for a bigger one so that all 500 guests could be accommodated to listen to Swamiji’s words of wisdom. After the satsang, everyone was invited to a rich vegetarian banquet prepared by members of Karlovac YIDL Society.
Later on this day Swamiji was the guest of honour at the solemn Academy, dedicated to the celebration of "20 Years of Yoga in Daily Life" in Croatia. Sadhvi Shantiji from Vienna opened the event with a short ceremony through which she honoured the YIDL's spiritual lineage. During the program at the Academy, Swamiji was greeted by many dignitaries from the cultural, political and social life of Croatia. Ms. Stefanija Balog, the Envoy of the President of Croatia, read a letter from the President, who thanked Swamiji for his service to humankind:
"While living in the times burdened with antagonisms, deprived of harmony and with many questions still open, we might ask ourselves, does the human have any chance at all? The lessons from the history of mankind are directing us to ways which are leading towards the lasting peace amongst nations, races and religions.
Peace is the path of knowledge, understanding and respect of the differences between people. Following these ideas, I recognize the work of His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda who is a peacekeeper and humanist, and who has promoted peace, non-violence and tolerance among people for many decades.
By teaching people to accept themselves, to understand and respect others and to feel the pain and suffering of others, Swamiji has given a huge contribution to building our way towards a civilized society of people of the world.
The President of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic".
The Minister of Justice, Ms. Vesna Skare Ozbolt expressed her admiration and respect for Swamiji’s work, with words that challenged former accusations to YIDL of bringing in the Hinduism through ‘the back door’ to Croatia's schools:
"I came here on purpose, to express respect and to congratulate you for your devoted humanitarian work which is so necessary and needed now in Croatia. Though I had had a scheduled meeting, I cancelled it purposely, because I wanted to convey my respects for the work that you have been doing. Croatia is on its path towards entry into the European Union, and it is seeking, expecting and accepting the consciousness, philosophies and civilisation of other nations, and by that Croatia is enriching itself.
Croatians are expected to live a healthy lifestyle, to support ecology and to have the sensitivity towards peoples’ problems, and in this field, dear Swamiji and ‘Yoga in Daily Life’ members, you are helping the Croatian Government and Ministers who are in a responsible position, including the Ministry of Justice, to understand the depths of life, to understand problems which they meet, and to know how to deal with them.
I wish you many, many more years of Yoga in Daily Life, and the Ministers of Croatian Government will join me in this wish, too."
His Excellency the Ambassador of India in Croatia, Mr. K. L. Agrawal said that Swamiji is an excellent promoter of the Indian tradition, culture and philosophy in Croatia, but also of Croatian culture and tradition to India. He told how he was fascinated by the sight of many thousand of Indians gathering at Swamiji's Ashram in Jadan/India when the Croatian president paid his visit to Swamiji there in 2002. His Excellency K. L. Agrawal then congratulated the first 3 disciples that brought Swamiji’s teachings to Croatia – Vivekpuri, Narayani and Yamuna. The fourth one, our dear Vishnupuri, unfortunately, is not physically with us any more, but his influence and heritage remains present (at least half of today’s Croatian Yoga teachers were once his students).
Swamiji too gave a short speech and devoted the Maha Mrityur Jaya Mantra for the protection and blessing of Croatia and for awakening and strengthening the global and multi-cultural consciousness in this country.
After the Academy, Swamiji stopped at Zagreb's Sri Devpuriji Ashram. In a relaxed satsang atmosphere he expressed his thanks to many of the disciples for their work in the organisation of preceding events, though the thanks must go really to him. Swamiji was presented with a 200 year old Croatian musical instrument named Citra, which quite a bit resembles the Indian Sitar, both by its name and its style of playing, probably having the same origin in distant history. Swamiji decided to send this instrument to Jadan Ashram in Rajasthan/India, to be placed in the Chamber of Croatian Culture.
Day three began with the opening ceremony of the Multicultural Society and Television Channel, inspired by Swamiji’s idea and led by his disciple Divya Jyoti. Swamiji, accompanied by Swami Avatar Puriji, performed the opening ceremony, which was followed by a multi-cultural program of Jewish, Croatian, Muslim, Serbian and 8 more cultural societies. Swamiji led a peace prayer, together with a Franciscan Catholic priest who referred to Swamiji as a "Saint", and a Muslim spiritual leader who in his prayer was asking God: "If I, o God, ever happen to forget You, don’t You, please, forget me", which reminded us all of Swamiji’s request to Mahaprabhuji in his Bhajan "Dayalu Hama, Nam Apka Lina".
In the evening of this day, Swamiji’s international YIDL seminar started in Cakovec, a city in the North-West part of Croatia. During the next three days, Swamiji kept over a thousand participants spiritually awake and inspired for their sadhana and for striving towards the higher goals of human life (listen to audio clips from the seminar). On the last day, during the Sunday Satsang, he led a powerful healing meditation, which was recorded and will be soon released on an audio CD.
Later that afternoon, after the closing of the seminar, Swamiji once more returned to Zagreb and paid one more visit to Sri Devpuriji Ashram, sacrificing his afternoon rest to stay with his disciples for few more hours. Thankful for this act of love, all finally followed him to the Airport to bid him and Avatarpuriji farewell, hoping to see them again soon.