Swamiji's World Peace Tour 2008 - visiting U.S.
His Holines Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda is currently on his North American World Peace Tour, which started already on August 10th, when His Holiness Swamiji precedingly visited New York City. From the beginning of September the tour continues with visits to Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Vancouver.
Major highlights will be visits to the United Nations and participation in events connected to International Peace week, September 20th - 30th. For additional information please visit the following websites:
Tour highlights are presented below
YIDL - UN leaflet (5.5 MB PDF)
Los Angeles Times (Sept. 27th 2008) - Swami shows L.A. homies a path to inner peace [PDF version]
Los Angeles Times (Sept. 26th 2008) - Swamiji Brings World Peace Message to 'Good Day' Friday (TV interview)
Los Angeles Times (Sept. 26th 2008) - Web Extra! Swamiji (TV interview)
Alexandria Times (Sept. 18th 2008) - Alexandrians Find Inner Peace [PDF version]
Washington Post Express (Sept. 16th 2008) - Come in Peace: Swamiji's Yoga in Daily Life [PDF version]
New York Post (Sept. 16th 2008) - Self-Realization & The City [PDF version]
His Holiness Swamiji Receives Award from Los Angeles City Mayor and Plants ‘World Peace Tree’ (September 25)
His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda was invited to an auspicious occasion to mark the celebration of International Peace Week in Los Angeles today. A unique gathering of local and international peace advocates and supporters came together at The Canyon Peace Park, to participate in a ceremony dedicated to world peace. Participants included US anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, founder of Peace Park Fred Segal, Sister Jemma from Brahma Kumaris and President of United Nations Association California Norma Foster.
In the name of world peace, His Holiness Swamiji and Fred Segal planted a Japanese maple tree on the grounds as a living symbol for future generations. “As this tree spreads its branches, so too let us spread peace across the globe, from door to door and shore to shore” said His Holiness.
“War is unnecessary and peace can never be created through war. Only by cultivating love can we bring peace to the world but, do not only preserve peace in your heart, spread it throughout the world!”
On this day His Holiness Swamiji also received an award issued by Los Angeles City Mayor Villaraigosa, in recognition of his 40 years work for peace in the world.
Interfaith Gathering at Ringing of World Peace Bell in Downtown LA (September 25)
In recognition of the International Day of Peace and in celebration of Peace Week in Los Angeles, the United Nations Association of California invited visiting spiritual luminary, His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda to partake in the annual ceremony of the official ringing of the World Peace Bell.
The World Peace Bell was a gift dedicated to the city of Los Angeles from the people of Japan after the travesty of Hiroshima.
The ceremony took place in Maguire Gardens of LA’s Central Library and the dignitaries present included, the Honorable Junichi Ihara, Consul General of Japan, His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, founder of International Yoga in Daily Life, Archbishop George Stallings of Imani Temple, Bishop Henning of Universal Peace Federation, Norma Foster of United Nations Association of California, Chief Two Bears of Lakoda tribe, Sister Jenna of Brahma Kumaris, Keith McCarthy of Ambassadors for Peace.
Today’s ceremony was also held in commemoration of the twenty five people who were tragically killed in a recent LA Metro accident. In honour of world peace and those who recently lost their lives, twenty five colourful, hand-painted “Peace Kites” were also released by local children as the Peace Bell was rung twenty-five times.
The United Nations established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace throughout the world.
His Holiness Swamiji Receives Title ‘Ambassador of Peace’ (September 21)
In recognition of four decades of tireless work for peace around the globe, His Holiness Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda was today awarded the title ‘Ambassador of Peace’ by the Universal Peace Foundation in Los Angeles.
A Vienna resident for 35 years, H.H. Swamiji is a tireless advocate of world peace, recognised the world over for his teachings of “Inner Peace for World Peace” via the system of Yoga in Daily Life. He has planted World Peace Trees in three districts of Vienna. The spiritual luminary is visiting the USA as part of a world peace tour and is an invited guest by the United Nations Association of California to ring the Peace Bell in Los Angeles for the U.N. declared, International Day of Peace.
The Universal Peace Federation – Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace acknowledge as Ambassadors of Peace, those individuals whose lives exemplify the ideal of living for the sake of others, and who dedicate themselves to practices which promote moral values, strong family life, interreligious cooperation, international harmony, renewal of the United Nations, a responsible public media, and the establishment of a culture of peace. Transcending racial, national and religious barriers, the Ambassadors for Peace contribute to the fulfilment, of the hope of all ages, a unified world of peace wherein the spiritual and material dimensions of life are harmonized.
The five principles that underlie the Ambassadors for Peace are:
- God - We are one human family created by God, the ultimate Reality.
- Spirituality - The highest qualities of the human being are spiritual and moral.
- Family - The family is the "school of love and peace."
- Service - Living for the sake of others.
- Unity - Peace comes through cooperation beyond the boundaries of ethnicity, religion, and nationality.
Follow the Vedic Principles to Achieve Inner Peace for World Peace (September 19)
The Hindu Temple Society of California extended an invitation to visiting luminary, Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda Ji, to address their community today at the Sri Venkateswara Temple. His Holiness is in the USA on a World Peace Tour and he encouraged this gathering of devout Hindus about the necessity of following the divine principles as written in the Vedas in order to acquire inner peace, “then outer peace will naturally prevail”. “This life is given to serve and to achieve Self- Realisation – that is the aim of human life”.
Located in the beautiful hills of Malibu in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Sri Venkateswara Temple is also known as the Malibu Temple. It is built in the traditional Indian style and also contains several outdoor shrines to Hindu deities. This temple is considered by many to be one of the largest and most authentic Hindu temples in the western hemisphere.
Relaxation & Meditation for Hospital Patients (September 17)
The New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell offer patients high-end care and cutting edge technology for treatment of various conditions. Certain departments within the hospital also offer additional therapies such as Pet Therapy and Music Therapy, and today some inpatients had the opportunity to meet with one of the world's most renowned meditation teachers, His Holiness, Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda.
H.H. Swamiji has spent the last 40 years spreading the benefits of Meditation and Yoga around globe and he is currently in the USA as part of a World Peace Tour. His brief stay in New York included a visit to the hospital patients to offer them encouragement, inspiration and practical tips to soothe body and mind, and lighten the spirit.
Whilst at the hospital H.H. Swamiji was also invited to address nursing staff and he praised them for their compassionate care. He said, “To serve, care and help others, is the greatest thing one can do in life”.
All Creatures Great and Small (September 13)
His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda together with Christine Gutleben, Director of Animals and Religions for Humane Society of the USA, addressed a large gathering in Washington about non-violence and confronting cruelty to animals.
Ms. Gutleben presented the various nationwide campaigns being conducted by the Humane Society, which includes getting more corporations in America to fight against factory farming in food production, specifically gestation cages used to raise pigs and chickens for human consumption.
Understanding that the compassionate use of animals in human society is also a subject that is discussed in various religious circles, the Humane Society partners with religious leaders to give the message of compassion for animals a stronger voice.
His Holiness Swami Maheshwarananda says, “The tenet ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ applies to all life forms, not just protecting human life. In Hinduism it is said ‘non-violence is the highest duty, the highest precept by which one should live life. There is no compromise on Truth. If you love animals, the highest compassion you can show is not to kill them.”
“Animals are like our children, if we really have compassion for them, we would not harm them. Love them, feed them, protect them – don’t eat them” says His Holiness Swamiji.
Additionally, there is growing scientific evidence that demonstrates the environmental benefits to be gained by not breeding animals for consumption. Research study by a UN body showed that in terms of carbon emissions, eating meat is vastly more harmful to the environment than driving vehicles.
His Holiness Swamiji suggested that the Humane Society of America should advocate the vegetarian diet as the primary choice in non-cruelty to animals.
Walk for Unity (September 14)
On September 14th the annual 9/11 Unity Walk took place in Washington D.C. bringing together people of the world's faiths and cultures to celebrate the unity of humanity in a world struggling with religious intolerance.
Organised by the Cornell Club of Washington, united religious leaders and people of diversity, to share in a spirited walk along Massachusetts Avenue, beginning at Washington Hebrew Congregation and concluding at the Gandhi Memorial Shrine. During the Walk, people were greeted by faith leaders in front of their houses of worship – the Papal Nuncio at the Archdiocese, Sikh chanters before their Gurudwara. When the Walk reached the Gandhi memorial, there was Hindu chanting and music before remarks given by a compatriot of Dr. Martin Luther King.
His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda joined the walk and with great reverence garlanded Gandhi’s statue in remembrance of the great man.
Planting of Peace Tree & Interfaith Dialogue to Promote World Peace (September 14)
An array of community leaders, political leaders, religious leaders and peace advocates gathered today in Del Ray, City of Alexandria, to participate in the planting of a World Peace Tree organised by the not-for-profit organisation Yoga in Daily Life.
Congressman Jim Moran commenced proceedings saying that this Fringe Tree, native to Virginia and planted in honour of world peace, would make all who walk by it conscious of their humanity. Congressman Moran said this tree was a metaphor for life itself, passing through the various cycles of growth. Also as a symbol of how humans should live life – offering shelter to one and all.
Mayor Euille expressed that planting this tree in honour of world peace should be more than a one-off event, rather it should be an everyday occasion. “People all around the world wish for the same thing, namely world peace. This tree will always attract my attention when I walk by and I shall remember its significance.”
His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, who has planted peace trees across the globe to inspire world peace, addressed the gathering saying, “We must not only wish for peace but work for peace. Everyone has the responsibility to bring peace amongst humans. Media has the power to change the world and they should write articles and impart messages of peace. Every religion should take a step towards each other for peace to spread across the globe. In the same way that charity begins in one’s own home, peace begins from within our own heart.”
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik said, “Peace is not just the absence of war...peace requires active engagement, sacrifice and work...peace requires action, not inaction.” We need to change our priorities to spend more reflective time on that aspect of ourselves which is eternal...this will inspire peace.
Mr. Jonathon Dean, former Ambassador and Advisor to the US Government on Security and long time supporter of Yoga in Daily Life, congratulated the organisation for arranging this historic event in Washington and gave praise for the good work it does in the community.