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UN International Day of Peace celebrated in Croatia

Hundreds of candles lit for world peace

Yoga is a spiritual discipline through which millions of people around the world find inner peace, patience and tolerance for themselves, others and their surroundings. Peace is one of the basic qualities that is developed by practicing yoga, and when that quality awakens in us, it expands out to our surroundings too.

In this spirit, Yoga in Daily Life Croatia celebrated the International Day of Peace on September 21st this year, as has been the tradition for the past 15 years, since the author of the Yoga in Daily Life System, Vishwaguru Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji, held the first in a series of 'Prayers for World Peace' in Umag, Croatia in 2001.

The day dedicated to peace began early in the morning in Karlovac, where a Peace Tree was planted and prayers for peace recited with great enthusiasm by the residents of a Seniors Care Home that is close to this most beautiful park in Karlovac. Elderly residents, some of whom have survived several wars, are fortunate to have the opportunity to practice Yoga in Daily Life at their Home, and on this occasion they proved that spirit knows no age, replacing walking sticks with shovels and expessing their wishes for peace in the whole world.

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Celebrations continued at noon in Zagreb, where a prayers took place around the existing Peace Tree. A large number of people from Zagreb gathered around the tree despite the early hours and the busy lifestyle of everyday life in a big city.

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After the Zagreb event there was still one more tree left for planting in Varazdin, ready to stand for peace in the name of all.

On this occasion Mahamandaleshwar Swami Vivekpuri emphasized:

"The title of our celebration is 'Inner Peace for World Peace' for one simple reason: we cannot have peace while we still have discontentment within us - complexes and fear, which create aggression. Only when we achieve peace and contentment within ourselves, can we also have it around us. When people say that the International Day of Peace has more to do with politics than with us, this is not true. Yoga is definitely connected with peace. You know that at the end of each yoga practice we wish shanti - peace - throughout the universe, the environment, to everyone. We use yoga to harmonize ourselves, planet Earth and the universe, so such events actually bring in line the higher principles of the universe through the prayer: May all be happy, may all live in peace, may the whole universe be in harmony."

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At Zrinski Park, in Čakovec, where Vishwaguruji planted the first Croatian Peace Tree in 2005, members and supporters of the local yoga society gathered in the afternoon to pray together for peace, lighting candles to mark the occasion for the 11th year.

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People from Split celebrated International Day of Peace near the Olive Tree of Peace planted in 2006 in front of the Golden Gate in the centre of town. Candles for peace were lit by members, students and teachers of the Split branch of Yoga in Daily Life, joined by members of public and tourists passing by.

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Candles for peace were also lighted near the Olive Trees of Peace in Duga Uvala and Umag, from where prayers and messages of peace were sent by all who were present that day in these beautiful cities on the Adriatic Coast.

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In all the Croatian centers of Yoga in Daily Life, during all regular yoga classes throughout the day, 15 minutes of meditation for peace were held. As many as 50 yoga practitioners gathered in class for morning sadhana in Rijeka.

Great interest in all the Yoga in Daily Life events was shown by the Croatian Media on the day. Organisers expressed gratitude to them for their participation, especially since the initiative for declaring September 21st as the annual International Day of Peace was initiated by a journalist appealing to the United Nations.

Hundreds of candles were lighted and two new Peace Trees were planted in Croatia, joining all the existing Peace Trees and the 500 trees planted in the Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda Peace Alley at the Kopački Rit Nature Park, dedicated in the name of Vishwaguruji to honor his great service to world peace and protection of the natural environment. We hope that they will grow happily and that with the growth of each new leaf the aspiration for peace will grow within us all - lasting peace for one and all.

Wishing everyone a happy International Day of Peace!

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