Gathering of Elders in Haridwar

April 9, 2012
Nina and a Sadhu

Our visit to the Holiest of Holy cities in India is Rishikesh and Haridwar. Below is the Mother Ganga River and as you can see people bathe themselves here to receive immortality and on the other hand here is where they are cremated…both existing at the same time. Life and death. The Ganga is the Mother and the sky filled with the sun going down for the evening prayers of Aarati represents Father Sun. Across the water is the Parmath Center where Swami Chitanand lives with his devotees. One of his major devotees is the daughter of an old friend of mine.

The program for the Elders of all Traditions with a focus on the Indigenous tribes of India was to nourish the balance of our universe. There were over 300 guests from 35 countries. A banner was created for Children of the Earth, but they said Children of Mother Earth. It was so beautiful! There was a large procession of all the elders in their native clothes. Most beautiful were the ongoing rituals offered by these groups and as Nana kept on remarking; they all had so many similarities, such as throwing of rice for purification, fire ceremonies for uniting and purifying, blindfolding of the oracle, chants all are to be found in so many of the traditions. It almost seemed that though there were many academics here to discuss the roles and information related to this topic of balance that more important was giving visibility and voice to the unheard and invisible peoples of the land. Patrick, Nana, Harriett, Diane and I were invited. Royal Chief Nana ’s joy and her ways were precious and so appreciated. She was the only African present.

Here you see Nana with Harriett sitting on stage. Patrick is on the far side and officially representing his Pagan religion. I am in the audience taking photos. Although each of us got to speak, time was limited and more important was the informal conversations and sharing of traditions. The next conference they will sponsor will be in two years to be held in Southern India.

There are so many in this area, many living in caves meditating and some roaming accepting life’s offerings.

On Stage
Ganges River
Nana Apeadu

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