Water Blessing Ceremony, London, 2014
Water Blessing Ceremony at House of Commons, London
On July 18, 2014 for the first time in British history, an Interfaith Water Blessing Ceremony was performed on the lap of River Thames to give thanks for the ancient, life-giving river and to pray that people all over the world should have access to safe and sufficient water. The event also was organised in the presence of the president of the Ganga Action Parivar and the co-founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance Shree Chidanand Swamiji and SGVP president Sadguruvarya Shastri Shree Madhavpriyadasji Swami and in the presence of nine faith leaders.
All the nine faith leaders prayed together to make the world a place with non-polluted and pure water and took an oath to provide world with fresh and drinkable water. The event also was organised to raise awareness of water scarcity across the globe which has reached unprecedented dangerous levels. In the presence of dignitaries from all walks of life including businessmen, faith leaders, community leaders from all over UK, the River Thames was blessed.
A one minute silence was observed in memory of Late Mr. Arjan K. Vekaria and those who lost their lives in the recent unfortunate crash of Malaysian flight MH 17 by the host Rt. Hon. Mr. Keith Vaz, MP and all the attendees. Rt. Hon. Keith Vaz, MP, said, “The time for preservation of one of the most essential commodities of life is now. Pure water is the birth right of every human being. God gave water to human beings in abundance, and He provided equal accessibility of it to everyone. Today, tragically, due to so many reasons, people are being deprived of their birth right. It is wonderful that this ceremony is taking place here today, I am so glad to be part of it. The next ceremony should be all together on the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh, India, as it is so crucial to preserve and protect that national river, and I am so glad to know that the current government in India is so committed to that work of protecting the River Ganga. I look forward to coming there and being part of that movement.”
Sadguruvarya Shastri Shree MadhavpriyadasSwamiji, Head of the Gurukul Parivar, shared: "Today is the 18th of July. One plus eight (1+8) equals nine which, in our tradition, is a symbol of wholeness and completeness. We have 9 faith leaders here to perform the sacred Water Blessing Ceremony, to bless the Royal River Thames and to pray for the other rivers around the world. Water is a symbol of life, purity and love. Launching this great campaign of work and prayers for the rivers of our world, from the House of Commons, the seat of the Mother of democracy, will certainly ensure that our message is spread worldwide. I am confident this campaign of cleaning the rivers, recharging our water and protecting-preserving our water bodies will blossom, flourish and grow, and I am committed to serving in whatever capacity I can. Explaining the essentials of intermingles of life and water, Pujya Swami ChidanandSaraswati, Founder of Ganga Action Parivar and Co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, emphasized "Water is life and therefore it is sacred. Water not only irrigates our farms but also our lives and our hearts. In our culture and religion water is considered a devta, a Divine One (aapodevta). Therefore, wasting water or polluting water is an insult both to the Creator and also to the creation. I deeply appreciate the wonderful work done by the people and governmental organisations of Great Britain to restore the Thames river to a state of such cleanliness and health. As I perform this ceremony on the banks of the Thames. We pledge to work together to bring the vision of a clean and green Ganga to reality.”
Mr. Shashikant Vekaria, businessman and philanthropist, inspired by the presence of the faith leaders, said, “Today even more than yesterday, as the world sees the adverse impact of the water crisis, it needs a guiding light from events like the Water Blessing Ceremony to sustain and give a purposeful direction to humanity.”
The event was graced by the presence of the following leaders:
•Pujya Swami ChidanandSaraswatiji, Founder of Ganga Action Parivar, Co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, and President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh (India)
•Sadguruvarya Shastri Shree MadhavpriyadasSwamiji, Head of the Gurukul Parivar
•Reverend Rose Hudson - Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons
•BhaiMohinder Singh Ahluwalia - Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Birmingham
•Dr. Rusi K Dalal - Zoroastrian Leader
•Dr. Natubhai Shah - Jain Leader
•Reverend Mark Poulson - Christian Leader
•Venerable Dr Handupelpola Mahinda Nayaka - Buddhist Leader
•Dr. Vithal Dhaduk, M.D., is a Founding Partner of Core Pharma, LLC.