India’s spiritual gurus address hundreds at London event
– HH Pujya Muniji and Sadhvi Bhagawati with Barry Gardiner
Last weekend, two of India’s prominent spiritual leaders held an event for devotees in the UK, where they discussed the “secrets of happiness”.
His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, also known as Pujya Muniji, is the head of the Parmath Niketan in Rishikesh, north India; while Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati is the president of the Divine Shakti Foundation, which runs free schools and vocational training programmes at the Parmarth Niketan.
During an interaction in London last Saturday, 20 August, HH Pujya Muniji – who turned 70 a few months ago – met about 700 devotees at the Swaminarayan Temple in Stanmore.
He said, “Attitude and gratitude play a very important role in happiness. Be constantly connected with God. Treat each other as our own. There is no competition between all our seasons, so why between us? That is the secret of happiness.”
Addressing the gathering, the spiritual leader recalled a meeting with industrialists Srichand Hinduja and his brother Gopichand (GP) when he visited the UK 40 years ago.
“They told me their father always said, ‘Do good deeds.’ If you do good deeds, then God will always be with you. Everything we do is recorded in the court of our lord. When we are in harmony with nature, even a scorpion does not bite us.
“If you want to be happy, have faith, let go, don’t expect too much, and don’t get upset.”
In her remarks, Sadhvi Bhagawati said, “After the Covid pandemic and a long break, I am feeling a lot of joy and happiness to meet devotees here (in Britain). “It is our birthright to be happy. Children are the perfect example of that happiness. A baby needs nothing more than [being able to] eat, drink and have a clean nappy to be happy.
“But we try all our lives to get wealth, wealth and much more. We criticise ourselves by constantly comparing ourselves with others. Ego robs us of our happiness.
“Everyone wishes I had this or that thing, and due to that, we get stressed.”
Sadhvi Bhagawati recalled her experience of living in California and travelling to India a few decades ago when she had a spiritual awakening at the ashram. She said, “Swamiji (HH Pujya Muniji) always said, ‘we were not going to take anything with us.’
“No one’s honour, pride, greed, or wealth will last forever. We cannot pay attention when we are distracted. Our present way of working makes us worse. “Swamiji says for peace of mind, meet everyone with an open heart. You cannot get love if your heart is closed. We trust strangers, so why not enjoy trusting everyone around us?”
On the occasion, HH Pujya Muniji and Sadhvi Bhagawati presented prominent individuals with Ganga Seva Awards for their services to the community.
Recipients included the Hinduja Group’s GP Hinduja; Lord Dolar Popat, the UK prime minister’s trade envoy to Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo; Pradip Dhamecha of Dhamecha Cash & Carry; Rajesh Agrawal, the deputy mayor of London for business; GP and former British Medical Association council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul and his wife Dr Meena Nagpaul; Chandubhai and Sunita Kevalramani; the Harrow East Conservative MP Bob Blackman; and Labour’s Brent North MP Barry Gardiner.
HH Pujya Swamiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati were welcomed at the event with garlands presented by Ram Kotecha and Navni Kotecha. There was also a short video presentation about Parmarth Niketan and its activities.
It was also announced that 121 trees will be planted to commemorate the combined birthdays of HH Pujya Muniji and Sadhvi Bhagawati (70+50+1 for good luck in the Hindu tradition). Singers Raja Kasef and Rubayat Jahan graced the occasion with songs about motherhood and the festival of Janmashtami, the birthday celebrations of Lord Krishna, held last weekend.