DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Interfaith leaders from across the world have come together in Assisi, home of Saint Francis, as part of a Peace Pledge Pilgrimage to walk and work for peace and protection of water.
Parmarth Niketan President Swami Chidanand Saraswati and secretary, General of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati offered the holy water of Ganga collected from Gaumukh to mix with the waters of the glaciers of Greenland as part of the interfaith peace pledge. They pledged to live by, teach and take the peace pledge to their communities as well as to the world leaders, the United Nations, religious leaders, Parliamentarians, and the world community, inviting all to join the affirmation of the necessity and importance of kindness and compassion towards the rivers.
Swami Chidanand Saraswati had taken the sacred water of the Ganga collected from its fount Gaumukh which was offered along with the water from the Greenland glaciers collected by some of the peace pilgrims who had earlier travelled to Greenland and witnessed the enormity of the tragedy of the melting of the polar ice cap. Both waters were ceremonially mixed together into a heart- shaped vessel, representing the sacred heart of humanity, amidst chanting from the scriptures of the Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jewish, Sikhs, Buddhists and some Indigenous faiths in the inner chamber of the chapel of St. Francis.
Notably, the scientists have projected that that the sea would rise between 1.6 feet and 3.2 feet by the end of the century. The more carbon dioxide we produce by burning fossil fuels over the coming decades, the more the ocean and the air temperatures will increase, Swami Chidanand Saraswati said. And the higher the temperature the faster the rise of the oceans. At the moment, sea levels, as measured by satellites and tidal gauges in harbours around the world, are going up on average by about 3.3 millimeters, or one-tenth of an inch, a year. Many of the world’s glaciers from Gaumukh to Greenland are visibly melting at a alarming rate, signifying the need to act now to protect the water reservoirs so as to ensure the securing the future of the life- giving rivers as well as the planet we are living in, those present at the congregation said.
During the water ceremony, Chidanand said, “If there is no water, there is no peace. Only when we truly know water we can truly know peace. It is essential that our understanding of peace include the preservation and protection of our environment as well as the conservation of our sacred and fresh water resources.”
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati said that the human bodies are formed in water, by water and of water. “As we mixed the sacred waters of Greenland and Ganga we also poured into the heart-shaped vessel our own hearts, our own intentions and our own pledge for water, for life,” she said.
Eskimo Elder Angaangaq Angarkkorsuaq of Greenland said: “It is the human heart which needs to melt and not the glaciers. This is a priority if we are to stop the melting of our mother ice.” Bishop of the Chapel welcomed the interfaith community and said it was time for all to learn from the love St. Francis lived. the pioneer