World Peace Day at the Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences
On September 21st, World Peace Day was celebrated in the lap of nature at the Cumberland Plateau at iii in Nashville, Tennessee. With hikes, guided meditations and cooking classes, the participants relished every bit of the event.
“Peace is not the highest goal in life. It is the most fundamental requirement.” - Sadhguru
A young and enthusiastic child walks up to the Peace Board at the Isha Institute of Inner-sciences on September 21st and writes, “spreading positivity!” Indeed, the attending crowd of over 500 people would agree that much positivity was spread on this special day at iii. The United Nations declared September 21st as the International Day of Peace in 1981, “As a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” Upholding its commitment to peace, iii has been hosting its own annual celebration for over six years now. The day was full of activity as well as education. The United Nations’ theme for this year is, “Climate Action for Peace,” and many attendees of World Peace Day were inspired to hear about Sadhguru’s environmental initiative, Cauvery Calling, to revitalize the Cauvery basin in India. Cauvery basin has lost the majority of its tree cover and suffers critical groundwater depletion, which has subsequently left many farmers in distress. In 12 years, the Cauvery Calling initiative plans to plant 2.42 billion trees in the Cauvery basin! Many donations were made towards this cause on World Peace Day, especially since it costs just 70 cents to get a tree planted.
While rallying for a more sustainable world on the outside, many also attended World Peace Day at the ashram to create something sustainable within themselves. Almost every group of individuals who came to be a part of World Peace Day attended at least one of the free yoga sessions happening throughout the day. Sessions included Yoga for Peace, Nada Yoga (the yoga of sound), Yoga Namaskar (a simple yoga practice), and Meditation for Peace.
Amrita Misra from Nashville had heard many positive things about the ashram and always wanted to visit, but it was the festivities and intention of World Peace Day that motivated her to finally make the drive and show up. She attended three of the different yoga sessions and shared, “It was brilliant! I have been a daily practitioner of meditation after I went through a traumatic divorce. Meditating together with hundreds of people in a room takes you into a state of complete joy and inner peace.”
In between yoga sessions, many people took in the lush natural beauty of iii by going on a beautiful hike through the Cumberland Plateau.
There was even a little one on the hike. His family came to the ashram for the first time on September 21st because it was his birthday. They celebrated it with various activities and showed their enthusiasm for Sadhguru’s work by wearing matching father-son custom-printed T-shirts.
The hike left many with a healthy appetite, and with the Dining Hall converted into an eclectic Food Court, luckily there were many delicious options for lunch – such as spiced beetroot salad – all home-cooked by Isha volunteers. The live music in the Food Court quickly turned the ambiance festive. Especially engaging was the live cooking demonstration that revealed some of the tasty methods and ingredients of the Isha recipes.
A big group gathered to watch the demonstration and learned how to make a crunchy carrot salad amongst other satisfying dishes. Samples of each dish were tried and savored. The Sanjeevini drink was a healthy and fulfilling option that appealed to many as well.
One corner of iii on World Peace Day was converted into a playground for games and children’s activities. This became a hugely popular spot, as even parents could unwind while the kids had a blast with paint, bubbles, kites, and sports. Face painting put a smile on many faces, as well as kids painting their own Rally for Rivers T-shirt. Kids play an important role in “Climate Action for Peace,” as they are the next generation who will continue this essential work of preserving our water resources in order to guarantee health and wellbeing for all.
The Peace Board was a beautiful collection of writings responding to the prompt, “I will help create a peaceful world by…”
It was uplifting to see so many children come and engage with the Peace Board. They had such a desire to see a greener world. Shiven wrote that he will help create a peaceful world by, “using less plastic so that our ocean is clean,” with drawings of trees and smiley faces. Nearby was a doodle of a turtle and dolphin with the words, “Save sea animals,” next to it. Anvika drew a picture of Earth and next to it wrote, “I miss you, Earth. I will help you!”
People of all ages and backgrounds gathered at the Peace Board and made personal commitments to change something within themselves to create a more peaceful and loving world. World Peace Day was a reminder to them of what is possible when we all come together with a strong resolve towards a common purpose. It takes just one thought to make a change, and World Peace Day had a profound impact on everyone. Every single guest left iii with a thought on how they will contribute to this change. And for most, this meant starting the journey within.
Editor's note: In this free ebook, "Culture of Peace”, read about Sadhguru’s insights into the basis of conflict and how each of us can help to create a culture of peace.