BY MAHADEV DESAI
The City of Suwanee Mayor Dave Williams hosted a warm welcome reception for Sri Sri Sri Viswayogi Viswamjee Maharaj who is on a U.S. tour and is currently in Atlanta, at the Suwanee City Hall, Suwanee, Georgia.
Prior to Swamiji’s arrival, Narayana Murthy, from Jacksonville, Florida, who is an ardent disciple of Swamiji for number of years and also one of the coordinators of his visits to U.S.gave a brief background of Swamiji’s early career, his mission and goal and his ceaseless efforts in spreading message of universal integration, peace, love and brotherhood and in helping the poor and needy, to the Mayor Williams.
The Mayor and the venerable Swamiji with a flowing white beard, and clad in orange silk dress greeted each other and sat down on a sofa. Swamiji, born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, is a spiritual humanist, an embodiment of the divine and unconditional love. Dr.Sreeni Gangasani; Madhavi Gangasani; Narayana Murthy;Uma Maheswar Reddy, Srikanthi Vantipalli;City Manager Marvin Allen; Public Information Officer Lynne De Wilde;media representatives Kailash Khandelwal and Mahadev Desai listened as Swamiji and the Mayor engaged in a lighthearted conversation in which the Swamiji shared some nuggets of spiritual wisdom his work in spreading the message of love and peace.
Swamiji who is no stranger to the U.S. said that he regards the world as his home and coming to the U.S. from India is like moving from one room into another in a home. He further compared the world to a human body and said that the U.S.is like its head because it is a magnet for all intellectuals in the world. He said he enjoys coming to the U.S.to meet his devotees who have settled in different parts of the country. Swamiji stressed that change must begin with the individual first. “Self discipline, self control, avoiding blind pursuit of fame and wealth, respect for all faiths, mutual love and respect and peaceful co-existence are most important for survival” he said. “Let us also make the mother planet an abode of peace. Natural calamities are caused by an imbalance in the ratio of five elements-earth, water, fire, air and space. Similarly human body also falls prey to killer diseases like cancer, stroke, and heart disease; so let us all strive to prevent pollution of the environment and take care of our bodies through healthy lifestyle. I feel honored to be invited to address the World Youth Conference on climate change’ he added.
Swamiji informed the gathering of Viswanagar, an 18 acre spiritual abode established in 1991, 10 miles from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. It has Viswamandiram, with eight entrances, seven of which are for different major faiths and the eighth for non-believers. Under the guidance of Swamiji, since 1998, medical camps provided free medical services to the poor and the needy in the rural areas. A world-class, multi-specialty charitable hospital- Viswayogi Institute of Medical Science VIMS - Mother & Child Care Hospital was inaugurated on April 3rd 2008, by Former President of India, Hon. Dr. Abdul Kalaam, who is also VIMS’ Honorary Chair. VIMS is now providing quality service free of cost to the needy. So far, the medical camps and VIMS have provided free medical services to over 28,000 poor and needy people.
The Mayor thanked Swamiji for his interesting and highly informative words of wisdom and presented him with a commemorative plaque conferring honorary citizenship of City of Suwanee on the Swamiji. Swamiji graciously reciprocated by draping a shawl on the Mayor William’s shoulders and presenting him with a framed Certificate conferring ‘The Distinguished Service Award’
Swamiji led the gathering into singing an uplifting devotional song. The reception concluded with the Mayor thanking the Swamiji saying, “We appreciate all your good work and good friendship. We share your ideals and values and will remember your words of sound advice.”
Dr Sreeni Gangasani, a well known and respected Cardiologist commented, “My wife Madhavi and I enjoyed the reception ceremony. He is doing a wonderful service to the humanity by spreading his message of universal integration and world peace. I would love to volunteer my services in the VIMS hospital run by Swamiji in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh during my visits to India.”