Thousands recite the Gita in Texas setting Guinness Record; Modi commends event
Global Hindu Heritage Foundation president Prakash Rao Velagapudi said this was once in a lifetime event and appreciated the efforts of teachers, organizers, children and their parents for spending countless hours in making this a successful undertaking
Over 1500 memorizers and 700-plus fluent readers from different parts of the world recited the 700-plus verses of the Bhagavad Gita at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas, in the US in what the organizers said was a world record.
In addition to participants from the United States, there was representation from India, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Malaysia, Australia, Trinidad, Germany, and New Zealand at the event.
At the historic Gita Sahasragala Mahayagna event, which was organized by the SGS Gita Foundation in coordination with the Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple of Frisco, and Avadhoota Datta Peetham of Mysore, sets a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous Hindu text recital in a single location.
Official Adjudicator of the Guinness World Records, Mike Marcotte, who judged the event, told News India Times, “Today, the stewards observed participants in the attempted area and measured their ability to memorize the Hindu text flawlessly. Based on their observation, we arrived at a total number of 1329 participants. Since the current minimum is 250 participants to beat the record, I am happy to announce a new Guinness World Record has been set for the largest simultaneous Hindu text recital in Allen, Texas on August 13, 2022.”
Gita Sahasragala has been a dream of Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, of Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore, since he was 11 years old. In August 2015, in Dallas, Sri Swamiji expressed his wish to have 18 children, 6-14 years of age, memorize all 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita. Surprisingly, a group of 43 kids swiftly memorized all chapters within a year and emerged as the first Gita Mahayagna graduates in July 2016. Deriving inspiration from batch one and the success of the program, others quickly followed learning and memorizing in different countries making the program a global movement today.
Over the last seven years, in seven batches, around 3,000 students, of all ages have completed the Mahayagna journey of memorizing the entire Bhagavad Gita. The youngest memorizer was 3 years old when he started the program, and the oldest student completed the program when she was 80.
After the event, Sri Swamiji told News India Times, “it was a wonderful event – I don’t have words to express. I am extremely happy that over 2000 people recited the sacred Bhagavad Gita in one place. Events related to Bhagavad Gita have happened before, and great sages and pundits have written books and studied the meanings through time. But an event of this magnitude has never happened before. I felt the presence of Lord Krishna himself during the Sahasragala event. I am hoping there will be a similar event in India soon.”
Expressing happiness about the Gita Sahasragala event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter stated, “Srimad Bhagavad Gita is a reservoir of timeless wisdom propounded by Bhagwan Shri Krishna for the welfare of humanity. His sublime message of performing one’s duty and maintaining equanimity always provides us guidance,” adding, “may Gita Sahasragala illuminate our minds and inspire mankind to tread the path shown by Srimad Bhagavad Gita. I am sure that Avadhoota Datta Peetham will continue to discharge its responsibilities towards the society under the benevolent guidance of Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji.”
Global Hindu Heritage Foundation president Prakash Rao Velagapudi said this was once in a lifetime event and appreciated the efforts of teachers, organizers, children and their parents for spending countless hours in making this a successful undertaking.
Srikanth Datta of the SGS Gita Foundation told News India Times that Sri Swamiji’s vision is to empower the children and adults across the globe. “Gita is the essence of Vedas and Upanishads — it imparts success through leadership, management, and team building skills. It not only brings out the efficiency in each of us, but also teaches how to exercise equanimity, and bestows peace and joy in one’s life.”
As part of batch 6, ten-year old Raghuram Jayaraman and his 8-year-old sister Anaghavani Jayaraman from Virginia (both children of this writer) who memorized all the 700-plus verses received certificates from Sri Swamiji and participated in the mega event along with others. Both stated that they were extremely happy to be part of the program to learn and memorize the verses. This memorization experience has helped them to focus and concentrate better on other subjects, and they are now looking forward to understanding the text.
Their 16-year-old teacher, Sri Jayalakshmi Allam from Virginia said, “Being able to mentor the students from Virginia and witness the hard work each student had put into learning the Srimad Bhagavad Gita is a gift that I truly treasure. Watching the memorizers and the readers enjoy the full benefits from practice sessions that they had undergone in the past few years was very fulfilling. Moreover, the opportunity to participate in such a historic and memorable event will stay with me in more ways than one.”
A third generation Indian-Trinidadian, Ramesh Pragg, trustee of the Sri Dattatreya Yoga Center, Trinidad, who participated with a group of 10 memorizers and 20 readers, stated he was delighted to be part of the event.
Jeyachandran Jeyaram, a third generation Malaysian-Indian, who led a 13-member memorizer and reader team, said he felt fortunate to have been able to be a part of the Sahasragala.
(By special arrangement with News India Times)
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