The Art of Living hosted the 8th edition of International Women’s Conferene at the magnificent Vishalakshi Mantap at The Art of Living International Center, Bangalore. Nepal’s 1st Women Governor Honorable Anuradha Koirala, Governor from Province 3 of Nepal and Founder Director of Maiti Nepal graced the conference as one of the keynote speakers joined by women from 60 countries including 250 delegates, 75 speakers, 100 rural women, 60 students from over 30 colleges drawing a global viewership of over one lakh on social media and via Live webcast.
On her keynote speech calling out for support, Hon. Anuradha Koirala, at the 8th International Women’s Conference said, “Trafficking is a shame to humanity. I’d like all of you to join hands with me and make it a trafficking free society.”
Hon. Anuradha Koirala was joined by 16 Women delegates from diverse arena including Kamal Keshari Tuladhar – President of ASMAN, Barsha Shrestha – Former Deputy CEO of Clean Energy Development Bank, Prema RL Singh – CEO National Life Insurance, Rita Shrestha & Janaki Shrestha, Proprietors of Hyatt Regency Kathmandu and Taragaon Regency Hotels, Anu Shrestha – CEO Kallisto Designs, Sewa Panth – Director Viane , Neeva Pradhan – International Corporate Trainer The Art of Living & Author , Meekha Mathema – Educator & Vice President Daya Foundation, Sarika Chaudhary – Chaudhary Group, Sophie Upadhyaya, Rulhmani Pradhan, Anita Basnyat and Kanchan Rana. The Art of Living Corporate Programs Coordinator for Nepal Neeva Pradhan also joined as a speaker at one of the panels on Corporate Governance and Leadership
“Spirituality transcends gender,” said The Art of Living Founder Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar while addressing the conference. He also batted for women to lead religious and spiritual organizations. “Gender equality should be honored in all countries. The process will be faster and smoother if there are more women religious leaders to do it.”
Women achievers from diverse fields- finance, politics, music, medicine, social service, arts and entertainment were awarded with the Vishalakshi Award for their impactful and noteworthy contribution for making a difference in their professional and personal spheres. The ceremony also recognized the role of men in empowering women especially in rural areas by felicitating them through the Acharya Ratnanand Awards. These biennial awards have been instituted in the memory of service rendered by Gurudev’s parents to society. These awards celebrate not only efforts of individuals but also the principles of human values that the awardees embody.
“The possibility of something new arises in our life only when we step into the unknown, to explore a higher calling,” said Smt.Bhanumathi Narasimhan, Chairperson, International Women’s Conference.
Around 500 Art of Living Members gather at The Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore for Nepal Special Advance Program
The Art of Living Ashram played host to a huge contingent of around 500 energetic participants from Nepal. Inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, its founder, a special Advanced Meditation Programme was held, for the first time, for the delegation who came from far-flung parts of the mountainous country – like Biratnagar, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Jhapa, Bhairahawa, Surkhet, Chitwan, Dang, Birgunj, Butwal – and from different sections of the population.
Alongside the meditations and pranayama and the rejuvenating Yogasanas that form the curriculum of the Program, the enthusiastic group presented cultural programmes. The various ethnic groups showcased their dances and presented patriotic songs to an appreciative international audience, with the stage as well as the campus turning lively and colorful with their native costumes, the unique jewellery of the women and the traditional “Dhaka topis” of the men.
From housewives to businessmen, and from retired senior citizens to youth, the group that traveled from Nepal, felt energized and refreshed. “The Advanced Meditation Program helped us address and positively impacted all areas of our health and our lives,” observed a middle-aged lady.
The participants, in addition, visited the various projects and initiatives of the International Centre, and availed of the treatment facilities at the Sri Sri Ayurveda Hospital and the Panchkarma Centre.
Shrijan Sahi, 33, housewife, shared that whatever she had heard of the efficacy of The Art of Living courses before joining, she had experienced and gained much more during it. “I want to go back and tell everyone I know the effectiveness of meditation and pranayama. I also want to work with those affected by drug-abuse and help them come out of this practice, “she said.
Jayaditya Barma, 19, a Programme participant, resides in the Nepali capital, Katmandu. Appreciating the experienced faculty and the techniques taught, he stated that he planned to take up psychology and journalism for further studies. “I look forward to bringing in meditation, pranayama, and related practices into psychiatric care.” he states.
The diverse backgrounds of the Program participants was evidence that the Art of Living programmes are not just popular in Nepal, but – importantly – also serving to spread the message of the importance of Yoga and meditation in improving health and the adoption of a holistic lifestyle to the people at large.