World Peace Day at Isha Institute of Inner-sciences is held each year in honor of the United Nations International Day of Peace. The celebration creates an opportunity to experience peace within and outside. This year’s festivities included a variety of spirited performances throughout the day, as well as family fun, a multicultural food fest, and a chance to enjoy the lovely weather and peaceful ambiance of the meditation center.
The morning began with a choral performance by international Opera singer, Travis Pratt, his powerful voice bringing to life melodies in Latin and Italian, interspersed with English, with accompaniment by his wife, Elvira. Travis appeared on Season Eight of America’s Got Talent. Sadhguru gently entered the hall unannounced while Travis and his wife were on stage, concluding their morning performance with songs entitled “The Prayer” and “Peace”.
Following their performance, Dr. Aarti Pandya enchanted the audience with classical Indian music. Dr. Aarti Pandya was born and raised in the US, and began training in classical music at a young age. She received classical training in North Indian vocal music and has won first place awards in bhajans, ghazals and classical music at the International Music Competitions. Aarti currently gives concerts across the US and has performed with artists such as Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali, Sarangi master Ustad Sultan Khan, tabla great Ustad Tari Khan, and legendary singer Manna Dey.
Aarti acknowledged Sadhguru and also introduced the newly-completed consecrated space at the Isha center – Adiyogi: The Abode Of Yoga. Then, Aarti joined the Sounds of Isha group for an joyful performance which included both peaceful and celebratory selections. By the closing song, an upbeat Sufi piece entitled “Mast Kalandar”, dancing and cheers of enjoyment filled the Mahima space.
Students took the stage next for the debate competition on the topic of the global positive and negative effects of social media. Bright young minds representing both sides brought up strong points, and ultimately agreed that technology is neither inherently good nor evil, but that it’s effects depend on how responsibly one uses it. Judges included McMinnville Mayor, Jimmy Haley; Tennessee Technological University- English chair and prof, Dr. Ted Pelton; and NY political science prof, Dr. Christina Dragomir. Following the debate’s conclusion, an Upa Yoga session was conducted in the Mahima hall, open for all to learn a simple, fundamental yoga practice.
Lunch and games were held outside at the sunny activity grounds. Food trucks and booths offered a variety of choices – the Indian section was a favorite with families lining up all the way out of the tent. Masala chai and traditional sweets brought the tasty South Indian cuisine to iii. The children’s game area nearby was exuberant with the ringing of laughter and charged energy.
The young musicians performing for the Student Music Competition amazed the audience with their talents. Up-and-coming songwriter Noa Jordan from Nashville, Tennessee then performed a song written especially for World Peace Day, showcasing her electrifying voice. Joined by her alternative progressive rock collective comprised of Amanda Scrimale, Tyler Cornelius and Josh James, Noa captivated listeners with her intriguing lyrics along with the group’s imaginative instrumentation.
Another yoga session was offered next, followed by a peaceful meditation. A stunning encore performance by Travis Pratt, including opera selections “Gira Con Me” and “Nebbie”, brought much applause from the audience.
Claire Smith, an NYC-based flow artist, enchanted everyone with her elegant dance about the human experience, utilizing LED wand and hoop. Claire, a modern circus performer, specializes in fire, LED and stilts, and has performed with a variety of hitmakers, dazzled crowds from Bonnarroo to EDC, and even showcased her skills on Season 9 of Lifetime’s Project Runway.
Her performance was accompanied by Dylan Ruxin’s “Mother Earth” song. Dylan had this to say about his experience at iii: “It’s a good thing happening here… Today is a good day to recognize the connection of water and sky and earth… I have been volunteering for a week and it has not been all up here, but it has been the best days of my life.” Claire’s second performance along with Dylan’s song “Catch my Stars” was an entrancing delight.
The closing performance by Sounds of Isha, created a joyful ambiance and reminder that peace is not an ultimate goal but a fundamental requirement for individual and global wellbeing.
To learn more about World Peace Day at Isha Institute, visit WorldPeaceDay.org