|Austria Tattendorf Ashram Vienna|
Centenary Congress in Vienna
“A Celebration of a Complete Life”
A special highlight of the worldwide Centenary Celebrations in honor of Paramahamsa Hariharananda was the four-day Centenary Congress, which was held from the September 7 - 10 at the “ Haus der Begegnung” in Vienna.
Paramahamsa Prajnanananda opened the celebrations with a speech welcoming those present.
The first speaker, and principal guest of honor, was His Excellence, Dr. Sheel Kant Sharma, Ambassador of India. His lively talk on the cultural heritage of India touched the audience.
Then His Eminence, Father Innocence Varga movingly described his encounter with Paramahamsa Hariharananda fourteen years ago, and how his spiritual stature had left a permanent impression on him. The Former Head of the Dominican Order in Austria and South Germany emphasized, in complete accordance with the teachings of our great spiritual master, the importance of living a spiritual life and of silence in these tumultuous times of confusion and disorder. The audience fully appreciated the words of such an elevated and charismatic clergyman.
Father Davis Kalapurakkel from the Monastery Klosterneuburg gave a detailed lecture on the Truth in Christianity according to the teachings of Jesus.
Paramahamsa Prajnanananda concluded the panel discussion by speaking about the universal truths of all religions. He then gave heartfelt thanks to the guests of honor — the Ambassador Dr. Sheel Kant Sharma, Father Innocence Varga, Father Davis Kalapurakkel, the Counsellor of the Indian Embassy Mr. Ravi Joshi and the Mayor of Tattendorf Dipl.Paed.Dieter Reinfrank for their presence and eloquent tribute to the spiritual heritage of an enlightened spiritual master.
The opening evening concluded with a beautiful performance of Indian Classical Dance. The artist, Arup Ghosh and his most talented pupil, Annapurna Ghosh, delighted the audience with their graceful movements and dramatic facial expressions. The highlight was the interpretative dance, following Tagore’s verses. The Master of Ceremony, Actress Alexandra Wilcke, recitedthese verses with extreme accomplishment.
On he second day of the centenary event three humanitarian organizations with projects in India were introduced: “Aktion Regen /Action Rain”, “Licht fuer die Welt /Light for the World” and “Hand in Hand”.
Paramahamsa Prajnanananda stressed the vital connection between spirituality and charitable activities in order to reach a stage of all-round development. Dr. H. Hengstberger explained an innovative system for family planning in developing countries. Brahmachari Vidyananda gave an excellent description on the multiple tasks performed by the Prajnana Mission in Orissa, India.
After a full day of stimulating speeches and meditation classes, there was another dance performance by Arup Ghosh and Annapurna Ghosh.
On the third day, meditation was offered to both the general public and kriyavans under the guidance of Swami Mangalananda, Yogacharya Durga Chunduri, Rajarshi Peter van Breukelen and Brahmachari Vidyananda. There was a stimulating Question and Answer session with Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, which greatly helped to illustrate the nature of spirituality to the keen interest of the audience.
Another outstanding event on this day was the musical performance by the tabla player Swapan Battacharya and the singer Esha Bandyopadhyay. The audience was carried away by the spiritual power and melodious voice of this very gifted duo from the Indian classical tradition.
The fourth and last day started with a gripping speech by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, who explained the need for a master to guide us on the spiritual path. The audience was fascinated while listening to Swami Mangalananda, Rajarshi Peter van Breukelen, Yogacharya Durga Chunduri and to the disciples Claudia Cremers and Mike Givert, as they recounted in a touching way, their personal experiences with Gurudev.
The official closing ceremony was held in the presence of Her Excellency Mrs. Meenu Sharma, wife of the Ambassador of India. Paramahamsa Prajnanananda thrilled the audience with his talk on great incarnations like Rama, Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed. Her Excellency Mrs. Sharma spoke of the need for peace and balance in world affairs.
Some beautiful celebratory Bhajans were sung by Brahmachari Vidyananda, which put the audience in a festive mood. A special meditation was held for all.
The cycle of conferences came to an end as Paramahamsa Prajnanananda brought the memory of Paramahamsa Hariharananda to life with a reflection on the completeness on his spiritual journey. A perfect finale came with another outstanding performance by three consumed artists, the tabla player Swappan Battacharya, the singer Esha Bandyopadhyay and the sarangi player Pankaj Misra, whose artistic expression deeply moved all those present.
The celebrations held in Vienna were, in every way, a tribute to a remarkable yogi Paramahamsa Hariharananda and the power of his teachings.