Hyderabad, India – 16th January 2024: Guide of Heartfulness and President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission, Rev. Daaji, presented the inaugural Heartfulness Changemaker Award to the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland KC, Commonwealth Secretary-General. The award was presented during her three-day visit to Kanha Shanti Vanam, the world headquarters of Heartfulness, a first for a Commonwealth Secretary-General and for a major United Kingdom-based public service figure.
The Heartfulness Changemaker Award is presented to an individual who has exemplified a commitment to service through compassionate action in their areas of work and is dedicated to promoting a more unified and heartful global community.
“We are delighted to have the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, visit us in Kanha Shanti Vanam, and to award her with the Heartfulness Changemaker Award,” said Daaji – Global Guide of Heartfulness and President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission. “In her years of service, she has gone above and beyond to support youth across the globe, which is what we hope to achieve through our own Heartfulness initiatives. I am happy to begin this partnership with Secretary-General Scotland and the Commonwealth through the Heartfulness Essay Event, which is focused on compassionate action. I am certain that this is only the beginning of the many great things we will all achieve by working together.”
Secretary-General Scotland’s visit coincided with the launch of Youth Unite, a Heartfulness initiative committed to bringing together young people to enable meaningful connections and exchange of ideas, and encourage open-mindedness through the sharing of diverse and unique perspectives. Heartfulness has presence in over 500 universities and colleges across India; Youth Unite endeavours to bring those impacted youth together, to provide them with mentorship support, to find opportunities to bring youth of all ages together, and to support every young person on their path to personal and professional excellence. Youth Unite’s L.I.G.H.T. component, Lead through Inner Guidance Using Heartfulness Techniques, is committed to supporting the holistic development of youth through emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual growth.
Over 150,000 youth from across 50 countries in three continents have registered to join this network for a period of one year. Hundreds of Heartfulness volunteers had worked tirelessly to achieve these numbers. While the official launch event with over 14,000 attendees happened in Kanha Shanti Vanam, virtual and in-person events took place at Heartfulness centres, known as HeartSpots, across India.
The Commonwealth Secretariat supports member countries to build democratic and inclusive institutions, strengthen governance and promote justice and human rights. Their work helps to grow economies and boost trade, deliver national resilience, empower young people, and address threats such as climate change, debt and inequality.
The Commonwealth Secretariat designated 2023 as the Year of Youth and has continued this focus into 2024, until the hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa. For over 50 years, the Commonwealth Youth Programme has worked to energise, engage, empower, and encourage youth in the 56 Commonwealth countries.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland KC, said, “Young people are at the very heart of the Commonwealth Charter. Centering their needs, hopes and dreams is critical as not only do they represent the future, but they are important and life-changing work starts right now. I will gratefully accept this award in recognition of all that we do for young people, and I pledge that we will continue to amplify their work, raise their concerns and to ensure that their views are heard. I am also grateful for this partnership which will help us to support more young people across the Commonwealth.”
She added with reference to Daaji “Daaji is the guiding force behind Heartfulness. He embodies vision, compassion and unwavering commitment to spiritual upliftment of humanity. He has touched the lives of countless people across the globe.”
Speaking about Swami Vivekananda’s teachings she said, “Swami Vivekananda’s teachings continue to resonate as loudly today as they ever have. His call for fearlessness, strength, pursuit of knowledge echoes through the ages; and his vision of youth as vanguard of change inspires the commonwealth to place our trust in young people to build a compassionate, understanding, prosperous and equitable world we all want to see.”
“The year of the youth is vital because of the values which guide us. The future success of the commonwealth rests with the engagement creativity and the genius of our 1.5 billion young people. As to humanity’s collective prospects for advancing sustainable development, equality and democracy, understanding tolerance and peace. Again and again commonwealth leaders have committed to promote youth development though youth employment and entrepreneurship. This spirit and commitment at the heart of the youth and is the flagship efforts to recognise and recelebrate the young people of the commonwealth family bring it to life.
Everything you do here embodies our shared vision, inclusive of quality education as a fundamental right and a powerful tool for powerful human development and the realisation of everybody’s potential. Good education does not simply mean academics – it develops and instils essential values – of tolerance, respect, solidarity, and inclusivity and global citizenship. These values are essential guides in today’s world and they underpin our commonwealth. The Commonwealth’s limitless potential to be a force for good in the world demands our highest ambition. It gives us strength and confidence at a time when the world feels uncertain. And this unity gives us power in a world faced with serious challenges of poverty, economic strife, and hunger. The commonwealth stands together and shines as a beacon in the international community. It is the Commonwealth of 2024 which is committed at serving you and which you will lead into the future. This is a pivotal and blessed moment. The dramatic shifts are shaping our inheritance. This is your time. You have the will, the skill to stand with us. I know you have been taught well. We are more than equal in the challenges we face and we rely on your courage and thirst for progress.
I am grateful that Heartfulness has joined hands with governments and institutions to celebrate our year of the youth. There is a shift in the collective mindset recognizing that young people are agents of change; and leaders of today and tomorrow. Energy, creativity, and determination are the driving forces behind our collective forces. The dreams aspirations, and of young people have the power to transform a country and the world. The youth connect programme equips connects university students with essential life skills to transition successfully through each phase of their personal and professional careers.”
Rev. Daaji – Guide of Heartfulness and President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission said, “What strikes me the most today is all about unity. That cannot happen unless and until there is harmony. Harmony is not possible without contemplative mind and peace. Peace is the product of contemplative mind which is a product of focused mind. A focused mind is a product of meditative mind. And hence we highly recommend meditation to have a contemplative mind, become more harmonious and bring peace within yourself and transform yourself at individual level. Spirituality is all about looking at yourself. We are the makers of our own destiny. We cannot blame anyone else including God. Let’s make this planet heavenly place in such a way that people stop craving for other heavens after death. We have to work together for harmony and love which are products of meditative minds. If half a dozen terrorists can create the ruckus in the world, imagine what these 1.5 billion youth of the commonwealth can do to make it a heaven. We need support. H.E. Hon’ble Secretary General of Commonwealth Patricia Scotland has promised to open doors that will be conducive for them to express their talents, interests and will so that the world can be transformed. Let us begin the journey from our hearts. To sum up what Swami Vivekananda said that the purpose of life is very simple – it’s all about consciousness.”
Tony Nader – Leader, of Transcendental Meditation, said, “Daaji’s great vision is a reflection of this land and as well-wisher of humanity. On this occasion of Vivekananda’s birthday – also the birthday Maharshi Yogi’s birthday, Daaji has given us the wisdom of interfaith unity which is an acknowledgement and knowledge that reality is all based on a field of being that transcends all surface values. When we look at the outer world, our senses show us physical elements and we study their scientific basis but science doesn’t know the composition of these elements. When the scientists went deeper, they came across a Quantum level of reality wherein Quantum field theory has gone even deeper in Unified Field theory. The entire universe and expression come from one field which s a mathematical reality and is transcendental to physical energy which is abstract.
Many great scientists in the beginning of the last century began to understand it as a field of consciousness. Vedanta talks about this field – that manifests into different aspects of reality. Our human consciousness is not secondary but primary manifestation which appears in different layers of existence. Consciousness is all there is. At different expressions from the simplest level of expression and growing into higher consciousness of plants. We see this so beautifully at Kanha Shanti Vanam through the loving care of Daaji where plants are alive and have their own consequences. The field of consciousness is all-encompassing as told by Vivekananda / Maharishi Yogi as the ultimate reality and unbounded field.
If reality is not a material physical thing, then the answer to the problem is in what reality is. That’s the beauty of the physical aspect. This great land of Bharat offers to the world solutions from the true field of life rather than the imaginary surface life. It is the aspect of consciousness itself. They are like the waves in the ocean – wherein you have a limited ability to recognise the different waves. They look different but part of the same ocean.
Daaji likes to go beyond that consciousness to the shunya value – the nothingness as the basis out of somethingness comes and that is a wonderful transcendental dimension. We are together as the waves of the ocean. Differences are not a threat to unity – it goes to where our consciousness goes – does our focus go to the difference or does it acknowledge the field? Does the tree fight with its branches or take nourishment and become a fully-blossoming tree? We promote unity with differences which is as interesting as having flowers of different colours in the same garden.
We have to work on the field to make it safe. Then we have to nourish and plant the right fields. Enjoy the surface values as they appear to feel truly nourished. Life is lived on the level of consciousness.”
The goals of the Commonwealth and its commitment to service align deeply with that of Swami Vivekananda, a monk and philosopher dedicated to a life of quiet service to humanity and who has deeply influenced the values of faithfulness.
On the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, which is also recognized as National Youth Day in India, Heartfulness Institute recognized the Commonwealth’s support of young people by honouring its current leader, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, for her commitment to a life of service and her dedication to the success of youth.
Secretary-General Scotland also helped launch the annual Heartfulness Essay Event, now presented in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat. This year’s theme is Compassionate Action: Creating a More Unified Humanity. The essay event is open to youth ages 14-25.
Additionally, 12 January also marked the India launch of Daaji’s bestselling book, Spiritual Anatomy, which was released in the United States in October 2023.
Heartfulness was founded as Shri Ram Chandra Mission in 1945 by Shri Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, also known as Babuji. With over 78 years of commitment to free meditation resources for its practitioners, Heartfulness now has over 5 million meditators and over 16,000 trainers in 160 countries. In April 2024, Heartfulness will celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Babuji with planned events around the globe, including large meditation gatherings in Kanha Shanti Vanam, hosting an astounding 125,000 attendees; an International Music Festival at Kanha Shanti Vanam; a Yoga Exhibition at UNESCO HQ in Paris, and more.
In December 2023, India’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited Kanha Shanti Vanam to launch the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Babuji Maharaj in 2024. The current Global Guide of Heartfulness, Daaji, was awarded the Padma Bhushan in February 2023.