Paraguay is the heart of South America. Situated right above Argentina, the country is a very handsome mix of people who are indigenous and European. The bright and shining faces of the people demonstrate the sweetness of this culture and the special way that they speak Spanish has a Guarani (the Indigenous language of Paraguay) accent.
It is a special treat for all of us on the tour to visit Paraguay. The capital Asuncion is the home office of EL CAMINO REAL and SIKH DHARMA IBEROAMERICA. S.S. Sat Pal Kaur single-handedly has built the first Gurdwara in Paraguay, manages Centro Dharma which is the Gurdwara and Yoga Center and coordinates all of our South American affairs.
Our first two events in Paraguay were hosted by the Minister of Women, Gloria Rubin. Minister Rubin is the mother of the Paraguay. She works tirelessly to help all women in the country and for decades has a foundation to support the health of women. She brought together our first conference with the National Police of Paraguay. For 2 hours, S.S. Gurubachan Singh Khalsa taught 2 different events with the Police Department of Domestic Violence. The response by these police who are the first responders to domestic violence was incredible. They could not believe how simple proper breathing could help them eliminate their stress and make them more effective in their profession. The Minister herself participated during the different sessions and when it was completed she informed us that the Commandant of the National Police of Paraguay would like to receive us in his private office. From the events, we met the commandant and he requested that we start a program for the National Police by offering a conference the next day with several hundred of his cadets in the Police Academy. Like Colombia and Bolivia, the police of Paraguay realize that yoga and breathing techniques are essential to maintaining themselves as not only police but also as human beings. Can you imagine the sight of hundreds of police meditating to "Puta Mata Ki Asis" in Spanish?
|S.S. Gurubachan Singh and Dr Ardas Singh answer the questions of a woman in a class on the first night of our arrival in Asuncion at Centro Dharma.|
|Paraguay's Domestic Violence Response Police Department sitting in meditation.|
|(Left to right): After a meeting with Minister of Women's affairs on creating stress relief programs for Paraguayans, government officials and police, Sukhdev Kaur Khalsa, Dr Ardas Singh Khalsa, Minister Don?a Gloria Ruben, S.S. Gurubachan Singh Khalsa and S.S. Sat Pal Kaur Khalsa pose for a picture.|
|A sweet group picture after a nice lunch at the house of Atmadev Kaur who manages the Paraguayan Langar.|
|At a meeting with a Commandant of the National Police of Paraguay. Left to Right: S.S. Sat Pal Kaur Khalsa, Minister Don?a Gloria Ruben, Subcomandante Cesar Zarate, S.S. Gurubachan Singh Khalsa and Dr Ardas Singh Khalsa.|
|S.S. Gurubachan Singh (right) and Sukhdev Kaur (left) conversing with the Minster of the Environment, Oscar Rivas, during a lunch at Sukhdev's house.|
|The sweet smiles of Paraguay shows on the faces of Sat Pal Kaur Khalsa and Sukhdev Kaur Khalsa.|
|S.S Gurubachan Singh Khalsa leads an auditorium filled with over 300 Police Cadets meditating and learning the science o breath.|
|The future police women and police men of Paraguay meditating to "Puta Mata Ki Asis".|
|L to R: S.S. Gurubachan Singh Khalsa, Minister Don?a Gloria Ruben and the Director/Jefe of the Asuncion Police Academy, Eugenio Fretes.|
|Happily eating Langar at one of the centers that Atmadev Kaur (standing far right) visits to serve weekly.|
|On Guru Ram Das birthday, the local sangat serving Langar from the back of a truck on the streets of Asuncion, Paraguay.|
|An indigenous mother and her child gratefully take their to-go Langar.|
|A sight from the stage at the "Yoga Por La Paz" (Yoga for Peace) event which reached over 800 Paraguayan's.|
|Everyone enjoying the humor of Dr Ardas Singh playing with a baby at the beautiful home of Hari Jot Singh and Sat Nishan Kaur.|
From there we were invited to the private home of Atma Dev Kaur for langar. For 2 years now, every Saturday, Atma Dev and her team of sangat members make and serve langar to the lost children of the streets of Asuncion. It is the most beautiful sight to see hundreds of children eating nourishing langar instead of them depending on what they may find in the streets for their next meal.
That evening S.S. Gurubachan Singh Khalsa gave the Lord of Miracles lecture to a full house at Centro Dharma. For more than 2 hours he taught them how to connect with themselves. He explained to them that the final years leading up to 2012 would be years of great disconnection from our environment, friends, family and one's own self. This feeling that everything is upside down and mixed up is leading to a great sense of internal emptiness and confusion. The techniques he presented from Kundalini Yoga offer a way out of this dilemma.
The following day the tour was invited to the home of Sukhdev Kaur for a wonderful lunch. As you may remember, Sukhdev Kaur is an indigenous woman who solely translated all of the Guru's Banis into Guarani. It is the first time that the Gurus words have been translated into an indigenous language of the Americas. Now more than 6 million people who speak Guarani have access to the banis in their native tongue. Besides members of the sangat the Minister of the Environment, Oscar Rivas attended the luncheon. There he discussed with S.S. Gurubachan Singh Khalsa his projects for leading his country against global warming. Minister Rivas is one of the most well known environmentalists in the world and often gives his views to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Following the lunch, the Police Academy of the National Police Force received the tour to offer a conference on stress management to more than several hundred Police Cadets. There S.S. Gurubachan Singh Khalsa taught them to calm their minds, act not react, and breathe long and deep. Imagine several hundred police meditating to Gurubani Kirtan! The Minister of Women as well as the head of the academy attended the session. S.S. Gurubachan Singh Khalsa also received a special recognition on behalf of his efforts.
The following day was Guru Ram Das Ji's Birthday and it began at Centro Dharma where the entire yoga center vibrated to the sounds of 2 ½ hours of Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru. From there we went and distributed langar to more than 300 people on the streets of Asuncion in several different places. Our langari, Atma Dev Kaur and her team pre-packed the langar and we went from homeless children shelters to Indigenous encampments to just being on the street and served this langar to everyone in Guru Ram Das name. It was a very uplifting and beautiful seva that made all of us very grateful to be on this tour. You will notice by the pictures the smiles and happiness that was brought to these people.
The next day in Asuncion was a wonderful event that Hari Jot Singh orchestrated for the benefit of the tour. He created a free one day event for the public entitled YOGA for PEACE [Yoga Por la Paz]. In one of the largest parks in Asuncion more than a thousand people during the day attended a variety of classes culminating in S.S. Gurubachan Singh Khalsa giving a lecture on reducing anger and developing a clear mind. For more than an hour, the participants did 3 different meditations with chanting. At the Festival, there were different booths offering vegetarian food, books and clothing. Every discipline of yoga was also represented by many other teachers. For all of us, we had a great day in the park and a wonderful visit to Paraguay.
On our last day in Paraguay we were invited to the country home of Hari Jot Singh and Sat Nishan Kaur. Located about 1 hour outside Asuncion we enjoyed the drive and view of the lands of the Chaco. Lush, green vegetation accompanied by a deep brick color of soil is what occupies this land. Many of the people are farmers and some are estate owners but the beauty of this place is unlike any other. During the lunch we enjoyed Hari Jot's gourmet cooking and loving hospitality. By the time we left his house, knowing we would also soon leave to the next part of our journey, it was not easy. The visit to Paraguay was quite an experience to say the least and the impact was amazing for both ourselves and the people we reached.
This is Ram Das Singh Khalsa reporting from 33000 feet en route to our 5th and 6th cities, Cordoba and Buenos Aires Argentina on this wonderful 8th Lord of Miracles Tour in Honor of Guru Ram Das.