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Celebrating Indian Culture – Sanskriti International

Bal Mukund / January 03, 2021

On Dec 20th, 2020, JKYog’s flagship cultural platform for youth celebrating Indian culture and preserving spiritual traditions for future generations – Sanskriti International – culminated in a touching global virtual awards ceremony. For several weeks avid youth participants across the globe had presented their skills virtually to rapt international audiences, in over 20 different contests in Indian Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Literary Arts and STEM. The special award ceremony honored the contest winners in what may have been the biggest ever global virtual youth platform with thousands of participants, a long way from its humble beginnings a few years ago in Connecticut. The event also featured special interviews and performances by renowned musical prodigies Rahul Vellal and Soorya Gayathri who were awarded the JKYog Academy Award for Excellence in Music for 2020 by JKYog Founder and global spiritual leader Swami Mukundananda. Swamiji delivered an enlightening keynote on the importance of spiritual culture and its positive impact on India in contrast to other civilizations.

Indian Culture Focuses on Inner Elevation – Swamiji’s Keynote Highlights

Sanskriti is a word derived from the word Sanskrit – the “dev vaani” or language of the gods. However, Sanskrit itself also means “culture” – the word “Susanskrit” means culturally refined.

The greatest empires in the world arose from morally bankrupt foundations – either revenge or insatiable lust for power. Their reign is characterized by tyranny, slavery, barbaric, and hedonistic tendencies. However, we rarely find examples of Indian kings going beyond their borders to force their rule on others or bring back slaves in self-aggrandizing quests.

Speaking about the uniqueness of Indian culture, Swamiji mentioned that while Western culture was enamored with external conquests and imperial adventures, based on mundane romanticized war heroes in their literary works, the Indian culture has always held inner conquest of the mind as the standard for human excellence due to the spiritual teachings inherent in its literary works such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, and the saints such as Prahalad, Dhruv are role models for youngsters in India, inspiring them to choose their higher nature over their lower nature.

Cultural refinement of a civilization does not come from external advancements but from noble inner thoughts stemming from values rooted in God conscious living.

Swamiji highlighted the importance of JKYog’s various programs for children and youth including Sanskriti, Bal-Mukund, leadership workshops, Bhagavad Gita and meditation classes in cementing spiritual values among future generations for a brighter tomorrow.

Special Interaction with Rahul Vellal and Performance by Soorya Gayathri

Rahul Vellal and Soorya Gayathri are no strangers to Indian Music Fans. 13-year-old student of Carnatic Music Rahul has a global fan club of over 5.5M. He won the MS Subbulakshmi fellowship and several other awards. In a special virtual interaction, Rahul delighted the hearts of viewers with surprisingly mature and insightful responses to questions about his key inspirations and how music has shaped him.

Rahul’s songs are known to touch the listener’s hearts with sublime devotional sentiments. Upon being asked how he manages to bring this devotional touch, he mentioned that he focuses on understanding the lyrics deeply before singing any song. He also humbly stated that to date he has not mastered any song and he does not really practice a fixed number of hours every day. He just focuses on mastering certain aspects on any given day and tries to balance his academics with his singing career. He capped of the interview with a fan favorite rendition in a pristine voice with no musical accompaniments – Radha Sametha Krishna.

Carnatic music prodigy, Soorya Gayathri, famous as junior “MS Subbulakshmi” has a viewership of over 150M on YouTube.  She has received the MS Subbulakshmi Fellowship in Music by the Shanmukhananda Sabha in Mumbai among many others. She tugged at the heartstrings of listeners and transported them to the divine realm with the famous bhajan by Sant Kabirdas – Moko Kahan Dhunde Re Bande, Main to Tere Paas Mein. In her message she encouraged youth to work hard stating that everyone has been blessed with special talents by God and we must never give up until we reach our goal.

Swami Mukundananda praised both musicians and presented them JKYog awards with special citations highlighting their contributions towards uplifting people worldwide devotionally through their music.

Milan Cultural Association Founder Ray Sharma conveyed his best wishes and appreciation for the event in a special message. Some youths were also felicitated with special community awards for their dedicated service to their peers.

The whole event was organized and produced by a dedicated team of JKYog volunteers who worked hard for months. At its conclusion many felt nostalgic but simultaneously looked forward to an even bigger Sanskriti International event in 2021.

You catch the whole Sanskriti International 2020 Awards Ceremony here.

If you watched the event or participated in Sanskriti International, share with us in comments what you liked most!

Sign up for special JKYog Youth programs here.

Join the JKYog Youth Book Club formed to discuss and imbibe the ideals laid out in Swami Mukundananda’s bestselling books.