Amazing Adventures of the Parmars
By Jackie Pinto | Published: 23rd March 2014 06:00 AM |
A group of Americans is standing on the banks of the Ganges, holding flower floats and listening intently as a cheery-faced man explains the hustle bustle around. It is time for the evening aarti in Rishikesh and the entire town seems to have gathered at the ghats for the grand ceremony. As he finishes speaking , his two little girls who had been quietly standing by his side till now, nimbly kneel and light the diya and incense in their leafy float.
The motley crowd is part of the Mantra India Tour 2014 organised by Beejal Parmar, 42, and his wife Yogi. Beejal and his family are on a mission to tap into “a body of wisdom and knowledge that lies behind the symbolism of most religions” (Hinduism in particular) and share it with the world through Mantra tours.
“It’s more than just a tour,” says Beejal. “It is designed as an immersive experience of culture, history, religion, spirituality and self-reflection. We take the group to magnificent temples and to slums in Delhi, to ashrams in Rishikesh. They participate in the aarti on the Ganges and visit an orphanage and special needs school and hospital here as well.” But the Parmars could well be skydiving in Bali, interacting with local artisans in Hawaii, touring Japan or organising a seminar for entrepreneurs in Bangalore. They travel around the world delivering motivational lectures based on their own personal experiences of growth. The couple also hosted international life coach Sean Smith from California in Bangalore in February this year.
Bangalore-based Beejal, who is an aerospace engineer by education, is a man of many talents. A life, business and relationship coach, he is also an author and a motivational speaker. He is a partner in 123Employee, a marketing-orientated service provider serving small to medium sized businesses. The firm has 400 employees based in Philippines and they use a small team in India for software development. Yogi handles logistics and finances for personal development workshops and tours they conduct around the world. Their daughters Shivani, 12, and Kushi, 8, are home-schooled, which allows the family time and freedom to travel as and when they want.
But this dream life hasn’t been without challenges. Britain-born Beejal had relocated to the US in 1997, but was forced to leave in 2010 due to immigration laws. He also discovered then that his business partner was cheating him. “I am fortunate to be living an incredible global lifestyle today. However, it was not always like this. In February 2009, I was broke and without direction,” says Beejal.
It was then that he attended a motivational workshop that changed his life. “I attended Turning Point in Las Vegas conducted by Marshall Sylver that month. It helped me turn my life around and take it to the next level,” he explains. He also rediscovered his interest in Hindu mythology. “I rediscovered a deep interest in Hinduism, not as a religion, but as a body of wisdom and knowledge largely lost to the world,” he says.
The Parmars are currently on their way to Somanth after celebrating Shivratri with the Nagabhavis in Junaghat and recording a music video of Shivani and American singer Karl Anthony at the Naida caves in Diu. It is just a regular work week for the Parmars.