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Peace Village celebrates spirit and awakening

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    Anthony Fiducia/Columbia-Greene Media Guests during a group meditation.
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    Anthony Fiducia/Columbia-Greene Media Sister Shivani speaking on stage.
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    Anthony Fiducia/Columbia-Greene Media Tannersville Mayor Lee McGunnigle (middle) on stage next to emcee Eric Larson (left) and Father Jay Atherton (right), another honored guest at the event.
July 10, 2017 12:30 am

TANNERSVILLE — Peace Village hosted a celebration of spirit and awakening Sunday afternoon with special guest Sister Shivani, an Indian spiritual teacher and inspirational speaker with a YouTube account with over 150,000 subscribers.

“We want to bring the idea that all of us have the ability to make a shift in our way of thinking,” said Kala Iyengar, director of Peace Village. “We want to change the way we interact with people, the environment and ourselves.”

“It is a spiritual awakening — when it happens, one begins to see change in the world around them. That’s what this program is about — raising awareness to how we can be more positive in our approach.”

The event joined over 2,000 people at the learning and retreat center, which opened in 1999. It featured spiritual exhibits, live music, group meditation, food and many guest speakers.

“The event is fabulous,” said Arjoon Lal, a student at Peace Village as well as one of the main organizers of the event. “A lot of planning went into this.”

It took nearly three months to plan the event, Lal said.

“Knowing how much effort goes into it and then you see it happen — it’s a marvelous feeling,” Lal added.

Students at Peace Village have been requesting Sister Shivani’s visit, said Lal.

As the last stop of her first-ever tour in North America, Sister Shivani finally got to visit Peace Village as her grand finale.

“When am I going to feel different? I am in America and I’ve never been here,” said Sister Shivani during her speech. “I feel the same love, unity, purity, enthusiasm and respect as I do in India.”

“I’ve met thousands of souls and everyone wants the same thing — everyone wants peace. The vibration is the same as in Inida — if the vibration is the same, we’re united.”

Tannersville Mayor Lee McGunnigle was one of the event’s honored guests.

“I’m so grateful, honored and moved to be invited,” he said on stage Sunday afternoon. “Peace Village’s work can’t be measured — I’m so grateful you have picked this spot, so many have come to Tannersville to find healing.”

This was the second event of Sister Shivani’s tour for Joe Fulginiti, 27, of New York City. “I went to the one in White Plains and had a good experience the first time,” he said. “That one was much smaller, probably about 300 people and it was in a gymnasium.”

“I really like the location here — it’s very calming and gives a sense of perspective,” he added.

“This event was much larger. I’m glad it was outdoors on this perfect day.”

“This is great for the mountain top,” said Gary Hommel, 63, of Haines Falls. “The locals don’t realize what we have, and these people do.”

“Stuff like this is fabulous to me — we need more stuff like this. The more we get, the better it is up here,” he added.

To reach reporter Anthony Fiducia, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2309 or email