South African Karma Yoga Teacher Leads Humanitarian Communications Team to India

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It is with a deep sense of sorrow that I feel the imbalance of Rishikesh, and my role as Karma Yogi is apt for the impression I hope to make within the yoga community. My opinion in these matters are messages I am being guided to share at this time with the utmost sincerity. I am only sharing these messages with you as they are being revealed to me through my own experiences and realizations in Divine timing.

More than 90 years old, the iconic Lakshman Jhula Bridge, located north of Rishikesh city, India’s yoga capital, was closed on Friday 12 July 2019 as it has been deemed unsafe for traffic. The bridge forms the main crossing over the Ganga river linking yoga hubs Lakshman Jhula and Tapovan.

Businesses are suffering. Locals use the bridge for commuting as well as moving goods to and from Rishikesh city using carts and donkeys. Animals, specifically cows, bulls, dogs and monkeys have had a bypass across this bridge for nearly a century. Beggars and animals in this area rely on business and tourism for food. Hawkers and stall owners need this bridge as it has become their refuge and home. The question is, why has this news come as such a surprise for the residents and businesses of Rishikesh? Why are the state and municipal offices not communicating these intentions to the population to prepare for these eventualities? Is there any social and environmental upliftment plan in place ready to curb the devastating consequences of having the bridge closed. Bigger questions like when will a new bridge be constructed and how will the funding from state be utilized to ensure the best possible outcome for business owners, residents and tourism.

First hand conversation with Tapovan resident Ms Kavita Kandwal (a local guest house owner who also works as a teacher at Ramana’s Garden, a well-known NGO and orphanage) reports a shocking effect from locals who rely on the influx of pilgrims and tourists from around India during this time.  The closure of the bridge just days from one of the most financially rewarding festivals on the Hindu calendar brought grown men to tears as they have already bought stock and prepared for the thousands. The devastating financial effect that this will have extends to a majority of Indians who live on the poverty line, including small stall holders, hawkers and beggars.

Latest news in response to the reports  made by the Public Works Department that the bridge is ‘distressed’ reveal, not just a poor lack of support and commitment from the state to many already suffering in this region, but a long term problem which is going to have massive repercussions.

Rishikesh is built alongside the banks of the Ganga river at the foothills of the Himalayas and welcomes travellers from all over India and the globe as a spiritual source. Now is the time to take a look more seriously at the social and environmental landscape of Rishikesh and what the business of yoga is doing, or not, to impact the change.

For those who have been to Rishikesh, or have looked at a bird’s eye view or map of the area in crisis, you will see that Tapovan is built into the steep banks of the valley. Walkways and winding paths have been carved out of the mountainside allowing for interesting meanders past all kinds of shops, stalls, local eateries, temples, schools and ashrams as well as many other small accommodation options owned by private and residential home owners. This area is already restricted to some traffic as the road winds downwards to a cul-de-sac and a challenging staircase which takes you down towards the riverside and the crossing to Lakshman Jhula, the commercial yoga hub of Rishikesh.

I have been the administrator of Rishikesh Yogis Community Facebook page since December 2018 and have seen the decline of connection, sharing, transparency and collaboration between yoga schools and ashrams.  I have been witness to many idiosyncrasies and competitive hypocritical behaviour. More recently incentives to boycott Yoga Alliance, an American organisation regulating and standardizing yoga practices worldwide, is aggravating the sanctity and spirituality of yoga and its application in India and the west, bringing confusion and underlying feelings of mistrust to the industry.

I keep receiving first hand messages and information pertaining to the poor state of animals, specifically dogs and cows, pollution, poor infrastructure and municipal services as well as the ongoing problem of poverty, starvation and domestic violence.

There is an unfortunate high petty crime rate which is the  reason for a new platform exposing con artists masquerading as holy men, mystics and healers, but, there are people who are aware of the darker energies and who are working silently behind the scenes to bring in justice. Men proclaiming to be spiritual masters and gurus continue to lure foreign women for whatever selfish pleasures, and stories of abuse, torture, molestation and rape continue to be brought to the public’s attention, with the assistance of police and state services wherever possible.

In June/July 2013 I experienced the worst floods in over 88 years when I made my first trip to India to complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training course. The monsoon floods caused havoc in the region leaving many, including sadhus and babas {homeless), in dire circumstances. It was during this time that I began to work on the streets providing specialist foot care, first aid and hygiene education which led to my calling to do Karma Yoga in service of the homeless, poor, destitute and stray animals. In a natural mother role I became a carer and friend for many and am assured of a much deeper soul connection has manifested through my devotion.

In some cases my intent to help and care for the poor was met with condemnation and sabotage. In one instance an animal NGO interfered with my access to free medication for homeless people and families at Traveni Ghat (a public space which has been adopted as a home by many destitute). Three existing animal NGO’s operating seasonally in Rishikesh do as much as they can to improve the lives and conditions of all the animals, however, little is being done to improve communication between them, the local community and state about the increasing crisis.

Assessing the needs of the poor at Traveni Ghat with my rescued stray pup Kulfi.

In April 2018 I met with Milli Kaur the founder of Doon Animal Welfare and began working with them remotely. Later last year I was compelled to start Rishikesh Animal Welfare as an online resource centre offering support and open communication between NGO’s/non-profit organisations in this region. I am  hopeful that it will impact communication, bring in trust and a way for us to combine services and resources to make the necessary impact in this region. Various Hindi news articles were syndicated during this time about my service to India and the importance of Karma Yoga according to The Bhagavad Gita (an ancient Sanskrit scripture which has become an integral part of my philosophy, and which calls for selfless action).

In early August 2018 I landed in Delhi and began to make my way to Rishkesh during the chaotic festivities of Kanwar Yatra, the annual pilgrimage of Lord Shiva’s devotees who travel to the holy waters of the Ganga. The droves of people I experienced during this time was overwhelming and frightening. The Hindu holy month of Shravan began on the 17 July 2019. Devotees will begin to head to temples to offer their prayers amidts chanting of shlokas and mantras seeking blessings from Shiva for a better life, good health and ‘moksha’ – salvation. In contrast to the significance of these festivities we cannot forget the vast majority that will experience loss and suffering during this time and try to bring some awareness to those in need.

In contradiction to where you think my opinions may be swaying, I experienced a very unnerving and dangerous scenario when I got caught on my scooter crossing Lakshman Jhula bridge. It was becoming congested on both sides with too many people, families and two wheelers. Two large bulls had become aggressive with each other and caused panic as they began to bump into people. I remember feeling the tension taken by the bridge as people started shuffling and panicking. I could feel the strain…for an instant I observed, from an elevated perspective, the possibility of a future disaster. Truthfully, the bridge is unsafe!

It has been impressed upon me by Spirit to share my experiences  to bring truth and clarity to the problems and solutions which need to be addressed and implemented, otherwise the centre we have placed so much emphasis on for healing and liberation of the Self through Yoga-Divine Union, will be lost.

I understand Spirit would like to use me to witness and share about these events and experiences, to teach about love and compassion and to inspire. To help others manifest their true purpose and to ensure that the voice of higher consciousness can be heard. I have received spiritual blessings and gifts which manifest as Divine Shakti energy, that of the Divine Feminine and am deeply connected to Mother Earth through my devotion to Spirit and Source, God. I have been developing my awareness of Self since my return to South Africa in March 2019 to raise my frequency and vibration. I am once again being called to India to tune in to guidance from Spirit, to understand how better to help others, animals and the environment and take action.

The latest news is that Dengue Fever is widespread in the northern region of India, a mosquito-borne viral disease occurring at the height of India’s monsoon season. Many children have fallen ill in Rishikesh as reported by Ms Kandwal, and even though Dengue is endemic in India locals say not enough is being done by the state to aid the sick, dying and their families.

Doon Animal Welfare founder Milli Kaur has also contracted the Dengue virus which has the population of Dehradun appealing for emergency aid. Milli expressed her urgent need for international communications and fundraising to complete certain projects which include a much needed animal shelter for the region. It is my intention to put guidelines in place as well as a team who can assist me within the next month to bring these intentions to reality.

Fundraising initiatives such as #indipamloveprojects are created to spread awareness of Self and Spirit during festival season in the Western Cape, South Africa, my home, however more focused and ambitious fundraising needs to happen to ensure foundations can be laid to support ongoing missions between South Africa and India.

Please use for donations.


South Africa:
Pamela Tosh
Cheque Account 4057957826
Code 632005

Please contact me, Pamela Tosh on +2783 475 2281 WhatsApp or email

For more information visit

Facebook Pamela Tosh and @indipamkarmameansaction to view Karma Yoga picture galleries.

To find more information about Doon Animal Welfare visit

Specialist tools and first aid supplies.