Ananda Marga Gurukula (AMGK) held a CNS Conference (Centres of Neohumanist Studies) November 11- 13 at the Asheville Master Unit, Ananda Girisuta. The conference focused on the development of CNS globally and locally, long range plans for a Gurukula University in the USA and the expansion of sustainable communities studies. Ananda Girisuta’s expanded land
purchase of an additional 100 acres gave scope for attendees to conduct a planning conference on how the Gurukula education agenda can be integrated with sustainable community planning. The talents of those attending helped develop a vision of how a growing AMGK faculty can focus on education concerning sustainable communities, especially as this agenda relates to our potential world wide campus on Master Units in Ananda Marga. In answering Shrii P.R. Sarkar’s call to work with many “like minded” individuals, attendees considered how we might join with the global movement to establish eco-villages which support local economies and bio-regionalism. Attendees at this CNS conference included Ac. Shambhushivananda Avt., Arati, Ac. Vishvamitra, Dhyanesh, Satyaki, Hiranmaya, Anasuya and couples, Ramesh and Mayadevi, Bhavesh and Koaverii, Pavitra and Hari Priya and Viirendra and Hari Priya.
While CNS developments, locally and globally, including establishing a Gurukula University, was our beginning focus, we devoted time to designing our local CNS and sustainable community on the Asheville MU. The meeting began on Friday PM with dinner, introductions and collectively detailing our agenda. On Saturday morning we began with Dada Shambhushivananda acquainting everyone with the administrative structure and functions of Gurukula and plans for a Gurukula University. Vishvamitra focused on the definition of Gurukula’s CNS as representing our “higher education” (universities, distance learning, seminars, workshops and conferences) efforts in contrast to NHE’s focus on children. Vishvamitra then shared the plans for the development of the CNS seminar centre on the Asheville MU. A business plan in being developed for the CNS seminar centre with plans to be operational in the fall of 2006. This expanded centre, currently under construction, entails two domes covering 6,000 square feet of sleeping quarters, commercial kitchen, dinning and classrooms which can accommodate approximately 50 guests for conferences and workshops. Utilizing neighbouring facilities and houses larger retreats can be held.
The afternoon session was devoted to a walking tour of Ananda Girisuta, the Atlanta Region MU, as Dhyanesh, community designer and Satyaki, agricultural consultant, helped us envision the potential uses of various parts of the 150 acre MU. The tour was followed by a community design conference led by Dhyanesh that contributed greatly to defining the role of our master units in developing a sustainable community. We considered a comprehensive plan that integrates the goals for a Master Unit and cooperative life styles for families and single margiis utilizing cluster homes and co housing on land adjacent to the MU. In the evening after Dharma Chakra, Mayadevi, a documentary film maker, showed us an inspiring slide show she made on a visit to Didi Anandamitra’s master unit in Brazil a couple of years ago. The session on Sunday morning focused on Gurukula’s educational mission regarding MU’s and sustainable
communities on a global level (see our section in the Gurukula Network on Sustainable Communities). We also acknowledged that we must explore many of the successful models of eco-villages around the world to benefit from what “green life style” groups have done that could be an integral part of our Neohumanist and Proutistic ideas applied in our sustainable community projects. The morning session ended with an enthusiastically received interactive workshop on Green Architecture, presented by sister, Anasuya, that integrated Fung Shue and Sacred Geometry with green design and building approaches.This landmark conference marks the beginning of our educational conferences and workshops on AMGK/CNS higher education and sustainable communities. We invite all interested margiis and citizens to contact us concerning your interest in writing, planning and working on these efforts to educate and develop sustainable master units and communities in the general society. In developing sustainable communities that support our spiritual growth let each of us come to realize and participate in what P.R. Sarkar referred to as “that vigorous capability which fuses the hard reality of existence with the ultimate reach of the visionary world” (Human Society Part I).