The CNS at Ananda Girisuta, now called The Prama Institute (PI), is focusing its seminar and retreat activities on Spirituality, Art, Sustainability and Holistic Health. The PI recently sponsored workshops on “Transforming Our Emotions Through Kiirtan and Meditation” by Dada Pranakrsnananda that ran for three weekends in January. In March we hosted 30 Ananda Marga acaryas for their quarterly organizational meeting (RDS) for 5 days and held a “Council of All Beings” (environmental workshop) with 13 participants on the last weekend in March.
The PI had its grand opening April 25-29 featuring American poet Robert Bly and Palestinian film maker Hanna Elias. The University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA), in collaboration with The Prama Institute, co-sponsored a poetry reading with Robert Bly entitled “The Soul Is Here For Its Own Joy: An Evening of Sacred Poetry” at UNCA’s Humanities Lecture Hall on Wednesday, April 25. This was an especially inspiring evening for all in attendance. Tommy Hays, the director of the Smokie Mountain Writers Program at UNCA, thanked the Prama Institute for bringing Robert Bly and said “the community will be recalling this evening for some time to come”.
Susan Ross, a writer from Atlanta, said “It is impossible to adequately express my gratitude. This experience with Bly helped me open up to and trust my own voice.” Joe Elliot, a local writer wrote, “Listening to Bly the other night, I couldn’t help but think of his good friend and fellow scholar, Joseph Campbell, the late great mythologist. Both men were so generous with their gifts, so steady in their commitment to the Spirit, so helpful to others in finding their dharma.” Bly gave an equally praiseworthy workshop at the PI for 36 writers the next day.
On the evening of April 26 the PI presented Hanna Elias, Palestinian writer/director who showed the first of two screenings of his independent movie, the Olive Harvest; shown again on April 29 to enthusiastic audiences that he engaged in a lively Q & A following the screenings. The film, which has won a number of prizes at international film festivals, integrates an enchanting tale of romantic love, tradition and family loyalty into the larger climate of political and economic unease in a Palestinian village. He followed the screening on the 29th with a workshop entitled One Man’s Journey: The Use of Film to Promote Peace in the Middle East. At this workshop he presented a body of work including his interactive workshops with Palestinian and Israeli youth that he directed in having the youth make films that shared their views of each other’s identity as well as a sample of 65 episodes of Sesame Street that were aired by TV stations that reached Palestinian and Israeli children, promoting themes of cooperative life styles among people of all backgrounds.
Upcoming Events at Prama Institute
The Master Unit committee for Ananda Girisuta, the Atlanta Region Master Unit, is scheduling a two day planning session in June. This meeting will focus on the vision for the future of the MU including strategies for integrating its activities with the PI, expanding its horticultural activities on the MU and examining the development of the Didi’s MU and possibilities of a cooperative community for families on the newly acquired land to the west of the brother’s MU. The MU and the PI are initiating the Asheville Spirit Festival on July 14th that will bring together a variety of local and international spiritual musicians including the Kundalinii Express, as well as some spiritual films and mela activities. Examine the www.pramainstitute.orgwebsite for a full calendar of future events.