Ananda Nagar India
Dada Shambhushivananda visited Anandanagar and the Gurukula Headquarters currently under construction. The Cakradhuri (headquarters building) Entrance Area is currently being upgraded.
A two-day workshop for youth was conducted at Ananda Marga Gurukula Fine Arts College near Chitmu in Anandanagar. Over 60 young students participated in the workshop. Dada Gurudattananda and Dada Shambhushivananda were present on the occasion.
An international group of twenty persons from Russia, Ukraine, UAE, and France participated in a one-month workshop on “Prabháta Saḿgiita, Dance, and Oriental Music.” The workshop was conducted by Prof. Mrinal Pathak and his colleagues.
They also visited Ananda Marga Gurukula headquarters (Cakradhuri) campus along with Dada Shambhushivananda who also gave a class to them and escorted them to the Cakradhuri Hill along with Dada Aniirvanananda.
The international group also visited the Tantra Piithas (sacred spaces) while at Anandanagar.
Service Activities at Ananda Nagar Recognized as Best Practices
Service activities at Ananda Nagar were selected as best practices (NGO) by the Indian Social Responsibility Network (ISRN), a division of the Ministry of Culture of the Government of India. On 12 February, Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu unveiled a book titled “A Vision of Antyodaya” at New Delhi in his house. Dada Narayananda from Anandanagar, attended the ceremony. The book features a collection of 927 practices (NGO) out of which 408 were documented as best practices (NGO) from various states from different remote areas. With the collective effort of about 60 Antyodaya fellows in the field, 150 social institutions and mentors, and 50 ISRN team members, this study saw its transformation from a proposal to a full-fledged pool of knowledge. Our practice is featured in the book (page 188 Volume 1) and now recognized at the national level.
Dada Shambhushivananda spoke to the Faculty of Engineering, Khon Kaen University in NE Thailand, on “Building Resilience in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”. Prof. Kanyarat Holasut was the host and the talk was shared via live-streaming with entire university on January 21, 2020.
A Visit to Baan Unrak Children’s Home</br />
By Trần Thúy Ngọc
Together with volunteers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, a group of us from Vietnam visited Didi Ananda Devamala’s Baan Unrak Children’s Home in Sangkhlaburi, Thailand, October18-22, 2019, attended a Regional Yoga Conference, and explored surrounding areas. Besides the conference, we had the opportunity to attend various activities of the Baan Unrak Foundation such as collective meditation with the children at the Microvita Center, and visiting the bakery as well as the sewing and weaving center. We also participated in a community relief program at Baan Master Unit. Living, learning, meditating, working, and playing with the orphan children, especially boating together for fun on the vast lake, was a wonderful experience. Some of us applied for future volunteer work.
News from Lily Kids and Yoga Center – By Ly Huang
In February, there was a workshop held by Lily Kids and Yoga Center with Dada Liilananda for the community in Danang, on the topics “What is the purpose of life?” and “Yoga Meditation”. Twenty people attended. Dada first discussed the questions “What is life? What is death? What makes life happen?” and how the body and mind work together in order for life to exist. Pranah (vital energy) acts like glue to connect them. The development of mind was explored, from unicellular to multicellular to complex minds like we have now. Dada also introduced the concept of dharma (characteristic) and the dharma of animals, the dharma of human beings and the nature of mind which comes from pure consciousness and seeks to journey back to its original cause; thus human dharma is longing for infinity.
Dada explained the system of yoga asanas and meditation for helping the mind reach its highest goal and how yoga asanas help to heal the body and make it possible to sit still in meditation. Since the mind cannot think of infinity, a symbol system has been developed as a bridge to lift up the mind, and that symbol is “Mantra”. “Man” means mind; “Tra” means “liberation”. Mantra is a sound that, once recited, can liberate the mind. Mantra has 2 parts: reciting with the breathing and its meaning.
The two day workshop was inspiring, fun and relaxing. Students attending the workshop had some time off from their daily life to reflect on themselves and their lives. It was also the beginning activity of Lily Center for the year which will be continued with more yoga courses focusing on yogic lifestyle. We hope to organize more and more activities for the community in Danang and Vietnam.
NEW YORK SECTOR
Neohumanist College of Asheville
By Sid Jordan
The construction of the Neohumanist College of Asheville (NHCA) has had to pause due to funding issues and protecting workers from the corona virus pandemic. We have recently completed the plumbing, insulation, heating, and air for the two domes and their connector (see photos). If construction can resume within a month or two we can still complete construction in the Fall.
In the meantime the online learning team is working on the development of the online learning management system (LMS) for the NHCA. This team has been greatly aided by the addition of Theodore Feitshans, the university professor who created the LMS that serves North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC and more recently developed the LMS for the University of Mount Olive in Mount Olive, NC. He teaches there as a professor of Agriculture in the Department of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and manages the university LMS. The team is putting together all the tools for a LMS along with a budget for these tools and equipment needed for a distance learning laboratory that can produce content and videos. The next steps will involve developing a course for teachers to learn how to teach online. By the beginning of next year we hope to be able to teach this online learning course to the instructors who will be offering online Neohumanist Education courses to our teachers around the globe. Additionally the NHCA will offer training in online teaching to our teachers and students, pre-k through college, in every country, to accommodate the growing demands to harness appropriate technology for education in the classroom and at home.
The current pandemic brings home the need to have a vibrant Neohumanist College online to offer a Neohumanist Education to our teachers and students worldwide. Gratitude goes out to parents, teachers, staff and administrators in our Neohumanist schools and all educational institutions who are devising ways to keep children up with their studies at home as well as furnishing families with nutritious meals. We can make this crisis an opportunity to work together to build a stronger Neohumanist Education for all ages.
Prama Institute and Wellness Center Update
The Prama Institute and Wellness Center, like many other organizations, has shifted its programs to an online format to accommodate the stay-at-home demands of the Corona Virus Pandemic. We were headed toward more online activity but everyone now has a big push in that direction.
Much of the initial thrust has been to offer more free activity like our Wednesday Wellness Meditation with a suggestion of any donation anyone is inspired to offer.
This of course doesn’t compensate for the fact that our employees, like others throughout the nation, are not drawing a salary and yet working hard to make the shift to online activity. Fortunately our base of regular attendees is coming to online programs we have offered for smaller fees and many are donating for the free programs such as the meditation. Additionally most of those who have signed up for postponed programs are not asking for a refund and are waiting to attend these programs when we can resume in-person activity. The big unknown for us all is when and what will we inherit as our new normal?
Online programs offered by the Prama Wellness Center have included Stress Relief and Immunity Support for the Corona Virus Pandemic. This workshop began with Roar Bjonnes’s presentation on diet, herbs, graduated fasting and yoga asanas to support physical immunity. Sid Jordan then guided exercises for stress relief that included breath control, meditation, benevolent communication skills and yama and niyama applied to the care of self and others during the pandemic (see article in this issue).
Along with the development of additional online programs on meditation and healthy yogic lifestyle we are developing more online content and blogs. Many of these blogs deal with the message that caring for yourself and others, as has been magnified by this pandemic, go hand in hand.
Bringing Children in Permaculture to the USA
In November 2019, Didi Ananda Devapriya gave a workshop at the Progressive School of Long Island, introducing the “Children in Permaculture” approach to ethics based ecological education. Indeed, the Progressive School already has a strong focus on ethics, and connecting permaculture to the simple ethics of “Earth Care, People Care and Future Care”, helped teachers to be able to connect to it more easily. Indeed, some were surprised that the workshop was not just about gardening techniques, but rather a way of thinking and living. The director, Eric Jacobson, was interested in continuing to explore how to bring more outdoor learning, and practical permaculture experiences into the curriculum.
A few days later, Didi gave another intro workshop in Portland, Oregon at the Kailash Eco-Village. Only two people attended, but one of them was Matt Bibeau, who founded the Institute of Permaculture Education for Children. It was a very productive exchange of experience. A few days later, Didi also visited the site that he runs with his wife, offering experiential workshops in permaculture to children.
Didi is available to give introductory workshops, or full Children in Permaculture trainings to NHE schools around the world. Please contact her directly at email@example.com
The book can be read online for free at www.childreninpermaculture.com. It is currently available in English, Romanian, Italian, Czech, Slovenian and is being translated into Dutch, French and other languages. In Europe, the book can be ordered online at https://www.permaculture.org.uk/
There are also currently a limited number of English copies available in Oregon, that can be shipped to anywhere in the US much less expensively.
Volunteers at Ánanda Náráyańa (Campo Divino)
These past few months have been focused on the bio-construction of the third house of Divine Land (mud bricks, wood etc.). Volunteers participated in the lifting of walls, plastering, and the paving of a floor. The construction of a third house was necessary in order to welcome more volunteers in the near future. Furthermore it was absolutely necessary to have a proper laboratory dedicated to distillation and the storage of medicine. In the laboratory space, it will be possible to dry and distill plants and herbs in order to produce more medicine. The herbs are harvested directly in the garden and their essential oils are extracted. Some of the essential oils and aromatherapy mists are sold on the weekly market, some are being gifted to visitors and the rest is used by the Divine Land family.
Living at the farm revolves around sharing time together and maintaining all the areas of the land. This includes a lot of watering for all the plants, herbs and fruit trees on Divine Land. The volunteers also help to take care of the gardens by seeding, weeding and planting crops, as well as harvesting plants when the time is right. Some volunteers come to Divine Land with a little bit of experience in gardening or construction but others learn everything here by doing it. Indeed, volunteers are offered an opportunity to learn and to participate in everything, including the maintenance of infrastructure (water pump and reservoirs for instance). Cooking is also a shared task and it is therefore possible to learn how to make bread, granola, cakes…
The creators and permanent members of the farm practice yoga and meditation based on a complete lifestyle. Volunteers are offered the possibility to learn about these practices and to experiment with them during their stay at the farm. The spiritual journey proposed at the farm includes early morning practices of yoga asana postures and meditation. The idea is to elevate oneself spiritually and to practice full consciousness at all times. All practices can be done alone or collectively, it always depends on everyone’s intentions. Divine Land’s environment is the ideal place to question oneself spiritually and to share your reflections and progress with likeminded people, your family at the farm. Some collective practices include singing mantras before lunch and promoting a healthy lifestyle by cooking accordingly. When coming to Divine Land, all volunteers know the importance of spirituality here and it is their choice to participate and open themselves to it or not.
Ukraine – By Didi Ananda Cetana
New Kindergarten Site: A land owner, 500 kilometers from Kiev in Ukraine, offered a 400 square meter building for a new kindergarten, as the area is in need one. The building is only cement bricks and roof right now. We need $60,000 for completion. It is surrounded by a garden space. The owner is a psychologist who wants to be a teacher, and in addition we already have a second teacher.
Parent Videos: We made 42 short parent videos. They are being translated into Russian and being edited now. We will also be adding in Montessori demonstrations.
Math Made Playful and Inexpensive: We have been making playful and inexpensive math materials for young children. If you would like to learn how, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
West Africa Update
by Didi Ánanda Guńamayá
Lotus Children Center – ACCRA, GHANA
For one month the children benefited from the wonderful volunteer work of Ariana Volio. Here are some of the contributions she made.
As a Pilates instructor, she introduced yoga asanas for the creche. Before only students above 4 years were practicing yoga asanas but she could adjust it to the youngest also.
She helped the teachers by reinforcing brain gym activities. We had introduced brain gym in the curriculum in 2012 when Bibi Ahmeed from Australia visited us. It helps children with motor coordination in a very fun way!
She suggested new fun ways to introduce reading to the kids.
In other news, the teachers decided to paint the front of our school. It was a spontaneous volunteer project coming from their heart. None of them had the experience of painting but Didi guided them how to do it.
We also gave a well received talk on vegetarianism to 20 parents of our students
For more information on this project, please visit: http://www.lotuschildrencenter.yolasite.com
EJURA – Neohumanist School at Ananda Madhura Master Unit
Shankar, now 80 years old but still active, and Didi visited the school to teach principles of morality and NHE to the teachers. Didi also explained in detail psychological ways to impart these to the kids.
CENTRAL REGION OF GHANA
Path of Joy School Update
We need to complete the last classroom for the ground floor now. Funds and volunteers are most welcome! Please contact Didi: email@example.com
PR Sarkar Institute and Centenary Celebration
The P.R. Sarkar Institute was inaugurated on the birth anniversary of Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar in 2015, so this year marks our 5th anniversary!
Resources on the website (www.prsinstitute.org) continue to be added on a regular basis and announced on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PRSarkarInstitute
The main work, however, of PRSI for this year is the preparation of on an exhibition, documentary film and book on the life, mission and teachings of Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar to celebrate his centenary next year. The work is progressing well. More about that in the next issue.
The “P. R. Sarkar Exhibition Centre” is now ready for exhibits in Taichung, Taiwan.
Mr. Tamminga and Mrs. Lin began operations at the International Neohumanist Center on May 7, 2020, the 99th birth anniversary of Shrii P. R. Sarkar, the founder of the Neohumanist Movement