Autumn has come and we can feel it in the breeze. The sun is not as strong as in the summer. It seems everyone including animals – birds, dogs and cats – feels relieved and relaxed with the weather. Showers come and go as a sign that another rainy season will start soon. The city has just woken up from the 2nd hit of the Covid pandemic. This time it burst out right in Danang city which made everything frozen for nearly 2 months. By the time children started school again, the mid-autumn festival was also “nearby the gate”. Mid-Autumn is a traditional festival in Vietnam, and also in many East Asian and Southeast Asian countries. It is on the full moon night of August. Traditionally on this night, there would be a dragon dance to commemorate the dragon to bring rain for the crops. People prayed for bountiful harvests, increase in livestock and human babies. Lanterns would be lit up and people would eat mooncakes while observing the moon to celebrate another round of harvest. Nowadays, it becomes a festival for children while the tradition of dragon/lion dance, lanterns and mooncakes continues. It is the time people celebrate with family, relatives and friends. Children would either make their own lanterns or have their parents buy one for them.
This year, we decided to let children experience making their own lanterns. In modern days, it’s very easy and convenient to buy electronic ones from the shop. However, keeping the tradition of cutting and pasting paper to create a hand-made lantern is fun and meaningful for children. Together with families on the same street, we organized a simple celebration for them. The night was welcomed with a cool breeze from the river nearby. The sky was clear with stars flickering their dim light. Soon after, the moon also rose behind the trees. Children were happy playing football or with their lanterns. We were all out on the street to enjoy the night because we know after the mid-autumn, the monsoon rain will come and it will rain non-stop for many days. The lion team gave us an amazingly impressive dance. Children shouted out with joy, while some were scared with their first experience seeing these giant animals. After that, each child was awarded with a pack of sweets. Everyone was delighted. At the end of the party, children lit up their lanterns to welcome the moon and another year of celebration in peace and joy.
Neohumanist Education in Saigon
By Trần Thúy Ngọc
The new school year of mainstream education in Vietnam has always been opened solemnly on the 5th of September of every year with a respectful ceremony in every school: reception of the letter from the country President and the Party General Secretary, welcoming message from the Principal together with the teacher assignment list, the sound of the opening drum, and the visit of some important educational personalities in certain schools. Especially this year is the first year of reforming elementary education to make it more humanist and liberal in terms of management, curriculum, textbooks, evaluation, disciplines etc.
In Saigon we also go along the flow with neohumanist activities: book translation, workshops for children to learn how to make cakes, neem soaps for some charity services, RAWA courses of Prabhat Samgitta, yoga classes, yoga kid teacher training, festivals for poor children, weekly work in the master units and so on. We understand that sadvipras (righteous sages), who are the vitality of a human society, should be educated right from childhood. And we hope to contribute in this education with our humble activities. Still water runs deep!
NEW YORK SECTOR
Launching Renaissance Universal
By Jennifer Samuels
While Jamaicans are exercising caution with regard to the global pandemic, we are trying to be innovative in our endeavours. On Sunday, September 20, 2020 we launched Renaissance Universal with a ‘Community Building’ programme.
Renaissance Universal (RU) is a movement and a network of people dedicated to the ideal of a universal renaissance in human affairs. The impetus and inspiration for the movement came from Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar on January 27, 1958. He encouraged artists, musicians, writers, intellectuals and scientists to create a second renaissance, a global renaissance. He named the movement Renaissance Universal.
We distributed the flyer via social-media to about 25 people and had 15 attendees. Some who were unable to show up, requested a repeat event in the near future, and we hope to be able to do one at least quarterly.
The function was planned as a celebration of Shrii P. R. Sarkar’s visit to the island, September 20-23, 1979. Sunday’s event marked the second year we arranged a festivity for this anniversary, and our aim is to continue to do so annually going forward.
The programme was very well received and everyone hailed the event as enjoyable, citing the food, drumming, Prabhat Samghita, and wellness presentations. Didi Ananda Devaprana catered delicious Indian snack foods which were also well received. The venue was the stately home of Cathy March, Oriental Doctor, and we were blessed with a beautiful (unexpected) sunny afternoon… just as when he visited that historic rainy September.
The event was sponsored by GAEAlifestyle & Uma Inspired by Spirit! –
News from Campo Divino
Campo Divino (Ánanda Náráyańa) continues its development, introducing new and progressive dynamics, in the middle of the turning point the world is facing today. Without volunteering power or presence, the focus has been on strengthening human relations within Campo Divino’s Family with programs for adults, animals and a major focus on gardening.
Horses and Yoga lifestyle
Ying Yang and Krpa, two beautiful mares, are new members of the Campo Divino family, thanks to the precious collaboration of Argentinean friends who were inspired by this project that seeks to transmit neohumanism more and more every day. In a month and a half of living with these special beings, and with all the inspiration that neohumanist teachings awaken in us, we have developed a mutual trust so deep that we can climb them without reins, massage them, feed them with our hands, hug and kiss each other. Thanks to them, we have shared one of the fullest neohumanist experiences with Osvaldo, a 92-year-old grandfather, and Lila, a 7-year-old girl, who have been riding the horses.
Grandpa Osvaldo is one of the volunteers and permanent inhabitants of Campo Divino, and at 92 years old became the oldest volunteers ever! He has been sharing tasks and responsibilities with all of us. He worked alongside his grandson for 15 days in the installation of a fence for the horses. He is a true example and a source of hope, awakening the spirit of Neohumanism in young people (and the not so young too!).
Greenhouse for life
Settled in high altitude (750 masl) winters can be truly cold with frost most days during the night. In order to continue cultivating throughout the year an appropriate greenhouse was built where different varieties of winter vegetables were grown and utilized for daily consumption. With the arrival of spring the expansion of vegetable gardening and other trees also takes place in different parts of Campo Divino which by today has nearly 100 fruits trees growing and more than 300 herbal medicine plants including 3 types of lavender, sage, rosemary, citronelle, mint, etc.
Campo Divino is indeed today a tremendous source of inspiration for all offering the way to a happy and meaningful life through good company, organic living, permaculture, natural remedies, healthy lifestyle, and animals‘ training center. By applying the lessons from Shrii PR Sarkar we are developing projects from our hearts.
A book titled “Curriculum Reconstruction for Primary Education” written by Dr. Sunandita Bhowmik has been published by New Delhi Publishers, New Delhi. The book is based on neohumanism.
Recently the Indian Government promulgated and announced a new education policy for the entire country, which was a radical departure from the old education policy. On August 15th, 2020 a panel discussion was held on-line on “The Issues and Challenges in Indian Education – a Neohumanist Perspective”. About 50 educators participated. The persons who were part of the panel included Dr. Biswajit Bhowmik, Dr. Nabin Jana, Advaita, Acarya Svarupananda and Dr. Shambhushivananda. Ms.Prabha Ranjan and Pranav were the hosts. Dr. Sunandita Bhowmik moderated the session. Advaita, a scholar from Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad, provided a historical perspective of the education policies adopted to date . Dr. Biswajit Bhowmik, Deputy Director at IGNOU Kolkata Regional Center and Dr Nabin Jana, Assistant Professor at NISER, Odisha provided illuminating insights into the new policy. Finally, Dr. Shambhushivananda showed how the policy was a progressive step in the Indian educational scene but that it still fell short of embracing neohumanist principles in totality.
2020 Celebration of Prabhat Samghiita Day
“Prabhat Samghiita was started on the 14th Sept 1982. A total of 5018 songs were composed by Shrii PR Sarkar. The composition includes devotional songs and songs for birthdays, funeral and festivals. These songs were composed in 8 different languages. The majority of these songs are in Bengali. We have monthly classes. We also celebrate Prabhat Samghiita Day every year here in Accra, Ghana. This year 2 new songs were learned, 4166 and 4070. These 2 songs are in 2 different languages: Urdu and Hindi. This is a deviation from the Bengali and Sanskrit. We sang these songs collectively to begin and end the celebration.
There was a competition as every individual took turns to sing their favorite song. To crown it all Didi Ananda Gunamaya and Dada Krsnasundarananda took turns individually to sing a song each. The celebration was successful and the songs were pleasing to the ears and heart. A good vibration was created at the end a couple of people commented on the benefits of Prabhat Samghiita, saying they are a panacea for many difficulties and diseases”
Lotus Center update
by Didi Ananda Gunamaya
At the Lotus Center Children’s Center, while the school is closed we have painted the walls and also have been doing lots of art work for make the place happier for the kids. We still need help to finish painting the school, so those who would like to contribute can write to me: .
HONG KONG SECTOR
Planting Trees, Growing Love at Ananda Jyoti
by Rutger Tamminga
Every two months we have a four-day-three night meditation camp in the forested mountains in the north of Taiwan at a rural integrated village called Ananda Jyoti. Usually thirty or forty people come and learn meditation and asanas and enjoy nature related activities. Though every camp is different, the themes are spirituality and nature exploration.
With every camp, we have learned more and more about the intimate relationship between nature and the human mind. We are nature and we are totally integrated with it, from the first Helium atom that emerged with the Big Bang 13.5 billion years ago. In fact we are even connected to before the Big Bang. The camp is about exploring these deepest connections.
Inspired by research and publications by people like Neil Shubin (author of ‘Your Inner Fish”) we learn to trace our bodies’ connection through scientific research to the first cockroaches, fish, worms and trees. We do so in the framework of the Brahma Chakra cycle from yoga philosophy and offer this as an alternative paradigm to the human centered perspective of our society today.
We meditate, paint, dance and sing and through the deep interactions with each other, recharge our hearts with new energy and strength to embrace our lives.
Our camps are Neohumanist in spirit, with vegetarian meals, discussions on the future of the planet and our personal lives. Many aspects of Neohumanist psychology come up in the workshops such as economic fairness, social equality, circular life styles, de-centralized living and spirituality. In Taiwan there is a movement for eco-humanism, related to eco-psychology, which is very similar to Neohumanism with its central concept of love for all.
As we see a growing interest in our activities, we are now working on forming the Taiwan Neohumanist Association to further promote this lifestyle for a sustainable planet.