Renaissance Artists and Writers Association, (RAWA), was founded by Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar in India in 1958 in order to restore art to its true role as an instrument for social and spiritual awakening. He envisioned a New Artistic Renaissance where artists and writers would unite and inspire society to move forward in a progressive and spiritual direction.
Art has the capacity to awaken social consciousness and lead a person towards spiritual self-realization. The RAWA Festival started more than three years ago, with the intention to create a social movement that could introduce in a subtle way progressive ideas such as PROUT, Neohumanist Education, Yoga and Meditation through the medium of the arts.
We are living a time of change preparing ourselves for a New Era that will establish spirituality into the whole planet. The movement of the RAWAFest is also to serve as a platform for all social alternative movements, to connect to each other and form a network to unify forces for the future generations.
On September of 2008 the idea of the First RAWA Festival came to my mind, but at that time it was not very clear. It seemed more like a small gathering of artists promoting their arts through their own spiritual experiences. I was in a long fast trying to find a way to bring Shrii P. R. Sarkar’s ideas into the public in a more efficient way. After weeks of intense meditation a vision came to my mind, showing me the picture of what was going to be the future plan. I got excited with the idea and since I love Arts, this was the best way I could serve at that moment.
We had a little more than a couple of months, myself and Jorell Lynn Mahler (Jayasrhii), an American woman who was working as a volunteer at that time at the Ananda Kiirtana Master Unit. We didn’t know exactly how the whole thing was going to turn out; we didn’t have any money or means to start the project, not to mention that there was not even a telephone or computer or any transportation to go to the city available at that time. Anyhow we managed to put ourselves on the road and started working. The whole experience was like walking into another dimension of complete surrender towards the Great. The doors started to open everywhere, people started to appear from here and there to help us and suddenly one day out of the blue what was supposed to be at the beginning a small gathering of artists became the first RAWA Festival.
In two months the doors were open to more than hundred artists that came to the Festival to share the beauty within them. We got all the support through different public and private entities that supplied food, infrastructure and transportation for all that was needed. There was a good receptivity from the local people and the Master Unit started to become more and more popular in the area, giving us the chance to do social service work during the event for the people with financial difficulties. Government representatives, social activist and holistic therapists started to appear more and more as the Festival grew.
In the second and third year the perspective of the impact of the first Festival that brought around 200 people, got expanded. The following years we received the visit of artists from other states of the country, approximately more than 250 people each year.
The PROUT presentations were always present, showing and inspiring the people about the possibility to live a sustainable spiritual life in harmony with nature. Coincidently through that platform people that were already working in different spheres for the welfare of the planet got to know each other and formed a network to maintain their communication to see how they can help to increase the consciousness on the planet through an alternative sustainable way of life where they realized that education is the key point to establish PROUT and spirituality into the world. Through the years many people and movements got chance to participate like musicians, dancers, singers, theater actors, PROUT and vegetarian activists, NGOs working for the welfare of animals, holistic therapists and of course our Neohumanist schools showing and teaching to the people a new alternative for education.
We had yoga classes during the days, meditation, different kinds of workshops in arts and music, speeches, alternative films on sustainability and social economics, raffles of prizes such as paintings, books and ayúrvedic treatments, and delicious vegetarian foods and snacks offered at accessible prices.
This year the Festival in its fourth year, will take place in the south of Brasil at Ananda Dáksina Master Unit in Viamão-Porto Alegre, the 24th and 25th of September. We are expecting more than a thousand people to participate in this event. Many schools are invited not only from AMURT that will actively support the Festival, but also the schools from nearby communities.
The Federal Deputy Cherini from the government, President of the Commission of the Environment and Sustainable Development and a Holistic Therapist as well, is working actively to establish alternative healing into the whole country and not only is supporting the RAWAFest this year, but he is also very excited with the idea of PROUT and wants to establish it in Brasil. On March of this year we got invited to participate in a National Holistic Encounter organized by the deputy himself. We got the opportunity to exhibit our project, sing Kiirtan at the opening ceremony, and invite the thousand people or more to come to the Festival, most of them composed of alternative therapists and natural healers from all over the country.
One of the objectives of the Festival beyond serving as a bridge for a new consciousness is also to generate the funds to support social service projects in Ananda Marga. This year we hope to generate enough funds to establish the WWD project, a Center for the Rehabilitation and Woman´s Welfare in Brazil, that is being coordinated by Didi Ananda Sushiila.
The RAWAFest is open to all artists, giving them a platform to share with the collectivity their own expression of spirituality that at some point in their lives got manifested through their art from the deepest pure essence within themselves. We believe that this kind of approach will bring up the human mind into higher levels of understanding, and through a proper education and proper inspiration, the artists will create art for the self-realization and service to all, expanding the horizon of human potentialities towards the divine.
There are many people involved in this process, working selflessly to make this event successful. It’s about using arts and literature to bring progressive ideas into society, and a medium to teach and offer to the people different kinds of tools for human elevation such as yoga and meditation at a social, economical, political and spiritual level. We invite you all to participate in this event, contributing with your art, your presence or sending a donation for the WWD Project “Center for the Rehabilitation and Woman´s Welfare”. You can contact us via: www.rawafest.org,rawafestanandamarga.org.br
Though separated by many countries, many states, many religions, many communities, or by many languages, the human race is an indivisible entity. Every human mind is but the diversified individual manifestation of that same indivisible Cosmic Mind. Today we look forward to the advent of the artist, that writer who will convey this truth to the hearts of humanity in a still sweeter language, still more strongly and deeply. Shrii P.R. Sakra (Abhimata, The Opinion,77)