Ananda Marga in New York Sector organized the sectorial New Year retreat as two online programs, the Spiritual Festival (December 27 – 29) and Winter Retreat 2022 (December 30, 2021, to January 1, 2022.)
This year, the West Coast Margiis and Acaryas took the lead to organize the programs. The main organizers were Dada Diiptimanananda, Didi Ananda Acira, Dada Anudhyanananda, SS Dada Abhiramanandaji, and Margiis from all over the Sector. The retreat was successful with the sincere effort of all the Margiis and Acaryas. There were many contributors, both Margiis and Acaryas. We want to thank everyone who helped make this program a reality. Click here to see a complete list of contributors.
The Spiritual Festival started on December 27, 2021, with an online Akhanda Kiirtana, followed by the opening ceremony. Sister Gayatri from the Lavanya dance school gave a beautiful performance on the Prabhata Samgiita No. 4281, Krsnosti Purusottama. In the evening, sister Tapasi from Boston and Dada Satyamitrananda gave a workshop on natural treatments for acidity. After the workshop, Margiis and Margii children gave RAWA (Renaissance Artists and Writers Association) performances. The day ended with Avarta Kiirtana.
The second day (December 28) of the Spiritual Festival started with Dharma Cakra, followed by Katha Kiirtana and a class by Dada Shiilabhadrananda on Aesthetic and Supra-aesthetic Science.
The third day (December 29) started with a Bhukti Pradhan conference, where Acarya Dhruva and Dada Krsnabuddhyananda introduced how our organizational structure creates an opportunity for every individual to render service and achieve spiritual fulfillment. After the participants had shared, SS Dada Abhiramanandaji concluded the program explaining the upcoming Bhukti Pradhan elections.
After the evening Dharma Cakra, we had three extraordinary art presentations by brother Sudhiira at Ananda Kanan, sister Sananda in Alabama, and Margii brothers and sisters around the Sector. They shared their paintings and drawings and explained the use of colors, motives, and feelings associated with them. It was amazing to see how many talented painters we have here in the New York Sector – both young and aspiring and established artists.
The day’s last class was “Neo-Humanism Education: Concept and Implementation” by Ac. Dhanjoo Ghista. He first gave a slideshow presentation to introduce his ideas, and afterward, sister Shiila led a Q&A session. Ac. Dhanjoo Ghista has many good ideas on how to establish Ananda Marga university and how to bring PROUT, Neohumanism, and other Ananda Marga subjects into implementation. Some suggestions included that all universities should have a medical faculty and yoga and meditation science faculty. Politicians should be required to take education in political and administrative science, and young Margiis and Margii children could enter into studies in politics and economics and bring PROUT research to the public and implementation.
The day ended with a short talk by SS Dada Abhiramanandaji and Avarta Kiirtana.
Online Winter Retreat 2022
The Online Winter Retreat, December 30 – January 1, 2022, was an inspiring three-day online program consisting of classes, workshops, Katha Kiirtana, RAWA Programs, and Akhanda Kiirtana.
Thursday, December 30, 2021, the first day of the Winter Retreat, started with a yoga class given by Didi Ananda Hitapraha, followed by Dharma Cakra.
In the morning, Dr. Akhilesh Sharma gave a class titled Ayurvedic Kitchen Remedies. Dr. Sharma is an Ayurvedic physician and consultant with 30+ years of rich experience practicing and promoting Ayurveda across 19 countries globally. He has served as an Advisor (Ayurveda) to the Govt. of Delhi. He is a visiting faculty at California College of Ayurveda, Hindu University of America (USA), and a revered member of many national and international organizations promoting Ayurveda. His class focused on herbs, spices, and oils commonly available in our kitchens and how those can be used to treat various ailments.
Dada Nirmalkrsnananda gave a spiritual class on What really is a blessing? In the afternoon, Dada Unmantrananda and brother Dharma gave an AMURT presentation. Brother Dharma introduced the various service projects that AMURT has established in Haiti and how AMURT is helping the people become self-sufficient with food, education, and other necessities. Dada Unmantrananda introduced the AMURT work in the US.
Sister Akanksha gave an excellent Prabhata Samgiita class titled A New Dawn for Devotional Song. In her class, she discussed Prabhata Samgiita in the context of world religious music traditions, Indian devotional music traditions, devotional song traditions of Bengal, and how Baba made Prabhata Samgiita easy to learn and accessible, and how it presented several groundbreaking features in the context of devotional music. Dada Diiptimanananda assisted Akanksha by singing some of the songs that she selected as examples of her explanations.
In the evening, after Dharma Cakra, we had a RAWA program and Katha Kiirtana and concluded the day with Avarta Kiirtana. The RAWA Programs are getting better every time, with the artists maturing and improving their singing, dance, and other art.
Friday, December 31, 2021, was packed with activities from morning until after midnight.
The day’s first class was a Master Unit Symposium led by Didi Ananda Rainjana. Dada Rudrananda gave his New Year greetings and explained the history of Master Units and their importance. Brother Dinakar has a lot of practical experience with farming and shared some tips and stories of agriculture and practical Master Unit work.
In the afternoon, brother Apekshit Mulay gave a class on the Three-tiered Industrial Structure, propounded by Shrii P. R. Sarkar. Apekshit took the example of semiconductor production and all the products made with semiconductors. After his class, Dr. Ravi Batra gave a talk titled, The Future of PROUT. Dr. Ravi Batra is one of the leading economists of Ananda Marga, explaining PROUT and how it applies in our contemporary context. This time, Dr. Batra emphasized the importance of the second fundamental principle of PROUT, “There should be maximum utilization and rational distribution of all mundane, supramundane, and spiritual potentialities of the universe.” He said that because the world is currently dominated by Avidya, we need to utilize the spiritual potential that Baba has given us through Varabhaya Mudra to bring about a change starting from within.
In the evening, we had a special RAWA Program organized by sister Lalita and the New York Margiis. It was broadcasted live from New York Sectorial Office, where the Margiis had gathered to celebrate the New Year. It is evident that we have a lot of talented artists in New York, both in the field of music, theater, and martial arts.
The end of the day and the end of the year was a six-hour Akhanda Kiirtana. Some Margii families had organized Akhanda Kiirtana in their homes, and we connected to them through Zoom, and the last three hours were from Akhanda Kiirtana at Los Altos Hills. Due to four time zones in the US, the last Kiirtana was from Pacific time, extending well into the morning on Eastern Time.
January 1, 2022, New Years Day, started with Dharma Cakra, reading of the Ananda Vanii in various languages, and a talk by Dada Shankarananda. We had Akhanda Kiirtana, the RAWA program, and the closing ceremony in the afternoon. It was a blissful ending to a great program. The specialty of this online program was that parts of it were done in-person, such as the RAWA program in New York and the Akhanda Kiirtana in Margiis homes and Los Altos Hills Jagrti. It was a great event and an auspicious way of entering 2022.