A pracar tour was organized in the New York Sector on the East Coast in Boston Region, and Philadelphia Region. We were four Acaryas: Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta, Ac. Kovid Brc., Avtk. Ananda Hitaprabha Ac. and Avtk. Ananda Kalyanmitra Ac. On the 15th of September, 2023, the four Acaryas met up at the New York Sectorial Office in Flushing, New York, and set out on the pracar tour in Connecticut, Long Island, Washington DC, and New York City.
The first destination was our Master Unit in Connecticut, Ananda Kalpataru, where we met with a professor and six students from Yale University in New Haven, CN. They were in communication with and invited by Timir and Shefali Prabhakar. Four students had been assigned to work on our land as part of a forestry course they are studying. We explored our land for a few hours, and the students shared some maps they had put together to help identify the boundary lines. They were so happy, and we did meditation together.
The entire tour was successfully organized with programs at the University of Connecticut (UCONN), the Chamber of Commerce of Connecticut, and temples and community centers. It was a very inspiring program, and hundreds of people were met and introduced to Ananda Marga through flyers and visiting cards.
The next day (Sept. 16), we spent in Hartford, Connecticut’s capital, about 30 minutes from Ananda Kalpataru. We were supported by wonderful weather throughout the days in Connecticut. On arrival in Hartford, we visited a park in the city center. As we arrived, there happened to be a festival going on, and upon approaching the organizer, we were given a spot to set up a booth to present Ananda Marga to the public. We were handing out leaflets and providing individual introductions to meditation. We were also invited on stage, and SS Dada Abhiramanandaji addressed the audience to announce our organizational presence. After the festival in the park, we went to the ISCON temple in Hartford, where we met up with some devotees for dinner and networking.
The next day (Sept. 17), we had an appointment at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) main campus in Storrs, CT. UCONN is the most prominent college in Connecticut, with 35,000 students. We visited some of the cultural centers on campus and the Student Health and Wellness Center. At a museum on campus, we met a student who was part of a mindfulness group of students who happened to meet on that day of our visit. We were invited and given a full hour to introduce ourselves and give an introductory meditation class to about 15 students and their professors. All enjoyed it very much, and the professor was happy to cooperate further in the future.
On the same evening, the Didis were able to cover a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce for female entrepreneurs, and they enjoyed the opportunity to network with women of the locality.
The next day (Sept 18), we all attended a networking event by the Chamber of Commerce in Glastonbury, Connecticut. And then, we continued to Connecticut Community College at Manchester. We were warmly welcomed at the office for Student Life and taken on a tour to meet various administrative staff. As we strolled on the campus, we improvised some meditation introductions with students who showed interest. We had a good experience and look forward to following up with this and other community colleges.
The next day, we visited the Governor’s office in Hartford, approached some staff members, and had a tour. From there, we attended “Yoga in the Park” and made friends with a yoga teacher in a network sponsored by the city to organize regular outdoor yoga classes throughout the summer. We had a warm and conducive exchange.
On the last day in Connecticut, we had an appointment at a yoga studio in Willimantic. We were warmly welcomed by the owner, who showed us around the center; she also shared her background and the activities held there. She was very happy to meet us and invited us for further cooperation.
Next was a visit to Jersey City, New Jersey, where a group of yoga and fitness centers partnered to organize a day of open house marketing with classes and socializing.
The next day, we were at a seniors’ activity center on Long Island, where we gave meditation and yoga classes and interacted with about 80 participants who enjoyed our spiritual company.
Ananda Marga participated in a small event, where the Dadas and Didis met with various politicians of New York City. They talked with Adrienne Adams, Speaker of the New York City Council, and Linda Lee, councilmember of New York City’s 23rd City Council district. This meeting with representatives of the NYC Council was an unexpectedly warm networking experience. We had a chance to meet the Speaker of the NYC Council, Ms. Adrianne Adams, and other representatives and their staff at this lovely get-together.
World Cultural Festival 2023 in Washington, DC
We visited Washington, DC, and participated in the World Cultural Festival (WCF) on September 29, 2023. The WCF was organized by the Art of Living at the National Mall of Washington, DC. There were 17,000 artists, entertainers & speakers and 1 million people attended it. In this program, Ananda Marga was invited as a guest. The program was well-decorated and designed. It was culturally connected all over the world in 180 countries. Hundreds of prominent country leaders, ministers, bureaucrats, and United Nations officers saw and participated in it. More than one million people participated, and Ananda Marga was introduced to many prominent figures of the country and many volunteers and members of Art of Living during the program. Thousands of people witnessed the saffron of Ananda Marga Acaryas moving around the gathering.
At the WCR 2023, the Acaryas present were Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta, the Sectorial Secretary and General Secretary of Ananda Marga, Ac. Kovid Brc., (Regional Secretary of L.A. and Boston Regions), Avtk. Ananda Aparajiita Sectorial PWSA Secretary, Avtk. Ananda Kalyanmitra Ac. Sectorial HPMG(L) Secretary and sister Devika. Their participation was a huge exposure to Ananda Marga. They walked around the crowds, distributing leaflets and striking conversation. Many people approached them, asking who we represented, which started a good conversation. We also met with Ananda Margiis from the U.S. and other countries. During the festival, Avtk. Ananda Aparajiita Ac. gave a media interview, presenting AMPS and our philosophy.
We had the opportunity to meet several volunteers of Art of Living. They asked were inspired to interview Ananda Marga Acaryas. We were delighted to present our feelings and understanding of the program. In this way, Ananda Marga was introduced to the international community through social media and other gateways. It was a historical and special program in the history of Ananda Marga in Washington, DC. By Baba’s Grace, we successfully participated in the program.
In Washington, DC, Sandeep Khanuja, the chairman of RAWA in Virginia, organized a program at the Hilton Hotel in Virginia. More than 50 people participated. We were introduced to many I.T. people. Vinod Shukla from Mumbai was invited and discussed nature preservation and the environment. Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta expressed his view about meditation, mind and happiness, and the role of youth in the world. They widely spread the message in the Margii community.
The last program, Festival of Light, was conducted in Manhattan, New York, by the Indian American community. Ananda Marga was provided with one stall, having all the materials, books, leaflets, and honey. All the New York Acaryas were there. More than 300 people visited the stall.
More than thirty people were interested in learning meditation. Ac. Kovid Brc. took the lead in introducing meditation. He was also handing out the flyers to visitors to our stall. Towards the end of the program, Didi Ananda Kalyanmitra and Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta were interviewed. More than twenty organizations were introduced during the program. This program was very successfully organized.
Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta organized the participation of Ananda Marga in over thirty programs during this pracar tour. He has been dynamically reaching out to thousands of people and more than twenty organizations. Thirty sympathizers were created, twenty initiations were done, and one new unit was created in Hartford, Connecticut.
After a yoga and meditation class at a senior home.
The Acaryas met with sister Liilavati from Staten Island at the World Cultural Festival.
Visiting a yoga center in New Jersey
Didi Ananda Kalyanmitra leading Kiirtana at the senior home.
After a visit to a senior home.
A small gathering in New York where the Acaryas had a chance to meet with some of the political leaders in New York City.
Dadas and Didis with Ac. Dhruva and Devika
Brother Sandeep Khanuja organized an event that the Dadas and Didis joined.
Dada Kovid teaching meditation at UCONN.
Dada Kovid and Didis distributing flyers and interacting with students at the Connecticut Community College at Manchester.
Didi Ananda Aparajiita (left) and Didi Ananda Kalyanmitra with Adrienne Adams, Speaker of the New York City Council.
Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta with Adrienne Adams, Speaker of the New York City Council.
Thanks to all the sympathizers, Margii brothers and sisters, and non-Margiis for their support. Thanks to brother Timir and sister Shefali, who offered their home to the Acaryas.
Didi Ananda Kalyanmitra, Didi Ananda Aparajiita, Dada Kovid, and Dada Abhiramananda at the University of Connecticut (UCONN.)
Meeting with the staff at UCONN
At the World Cultural Festival 2023 in Washington, DC