Dharma Maha Sammelan (DMS) is a unique gathering where the spiritual head of Ananda Marga, the Purodha Pramukha, chairs and addresses the congregation of Ananda Margiis during the two or three-day event. This time, the DMS was online in cooperation with the Office of the Purodha Pramukha of Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha and AMPS Central.
After March 2020, when Governments enforced Pandemic travel and congregation restrictions worldwide, AMPS decided to establish virtual DMS programs so that Ananda Margiis could have the chance to receive the Pravachan (special talks) of the Purodha Pramukha and share in the DMS Satsaunga and associated Ananda Marga festivities. AMPS Central granted Ananda Marga in New York Sector the honor to hold DMS from Friday, November 6th to Sunday, the 8th, 2020. The event took place using the Zoom Platform. A DMS Committee was working diligently for months to prepare every detail of the event.
The Dharma Maha Sammelan (DMS) had four talks by Purodha Pramukha, Acarya Vishvadevananda Avadhuta, and a short speech during the Friday morning reception. During the three days of DMS, we also had Akhanda Kiirtana, Prabhata Samgiita, and other programs.
During the same week, the other major online event was the Ananda Marga Spiritual Festival – New York Sector, featuring a Neohumanistic Education Symposium, PROUT Symposium, and Master Unit Symposium. The Festival was a happy blending of interesting presentations, workshops, and spiritual programs for Margiis. The symposia were for the public as well as Margiis.
There was a dedicated website for these programs (www.dmsnysector.com), where people could register, pay the gate-pass fee, donate, and get all relevant detailed information.
Ananda Marga Spiritual Festival – New York Sector, November 1 – 5, 2020
The First Day of the Spiritual Festival started with a three-hour Akhanda Kiirtana in the afternoon and Katha Kiirtana and RAWA Program in the evening. The first day set an auspicious beginning with the spiritual programs and over two hundred people attending the Zoom conference.
NHE Symposium, Spiritual Festival
November 2nd, 2020, 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. EST
The Second Day of the Spiritual Festival was dedicated to Neohumanistic Education (NHE.) After the evening Dharma Cakra, the NHE Symposium featured presentations and panel debate by our gests, Acarya Shambhushivananda Avadhuta, Mahajyoti Glassman, Acarya Madhuvratananda Avt, and Devika Forden.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has escalated many global issues and led humanity into a deep crisis. It’s not just a health crisis, but an economic, social, and ecological crisis as well, making us wonder what kind of society we want for the future. By answering this, we can understand what the future educational system should be like, to best prepare ourselves for future times. In this Neo-Humanistic Education Symposium, we will briefly look at humanity’s present situation and understand what NHE is and will be in the future.
Ac. Shambhushivananda Avt. gave a keynote presentation explaining how Neohumanistic Education has evolved and how it can transform our human society from a knowledge-based society to a society where intuition and creativity are balanced with practical life skills, yoga, meditation, sentient diet, and universal love. He also gave examples of successful Neohumanistic Schools and how Gurukula has been instrumental in developing curriculums and implementing Neohumanism in our Ananda Marga schools worldwide.
Ac. Madhuvratananda Avt. presented how the ERAWS schools around the world are rendering service and enhancing the development of the children. He also explained in general about Neohumanistic Education.
Sister Mahajyoti gave a presentation on early childhood education and how Yama and Niyama create the basis for a positive environment to foster universal love, and how the yoga and meditation practices help transform the children and help them cope with a very intense learning environment.
Sister Devika has a rich experience with teaching and school management. She shared how various teaching modalities help develop the skills and personality of the children.
After the presentations, Dada Satyamitrananda facilitated a panel discussion on Neohumanistic Education in the time of Pandemic and how NHE can contribute and adjust to the world’s current situation. During that discussion, Ac. Shambhushivananda Avt. highlighted the importance of establishing schools and educational institutions in all of our Ananda Marga Master Units. Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji set Ananda Nagar as the role model for the world and placed education and Gurukula as an essential way to serve society. The Master Unit environment allows the children to experience nature and participate in gardening and growing their own food to connect with nature and practical life skills.
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, at 8 p.m. EST
The Third Day of the DMS featured the PROUT Symposium. Dr. Ravi Batra, Ac. Vimalananda Avt., and Ac. Dhruva were the panel speakers, and brother Ramakrsna facilitated the symposium.
Dr. Ravi Batra started by explaining that when Baba was on this earth, a peculiar phenomenon started that the last year of every decade gave the tone for the following ten years. He then went through history from 1919 to the present, explaining how the last year of each decade had some major events that then set the following decade’s economic and political scene. He then concluded that the end of 2019 with the beginning of the Pandemic started the demise of the capitalistic era on this planet and the beginning of the Golden Era of the new Ksattrian age. He quoted Baba’s prediction that “Communism will die a premature death, and Capitalism will blast like a firecracker.”
The extreme centralization of wealth and power has made society vulnerable to economic bubbles and unsustainable during natural and human-made calamities. The current society needs economic democrazy and a decentralized economy, as Baba explained in the PROUT.
Acarya Vimalananda Avadhuta also took a historical look at events and how Baba predicted during his World Tour that the Berlin Wall would soon be dismantled and children would break pieces of it and sell to tourists.
Master Unit Symposium,
November 4th, 2020, at 8 p.m. EST
The Fourth Day of the Spiritual Festival featured the Master Unit Symposium.
Avadhutika Ananda Rainjana Acarya led the symposium, and the guest speakers were Acarya Rudrananda Avadhuta and Acarya Dhanjoo Ghista.
Dada Rudranandaji narrated how Baba one time called him into His room in the middle of the night and explained to him how Master Units should be the nucleus of every area and that the scope of Master Units should expand until they cover the whole universe. Dada had to remember everything that Baba told him and write down everything after leaving His room. Then later in the morning, Baba called him again into His room, and Dada read the manuscript that he had prepared, and Baba corrected it before Dada sent it for printing. After narrating this story, Dada explained many of the aspects of Master Units and how Baba had envisioned the Master Units to encapsulate all aspects of Ananda Marga.
Acarya Dhanjoo Ghista gave a class on implementing schools, charter schools, and universities on our Master Units. Based on his experience at Ananda Kanan, he also explained how to build relationships with the local municipality, establish service projects, and teach yoga and meditation to the nearby community on the Master Unit.
Cosmic Corner, “Art and Spirituality” by Sudhiira
Art has the potential to reach people’s hearts and inspire them. Baba said that the slogan of the artist should be “art for service and blessedness.” This talk will explore how various artists throughout history have used painting, poetry, music, dance, etc., to make the audience aware of the beauty that lives within us.
Sudhiira first gave a slideshow presentation introducing various artists and how they had inspired his art. After the presentation, the Margiis had the opportunity to ask their questions, and a lively discussion ensued related to art and spirituality. After Sudhiira’s class, we had a beautiful RAWA performance.
Online Dharma Maha Sammelan, November 6 – 8, 2020
The First Day of DMS
Friday, November 6, 2020
We had three hours of Akhanda Kiirtana starting at 6 a.m. Eastern Time. After the collective meditation, we had a reception of Rev. Purodha Promukha, Ac. Vishvadevananda Avt. During the reception, the Margiis from different areas of the Sector welcomed Purodha Pramukha Dadaji. Brother Piyush presented a short slideshow with an introduction to the main cities and beautiful places in New York Sector, as well as your Master Units and projects. The RAWA team presented two dance performances, and SS Dada Abhiramanandaji and the DMS Committee gave their welcoming words.
The reception was followed by a Women’s Welfare Department (WWD) meeting and noon Kiirtan and Meditation.
In the afternoon, Ac. Shiilabhadrananda Avt. gave a presentation in the Cosmic Corner, and sister Bhagwanti and brother Vikram gave a presentation about Baba’s life.
In the evening, Rev. Purodha Pramukha Dadaji gave a speech (Pravacan) about Mahasambhuti Baba. This discourse was the first one out of four on Taraka Brahma, where Dadaji explained the philosophical aspect of Taraka Brahma and His role as a bridge between Nirguna and Saguna Brahma.
Saturday, November 7, 2020
The second day of the online DMS started with Asanas class, Dharma Cakra, and the second Pravacan of Rev. PP Dadaji. In this talk, Dadaji explained the Distinctive Qualities of Taraka Brahma.
In the afternoon, we had six-hour Akhanda Kiirtana and a beautiful RAWA program in the evening, followed by the third Pravacan of PP Dadaji. In this talk, the topic was the Sadhana of Mahasambhuti. In this Pravacan, Rev. PP Dadaji went into the depths of the devotional aspect of Mahasambhuti and how it related to our meditation.
Sunday, November 8, 2020
The third and last day of the online DMS started with a short presentation about the Ananda Marga projects of the New York Sector, followed by Dharma Cakra and short speeches by the AMPS Central representatives. Before the last Pravacan of Rev. Purodha Pramukha Dadaji, there was a prize distribution and a brief cultural performance. The topic of the fourth and final Pravacan was Gurutat, the Faith in the Guru. In this talk, PP Dadaji explained why faith in the Guru is more difficult than in an impersonal entity and is the ultimate test for the disciple before attaining the final realization. After the Pravacan, there was Baba Video and Avarta Kiirtana.
The DMS ended with collective meditation and a long sharing session. The Margiis, Dadas, and Didis were feeling spiritually charged, and everyone wanted to share their feelings and listen and see each other.
We want to warmly thank everyone who contributed to the organizing and making the DMS possible. Special thanks to the Margiis and Acaryas who participated in the DMS Committee and the DMS Subcommittees, for all the performers and contributors in the classes, RAWA programs, Katha Kiirtana, Akhanda Kiirtana, Prabhata Samgiita, and for everyone to attend the DMS.