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Yoga at University of Ottawa

Good news from Ottawa, Canada: On March 18, we had an Ananda Marga meditation and yoga workshop at University of Ottawa​. From 9 AM to 2 PM. Nine students attended. We had a yoga class, an introduction to Kiirtan with Baba Nam Kevalam, introduction to meditation, two lectures with topics 1) “Balancing my student life with spiritual meditation” and 2) “Strong unity, happier human society”. We had also a substantial lunch together.

Stars under the Stars – Homeless people by Penn Station in New York

I believe it was Sunday. I received a call from Arish Sahani telling that if I wanted to help the homeless the best place to start was by the Penn Station at 34th St in Manhattan. He also proposed to go together and explore the situation.

Monday morning I could not wait to reach there. I had purchased a bansuri flute two days before and as soon as I spotted an homeless person I went close to him. As he asked me a quarter I proposed to play the flute for him. The result was amazing! From a double down position in which he miserably was, little by little he straighted up his back. I didn’t say a word of explanation. I stopped playing and I started to sing Baba Nam Kevalam with a strong and emphatic voice moving the hands up and down according to the tone of the notes. He brighted up and he started singing along first with a feeble voice and than with some body in it. Finally without saying a word he took talking along the sidewalk, reborn.

That is when I called Sahaniji telling that I was already at work on the designated spot. “Give me two hours”. Two hours later we were talking with Charmaine who is homeless after having a bad experience in the shelter system. She lives on the side walk in front of the main entrance of Penn Station together with her boyfriend and she is always engaged in helping and organizing. An amazing personality with previous experience in telemarketing. Originally from Guyana she guided us in the life of homeless people giving us the confidence to work for their welfare directly. She invited us to the food distribution happening around 10 pm every Monday and Wednesday in order to introduce us to the main organizers. That evening Raviji, Mamaduk and Wayne as PCNY inthestreets served fresh baked pizza and chocolate chips cookies to around 40 or 50 homeless in queue. I was one of them.

Matthew is young and homeless. He passes the night in front of the Old Navy store on 33rd St. He saw me playing the flute and he wanted to give a try. Why not? He did few sounds and then he went his way with his friend also homeless.

Kega is from Africa. Father from Nigeria and mother from Kenya. She speaks Swahili and she is a natural actress. Full of joy she goes around with her electric guitar. We sang and drummed together for a good hour or so and then she indicated me the best place to get cooked food until 12.30 pm .

The Church of the Holy Apostles on 9th Avenue corner with 28th Street serves fantastic meals all week. There were at least 100 people in the church which is transformed in a gorgeous dining hall with round tables and live piano music. Everybody is so friendly and at the tables there is a light atmosphere inviting for conversation. It is heart warming to witness that homeless people are served and treated with utmost respect and quality. But their needs are more than food.

With Sahaniji we want to help them not only in their basic needs but also providing them with opportunities for education and training from Yoga and meditation to art and music including film making. As I went for the second day to meet my new friends I asked Charmaine about making a movie. She immediately replied that she had it already in mind and she would agree to record her life story. Ideas are becoming reality very fast. With Sahaniji we are talking about a website where to channel all the ideas that started with Active and Productive Homeless and are now evolving in something even more creative and engaging. What about “Stars under the stars – Promoting the Talents of the Homeless people”. Check it out soon at http://stars.ampsnews.org

Retreat and Seminar in Dallas

The margi of Dallas welcomed the visit of Sectorial Secretary Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta by organizing several meetings and opportunities for pracar. Among the activities that have been taking place most relevant was a Seminar of one day attended by more than 35 people. All three topic of the seminar were covered with classes given also by Acarya Anudhyanananda Avadhuta and Acarya Advayananda Avadhuta. Avadhutika Sutiirtha Acarya came from San Antonio and extended a great help supporting all the activities. In this way Dada Abhiramananda and Dada Anudhyanananda where able to visit also Houston where an Ananda Marga Center is going to be open soon.

Chai Spice Scones

Derived from the Chinese chá, “chai” means tea in much of the world, including Asia, Eastern Europe, parts of Africa and Brazil. Masala chai is an aromatic blend of black or green tea with warming spices. Sugar and milk often are included, as well.You can find hundreds of chai recipes associated with different locales, restaurants and even families. Travel to India, Nepal and Tibet, where masala chai originated, and you’ll likely see vendors peddling the tasty brew on street corners or at train stations. According to Ayurvedic tradition, masala chai boosts the immune system, enhances metabolism, relieves stress, aids digestion, provides antioxidants, and sharpens the mind.
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  •  1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare)
    1 tablespoon grated orange peel from an organic orange
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
Glaze
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or maple extract
Instructions
  1. For the scones, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, seeds (optional), zest, , cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and sugars in a medium bowl. Combine vanilla extract with 1 1/3 cups heavy cream; drizzle cream over flour mixture and fold in just until flour is incorporated and a shaggy dough forms – if needed, add 2 more tablespoons cream.
  2. Divide dough in half and turn out on a lightly floured board. Use lightly floured hands to pat each half into a 6-inch circle. Place the two circles of dough on prepared baking sheets and cut each circle into 7 wedges. Chill baking sheets in the freezer for 20 minutes while preheating oven to 425°F.
  3. Pull the wedges slightly apart, leaving an inch between them. Bake for 16 to 17 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until tops are set, edges are beginning to turn golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool scones for 5 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool.
  4. For the glaze, whisk together melted butter, powdered sugar, salt, cinnamon, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over scones and let set before serving.Yield: 14 scones
Make ahead: Cut each circle of dough into wedges on baking sheet; cover and freeze overnight. Brush with cream and bake directly from the freezer, adding 1-2 minutes to baking time. For longer storage, transfer frozen scones to a freezer bag until ready to use.

Summer Retreat 2017 at Ananda Kanan in Missouri

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Namaskar!

It is my pleasure to inform and invite you all to the annual program of New York Sector, which is going to be held in the month of July 2017 in Ananda Kanan. Ananda Kanan is the blissful land of Baba, where every devotee feels happy and relaxed. The beauty of Ananda Kanan in the lap of nature, where every devotee will enjoy the divine programs during the blissful retreat. You are welcome to attend the Ananda Marga Summer Retreat 2017 at Ananda Kanan!

Ananda Marga represents a model of society based on spirituality and universal love, which stands on the sublime ideology given by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, our beloved Baba.

Year 2017 is the new beginning of a new era. Society is going through a lot of transformation and we should always keep in mind that only spiritual force and energy will give the right solution for the present situation

Bádhá sá yuśamáná shaktih sevyaḿ sthápayati lakśye. [Obstacles are the helping forces that establish one in the goal.] We need moral force and collective spiritual endeavor in order to establish the glory of spirituality.

Fight against inertia! Break it to dust! Don’t let your mind indulge in any low thought! This is real courage. This the path of the spiritual warrior. This is the beauty of selfless action.

The retreat facilities at Ananda Kanan are improving every year. The natural environment is most conducive for sa’dhana’. By enjoying together kiirtan, meditation and devotional programs, sharing and preparing delicious vegetarian food and participating to the programs organized for the event, we will surely feel enlightened and close with Baba – to that love that brings us together as a universal family.

Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta – Sectorial Secretary – New York Sector

 

 

 

Inauguration of Ananda Marga School in New York

On March 7 2017 a new school of Ananda Marga has been opened and already ten kids are enrolled . Ananda Marga has adopted an after school program created by LEAD – a non-profit organization striving to provide the best after-school learning at an affordable price.

At the celebration were present Ananda Marga senior monks, teachers and board members of LEAD, students and parents, sponsors and sympathizers. The event spanned over the all afternoon and evening creating a very blissful atmosphere.

Four kids were and two parents came and enjoyed playing under the supervision of LFT  Tanmaya who will take care of the school together with Andrew Lee – co-founder of LEAD after-school program. In the evening the whole Board of LEAD assisted to a presentation of Ananda Marga activities and Rev. Thomas Lee – co-founder of LEAD presented a vision for working together with Ananda Marga in opening more schools in New York, USA and Americas.

Ananda Marga Sectorial Secretary Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta inspired words recognized the effort of everybody resonated with the ideals of Ananda Marga which are expressed in the motto “Self-Realization and Service to All”. The celebration ended with a price distribution to the Board members of LEAD.

In the picture below Acarya Abhiramananda Avadhuta with two of the students of the school.

RDS of New York Sector – March 2017

On the spiritual vibrated ground of Ananda Girisuta Master Unit the Sectorial RDS have taken place attended by the monks and nuns of Ananda Marga in New York Sector. It was an important event for coordinating the service activities that characterize the Mission of Ananda Marga as well as for the spiritual company that all participants enjoyed. Three days were dedicated to spiritual practices, meetings and discussions focused on the projects in North and Central America run by Ananda Marga.

 

 

Kiirtan Retreat at Ananda Girisuta Master Unit in in Asheville – North Carolina

“Intelligent people should do kiirtan as much as possible. When people, due to psychic complexities, cannot find the solution to their difficulties and they are at a loss what to do, if they sit together at any place and do kiirtan wholeheartedly for a while, their psychic complexities will be removed and they will easily seize upon the solution to their problems.” (from the discourse Serve the Supreme by Kiirtana by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti)

 The Kiirtan Retreat in Asheville concluded in great swing on March 5, 2017 on the highly spiritually charged Master Unit of Ananda Giirisuta . Two consecutive six hours Kiirtan were performed on March 4 and March 5 with the participation of Monks and Nuns of Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha coming from different corners of New York Sector and the Margiis of Asheville Unit.

During the two days of the Kiirtan Retreat several classes on Spiritual and Social Philosophy of Ananda Marga gave the opportunity to all participants to focus on the devotional and practical aspects of human life.

Kiirtan helps in all spheres of human existence and lighten the mind from all kind of burdens. Devotees joined joyfully in all the spiritual practices of Ananda Marga which includes Kaoshiki and Tandava Dances. Several children were also present and on the sidelines of the Retreat it was possible to visit the Kindergarten opened recently near the Master Unit which has become the nucleus of the spiritual community living on the premises of the Master Unit.

There are several projects and developments happening at the Master Unit including:

The Prama Institute which is a recognized Retreat and Conference Center

The Wellness Center specialized in Natural Treatments and Ayurveda

An Agricultural and Forestry Development Project

A Kindergarten based on Neo-Humanistic Principles

More educational institutions are planned including a Primary School and a College of Neo-Humanistic Studies which are part of the far reaching academical endeavors of Ananda Marga Gurukula.

In the picture below some of the participants to the Kiirtan Retreat in the final day on March 5.