Table of Content
Yoga Gurus Baba Ramdev & Sister Shivani to lead thousands in Mississauga
10 May 2017
SOURCE: author Nouman Khalil | Missassauga.com | (https://www.mississauga.com/community-story/7289121-yoga-gurus-baba-ramdev-sister-shivani-to-lead-thousands-in-mississauga/ )
Dinesh Bhatia, consul general of India and chair of the IYDC advisory board, announces the International Yoga Day Canada will take place at the International Centre in Mississauga on June 15. Thursday, May 3 - Nouman Khalil/Metroland
Two famous Indian yoga gurus — yogi Baba Ramdev and rajyog meditation expert Sister Shivani of Brahma Kumaris — will lead more than 8,000 enthusiasts across the Greater Toronto Area in a single yoga session in Mississauga next month.
In celebration of International Yoga Day (June 21), the International Yoga Day Canada (IYDC) will take place from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the International Centre in Mississauga on June 25. Participants will be accommodated on first come, first served basis.
The organizing committee made this announcement at the Indian Consulate in Toronto on Thursday, May 4.
“Baba Ramdev and Siter Shivani don't need any introduction; they are world famous and I’m proud to say that no other city in the entire world, including India, has ever witnessed two such important gurus in one place," said Dinesh Bhatia, consul general of India and chair of the IYDC advisory board. “But we have the fortune of witnessing both gurus on a single day and listening to them.”
In December 2014 the United Nations General Assembly approved June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.
“This would be one of the largest celebration in North America under one umbrella where we have brought all together to celebrate and create an impact,” said Satish Thakkar, chair of the board of directors and organizing committee. “IYCD is the single platform to take yoga into the next level.”
He said in the past more than 100 different yoga events were happening around the GTA, but now most of them have decided to put their energies into one program.
On June 25, Ramdev will lead a yoga session in the morning followed by a meditation session conducted by Shivani in the afternoon.
IYDC is a Canadian not-for-profit organization established in 2015 to organize the Canadian celebrations of the United Nations approved International Day of Yoga. Its mandate is to emphasize that transition from illness to wellness can happen through yoga practice and to spread awareness about the benefits of yoga as well as taking it to the next level.
For more information, visit www.iydc.ca.
Chamber of Commerce, Albany Service News
10 May 2017
Loving Greetings from Peace Village!
Om shanti. Please find pictures of an event at Chamber of Commerce, Albany, New York.
Sister Priya was invited as a keynote speaker for the Boot Camp Entreprenerus Graduation Ceremony, Wednesday, May 3, 6 pm.
She addressed the benefits of meditation to manage stress in the business environment and how to bring balance in family and work.
Janet Tanguay, Entreprenuers Manager is seen in the picture enclosed.
In Baba's yaad ,
Brahma Kumaris Florida Service News for April
4 May 2017
Peace Village Pilgrims: Apr 7-9: Elon and Sandy joined the ‘Madhuban Experience’ Retreat at PV and benefitted from fresh insights from Mohini bhen and special visiting guest Sr. Vedanti.
Rosa joins the facilitating team at Peace Village: Apr 14-16: Rosa joined the Spanish facilitating team at PV for ‘Inner Peace Inner Power’ Retreat.
Service Program at NY:
Apr 15: Meredith joined Sr. Gayatri and Sr. Judy in NY where a small group came together to think about how we might best sustain ourselves and our friends in these increasingly unpredictable times.
Meredith with ABC Network Journalist in NY
Apr 20: Meredith attended the Hollywood Memorial Wellness and Empowerment Forum and met with ABC Network's co-anchor of 'Good Morning America' - Joan Lunden.
North Port Gathering:
Apr 22: Rosa met with the North Port group for meditation and sharings.
Click here for detailed report with photos.
Living Values USA April News Letter
4 May 2017
Mindful Parenting Groups in California and Hawaii
Annie Jorgensen and Deborah Burnham have been doing mindful parenting groups in northern California and Hawaii. The parents are enjoying the classes, and the children are benefiting from Us Time, Peace Time, and positive discipline. Wonderful work, Annie and Deborah!
Human Dignity and Values
When Diane Tillman was not able to attend the Human Dignity and Values Conference hosted by Professionales de Bienestar in Mexico City, she was asked to send her talk. In this video, she talks about the importance of values in creating human dignity, and the right of human dignity and well being for all. She tells a couple of stories about corruption drawn from her experiences while traveling around the world. She feels that sometimes adults are innocent when they are corrupt, in that they only wish to help themselves or their families. At other times there is blatant greed. Yet, few seem to realize the tremendous impact of corruption on the general safety and well being of the society.
Click here to view the Video on
LVE Human Dignity and Values
Saturday, May 20, 2017
in Thousand Palms, California
A private nursery school and day care center will be hosting an LVE workshop on May 20th from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm in Thousand Palms, California.
The workshop will be led by Lórien Eck, M.Ed., NBCT. A teacher, artist and LVE Facilitator, Ms. Eck taught LVE in the classroom for over ten years, and has facilitated LVE Educator Workshops in the USA and Thailand. She was nominated as Teacher of the Year by the Los Angeles Unified School District before pursuing her artistic dreams. She currently integrates the LVE values-based atmosphere in her art classes for young people and adults.
There are a couple of spaces available should you wish to take the workshop. For more details and space availability, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two LVE Weekend Workshops for
teachers, principals, youth facilitators,
counselors, psychologists and parents . . .
1. July 14 - 16, 2017 in Haines Falls, New York, NY
2. September 15 - 17, 2017 in Novato, CA
begin at 7:00 PM Friday evening and
end at 4:00 PM Sunday afternoon.
Dinner on Friday evening is at 6:00 PM.
Join us for an inspiring weekend to reflect on values and a paradigm and process that builds relationship, and empowers positive choices and resiliency in young people. Learn about methods that invite the co-creation of a culture of peace and respect, and experience activities that help young people of all ages, from toddlers to young adults, explore and develop universal values and positive social and emotional skills. Living Values Education is a comprehensive values education approach being implemented in more than 60 countries.
This workshop is highly recommended for adults who wish to help young people optimally explore and develop values. Please join us to:
- reflect on the role values play in your life, schools, communities and the world;
- learn about the LVE Approach and the process of developing values;
- refine acknowledgement and active listening skills that allow adults to deal with young people's resistance more easily and effectively;
- learn about non-violent discipline methods to help all feel and be safe and respected;
- experience relaxation/focusing exercises that help young people be more centered and better able to self-regulate;
- have more than 140 activities to help young people develop 12 universal values and positive intrapersonal and interpersonal social and emotional skills; and
- be comfortable facilitating a process that builds positive social skills, drastically reduces bullying and has young people resolving issues with the language of values within months, inside and outside of the classroom.
Results: The most frequent themes noted by educators implementing Living Values Education are positive changes in teacher-student relationships and in student-student relationships both inside and outside the classroom. Educators note an increase in respect, caring, cooperation, motivation, and the ability to solve peer conflicts on the part of the students. Aggressive behaviors decline as positive social skills and respect increase. LVE helps educators hone quality teaching skills to create a safe, caring, values-based atmosphere for quality learning. Young people learn to use the language of values to reflect on challenges and generate positive solutions. Please see our website for research results and success stories.
Parents benefit immensely from this approach and note improved relationships, more peace and cooperation in the home, and an understanding of how to help young people develop positive and protective social skills, and deal with bullying and media.
Diane Tillman will lead both workshops. Diane is a former School Psychologist, Licensed Educational Psychologist, MFT, and the primary author of the award-winning Living Values Education Series of books. Her most recent book is "Nurturing with Love and Wisdom, Disciplining with Peace and Respect: A mindful guide to parenting".
Ed Wondolowski, Natasha Panzer and Stephanie Kerr will be co-facilitating the retreat in New York at the Peace Village Learning and Retreat Center. Ed Wondolowski is an Emeritus Professor of Management, Bentley University, and a Director of LVEP, Inc. Natasha Panzer taught and coordinated LVE activities at Mizzentop Day School, a private K-8 school. Stephanie Keer is the Education Solutions Manager at Konica Minolta and an adjunct Professor of Psychology, New York University.
Annie Jorgensen will be co-facilitating the retreat in California. Annie has a master's in Educational Counseling. A retired primary and special education teacher, she taught LVE for ten years in the classroom, with stellar results.
Cost: There will be a $40 charge for the workshop to help cover LVE expenses. For those staying at the retreat center, please plan to make a separate donation for meals and accommodation.
On-line Registration for July in New York will be available in mid-April on:
For questions about retreat facilities: email@example.com | 518 589-5000
For questions about the LVE workshop, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | 518 589-5000 Ext. 24
On-line Registration for September in California will be available in mid-April on:
For questions about retreat facilities:
For questions about the LVE workshop:
email@example.com | 916-847-0481
It's been 20 Years Family!
23 April 2017
An Amazing Experience of 20 Years of Service!
We cordially invite you and your friends to join us on Sunday, July 2, 2017, at 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm at the MGM Grand Ballroom (National Harbor) for “Awakening to Love and Forgiveness” with Sister Shivani as we celebrate our 20 Year Anniversary of Service in the Nation’s Capital. Our records show the tireless service we have shared in this vibrant region.
Take a sneak peek here;
1) Held over 2,500 community events;
2) Served over 1 million;
3) Service to youths, women, governments, companies, charities, organizations, and more;
4) Sponsored 17 citywide and national events; and
5) Helped change countless lives for the better.
The day will be shared with the incredible Sister Shivani from India, a yogi who decodes life's greatest challenges into practical simple steps. This is a day of inclusivity and attaining tools to love fiercely and forgive more so we can move onwards and upwards. Are you #Awakening are you #Woke?
Some special features will include ballet by the Abigail Francisco School of Classical Ballet, Mudra Arts Center Indian Dancers, award-winning songstress, Kristin Hoffmann, clean Comedy by Dan Nainan, video presentations, Meditation, gifts, blessings, Sister Jenna and friends who have journeyed along the way; Rick Rodgers, Parvane Hashemi, Jan Duplain, Portia Davidson and more. You will be surrounded by great company, enjoy a great space, gain beautiful experiences and who knows, you just might find answers to questions you have been asking yourself!
We will have more surprises, but for now, please RSVP here. We are already half full. As you know our activities are all FREE of charge and your tax deductible contribution will help us to create another amazing 20 years for everyone in the region. It is in our giving we do receive and we have received so much love and happiness over the years.
Thank you so much,
[A few memories to rest your eyes and heart on.]
Sr Vedanti Visits Peace Village for Madhuban Experience Retreat
14 April 2017
Sr Vedanti’s visit to Peace Village Retreat Center, USA, as special guest for Madhuban Experience Retreat April 7-9, 2017
Welcoming Sr Vedanti and Sr Dipti to Peace Village Retreat Center,
Lovingly renamed “Foreign Madhuban” by Sr Vedanti, NCO for Africa service.
Shown here with accompanying Sr Dipti, being warmly greeted by Sr Kala,
Br Ram, Sr Indra and additional retreat facilitators.
BKs who were not able to reach Madhuban each year are invited to attend the annual Madhuban Experience Retreat. Sr Vedanti, special invited guest for this year’s retreat, is seen above reading morning murli to the over 150 enthusiastic BKs attending from centers in Canada/USA and giving blessings as Baba’s flag is hoisted
Beautiful weather on Sunday created lovely atmosphere for celebrating Shiv Ratri flag hoisting, receiving blessings from Sr Mohini and Sr Vedanti and enjoying the happiness of Baba’s birthday.
Sr Vedanti, Sr Kala and BK family enjoying being showered with Baba’s blessings
as the flag of victory is hoisted.
In Godly service,
Peace Village Learning & Retreat Center, Haines Falls, NY
Report on Sister Jaya's Visit to Los Angeles
3 April 2017
In February, we had the privilege of having Sister Jaya and her yugal, Brother Uma with us in Los Angeles. Several programs were arranged for Sister Jaya to share her experiences and wisdom to the students in Los Angeles.
On February 23rd, we had a workshop titled ‘ Relationships: Turning Disappointments into Fulfillments’ at Lamanda Public library in Pasadena. Attendees were mostly mothers and they learned the strategies of leading a better role at home, thus, improving a loving relationship and atmosphere at home. Sister Jaya conducted guided meditation and gave an interactive talk. Sister Vino did an activity where they were asked to write an appreciative letter to their loved one. The audiences became emotional as they were writing and they realized how much they appreciated and felt loved by their loved ones despites the differences they hold. Sister Jaya conducted an ending meditation and shared toli and blessings to everyone.
The second program was at Sindhi Temple where Sister Jaya gave Raja Yoga Meditation Course on February 25th & 26th. Many of the audiences were new students who had been following Awakening with Brahma Kumaris program for many years. They were exposed to the ultimate truth of ‘Who Am I? , Who is God? , Where did I come from? and karma philosophy. They were also taught how to meditate with open eyes.
While the parents and young adults were attending the course at the main prayer hall of the temple, the children were attending a separate class on the first floor of the temple where they were taught activities on virtues.
The course ended on February 26th with sharing of experiences from the audiences along with toli and blessing. Sister Vino informed the details of the center location and the different Gita Patshalas that are held at different cities so the audiences can attend the ongoing murli classes held every week.
The next program was at BK Couple Shama and Ashok’s residence in Diamond Bar on March 4th. The topic of the talk was ‘Empowering Inner Powers to Design My Destiny’. Sister Jaya begun the talk by meditation and gave a detailed sharing on the 8 powers of the soul and how to empower them. She also shared how to use these powers in our relationships and situations, thus, creating a beautiful destiny for one’s self.
Brahma Kumaris Florida - March Service News
2 April 2017
Conference on International Refugee Crisis
Mar 3-4: Meredith attended the "Seeking Refuge: Faith Based Approaches to Forced Migration" Conference as a Brahma Kumaris delegate on March 3rd, 4th. The program which was held at Princeton University brought together religious and spiritual leaders, scholars, human rights activists, and media professionals to learn about and explore effective and compassionate ways to manage this international refugee crisis. Some of the discussions that Meredith attended included: Who is a refugee and therefore who am I?; The Media and Migration facilitated by NPR international correspondent Deb Amos and Root Causes of forced Migration.
BKUN Open Space Expo
Mar 3-10: Meeta from Miami joined the support team for setting up the BKUN open space exposition in Shantivan, India. This was part of the NC-CC Retreat where different social service activities from various BK global centers were at display. In a unique way, each of these exhibits were on the theme of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the UN, linking spirituality and social work of Brahma Kumaris connected with these goals.
RajaYoga at ContinueCare
Mar 8-15-22: Kathy did an introductory series of three meditation classes for seniors at ContinueCare, a medicare HMO located in Miami. About 25 seniors - all new to meditation - enjoyed experiencing meditation for the first time. A member of the Kendale Lakes Branch Library class provided translation in both French and Spanish for this diverse group of elders.
Click here for detailed report with photos.
Sr Mohini's Visit to Sacramento, CA
23 March 2017
Dear Global Family,
Sharing every kalpa's wonderful fortunate scene in the drama.
On January 25th 2017, Baba’s Center in Sacramento, Capital city of California, blessed with a visit by Raj Yogini Sister Mohini and Sister Gayatri from New York. There was much excitement for center Brahmins, and the Sacramento community to be graced with the presence of such powerful and prominent souls.
Sister Mohini arrived at the Sacramento center on the early afternoon of the 25th, and had a short loving sweet meeting with local Baba's children.
The evening event co-hosted and coordinated by local community leaders:
1. Jon Fish, President of Interfaith Council of Greater Sacramento. 2. Rev. Michael Moran, a long time BK friend, Former Senior Minister for the Spiritual Life Center of Sacramento and Interfaith, New Thought Church, now the creator of Oneness Ministries... A ministry devoted to fostering peace and mutual respect among world religions and spiritual traditions. Award winner of Unity
Radio talk show Vision for Better World.
3. Rev. Kevin Ross, CEO and Senior Minister Unity of Sacramento,
A New Thought Church, is well known in Sacramento Cummunity for forming partnerships with interfaith and other organizations to
support and empower the different initiatives of those who are
working for harmony and peace in the world.
4. Rev. Gaya Swinford, former Senior Chaplain for the Spiritual Life
Center... Now working with Happiness Initiative Empowering
5. Rev. Faith Whitmore, Director of the Sacramento Regional
Family Justice Center.
6. TJ David and Sylvia Villalobos, Co-creators of International
World Peace Rose Grardens around the world. and other city officials and Indian community Leaders.
Sister Mohini Giving Opening Remarks On Evening Topic “Answering The Call of Times”
Sister Mohini shared words of wisdom, about the Call of time for spiritual awakening, using power of silence, focusing on quality of thoughts and life of personal discipline... which opens a new way of looking at these times. She answered questions by community leaders and from the audiance while inspiring them to cultivate new dimention of inner power and inner strength.
Sister Gayatri shared on the recent UN conference on Sustainable Development Goals.
California State Assemblyman Ken Cooley presented Sister Mohini with a certificate of appreciation from the State of California for the Community Service work performed.
Representative Mohammad Umbashi on Behalf of Ken Cooley Assembly Presenting Certificate of Appreciation to Sister Mohini
Interfaith Leaders, Sister Mohini, Sister Gayatri and Sister Hansa
While sharing his thoughts on the evening topic, “Answering the Call of Times” Jon Fish, President of Interfaith Council of Greater Sacramento, introduced two Interfaith Projects:
1. Creating a, “I Have a Dream” mural, connecting with the message and vision of Martin Luther King, which will be eventually presented to Mayor of City of Sacramento... Everyone wrote their dreams for themselves, families, communities and the mother earth – our world. This mural continues its journey to different community events and churches.
2. Project "Omshanti", a Universal Sacred Mantra to spread vibrations of Peace. 400 beautifully prepared "Omshanti" cards were distributed.
All Spiritual Leaders offered, Blessings to express their deep love and respect to Sister Mohini's as their close association with her, being part of Call of Time dialogue and retreat.
Interfaith Leaders Offering Their Blessing to Sister Mohini
Event ended with beautiful Candle Light meditation by Sister Gayatri, taking everyone in the room beyond in the state of very peaceful and loving feelings.
Sister Gayatri Conducting Guided Candle Light Meditation
The evening concluded with light vegetarian meal, gifts, toli and blessings.
Guests Receiving Special Gift from Sister Mohini
Women's Day Service News from Albany, New York
9 March 2017
Courageous Women Leaders Get together - Desmond Hotel, Albany, New York - March 7
About 50 women leaders of various businesses, government and community organizations from the Albany community gathered for women empowerment on ‘Courage’ where everyone shared and listened to each other experiences.
Women Leadership Resource Network (WLRN) - YMCA Corporate Office, Albany, New York - March 7
The Brahma Kumaris was invited to do a workshop for the women leaders of the YMCA. Women leaders from different branches of YMCA in the Capital Region Albany, Schenectady, Lake George participated in the ‘Finding Balance’ workshop by Sister Priya, Peace Village.
Sister Chirya's Visit to Washington, DC, Feb 24-28
5 March 2016
Om Shanti Special Souls,
In today's murli (Saturday) Baba was emphasizing:
"Churn the ocean of knowledge and invent new methods of service".
Download a pdf of the report using the link below to enjoy the practical application of this point and highlights of service in Washington DC, following invitation from Sr Jenna, Sr Gita and BK Family to visit from Feb 24-28, 2017.
Happily In service with Karankaravanhar,
Brahma Kumaris Florida Service News - Febuary
3 March 2017
Baba’s new students
A group of 21 souls completed the foundation course this month. More than 60% of this group were in responseto the IRCC festival at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center. The classes were held on Saturdays. Students were consistent and very enthusiastic throughout the course. The majority of them expressed a desire to continue with Baba’s teachings. A program is worked out for their sustenance.
Family Meditation Program for departed soul.
Sister Hansa was invited to share knowledge and conduct meditation in a family setting in memory of a departed soul. Family members, neighbors and friends were all of East Indian backgrounds. They were very enthusiastic and asked quite a lot of very interesting questions which prompted sharing of knowledge in the area of reincarnation, karma, afterlife etc. Many of the participants expressed interest in coming to the center to learn more.
Click here for detailed report with photos.
Silicon Valley (USA) Maha Shivratri Event
22 Febuary 2017
Greetings of Maha Shivratri from Brahma Kumaris Silicon Valley.
Event was graced by the following guests.
Mayor – Jose Esteves
Assembly Member – Ash Kalra
Police Captain, City of Milpitas - Captain Armando Corpuz
Police Captain, City of Milpitas - Captain Daryl Sequoia
Police Captain, City of Milpitas - Captain Henry Kwong
CEO, Radio Zindagi – Praveen Suggala
President, Chai with Manjula – Manjula Gupta
President, Rana Group – Garima Srivastava
Event was attended well over 400 people.
Talk by BK Kusum - Incarnation of LORD SHIVA who comes and transforms the world.
Songs & Dance Performances
https://youtu.be/99dlCfzfYYc (Song by Sister Nehal & Brother Vasu)
https://youtu.be/TXRYXGWAxOw (Live Concert by Mayank & group)
https://youtu.be/Atxkv6SqMAc (Duma Dum Mast Kalandar)
Candle Lighting Ceremony
https://youtu.be/69SR8aOMIhQ (Candle Lighting Ceremony with Guests of Honor)
https://youtu.be/nZ3J2m_ElbY (Group Meditation by BK Kusum)
Milpitas - USA
BK Dr Hansa Raval speaks at Mahatma Gandhi program in Houston, USA
16 Febuary 2017
Om shanti and Greetings of Love.
Houston, Texas, USA (FEB 2017): BK Dr. Hansa Raval gave a talk at the Unity Church in Houston for Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial program. Dr. Hansaben spoke about Mahatma Gandhi’s gita and the power of nonviolence and truth. Community faith leaders and US Congressional representatives attended the program.
Please see a link for the newspaper article: http://www.indoamerican-news.com/shraddhanjali-2017-a-memorial-service/
Attached are a few pictures of the program.
Much love in BapDada’s yaad,
BK family in Houston
Traveling to India from the USA
7 Febuary 2017
Dear BK Brothers and Sister in the USA,
Great concern about the recent USA travel ban and restrictions has been voiced.
We have reached out to our best informed contacts and the following is their best and latest guidance.
In summary, if your visa/passport is of the 7 listed countries [Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen], you should not leave the country. If you have valid documents and are not from the 7 listed countries, or not traveling through these countries, it should be fine to travel. Additionally, a second list was created by the USA government and Venezuela and Colombia were noted to be watched. Please contact you airlines about any travel restrictions they may need to follow.
Please also read below:
From New York Senator Schumer's office:
There are no issues with traveling to India. But make sure you are not stopping at any of the banned countries.
US Citizens- no problems
Green card holders- should be aware of restrictions of their green card (such as can not be away too long from the US. If you go out a lot and spend a lot of time outside the US you will be questioned anyway. That was already part of the system). Also, do not have any of your transfers in the banned countries named below.
From the State department website
Urgent Notice: Under the Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals signed on January 27, 2017, visa issuance to nationals of the countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been suspended effective immediately until further notification. We will announce any other changes affecting travelers to the United States as soon as that information is available.
Temporary visas (H, L, J, etc):
Should be aware of the normal restrictions on those visas for traveling.
Practical tips for traveling:
Follow the rules with respect what to bring or not to bring into the country. Should not expose yourself to further scrutiny by bringing food that is banned such as seeds, fruits, plants. Don't give them an excuse to detain you.
Don't overstay your visa if you have a temporary visa. You will be risking coming back.
Don't make any jokes or comments about policies and politics at the airports.
Green card holders will be scrutinized more and the lines will be longer. Since they are asking the airlines to cooperate with them, it could be a problem when coming back. It would be up to an airline employee to decide whether to keep you from boarding.
Brahma Kumaris New York
Brahma Kumaris Florida Service News - January
3 Febuary 2017
New Year Gathering:
Jan 1: The family got together to welcome the New Year 2017 with meditation, murli, celebration and sweet memories were also created for birthday of dear Waddy bhen.
Pre-natal Meditation Session:
Jan 12: Mercedes gave two meditation sessions at a prenatal yoga studio in the Coral Gables area of Miami. The first session (Jan 12) had 10 pregnant moms and the second session (Jan 16), had 4 moms with a total 28 souls being served. The expectant mothers found the session to be a 'beautiful experience' as Mercedes guided them into their sacred space within, where they exist as points of light connecting to the little lights growing inside them. The experience reminded them of the special gift they're entrusted with - to be mothers of such innocence and purity.....click here for detailed report with more photos.
Living Values Education USA Newsletter, January 2017
1 Febuary 2017
Anubhuti Retreat Center featured in Pacific Sun newspaper
1 Febuary 2017
SOURCE: Pacific Sun Weekly E-News Feature: Meditation Haven posted on January 25 (http://pacificsun.com/feature-meditation-haven/)
A first-time meditator heads to Anubhuti Meditation & Retreat Center
By Flora Tsapovsky
Novato’s Anubhuti Meditation & Retreat Center, on a hilltop surrounded by protected open space, offers everything from meditation workshops to longer retreats. Courtesy of Anubhuti Brahma.
Novato’s Anubhuti Meditation & Retreat Center, on a hilltop surrounded by protected open space, offers everything from meditation workshops to longer retreats. Courtesy of Anubhuti Brahma
The journey to Anubhuti Meditation & Retreat Center in Novato isn’t the most spiritual: An exit from 101 North takes a turn, and one passes nondescript office buildings and you-could-be-anywhere strip malls. At some point, however, the road opens up to Bel Marin Keys and adopts a picturesque quality. A couple of minutes later, you’ve arrived.
Anubhuti is one of those places that residents would be surprised to discover in their own backyard—remote, humble and very popular. A number of buildings, benches and meadows comprise the facilities, lacking the opulence and lavishness that other retreats often boast. I came here to meditate, for the first time in my life, and although a photogenic environment is always welcome, it didn’t feel necessary. From first sight, I realized that Anubhuti is about doing, not impressing. And for a cynical first-timer like me, this was both reassuring and worrisome.
Before visiting, I learned that the retreat center belongs to the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization, a non-denominational NGO founded in India in 1937 and currently present in more than 110 countries all over the world. Led by women, it offers practical meditation tools—including retreats of various self-help shades, lengthier courses on positive thinking, Raja Yoga meditation and stress management—to cope with the everyday. In the U.S., the organization has 32 locations in 13 states. Anubhuti is Brahma Kumaris’ only ‘retreat’ location in California, built in 2007 and meant, it seems, to feel a bit outside of trends and times.
Vintage photos hanging in the main building’s hallway showcase Indian and Japanese groups in various community gatherings. The room through which you enter the meditation space is half English tearoom, half Indian hostel. Flowery pillows, abstract paintings of vortexes and sunsets and embroidered throws all coexist in the sunlit room, wrapped in a nostalgic, musty smell.
Shoes are off, but some participants bring their own fuzzy socks. As more and more sock-wearers of all ages come in, I contemplate the best and worst scenarios. The concept of meditation, going hand-in-hand with trending ‘mindfulness’ and ‘awareness,’ has always stressed me out—quite the opposite of its purpose. Exploding in popularity in recent years, meditation is now on our cell phone apps, in mainstream yoga studios and is even advocated by David Lynch, one of my favorite directors and a seemingly anti-spiritual neurotic (he likes the trandscendental kind). Accordingly, it has been lurking in the background for a while as a ‘good for you’ practice that I probably should be engaging in, given the fact that my most workable, profitable tool is my mind—which doesn’t get any rest. Thinking, conversing, conceptualizing and dreaming are bread and butter, and voided boredom is unacceptable. The possibility of meditation, or rather, giving the mind a break in forms other than sleeping, has been on my mind (no pun intended), but it has also carried apprehensions and resistance. How could I possibly sit quietly for a long period of time, no thoughts involved, if I can’t even get through a dull five-minute conversation?
Luckily, Anubhuti’s weekly, donation-based Sunday meditation practice is a relatively short affair—one hour and 45 minutes in total, which is a cheap price to pay for possible benefits. Upon entering the meditation room, where simple office chairs are arranged in a half-circle in front of a stage, I almost miss the cross-legged, Indian man dressed in white, sitting quietly by a microphone, eyes shut. This is Harsha Palli, a Raja Yoga practitioner and also an IT engineer, the facilitator of today’s practice.
Unsure of what to do, I join the rest of the group—11 people in total—and sit on a chair with my eyes closed for a while. It’s nice to gather my thoughts and relax, but soon I start growing bored and peep at the others and at the clock. Exactly 15 minutes after the official beginning time, Palli opens his eyes and addresses us with a warm welcome.
“Why are you here?” he asks quietly, inviting volunteers to speak. “To create a peaceful space,” says one. “To be at one with the world and my environment,” confesses another. “To give my brain a break,” I admit, worrying that my answer isn’t spiritual enough. The concern soon turns out to be unjustified—‘spirituality,’ with its wishy-washy, high-and-mighty, ‘light’ and ‘universe’ vocabulary, a concept which normally turns me into a bitter naysayer, isn’t what Palli or Anubhuti seem to be about. As evidence, right after the round of answers, Palli invites us for an energetic stretch, in a sequence of movements fit for a completely unspiritual, pedestrian yoga class. Hip-rotators, ankle-rollers, leg-shakers and eventually, jumps, follow, inevitably eliciting smiles and giggles from the so-far silent crowd. Would a serious ‘spiritual’ guru do that and not say anything about the body being a tree rooted in the ground? Or a temple in need of nourishment? I don’t think so. And then, finally, it’s time to get down to business.
Palli instructs us to sit with our hands on our knees, and to focus on breathing with eyes closed. Over the next 20 minutes or so, he quietly releases abstract yet simple instructions, such as, “Feel the energy you breathe in with the fresh air,” and “Create a space of inner peace, of stillness,” while everyone around inhales and exhales vigorously. Here’s what is going on in my head: Spanish verbs. That ’90s movie with Kate Hudson about gossip (must Google name!). The awesomeness of cold grapes and that I probably should buy some. Booking hotels for my next trip. Article ideas. But slowly, as I focus on breathing and try to block everything out, a heavy, warm sensation emerges, and a sleep-like, soothing state ensues, making my head spin. After staying with it, in a few moments, I decide to open my eyes and focus on the burning candlelight in front of me, which turns out to be just as calming. Mindless, but not agitated, I watch the fire and listen to the bird sounds outside, in quiet observation and well, stillness. It is easy, and very new to me.
Palli invites us to ‘come back,’ and takes the next 15 minutes to talk about the basic rules of successful meditation: Awareness to the moment beyond bodily sensations, and the ability to ‘zoom out,’ “like on Google Maps,” to feel outside of a certain situation or reality. Are these clear-cut instructions to the novice meditator? Hardly. But after having sat at the session, guided by Palli’s gentle voice, they make sense to me.
At the end of the workshop, a smiling, elderly woman in a uniform similar to Palli’s comes in and offers us healthy-looking, raisin and oatmeal cookies. A simple gesture, received and consumed quickly as all of the sitting, stretching and mind-clearing makes everyone quite hungry. Soon, people—among them, a mother and daughter, a young Brazilian woman, a couple of elderly men and women and a student-type in glasses—get up (no Oms or ‘blessings’ are issued) and start leaving, smiling goodbye. Just like the uncomplicated, complimentary cookie, the whole experience is much more straightforward than I originally expect, and free of sugary additives and flavorings. No divine or holy anything. No higher purpose. Nothing to inflame my innate cynicism towards certain aspects of ‘practicing meditation.’ And most importantly, no aftertaste of inadequacy or doing something wrong, like you might get at your very first SoulCycle class or at a retreat for the ‘enlightened.’
Leaving, I feel rested (and slightly sleepy, in a good way) and certainly calmer, and that is more than enough. Enough to keep me coming? Possibly. For a first date with meditation, the center, with its low-pressure atmosphere and no-judgment, glitz-free premise, was a great option. Brave the suburban ride in, get rid of inhibitions and give it a whirl. The cookies, I promise, are great.
Service Report 2016 in PowerPoint from Sacramento, California
1 Febuary 2017
Report on Sister Gita's participation in the World Peace Prayer Ceremony at Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles
1 Febuary 2017
On January 7th, Sister Gita from Brahma Kumaris Los Angeles Center, was invited to join a group of interfaith leaders from Southern & Northern Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Hindu and Islam faiths for a joint prayer for world peace, social harmony and peace of the people. This is an annual ceremony conducted by Buddhist leaders at the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in La Habra Heights (Los Angeles) with the intention of bringing all faiths together in a prayer for world peace.
The ceremony began with a procession (Picture 1) of the faith leaders into the prayer hall led by Master Huidong, the main monk of Hsi Lai Temple (Picture 2). Master Huidong welcomed everyone (Picture 3) and explained the importance of the ceremony. Each faith leader shared his or her thoughts on world peace through speech, prayer, or meditation and ignited a candle. About 300 people from different faiths attended the event to join in the mass prayer.
Sister Gita (Picture 4) shared that the true nature and religion of the soul is peace. She encouraged everyone to sow the seed of good thoughts in the mind for each other and to spread light wherever we go. She conducted meditation (Picture 5) which brought a deep sense of lightness and realization to many and ignited a candle (Picture 6). After the ceremony ended, many approached Sister Gita personally and shared their beautiful experiences during meditation that they never felt before. The event ended with a group picture (Picture 7) and vegetarian lunch.
BK Los Angeles
The Independent Journal Review website publishes article featuring the America Meditating bus
30 January 2017
Image Credit: Angie McPherson/Independent Journal Review
On Saturday, as hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the National Mall, cramming onto the main marching routes, many people overlooked a recreational vehicle parked on a side street on the way to the march.
Hosted by the Meditation Museum, the purpose of the RV was to help provide healing in a time of division. Without any political associations, the main purpose was to bring people together.
“Regardless of who was elected president, we all have to wake up tomorrow and carry on,” said Meghan Mulvenna, an organizer for the museum. “It's up to us as individuals to make good decisions. If healthcare is removed tomorrow, how am I taking care of myself?”
Mulvenna has travelled the world and has met with people with various political affiliations.
As she reflected on the current state of polarization within the country, she said:
"We’re all carrying around with us different stories, and that complicates things. What’s important to me is not important to you but they are both right in each of our journeys. We’re all getting where we’re going.”
A few months ago, Mulvenna learned an important lesson about forgiveness and seeing through a culture of hatred after the Pulse club shooting:
"As tragic as it was for the people impacted by the Orlando shootings, there was a peace that was found afterward. That certainly doesn’t justify the shootings, but the darkness can bring out the light. At least for me personally, remembering that can help bring more of the balance in life. There is an incredible amount of goodness and intentions. We let our emotions take over in certain places. Our intentions are to get back to a different place within each of us. We have different ways to go about it.”
As she offered a space to sit, free tea, and time to talk, she discussed the events that led her to Washington, D.C. that morning.
Image Credit: Angie McPherson/Independent Journal Review
Earlier this week, she wasn't planning to attend. But the American Meditating Initiative, which often hosts the RV outside of events, thought it would be important that somebody was in the city in support of the people.
There were tanks that blocked streets near the protests. People who stood in her way as she tried to get to closer. Eventually, she found a spot on a street and welcomed anyone who came by. Before she could be asked to move the RV, the streets were filled with people, and it offered her some time to open her doors.
People went into the RV and left their political affiliations at the door.
Republicans, Libertarians, Democrats, and even a few members of the press stopped and poked their head into the RV, grabbing a cup of tea and a quick moment of silence, in spite of the police sirens and chanting.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated after publication.
Sr Hansa, California, Meets Congressman Ami Bear on Martin Luther King Jr Day in Sacremento
18 January 2017
Omshanti, Godly greetings of January 18th Beloved Baba's loving day.
Here is good service news: Sister Hansa and Sister Joni met Congressman Ami Bear, at a celebration for Martin Luther King Jr Day, Monday January 17th. The meeting took place in downtown Sacramento, California. They shared about Martin Luther King's message, "I have a dream," and his connection and relationship with Mahatma Gandhi and India.
Sister BK Hansa
Sacramento Brahma Kumaris
In Photos: Brazil Tour & Music Performance of Sr Elizabeth Padilla, October 2016
10 January 2017
This tour was a highlight for me in 2016. A Divine gift and honor to connect, reflect, share and perform.
The Brahma Kumaris Family in Brazil are awesome. I felt such a warm rapport with no barriers not even in language. People would understand me even before the translation came from the translator. My heart is filled with gratitude.
Anubhuti Retreat Center
Click on above image to launch album.
Brahma Kumaris Florida Service News - December 2016
4 January 2016
Tuesday Night Insight Series-This month we hosted two topics.
Healing Heart and Soul This 2 week series invited participants to explore how to release "trapped" emotions with the great healers of God, Stillness, Time, Wisdom, and the clearing of "false" beliefs. Facilitated by Karen Perusse
Om Cafe This 2 week series ushered in the holidays by exploring topics related to moving from inertia to enlightenment. In Cafe style, we brewed some chai and dove into each topic through conversations, creative activities and meditations.
Florida Family Retreat This year's Florida Family Retreat was in Naples at the Greelinks Resort which has hosted this retreat several years prior. The atmosphere was powerfully charged with the entire Florida family together and with the presence of Sister Manda. One BK commented that it was as though the vibrations we created in years past were still there waiting for us.
Sister Manda, our special guest, gave several inspiring classes and meditations which included a silence activity in which many Brahmins were able to devise a formula for their own personal transformation.
The retreat offered a beautiful balance of quietness, study, fun and fellowship. It is highly recommended for any BK who is looking to move forward on their spiritual journey to join us next year for this annual event.
Click here for detailed report.
Season's Greetings from Sister BK Chandru - San Fransisco, USA
31 December 2016
Happy Holidays Greetings from Washington, DC for Yagya Holidays from Across the Globe
29 December 2016
To Our Special Brahmin Family Across the Globe,
The year 2016 ended with many surprises both from the East and West. Perhaps for most of us we are realizing our precious gifts given by sweet Bapdada, Dadis, Seniors, and each other. May 2017 be filled with genuine real experiences of Baba's love and wonder and may all Brahmins spread Baba's light and might to all four corners of the globe. And, may there be such deep inner attainments that we help each other in every way possible and build a powerful fortress of purity and power in our service places.
Sister Jenna, Gita, and all the family in Washington D.C area. P.S. Enjoy our amateur service report for 2016. CLICK HERE
New Year Greetings from BK Milipitas (Silicon Valley), USA
29 December 2016
New Year Greetings from Sr Mohini and the New York Family
22 December 2016
Meditation Museum Video Service Report for 2016
22 December 2016
Click on the above image to play this 11 minute video.
A message from Sr Mohini on political conversations
13 December 2016
Dear special instruments,
Greetings of love. As time moves on and the world searches for solutions to ever-more-challenging problems, we will likely see the kinds of conflict we witnessed in the recent US elections.
According to Baba’s principles and teachings, and looking at the present situation, it is best if we refrain from getting into debates or conversations about particular individuals, political parties and religious or social situations.
This is the time for us to keep our thoughts and conversations at the highest level.
News by Jayantiben in USA on 7th December
8 December 2016
Since leaving London on Saturday, I arrived in New York, and met with Mohiniben and the sisters and brothers in White House.
On Sunday morning after Class, Sister Judy Rodgers and I left went to Toronto. In the evening we went to the Funeral Parlour where Aunty Betty’s chariot had been laid out for Viewing. 300+ family and friends gathered there for a few hours to hear Baba’s songs, Bhajans, and dozens of tributes from members of the family.
All spoke about the huge love that they had received from Aunty and also the constant good counsel and support that she gave them. Her home in Georgetown and also in Toronto was always open for anyone to come and have Brahma Bhojan. They all commented on the example that Aunty Betty and Uncle Steve were of a perfect couple, who showed them what it is to be living together in harmony. The chariot of Aunty looked very peaceful, dressed in white with Baba’s badge. The whole audience were very warm and receptive to hear Baba’s knowledge, and to Meditation. Each of the Speakers spoke about Om Shanti and Baba.
On Monday morning, we had the Final Rites for a couple of hours at the Funeral Parlour, and then we went to the Chapel and Crematorium. There was a police escort of 3 cars. It was a very beautiful service, with some music and Tributes again. Aunty Betty won Baba’s heart, but also the hearts of the whole family.
Very soon after the Funeral, Judy and I left to come back to New York. We came straight to Peace Village at night, from the airport.
Tuesday and Wednesday have been spent in doing Video Recordings on various themes. The weather has been kind; normally there should have been quite a bit of snow, but there has been just a light dusting of snow – nothing much. This had been the case in Toronto as well as Peace Village.
On Thursday, we return to New York for programmes, and I’ll be catching my flight back to London on Friday, arriving in London Saturday early morning.
Vancouver Canada Diwali Report
7 December 2016
Brahma Kumaris Florida Service News - November
2 December 2016
World Meditation Hour
Participants met Br. Erik of NY and enjoyed live commentaries by Erik, Meredith, and Meeta, closing with Mindy's "golden voice."
Although 8 were reviewing the course, another 7 or 8 were taking the course for the first time. The new method of teaching the course introduced by Ken in Costa Rica this summer, with short explanations followed by short meditation commentary experiences, is very effective. The course was offered at Soulistic Yoga Studio, in Hollywood.
BK DAVID HOWARD
BK DAVID "flew" to Hollywood LIbrary straight from the airport to share tools to enhance the meditations and lives of the 34 students present. He brought alive the concept of being a solutions-based, "whatever it takes" individual. How many souls could land at 8:45am and be speaking at a venue 20 minutes from the airport 1 1/2 hours later? Kudos! Brother Ed, fresh back from Washington, DC, joined in for a wonderful closing commentary.
Click here for detailed report with photos.