Table of Content
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.