Dear Sister / Brother:
CREST (Centre for Research Education, Sadhana, & Training)
August 15, 2006 - Bangalore, India
Report submitted by Sister Kimm X Jayne, USA
The inaugural CREST course began Wednesday, August 9, with 80 delegates invited from 20 countries around the world. Rev. Master gave the opening address and said that he was here to learn as a student from the abhyasis who had been assigned various topics to speak on.
Prof. Dr. K. Kamalanathan gave the first talk on "A place for spirituality in political thought," which set the tone for much laughter (given the professor's great skill at self-deprecating humor), in-depth learning, and absorption in the simultaneous transmission that permeates each talk.
Each day begins at 5 am with the clang of the wake-up "bell" (which temporarily is a piece of railway track hit with a hammer; a real bell is on order). Most people do their morning meditation and then exercise for half an hour afterwards. One group has organized an yoga class and another has organized a strengthening and conditioning workout session. Others take advantage of the beautiful grounds and use the walkway around the meditation hall as a walking track. Satsangh is at 7 am sharp followed by an 8 am breakfast.
There are at least three talks a day – usually two in the morning and one in the afternoon. Master has assigned topics on a wide variety of topics to various delegates. For example, talks have been given on "Jainism," "Christianity," "Spirituality as a Necessity for Total Well-Being," "Spirituality in Russia – The Saints of Russia," "Mysticism in the Western World," "The Art of self-Management," "Spirituality and Islam," "Philosophy and its Relevance in an Abhyasi's Life," "Spiritual Education," and "Science and Spirituality," to name a few. There have also been longer interactive workshops on "Non-Violent Communication" and the "Art of Communication." Inevitably, when the delegates get up to give their talks they begin by saying, "when I first got assigned this topic, I thought there was a mistake as I don't know anything about this topic, but after receiving confirmation that indeed I was assigned this topic, I went to work." Master merely smiles at their caveats and listens raptly to each talk.
Master is very involved with each session – either attending each one personally or watching it via closed circuit TV in his cottage. He frequently gives comments either immediately after the talk, or later in informal sessions in his cottage or on the grounds. Yesterday, following a talk he attended on "Spirituality without Faith – Is it Possible?," he sat for over an hour outside under a tree and answered many questions on faith and surrender.
The day ends with an after dinner movie specially chosen by Master to reinforce some theme or lesson. For instance, we have seen "Groundhog Day," "Meet Joe Black," "Ghost," "Whalerider," and "The Karate Kid." Tonight, a special live play is planned in the meditation hall.
After the movie, we do our cleaning, night-time prayer, and fall asleep amidst the cacophony of snores in the dormitory.
YOUTH PROGRAMME – BABUJI MEMORIAL ASHRAM, MANAPAKKAM, INDIA
Report by brother S. Prakash - email@example.com , Ashram Maintenance Manager, Manapakkam (Chennai), India
Programme Start Date: 1st October 2006
This is to bring to your attention the launch of the next batch of " YOUTH PROGRAMME " from 1st October 2006 at Babuji Memorial Ashram, Manapakkam, Chennai – 600 116, India. The second batch of YOUTH PROGRAMME is running successfully and we are happy that we are announcing the next batch to accommodate more willing Abhyasi Brothers & Sisters from across India including those who missed out in earlier batches. This full time residential programme will run from 1st October 2006 to 31st December 2006 (for a period of 3 months) and is aimed at training the YOUTH of Sahaj Marg in the various aspects of running an Ashram.
Abhyasi brothers & sisters who are willing to apply for this programme must route their applications (with complete resume in the annexed format) through their respective ZIC / CIC / Preceptor-in-Charge on or before 31st August ‘2006. Short listed candidates will be intimated by email / post / phone on or before 10th September ‘2006 after proper screening. They must report at Manapakkam Ashram by 28th of September ‘2006 and the programme will commence on 1st October ‘2006. Kindly make photocopies of the attached application format for the use by applicants. The completed application copies can be forwarded to the above address.