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October 2nd, 1869 marked the birth of a true leader, and 141 years later, it can be said with conviction that Americans still have Gandhi enshrined in their hearts.
October 2nd, 2010 proved to be a historic event at the Phoenix center, for it showed us how much Phoenicians crave the culture of the spirit. With just 15 days in hand, yogis got together to re-create the life of Gandhi for the “Spirit of Gandhi” Exhibition at the center. The “re-creation” included a replica of Gandhi’s spinning wheel done by a very creative yogi, a display of actual sand and salt (the latter being stolen from the foot soak stock!), a collection of photos and also letters by Gandhi to Tolstoy and Hitler. The screening of original footage also helped recreate the magic of the Gandhian era.
With limited resources and (completely) out-of-control excitement, yogis put newspaper ads ($400), which targeted four key zones advertising “Spirit of Gandhi” exhibition. Some yogis also invited students from community college clubs.
On the exhibition day, much to our delight, visitors started pouring into the center even before the scheduled time. Over 40 people (almost all Americans) came to the event and were greeted with welcome brochures detailing the program schedule. After the exhibition, visitors were invited to listen to a narration, which yogis prepared, commemorating Gandhi’s life. The focus of the narrative was an insight into his spiritual life as explained by the founder of the meditation center, H.H Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. We ended with a quote of Gandhi, “…The divine radio is always singing if we could only make ourselves ready to listen to it, but it is impossible to listen without silence,” and invited the audience to experience this silence through self-realization.
Amongst the Americans who came, we had a diverse group of people, all fans of Gandhi, from a Christian preacher to high school students. Many of them commented on how much they truly appreciated seeing the exhibition and quotes on Gandhi, and enjoyed the meditation, which was accompanied by an instrumental rendition of one of Gandhi’s favorite hymns, “Vaishnava Jana To.”
Refreshments were served throughout the event as people kept trickling in. This was a day when we all realized what Mother really meant when She said in 1977 at London, “…he (Gandhi) laid down the basis for Sahaja Yoga, …in every way he laid it down.”
As nature refreshes with the first showers of rain, our center too received beautiful waves of vibrations. It seems now that the culture of the spirit is spreading its wings much as a phoenix bird takes flight after rising from the ashes of ignorance. We hope for many more occasions to share the joy.
The Phoenix Collective