National Conference

on Spirituality and

The New Economy

 

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A Recap of
The National Conference on Spirituality and the New Economy
Dallas, Texas, April 4-5, 2009

The National Conference on Spirituality and the New Economy, a Proutist
Universal event, took place over Saturday and Sunday, on the weekend of
April 4th in Dallas, Texas. It was organized by veteran Proutist and
journalist Dada Acharya Shubhacetanananda. Mr. Dada Acharya is known in
practically every college and university in the Dallas region for his
expertise in Yoga, meditation and his social service efforts. Unknown
to most in the Dallas community, he is also the primary leader, the
Chief Secretary, of the international service and education
organization, Proutist Universal of New York Sector, with its head
office in Washington, DC. The website for the event is
www.prout.org/texas.

Acharya had the assistance of the community of Proutist Universal
members in the area to put together and to manage the event. It was
held at the Funasia Convention Center in Richardson, Texas and was
promoted nicely on the radio for weeks in advance by the Funasia Radio
station. Additionally, Mr. Acharya arranged the live web-streaming of
the event on the web through the partnership and services of
desiplazza.com. There were many reports from around the country that
viewers were able to enjoy the activities of the event and presenters
remotely as it happened.

Each day the program started with a Yoga Asana class and a guided
Meditation session. These sessions, led by Acharya Shubhacetanananda,
were helpful for the hundred or more attendees to learn the simple and
effective practices and to give them a chance to experience the benefits
immediately. Dada was helped by a two Proutist youths who demonstrated
every single move while he provided guidance. Additionally, each day,
the attendees were provided a quality Indian-style vegetarian lunch.
From the beginning of the program to the end, the participants were
nourished with nutrition, good personal practices and informative
presentations.

On Sunday, there was a wonderful cultural program performed by the
Proutist youth, singing beautiful songs and dancing based on Prabhata
Samgiita. This was organized by Onkarnath Pandey. Everyone was touched
by the grace of the performers. Each artist and child present was
awarded with a small gift of appreciation by Moody of Funasia Radio.

The keynote speaker at the Dallas event was Dr. Ravi Batra (noted
economist and author of "The Great Depression of 1990",
"Greenspan's Fraud" and "The New Golden Age"). Dr.
Batra displayed his remarkable ability to take something very complex
and make it seem remarkably simple. Dr. Batra stated that a coming
depression is inevitable. He further offered some suggestions as to how
the effects of the depression could be minimized, but he said that now
it was too late to avoid a depression. In the future, there should be a
new economic model based on PROUT (Progressive Utilization Theory) using
economic democracy to keep wages and demand increasing with
productivity. Interestingly, Batra's response to the question: How to
survive the coming depression? Take shelter of the Supreme and meditate.
Batra says the coming changes will be very difficult for everyone and he
recommends the practice of yoga meditation to help maintain mental
balance during times of change. He also said that meditation helps
develop a spiritual outlook on life which gives the courage to fight
against corruption.

Marc Friedland of Charlotte, North Carolina gave a talk about
Spirituality and the New Economy. He stated that the old economy was
based on greed as the prime motivator and it has been the unchecked
greed of monopoly capitalism that has lead to the current economic
collapse. This greed is nothing other than a misplaced desire for
happiness, for when the source of happiness is material wealth, then the
capacity for acquisition becomes endless. Friedland went on to clarify,
that the new economy needs to support a concept where people can find
happiness within themselves so the economy can be based on ethics and
rationality. To do this will require spiritual personalities to become
leaders in the society. Those leaders will not come by magic but instead
will develop through personal disciplines and practices designed to
promote spiritual awareness. Friedland encouraged participants to become
the solution that they seek as one way to solve our economic problems.

Clark Forden of Washington, DC, the Executive Director of Proutist
Universal New York Sector, presented the subject of Neo-Humanism-A New
Outlook for the New Economy. Mr. Forden clarified that this innovative
and refreshing way of framing the world and our relationship with it was
conceived by Mr. Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, the founder of the Progressive
Utilization Theory. Forden stated that Neo-Humanism is a simple,
philosophical bridge connecting ourselves with one another and with the
practical world in a manner that is uplifting and devotional in both
spirit and in practice. He said that this devotion that we all have
experienced in our lives needs to be infused in EVERY aspect of life and
be expressed to all, not just human beings.

He explained that this devotional expression should include the earth
and physical life around us and also to all other living animals and
plants, big and minute. A pond of water gets stagnant if the water in
it slows down its movment and becomes shallow. Similarly the basic
philosophies of life stagnate and become detrimental if they do not
provide vital and practical improvements to life functions, physical and
psychic in nature. Neo-humanism asserts that humans are mostly psychic
as compared to animals who are mostly physical in nature. So,
philosophies must remain dynamic and relevant, enhancing the mental and
refined qualities, or they will be rejected by society. Dogmatic
approaches and their resulting degeneration should not and will not be
tolerated in the long run as they bury the innate devotional and
expansive qualities of the mind and of society.

Mr. Forden described the various sentiments that limit society -
geo-sentiments, socio-sentiments. And, he went into the universal
sentiment, the healing salve that can pervade all relationships,
institutional life and every transaction to create a glorious future.
The universal sentiment sees the Home in everyone, see the Oneness in
everything and then allows each of us the opportunity to approach every
challenge with that subjective wealth, adjusting objectively to give the
final and most appropriate action. Forden went on to say, this Oneness,
this Home, this Ek, this Eco can be seen as being in and around everyone
and everything. When we get home and we rest for the night, we can
visually imagine that we rest our mind in this ultimate Home or the Lap
of the Divine that we share with everyone. With this spirit of
Neo-Humanism, as we all tred the path together towards our collective
Home, we do not let anyone fall to the wayside. We stop and make sure
everyone is moving together in the true purpose of society.

Mr. Forden concluded with one example of how Neo-Humanism can be simply,
yet powerfully, put into practice. In every future governing
Constitution, there should be amendment guaranteeing prosperity for
every citizen, and if anyone dies of hunger or poverty, then the elected
President should be recalled and a new election organized.

The final program at the National Conference on Spirituality and the New
Economy was a panel presentation "The Practical Application of PROUT to
Current Economic Problems". Panelists were Acharya Subhacetanananda,
Marc Friedland, Jyoti Friedland, and Clark Forden. Each panelist gave a
short presentation on how PROUT could be applied in a practical manner
-- addressing many of the core issues and problems that had been raised
by the attendees over the weekend. The audience then plied them with a
number of questions. Many of the responses were specifically related to
what could be done from a Proutist point of view to create a healthy
economic future for the Dallas area and Texas.

It appeared that a good and informative time was appreciated by all at
the National Conference on Spirituality and the New Economy in Dallas.

 

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