The Ananda Marga Winter Retreat, New Year 2020 took place at Cleburne State Park in Dallas from December 27 to January 1, 2020. This was a New York Sectorial Retreat organized by a team of Acaryas and Dallas Margiis.
The retreat started with a three hour Akhanda Kiirtana on December 27. The Margiis decorated the meditation hall and Puja Table beautifully with an abundance of flowers and lighting. As the retreat moved on, the every-afternoon Akhanda Kiirtana was growing in intensity and sweetness. The culmination of the retreat was the nine-hours Akhanda Kiirtana ending at midnight of the New Year, followed by collective meditation and a Baba video. After a short rest, the programs continued on the morning of January 1 with Paincajainya, Dharma Cakra, reading of Ananda Vanii, and another Baba video. During the closing ceremony, Margiis and Acaryas shared their joy of participating in the retreat and how it had touched their lives.
The weather in Dallas was good, mostly sunny in the day, and a light freeze in the night except for one day of rain and warmer weather. The Margiis enjoyed the calm natural environment and, on the third day, went together for a walk around the lake. On Saturday, December 28, Acarya Diiptimanananda Avadhuta gave an introduction to Ideological Training – the syllabus, benefits, and how to implement in all major units of the Sector. He then went into details of the benefits of Prabhata Samgiita to our spiritual life, the best ways to practice the songs, and taught four songs to the Margiis. In the evening, Didi Ananda Acira gave a beautiful workshop and introduction to Yama and Niyama. She first presented Yama and Niyama and how it relates to our lives, and then we split into groups and made dramas based on the principles. It was a lot of fun and a refreshing way of remembering the foundations of our spiritual lives.