June 10th, Dadi Prakashmani Day, Annual Service Projects 2000 - 2012
When we look back in time we can see how far we have traveled. Sometimes one vision can grow into a movement of world change, without the visionary even knowing it. Some are moved just by heart and will to fulfill a part of their story in the world drama. For the late Dadi Prakashmani, Administrative Head of the Brahma Kumaris worldwide from 1969 – 2007, she was moved by love for all. She was moved by love for God. She was moved by silence, and she loved to play with everyone.
In June of 1999 Dadi Prakashmani came to Washington D.C. to address leaders at a special program, “Reverence for Peace”, at the National Press Club. In honor of her visit the Mayor of the Washington proclaimed June 10th, “Dadi Prakashmani Day”, a day for peace in the Nation’s Capital. Dadi did not plan to leave behind a legacy in Washington DC, but since 2000 her life of wisdom and spiritual love has inspired annual service projects in the DC community that have touched thousands of lives. Initiatives have included Envision a City of Values, Remember Me, Kites for Peace, Science of Silence, Dancing for Peace and The Tree of Blessings.
The Peace Tree – In 2000 the Om Shanti Peace Tree was planted on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in honor of Dadi Prakashmani. It is an official “U.S. Capitol Grounds Commemorative Tree”. In 2001 it was joined by another Peace Tree at the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense. Both trees celebrate the nation’s and the local community’s commitment to peace.
Envision a City of Values – In 2004 the international community in Washington DC was invited to share the values held highest in their nation of origin. Banners featuring artwork from the International Child Art Foundation illustrating these values were displayed around Sheridan Circle and Judiciary Square in Washington DC.
Remember Me – In 2005 specially created “Remember Me” art banners, featuring an image of supreme light, raised awareness of a higher level of consciousness, encouraging hope during challenging times in our nation’s capitol. These banners continue to be displayed along Massachusetts Avenue at Sheridan Circle. In 2006 this initiative evolved into The Science of Silence which invited everyone to share their experience using the Remember Me image during a moment of anger or rage. Its aim is to see if violence can be reduced by using the image. The initiative also helps individuals to experience a moment of inner silence and peace.
The Tree of Blessings - In 2007 individuals from 6 continents were invited to send in blessings of good wishes to Washington DC at a time when war in Iraq and a lack of trust in the American way, calls the hearts and minds of people from around the globe to send in good wishes for the nation. The blessings were hung in honor of Dadi Prakashmani on the Om Shanti Peace Tree on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. As a continuation of the Tree of Blessings another event was planned for later that summer on the National Mall, the large park between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument. The public was invited to come down to the Mall and share their pure wish for the world as part of the Tree of Blessings. A video booth was set up so that visitors could be filmed reading their blessing with the U.S. Capitol in the background. The date for the event, August 25th, 2007 had been given to the organizers when the National Park Service issued the permit at the beginning of the year. At that time, the organizers could not have known the special significance of that date. As the team was setting up that morning they learned that Dadi Prakashmani had passed away earlier that day in India. Blessings of good wishes for the community and for the world continue to be collected as part of the National Inner Power Fairs which are now touring the United States as well as additional Tree of Blessings in Oxen Run Park and Marvin Gaye Park in Washington DC and the Dadi Prakashmani Peace Tree at the Peace Village, the Brahma Kumaris retreat center in Haines Falls, New York. Visit www.treeofblessings.org.
Kites for Peace invited children and adults from around the country including Hawaii, Florida, California, and Washington DC to design kites with positive slogans and well wishes that were flown on June 10th, 2008 on the Washington Mall, near the Washington Monument. Thousands of these kites were sent as gifts to children in places of conflict and strife including Iraq, Niger, and Russian occupied Georgia. Kites for Peace continue fly around the world at events organized by schools and other groups. A simple kite can make a world of difference in the life a child who is in darkness. Visit www.kitesforpeace.org.
Dancing for Peace was launched in 2009 as a celebration of peace through dance. “Where there is Truth the Soul Dances.” Hundreds of performers including, children, students, and professionals participated in a dance showcase in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. Dancing for Peace allows us to recognize peace as the original experience of every human being on earth. When we feel good we can feel God and claim the power to create a better world for ourselves.
For the 10th year anniversary of Dadi Prakashmani Day renowned artist, Klara Sever, was commissioned to create a sculpture of Dadi Prakashmani which was unveiled at the Meditation Museum in suburban Washington D.C. by Sr. Mohini, president of Brahma Kumaris in USA. The Good Vibes Peace Festival continued the ten year celebration with an outdoor festival next to the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Museum which had opened its doors the year before. The program featured musicians, dancers and poets at an activity filled “Peace Fair”. Visitors to the festival participated in periodic “minutes of silence” during the event to spread positive thoughts towards those affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at the time. A story about this activity was featured in USA Today.
In 2011 the Meditation Museum celebrated the 11th anniversary of Dadi Prakashmani Day as a day for “Experiments in Silence” which included the local launch of just-a-minute – a minute of silence can transform your world. The program which featured Sr. Jenna, director of Brahma Kumaris in Washington DC and Annette Lantos, holocaust survivor and co-founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, explored the transformational power of silence and included a special experiment conducted by research scientist, Bob Dratch, that used advanced holoform technology to monitor the change in the atmosphere during silent meditation practices at the Meditation Museum.
This year the Meditation Museum honored the 12th anniversary of Dadi Prakashmani Day with the launch of “America Meditating – Pause for Peace” a nationwide initiative which encourages everyone to calm their mind, empower their thoughts and enter into peace throughout the day. The June launch was followed by a gala program, “America Meditating - Make a Shift” on August 24th featuring singers, ballet dancers, comedy, a panel of experienced meditators who share their personal practices, how our country can benefit from meditation, and why inner peace is so vital for our lives at this time. America Meditating continues as a nationwide initiative. You can learn more at www.americameditating.org. Follow America Meditating at www.facebook.com/AmericaMeditating.