With the Grace of Mother we were fortunate in organizing a series of public
programs in Manila. Starting on Thursday 28 August and ending Monday 1 September,
we held five sessions in all, two on 28th and one each on 30th and 31st August
and 1 September. It was the first time that we were holding three of the programs
in a mall and were nervous about it, given the earlier experiences of poor turnouts.
However, Mothers attention was on us and all the programs were very well attended.
In all we were able to give realization and explain the basics of Sahaja Yoga
to about 400 persons. Almost all felt the vibrations and some of those who attended
the first program on 28th came back for their follow up on 1 September. These
were by far the most successful programs in Manila and hopefully mark the beginning
of a new phase of growth of Sahaja Yoga in the Philippines, a country that really
needs all the divine blessings it can get.
We were able to widely publicize the Programs in the malls through advertisements
in daily newspapers, posters and leaflets distributed in the run up to the program.
A local television channel also gave Sahaja Yoga a very good coverage in its
news broadcast and focused the camera on Mother's photograph.
The arrival on Wednesday of three yogis and five yoginis from Hong Kong led
by Alex Henshaw. (Others were: Edwin, Eric, Veronica, Louisa, Tammy, Winnie
and Wilma who is an ethnic Filipina working in Hong Kong) gave a tremendous
boost to the publicity effort as we all trooped to the mall and distributed
leaflets and requested people to attend. Two of the yoginis have stayed back
to help with the follow up meetings. In all about 200 persons came to these
three programs. All of them got their realization and the programs were covered
by more than one TV news channel.
The program on 30th August was held in Chinatown. There is a large Chinese
community in Manila and we wanted to take advantage of the Chinese Sahaja Yogis
from Hong Kong and Taiwan in approaching them. We advertised in two of the largest
circulating Chinese newspapers and leaflets in Mandarin were distributed in
Chinatown on two days prior to the program. It was conducted in Hokkian dialect
that is particular to the Chinese community from the Fujian province in the
mainland and Taiwan.
Nearly all Chinese in the Philippines are migrants from these two regions and
converse in this dialect and not in Cantonese or Mandarin. Four Sahaja yogis
and yoginis from Taiwan, led by Henry Ho (others were Sam, Teressa and Chiu
Chiu) came to Manila especially for these programs and stayed with us for three
days. Each one of about sixty who attended the program got their realization
and a number of them have indicated that they will come back for the follow
up next Saturday.
For the program on 31st August, the whole group of 17 of us went about 60 kms
out of Manila to an alternative health fair (Tao of Living Health) that was
organized near Tagaytay which is one of the most beautiful spots in Laguna,
the largest of the four islands in the Philippines. The venue was on top a hill
and overlooked the huge Taal lake in the middle of which is the still active
Taal volcano. With water in front and hills at the back, it was very picturesque.
There were a lot of other groups there and the atmosphere was so heavy that
we felt that it would be very difficult to give realization there, specially
as our stall was next to the chanting Hare Rama group. But, as soon as we put
up Mother's photograph and started giving vibrations to each other, we were
surrounded by seekers who literally queued up for getting their realization.
Nearly 150 people including hath yoga teachers, practitioners of tai chi and
others were given their vibrations and told in brief about Sahaja Yoga. Our
stall was visibly the most active and sought after and we had to drag ourselves
away only because some of us had to catch a flight in the afternoon.
At the health fair, we met the organizer who has offered that we could build
the Sahaja Yoga Ashram on that location. Given the beautiful location this is
the most wonderful prospect. We appeal to all our Sahaja Yogi brothers and sisters
to join us in our desire for building the Philippine Sahaja Yoga Ashram. Please
give bandhans for this desire to become a reality. Once realized, this Ashram
can become a beautiful facility for all Sahaja community in South East Asia
for rest and meditation amidst almost unspoilt and peaceful natural setting.
Let me give a personal experience of a Hong Kong yogi. At the first seminar
there was a young seeker who had dreamt of meeting a guru a week prior to the
program. Luckily he picked up a leaflet just before the program started. He
then stayed to talk to us and asked lots of questions. Afterwards he said that
he thought it was the Lady in the leaflet who would be speaking. One of us just
told him to look at the posters on the wall with Shri Mataji's picture on it,
and just ask if She was here. He asked "Are You here?" and then smiled
with satisfaction at receiving the confirmation in the form of cool vibrations
that he could feel on his hands. Jai Shri Mataji.
The most joyful part of the entire experience was the coming together of all
brothers and sisters from three countries. We also have a Colombian yogini (Fanny)
who with her Indian husband (Pankaj) has been with us in Manila since June.
The effort put in by these two has been a real boost to all of us in Manila
and we are hoping that this couple becomes permanently resident in Manila. Bandhans
Please. The long weekend (Thursday to Monday) became a really joyous occasion
with late night bhajans, traveling together to programs, and collective meditations,
hawan and outings. Nothing seemed to be a strain and all programs simply became
excuses for enjoying ourselves. For us in Manila it has been a tremendous experience
and we will like to repeat it soon.
It is always such an amazement to see yogis and yoginis from distant lands
so easily taking to the streets and shopping malls and distributing leaflets
and talking to passers by encouraging them to attend the sessions. We can't
even say that we are grateful to them because we know they were enjoying it
every minute. But all of us in the small, but growing collectivity in Manila
thank from our heart all these brothers and sisters who came to help out.
We also want to thank the Hong Kong collective, the Perth collective and some
individual Sahaja yogis form Europe who sent us generous contributions and made
it possible for us to widely publicize our programs. The success of these programs
has encouraged us to plan other such events in the near future. And the joy
we experienced together encourages us to invite others to come to Manila and
work and live with us to spread Sahaja in the Philippines, which is a challenge
but an enjoyable one.
The Manila Collective
( Christy, Celia, Gaston, Johnny, Pankaj, Fanny, Vineeta and Rajiv)