For each topic, here are some questions to respond to:
Part C – Missionary training: 1 year
Computers are a basic part of the life of any working person. But many people peck away with two fingers on the keyboard. The efficiency of an acarya's time can be greatly increased if they are able to touch type, and thus move from a speed of 15 wpm to 60 or more. This also increases their likelihood to utilise internet and computer technology as a part of their acarya work.
The skill level of a student would need to be assessed first, goals established, and timeposts created for progressive improvement markers to be reached.
There is so much information available now on the internet, and so many resources available. But to access these requires research skills, which do not come naturally to many people.
If an acarya knows how to effectively research, record and compile information relevant to a project, they will be able to access resources available and connect to others working along similar lines.
Management of one’s computer
Computers are central part of being effective in the world. But not everyone is well versed in using computers in general, specific programs in particular, deal with systems when they have problems, or know how to manage and file information.
Email is also a key part of modern life, but it can easily consume hours of time everyday. How can an acarya use email, but not drown in it
What are some creative and effective ways to use it to serve the work of being an acarya. What kind of problems emerge, and how can they be dealt with
Webpage construction and management
Webpages can be a very effective way to do pracar, provide information, advertise activities, and coordinate projects.
Creating them involves some level of knowledge and skill, as does managing them.
Most acaryas will not want to be involved in this complex topic. But nevertheless, it may be necessary to manage a webpage – updating details like current events. Even this much takes some knowledge and confidence.
Operating a small business
Much of what an acarya does in the world resembles managing a business. This may be as small as running meditation classes, or it may be a large as running a project involving hundreds of people and many thousands of dollars. Sometimes acaryas run profit-making enterprises such as shops or import-export operations.
All this requires essential and universal skills, without which predictable mistakes occur, conflicts emerge, and financial loss or project failure is a real possibility.
These skills can be learned by doing, but that involves reinventing the wheel, and that can be a time consuming and costly process.
Bookeeping and accounting
A very specific skill necessary for almost all acarya activity is accounting for finances. This is a very important capacity, and is relevant both on the level of personal finances, as well as any project, from running a retreat, to dealing with a whole sector.
These skills require study, and for some that will be easier than others. There are basic principles of accounting which are essential to understand, and there are many computer programs which make the actual process of accounting much easier.
Its also important for acaryas to have the knowledge and skill to read a balance sheet, in order to not be solely oriented around cash flow. The financial health of a project is fundamentally related to capital issues, and this is a place where people often founder.
One of the centrepieces of acarya life and responsibility is the running of retreats. The basic structure is generally the same; and given that it's a repeated procedure, there are many ways to increase the efficiency and smoothness of retreat management.
This requires some content knowledge, and a skill set. Each acarya can learn this from scratch, for themselves. Or they can benefit from the collected experience, wisdom and learning’s which have accumulated over the many years that these have been run in Ananda Marga.
Margii community management
The sangha is very important – one of our treasures as Baba points out. Like any community, there are synergies, collective successes and strengths, as well as conflicts, bad behaviour, and interpersonal failures.
An acarya can have a positive, neutral, or destructive role in the development of margii community. Obviously the goal is to have a positive and constructive role. This requires many skills, and much wisdom.
The role of supporter and guardian of community is a very complex and demanding one, and requires a great deal of support. Recognising the nature of the support needed, and ensuring that they are sufficiently resourced is key to the ability to support others.
Beyond the margii community are service projects that function in various ways to support the development of the wider community.
The same skills are relevant, and more are required – dealing with people with other ideological positions, political and religious orientations, and whose behaviour is not constrained by a common set of values.
In the course of acarya life, there is a great deal of information which an acarya comes across, and may (and perhaps should) record. This includes basics such as address details, and extends to various types of personal information, correspondence, as well as official records such as minutes.
There are important issues about how this information is kept, preserved safely, kept private, and what is relevant to share.
Knowledge of how and when to responsibly manage record and information is important in a range of ways. Mailing lists can be extremely useful if kept up to date and used properly. Any kind of personal or official information needs to be guarded properly, and acaryas need to know how to do this.
Good management also includes knowing when and how to hand on information to incoming charges, and where it is appropriate to share such information.
Working with a board
Acaryas do not always work as sole operators. When working in a range of contexts including non-profit forms of organisations, schools and projects receiving funding it will be necessary to work with or under a board.
This involves a set of skills and knowledges that can make a big difference between successfully working together, or disharmony and entrenched conflict developing.
Boards are important in any organisation, and AM is no exception. How do AM boards work
How much is this possible, and how can and does this work within legal frameworks of countries
How can a board be best run
What are the dangers, and potential strengths
What are the responsiblities of board members
How to deal with conflict on boards
How to deal with representation – gender, margii/acarya balance, and other interests
How to get full participation of all members
How often do boards have to meet to be effective
What is the scope of their power
What can render them toothless
There are many ways in which an acarya is in a leadership position. There’s a great deal that can only really be learned by experience. But there’s also a lot of very useful knowledge about leadership which can help develop and refine that capacity. Support and guidance are also essential.
Being a position of responsibility and influence, it is an important ethical issue as to how an acarya exercises their leadership.
There are specific projects, such as retreat management. But in general, much of what an acarya does involves project management in general. Sometimes those projects are essentially businesses. But other times they may be service projects, such as sadavrata, or any number of other activities within the scope of Ananda Marga.
There is a great deal of knowledge available regarding project management and how to do it. It is important that acaryas acquire some of that knowledge, and get some support and supervision about putting it into practice.
One of the functions of any organising work is participating in or conducting meetings. This can be a key part of working successfully with others. It can also waste a great deal of valuable time.
Knowledge about how to run efficient meetings which are incisive and result in concrete action is essential in this area.
This refers to a cycle involving setting goals for productive activity, measuring whether those goals are being achieved, and then making adjustments to better move towards those goals.
This process is often complex, and requires advanced organisational skills. It is important because it can result in an organisation which is really putting into practice what it says it wants to achieve. Without this, mistakes can just keep being repeated in an organisation, without any real change.
If there is any auditing going on, this is an essential process to ensure that required standards are being maintained.
The process can lead to what is called ‘continuous improvement’ in an organisation, which establishes functioning at a very high level.
Being an advanced skill, this requires a significant learning process to be able to manage in this way.
Strategic planning involves moving beyond the day to day operation of an organisation or project, to consider what is coming up in both the short and longer term, and make plans as to how to move ahead.
Effective strategic planning can result in a well managed organisational process. Without it, things tend to be adhoc and crisis based.
Thinking skills – lateral, post-logical etc
Thinking is something that gets developed with normal educational processes. Often it is primarily logical skills which are worked with. But there are also other thinking skills which can be very useful in the course of the complex nature of acarya life. These include lateral thinking, and systemic thinking.
Just as with logical thinking, these generally need to be taught and practiced to develop people’s capacities. The result is a more sophisticated capacity to engage with the world, be in relationships, and conduct creative and effective work lives.
Understanding and facilitating action learning processes
Action learning refers to an ongoing cycle of action, reflection, and then a more sophisticated set of actions. It ensures that maximum learning takes place, and that learning is applied immediately. It can be applied at a personal, and collective level.
This is part of the idea of RDS, and by fully understanding how to effectively do this, an acarya can increase the quality and productivity of their work.
Staying with margiis
There are times when an acarya stays with margiis, where there is no jagrti in an area. This is often fraught, as it involves a great deal of sensitivity to boundaries. Margiis often report problems associated with this, and there is a fairly constant pattern to these reports.
Some acaryas manage to do this more successfully than others.
To be able to do this in a way in which margiis maintain their respect for acaryas, and where acaryas attend to their own needs is important. Its not automatic, and requires a range of interpersonal skills and awareness’s.
Managing multiple roles with margiis
The nature of acarya life is very complex. There are many roles that an acarya can and does play in this process of interacting with individual margiis, and the wider margii community. Sometimes these roles may be in conflict with each other (eg, spiritual advisor, disciplinarian and friend). It is important that acaryas are able to identify their different roles, recognise the responsiblities related to each role, work to deal with conflict of interests, and skill up in each of those roles.
Without this recognition, its quite possible that various abuses can occur. Its not possible to avoid this kind of complexity, but with awareness and dialogue, the dangers can be averted, and people can feel respected in the process.
Although the primary motivation for an acarya is service, there are many small and large ways in which their own self interest comes into interactions. If there is a willingness and capacity to recognise that and be open to feedback, this can be kept in the context of being human. But without this recognition, people can get hurt, or an acarya can be seen as being hypocritical.
Hence the need for knowledge and personal insight in this area. It is one which other spiritual and religious authorities have not always managed well, and which acaryas can hopefully set an good example in.
There are many roles that an acarya can and does play in this process of supporting and sometimes managing the margii community. Sometimes these roles may be in conflict with each other (eg, spiritual advisor, disciplinarian and friend). It is important that acaryas are able to identify their different roles, recognise the responsiblities related to each role, work to deal with conflict of interests, and skill up in each of those roles.
Role as spiritual advisor to margiis
This is one of the core duties of an acarya – to initiate, and provide ongoing spiritual guidance. Some acaryas are more confident and skillful in this capacity than others. The quality of guidance, and the management of initiates is a very important issue which does not always receive sufficient attention in the many competing demands of acarya life. Some acaryas see their duty fulfilled when they initiate someone – they are on their own after that. Others follow through. But such follow-through can be time consuming, and its only possible to be tracking and supporting so many people. How can acaryas deal with these challenges.
There are also many potential pitfalls as well in the provision of spiritual guidance. People often come to acaryas with their problems, both worldly and spiritual. Acaryas have a lot to offer, but they also have limits on how they can help people.
This is an area which deserves a lot of discussion, guidance, and receptivity to feedback.
Role as acarya to initiates
Managing initiates is a skill and artform. Do you just initiate, and leave them to their devices? Do you try to involve them in the organisation straight away? When do you ask for donations? How can you followup all the people you initiate? Can you form a facebook group just for them? Sometimes initiates just fade away. How can you move them towards membership of AM, without seeming too pushy?
Issues related to jagrti management
Jagrtis server multiple functions – accommodation, office, a place for spiritual functions to name a few. The management of these different purposes is an issue which requires a range of skills.
Jagrtis are also collective places, and that can be fraught. Questions of responsibility, differing standards around issues such as cleanliness, and the management of the finances can be very difficult at times. Interpersonal issues between acaryas can also come to the fore. Given that the same kind of issues tend to be faced, it's a place where learning could be passed on. Successful management of a jagrti can make a significant difference in the margii community, and in the wellbeing and effectiveness of the acaryas inhabiting it.
Peer relationships are important for acaryas. As Baba says it's a hard and adventurous life. And in some ways, its only possible for acaryas to really understand each other, sharing in similar kinds of challenges.
The support that can be available is significant. Whilst this is often spontaneous, its something that is useful to reflect on an take into account as one of the elements of successfully working as an acarya in the long term.
Some relationships can be supportive, but they an also result in subgroups which are not always of complete benefit to the larger acarya body. Some awareness of these dynamics is important.
The other side of cooperation and support is conflict and competition. In the nature of human relationships, this also occurs between acaryas. It is important therefore for acaryas to learn skills to deal with such tension, and to know how to resolve it, or live with it in ways that are not personally or interpersonally destructive.
Dealing with those with authority over one can be positive or negative. If there is good quality guidance received, along with support and good management, it can be a pleasure to work with higher authorities.
If the opposite is the case, it can be a negative experience, which undermines an acarya both personally and in terms of their work.
Dealing with such difficulties from a one-down position is a very important skill which can significantly influence an acarya's capacity to function, and to stay in the long run. Knowing how to deal with authorities who do not always use their power with awareness or benevolence is an essential survival skill in an organisation
This is not an easy area to talk about, but there are certainly skills and experience which acaryas can benefit from learning.
Being a higher authority oneself, and dealing with people under one, is a significant responsibility. How to manage that responsibility well is an important skill. By carrying out this function in a benevolent way, a great deal of dynamism can be created in the organisation. Being a supervisor is a very important part of developing the organisation, and the people in it. To successfully perform this role requires knowledge about what is entailed, and the ability to put that into practice.
Different cultures have different attitudes towards how to deal with those working under you. Some are more authoritarian. What are the pros and cons of the way this tends to be done in AM, and what are some alternatives.
How to make these alternatives workable.
Career as an acarya
Areas of confidence and skill
Everyone has their strengths, and these represent unique ways one can contribute. By acaryas knowing themselves well, they are more able to identify just what they can bring to relationships, teamwork, and projects. Knowing this, and being able to follow down the path of contribution can boost both the organisation and the individuals acarya’s quality of work life. By knowing one’s unique contribution and following that path, innate talents and preferences can be put to maximal service. Doing this ensures that acaryas have a sense of moving forward, and feeling a personal sense of both contribution and satisfaction.
Areas targeted for development
Everyone has their blind spots and their personal weaknesses. These are sometimes difficult to recogise non-defensively, and often hard to remedy. They can affect both interpersonal relations, as well as the quality of work output.
It is an essential but advanced skill to be able to recognise such weaknesses, be receptive to feedback, and be able to get the support required to make real changes.
Acaryas can hide behind their role to avoid such work, or they can set an inspiring example in this way.
The knowledge involved here is a deeper kind of personal self knowledge. The skills are those of emotional literacy, advanced communication, and the ability to get the right kind of support.
The importance of support
Learning does not finish when one leaves school, or acarya training centre. There are many kinds of learning and development, and its important that acaryas engage in their own ongoing education. This could be formal or informal. It could consist of short courses, or longer ones. It could involve reading, or discussion. It could involve the acquisition of knowledge, or skill development. It could relate to the personal sphere, or the professional one.
It is an area which needs to have ongoing attention, planning, and resources both time and financial dedicated to it. It represents movement forward, and an increasing ability to serve.
It also leads to the experience of being an acarya as an evolving process, with the right kind of challenge and support for development.
Content knowledge, and refined techniques.
There are a long list of conduct rules for acaryas. Apart from the rote learning of these, what are the subtler aspects of what it means to actually follow them. What are the challenges and contradictions encountered in doing so. How can they be followed in a way which honour them, but also is objectively adjusted.
Setting an example
This is a core part of the definition of being an acarya. But what does it actually mean, how can it really be done, and what challenges need to be faced in successfully doing it. The sharing of experience of other acaryas and the ability to engage in self reflection are key parts of learning in this area.
The real dangers of dogma
Baba is consistently clear that dogma is untravires to the practice of spirituality. But it is inevitable that dogma creeps into an organisation such as Ananda Marga.
Where and how can acaryas be vigilant to ensure that this tendency is managed. What are the potential places where acaryas can fall into the trap of dogma themselves. How can signs of dogma be recognised, and what can be done about it.
The uses and abuses of power
Acaryas exercise power in a range of ways – by virtue of their spiritual role, as well as their organisational position and the responsibilities associated with the work they engage in.
Power can be used for the good, or it can be used selfishly or destructively.
What are the dangers for acaryas in the exercise of their power, and how can they guard against these. What kinds of skills, knowledges, and checks and balances are necessary to ensure that power is used positively.
Power also needs to be understood an exercised, in order for leadership to occur. Otherwise a vacuum is created. What kind of skills do acaryas need in order to exercise their power effectively.
There are ways in which the role of acarya has ‘priest’-like characteristics. Whist some of these are legitimately contained in an acarya’s duties, there are other aspects which can devolve into an unconscious use of the power of the spiritual r.ole. Where and how does this occur, and how can this be recognised and avoided.
Managing conflicting role priorities
Burnout and leaving
Not all acaryas stay in their role for the whole of their life. There are a large range of reasons acaryas leave. This is not generally a good experience for the acarya, nor for the margii community.
In order to avoid or minimise such a possibility, what is required
If an acarya does in the end decide to leave, what are the ways in which this should happen
This is a difficult topic, that does not tend to get dealt with in advance of its occurrence. Given that it's a reality in the bigger picture of Ananda Marga, it is important that it is something which is discussed.
Pitfalls of the ‘priest’ mantle
Using social media
The buzzword of the current era of human society is social media.
As with any aspect of society, it can be utilised for the sake of promoting spirituality.
How can this be done
What are the limitations, and what kind of knowledge and skill is required to do so
How can acaryas use social media in a way which balances time resources, and treads the line between personal and work.
Other forms of networking
Keys to successfully inspiring people
Pracar is about an expanded form of marketing.
There are many approaches possible, many techniques, and there is knowledge which can be developed and learned in these areas.
This includes a range of possible strategies, from formal, organised classes, all the way through informal cultivation of contacts and relationships. It includes networking, and the skills of knowing your audience, and finding the balance between enthusiasm and being too pushy.
There are times when acaryas can feel a lack of confidence about pracar, and need specific kinds of support to develop their own unique approach. Others can be so keen that at times they come across as proselytizing, in the worst sense of the word.
This is a very important skill for acaryas to develop, and one for which most people require support.
There are some excellent forums for developing this skill. Certainly training centre is a good context, and there are plenty of organisations around the world which offer support in this area. Many acaryas do not develop their skills in this arena, despite it being a frequent component of what they do.
This is a small scale version of public speaking. Acaryas are generally expected to perform the duty of giving a talk after DC. This can be a great forum for stimulating margiis – philosophically, devotionally, intellectually. But often talks are superficial and done without much preparation. They are too abstract, go on too long, are too disconnected from people’s lives.
There is a great deal that can be developed here – the way to give really inspiring DC talks, other formats such as making it a participative process, and alternatives to talking at people.
Teaching & learning processes
Acaryas are often in a teaching role – whether its sadhana, running a school, leading seminars for margiis, or teaching philosophy or Ananda Marga practices.
Each person can develop their own teaching style. Awareness of this style is important, so that each acarya can identify their unique contribution.
There is a lot to understand about how people learn, and how it is possible to teach them. Its important that acaryas have a contemporary understanding of what best facilitates learning, and how it can be tailored to each person’s needs.
The knowledge and skills of being an effective facilitative teacher are essential for the successful life of an acarya.
Avoiding dogma in teaching
Teaching asana classes
Hatha yoga teacher training is now something offered by Ananda Marga, and clearly, acaryas should benefit from this type of training. Not all acaryas will be teaching asana classes, but its important that they have the skills if they need to do so
Teaching meditation classes
This is one of the universals of acarya life, though obviously not all acaryas will do this. Again, its essential that acaryas have the skills to do so, and understand a range of approaches in how to do this successfully. There are now many years of experience in Ananda Marga running such classes, and its good for new acaryas to be able to benefit from all this experience.
Running seminars for margiis
Culture and society
Encountering a new culture
Awareness of own cultural filters
This is very difficult, because much of this is the ‘water we swim in’. But through encounter with difference – others from different backgrounds, we can start to become aware of our own filters.
Such self understanding is an essentials starting place for acaryas in their quest to lead the way towards universalism, in providing an example of neo-humanism in action, and in their postings in cultures other than their own.
One example of teaching this is the ‘blue-eyes/brown-eyes’ process. There are many other ways in which people can become aware of their own limited sentiments.
Clearly in Ananda Marga, there are still many socio and geo sentiments.
Thus acarya training needs to tackle these kinds of issues head on, from the start.
Awareness of own prejudices/sentiments
Understanding of patriarchy and sexism
All kinds of isms are problematic both socially and spiritually. However, one universal one is sexism. This is because most countries of the world operate under the framework of patriarchy. Baba clearly wanted us to go beyond this. But without specific education about the nature and effects of patriarchy, its all to easy to simply replicate it.
There are many ways, both subtle and crude, in which it has destructive effects, in family, politics, organisations, and even our Marga.
Without a deeper understanding of these dynamics, its likely that both men and women, Dadas and Didis, will replicate these patterns. Being an educated and informed acarya involves learning about this area both in theory and in practice.
Tips about working in specific cultures
♣ European cultures
♣ The middle East
♣ South America
It shouldn't be necessary to reinvent the wheel. Many acaryas have travelled the world, and worked in different sectors. For an acarya coming newly to a sector, they can benefit from this experience if its communicated to them. It shouldn't be hard to develop these resources, and they are essential to save newly posted acaryas from years of unnecessary struggle.
There is no doubt, there are times when acaryas feel they have more ownership of the organisation than margiis. This may be due to their structural position; it may be due to a sense of superiority that sometimes comes with positions of authority in spiritual organisations; it may have to do with being a celibate.
On the other hand, margiis often do not really understand wholetimers – how they think, what they face, and their perspective on things. Margiis can be dismissive themselves, and insensitive at times.
How can this gap be bridged.
How can acaryas work with margiis, rather than lording it over them, or operating in a separate flow.
How can acaryas communicate their needs to margiis in straightforward ways, without being pushy or overly demanding.
How can acaryas listen to margiis more.
How can acaryas remain in a service position with margiis, but not allow themselves to be taken advantage of, or not respected.
What is the best way for an acarya to come into an existing unit/region/sector
What kind of things tend to sour relations with margiis.
What can an acarya if they come into a place where such relations have been soured in the past.
What kinds of expectations that margiis have of acaryas are reasonable and realistic
What kinds of expectations of acaryas that have of margiis that reasonable and realistic.
Another complexity is family acaryas. How do they fit into the picture.
What is the nature of the relations between celibate and family acaryas.
What problems arise, and how can these be dealt with.
Knowledge of the structural design of AM
What was the actual structure Baba gave for AM.
Few margiis understand that, and not all acaryas do either. Where and how is that operational, and where is it not.
What is currently realistic, and what aspects are not currently practiced, that could be.
Boards and their operation
Dealing with the splitting within AM
Whether anyone likes it or not, there are now several organisations, all considering themselves to represent AM. There are legal battles, moral battles, personal battles between the factions and between individuals. There are people with a range of solutions. There are people working towards attempts at unity. Everyone is claiming the moral high ground, and meanwhile, many destructive actions have been taken, and a great deal of money spent on legal cases. Like any political situation, there are a range of ideas about what the problem is, what to do about it, who should do that, and who should be excluded from the process.
This situation consumes a lot of energy, and has weakened AM, its work, and its workers. Margiis and acaryas feel disillusioned, and many people have concluded they just have to do their own thing.
Acaryas who are successful generally work somewhat on the periphery of the organisational rubrics, protecting their projects from any destructive influences. Each acarya has found their own way to deal with this situation.
How can an intelligent and useful dialogue be conducted between training acaryas, to use this as an opportunity for discussion, debate, furthering ideological understanding, examining ways to build bridges and develop skills in dealing with difference and dissent.
A lot of the conflict in AM is related to what are seen as unjust actions – mostly on the part of those in positions of power, but sometimes also related to peer – other acaryas, and sometimes by margiis.
Although there are nominal processes in AM to deal with disputes of this type, they have proved ineffective in a variety of ways. Is the because they are used in the wrong situations, because they need more resources, or because other ways of dealing with purported injustices need to be utilised.
How can this area be dealt with more effectively in AM.
Knowledge of the functions of departments of AM
Running a school
Schools are a major form of AM service projects. What is important for acaryas to know about the running of schools.
Is it enough to simply be thrown in at the deep end.
What kind of different challenges are there for schools in the developing world, and those in developed countries.
Being in charge of a school (or home) is a position of great responsibility, akin to parenting. This requires knowledge. Generally to simply depend on the experience of one’s own growing up is not really enough.
One of the basics of child psychology is attachment theory - understanding how children grow and develop with love, support and guidance. Without sufficient understanding of how this occurs, significant damage can be done to children, with the best of intentions. It is essential acaryas working with children understand the core elements of a child's development.
Similarly, discipline is something that must be understood in a more advanced way that crude carrot/stick incentives and limits. Acaryas need some knowledge about contemporary ways of understanding how discipline can be achieved with children.
There are other important topics as well – classroom management, the application of Neo Humanistic principles to the care and education of children.
Teaching and learning
Not all acaryas will need to write grants. But it's a useful skill to have for funding projects. What are key elements of success in writing applications for funds.
Working with funding bodies
Where funds come from bodies – government, non-government, private or banks, there are important accountability and relationship issues with those bodies.
What do acaryas need to know about being accountable and managing funds responsibly.
What are the dangers, and what skills need to be in place to ensure problems do not occur.
Language comprehension and expression
What kind of standard is expected of acaryas in terms of English proficiency. How can this be measured, and what are the best ways for acaryas to improve and develop in this area
How much priority should be given to this in the training hours of an acarya.
How much emphasis should there be on conversational capacity, and how much on the written word.
Written comprehension and expression
The best thing is probably for acaryas to go through a standard First Aid training. Is it best to bring someone in for this, to do it professionally, or could someone be appointed to learn and be certified in teaching this.
Homeopathic medicines are also important as first aid. Should this also be taught to acaryas.
There have been a variety of incidents involving acaryas in car accidents. Is there anything that can be incorporated in acarya training to address knowledge of safety issues
The most salient is probably the danger of falling asleep at the wheel, which can be the result of the frequent travelling and long hours acaryas put in.
In developed countries, there is a high standard expected of OH&S management in regards to projects of a public nature. Some of that contains good reasons, as it is about the health of people being served, or working in those projects. Even where that is not a legal requirement, what is useful for acaryas to understand.
There are OH&S issues that are especially important when working with children. This includes topics such as teaching protective behaviours in relation to child sexual assault, as well as the duty to inform. There are also other issues which are involved in being responsible for minors.
Specific learning for male acarays
Patriarchy is still embedded in most cultures, families, and organisations. AM is no exception. Baba talked about a bird needing two wings to fly, but the actual awareness of many acaryas about what constitutes behaviour that is oppressive towards women is low.
Dadas can set either a bad or good example in this area. What kind of things to dadas do which are oppressive towards women.
How can this be changed.
What kind of awareness of how they use power, including inadvertently, is essential to be addressed in the training of acaryas.
Specific learning for female acaryas
In order to step out the training to be in the one down position that often accompanies the conditioning of women, didis need to develop assertiveness skills. How can this best be done.
Self defense is an important way to build a woman’s confidence, as well as her ability to protect herself. This is important for didis, who may travel in dangerous places, or work in areas where women are not respected.
Empowerment of women
I am happy to chat with anyone about how this could happen. I don't have a particular position or direct power in Ananda Marga (or any sub or splinter groups)' my role is to provoke discussion, introduce ideas, and be part of the change I want to see. If you want to contact me about this, email: firstname.lastname@example.org