India Day Parade 2013, New York City

August 18, 2013

The 33rd India Day Parade in New York City was held on the fine summer afternoon of August 18. It proceeded down Madison Avenue starting at 38th Street and ending at 27th. As every year, the Brahma Kumaris were one of the 36 organizations participating in this event.

The theme for our entry in the parade this year was ‘7 Billion Acts of Goodness (AOG)’. With the aim of creating a global culture of care and compassion, this initiative invites individuals of all ages to perform AOG by holding the awareness that as spiritual beings we are all inherently good. This shift of awareness is not only the basis for expressing our innate goodness, but is of itself an AOG towards the self.

The parade’s grand marshal was Vidya Balan (Bollywood actress), who was joined by other special guests from India including Anna Hazare (a prominent social activist). Both were presented a memento for the ‘7 Billion AOG’ on behalf of the Brahma Kumaris.

The BK parade was a unique one that led off with the organization’s banner, followed by sisters holding the flag of the organization as well as the Indian National flag. This was followed by two groups of performers, each having five sisters walking with placards showing the different signs (icons) symbolizing the various ways an AOG can be performed. They were surrounded by sisters wearing ‘7 Billion Acts of Goodness’ t-shirts and holding pompoms in their hands.

Every time the procession stopped the sisters would dance with the pompoms, while singing the slogan “Elevate your mind…Open up your heart…It’s in the Soul…Acts of Goodness…” Simultaneously, the placard holders came together and turned their placards around to form the phrase “Goodness Returns,” like pieces of a puzzle coming together. This left the audience awe-inspired.

There were also placards showing various slogans pertaining to AOG: “An Act of Goodness is sharing”, “Goodness is giving and receiving happiness,” and many more. Several other BKs were holding golden star, an image from the logo of the initiative, symbolizing that goodness is the essence of every soul. We had the great fortune of Sister Mohini’s presence, she watched us, as we passed by in the parade, giving her blessings and drishti. Beautiful bookmarks providing information about the initiative were distributed among the spectators.

After the parade had concluded, all the BK brothers and sisters shared in a spontaneous celebration at the Manhattan Center, with picture taking, dancing, singing, and sharing of blessings and snacks. It was an event that left both viewers and BK participants alike with the joy and happiness brought about by spreading the word of who we are, and that goodness is our true nature.