Creating a City of Five Million Bridges!:
A New Project “Garden-Like City” Launched in St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg (Russia): The project “Garden-Like City” was launched at Lighthouse on Sunday. The Brahma Kumaris project dedicated especially to women is carried out with the support of the Committee for Social Policy of the city government and the Women’s Alliance of St. Petersburg.
The events within its framework will continue for 6 months, with every month featuring a particular set of virtues and powers inspiring participants to become beautiful and useful members of the human world family. These 6 sets of values are symbolically represented with 6 main features of the St. Petersburg city landscape, namely, a BRIDGE, a RIVER, a PARK, an ANGEL Sculpture, a PALACE FENCE and an AVENUE.
The launching event was dedicated to BRIDGES, which is but natural, as St. Petersburg is often called the City of Bridges with at least 350 of them within the city line and 500 bridges in the outskirts.
What attitudes and values should we develop in order to become bridges that unite, rather than walls that separate? A friendly and sincere chit-chat on this topic continued for more than 2 hours, using the language of spiritual sharing, songs, dances and games.
Explaining the concept of the “Garden-Like City” project, Didi Santosh, Director of Brahma Kumaris, St. Petersburg, said: “The basic law of this universe is interdependence. The very first bridge in our life is the connection of a mother with her yet-to-be-born child. And since the very beginning of our life is interdependence, the entire life is also based on mutual give-and-take. There is no shortage of resources in this world to make all people happy. However, bridges are lacking for delivering those resources to the ones who require them. Today someone said that there are 350 bridges in St. Petersburg, but in fact there are many more of them! The population of the city is 5 million, and so we should have 5 million sentient bridges who can share love, peace and happiness with everyone! The new project we launch today has been created with the vision of inspiring people to make these beautiful values an integral part of their personality. By decorating ourselves with them, we become spiritual artists who can paint a picture of a beautiful city and beautiful world.”
Glimpses of the Dialogue:
Professor Yaroslav Vasilkov, Indologist, Russian translator of “Mahabharata,” chairperson of the Society for Cultural Connections with India said, “We are living in a turbulent world. The wonderful ideals of tolerance and openness promoted by the Brahma Kumaris can become a foundation for bringing people together in harmony.”
Ms. Anastasia Zemskaya, head of department, Committee for Social Policy of St. Petersburg city administration, said, “Before today’s event, I never thought of bridges as applied to my relationships with other people. But today, as I was sitting here, I experienced a strong urge to say “thank you” to all those people with whom I have been interacting since long. Because we often use others, forgetting to thank them for providing their company and co-operation!”
BK Vijay Kumar said, “The foundation for creating strong bridges is our belief system. When this world was created it was perfect. We need to develop the belief in this perfect world, perfect humanity and perfect Creator. By now the world has changed a lot. Yet, we are living through a unique time of restoration of that original perfection. Every one of us still carries an experience of that original perfect self deep within. We should develop the practice of seeing the self and others in that original perfect form. Our vision will change us and ultimately will transform the entire world. We just need to take this first step of courage, and God, the Creator of the Bridge, is always there to help us!”
Ms. Nadezhda Okhotnikova, leading expert, Committee for Youth Policy of St. Petersburg city administration, said, “Bridges are created when we trust people with whom we live and work. For successful interaction I should be attentive and caring enough to feel another person. Then I can discover something in them that will enable me to interact effectively.”
Rev. Vladislav Antsibor, archpriest of St. Nicholas Church, said,“In order to create bridges, it is important to go beyond our limited egos. When you think exclusively of solving your own problems, you lose strength. And when you forget your limited self and start serving others, you feel overflowing with power!”
Professor Vladimir Agueevets, chief advisor for the Chancellor of the National State University of Physical Education, Sports and Health, said, “A bridge that I would like to design and create is the bridge between spiritual, moral and physical health. The humanity is progressing rapidly in the fields of science and technology, however we face a shortage in spiritual and moral development. I feel that the Brahma Kumaris is a spiritual fortress that enables this spiritual development to take place.”
Ms. Larisa Koroleva, leading pattern designer, head of department, St. Petersburg State Art and Industry Academy, said, “For creating bridges we also need an art of cutting away everything which is waste. The evil definitely exists in this world, but I need to make sure I do not allow the evil to pass through me. I should not become a bridge for the evil! If everyone keeps this aim, there will be less negativity in our world.”
Nunay Astrova, vice-chairperson of Armenian autonomy of St. Petersburg, said, “St. Petersburg is a city of many bridges and many nationalities as well! When we start seeing the city as a gorgeous flower garden where every flower is unique and beautiful, there will be harmony.”
Konstantin, manager of art projects, said, “I liked your idea of bridges! I think we start creating bridges inside ourselves. Who am I? One has to understand oneself first. This is a starting point for creating other bridges. It is similar to neuron connections in our brain. I should feel I am a neuron in the global network. I am connected to all the living beings in the universe.”