Craft and Connect



A spark ignites a flame, a flame lights a fire, and a fire becomes an inferno. This phrase sounds familiar, and manifested again as a truth for our JJ111 Craft and Connect initiative.

The Craft and Connect Initiative was conceptualized by the Planning Committee, whose mission was to “connect mahatmas in North America through a craft for JJ111.” This project was to be completed without any financial input. In other words, the idea was to create something out of nothing, and connect mahatmas of all ages through a common seva platform. Mahatmas from the US and Canada were given the task to decorate Dada’s quotes that would be displayed on all the tables in the dining areas.

So where did this all begin? The idea came from the Raleigh Center, where one Mahatma suggested to decorate pine cones, given their abundance and availability in during the season of Autumn. Everyone loved this idea, and it was readily implemented by mahatmas in Raleigh, who used color and glitter to turn ordinary pine cones into art pieces. In looking at how beautiful the decorated pine cones looked, the Working Committee in Adalaj quickly approved of the idea and gave the approval to take this project to the national level.  

Each center lead across the US and Canada was provided a video and a set of directions to complete this time sensitive task in preparation for JJ. The word (and many pictures!) spread to all the centers, and the work began in full swing.

Although we had a great presence from North America at JJ, not all mahatmas were able to attend the event. This craft and connect Seva opportunity, however, allowed for each and every mahatma – new or veteran, young or old – to feel as if they were a part of JJ. It was common to see a very young Mahatma absorbed in painting a cone with a Senior Mahatma, and such bonding experiences were a true highlight of this Seva. The response to this craft and connect project was undoubtedly enormous, and, the connectedness among the centers was strongly felt and was distinctly visible. While the committee had expected to make approximately 100 craft items, the total number of decorative pine cones amounted to 1200!  

The task didn’t end just there yet, however. Transporting the pine cones, and then assembling them into the final product was an entirely different project. Needless to say, mahatmas traveling to India happily volunteered to take the pine cones with them at no cost. And, despite not the fact that everyone was very involved in other seva, several mahatmas showed up for craft and connect Seva and worked tirelessly with dedication to ensure that the efforts yield in an eye-catching showpiece for JJ111. The result was simply amazing. Pujyashri personally looked at the crafts and admired the work.

This Craft and connect initiative was nothing short of tremendous success. It not only provided all mahatmas a direct opportunity to do Seva for JJ111, but also enabled all those who couldn’t attend the event to feel connected and a part of the celebration. Dada’s mahatmas are genuinely one, and this craft and connect initiative served as a channel through which the mahatmas displayed this unity.]]>

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