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Through the blessings of Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj and following the overwhelming success of the Vidyarthi (Students) Shibir in December 2004, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, opened its doors to over 230 students from across the country for this year’s seminar held from 16-18 December 2005. Entitled Paramhansa – Love, Purity, Devotion, the event began with inspiring videos and a moving speech by Shukmuni Swami on the sacrifice and devotion of the paramhansas of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

Speech preparation and delivery were the key skills covered this year, conducted through planned classroom sessions where the participants were taught the fundamental components for successful speeches from planning and preparation through to delivery and finesse. Throughout the sessions, the participants presented various elements of their speeches to their peers and teachers, who provided constructive individual feedback.

On Saturday evening, all participants enjoyed a three-hour river cruise along the Thames as the scenic landscapes of London by night provided a spectacular backdrop. An entertaining programme of trivia and light-hearted humour accompanied a delicious meal on board.

The climax of the course culminated in each attendee presenting his or her speech on the final morning. Vidyarthis with exceptionally high quality speeches were awarded prizes. Yogvivek Swami concluded the seminar by highlighting how Pramukh Swami Maharaj has lived his life in the niche carved by the paramhansas of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and how we can aspire to this ideal through following Swamishri’s wishes.

Throughout the Shibir, sadhus and trained volunteers offered their expert guidance to students in essential skills, such as building their education, careers, as well as consolidating their Satsang. Overall, the programme proved a great success as students departed with a renewed confidence and enhanced abilities which will undoubtedly propel them to greater heights in their education as well as their personal Satsang.

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