With the blessings and inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the first ever National Kishore-Kishori Vidyarthi Shibir specifically for university students, “Brahmvidyani College”, was held at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, in the presence of Acharya Swami from Friday 26 September to Sunday 28 September 2008.
This year’s programme enlightened minds and hearts while making the students aware of the challenges of university life as well as motivating them to excel spiritually and academically. Most sessions were interactive, some consisting of group activities as well as opportunities to practically apply concepts as they learnt them.
The shibir commenced with an inspirational video followed by the classical definition of ‘Brahmvidya’. Next, the delegates recounted the guidelines given by Swamishri to students over the years, either in person or through inspirational letters.
After learning more about the basic definitions in Hinduism, all delegates had an opportunity to quiz the sadhus on various aspects of Hindu and Swaminarayan concepts, especially those that are of relevance to life at university. Delegates participated in a writing skills workshop, highlighting the various styles and techniques of writing pertinent to university education. This was followed by an interactive session in which delegates, in their groups, were presented with a controversial modern idea on which they conducted independent research and presented their findings and conclusion to a panel of judges. This enhanced both their critical analysis skills as well as their presentation abilities. After this, each delegate tried their hand at cooking in which they attempted to prepare simple meals which could be made at university. The final session of the day included an evening with their parents, giving both a valuable insight into university life. Of special significance was advice from fellow graduates and also from sadhus who provided practical guidance and reassurance that the Mandir would always be available for support and encouragement. At night, the delegates enjoyed a relaxed outing in which they sharpened their golfing skills.
The third day began by echoing Swamishri’s words, ‘The future is bright…’ in which the sadhus painted an image of BAPS in the future as well as highlighting the challenges and opportunities lying in wait for the delegates. The shibir ended with inspiring words from Acharya Swami on the key attributes of a successful student stressing on the importance of keeping Satsang in one’s life.
The shibir proved a great success as participants departed with renewed confidence, enhanced abilities, and increased motivation which will undoubtedly propel them to greater heights in their education as well as their personal Satsang.