With the grace and blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and in the presence of Anandswarup Swami and Munivatsal Swami who are visiting the UK, more than 800 karyakars from across the UK attended the National Karyakar Shibir held at Warwick Conference Park between Saturday 27 August 2011 and Monday 29 August 2011.
The shibir began with a short sketch depicting how Swamishri has been fulfilling his personal 'kartavya' (duty). The opening video instilled the message for the attendees of their own kartavya. Anandswarup Swami then inaugurated the shibir with the traditional deep pragatya before the aims and objectives of the three-day event were outlined by Yogvivek Swami.
A short video presentation of interviews of satsangis revealed their expectations of what a karyakar's duty should be. This was then discussed in detail by Anandswarup Swami, outlining the fundamental knowledge and understanding that every karyakar should imbibe – namely the understanding of God and His greatness, the importance of suhradaybhav, and an appreciation of the tireless work, amidst unprecedented challenges, that Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj have performed, and which Swamishri is continuing today.
Following lunch, there was an opportunity for karyakars to reflect upon the introduction to the shibir in small groups, sports sessions to energise minds and bodies, and also team-building activities to increase affinity. The evening session allowed various mandals and departments to meet and build the key skills and tools that are required for their respective seva.
The morning of the second day was dedicated to further sessions with respective departments and mandals where tailored training, feedback, planning, etc. relevant to the specific groups was offered. This also included question-and-answer sessions with Anandswarup Swami to help strengthen the seva and Satsang of karyakars.
The second auditorium session of the shibir focussed on the subject of mamattva, samarpan, and an insight into 'what is right' in relation to one's seva which was enacted through thought-provoking dramas and a speech detailing guru dakshina – repaying the guru. Yogvivek Swami provided further guidance in his conclusion, underlining the importance of ownership of one's seva which in turn will develop one's sacrifice and thus fulfil one's kartavya.
Two evening sessions were organised on the second day – the first addressing the subject of karta-harta and atma-vichar. Anandswarup Swami elaborated upon these by expressing that to experience happiness, one must cultivate the understanding that God is the all-doer and that we are atma – this is our devotion, the key to solving all problems, and essential in maintain stability of the mind. Hiten Mehta and Munivatsal Swami then narrated touching accounts of devotees who have demonstrated their strength of understanding amidst severe challenges.
The final session of the second day provided an insight of the mahima of seva and rajipo no vichar where kishores spoke of their personal appreciation of their respective roles and responsibilities within the mandir, and discussed their practical thought process and actions to please Swamishri. This was supplemented by examples from sadhus of karyakars who have demonstrated the highest level of understanding of their seva and have pleased Swamishri immensely with their dedication and conviction. Following a short video of Swamishri discussing the concept of rajipo, Anandswarup Swami explained how rajipo and mahima-no vichar help karyakars in their kartavya – with further practical advice and examples of haribhaktas and sadhus who have excelled in this area.
The morning of the third and final day of the shibir began with an exploration of the fine balance between seva, personal Satsang and family time, with interviews of karyakars across the UK who have been successful in achieving this balance. Sadhus and karyakars offered further examples of karyakars who have taken ownership, initiative and excelled in their seva. Anandswarup Swami was then asked questions on balancing seva and family time as well as tackling various challenges that arise during one's seva, providing essential inspiration in overcoming such problems.
The final session of the shibir began with Swamishri's impromptu message during his visit to London in 2007 where he encouraged everyone to take the challenge and build the foundations for the future, which was discussed in further detail by Yogvivek Swami, who enlightened karyakars on what one should and should not be engaging in to fulfil Swamishri's vision. The finale of the three-day programme was provided by Anandswarup Swami, who delivered a powerful and eye-opening speech on kartavya – and the happiness and strength that surpasses that of everything else in this.
Every participant pledged the oath that Swamishri declared when he was bequeathed the responsibility of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in 1950 which brought a passionate and emotional conclusion to an inspiring shibir.