With the inspiration and blessings of Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj, some 150 kishores and kishoris from across the UK, studying for GCSEs and A Levels, participated in a three-day Vidyarthi Shibir, titled ‘Vidya Vinayena Shobhate’ [Knowledge is adorned by humility]. An enlightening video depicting the theme of this year’s shibir provided the introduction, before an interesting ice-breaking exercise offered an opportunity for the delegates to get to know some interesting facts about one another.
The first session of the shibir focussed on the concepts of practising daily rituals, self-discipline and control, focussing the mind, and time management – all essential tools on the path of academic success. Shantmuni Swami (from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Los Angeles, America) provided an insight into these concepts by touching upon life at a gurukul, and was supported further by experiences of yuvaks and kishores in a question-answer session.
The morning of the second day began with group discussions to address the course of action that a student can take in challenging situations where there is no simple solution. Purnajivan Swami (from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Atlanta, America) concluded this discussion and provided practical guidance on addressing such issues.
This was followed by a workshop on useful study techniques, and an introduction of the support structure that is available for students at the Mandir. Motivation to succeed was followed thereafter, which was insightfully presented through a video presentation depicting the story of a man who succeeded in his career through perseverance and determination against a barrage of setbacks.
A group exercise was organised to assess the ability of participants to work together and present before a panel of judges, a skill that will serve the students well as they progress in their academic and professional careers. Following their endeavours, kishores and kishoris were rewarded with an entertaining evening event – a treasure hunt across the City of London!
The final day of the shibir began with a speech by Shukmuni Swami who spoke of the attachment, love and connectivity that Swamishri has for the youth and the manner in which he connects with youths of all levels. This was then followed by a discussion on agna by Tyagprakash Swami, demonstrating the success that has been experienced by those who have followed the wishes of Swamishri, including touching experiences of sadhus.
Yogvivek Swami concluded the shibir, expressing the importance of education and noble character to better one’s life. Prizes for the best group presentations were then awarded before the three-day shibir was relived through a photo presentation, and one final prayer was collectively shared, leaving the students energised and motivated to please Swamishri by excelling in their studies.