A National Yuvak-Yuvati Shibir was held at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Sunday 17 February and at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Leicester on Saturday 23 February in the presence of Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami (Kothari Swami). The shibir, entitled ‘Become Adarsh – Satsang Principles’, marked the beginning of a year-long spiritual development programme for youths in the UK. It was attended by almost 700 participants.
Following the traditional opening with the lighting of divas, the scene of the shibir was set through an enlightening video. Satyavrat Swami explained the concept of ‘adarsh’, meaning ‘ideal’, and underlined the importance of becoming the ideal spiritual aspirant, providing examples of devotees who have followed the guidance of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and thus become ideal devotees.
Pujya Kothari Swami then spoke further on the subject, narrating examples of devotees from the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and describing the spiritual endeavours of Bhagatji Maharaj.
Personal accounts from those who have imbibed the principles of Satsang in their lives were then narrated, which ranged from reading spiritual texts to strengthen faith through to engaging in and fostering religious activities. Maintaining spirituality in one’s home and place of work was also discussed as well as prioritising one’s life based on the advice of Swamishri. Tyagprakash Swami strengthened this further by exploring the subject of stability and the importance of spiritual wisdom which helps to overcome setbacks in life.
During the afternoon session, Anandpriya Swami and volunteer-leads introduced the ‘Become Adarsh’ project in detail, explaining the various modules comprising the year-long development programme and the interactive and online resources available to registrants.
Yagnatilak Swami later elaborated upon the importance of upholding traditions and performing daily rituals, and in particular, referenced religious texts to help understand such principles.
A key to becoming an ideal devotee is to engage in seva. Aksharkirtan Swami underlined some important benefits of seva, including developing one’s character and connection to Swamishri. A video presentation containing various excerpts of Swamishri’s blessings relating to seva was then shared.
Pujya Kothari Swami concluded the shibir by encouraging everyone to draw inspiration from Swamishri as the ideal example and, throughout the year, to continually introspect on one’s spiritual progress.