More than 1,800 delegates attended the 2013 National Sanyukta Mandal Shibir, held on 1 September at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London and again on 8 September at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Leicester. The shibirs, organised on two days to cater for attendees from across the UK, were held in the presence of Ghanshyamcharan Swami (senior sadhu from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Surat) as well as other sadhus visiting from India and America.
Focusing on the Hindu concept of peace (‘shanti’), the event provided philosophical teachings as well as practical tools for leading a peaceful, fulfilling life.
Following the traditional deep pragatya, the shibir began with a thought-provoking video illustrating the unrest that pervades everyday life and asking the poignant question: Where does peace really lie? The answer would unfold over the day’s numerous sessions.
Ghanshyamcharan Swami began by discussing how detachment from material objects fosters lasting peace. This principle of vairagya was supported by an enlightening drama.
Gnanpriya Swami, Bhaktivardhan Swami and Yoganand Swami then addressed some practical aspects of experiencing peace through an insightful question-and-answer session.
Yoganand Swami continued the exploration of peace by examining the power of tolerance and the harmony that it provides in one’s life. Gnanpriya Swami also offered his guidance on the critical role that ghar-sabha plays in fostering family unity.
A grand kirtan bhakti programme formed the highlight of the evening session, where Bhaktivardhan Swami, Amrutkirtan Swami and local yuvaks eloquently sang a collection of bhajans and medleys accompanied by a variety of instruments.
Ghanshyamcharan Swami delivered the final discourse concluding that peace can be found with the Satpurush. This climaxed with the video blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, in which he revealed the way to inner peace here and now.
The event was very well received by the participants who also commented on the effectiveness of the discourses as well as the various media used to deliver the key messages, particularly the many video presentations of Swamishri.