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A one-day national Yuvak-Yuvati Mandal shibir was held in the presence of Ghanshyamcharan Swami (senior sadhu visiting from India) at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Sunday 6 October and again at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Leicester on Saturday 12 October 2013.

 

The shibir, entitled ‘Sakhi Samjan ma Ghanu Sukh Chhe’ (great happiness lies in spiritual wisdom), drew upon the profound wisdom encapsulated in a bhajan penned by Nishkulanand Swami almost two hundred years ago.

 

The theme provided more than 800 participants with spiritual understanding as well as practical tools to help them manage their daily challenges and find peace and meaning in life. Three concepts were particularly stressed: ‘Sankhya Vichar’ (realising the temporary nature of all material things), ‘Atma Vichar’ (realising one’s true identity as the soul), and ‘Paramatma Vichar’ (realising the supreme glory of God).

 

Following the traditional deep pragatya ceremony, the shibir began with an enlightening video to set the scene. This was supported by Satyavrat Swami who described the aim of the shibir and elucidated upon the elevating teachings imbibed by devotees from the past. A short drama further explored this concept, inviting members of the audience to share their thoughts on the sketch.

 

Ghanshyamcharan Swami then addressed the delegates, citing the example of Bhagatji Maharaj’s spiritual astuteness. He further narrated examples from the lives of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Manoharmurti Swami provided a practical explanation on Sankhya Vichar and its application in modern life. Tyagprakash Swami explained Atma Vichar, also providing techniques to help this thinking become a regular practice.

 

An interactive session followed after lunch where youths, in small groups, discussed the topics that were shared earlier in the day.The drama from the morning concluded thereafter in which the audience discovered how a staunch devotee kept his faith during challenging times. Moving real-life examples of devotees from around the world were also shared, further inspiring the delegates.

 

Tyagratna Swami, Yagnatilak Swami and Anandpriya Swami continued the spiritual education by elaborating onvarious aspects of Paramatma Vichar, especially the greatness of God and the divinity of the guru.

 

In the concluding session, sadhus and youths eloquently sang the devotional song, ‘Sakhi Samjanma Ghanu Sukh Chhe’, which Ghanshyamcharan Swami explained using Vachanamrut Gadhada I-27. The shibir ended with the blessings and teachings of Swamishri presented through a video collage.

 

Both shibirs were very well received as attendees departed with a deeper understanding of the key components of spirituality and greater motivation to imbibe them in their spiritual journey through everyday life.

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