This summer 32 kishores and 30 kishoris from North America embarked on the journey of a lifetime—a chance to explore India's culture and sacred landscapes firsthand. From June 29 to August 3, 2014, the delegates traversed over 3,000 miles within India. The trip helped reinforce the delegates’ personal satsang and gave them a deeper understanding of Hindu traditions. The theme of the trip was “Shanti - i am a das.” Highlights of the trip included time spent in the presence of HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj and a Satsang Shibir entitled, "Brahmvidyani College."
The delegates commenced their journey in New Delhi with a visit to Swaminarayan Akshardham. Thereafter, they commenced a mandir-yatra, or tour of mandirs, throughout the state of Gujarat, covering over 17 mandirs. Through this phase of the trip the delegates were able to gain a deeper understanding of the history of BAPS. In addition to the mandir, the delegates also spent considerable time with local devotees seeing firsthand how Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s message continues to transform lives and inspire individuals regardless of their nationality, gender, or age. The delegates were humbled by the affection and consideration they experienced when they met with local devotees.
Upon completing their mandir-yatra, the delegates arrived in Sarangpur to attend “Brahmvidhyani College” - a week-long Shibir filled with enlightening and inspiring discourses delivered by Swamis. Through the multitude of sessions and workshops on the principles of Akshar Purushottam philosophy, the delegates learned how they could put theory into practice in their own lives to attain peace. Sessions with senior Swamis gave an insight into a variety of topics related to concepts and practices of Satsang and Hinduism. As part of the Shibir, the participants also engaged themselves in a variety of daily seva activities. In addition, throughout the Shibir, the delegates were fortunate to have darshan of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The attendees then embarked on the third phase of their trip with a tour of South India to follow in the footsteps of Nilkanth Varni. Visiting the same mandirs as Nilkanth Varni during His journey, the delegates’ experiences ranged from the busy, metropolitan life in Chennai to the calm expanse in the mountains of Munnar, Kerala. The delegates gained a profound understanding of the rich history of devotion that was present throughout the region. While visiting these sacred landmarks, the delegates also visited the beautiful beaches of South India.
The trip inspired delegates to strengthen their personal relationship with Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. They returned home spiritually reinvigorated, taking with them messages of the Shibir as well as memories to last a lifetime.