Hundreds of participants attended regional shibirs held by BAPS across North America for a spiritual and social development convention themed, “Samjan”. The shibirs were held in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Robbinsville, and Toronto between July 16 and August 23, 2015.
This year’s regional events featured the addition of unique knowledge and skills components to the annual convention experience, known as an adhiveshan. Over the past several months, attendees have prepared by studying central Swaminarayan texts to gain a deeper understanding of oral and written traditions. The preparation included a core curriculum of mukhpath, with stanzas from the Vachnamrut, Harililamrut and Swami Ni Vato.
In preparing with the adhiveshan material, participants were able to strengthen their spiritual understanding and explore a greater connection to the Swaminarayan upasana. They were able to focus on specific themes to help navigate their satsang journeys and deepen their knowledge such as agna (commandment), upasana (religious philosophy), samjan (understanding) and nischay (faith). There were also adhiveshan components focused on skill building such as writing, singing, and presenting to name a few.
Sadguru Pujya Swayamprakash Swami (Doctor Swami), along with other Pujya Swamis from India, presided over the shibirs in each region. Aligning with the theme of the shibir, lecture and workshop topics focused on developing understanding when faced with the ups and downs of life and maintaining a positive outlook that all things happen by the wish of Bhagwan. During the keynote sessions, Doctor Swami recalled pivotal moments from his own life that defined his experiences in satsang, and offered insights on how to serve one’s guru.
The regional adhiveshan shibirs were planned and implemented by dedicated volunteers over the course of a year. The shibirs were inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passion for learning and memorizing Swaminarayan scriptures as a means of cultivating a deeper sense of faith in Bhagwan. The preservation of Hindu culture, values, and teachings relies on the ability of Hindus to become familiar with ancient written and oral traditions and pass them down to the next generation. Through these conventions, participants across North America had the opportunity to connect with their faith and Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s teachings in a profound way.