A total of 60 kishores and 60 kishoris from various centers across Australia and New Zealand journeyed to India for an incredible spiritual and cultural experience based on the theme ‘Thaiye Swami Jeva: Gnan – Know Him’. The delegates were inspired by the Brahmavidyani College shibir in Sarangpur followed by a pilgrimage to various mandirs throughout Gujarat.
Brahmavidyani College was a one-week shibir filled with enlightening discourses delivered with exemplary quality by knowledgeable swamis. The Swamis, many of themselves born and raised in western countries, gave practical guidance on how to integrate our beliefs, values and culture in daily life. They also explained the Akshar-Purushottam upasana and how such understanding can be developed by having faith in Bhagwan Swaminarayan, patience, optimism and trust. In addition, the swamis presented motivating examples of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s and Mahant Swami Maharaj’s qualities and God-centric life to exemplify these teachings. During their stay in Sarangpur, the delegates also travelled around the village visiting places sanctified by Bhagwan Swaminarayan himself.
During the pilgrimage, the delegates visited Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar, where they witnessed the life and work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan through art, exhibits and the water show. From there, they continued making their way through Gujarat stopping at mandirs in Bochasan, Nadiad, Vadtal, Mehlav, Atladra, Chansad and Amdavad.
The Yatra ended in Ahmedabad where delegates had darshan and blessings of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. The kishores from Australia and New Zealand also performed the Hakka – which is the traditional New Zealand maori dance to scare enemies away – with the kishores requesting Swamishri to scare away their bad habits away and to strengthen their attachment to him. Swamishri also witnessed various other skits presented by the kishores with great enthusiasm and joy.
The trip fostered the personal development of kishores and kishoris, deepened their understanding of satsang, developed a greater affinity for Indian culture, consolidated their Hindu identity, and strengthened their attachment to guruhari Mahant Swami Maharaj. Also, the trip strengthened the unity among the delegates, enabled them to learn more about the BAPS via interactions with swamis and karyakars from India and reinforced their resolve to progress in Satsang and more sincerely perform their duties.
Through this trip, the youngsters. They also learnt how to progress further in satsang through samjan (understanding), and by developing deep attachment for guruhari Mahant Swami Maharaj and his devotees.