The 2017 UK Kishore-Kishori Mandal Summer Shibir was held at Warwick Conference Park from Friday 26 August to Monday 28 August in the presence of senior sadhus from India as well as sadhus from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
Titled ‘Almast Jogi’, the shibir provided a deep insight into the divine personality of Yogiji Maharaj by exploring his life, lessons and legacy. This journey for more than 400 delegates began with a radio show titled ‘Dhari 189.2 FM’, symbolising Yogiji Maharaj’s birthplace and year of birth.
His divine personality and profound spiritual messages were explored through a series of discourses by sadhus, enlightening video presentations, and various interviews and panel discussions. His universal, limitless love and untiring enthusiasm for serving others amid various hardships also provided inspiration to the young participants.
Yogiji Maharaj’s capacity to give endlessly and selflessly was the focus of the first day. In the evening, sadhus and youths discussed practical solutions for day-to-day challenges faced by kishores and kishoris, and reinforced the importance of adhering to a spiritual code of conduct.
An experience of Yogiji Maharaj’s spiritual wisdom compiled in the ‘Yogi Gita’ was shared on the second day through a powerful enactment by a young kishore. He narrated selected verses addressing many of the challenges that fellow young aspirants encounter in their spiritual journey. Participants also relived the heartfelt prayer that Yogiji Maharaj made on behalf of all devotees to Shastriji Maharaj in Mahelav.
Kishores and kishoris adopted the principles of unity, fraternity and harmony – values that were very dear to Yogiji Maharaj – during afternoon sporting activities, which included the annual Pramukh Cup netball tournament for kishoris.
In the evening of Day 2, Yogvivek Swami shared a montage of cherished memories with Pramukh Swami Maharaj, opening a fascinating window into Swamishri’s personality and his love for sadhus and devotees.
The final morning explored the legacy of Yogiji Maharaj, fulfilled by Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj, through a deep investigation by ‘Sherlock and Watson’. Through their various encounters with sadhus, they realised the significance of fulfilling the wishes and the vision of the Guru, going on to conclude that attachment to the Gunatit Satpurush is fostered through faith and devotion.
At the end of the shibir, one delegate observed, “I never realised how relevant Yogiji Maharaj’s life was to my own, even though I’m a teenager. The amazing thing is that even though he’s so spiritually higher and purer than me, I don’t feel belittled next to him; he inspires me, through his life, his prasangs, to be better. Now I feel more assured about my own progress as a person and a satsangi.”