The first UK National Sanyukta Mandal Shibir at an external venue commenced on Saturday 29 August 2009 at Warwick Conference Park, in the presence of Pujya Doctor Swami. Over 370 members of the Sanyukta Mandal eagerly arrived to learn more about the Vachanamrut – the theme of the shibir.
Following the opening video, a live procession enacting a scene from the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan introduced the Vachanamrut and its compilers to the delegates, providing a lively opening to the event. After the traditional deep pragatya, Prabuddhamuni Swami discussed the aims and objectives of the shibir, after which Anandpriya Swami eloquently described the personality of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Amrutvihari Swami then addressed the auditorium, clearly explaining how the Vachanamrut contains the essence of the Hindu scriptures.
Doctor Swami elaborated upon Vachanamrut Gadhada II/12 in the afternoon session, followed by a breakout session for group discussions. Thereafter, in the final session of the opening day, Yagnatilak Swami elaborated upon the authenticity of the Vachanamrut using a number of distinguishing features of the scripture.
The following day began with Doctor Swami addressing the audience, after which Manoharmurti Swami explained the importance of the first paragraph in each Vachanamrut. Yogvivek Swami then spoke of the historical and current relevance of the Vachanamrut. During the afternoon, Prabuddhamuni Swami and Tyagprakash Swami led classroom sessions on how to study the Vachanamrut.
Doctor Swami provided an introspective insight into the Vachanamrut during the evening session. Thereafter, karyakars and sadhus provided a detailed insight into the Akshar-Purushottam Upasana with numerous references from the Vachanamrut.
The final morning of the shibir began with an explanation by pujya santos on how the Vachanamrut can help in achieving contentment and stability in life, after which a question-and-answer session was organised with Doctor Swami in which he emphasised family values in particular.
Shukmuni Swami narrated touching and inspiring prasangs from the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, highlighting how the Satpurush is a ‘living shastra’. Tyagprakash Swami then concluded with an explanation on how to practice Satsang in daily life.
The delegates thoroughly enjoyed their first such shibir and all departed with a much richer appreciation of the Vachanamrut, its teachings, and its place in one’s daily life. As one delegate shared: “I’ve understood by coming to this shibir why I need to read the Vachanamrut and have learnt how to read it, too.” Another added: “I’ve been reading the Vachanamrut for many years, but this shibir has helped me to realise the wealth and depth of wisdom the Vachanamrut contains.”