From July 4th to July 7th, over 3,300 kishores and kishoris attended the BAPS North American Youth Convention in Atlanta, GA. The convention, which focused on the overall spiritual theme of “Ekantik”, was part of a larger 11-day convention hosted at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and organized for Hindu youths of different ages.
Centered on the core teachings of Ekantik Dharma, attendees, ranging in age from high school to college students, learned various ways to strengthen their foundation and balance their spiritual, cultural, and personal identities by incorporating aspects of Gnan (knowledge), Bhakti (devotion), Vairagya (detachment), and Dharma (righteousness) into their daily lives. Through discourses from Sadguru Pujya Mahant Swami (Pujya Keshavjivandas Swami), Pujya Anandswarupdas Swami, as well as other senior Swamis of BAPS from around the world, participants experienced insights from these spiritual concepts found in Hindu scriptures and emphasized by Bhagwan Swaminarayan nearly 200 years ago. Delegates also participated in a number of cultural activities, practical workshops, and special programs including a maha-arti held at the reflection pool in front of the mandir.
Planning and organizing the convention started nearly three years ago and took hundreds of dedicated volunteer hours to accomplish. This was the 16th such convention of its kind organized by BAPS specifically for youth in North America. Inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS encourages today’s youth to understand and embrace their roots, helping them preserve their identities and remain grounded in their faith and culture.