The 2014 National Bal-Balika Mandal Shibir was held at Warwick Conference Park near Coventry, UK from Saturday 23 August to Monday 25 August in the presence of senior sadhus from India, including Sadguru Bhaktipriya Swami (Kothari Swami) and Sadguru Ishwarcharan Swami, as well as sadhus from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
More than 180 selected children attended the shibir which was themed ‘BAPS: Niyam, Nishchay, Paksh’, as part of the year-long celebrations for Shastriji Maharaj’s 150th birth anniversary.
Children were enlightened through an entertaining and informative play set in a courtroom illustrating how modern-day challenges can be addressed through the timeless teachings of Hindu faith and culture. Various presenters, including sadhus, delivered factual and interactive presentations over the three days as a part of the on-going play.
Kothari Swami and Ishwarcharan Swami spoke about the importance of the five fundamental religious vows prescribed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and why one should remain staunch in observing one’s niyam-dharma.
Supplementing the court case drama were a series of classroom sessions presided over by sadhus and senior volunteers that explored the importance and challenges of niyams in greater detail, and also provided an understanding of upasana and keeping paksh. Team-building games fostered values of unity and loyalty and were played during the sports sessions, which all the children thoroughly enjoyed.
The children could also learn from an interactive exhibition depicting virtues and inspiring episodes from Shastriji Maharaj’s life. The four key topics were agna, upasana, sadbhav and paksh.
The concluding keynote address was delivered by Satyavrat Swami who explained how one can attain the rajipo of Shastriji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj by observing niyams and remaining true to their beliefs.
All the child-delegates were also given a memento to remind them of the memorable shibir, and to help them preserve the values of niyam, nishchay and paksh firmly in their lives.