With the inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, more than 150 kishores and kishoris from across the UK took part in this year’s Vidyarthi Shibir – ‘Nilkanth Varni: His Journey of Inspiration’ – between 21 and 23 February at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.

This year’s shibir drew upon the inspirational qualities of young Bhagwan Swaminarayan as he journeyed around 18th century India and how those qualities apply to modern-day youths living and studying at school, college and university.

The first session of the shibir focused on the hardships that Nilkanth faced whilst traveling across the length and breadth of India without the aid of modern technology or personal comfort. This was delivered through the personal experiences of Hitan Mehta, a yuvak who was involved in producing the large-format film, ‘Mystic India’.

The morning of the second day began with insightful guidance on effective and fruitful revision. Paramsevadas Swami explored the qualities of Nilkanth through an acrostic of his name, with each letter matched to a specific quality. This session portrayed the attitude required to successfully excel in studies and developed other attributes such as leadership skills. These teachings were further consolidated through group discussions.

During the afternoon session, delegates explored the art of debating through group debates on various subjects ranging from economics to the benefits of social media. This was followed by one-to-one academic coaching sessions in which the students were given an opportunity to consult professionals from their chosen field of work or career, which proved to be highly beneficial. In the evening, the participants developed their teamwork capabilities through a recreational group activity.

The final day of the shibir commenced with the reading of Vachanamrut Gadhada I-18, which offered guidance on overcoming the distractions that lie in the path of a student striving to achieve academic success. The finals of the group debates took place thereafter with the two teams debating the very relevant topic of the benefits of social media. Whilst the two teams presented compelling arguments for and against, the audience listened attentively, making valuable contributions when the debate was opened to the floor.

Tyagratnadas Swami concluded the shibir by emphasising the importance of gaining a sound education as well as preserving a noble character and keeping Swamishri at the forefront of all activities to find true fulfilment in life. The three-day shibir was concluded with a collective prayer, leaving the students energised and motivated to please Swamishri by excelling in their studies.

The event proved to be a great success as participants departed with renewed confidence, enhanced abilities, and increased motivation which will benefit their education as well as spiritual advancement.

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