A total of over 730 children participated in the seven one-day Bal-Balika Shibirs held at Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Perth and Adelaide in Australia and at Auckland in New Zealand in the presence of Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami and other swamis. Titled ‘I Will Always Be with You’, the shibirs taught the concept of strengthening one’s bond with the Satpurush – Ideal Sant.
The children learnt that observing the panch vartmans – nirman, nisswad, nissneh, nishkam and nirlobh – will result in an everlasting bond with the Satpurush. Each topic included a presentation by a swami, followed by an activity based group discussion led by volunteers to help the balaks and balikas understand the true essence of each vartman.
The key take-home messages for each topic were:
Nissneh: To break one’s attachment from worldly objects and build it towards God and the Satpurush.
Nirlobh: Do not unnecessarily hoard worldly possessions.
Nisswad: Resolutely follow the dietary niyams.
Nishkam: Overcome desires for anything bad.
Nirman: Perform daily personal puja to remind oneself at the start of each day how much one is dependent upon God and the Satpurush.
The highlight of each shibir for all the children was witnessing Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami cook shiro in their presence. While cooking, Tyagvallabh Swami narrated incidents of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj emphasizing the importance of observing dietary niyams in one’s daily lives.