The 2017 National Yuvak-Yuvati Mandal Shibir titled ‘Eni Rite Rit...’, attended by more than 700 youths, was held at Warwick Conference Park over the Bank Holiday weekend from Saturday 26 August to Monday 28 August in the presence of learned sadhus from India, including Bhadreshdas Swami, as well as sadhus from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
The shibir commenced in the traditional manner with deep pragatya by Mahant Swami Maharaj through a special video. In the keynote speech, Satyavratdas Swami welcomed the attendees and emphasised the importance of katha-varta for spiritual progression.
The first day continued with a Question & Answer session with a panel of swamis which drew upon their experiences and wisdom to help the delegates better themselves in satsang. The centrality of regular introspection and keeping Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj at the forefront were some the key messages. Throughout the day, the attendees learnt the importance of ahnik (daily routine of worship), how to handle peer pressure, upholding traditions, and maintaining suhrudaybhav through various presentations, monologues, skits and videos.
The last session with Bhadreshdas Swami was the notable highlight of the day. He shared his experiences of his recent visit to Varanasi (Kashi) where Akshar-Purushottam Darshan was acclaimed by the Shri Kashi Vidvat Parishad.
Day Two of the shibir began with Bhadreshdas Swami speaking on the fundamental steps of developing atmavichar. Yogvivekdas Swami followed with the topic of Ekantik Dharma, focusing on vairagya. Thereafter, a panel of swamis where questioned on the topic of tolerance. In turn, the swamis gave thought-provoking analogies on how to apply tolerance not just at mandir but also elsewhere, including at home and work.
The morning session concluded with an oppurtunity to offer thal to Harikrishna Maharaj, where 150 items were prepared by the yuvatis nationally. The atmosphere was filled with devotion as everyone sang four thals in unison, reiterating a key daily form of worship.
In the afternoon session, delegates split into various groups for goshti. A satsang-based snakes and ladders style boardgame, called ‘Pragati – Eni Rite Rit...’ was given to each group where the aim was to reach Akshardham through good virtues. Various squares had topics such as gun-grahan, niyam-dharma, nirmani, and so on, which led to progress, whereas topics such as abhav-avgun, manushyabhav and irsha led to regress. The attendees thoroughly enjoyed this unquie and interactive way of learning key satsang concepts.
The day continued with a presentation on abhav-avgun, and how to perform physical and other forms of seva. A panel of swamis then spoke on their personal prasangs in which they had experienced Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s divine traits.
A vibrant kirtan-bhakti programme was one of the highlights of the three-day shibir where swami and youths sang bhajans to the accompaniment of an array of musical instruments. The penultimate day joyously concluded with everyone feeling spiritually charged.
The final day focused on how Pramukh Swami Maharaj had spent his entire life for our progression, both worldly and spiritually – and even today, he continues to do so through Mahant Swami Maharaj.
The three-day shibir concluded with all the yuvaks and yuvatis offering their heartfelt prayers and pledging to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj, echoing the popular words from Nishkulanand Swami’s Chosath Padi: “Eni rite rit apni re, biji rite badh. May your way become my way. May your way become my life.”
To enable parent-attendees to participate in the shibir, a special crèche facility had also been set up. Catering for 145 children aged from 3 months to 8 years, volunteers were assisted by professional teachers to engage the children in a variety of fun and educational activities.
Inspired by the three-day shibir, one delegate shared: “The shibir was absolutely fantastic, with memorable and inspiring prasangs, which has allowed me to make some positive changes in my life. I’ve realised sant samagam is a must in our lives for spiritual knowledge and inner strength. It was the perfect boost before Mahant Swami Maharaj arrives in the UK!”