A series of shibirs on Akshar-Purushottam Darshan were held in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami, Anandswarup Swami, Mahamahopadhyaya Bhadresh Swami, as well as other senior and visiting swamis from India and swamis from the UK during August and September 2018.
The shibirs brought together more than 3,300 delegates – young children from the age of six through to seniors aged over 80 – to deepen their samjan (understanding), rediscover their sadhana (spiritual endeavours), and honour their samarpan (dedication) for the eternal truth of Akshar-Purushottam. The key messages were delivered through a variety of innovative and interactive mediums, tailored specifically for the diverse age groups.
The Bal-Balika Shibir was held from 17 to 19 August at Warwick Conference Park, UK. Children embarked on a fascinating journey with a young aspirant named Tilak who witnessed first-hand a series of defining events charting the history of Akshar-Purushottam upasana through his interaction with a mystical book.
The learning was supported by various classroom sessions and outdoor activities. The children also offered their personal devotion to Shri Harikrishna Maharaj by performing rituals including arti, thal and mansi, and noted their experiences in a thematic ‘Akshar-Purushottam Darshan’ notebook.
The Yuvak-Yuvati Shibir ran in parallel and delivered the concepts through a montage of enlightening presentations, videos, interviews, monologues and dramas. The audience participated through various live interactive polls which provided an opportunity for personal reflection. Interactive discussions with fellow youths helped to enhance and consolidate the teachings and provided valuable lessons on developing family unity.
A crèche facility was also organised to cater for 75 younger children of the delegates, to help them begin their own journey on the path of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan.
The Kishore-Kishori Shibir was held from 25 to 27 August, also at Warwick Conference Park. A series of taskmasters asked searching questions to a panel of swamis on the Vachanamrut and Swamini Vato in their quest to discover the essential concepts of Akshar-Purushottam upasana. This explorative quest continued at the ‘Brahmavidya School for Mumukshus’, which ingeniously examined various artefacts that reinforced the principles of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan.
Classroom breakouts, a panel discussion, an interview with Bhadresh Swami, a quiz show, and various formats of multimedia presentations helped explain Akshar-Purushottam Darshan to the youths in a fun and engaging way.
The Sanyukta Shibir was also held during this long holiday weekend. A key highlight was a musical tribute to Akshar-Purushottam which was heartily enjoyed by all. The devotional singing included a bhajan from Tyagvallabh Swami and contributions from Bhadresh Swami who played the tabla. The jovial and uplifting atmosphere brought the audience to their feet and provided a memorable celebration.
In addition to the shibirs organised in the UK, the first ever Yuvak-Yuvati Shibir in Europe was held from 31 August to 2 September at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Lisbon. More than 100 youths from Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland gathered to enhance their understanding of Akshar-Purushottam upasana.
These memorable and inspiring shibirs all concluded with a special video message from Mahant Swami Maharaj: “I love you with all my heart. I will be right next to you holding your hand.”