On Saturday 24 March 2018, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir welcomed over 200 Hindu youths to the first instalment of ‘Timeless’ – a two-part seminar exploring the continued relevance of Hinduism in today’s modern world.
The day began with a sumptuous Indian brunch, after which participants received a guided tour of the Mandir complex before performing the traditional Hindu abhishek ceremony and participating in the arti.
The main seminar sessions then explored fundamental principles of Hinduism and the integral role that they play in today’s society, especially in the context of student life in the UK.
Swamis spoke on the relevance of spirituality to our hectic lives and used ancient scriptural teachings to offer practical solutions to contemporary issues facing youths, such as peer pressure, self-consciousness, and the need for external validation.
The concepts were consolidated through interactive workshops which allowed delegates to discuss in groups, participate in practical exercises, and read literature to further their understanding of scriptures, mandirs and themselves.
The day concluded with a traditional Indian vegetarian meal.
Vishal Patel, one of the many volunteers who helped organise the event, explained, “The presentations and workshops helped many learn more about Hinduism and what’s important to their friends – their beliefs, values, practices. We believe this openness to share and learn is a vital part of our dialogue with the wider community.”
One guest later wrote, “I loved that event! It blew my mind. Very interesting + educational. I learnt so much about the scriptures and the talks by the swamis were really inspiring.”
Another added: “I left the event with a somewhat new and revived perspective and understanding of Hinduism. Everyone was lively and made me feel welcome, irrespective of my background. The talks and workshops were also creatively presented and very relatable. Overall a well-organized, enjoyable and insightful day!”
Part 2 followed on Saturday 7 April, this time focusing specifically on the Mahabharat, one of Hinduism’s most popular epics. The theme again explored ancient teachings to address personal, modern-day challenges. The swamis’ insightful talks covered the underlying reasons for conflict and how to move towards lasting resolution.
Nishta remarked, “I had never imagined that something written thousands of years ago could be so relatable to me today. Very imaginative and thought-provoking event.”