As the COVID-19 pandemic requires people to socially distance, people are finding creative ways to meaningfully connect with one another. On May 16, 2020, the BAPS North American Mahila Mandal hosted its first online sabha. The sabha was titled ‘Twameva Sarvam’ or ‘You are my everything’, honoring the importance of Bhagwan and Guru in one's life through shared personal experiences of women in the BAPS community. Thousands of women connected to this event with appreciation as they have been unable to attend their weekly assemblies at local mandirs.
The effort and coordination of putting on such a sabha was apparent from the commencement when nine ladies from throughout North America joined together, accompanied by musical instruments, sang a melodious dhun, which was followed by the prathana, ‘Ahonish Darshan Dejo Re Murti, Chaitanya Ma Rahejo.’ Translated, it means “eternally seeking the murti of Bhagwan and His presence in one’s conscious.”
The sabha was centered around a SMS dialogue between an aspiring medical professional whose job involves treating COVID-19 patients, and her mother. The daughter was feeling overwhelmed by the deadly impact of the virus. Through a series of text messages, her mother provided spiritually grounded guidance on how to navigate this extremely difficult situation with grace as well as understanding this to be an opportunity to strengthen her spiritual connection with Bhagwan and Guru.
The message of the importance of Bhagwan and Guru in one’s life was exemplified by four women sharing their personal experiences of guidance, inspiration, and spiritual love given by Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj, and the impact it has had on their lives. The gratitude these women felt when conveying their stories transcended the virtual screen and left many teary-eyed.
The personal stories provided tangible ways to strengthen one's spiritual connection by performing daily ahnik, reading the Vachanamrut, listening to katha, and offering heartfelt prarthana, as a way to feel the presence of Bhagwan and Sant by one's side at all times.