This was a train ride with a difference. A special, memorable virtual 2-hour journey with guruhari Mahant Swami Maharaj. The price of a ticket? Memorize the 315 shloks of the Satsang Diksha to book your place. And the sole vendor was the Children’s Activities Central Office in Ahmedabad. Around 23,800 balaks and balikas from throughout India participated in the Satsang Diksha National Adhiveshan for Children, having memorized the shloks in Sanskrit or Gujarati. And 1,537 balaks and balikas passed the stringent test to earn their priceless ticket to ride with Swamishri. Of these, 209 had memorized the Satsang Diksha in both languages. This was indeed a fitting reward for their exemplary determination and willpower.
The children had endeavored for many months, with the enthusiastic support of their parents and karyakars, to reserve their place on this yatra, titled ‘Mission Rajipo’. Ranging in age from 4 years to 13, these children had persisted day and night, through illness and adversity, and while curbing their natural tendency to play and eat their favorite foods to fluently memorize the Satsang Diksha text in Sanskrit or Gujarati. In fact, their desire to fulfill ‘Mission Rajipo’, that is, please Swamishri, and secure their seat on this historic journey, overrode all distractions they encountered and it is a testament to their determination that they were not derailed from achieving this challenging objective. And Mahant Swami Maharaj, too, was brimming with joy to welcome them on board and reward them for their outstanding efforts.
This virtual train journey represented the felicitation assembly for these young ‘Akshar-Purushottam Scholars’ – a befitting title conferred by Mahant Swami Maharaj on all who memorize the Satsang Diksha.
With Swamishri in Nenpur, the award-winning children joined online from their homes and some joined from the mandirs where Swamishri journeyed to virtually during the assembly.
The online evening assembly was coordinated from the BAPS Mandir in Sarangpur, where two balaks confidently and competently hosted the proceedings. It began with Swamishri, holding Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and Shri Gunatitanand Swami in his lap, concealed within a giant gift-wrapped box. The young balaks welcomed Swamishri as the gift box was opened.
In Nenpur, a small train on tracks had been set up to symbolize Swamishri’s journey to the various centers to meet the balaks. As Swamishri traveled to each destination, the train would move along the tracks before coming to a halt at each station.
During the course of the evening, Swamishri visited Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai. At each location, balaks performed live welcome dances and interacted online with Swamishri in various fun and creative ways as he tested them to spontaneously recite the Satsang Diksha shloks they had memorized. Videos were shown depicting the efforts the children had put in and how they had benefitted in their daily lives by their participation. Before departing from each venue, Swamishri selected a sweet dish to be sent to the children.
Then, at the end of the yatra, Swamishri’s train returned to Nenpur, where he unveiled the trophies and other mementoes to be presented to the award-winning balaks and balikas.
The highlight of the evening was yet to come. It was revealed that over the previous two days Swamishri had expressed his heartfelt delight at the remarkable achievements of these children by personally threading beads in a special mala and preparing chocolate to be sent to the children. The extra-long mala was first offered to Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and Shri Gunatitanand Swami by Swamishri and then Swamishri was garlanded with it. Each balak and balika will receive a bead from the sanctified mala.
In addition, Swamishri also spent several hours writing a thoughtful 4-page letter addressed to all the children in which he inspired and blessed them for their continued progress.
Then, Swamishri blessed the children by narrating a wonderful story about a rabbit, tortoise and lion and teaching the youngsters the necessity of regular daily effort to achieve success.
The two young hosts next introduced a video showing that thousands of children in India and abroad were still memorizing the Satsang Diksha in a variety of languages to earn Swamishri’s rajipo.
Swamishri was then honored with a beautiful shawl weaved with nadachhadis, from which each winner would receive a nadachhadi.
Thereafter, before the assembly concluded, all the swamis watching from their respective mandirs performed dandvats to the young children in honor of their exceptional achievements.
Throughout the evening, the young privileged passengers who travelled on this unique journey with Swamishri absorbed every moment with relish.