More than 630 devotees attended the first ever three-day GCC regional shibir, which was held at the site of the under-construction BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi. Based on the theme ‘Ekaj asha chhe’, the shibir elaborated on the principle that the Satpurush’s divine presence on earth is eternal, and that he is always with us. The shibir provided clear guidance on how to show gratitude to and immerse oneself in the Satpurush’s life, and better one’s life by imbibing Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s virtues.
Before the start of the shibir the devotees placed a consecrated brick upon the plinth of the mandir. Then, the shibir began with deep pragatya and a video from guruhari Mahant Swami Maharaj welcoming all delegates from across the GCC to the event. Key messages were delivered through a variety of innovative and interactive mediums, tailored specifically for diverse age groups. The sessions incorporated a medley of enlightening speeches and presentations, videos, panel discussions, question-answer sessions, quizzes, interactive games, a kirtan aradhana and skits. They provided insights into the character, virtues and values of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, with each message echoing what Swamishri always propagated, “In the joy of others, lies our own.” It was this message that had touched so many devotees as Swamishri had personally and selflessly ensured the devotees' wellbeing and joy. To Swamishri, his devotees always came first. Now, it was the devotees' turn to immerse themselves in Swamishri’s life.
The shibir also included guidance on how to incorporate devotional rituals into one’s daily routine, and balance seva, personal satsang and work life. The story of how devotees and well-wishers have engaged in Satsang in Bahrain was also narrated.
The highlight of the last session was a interaction with Mahant Swami Maharaj with the children via video. The balaks asked him to choose one of three toys as a gift for them: an elephant representing ‘prapti,’ a lion representing our ‘true identity,’ and a slice of a watermelon representing ‘happiness from controlling one's mind’. Mahant Swami Maharaj chose the elephant as a gift to each balak and balika. The joy on the children’s faces was apparent as a result of their interaction with Swamishri.