A three-day shibir for karyakars and students across Europe was organised at Shree Peetha Nilaya Ashram in Heidenrod, Germany, from 20 to 22 May 2022.
The shibir was held in the presence of Mahamahopadhyay Bhadreshdas Swami, as well as other visiting swamis from India and London, and brought together 120 delegates from across the UK and Europe.
Mahant Swami Maharaj joined the shibir remotely from Surat, India, on the opening day and presided over the traditional inaugural ceremony.
The event was themed ‘Focus’ and centred around three Cs – Chances, Challenges and Choices – which deepened the understanding of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan. The key messages were delivered through a series of insightful lectures from swamis and karyakars, including from Bhadreshdas Swami, who drew upon the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads to elaborate upon the teachings of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Further sessions explored the work and virtues of Pramukh Swami Maharaj as well as spiritual principles and practical tools for volunteers and students to advance in their satsang, social and professional lives. These talks included uplifting examples of karyakars who have remained steadfast in their spiritual observances amid adverse circumstances, providing further energy and drive for the participants.
The conference provided many opportunities for delegates to meet and build personal relationships through informal discussions during meals, as well as the performing of daily devotional acts together, such as arti, puja and abhishek. This was further reinforced through sports activities, which strengthened unity across the group.
A vibrant kirtan bhakti programme provided another memorable highlight of the shibir, which charged the event with divinity. Members of the ashram also joined in the devotional singing.
On the final day, senior volunteers shared important updates and information about forthcoming projects, including a welfare programme supporting students to settle into and contribute to the respective European countries where they are studying.
Participants found the shibir highly inspiring and engaging, with some describing it as “eye-opening about Akshar-Purushottam upasana” and “a home-away-from-home experience in the presence of swamis”, with others appreciating the “samp (unity) among Europe karyakars”.