Over 700 balaks and balikas gathered at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 13 October 2007 for the National Bal-Balika Shibir in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The theme of the Shibir revolved around upasana, in the form of a police investigation determining the factors behind Shastriji Maharaj’s establishment of BAPS in 1907, and how he achieved greatness with such meagre resources.
The findings of the investigation which unfolded throughout the course of the day revealed that it was because of the main aspects of upasana – ‘Sarvopari’, ‘Sakar’, ‘Karta’, and ‘Pragat’ – that Shastriji Maharaj established BAPS.
The investigation was launched with a news report-style video which was presented to Swamishri. Following breakfast, the children gathered inside the Haveli for an entertaining magic show.
The core of the morning and afternoon programme was in the format of classroom sessions where participants were divided into four groups according to age, wherein they developed their knowledge and understanding of the key principles of upasana in an interactive environment.
The evening programme provided great entertainment as balaks performed a variety of activities on the theme of upasana. A debate-style drama by balaks on the subject of Swaminarayan and Hinduism, with enactments of professionals such as doctors, executives and lawyers posing questions to a panel of balaks on the existence of God through their logical arguments was followed by a series of excellent mono-acts from balaks representing famous devotees from the past. The performances recreated incidents from their lives that supported the four pillars of the Akshar-Purushottam Upasana. Thereafter, the balaks performed a dance extolling the Satpurush as the inspirer and nourisher of values, and the destroyer of bad habits.
In his blessings, Swamishri praised the efforts of the balaks and balikas, mentioning that although they appear small in age, their theme was great and that we must understand and imbibe this in our lives. Swamishri systematically explained the four elements of upasana with practical examples, and emphasised that despite our endeavours to attain worldly objects, there is nothing greater than the attainment of God.
The grand finale to the memorable day was provided by Swamishri, as he lofted a paper plane into the air to depict the two wings of Akshardham – ‘agna’ and ‘upasana’ – and propel us on the path of salvation.