With the grace and blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and with the presence of Pujya Doctor Swami, over 220 children arrived at Warwick Conference Park on Saturday 29 August 2009 for the UK National Shishu and Bal-Balika Shibir 2009. The focus this year was Shastras – the sacred scriptures of Hindu Dharma and the Swaminarayan Sampradaya.
Following the traditional opening with the deep pragatya, the balaks and balikas (children aged 9 to 14) sang a prarthna before being introduced to the shibir. A series of classroom sessions imparted a deeper insight to the Hindu scriptures and thus, the delegates proceeded to their respective sessions during the afternoon before watching a visual presentation on the Ramayana after dinner in the evening.
On the second morning, classroom sessions based on scriptures of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya were held. Group photographs were taken after lunch to provide a memento of the occasion for all delegates, which was followed by an afternoon of sports.
After the sports session, the balaks and balikas were fortunate to have a session with Doctor Swami where he explained that to keep a constant connection with God in our hearts, we have to lead a pure life. He explained the 5 S's (Smaran, Stuti, Seva, Sanyam and Satsang) as a way to enjoy a God-centric life. He concluded by emphasising the importance of unity in our families, mandals, Satsang and the world as a whole. An evening session continued the discussion on this subject to conclude the day.
The Satpurush was the focus of the classroom sessions on the last day of the shibir, where the life and qualities of Pramukh Swami Maharaj were shared to explain how he is a ‘living shastra’. An overview of the three-day seminar followed thereafter before the conclusion of the shibir.
Running parallel to the Bal-Balika Shibir was a specially organised shibir for shishus (children aged 4 to 8). Karyakars taught the children about Hindu scriptures through games and activities specially tailored for the age group. Doctor Swami also visited their sessions and spoke to them about the importance of Satsang for children of even their age. Again, using the 5 S’s he stressed the importance of daily puja, bowing to parents, studying hard, and remembering Swamishri in order to progress in Satsang.
The combination of speeches, video presentations, classroom sessions, group discussions, and fun and games all contributed to a memorable shibir which allowed the young children to learn a great deal about their Hindu scriptures.
Some opinions of the young delegates were as follows:
“I really enjoyed the shibir and along with having fun, I learnt a lot of really useful things to do with reading our scriptures. I also think that the shibir was very well organised.”
“I think the shibir was very well planned. The sessions were really good. The sports session was also very good, with a large variety on offer. It was a fab shibir!”
“Best shibir ever!”
“I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the shibir and I’d like to thank the karyakars for making this shibir memorable.”
“Overall I found the shibir really good and it was the best one I have been to.”
“The shibir was great. Thank you very much. I think I have expanded my knowledge on Satsang and on our Hindu scriptures.”
“This was a very good shibir. It really helped me to increase my Satsang knowledge. Shastras was a great topic!”
Balak, South East London
“This was my first shibir. I am hoping I can come again. It was brilliant!”