With the grace and blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and with presence of Pujya Doctor Swami, over 500 kishores and kishoris arrived at Warwick Conference Park on Wednesday 26 August 2009 for the UK’s National Kishore-Kishori Shibir.
The opening skit and thought-provoking video presentation underlined the importance of shastras and the relevance they have in addressing modern problems. Yogvivek Swami explained the aims and importance of this shibir, and Doctor Swami emphasised the importance of faith in God, the Satpurush and the shastras.
Following classroom sessions held in the afternoon to increase knowledge of the various Hindu shastras, Doctor Swami addressed the delegates in the evening, speaking on the importance of swarup-nishtha. The final programme of the evening was presented by kishores who had recently completed the second part of their two-year course in India, sharing their experiences.
Doctor Swami continued his detailed explanation of swarup-nishtha on the morning of the second day, concluding from the previous session, and thereafter discussed the importance of atma-nishtha. Through practical examples and enlightening accounts of inspired people, he explained that if one believes and visualises oneself to be the atma, the strength to become atmarup will be experienced from within.
The classroom studies continued during the morning and a lively sports session was organised in the afternoon to refresh and energise the minds of kishores and kishoris, who enjoyed the beautiful August weather.
Doctor Swami spoke of the benefits of sangh-nishtha in the evening session, explaining – through the teachings from the Ramayana – the principles and necessity of unity within the family.
Paramtattva Swami and Tyagprakash Swami provided a contextual summary of the shastras during the first auditorium session of the final day in their presentation about World Religions. Tyagprakash Swami emphasised the need to understand the Akshar-Purushottam Upasana. Paramtattva Swami presented an ‘exhibition’ of principal scriptures of other religions, explaining that each faith has at its base a scripture that people not only respect and revere, but read and live by.
The message of the second auditorium session, ‘Vachanamrut – the Complete Shastra’ was introduced by Amrutvihari Swami who reaffirmed that the Vachanamrut is the essence of all scriptures. Pujya santos revealed the guidance that the Vachanamrut provides in helping us succeed in life, emphasising that the Vachanamrut is not merely a scripture that one ‘should’ or ‘must’ read, but that we need to read to overcome the challenges of life.
The post-lunch session focussed on ‘Satpurush – the Living Shastra’, where Shukmuni Swami eloquently sang shlokas from various Hindu shastras that reveal the glory of the Satpurush, which were then supported with prasangs from the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj by Yogvivek Swami, and accounts of inspired devotees narrated by pujya santos.
Doctor Swami delivered a powerful conclusion to the shibir, speaking on the subject of dharma-nishtha, detailing the particular niyams that kishores and kishoris should observe, and narrating examples of youths who have successfully followed these in their lives.
The shibir also incorporated a bone marrow clinic with the Anthony Nolan Trust – BAPS’s chosen charity of the year – allowing kishores and kishoris to donate their blood and enrol on the national register to become potential bone marrow donors.
As the memorable and enlightening three-day shibir came to a close, the kishores and kishoris all shared that they had learned a great deal through the insightful presentations and that they particularly appreciated the focus on how to apply the teachings of the scriptures in their daily lives.