With the grace and blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, over 170 children arrived at Warwick Conference Park on Saturday 28 August 2010 for the National Shishu and Bal-Balika Shibir 2010. The theme for this year was Hinduism – Modern Problems, Ancient Solutions.
The shibir was based around a drama, narrating the story of a young boy, Manish, who appears confused and feels Hinduism has no relevance to modern day problems which occur in life. One morning, Manish is on the phone to his friend, when an arm reaches out of the cupboard and pulls him back in time! The hand was that of none other than the Great King Vikramaditya, who brings Manish to his palace.
Through the drama, Manish is introduced to great Hindu characters from the past. He learns that the problems faced by people thousands of years ago are not so different to those faced by children today. He also discovers that the solutions to these problems are all rooted in the ancient values of Sanatan Dharma.
Throughout the course of the drama, the balaks and balikas learned the following:
• Importance of family – Through the story of Ramchandra Bhagwan and Bharatji, the children learnt the meaning of unity within the family. Through listening to the account of Shravan, the children also realised what it means to truly serve their parents;
• Importance of regular worship and bhakti – The importance of offering bhakti without any fear was emphasised through the prasangs of Dhruv, Prahlad and Mirabai, and the importance of offering bhakti from a young age was shown through the prasang of Mulji Sharma and the village square;
• Dangers of kusang – Stories from the Mahabharata highlighted the way in which bad company or a bad atmosphere can lead to even the good falling from their dharma. Witnessing the prasang of Abhesinh Darbar also gave the children the motivation to remain strong even in the midst of challenges;
• Importance of discipline – The re-enactment of the story of Chhatrapati Shivaji taught the children that greatness is measured by the adherence to one’s dharma. Observing Sura Khachar and Sagram Vaghri also made the children aware that in order to progress on the spiritual path, one needs to be strong and brave.
The culmination of Manish’s journey was discovering a person who imbibes all the qualities of Hinduism and inspires others to do the same – His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The message was put across how Swamishri is the ideal role model for us in life. By having faith in his words and following his wishes, one will experience peace and find answers to problems.
The sadhus also provided further guidance and inspiration to the audience during each of the sessions.
Along with the auditorium sessions, a series of classroom sessions were also held to help establish the Hindu values they discovered through the story of Manish. Specific sessions were also held on values such as humility, determination, niyam-dharma and teamwork. In unison with these classrooms, a series of group discussions were organised to enable all to speak and share their understanding with the others.
Running parallel to the Bal-Balika Shibir was a specially organised shibir for shishus (children aged 5 to 8). Karyakars taught the children about Hindu values through games and activities specially tailored for the age group.
The combination of dramas, 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 how Hindu Dharma provides the ancient solutions to their modern day problems.