Through the inspiration of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, In
an effort to understand and inculcate the concept of "samarpan",
bal and balika sanchalaks and sanchalikas from across North
America gathered in Houston, TX for a 3 day convention beginning
June 26th, 2003. Theme of the convention was "Samarpan:
The Power of One". Upon arrival, sanchalaks and sanchalikas
were registered by volunteers. Workbooks for each of the
workshops and classrooms had been prepared to serve as mandal
guides for karyakars to use throughout the shibir and were
given to the delegates upon registration.
As per Dr. Swami's wishes and Yogiji Maharaj's ruchi, all
karyakars performed mukhpãth as a part of their registration
activities. This year's mukhpãth was organized to
prepare karyakars with the knowledge to do an entire sabha
without any preparation in case the situation ever occurs.
Furthermore, the mukhpãth reinforced the theme of
the convention. Mukhpãth consisted of dhoon, prathana,
kirtan, Vachnamrut Loya-3, Prasangs, and Swami ni Vato.
The test consisted of both an oral and written exam.
Opening Evening Session
Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami inaugurated KarCon 2003 with the
dip pragatya ceremony. Karyakars had the benefit of hearing
the importance of the theme. P. Yagnavallabh Swami elaborated
on how Maharaj and the Guru Parampara exemplified samarpan-bhavana.
(Bal Karayakars) Learning Chemistry
101, Building Dynasties, Balance & Focus, CentCom, and
In order to enable karyakars to improve in their seva as
sanchalaks - as stewards of their respective Bal Mandal,
the National Bal Mandal Satsang Development Committee had
designed workshops to address specific skills needed by
each sanchalak. Chemistry 101 taught sanchalaks how to effectively
utilize the national syllabus, as well as delegate and follow-up
on related responsibilities. Building Dynasties gave solutions
to common bal mandal problems faced nationwide as determined
by a survey. This workshop was designed specifically to
handle the top issues that the sanchalaks had felt to be
important. Balance & Focus taught karyakars to develop
and manage projects while Central Command (CentCom) taught
karyakars how to lead and manage the Bal Mandal team.
Become ãdarsh was the last workshop
which was dedicated to planning and implementing the national
"Become ãdarsh" project. This project sets
a criteria that every bal mandal should meet by May 2004
(the time Swamishri arrives in America). The criteria includes
proper sabha dress (jabho-lengho), proper darshan, and niyam
dharma, etc. P. Santo and regional coordinators assisted
sanchalaks from their region as they planned the entire
project for their local mandirs at the shibir itself.
(Balika Karayakars) Learning Chemistry
101; Building Dynasties; One Nation Under God; Think, Act,
and Overcome; and The Bigger Picture...
Analogous to the bal mandal worshops described above, there
were a total of five different workshops held for balika
karyakars. These workshops were geared towards training
sanchalikas and co-sanchalikas on different aspects needed
to improve their mandal and make sabha run more efficiently.
Similar to the workshop above, Chemistry 101 taught sanchalikas
how to effectively utilize the national syllabus, as well
as delegate and follow-up on related responsibilities. Building
Dynasties elaborated on importance of developing focus,
discipline, and communication among balikas, karyakars,
and parents. This workshop was designed specifically to
face demanding issues that sanchalikas felt were necessary.
Think, Act, and Overcome communicated techniques toward
realizing and overcoming common problems faced in balika
mandals throughout the country. One Nation Under God taught
karyakars to develop and manage projects while The Bigger
Picture taught karyakars how to implement national projects
at a local level, specifically the ãdarsh project
referred to above.
Classroom Sessions by Saints
Pujya Munitilak Swami and Pujya Bhaktiswaroop Swami explained
the principles of Samp. Pujya Devvandan Swami used Shastriji
Maharaj's life as a case study to illustrate the importance
of having pride in our Akshar Purshottam Upasana as well
as the importance and power of developing samarpan-bhavana.
Pujya Anupam Swami elaborated on the relevance of making
both personal and mandal sacrifices in order to fulfill
Pramukh Swami Maharaj's mission. Pujya Haridarshan Swami
took a practical approach in teaching sanchalaks how to
sacrifice ego while performing their seva. Pujya Kaivalyamurti
Swami explained to karyakars the most important reason for
sacrificing: because it is Swamishri's seva.
Following a thorough round of classes and workshops, karyakars
took a break while continuing to learn through their teambuilding
sessions. These games reinforced the ideas learnt throughout
Evening programs had three main goals: entertainment, inspiration,
and karyakar introspection. Karyakars were treated to multiple
"Bang - multimedia" presentations prepared from
various mandals in the US along with quiz games, traditional
speeches, kirtans, panel discussions and keynote addresses.
The evening programs were also designed to fuel self-improvement.
The first evening's theme was "Ever Since
This theme motivated karyakars by showing the progress of
the bal/balika mandal and satsang as well as pointing out
the key role that karyakars play in the development of our
sanstha. P.B. K.C. Patel provided an historical perspective
on the trials and tribulations of satsang in its infancy
in North America. Karyakars also heard personal experiences
from P. Santo regarding how their own sanchalaks had a hand
in helping them to become ãdarsh satsangis. The second
day's theme was "Prapti". Balaks performed dances
and karyakars were able to watch a panel discussion as well
as hear inspirational speeches that revealed the meaning
of 'prapti': viz. by elaborating on what we have attained,
obstacles on the path toward experiencing fully the joy
from that attainment, and what that unabridged joy feels
The entire shibir climaxed into a slideshow illustrating
the ideal example of samarpan. Glimpses of Swamishri showering
selfless love upon saints, vadils, kishores, and balaks
impacted each sanchalak at an emotional level.
During the final session of KarCon 2003: Samarpan, everyone
applauded the tireless efforts of the Houston Bal/Kishore
Mandal as they had worked tirelessly to realize the entire
event. All bal and balika karyakars signed 'Swaminarayan'
on the leaves of an actual tree named the "Niyam Tree"
and listed their new niyams on papers cut out in the shape