energy of youth, if channeled properly, has the potential to change
the world. However, since traditional education often neglects the
multi-dimensional development needed to unlock this potential, the
BAPS Youth Training Center was begun in Sarangpur this year to develop
morally-sound, socially-conscious and spiritually-grounded youths.
From 5 May 2007 to 31 October 2007, 72 youths (age 20 and over)
obtained instruction on the theory and practice of overall personal
development from scholarly senior sadhus in the tranquil setting
of Sarangpur. They also benefited from Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s
blessings and inspiration.
The objectives of this
youth training program were three-fold:
To awaken the youths’ dormant abilities, enabling both
their personal progress and their contribution to the progress
of their family and society.
To encourage scriptural study and an appreciation of spiritual
wisdom and traditions enabling youths to cultivate integrity,
humility, compassion, service and other universal values.
To inspire youth to become not just students, but also teachers
of positive values that can uplift society and future generations.
The training was divided
into five major sections:
- 1. Character
Development (200 classes)
Youths were taught time management, personal discipline, self-control
as well as the practical wisdom required to maintain a positive
attitude and peace of mind in all situations. Youths were also
guided to expand their perspective of life and the world and
to better understand one's own self and God – paradigm
shifts essential to lasting personal change.
- Knowledge Development
To gain inspiration from the collected wisdom of the ages, youths
studied world religions, Indian culture, Hindu philosophy and
major Hindu scriptures.
- Skill Development
To instill self-confidence, students were provided instruction
to develop skills in a variety of areas such as music, public
speaking, management and interpersonal skills.
- Physical Development
To achieve holistic physical development, youths were taught
yoga, pranayam, purity in diet and thought and the need for
an addiction-free life.
- Service Activities
(300 hours total)
To cultivate the sentiment of service in everyday life, youths
were assigned a service activity every day including cleaning,
cooking, devotional service, facilities maintenance, washing
The principles taught
in the training program were put into practice through two service
- Village Seminars
For 10 days, youths traveled through rural India in groups of
four, visiting villages to conduct Seminars of Inner-Awakening
in which they held a children's character development camp,
a public assembly, a public procession and personal meetings
to inspire people to renounce addictions, improve family relations
and develop a principle-centered life.
- Disaster Relief
In this year's disastrous flooding in the Saurastra region,
the youths provided timely aid to flood victims through around-the-clock
service in everything from emergency food packet preparation
and distribution to clean up efforts after the flood. Their
enthusiastic selfless service won everyone’s hearts.
Over the six month training program, youths developed skills of
interdependent living, increased faith in God and self, and committed
to continuing their own overall personal development. On 2 November
2007, at the program’s convocation ceremony, Pramukh Swami
Maharaj awarded the youths a certificate of achievement and advised
them to consider the end of their training to be the beginning of
a path of continual progress to reach ever greater heights in all
aspects of their lives.