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    Asia-Pacific Bal Shibir – India Trip 2007-8
17 Jan 2008, INDIA


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A group of 20 balaks and 8 karyakars from around the Aisa-Pacific region had an hands-on experience of India from 13 December 2007 to 17 January 2008. The India trip was organized for balaks and karyakars from Australia, New Zealand and Singapore as part of the Grand Centenary Celebrations of BAPS that were recently held in Ahmedabad.

The group comprised of balaks aged between 11 to 13 years of age together with older karyakars. It was quite an experience for youngsters from Sydney, Perth, Auckland and Singapore to stay together for 34 days during which they visited most of the BAPS shikharbaddh mandirs throughout Gujarat. They also visited Akshardham in New Delhi and the shikharbaddh mandir in Jaipur.

The mandir visits proved very useful in terms of the historic and philosophical background of BAPS that the balaks had either previously heard or read about in Satsang books. This trip provided a first-hand experience of many Hindu and Satsang traditions. The balaks also learnt with a sense of pride how BAPS was established and how it has flourished today.
Another aspect of the India trip was to benefit from Swamishri’s darshan and company which turned out to be a truly marvelous and divine experience. Swamishri nourished the spiritual appetite of the youngsters for 3 days in Ahmedabad. The balaks and karyakars got the opportunity of a personal audience with Swamishri during which he inspired each and everyone. All of them felt the profound closeness with Swamishri whose selfless love and compassion reached out so deeply that it will be cherished for ever.

The culmination of the trip was an inspirational Bal Shibir in Sarangpur entitled ‘Brahmavidyani College’.

The 7-day long shibir was conducted by learned sadhus in Sarangpur, and consisted of interesting workshops, speeches, audio-visual presentations, interactive group discussions, outings, field trips, sports, games and fun time such as kite-flying and camp-fire.

The balaks also learnt the basics of tabla, harmonium and singing as well as story-telling and elocution. A small competition was also held to bring out the best in the balaks and prizes were awarded to winners. The training also included cooking classes during which balaks and karyakars learnt how to make tasty vegetables khichdi, delicious pizza, rotli, cookies and biscuits. Seva is an important aspect of spiritual life and the balaks enjoyed getting involved in various seva with the trainee sadhus, parshads and sadhaks. They were encouraged to make colourful flower garlands, chop fruit and vegetables in preparation for the meals, sweep the floors and wash their own clothes.

The ‘Brahmavidya College’, as Yogiji Maharaj used to define the mandir atmosphere, well and truly rubbed off on these youngsters who went home full of excitement, joy and spiritual enrichment.

They all resolved to make their lives better and more Satsang-centered by focusing on niyams, seva, bhakti and studies. Many balaks took vows to obey and respect parents. The India trip and Bal Shibir was an unforgettable and wholesome experience for all the participants.


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