From December 24th to 30th, 2023, the serene Braj Gopika Dham in Tangi, Odisha, reverberated with the joyous sounds of learning, laughter, and spiritual exploration. Over 250 children, aged 15 and under, embarked on a transformative journey during the Bal Sanskar Shivir, a week-long program designed for holistic development and nurturing the values of good character and devotion.
A Holistic Approach to Learning
The Shivir's theme was based on the famous hymn of Shrimad Bhagavatam,
कौमार आचरेत्प्राज्ञो धर्मान्भागवतानिह ।
दुर्लभं मानुषं जन्म तदप्यध्रुवमर्थदम् ॥ १ ॥
(An individual possessing ample intelligence should seize the opportunity of the human form right from early childhood to engage in devotional activities, forsaking all other pursuits. The human body, while transient like any other, is a precious attainment, as it allows for the practice of devotional service. Human life provides a unique platform where even a modest, sincere effort in devotional service can lead to profound perfection.)
Each day's Dinacharya is meticulously balanced with spiritual awakening, intellectual stimulation and physical activity. The day commenced with Arti and Kirtan sessions, immersing the children in the rhythm of devotion and setting the tone for a mindful day. This was followed by Yoga and invigorating Zumba sessions that infused the mornings with energy and a sense of camaraderie among the participants.
The mornings progressed with engaging sessions conducted by Sadhak and Sadhikas of Ashram, who served as mentors and guides. Their sessions delved into diverse topics like Vedic mathematics, life skills development, and moral values, all delivered through interactive methods that kept the children enthralled. Vedic math transformed numbers into a captivating game, while life skills lessons imparted practical wisdom that resonated with everyday experiences. Video shows, carefully curated with humor, engaging narratives, and subtle moral undertones, provided valuable takeaways that left a lasting impression on young minds.
Connecting with the Divine
The Shivir's essence unfolded during the sessions presided over by Pujaniya Raseshwari Devi Ji (Maa) and Swami Yugal Sharan Ji (Baba). Their mornings and afternoons were graced by their divine presence, where they interacted with the children through melodious kirtans, insightful Q&A sessions, and moments of personal connection. These sessions provided a platform for the children to deepen their understanding of their faith, ask questions freely, and experience the unconditional love and guidance of their spiritual leaders.
Transforming Hearts and Habits
The impact of the Shivir extended far beyond structured sessions, subtly influencing the children's daily routines and overall well-being. Parents witnessed a remarkable transformation in their children, who embraced positive habits like waking up early, maintaining personal hygiene, and expressing gratitude for the food they received and the environment they cherished. The activities, designed to foster teamwork and leadership skills, also instilled in them the true spirit of Seva – selfless service towards the divine and the community.
A Journey of Love, Devotion, and Community
As the Shivir drew to a close, a palpable sense of love and community resonated among the children. They had discovered a deep connection with their faith, forged valuable friendships, and learned the importance of living a life guided by good values and selfless service. Tears of joy and gratitude marked their farewells, leaving an indelible mark on their hearts and minds.
The Braj Gopika Dham Bal Sanskar Shivir wasn't merely a program; it was an enriching experience that nurtured the intellectual, spiritual, and social development of young minds. It provided a safe space for exploration, fostered a sense of belonging, and equipped the children with valuable life skills that will undoubtedly guide them on their paths. The echoes of their laughter and devotional chants will forever linger in the serene Dham, serving as a testament to the transformative power of love, devotion, and community.
A vibrant week at Braj Gopika Dham
Over 250 children embark on a transformative journey
The holistic approach to learning: spiritual awakening, intellectual stimulation, and physical activity
Arti and kirtan
Energetic Yoga and Zumba sessions
Intellectual and Moral Development:
Vedic math and life skills sessions with Sadhak and Sadhikas
Engaging video shows with subtle moral undertones
Connecting with the Divine:
Sessions with Pujaniya Raseshwari Devi Ji (Maa) and Swami Yugal Sharan Ji (Baba)
Melodic kirtans, Q&A, and personal interactions
Some positive outcomes
Embracing good habits: early rising, personal hygiene, gratitude
Activities fostering teamwork, leadership, and Seva (selfless service)
Deep connection with the divine and forged friendships
Importance of good values and selfless service
Farewell tears of joy and lasting impressions
We hope this program helps our future generation navigate through the thorns of this materialistic world more positively.
The originality of the teachings of Sanatan Vedic Dharm (Hindu Dharm) remained intact, but incorporated a more professional tone and focused on the educational and developmental aspects of the kids through this program. The program also added specific activities and sessions to provide a more comprehensive picture of the realities of our lives.
Note: We hope this is more in line with what parents were looking for. Please let us know if you have any say on this.