Bhaishri conducts unique Youth Shibir in North Yorkshire, UK

From 4th to 6th July 2008, Sanskruti Foundation UK hosted a unique Youth Shibir called ‘Living in Harmony’ with Bhaishri, in the captivating town of Whitby in North Yorkshire, where 100 youths attended.


The aim of this shibir (retreat) was for the youths to spend time in the company of Bhaishri and other like-minded people to discuss modern issues encountered in the real world and how Hinduism can guide young people in making the right choices and decisions.


Over the course of the weekend, several themes were discussed including positive thinking, diversity and integrating spirituality into everyday lives. Alongside the discourses, various activities also took place, including group discussions, yoga, role plays and entertainment.


In his opening discourse, Bhaishri talked about the state of the modern mind and the problems people face. “When we are children, we are in harmony because you behave according to your emotions. As we grow up we lose the harmony. Our emotions are different, we speak something different and we do not behave according to our emotions, we lose the harmony and we are not in peace. In a child there is most harmony. The beauty we like is in the child’s innocence, the child’s purity and in the child’s simplicity, and hence we are attracted to it. There was a time when we were liked by all, and then as we grew up less and less people continued to like us, sometimes even those close to us. Slowly we’re not even able to love ourselves. As we get older, the harmony goes. The colours of the world come upon us and we begin to face so many problems. We live in one culture and we belong to another culture. We become sandwiched between two cultures and we lose the harmony – we lose the peace.”


During the course of the Shibir, Bhaishri described how ‘dharma’ shows us all how to live harmoniously. “Dharma is that which makes us harmonious, that which makes our lives melodious. That’s why the more unity there is in vichar (thought), vaani (speech) and vartan (behaviour) the better. We have come into this life to enjoy it. Life should be a celebration! We should learn to enjoy life while maintaining our dharma, our traditions and our maryadas – our true identity. If we lose these things to be happy then the happiness we get this way is not true happiness.”


The Shibir took place a wonderfully located youth education centre, with simple but comfortable accommodation, meeting rooms, common rooms and playing fields. Bhaishri too stayed on campus with the youth, and took every opportunity to engage with them, speak with them and even eat with them. Despite the bad weather, the youth enjoyed their experience immensely.


Laxmi Chhaya, one of the attendees said, “It is difficult to describe in a few words what I have gained from the Shibir, but in those few days Rameshbhai Oza affectionately became Bhaishri for me. Bhaishri’s open mind and loving nature guided us seamlessly through some of life’s difficult questions in a simple and straightforward way… To make this experience even more fulfilling was that I shared it with an inspiring group of people of different ages and backgrounds that encouraged me to think outside of my comfort zone.”


All the youth were split into 8 groups and had the chance to share their views on current topics and themes, such as abortion, divorce, inter-racial marriage, drugs, homosexuality and pre-martial relationships. Dishell Gokaldas, who was one of the group facilitators, found these to be of great benefit. “The group sessions also added to the fun, in which we were split into groups of 8-10 to discuss highly topical issues facing youth of today… It was a fantastic opportunity to get to know some of the other folks really well and feel even more at home!”


Ashish Hathi, another youth attendee, felt that the Shibir was a great step forward. “It gave the Hindu Youth of today an open platform to talk about traditionally taboo topics with guidance from elder youths and Bhaishri himself.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed