Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote, "Sympathy is the feeling of oneness with others in their strife and suffering. Seeing God in all being and creatures is the best and surest way of developing a sympathetic and kind heart." It is hoped that the Sunlit Path Committee will implement many such exercises in future to expand the hearts of all. Thereby showing them the pathway to peace & happiness.
In this workshop, which was held at the Sunford Primary School Hall in Phoenix, 48 learners were selected from the following three secondary schools: Northmead, Rydal Park and Westham. Jadine Manickum of Rydal Park Secondary opened the programme with a prayer:
O Adorable Lord, give us a pure mind. Give us light,
strength and long life. Remove our bad qualities and weaknesses.
Make us pure, obedient and loving. May we remember Thee always.
O all-merciful God, make us dutiful. Give us success in our studies.
Make us good and brilliant students.
Guide and protect us.
In the welcome address, Mrs Bechoo said, "I trust that the work done by the Divine Life Society of S.A. will be supported by the schools by sustainable internal school programmes underpinned by the Sunlit Path teachings. Left to the learner alone this programme will not accomplish the desired success. So, may I ask educators present here to facilitate a structured programme at school, either by way of a report back session at the assembly or through mini-workshops. I wish you well in your deliberations and pray that you will take decisions today that will lay the foundation for your adult life."
We reminded learners that "Many of you have been exposed to the initial Sunlit Path Programme that was held at this very venue on the 17th of May 2018, almost a year ago. You sat through a very pleasant and informative three-hour workshop and you were given the opportunity to sign pledge forms in an attempt to take a stand against the very social evils that will been highlighted today. By signing these forms, you made a concerted effort to try to avoid drug addiction & alcoholism, viewing undesirable scenes on television and other social media, adopt a wholesome diet and a healthy lifestyle, maintain celibacy until marriage and the avoidance of keeping evil company. In this programme, we spoke to you about the various methods of overcoming depression, the value of prayer, the negative influence of clubs and the play of hostile forces. The signing of the pledge form was only done after you had been exposed to an extremely enlightening and informative programme pertaining to the topics highlighted on the pledge forms."
Two DVDs, enacted by our Rishikumaris, Rishikumar and youth boys covered the following aspects: Prayer, drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling, celibacy, health & diet, foot massage, how to overcome depression, the consequences of suicide, the harmful effects of viewing undesirable scenes on television, the play of hostile forces, the Law of Cause & Effect, etc. In the breakaway sessions thereafter, discussions were held on these topics followed by a report-back session.
After a break for refreshments, we presented an important section on the role of the diary or checklist. If implemented sincerely, the diary would contribute to their growth and development and help them eradicate many vices. We urged them to undertake this exercise daily. A special programme will be arranged later in the year to ascertain the progress they have made and to assist where there are difficulties.
It is always gratifying to hear that the work done by the Sunlit Path Committee had its desired effect. At this workshop learners expressed their appreciation and also pointed out shortcomings in a written feedback report. One learner wrote, "This programme has really touched my heart. I really hope I come back again, because I enjoyed the whole thing and they were so kind to give us lunch, books and bags. Another learner pointed out, "It was really good, but our break was too short. We would like other schools to come and we need more boys. It can't be for the girls only." A point to remember!
The singing of the theme song, "No Harm" and a short session on silent sitting brought to a close this much-needed workshop. Silence allows the brain to clear all the clutter and reboot itself. It allows the learner to focus, remember, learn, cope and think better. It is through the observance of silence that one can build immense inner strength. Denae Dayanand of Northmead Secondary concluded with the following prayer:
Dearest God, we thank Thee for giving us this wonderful Sunlit Path Programme.We have learnt much and we beseech Thee to give us the strength and understanding to implement all that we have learnt here today!
In closing this report, we give thanks to Dr Pillay, Principal of Sunford Primary School for making the hall and all its facilities available, free of charge. Our gratitude to the Department of Education for allowing us to conduct this programme during school hours. This report will be incomplete if we do not express our appreciation to devotees of Divine Life Society of S.A., Westham branch, for cleaning, setting up, preparing and serving refreshments and meals.