In the welcome message, Mr K. Govender, Principal of Seatides Combined said that "it was the vision of the great Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, for everyone to lead a divine life. Today is an important day as it is Nelson Mandela International Day, in honour of his birth anniversary. Nelson Mandela also had the same vision. He said, 'Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation. Let your greatness blossom.' I trust that you will learn many lessons today and that this will make a difference in this world."
At the outset we reminded learners, "Many of you have been exposed to the initial Sunlit Path Programme that was held on the 16 August 2018, almost a year ago. You sat through an 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, adopting a wholesome diet and a healthy lifestyle, maintaining 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 informative programme pertaining to the topics highlighted on the pledge forms. Now again, we ask, having signed the pledge form, are you filling the checklist as advised. Only you can answer that honestly. Remember, you made a pledge to God to keep up this resolve and to remove this disease of drug addiction completely from your life. The checklist is the answer".
We are pleased to report that after the screening of both the videos, a lively discussion ensued. During the report back session, we heard the following responses:
Q: Why did Radha want to take her life? Do you think that the solutions proposed by the girls were effective?
A: Radha was unable to deal with her issues, so the easiest method of escape from them was to commit suicide.
Yes, the solutions proposed by the girls were effective. The simplest way to pray is to recite God's Name constantly. Praying to God makes us a stronger person. It gives us strength during difficult times and it is our way of saying thanks and showing gratitude to God for protecting us.
Q: What are some of the thoughts and beliefs about celibacy?
A: My table strongly believes that celibacy should be practised in order to maintain a pure mind and soul. When engaging in sexual activities, we lose vital fluids, which then affects our body, mind and soul. Engaging in these activities can cause certain disorders at this age. Diseases can also be transmitted. Abstaining from having such thoughts improves mental health, self-restraint and memory.
Q: The play provides proof that peer pressure and good company are important and valuable to youth. How did these come across in the play?
A: In our society today, the friends and peers that we keep around us has an impact on the choices that we make and the academic and emotional aspects in our life. Having a good peer support is beneficial as they will be able to offer comfort during hard times. We have to be wary of who we keep around us. The group of friends in the video are the ideal group of friends. They had given extremely good advice and supported each other. Similarly, the peers that we keep with us, should also support us and steer us in the right direction.
We had an excellent motivational presentation of maintaining the Sunlit Path Checklist. The following aspects were discussed: Conquest of mind, will-power, celibacy, identifying and acknowledging your mistakes, and weaknesses, speaking sweetly, respect for others, etc. Our presenter recounted how he was able to overcome his own weakness. This impacted well on the listeners. He concluded with, "Daily prayer is a must! God is your greatest Friend. Prayer is non-negotiable. When you try to become a better person, be assured that God is ever ready to help you. Pray! Beg Him to help you!"
We concluded with an excellent session with the Theme Song of the Sunlit Path Programme, "No Harm will Come to me". The silent sitting had a calming effect on all present and it is hoped that learners will continue this practice at home. It will contribute to success in their studies and also give them peace of mind.
Once again, our sincere thanks to the Department of Education for granting us permission to conduct this workshop during school hours. Our gratitude goes to the principals of schools for their supportive role and our deep appreciation to the management and staff of the Shree Veeraboga Cultural Centre for supporting this initiative, for the free use of the hall and its facilities and for preparing and serving delicious refreshments and lunch.