The programme on 16 June 2020, began with a short invocation followed by an articulate welcome. In the informative speech on the significance of Youth Day, we heard that "The 16th of June 2020, marks the triple impact of significant events through spiritual history. Today is National Youth Day in South Africa, which commemorates a protest that sparked what became known as the Soweto uprising of 1976. This day honours and pays tribute to the memory of the brave school children who lost their lives in the fight for human rights and political freedom. Similarly, we the Sivananda youth, have to deal with many challenges in the path of our spiritual progress. Our Divine Master offers guidance and says that, 'Real freedom is not merely political or economic, though political and economic freedom are essential for the welfare of a people. Real freedom is lordship over oneself. It is the freedom of the self. It is immortality; it is perfection. It is attainable only by slow and painful stages. There is no soul more innocent, pure and impressionable than that of a child; no body of energy greater than that of an ambitious youth'.
Our youth took us through a meditation session on the Peace Series and focussed on many virtues. One of the virtues that is dying in this modern age Gratitude. "Gratitude is a warm and friendly feeling towards one who helps you. It is a sense of appreciation for favours received. It is a feeling of goodwill and thankfulness towards a person who does you some service. Gratitude is not merely a verbal expression of thanks. It must find expression in noble actions". These are the profound words of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda.
The sacred and most inspiring Ramayana is one of our greatest scriptures. The melodious recital by our Rishikumaris and youth girls delighted our listeners. Our Master said, "Read a small portion of the holy scripture every day. You will be constantly inspired. You will derive valuable guidance in your day-to-day life". The Society recently released a CD with an accompanying booklet containing selected sacred Slokas from Bala Kand, the first chapter of the Sri Ramacharitamanas.
In the "Sivananda Youth Talk Show" our youth guided a newcomer to the Society and explained various basic teachings of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, teachings that are crucial to leading a spiritual life. During this Covid-19 pandemic, we are currently on lockdown and have a lot of time on our hands. This is the perfect opportunity to intensify our Sadhana, said our youth. They elaborated on the meaning and importance of Sadhana, Prayer, Pranayama, Satsang, meditation, Karma Yoga, Japa and Likhit Japa. Advice was also given on time management. The Talk Shop exhorted all to lead a balanced life. In a reading from the book Daily Meditations by Sri Swami Sivananda they quoted the following thought, "Life is meant for higher spiritual purposes. Wake up quickly, O ignorant man! Struggle hard and attain the imperishable spiritual wealth and be happy forever. Live in the company of the wise and lead the divine life. Satsang is an impregnable fortress where there is no scope for the entry of Maya and her companions."
Our greatest wealth is our health. Our young Yoga Asana practitioner demonstrated the sequence of the Surya Namaskar postures which is a combined process of Asanas and breathing. The flexibility of the body is increased and breathing ismade rhythmical in this exercise which should be done regularly.
Participants were also given an opportunity to join in on the chanting of the Sri Ram Mantra. In Yoga Lessons for Children we read the following, "How do we tap the great power of the Divine Name? How can we experience for ourselves the greatness and splendour of the Name? The answer lies in its constant repetition. All hidden powers in God's Name become available to us when we begin to repeat it constantly".
One of the highlights of this programme was to listen to the holy voice of Pujya Swami Sahajananda and the profound advice that he gave in this audio recording on the importance of chanting the Divine Name and the value of reading spiritual books. He said, "Wherever possible you should read books that extol the glory of God's Name. That will give you faith. When we read about the saints who have realised God, by means of the Name, then our faith starts growing and we also start repeating the Name. It is necessary that we should read those types of books". Pujya Swamiji also spoke about control of the mind and ways in which one can attain mastery of this restless mind.
Two interesting stories were chosen from the book, Humour for Health: "Little Mouse Ventures out" and "Chipak Mahadev". In "Chipak Mahadev" we learn that "the human ego masquerades in different garbs and plays all sorts of mischief. It apparently succeeds for some time. But when its true nature is discovered, it either disappears or is driven out".
We thank our youth for compiling and presenting this inspiring programme. We conclude this report with the words of our Master, "O youth! Become true Hindus. Let the flame of true love fire your soul. Stand up. Gird up the loins. The hostile forces are ready to absorb you. Strengthen yourself. Unite."