Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

Report: Youth Day 2023

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Youth Day in South Africa is a day on which South Africans honour the youth. Today, 16 June is a South African public holiday. There are Youth Day celebrations held country-wide to empower youth and all South Africans.

Divine Life Society of South Africa has been observing Youth Day for several years. The teachings of Sri Swami Sivananda, as well as his advice to youth, form an integral part of the Youth Day programmes.

In the book Enlightened Education, the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, says the following about youth: "The youth are the most precious treasure of the nation. Students are an important asset to the country, for leaders all over the land recognise that they are to guide the nation of tomorrow. The present generation of students are the potential leaders in all the different fields of national life of the future.

"The most precious period of a man's life is youth. This is the formative period in a human being's life. The moulding of one's nature and the development of the character and personality take place in this period".
The Master continues: "A person may be formally religious and yet possess an undesirable character. Therefore, the practice of spirituality in the right sense of the term, by students as well as their parents, is of great importance".

Our Youth Day was celebrated on Friday 16th June 2023 at the Sivananda Sunlit Path Centre in Chatsworth,Durban. The theme for this year was Surrender: A call for Divine Intervention. The programme was compiled and executed by our Youth Committee. All logistical arrangements were also overseen by the committee. The day began with breakfast, followed by registration ─ when attendees received a very interesting welcome pack, comprising Sri Gurudev's books, a Japa Mala as well as paraphernalia. Our programme commenced at 9:30am with Invocation and readings from Guru Bhakti Yoga and Yoga Lessons for Children Vol 7, entitled "Hindrances to Faith and Surrender". The readings again reinforced the theme of the Youth Day function. Kirtans, Bhajans and chanting ensued, with youth and our Rishikumaris leading the items.

Thereafter we had a very interesting and thought-provoking session ─ a discussion and feedback on two scenarios based on the theme, Surrender: A call for Divine Intervention. A youth girl shared her experience on how surrender to the Guru, prayer and Sri Gurudev's protection saved her and her mother when they were in a precarious predicament. This experience reinforced the theme of Surrender to the Divine. The responses shared in the group discussions were inspirational, and motivated many to translate theory into practice. Participants indicated that the scenarios and experience helped them reaffirm their faith in the power of chanting the Lord's Name, and the need for complete surrender to the Guru and God.

A Minute-to-win-it game followed. Participants were required to complete challenges in 1 minute. The challenges comprised a variety of mini games. An informative trivia round, in which devotees had to answer questions on the Ramayana and Mahabharata tested participants' knowledge of these two scriptures. We had a parallel session for the children in grades 0-6, in which they made crafts and played their own version of a Minute-to-win-it and musical chairs. The Youth Day Programme concluded with Arati and Shanti Paat, followed by lunch Parsad.

Our youth are inspired by Sri Swami Sivananda's advice and wisdom, when he says that if one wants a simple and easy method of meeting all the challenges of this stressful life and enjoying peace of mind, one should practise the following:

Surrender to Him completely.
Repeat His Divine Name at all times.
See Him in all beings and creatures.

The benefits of the above, says our Master, "They will take you to Him without tears".

We encourage our youth to take up the challenge of leading a Divine Life in the midst of all the trials and tribulations of the world. We also encourage our youth to dare to be different, to take up some service activity ─ there are enough opportunities to serve through the Society's multifarious service activities, Satsangs, Yoga Camps, youth development activities and Karma Yoga.

Our gratitude to our Youth for hosting a successful function and for putting the lessons learnt from our Sunday Schools and Yoga Camps into practical application, as an offering to our Divine Master. Our youth must be commended on their Youth Day initiatives, leadership roles, planning and organising skills. They overcame many hurdles and persevered due to the Grace and Guidance of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda, in celebrating youth and highlighting the theme, Surrender: A call for Divine Intervention.

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 July 2023 14:12
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