The rain Gods were in full spirits even as the sun dawned to welcome the delegates to the first day of the World Youth Meet. It was a doubly blessed day with the inauguration of the World Youth Meet and the celebration of Ladies Day.

The day began with Aumkaram and Suprabhatam chants echoing in the ashram. The formal proceedings for the day began at 9 AM in the Premamrutham hall. The guests and senior Trustees of the Loka Seva Trust were led into the hall and onto the dais by a contingent of women delegates from 20 participating countries; each carrying a flag of their country.

Contingent of Women Delegates from 20 Countries

Contingent of Women Delegates from 20 Countries

With the ceremonial lighting of the lamp and unveiling of the plaque, the World Youth Meet was officially inaugurated. The speakers for the day, Swami Bodhamayananda, Director of Vivekananda Institute of Human Excellence from the Ramakrishna Mutt and Sri H R Nagendra, the Chancellor of Swami Vivekanada Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA) were also seated on the dais.

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The first programme for the day was an interfaith prayer. Prayers from nine religions of the world – Hinduism, Buddhism, Japanese Shinto, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism were chanted – were chanted by the delegates, accompanied by captivating visuals on the giant LED walls on either sides of the centre stage. (Please see the Gallery next to the post)

After the guests were felicitated, Sri BN Narasimha Murthy, senior Trustee, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, addressed the audience. Quoting the Sanskrit text “Ayam Nijah Paro Veti Gaanã Laghucetasãm Udãracaritãnãm Tu VasudhaivaKutumbakam”, he spoke about how only a narrow minded person considers ‘This is mine and that is yours.’ A broadminded person considers the whole world as one family, he elaborated.

This was followed by a short talk by Ms Francesca Suarez from Colorado, US and Sri Ashraf Saman from Greece. The two delegates shared experiences of their spiritual journey from I to We to He.

Sri Nagendra then addressed the delegates. He dwelt on the importance of Bhakti (devotion), and said that it was only through Bhakthi that transformation of a person was possible. His speech was followed by that of Swami Bodhamayananda. Addressing the audience as ‘Amrutasya Putraha’ (children of immortality), he impressed upon them the importance of spirituality in daily life.

Read Divine Discourse Summary

Watch the proceedings below: