Theme – Ideals from the Ramayana for modern times
The delegates, students and guests attending the National Youth Meet 2016 were in for an interesting day. Speeches and discussions by the spiritual glitterati from across organisations took the audience on a journey back in time by dwelling on the lessons from the timeless epic of Ramayana and drawing parallels from it for everyday life and living.
As soon as Bhagawan and the dignitaries were seated on the dais, the morning session began with veda chanting by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthi Niketanam PU College, Girls Campus, Chikkaballapur. The Chief Guest for the day, Sri D V Sadananda Gowda, Honourable Union Minister for Law and Justice, Government of India, and the guest speakers Swami Mitrananda, Director National Projects, All India Chinmaya Yuva Kendra and His Grace Shubha Vilas Das Prabhu, ISKCON were then formally welcomed with floral bouquets.
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, Chief Mentor of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions, took to the stage and began his address quoting Swami Vivekananda in his introductory address. “India is immortal if she persists in her search for God. But if she goes in for politics and social conflict, she will die.” He expressed his anguish over how in spite of spiritual culture being the backbone of India, the search for God had taken a backstage in current times. He ended his speech, dwelling in detail on Bhagawan’s continuing mission of establishing educational institutions that impart education for life, not just for living.
Character development key to empowered youth
Sri D V Sadananda Gowda then addressed the audience. His simple speech struck a chord with the audience and he impressed upon the young minds on the importance of harvesting youth power in the right way. Explaining how there was no spiritual or moral education in today’s education system; he said “When one loses one’s character, it leads to social unrest in the society. Therefore, the importance of inculcating the right character in students at a young age for them to become a treasure to the society cannot be overstated.”
Ramayana isn’t mythology, its history
After a short break, the two guest speakers took the audience on a blissful journey into the lessons, nuances and the glory of Ramayana. The first speaker, Swami Mitrananda, enchanted the audience with his spell binding oratory skills. He began by saying that “Ramayana is not mythology but is a part of ‘Itihaas’ (history), meaning ‘an event that has happened’. Ramayana is history written poetically, philosophically, historically and musically with symbolism”, he explained, while elaborating on the meanings and significances of the names of certain characters and places in Ramayana. “When we become like ‘Dasaratha’, we are able to gain control and master our senses. Once we achieve this, we are in a state of A-Yuddha, or no conflict. This is when one can rule over Ayodhya.
6Cs to leading a spiritual life
The next speaker, Sri Shubha Vilas Das Prabhu, captured the important lessons of Ramayana through an easy-to-remember and simple-to-understand acronym of 6Cs. He elaborated on the 6Cs as- choice, challenges, commitment, connection, composure and certainty, using instances from the Ramayana and explained how the lessons could be juxtaposed to everyday life. “Deal with competition in life by being humble and not by becoming more competing” he said, while giving the example of Hanuman when he tricks the demoness Surasa while crossing over the Indian Ocean.
He also explained how the three cities of action in the Ramayana – Ayodhya, Kishkinda and Lanka represent three traits and how every person has a choice to represent or overcome these traits. Ayodhya, located in Northern India, represents the city of culture. Kishkinda, in Central India, represents a state of hesitation as it was inhabited by the Vanaras. Va Nara means, ‘am I a human?’ Every time we step away from our true selves, we will begin to question ourselves. And finally, the kingdom of Lanka represents a state of Vikruti or destruction. When we suppress our divine qualities and allow demonic attributes to surface disturbing the state of equilibrium we are supposed to be in.
The morning session ended with the offering of the Sarva Dharma prayer.