Like last year, our Yoga Centre by the sea at Riambel (Antavăs Kutir) was alive with activity during the holidays with two Antavăs or Spiritual Camps "In the trail of the Rishis" for Form VI students in April and July.
That of April (2nd to 4th) welcomed about 25 girls from Presidency, Lady Sushil SSS and other Colleges, and that of July(29th to 31st) a similar number from Lady Sushil and other colleges.
An antavas session at Riambel in July 1997
The programmes consisted of lectures and discussions, Yoga and meditation, swimming and excursions, public-speaking etc, closing with sweet bhajans and kirtans in the evening. Of special mention was the blessing that came in the form of a delightful talk on "Women in India past and present" by a distinguished visitor and well-wisher, Dr Prof. R. R. Pandey, currently Head, Dept. of Philosophy and Religion, Banaras Hindu University, then attached to the MGI. We have reverently preserved the talk as a prasaad to youth, and are giving excerpts of it further on in this issue.
The Antavăs proved to be a thrilling opportunity for young and old to live together, to interact and share experiences, which revealed the sense of observation and maturity of our youths. The total effect was on all counts highly beneficial, as observed by parents themselves during the Open Days and afterwards, and as testified by the impressions and picture that follow.
To me and Yoginiji, the Antavăs are always blissful moments marked by the opening of hearts, and in the divine channel so created, we become doubly aware of Gods love flowing in action and transforming everyone and everything. How grand and unforgettable!
We thank the friends and volunteers for their help, especially Prof. R. R. Pandey for his delightful talk; Mr G. Dhunnookchand for his lectures and melodious bhajans and kirtans; Mr J. Lallbeeharry for his valuable help; Mr O. P. Roodurmun for his talk on "Public Speaking" and his precious contribution in the bhajan sessions; Mrs S. Khadaroo and Mrs C. Laurent for conducting the swimming lessons; and last but not least the then Commissioner of Police Mr Raj Dayal and the Asst. Police Superintendent of Souillac, Mr K. Ramprogus, for their valuable assistance.
May the spirit of our rishis ever guide our path!
Antăvas at Riambel
Thirty years ago Yogi Rummun initiated the Hinduism Movement to propagate and promote Hinduism. That was indeed a historical event. It aims to make known the teachings of Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana. Besides organising three seminars on Hinduism annually for HSC students, the Hinduism Movement conducts spiritual camps for Youth at Riambel Yoga Centre. I wish to congratulate Yogi Rummun for his laudable effort and dedication for the welfare of the community.
As usual, I attended the spiritual camp last year and I was pleased to see young boys and girls practising meditation, reciting Bhagavad Gita and chanting Ramayana. The most interesting item which I really enjoyed was the lively discussion on a variety of themes such as social problems, leadership, education and religious teachings. The participants were encouraged to express their views and to create a better understanding among themselves.
Reading books only is not enough. Taking a theme and starting discussion is more enriching. It helps to build confidence. I would suggest that in the next spiritual camp students could be given the topic in advance so that they could get enough time to do research work and come fully prepared to share their views.
The objective of education is not only to fill the heads with information but to bring a genuine change of hearts in this present day world which is mad after material gains. Actually, we are facing a crisis in the history of human culture and civilisation. On one hand we are witnessing great progress in the fields of science and technology and on the other hand man seems to be dehumanised. A balance between material and spiritual pursuits is essential for a harmonious and wholesome living.
I am sure regular spiritual camps will promote the ennobling ideals of Hinduism. There is no doubt that the participants left the Yoga Centre with some practical knowledge that would uplift their characters and inspire them to follow the path of nobility and goodwill.
There is an inspiring message in Katha Upanishad which I would like to share with my young friends.
Uttisthata, jăgrata, prăpya varăn nibodhata , paraphrased thus for modern man by the great Swami Vivekananda:
"Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached!"
The clarion call of the hour is "Oh children of Sages!
You have slept too long. It is time to awake and fight
against social malpractices".
I hope I will have more such chances to meet and discuss with our young friends.
The antavăs was another activity that had come to enhance the annual calendar of activities of the Hinduism Movement last year. It was organised during the August holidays between the 29th and the 31st July. Twenty to twenty-five girls from the Lady Sushil Ramgoolam SSS, Triolet, participated. It was an unforgettable experience for each and everyone of us, as we learned and benefitted immensely from it.
Among the various interesting activities that were prepared in advance, there were swimming lessons in the mornings, conducted by Mrs Khadaroo and Mrs Laurent. Small excursions were also organised. We enjoyed the introduction on Yoga and Meditation which we practised every morning, gathered in the hall and facing the ocean. There was always a serene and calm atmosphere prevailing, which was strangely soothing to our senses and it was enhanced by Yogijis and sweet Matajis presence. We sat there and felt one with the sound of the waves and Yogijis charismatic voice that was a wonderful experience indeed.
The group discussions conducted by both Yogiji and Mr Dhunnookchand were amazingly interesting. Yogiji for his part always thrilled us with his views about youth. Both of them, Yogiji and Mr Dhunookchand, delighted us with interesting topics like "Society in the year 2020 "Great Hindu women of the Past, "Public Speaking" and "Youth in the face of Modern Challenges". In those sessions, one could freely give ones opinion about the subject. There was enough to satisfy inquisitive minds.
Apart from Yogiji, another unforgettable person was Mataji. I liked to listen to the sweet bhajans she sang during the satsang sessions held at night. I have a great admiration for her wonderful capacity to give motherly love to all of us, her "children". She emanated love and replaced our mother during those few days.
Not just myself but everyone appreciated the simple but delicious dishes offered there, not forgetting our loving Anju.
I really had a great time there. I had the feeling that this kind of spiritual camp should be organised a bit more often and its duration should be lengthened. I would encourage all girls to participate at least once in the Antavaas. They will be transformed.
Cheetra Rani Ramlallah of LVI
Lady Sushil Ramgoolam SSS