A nation rests on its citizens. The destiny of the nation is shaped entirely by the citizens. It is imperative that they are healthy, wealthy and wise. It is today’s children who will be tomorrow’s citizens and this makes it imperative that we accord the highest priority to their mental and moral well-being. Not everything is inborn in an individual. Personality is something which is patiently and meticulously shaped over a period of time.
Not every individual is perfect in every respect. Even if there are some who can be called perfect, they are few and far between. There is nothing like an end to the acquisition of knowledge; it is an endless exercise. It is only when one keeps an open mind that one can absorb and assimilate more knowledge and can realize that knowledge is insatiable. Age has never been, and will never be, a bar to this eternal process of inner development.
But to gain knowledge, and more and more of it, one should spread one’s enthusiasm wide and thick. One should constantly see visions of newer and newer discoveries. One’s mind should not be a cesspool of distraction and negative thoughts. It should, on the other hand, be like a placid, untarnished pool. But, this doesn’t always happen, since we often tend to ignore this basic truth and let our minds wander without any aim.
That is why, we need a new awakening to place our wayward minds on an even keel. Awareness (personality development) camps are meant essentially to kindle such awakenings in individuals and expand their vistas of knowledge and understanding. It is only those who regard life as a sport who keep the windows of their minds open to fresh thoughts and experiences.
To them success or failure hardly makes any difference, since these are an integral part of our very existence. They instinctively learn to absorb both success and failure with equanimity. No matter where and how success or failure comes from, a sportsperson is ever equipped to receive it, accept it and analyze it without any emotion or self pity and then absorbs that experience innermost in this psyche.
But to reach such a state of maturity and mental toughness, one should persuade oneself to be determined and unperturbed by the impact of even the worst of experiences. One should imbibe the qualities of self-abnegation and humanity. The more young ones learn, the better it is for the society as a whole, because the stream of culture expands into an ocean and dedicates itself to the progress and well being of the whole community.
It is in this spirit that awareness camps are designed and conducted regularly. It is in these camps that the more evolved minds, who have the benefit of their deep knowledge and vision, expose the younger minds to the challenges and pressures ahead of them and inculcate in them the shining qualities of learning, scholarship and leadership.
In fact, powerful individuals, organizations and religious institutions owe it to themselves to prepare the youngsters of today to be the torch bearers of a bright, meaningful and ethical tomorrow.
The camps have conclusively proved their relevance and usefulness to society by shaping fully rounded personalities who are ever ready to help others to build a value based tomorrow. An adage says that a daughter always takes after her mother. We have believed that it is the sacred duty of every religious institution to inculcate in the uninitiated the most splendorous values of life and shape them into sentinels of our highest morals and traditions.
We are satisfied that these camps have made thousands of children the ambassadors of culture and high-breeding and they have successfully led them on to the path of self-realization.
Exalted thinking arises out of exalted education and motivation. And our culture goes on getting more refined in this process. It is imperative that this culture pervades every walk of life, be it spiritual or material. It is also essential that our democracy is built on the strong and impregnable foundation of these tenets.
Dharma is nothing but a rigorous application of such culture to all our thoughts and deeds. It is this dharma which should stand as a bulwark of the future of our nation, and serve as an eternal guide to its all-round growth and development. Today we need intellect among youth. Alongside, we also have to ponder on how to be cultured and how to enrich our lives. We have to imbibe good things to attain cherished goals.
This article is an ‘Ashirvachana’ given by His Holiness Sri Balagangadaranatha Mahaswamiji, 71st Pontiff of Sri Adichunchanagiri Mahas stana Math