Back in 2012, spiritual guru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi at a gathering said, “Learn Gita to become Sri Krishna.”Among the thousands of devotees who were present, disciple Swami Dhyanamrita took these words in the right spirit. An idea blossomed in his mind of taking the message of the Bhagavad Gita to the present generation. He approached Amma with a plan of setting up a camp for youths based on the holy text. Amma blessed the project.
Thus began Gitamritam, a seven-day residential programme for teens and youths which, through an innovative approach, teaches the values of the Gita to young minds in a language they can relate with. Swami Dhyanamrita has fused the core teachings of Gita, with fun-filled activities such as skill development, swimming, yoga, and meditation.
“The Gita is not an ordinary textbook. It is a set of universal values that anybody, irrespective of their cultural background, can use to tread the path of success,” says Swami Dhyanamrita. “Gitamritam is designed to give direction to one’s life, foster courage, and enable them to face uncertainties.”
On the relevance of Gita in today’s time, he says, “Just imagine a moment in the Gita. Arjuna had all the weapons with him, yet he was depressed and inconsolable. Krishna, without even holding a weapon in hand, was in the middle of the battlefield with a smile on his face. This is the inner strength that the present generation needs.”
At Gitamritam, through a well-researched set of experiential learning, these core values are kindled in every child. Swami says it is important that the youths equip themselves with the knowledge of the Gita. But simply teaching them Sanskrit slokas and asking them to memorise passages won’t help. For this, every activity in the camp takes place based on a message from the Gita—be it an adventure sport like wall climbing, swimming or creative activities like clay modelling, painting, gardening or even cooking. “There is no mugging up information,” he adds.
Swami believes that the current education system doesn’t encourage the young to ask questions. “Youngsters are unable to think intuitively and independently,” he says. What makes the camp unique is the open learning environment it has been set up in. “My father forced engineering upon me. I was depressed by what was happening around me. But in just seven days at Gitamritam, I found my garden. The air of despair has vanished,” says a camper.
Success, according to Swami Dhyanamrita, is not the measure of the marks that students score. He says soft skills are an important aspect of success. It is evident that many recruiters do not prefer an employee merely based on their scorecard. “Companies prefer above-average students as they see in them a creative mind, which is necessary in today’s world,” says Swami.
At Gitamritam, campers go through a 93-hour intensive session in the seven days, which allow their creative side to blossom. “At the end of seven days, these students radiate so much enthusiasm; it is truly magical to witness,” says Swami Dhyanamrita. He also adds that the teachings of Gita are not meant for those who have retired in their life, but for those who face daily struggles. “Lord Krishna gave this knowledge to a warrior prince who had a family,” says Swami.
In addition to the Gita classes, there are a series of guest lectures where eminent personalities from different walks of life will share their life’s experiences on the secrets behind their success, at the picturesque green camps.
28th Gitamritam Camp
Gitamritam Bala (age group 13-16): May 26-June 1
Gitamritam Yuva (age group 18-23): June 2–9
At: Amrita University campus,
Students are selected based on their interest and commitment