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Maharaj's Apprentice: 2

The Yuvak of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Willesden and Shree Swaminarayan Temple Woolwich had been given the task of finding Maharaj's Apprentice. Maharaj set the groups a task of creating a 3 minute video clip which is based on one of His Shikshapatri Shloks. The videos along with thier pitches were shown on Friday 03 December 2010

Maharaj's Apprentices did not disappoint! All the teams done an absolutely amazing pitch with their videos and presentation. The judging panel said the scores were very close between all the teams. Well done everyone, and congratulations to the boys side winning team, Ahemdabad and the girls winning team Kunti. For those that missed it can watch the videos by clicking the link below.

Click here to view the videos

Chappaiya - Shikshapatri Shlok 139

"As far as possible, my disciples shall attend to their mother, father, preceptor and a sick person and render service with proper care and nursing as they live.

Ghadhada - Shikshapatri Shlok 145

"They shall always spend only within the limit of their income. They shall keep it in mind clearly that non-adherence to this policy will lead to distress."

Bhuj - Shikshapatri Shlok 64

"They shall narrate or listen to the divine stories of Shree Krishna with great reverence and on festival days, they shall sing songs in praise of him accompanied by musical instruments."

Woolwich - Shikshapatri Shlok 147

"They shall offer Lord Shree Krishna one tenth of their income received through their occupations. Householders with limited sources of income may offer one twentieth."

Vadtal - Shikshapatri Shlok 72

"On hearing the news of Acharya’s visit, my followers shall proceed to welcome him at the entrance of the village and on his departure shall accompany him to the outskirts of the village to bid farewell."

Jetalpur - Shikshapatri Shlok 41

"Those of my Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya disciples who have been initiated into the devotion of Shree Krishna by their Guru shall always wear around their neck a double Kanthi prepared from Tulsi wood and shall mark their forehead, chest and both arms with a Tilak."

1. Why we chose this particular shlok
We felt Shikshapatri Shlok 41 consists of three parts which have a major influence on our lives, especially the Yuvaks and youth all over the world. The teachings and understanding from this particular shlok is of great magnitude to benefit us in progressing in Satsang and realising who we are (Maharaj's Sevak's) and where we need to get to (Akshardham). These parts are Guru Diksha, Kanthi and Tilak-Chandlo and through each segment the Mahima of Maharaj, Santos and Haribhaktos are further realised and strengthened.

2. Why we chose to record the video this way and why we thought it was the best way to illustrate our chosen shlok
Due to the diverse learning within this Shlok and the time constraint of the video, we chose to illustrate Shlok 41 in a News Report format because it gives the viewers a clear and concise medium to directly digest and relate to each part of this wonderful Shlok. The use of everyday temple scenes i.e Kitchen and Maintenance team, helped in providing a hint of comedy which enhances the learning factor for all youth in an enjoyable manner.

Through research and further expansion from Bhuj Santos on the night, we have learnt that gaining Guru Diksha from our Acharya Maharaj is a phase in one’s life which should be deeply thought of before partaking. Fundamentally, before gaining Guru Diksha every soul should be cleaned through association with true Saints and Shastras (Scriptures), and thus using the Guru Diksha as a means of gaining spiritual power and strength in one’s life in order to achieve Ultimate Salvation (Moksh). In addition to this, Kanthi and Tilak Chandlo are means of bonding one with God Himself and show our identity as Swaminarayan Sampraday devotees. As a whole, the group really enjoyed working together in filming and researching this Shlok, as well as understanding the meaning of Maharaj's aagna which is for the benefit of every soul.

Ahemdabad - Shikshapatri Shlok 63

"All my followers shall go to the Temple of Shree Krishna every evening and sing and chant the names of Shree Krishna loudly."

1. Why we chose this particular shlok
Our main aim was to inspire and instill mindset of our youth with the will to improve themselves. As shlok 63 was very powerful yet simple we felt this was the perfect one to deliver this aim and with impact.

2. Why we chose to record the video this way and why we thought it was the best way to illustrate our chosen shlok
We looked at 2 things once we chose the shlok. Current trends/habits & Target audience. Current trend is our youth only come to temple when there is something going on, Friday youth academy for example, there is a lack of discipline/respect and there is a general understanding that they come to be entertained. We wanted to quash this and motivate them that coming to mandir is for spiritual improvement and be closer to God. The benefits of a strong spiritual life will resonate in all the other aspects of life and will make them better, stronger and happier beings. By continuing to follow this shlok we gave them an insight of the benefits they will gain and how this can only be achieved with a strong level of discipline.

Swami gave the reason why Swaminarayan Bhagwan stated specifically to attend in the evening and sing kirtans out loud. During the time where the sun is setting and the moon is rising there is a period where neither are there to shine the light, at this time there are evil and negative forces at play, and to prevent any infection from any type of negativity we must be in a positive and spiritual environment and mood to protect us.

Also looking at it in a modern working/student life point of view, we go through a stressful day, working hard, minds are over worked, we need time to relax, detox and cleanse ourselves internally and the perfect way to get away from it all is by coming to Temple and singing passionately kirtans in praise of Bhagwan.

To hit home this message we thought it would be good to show what it would be like in 50 years time if we continue the way we are, an empty mandir, disused, only a pujari doing seva in the mandir and to such an extent that mandir was declared for sale. We hoped by having this at the beginning followed up by a strong middle and end we have delivered the message strongly and inspire the constant need for discipline and need to improve oneself daily.

Draupati - Shikshapatri Shlok 72

"On hearing the news of the arrival of the Acharya, my disciples shall go forthwith to the outskirts of the village or town to welcome him with honour and respect, and on his departure shall accompany him up to the outskirts of the village or town to bid him farewell"

Kunti - Shikshapatri Shlok 145

"They shall always spend only within the limit of their income. They shall keep it in mind clearly that non-adherence to this policy will lead to distress."

We are team Kunti, and we would like to share the awareness of our shlok 145:

II Aya-drav-yanu-sarena Vya-vaha Karyo Hi Sarvada
Anyatha Tu Mahad Dukham Bhave-ditya-vadhar-yataam II

With the nation in the hellish era of the credit crunch, most people are tightening their purses and keeping their spendatures low until it blows over, whereas some are not, regardless.

As you saw, the main Actress got a buzz out of spending money. It became an addiction, just like gambling or drinking. Our shlok explores the consequences of spending more than you can afford. This may not be obvious at present, but will catch up with you in the future.

The scripture, Vrudha-charankya, states that those whose income is for four, but who spends for five or six, become dharma-bhrasht (betrayers of their duties). It also states in the kama-khand-niti that those who spend excessively and repay shortfall by borrowing money from elsewhere are consuming poison.

After some thorough research, we also found out that not only did Lord Swaminarayan advise us not to overspend, but not to underspend either, and be greedy with money. Their excess money should be used as a good cause in charity and religious donations.

The Shikshapatri is a compass in our life. It is there to direct us on the right path of this expensive journey. Abiding by His rules and doing paalan of His aagna will steer us to our ultimate destination, His humble abode, Akshardham.

We felt this was the best way to illustrate this shlok as a trailor form because its straight to the point and shows the full picture in a short frame of time.

Sita - Shikshapatri Shlok 147

"They shall offer Lord Shree Krishna one tenth of their income received through their occupations. Householders with limited sources of income may offer one twentieth."

Why we chose this particular shlok
We read the Shikshapatri day in day out and overlook shlok 147 relating to Dharmado. Do we understand what this is? As a group, compared to all the other shloks provided, we thought this one particularly was least understood. Dharmado is giving your Ishtadev part of your wages. One tenth or one twentieth depending on your financial situation is what is stipulated in the Shikshapatri. Dharmado, according to our understanding, is wealth that you have only got due to Maharaj’s will and compassion. Therefore a part of it, quite rightfully belongs to Him. Whatever belongs to Maharaj or the mandir must be given back, otherwise it will cause ruin in this life. This further extends into taking things which are not rightfully yours.

Inspiration
We were inspired by the leela of Putrifai. She was the fai of Govardhan Bhagat of Mangrol. She was a pious devotee and shishya of Shree Ramanand swami. After Putrifai left her mortal body, once Shreeji Maharaj came to visit Gorvadhan bhagat. Bhagat asked Maharaj to tell him what status his dear fai attained in her afterlife. Maharaj said he would send Govardhan bhagat into samadhi (state of trance) and see for himself the state of his fai. Govardhan bhagat went into Samadhi and to his disbelief saw his Putrifai being tortured by the hands of the yams in Hell. He came out of samadhi and asked Maharaj why someone of such great devotion is being beating by the Yams. Maharaj explained that once Ramanand swami gave Putrifai some money for safekeeping and said that he would ask for it when he required it for satsang. Many years later, he came to Putrifai and asked for the money. Putrifai denied she was ever given the money. Because of this lie and the keeping of wealth that was not rightfully hers to begin with, she is now enduring the pain of hell. Maharaj then helped Gorvadhan bhagat to release Putrifai from Yamlok and attain kalyan.

This leela does not expilicitly relate to the one tenth/twentieth we must donate but is closely related to the underlying fact that we must never keep what is not rightfully ours. Especially if the item/ wealth belongs to God or Mandir. Even when doing seva at mandir and having ghee left in your fingernails, and going home with this ghee is considered a paap. Our story mimics the moral of Putrifai’s story.

Teamwork
It was a group decision to agree on shlok 147 as it was the one shlok that alot of the group where unaware of or had good understanding of. Therefore the group decided to undertake this task to explain shlok 147. Each member of this group either took part by way of idea giving, directing, producing, construction, brainstorming, editing or acting in this video.

We hope we portrayed the message of Shlok 147 via the medium of a short video successfully.