The Vedic chants that greeted the RYLA participants at the serene Art of Living Foundation’s ashram in Bodhgaya on the first day of their three-day sojourn was just a prelude for a heady mix of spiritual awakening and personality development. It was a unique ambience and a different sort of workshop put together for the 70 Rotaractors from Districts 3250 and 3170.
Aptly name Enlightenment 2018, the programme was hosted by Rotary Patna Midtown and Rotaract Patna Midtown, D 3250, under the guidance of the RYLA Convener Rtn Sushil Poddar and DG Vivek Kumar. “It was a RYLA exclusively for the Rotaractors and a way to celebrate the golden jubilee of the movement,” says Sunit Chandra, President, RC Patna Midtown.
“I have emerged as a totally different and ‘refined’ person after the three days,” says DRR Vaibhav Thakur, who himself was a participant. The ‘Happiness Hour’ conducted by Rajendra Gandhi, an International Trainer with the Foundation, was “too good”. He engaged the participants in various forms of yoga and meditation, intermittently through the day and even took them “on a journey into the past and one into the future.” To my question as to what was he in the past, Thakur says that he saw himself as “a very happy, sensitive and generous person, living in some green, scenic village, god knows where.” Later during the night, trainer and a retired Army man Swaroop Chatterjee, related anecdotes from his Army life to the delegates seated around a bonfire.
“We enjoyed the spiritual dancing by the fire, to the tunes of soft, melodious music. It was like Lord Krishna playing the bansuri and the nights were ethereal, touching the inner chord,” raves the DRR.
The satsangs accompanied by the dhol and the sattvic food made the RYLA experience different from any other for the Rotaractors, even as they enjoyed it as much. For the RYLA Chair Tasneem E Gul, the event has created lifelong memories and built endless friendship and strong relations. “The sessions, besides energising us, helped in connecting each other spiritually too,” says Rtr Aadam, D 3170.
The participants visited the Mahabodhi Temple and the Great Buddha statue erected by the Daijokyo sect of Japan in autorickshaws fitted with banners endorsing Rotary’s End Polio Now and various service projects, thus promoting Rotary’s public image along the way.