(12th – 14th August 2022), Kanha Shantivanam, Hyderabad
We eventually reached the heartfelt atmosphere of Kanha Shanti Vanam, Hyderabad, to attend the “Rising with Kindness” International Youth Conference after an overnight journey by train and another hour and a half by bus. The finest remedy a weary spirit could hope for was the exquisite taste of cold with a pinch of divine bliss. After a long journey, we had the warmest welcome possible. The mattresses were comfortable, the food was delicious and served by kind people who tried their best to make us feel at home.
When we got up early on the first day of the conference at 5.30 a.m. and started walking towards the meditation hall, living an unplanned life changed in an instant. This was the beginning of a new day with new learning. The feeling of being embraced by nature with arms extended wide, caressed by the breeze as we halt to experience the tranquility, and the soothing melodies that the birds sang for us gave us the impression that there is no existence other than this remote location in the midst of chaos.
Nobody has ever experienced paradise, but as we moved slowly around the main meditation hall, we had a taste of it. The absolute monolith of a monument created in the midst of nowhere stood out from each and every corner of the 1400 acres of land which is Kanha Shantivanam, the trees, plants, flowers, and even the little snails that would have gone unnoticed all stole my breath away. We encountered the genuine blank state of mind which was a peaceful blank in which there were no thoughts, only a deep calm and a tranquil soul all thanks to Daaji’s guidance in the morning meditation session. The day continued with a yoga session, breakfast, an inauguration ceremony, management games & activity, several kindness seminars, and supper to bring the first day to an end.
With a strength of more than 10,000 students and no sounds other than the whistling winds and singing birds, the first meditation with Daaji was a magnificent experience. Dr. Anantha, Director of the UNESCO MGIEP, provided an introduction to kindness throughout his classes. Sessions on how to teach young children the importance of kindness should also be addressed. The day ended with a heart-to-heart conversation with Daaji, who gave the young people advice and left us with the words, “Never forget to communicate how you feel.”
Following the same morning routine, we had introductory meetings scheduled with Hon’ Meenakshi Lekhi, Dr. Venkatesh Murthy, Ricky Kej, and Rishab Shah. The kids learnt how to comprehend and speak the language of the heart at Heartful campus, Heartfulness communication, and other compassion programmes throughout the day. The panel discussion including Ammaraah Martinus, Ramesh Krishnan, and Arudra Rao gave the young people listening a new optimism that they might ignite.
The third day began as we inserted countless human beings into the womb of mother Earth, where they were caressed by the soil, kissed by the wind, pampered by the love of water, treasured by the warmth of sunlight, and the subject of a thousand silent, heartfelt prayers from the youth for a future filled with sustainability. Rajendra Singh, the youngest single parent in India, Avneesh Tiwari, and Alina Alam, the founder of Mitti Café, were the day’s heroes. Their tales were genuinely touching and motivating. With a closing statement and group photos with the several institutes present on campus, the conference said its final farewell.
We also noticed Mega Kitchen, which uses steam to prepare meals and operates on the autoclave principle. For weary eyes, the endless expanse of beautiful trees and bushes planted alongside the roads and all around the magnificent arena is nothing short of heavenly. Chandelier-like creepers, vibrant flowers, seats, and swings constructed of wooden planks all created the impression that we were in a fantasy.
The setting gave off a heavenly vibe, demonstrating to us the actual power of meditation. In one of his talks, Daaji said, “Meditation creates emptiness, which creates creativity, a concentrated mind, and bliss. As you immerse yourself in the path of meditation, be compassionate to the ideas that disturb your peace of mind.”
Management students from our institution took the crowd by storm and engaged the students with interactive management games. With immense response from the audience and such a positive attitude, the students came out rejuvenated, recharged and intrinsically motivated at the end of the three day event. Students have immensely enjoyed their insightful trip to Kanha Shantivanam and would go back to that spiritual hub again if given a chance.
The students are grateful to Dr. Nivedita Shreyans, Director PR, Pillai Group of Institutions; who was also the convenor of the Rising with Kindness summit and coordinator of Heartfulness campus to the students from all over the country. We would like to thank Mr. Ramesh Krishnan, Director, Heartfulness Campus, for organizing an event of this magnitude, and making us all abhyasis of the heartfulness way of meditation.
I’d like to close with these lovely words: “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” As we gained knowledge of kindness, felt the touch of serenity, and wrapped ourselves in an embrace of relaxation via meditation.