Premananda Youth Winter Meeting
By Niels, The Netherlands
After a pleasant drive to the Belgian Ardennes, three Dutch youngsters were greeted by snow-filled hillsides and a warm and spiritual atmosphere inside the “Owl” residence in the Trois-Ponts village of Belgium. Another part of the Dutch delegation met some unexpected, weather related adversities earlier on that day, but assistance followed quickly! Thankfully, they could continue their way to meet up with the young and the young at heart for the end-of-the-year Premananda Youth Winter Meeting, called PY Snow.
After a Guru Astotra and, what would turn out to be the first of many bhajan sessions together, group members met and greeted one another before turning to their bunk beds for some well deserved rest.
The next day, the group felt completely energized after an early morning abhishekam and set out to perform a concert for the local people of the Belgian town of Hasselt. When we arrived we spent several hours preparing the stage and soon enough the first guests arrived at the venue. The audience enjoyed some of the many homemade sweets and savouries and were treated to a host of devotionally sung bhajans performed by the Premananda Youth.
All youth members put their hearts and souls into the performances and even though at the end of it all only a few had much energy left, the entire group showed their gratitude by singing one last song late that night for the local volunteers who made the evening possible.
Our group spent the following day underground in the great natural caves of Remouchamps only to be uplifted later at the holy site of Banneux. Mother Mary has appeared here and we all spent time in the spiritual atmosphere and drank from its healing well.
We were presented with the opportunity to showcase our many creative talents during a night of games and a ‘playback’ performance the following evening. The well prepared performances were loudly applauded whereas the spontaneous performance by the boys was greeted with cheers, mainly out of hilarity!!
Everyone got the opportunity, through a creative workshop, to reconnect with their artistic side and share their works and stories with the group. Finally, in unison, the group said good-bye to the old year as a new year was welcomed and we celebrated together with dancing, laughter and a beautiful candle ceremony outside in the snow.
Understandably, so that everyone could fully reap the benefits from its powerful energies, the Ganesh abhishekam was performed a little later than usual on New Year’s Day. An exciting game was organized for the younger members of the group later that evening. Everyone got involved in a thrilling quest that required cooperation between the different teams to solve the mystery that had haunted our guest town for so many years.
Six days of excitement, friendship and spirituality were finally concluded with cleaning, packing and, as a reward, eating Belgian fries as the last activity of this year’s Premananda Youth meeting.
We thank the organizers for doing such a wonderful job on planning the entire meeting and making it fun and inspiring for everyone present. Of course our deepest gratitude goes out to Swamiji whose presence was felt many times throughout this week and who presented us with the opportunity to get to know each other, learn from one another and grow as a group under his spiritual guidance.
Jai Prema Shanti!