26th January, 2009, 8.00am -- The day was bright and plenty of sunshine.Youth Retreat kicked-off with registration of participants for youths between the ages of 6 and above. However,elders(parents)joined together with their children too.(Mrs Madhu and Devakumar mending at the registration booth).A total of 60 participants and 20 adults(youth at heart, nevertheless)registered.
Sharp at 9.00am, activitity started with an hour of Yoga exercise. Master Umamahesan conducted this session with explanation, after a brief welcoming speech.
Sun salutation posture!…inhale, pull your front body up, back body straight..
Breakfast being served after Yoga session.
Next, performing simple Ganesha Pooja.Youth brought their own little Ganesha from home and they were taught how to conduct Ganesha home pooja. A step by step explaination with mantra chanting and their meanings.
"Let anne show you how to do" this youth guides the younger kids while their parents watched enthusiastically.
The next game -- Youth were divided into three groups and puzzle game relating to Ganesha were given to them to be completed as group effort.They enjoyed this game very much. The younger kids were given a less challenging work of connecting fixed dots outlining Ganesha's figure.
"Can uncle repeat the question?"
Greeting's in our traditional way! An interesting adaptation from Saivite Hindu Lesson book. Different group kids greets and says vannakam to each other. They're taught why we greet in this way and its significance.
2 members from each group were selected to memorise all the 16 names of Ganesha murthis surrounding inside the temple and will join their group to match-up the names with pictures given to them. A memory game and team effort work!
"We have done it''. All smiles and a happy picture after correctly identifying all the 16 Ganesha's murthi names in the temple.
Listening to talk on rudraksha and vibuthi. An enlightening session with slide show presentation. Number of questions were asked about rudraksha and one of the questions was, "Can girls wear rudraksha?" Of course they got a positive answer from Master Umamahesan, "Yes! You can"
Lets go to temple! Another interesting game, where number human cicles are formed with Ganesha in the center. Giving an idea of how temple outflows positive shaktis to devotees. Here the 5 shaktis of Ganesha rushes towards the devotee when he/she visits a Ganesah temple.
Temple Chairman,Dato Balakrishnan Sinniah gave away momentos to the youths, Ganesha sticker and Rudraksha beads at end of the Youth Retreat program. A lively non-stop activities that had really moved the youths hearts to come to temple and appreciate our religion and culture better and for a change, the program is an eye opener for many, in that they realized this was far better way to get them involved in our religion -- a paradigm shift!
The religiously educational, joyful and funfilled day comes to an end at 3.30pm.A group picture as a memory. All of them wanted to have more of this, as at the end, many of the youths requested,"Can we have this once a month?" Indeed a rousing success. Jai Ganesha!
"Temples with multiple deities can be confusing, especially for today's Hindu youth. For clarity, we need to bring forward a more precise understanding of the different Hindu denominations and how the different Gods are viewed from within each denomination. For spiritual advancement it is best to focus on one deity and get to the vibration that deity. When we hear teachings from various Hindus, it is important to understand and identify which denomination they are speaking from. This will avert confusion when that teaching gets contradicted in a different context where someone is talking about the same subject but from a different philosophical background."
Bodhinatha reviews the main characteristic of Saivite philosophy and practice with an indepth focus on the four stages of religions evolution, chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana. He highlights how this shows that Saiva Siddhanta is unique and quite from the modern practice of Hinduism as Vedanta