By: Nirzari Kapadia & Manjari Amol Kaulgud
Bala Sewa Satsang is a weekly activity for children hosted by Sewa International Boston chapter. It commenced in March 2020 with an objective to impart Sewa sansakars and a sense to develop social responsibility among children through learning and recitation of the mantras and shlokas from Hindu scriptures. Bala Sewa satsang is a great platform for children to promote creativity and independent thinking among themselves. It is also a unique way for children to learn social skills in an interesting, fun-filled and exciting manner while paving their way to become not only social leaders, but also caring and positive contributors to the world they live in.
In Sewa Satsang, we do not feed information into the minds of children. Instead, children learn to assimilate thoughts through the teachings of ancient scriptures and Hindu cultural heritage. This provides an opportunity for character-building and ultimately assists them in becoming an asset to the society.
The slogan of Sewa Satsang is "Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah" meaning "Let everyone be happy" and “Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahuda Vadanti” meaning “Truth is one, it can be called and experienced in multiple ways”. One key value that is imparted in children is that serving humanity is serving Divinity (Nar Sewa Narayan Sewa).
In recent interviews with parents of regular attendees of Bala Sewa Satsang, they expressed their thoughts and the development seen in children by virtue to this project.
Many thanks to Neha Kaushal Ji mother of Siya Jagdale (8th grader) for the interview below:
Q. According to you, what is Bala Sewa Satsang and what is its objective?
A. The Bala Sewa Satsang group was created for kids. There are several initiatives on Sanskrit language, mantras and games, coordinated for kids to bring them closer to their heritage and culture. This has helped the kids living away from their roots to get oriented and learn more about Hindu values and ethos. Mantra recitation, storytelling, shlokas, songs, youth sessions and discussions on various topics like yoga and spirituality have assisted in imbibing the right values and principles in children.
Q. How frequently do these meetings happen?
A. Weekly every Saturday from 7:00pm EST to 8:00pm EST.
Q. Have you seen any change in your daughter since she started attending the Bala Sewa Satsang?
A. Yes, my daughter has become conversant with many of the shlokas and songs taught in these sessions. She has increasingly become an active contributor to the discussions rather than just a listener and resonates with the beliefs and values imparted during the learning.
Q. Does your daughter look forward to the meetings or do you need to coerce her to attend?
A. My daughter absolutely looks forward to these sessions. She is on a schedule now, and in anticipation of the Satsang halts all other activities 15 minutes before it starts. It has had a profound impact on her thought process and aided her development.
Our sincere gratitude to Gagan Salwan Ji father of Jaskirat Salwan (3rd grader) for his response below:
Q. Do you think this program is beneficial to youth and how has your daughter benefited from this program?
A. This is a fantastic way to connect the younger generation and our kids to Hindu Dharma. We as parents, are always preoccupied in our own lives and often miss imparting these basic values to the next generation. But the Bala Sewa program has profusely helped in connecting our children to Hindu culture. At home, while we pray to the almighty and chant prayers, the essence of the underlying values often remains unexplained. Bala Sewa has helped bridge the gap between mere recitation and understanding of these core values. Kids are inquisitive by nature and any learning comes with a plethora of doubts. The learnings during the Bala Sewa program have successfully helped satiate some of these curiosities. There have been occasions when we, as adults have had new learnings from the sessions. My daughter is extremely social and a reasonably fast learner. Of late, I noticed her trying to recite as few of these mantras by herself. I feel the program is a guiding light in her quest to hone her devotional skills. She has also picked up a few Sanskrit words in the process, which enhances her language skills.
I have a pair of twins as well, and it delights me to no end when I see them learning from Jassi. She is fast becoming a role model for her siblings. I have noticed her reciting these shlokas and discussing the lessons with her grandparents. Needless to say, her grandparents are overjoyed to see their granddaughter connect to Hindu culture and learn family and social values. I truly believe, this will help her on her journey to become a responsible and caring individual.
Our heartfelt gratitude to all the participants of Bala Sewa who have manifested their Satsang learnings into some beautiful drawings. The enthusiasm and the outpour of creativity in the children is commendable and we truly appreciate and applaud their efforts in the Sewa family.
Shiva by Jaskirat Salwan(3rd Grade)
Ganesha by Adi Amol Kaulgud (Pre-primary)
Krishna by Siya Jagdale (8th Grade)
Shiva by Siya Jagdale (8th Grade)
Narsingh by Siya Jagdale (8th Grade)
Ganesha by Anish Gupta (5th Grade)
Ganesha by Arnav Gupta (9th Grade)
Aum by Abishek Kumar (8th Grade)
Ganesha by Akash Kumar (11th Grade)
Ganesha by Arya Sharma (Pre-primary)
Krishna by Arya Sharma (Pre-primary)
Shiva by Aarna Shekhar (1st Grade)