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Youth Camp – Inner Awareness and Personal Growth
WHEN Oct 9, 2016
WHERE Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Gurgaon, Haryana

 A one-day organized Youth Camp on ‘Inner Awareness and Personal Growth’ was organized on October 9, 2016, by the members of Sri Aurobindo Society, Gurgaon Branch, at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Gurgaon. There were 25 participants from schools, colleges and other educational institutions.

Purpose of the Youth Camp
The objective of the Camp was to acquaint the youth with the real aim of life and how to be aware of their inner self. The underlying assumption was that it is the youth who are the citizens of tomorrow, and any attempt for a transformation of society must start with the youth.
With this aim, the branch organizing team undertook a sustained effort to identify the right candidates for the camp. They made contact with the academic circles, such as nearby Schools and Colleges, Polytechnics, Coaching Centres and RWAs.  As a result, they were able to identify a fairly large number of youth, aged between 15 and 30, who showed keen interest in attending the camp, but the number was limited to 25 which was the ideal number for the camp to achieve a meaningful dialogue between the speakers and the participants. In addition, many leading schools of Gurgaon like Shikshanter and Salwan Public School have indicated their willingness to nominate their students for such camps in the future, depending on their School Calendar.
The proceedings started with an opening address from Shri Krishan Sethi, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society Gurgaon Branch, who welcomed the participants and outlined the objective of the Camp and gave a brief account of the objectives of Sri Aurobindo Society and activities of the Gurgaon Centre. 
The first working session was devoted to understanding “The Aim of Life”. Shri Amit Kumar started with a simple exercise in which the participants were asked to write on a sheet of paper a brief account of what they thought was their Aim of Life. After the sheets were collected, he pointed out that almost all of them had shown their aim to be securing a good job or being rich or finding love and fame, etc. With the help of a series of slides Shri Amit Kumar explained that these are all superficial aspirations and the real aim actually sprang from our unique purpose in life which was chosen for us by Nature. At the end of the session, they were again asked to write on the same topic and all of them were delighted to find that what they wrote at this stage was entirely different from what they had written originally. All of them reported that they were keen to know their Inner selves and lead their life in accordance with that. 
Shri Amit Kumar took the next session on “Inner Awareness – Understanding and Controlling of Mind”. He brought out the distinction between brain and the mind, which again with simple games he demonstrated how difficult it was to control the mind. He described a simple three-step method: “Observe, Detach and Control”, by which the mind could be controlled; and explained them using suitable examples drawn from the day-to-day experiences of the young people. He elaborated on the short-and long-term approaches to achieving a greater control over mind, which included limiting the area of one’s attachment with objects and persons. In this connection, he explained how the practice of meditation could help them in achieving inner awareness and self-control. The participants reported achieving a great sense of peace and calmness at the end of the 10-minute meditation session he conducted. 
The post-lunch session was devoted to “Inner Awareness – Understanding with Controlling of the Vital (prana) and the Physical (body)”. In this session Shri kumar brought out the distinction between Mind and Vital (prana). He explained about the strengths and weaknesses of vital energy with several examples. He guided the participants on how to control the prana through Pranayama which could give them control over emotions and desires. With constant and regular practice of pranayama, negative feelings such as anger, jealously, fear, insecurity, greed, etc., could be converted into positive feelings such as love, happiness, peace, wideness, generosity and others.
While explaining the physical (body), he pointed out how it was made up of five elements, five sense organs and three gunas (Sattwic, Rajasic and Tamasic). He emphasized that a sound body was necessary in order to achieve anything meaningful in life and a sound body could be only achieved through Eating healthy and on time, Sleeping well and regular Exercises. He also brought out how thoughts have effect on the body and how positive thoughts can promote health and happiness.
Later all the participants were taken to the Photographic exhibition on Sri Aurobindo’s Life. Before proceeding to the exhibition hall, Shri Amit Kumar gave a brief account of the life of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The participants were then escorted to the first floor of the centre which houses the exhibition on the life of Sri Aurobindo. The Chairman Shri Sethi took them around explaining the significance of each photograph. The visit was greatly appreciated by the participants.
At the end of the camp, each of the participants was given a folder containing relevant reading material with a notebook and pen. The event concluded with the distribution of participation certificates and a Vote of Thanks by Shri Amit Kumar.
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