Friday, October 12, 2018

Prasangs of Mahant Swami Maharaj

In this week's kishore-kishori sabha, we will be highlighting the life of our guru, Mahant Swami Maharaj, with prasangs. With 35 minutes allotted, it may appear difficult to connect his 85-year lifetime with ours, so we need to emphasize relevance. At NC18, delegates took the time to put together a life map highlighting milestones in their life.  

One way to kick off sabha is by asking the audience, "Imagine we had the seva of drafting Mahant Swami Maharaj's life map. From birth, what 9 events would he want to feature from his life through the age of 30?" 

Allow them time to brainstorm independently before putting together the events.

To explain why we picked this age, Chip and Dan Heath cite a study in their latest book, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, which clarifies why we picked this age range. 

In a study by Dorthe Berntsen and David Rubin, respondents were prompted to think about the life of a baby who had just been born and to predict what would be “the most important events that are likely to take place in this infant’s life."
  1. Begin school 
  2. College 
  3. Marriage 
  4. Parents' death 
  5. Others' death 
  6. Retirement 
  7. Leave home
  8. First job
It’s striking that 4 out of the 8 most important events all happen during a relatively narrow window of time: roughly age 15 to 30. 
Similarly, if you ask older people about their most vivid memories, research shows, they tend to be drawn disproportionately from this same period, roughly ages 15 to 30. Psychologists call this phenomenon the “reminiscence bump.” Why does a 15-year period in our lives—which is not even 20% of a typical life span—dominate our memories? “The key to the reminiscence bump is novelty,” said Claudia Hammond in her book Time Warped. “The reason we remember our youth so well is that it is a . . . time for first... first jobs, first travel without parents, first experience of living away from home, the first time we get much real choice over the way we spend our days.”
For Swamishri, let's look at his firsts. We highly recommend this book in preparation for this weekend, particularly the first section on his life as a balak, a kishore, and a yuvak. Here is our sample of 10 major events from birth to age 30.
  1. 9/13/1933: birthday
  2. 1934: first encountered Shastriji Maharaj who named him 'Keshav' [0.5] 
  3. 1946: placed first in the annual exam and received a book as a prize [12]
  4. 1951: encountered Yogiji Maharaj & Pramukh Swami Maharaj [17]
  5. 1951: received first kanthi at the hands of Yogiji Maharaj [17]
  6. 1952: spent time in Gondal with Yogiji Maharaj and acknowledged his guru's wish for him to become a sadhu after graduating college [18]
  7. 1952-1954: pursued Bachelor's in Agriculture as it allowed him availability to spend time with his guru [18-20]
  8. 1957: received parshadi diksha [24]
  9. 1960: received diksha again [27]
  10. 5/11/1961: received bhagwati diksha [27]

See what ideas the audience comes up with, and let's share with them the experiences our guru had in his life.