CYF to CYF – Chennai to Chennai via Munger and Rikhia – A Transformational Journey

Manusshya uvAcha:

This article is a vivid description about the “Aptha poorthi of CYF 2013″(Children Yoga Festival 2013)

Yes, CYF 2013 has completed one year. Wow! It is one year old now. The grandeur of the celebration follows…

Even before the baby was born, it was pre-planned that the birthday would be celebrated in BSY (Bihar School of Yoga) Munger.

Satyananda Yoga Educational Charitable Trust conceived the idea of Children Yoga Festival in the new revised format and together with Ankur Learning Solutions ventured to take yoga to at least 50 schools in Chennai commemorating Golden Jubilee year of Bihar School of Yoga. The aim of CYF was to enable the children to look at yoga from a broader perspective. Following this invitations were sent to all the schools in Chennai. First festival was conducted at the school level. Whichever team got selected in the school level moved to the zonal level and the teams which got selected in the zonal level were awarded with a gift. The great gift was a trip to Bihar School of Yoga, Munger and Ashram in Rikhia. The entire trip was sponsored by the organisers.

The aptha poorthi celebrations begins now.

The teams which got selected in the zonal level (from various schools) started assembling in the central station on 11th February at 7.30am. With every school team a school teacher was accompanying and some anxious parents who wanted to accompany their kids agreed to travel with us. Volunteers from Satyananda Yoga Centre and Ankur also joined the trip. So the entire team that is 89 members in total began their journey… As they started chanting maha mrityunjaya for a hassle free journey, the train chanted its own mantra oh….chuku…chuku…

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For every school team was appointed a coordinator from Satyananda Yoga Centre. Special luggage tags were given to each and every baggage of the entire team for better identification. Members were asked to arrange the food for self on that day. Snacks were supplied in between every  meal. Children had lots of fun within their team.

Next day by noon we reached Kolkata and went to the waiting hall for refreshing ourselves after a long journey. After that the whole team boarded two Volvo buses for sight seeing. Sumptuous lunch was provided in packed boxes in the bus. mmm….. Yummy!!!

First we went to Vivekananda memorial house (the ancestral house of Swami Vivekananda) and came to know more about Swamiji’s qualities and family background. A must see place for all Indians. The vigor and valor of a great person can be felt there.

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From there we moved to Victoria memorial but unfortunately we couldn’t make it in time and took snaps in front of the palace. Our eyes got stuck to a bhel puri wala. The sight of bhelpuri itself enthused the children and the disappointment of not visiting the palace vanished in no seconds. After having the delicious bhelpuri we headed to the station to catch the train to Jamalpur.

There was a great surprise in the train. Two children of the team were celebrating their birthday that week so the team had arranged for a surprise cake cutting. Both of them were in seventh heaven. The rest of the kids were accommodated (dumped) in one bay for cake cutting and enjoyment new no bounds.

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Next day morning we reached the ashram after having breakfast at the railway station. The first step into the ashram was exciting for each and every kid. The ambiance was so calm, beautiful, colorful, peaceful, graceful, divine and what not? The fullness that prevailed in the atmosphere pervaded into each and every one. This could be felt by the entire team.

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Later we were allotted rooms. In the evening we had dinner at 5.30 pm and attended a kirtan session. We didn’t take any effort to put gamakams during kirtan because the vocal cords were doing the job perfectly as the temperature went so low and we were shivering 🙂 . Next day morning kids had shaky yoga session viewing the moon and stars at 6am.

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After that all of us had breakfast and did seva. Evening CYF children gave a performance. As the luck had embraced those children, a miracle happened!!! Swami Niranjan came out to view the performance immediately after his Panchagni tapas for the day. Swamiji enjoyed the show thoroughly.

“Karuna pradayak gurudeva”

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Next day ashram was in full festive mood as Bala Yoga Divas was celebrated that day. Children of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal (BYMM) gave wonderful performance followed by kirtan session by swamiji. Some children took mantra deeksha. We had feast that day. The love that ashram inmates expressed for the CYF children was immense.

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Next day morning we left for Rikhia from Munger after breaking fast in two Volvo buses. Again children had gala time as the volunteers were engaging them with some game or the other and continuous supply of snacks was there during that 5 hour journey.

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We reached Rikhia by 3 pm and were allotted rooms in Paramhans building. Children were so excited as there was no instruction given to them to observe mouna and they had a playground in the centre of the building. We just got them a bat and a ball. That’s it… They started playing mini T20 match. We stayed in Rikhia for three days.

All the three days children of CYF gave their performance in small portions.

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kanyas (girls) and batuks (boys) of Rikhia too performed there.

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On the final day all the CYF children, kanyas and batuks gave dance performance for a cine song.

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A delightful sight. By now CYF children from different schools of Chennai became one single group. Unity and cooperation between the children was astounding. Creativity among them was in full bloom as they were ready to present a skit also.

Yes… This is the success of the CYF. The baby is growing healthy. Throughout the trip children learnt…

  • Team work
  • Discipline
  • Waiting (perseverance and patience)
  • Unleashing the potential
  • Enjoying to the brim

If this is going to be the nature of kids in their daily life these children of CYF (Children Yoga Festival) as they grow, would converge at one point to form another CYF (Creative Youth Foundation) and there will be a transformation in the society for good.

Next day we started from Rikhia ashram by truckers and got dropped in station at Jassidih. Train to Kolkata would stop there for only 2 minutes. So the girls, ladies and elderly got into the train first while the male members along with some boys had to literally throw the baggage of 85 people into the train. Quite an interesting experience. We reached Kolkata and had special veg thali for lunch. 4 porters with luggage trolleys were arranged to carry all our baggages including the prasad  bags from the ashram. We all boarded the bus and went to Belur math… a splendid workmanship could be seen. From there we went to Dakshineshwar and then returned to station to catch the Howrah-Chennai Mail.

Children were really tired and they were ready to hit the bed but “waiting” was learnt as the train was at 11.35pm. Children were provided masala dosas specially brought from Haldirams. Kids were happy as they got dosas for dinner. After dinner, some small kids slept on the platform itself, waiting for the train to arrive.

At last we boarded the train to Chennai after making arrangements for lunch and breakfast for the next day. But the arrangements for dinner was still hanging. Everything went on smoothly till lunch. After that the organizers’ concern for dinner was reaching its peak. Even after attempting in two-three places they couldn’t succeed. This cannot be neglected as the group was big and kids were with us. It was then iota of doubt aroused among volunteers… “Oh! if the arrangement for 85 people itself is difficult, next year we are aiming for 108 schools. Is it possible?”

Bhagavan uvAcha…

As the organizers approached the train pantry for curd rice as last resort, TTE who was standing there came forward with a suggestion that he would be able to  arrange curd rice for 85 people from Iskcon temple. Immediately he spoke to Iskcon people in Rajahmundry and arrangements were made. When the train arrived Rajahmundry station, an Iskcon devotee handed over the curd rice (Thayir saadam – devamrutham) and said…

“Whenever you travel like this, please inform us before hand so that we’ll provide you food with varieties. So don’t bother about the food”.

We volunteers felt that these words were uttered by Lord Krishna himself and felt the grace and blessings of Lord for the next apatha poorthi.

Dhanyosmi !!!

To conclude… entire trip was like this. When you get a bee hive in your hand after chasing away all the bees carefully… as you squeeze it, drops of honey would fall on your taste buds drop by drop. It will be yummy isn’t it. Each and every drop would give you the same taste and it will never diminish. The CYF trip to Bihar was like that. Each and every moment carried the same degree of enjoyment. As the tongue lingers with the taste of honey our thoughts still linger around the trip.

We all whole heatedly wish CYF many more birthdays like this.

– Yoga Tattwa (aka Sumitra Vivek), Yoga Teacher & Volunteer – CYF

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