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Women’s meet at BAPS temple in Chicagoland

Women’s meet at BAPS temple in Chicagoland
April 18
15:01 2019

SHUSHMA PATEL
CHICAGO: Bochasan Akshar Purshotam Swami Narayan (BAPS) Shri Swaminaryan Mandir in Bartlett, a north side Chicago suburb, hosted its 13th annual Women’s Conference with a remarkable degree of success.
The conference theme this year was “Sadhana: The Purpose and the Pursuit”, which encouraged women from all over the Midwest region to lead purposeful lives and empower and inspire each other to reach their professional and spiritual goals.

“Sadhana” means “the efforts towards our goals”.” It is the journey one takes when on the path to achieving a specific goal and mission in mind. The conference presented an insightful look at THE efforts to reach such goals, mental and circumstantial challenges that are faced, and ways to overcome difficulties along the way. The conference focused on one’s endeavors while on the path of spiritual sadhana.

Young attendees

Young attendees

The conference began with a speech by Dr. Sima Patel, resident physician at University of Minnesota, who reflected on her own sadhana and highlighted her journey through her goals and ambitions. She revealed the three crucial concepts that drive success: passion, purpose and perseverance.
“Success does not rely in results, but in efforts. Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out,” she said.

Dr Patel encouraged the audience to have self-awareness because “self-awareness gives us a moment to reflect on who we are, or where we want to be”.
“It keeps us from going down a path that we would rather not take and allows for our progress in the right direction,” she said.
Dr Patel also touched on how growth and comfort do not co-exist.

“Growth is uncomfortable, because we have never been there before. We cannot become what we want, by remaining what we are,” she said.
Citing the example of her guru, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who was appointed the president of BAPS at the age of 28, she said that Swami Maharaj humbly accepted this appointment, despite being unaccustomed to such status. By accepting this appointment, he grew and changed the lives of millions for the better.

The conference continued with the talk of spiritual sadhana and its role in helping people maintain this self-awareness and presence. The conference’s second speaker, Dr. Leena Patel, PharmD, University of Illinois, focused on spiritual sadhna.
“Spiritual sadhana makes us more prepared for all other efforts we undertake and brings inner calm to our chaotic lives,” she said

She revealed four practical tips to help the audience imbibe spiritual sadhana into their daily lives: practicing dharma, listening to kirtans or devotional hymns, listening to katha or religious discourses, and studying scriptures. Religious implementation of these tips in daily life results in one feeling calm, centered and blissful for each hour of the day.
All in all, “a spiritual sadhana makes us more prepared for all other sadhanas we undertake and brings inner calm to our chaotic lives”, she said.

The conference concluded with the keynote speech given by Dr Sangita Rangala, emergency medicine physician. Dr Rangala shared her experience in the emergency room, which requires individuals to be still enough and control their inner energies. “When we are still, we are able to appreciate the hard work of everyone in the room. We have to meet patients mentally, emotionally and spiritually” she said.

Three WC Activists

Three WC Activists

Dr Rangala focused her speech on recognizing the self as divine. “If we are committed to see the divinity in everyone and everything, we have to see it in ourselves,” she said. She emphasized that “women are the pillars of families, societies and civilization”.

“We have no reason to apologize and no reason to feel less than, when it is just the opposite,” she said. In this way, she invited each individual to commit to seeing the divinity in themselves.
After the conference, many attendees reflected on their personal and spiritual sadhanas. Attendees recognized the importance of sadhana in daily life, while others introspected on their own sadhanas and how they wished to grow in their sadhanas.

The BAPS Women’s Conference was inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj, the current spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. The conference highlights the influential role of women in today’s society and empowers the younger generations by promoting a healthy dialogue. Before and after the conference, attendees seized the opportunity to network with each other and share their perspectives on the theme. Many women in the audience were inspired by the conference’s messages.

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