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Nar Narayan Dev Yuvak Mandal ( NNDYM) was created to help young people to confront the challenges of human life. It operates both in India and the world outside.
In India NNDYM has over 200,000 members that regularly meet in their local areas and contribute to both humanitarian and spiritual causes. Outside of India it strives to help the youths to integrate traditional Indian values into the lifestyle present in today's modern society.
NNDYM aims to nurture its members to firstly become good human being and then arouses feelings of responsibility, spiritual consciousness and dedication. To achieve these goals, youths are encouraged to:
- participate in humanitarian efforts
- seek cultural awareness
- welcome guidance through personal spiritual development
NNDYM was founded by His Holiness 1008 Acharyashri Koshalendraprasadji Maharaj in 1994 with its headquarters at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Kalupur, Ahmedabad. His Holiness has acted proactively by setting into motion various initiatives to build a solid foundation of young people across the globe. He has set the highest standards for responsibly propagating dharma (duty), bhakti (devotion), gnaan (knowledge), and vairagya (detachment from maya). Firm in His commitment to bringing the Swaminarayan religion to people all over the world, His Holiness understands today's generation. 'Be human first, then religious' is a principle He has shared with youth all over the world. As a member of the human race, we have a responsibility to mankind to be a good person above all else. In doing so, the concept of religion has the proper pasture in which to graze and nourish the soul. There is compassion in His Holiness and He has inspired and blessed youth worldwide.
Generally speaking, in today's modern world, religion is merely a slice of the pie that is life. At one time, religion was the whole pie for people and it was the inspiration for their lives. Being human back then meant being either religious or being lost. There were not many other options for an individual. People worshipped one form or another of God in order to survive. Religion's influence from the earliest point of ancient history is reflected in the architecture, writings and traditions that still exist to this day. People were inclined to follow the traditions of their forefathers without question. The idea was to live life according to a plan. Everything a person needed to know to survive was derived from religious teachings. Hence, people followed the principles of religion ( dharma ), expressed love to God ( bhakti ), understood their inner selves ( gnaan ), and implemented this understanding to prepare the soul for an eternity of service and loyalty to God ( moksha /salvation). This divine happiness was a lifelong journey. Religion was the only map.
Today's world is different, but how different is it really? Are the needs of people these days so different that religion now has less importance? What explanation is there for the decline in popularity of religion, especially among young people?
'A good friend can be the best mirror.' Today's Indian youth all over the world face many obstacles and challenges. Among the many distractions that challenge today's youth, bad associations and poor selection of friends echo as most dangerous. Poor associations can lead a person down many wrong roads and ultimately get them lost entirely.
NNDYM gives youths the opportunity to be valued, appreciated, respected and loved without having to deal with the pressures that come along with being an adolescent. The spiritual significance of positive influences is a huge building block to the success of a society and a people. Protecting youths from the perils of negative influences helps preserve their innate understanding of right and wrong; good and bad; moral and immoral. It will motivate them to be positive influences on others and help spread goodwill.
NNDYM now boasts more than 200,000 members in India and over 30,000 overseas, with each member firmly committed and devoted to its activities.
Being part of NNDYM is predicated on the concept of 'being human first, then religious.' NNDYM is a forum for youths to learn the principles of religion as preached by Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan so that they can implement those teachings into their everyday lives in an effort to be the best person they can be.
NNDYM is actively involved in the community and is growing in leaps in bounds. Youths from all parts of the world are working towards strengthening the foundation that has been laid and building upon it year upon year.
Below are some key accomplishments that NNDYM has had an integral role in achieving.
Bal Mandal Classes
NNDYM conducts weekly educational Bal Mandal classes for the enrichment and personal development of youths. These classes cultivate cultural, spiritual, and social development for the pre-teen youths of our future. Activities such as arts and crafts and plays/skits are included in these classes. Field trips to science museums, aquariums, and picnics are held throughout the year. In striving to help the younger youth of Indian origin to fuse together their culture, Gujarati, tabla, harmonium, Indian classical dance, and spiritual development classes are organized throughout United States, Europe, Africa, India and Australasia.
Garba Festival (Navratri - Traditional Indian Dance)
NNDYM organizes a nine day festival called Navratri every year. A traditional Indian dance originating from the state of Gujarat called raas garba is enjoyed by thousands of people from all walks of life. This grand festival welcomes anyone and everyone, as it gives them a valuable insight into Indian culture.
Volunteer Services at Great Festivals
Rajat Jayanti Suvarn Jayanti Utsav - the Swaminarayan Sampraday is famous for the well organized and peaceful celebrations of grand festivals. This celebration was the largest in recent years with over 10,000 volunteers from NNDYM helping out doing everything from looking after people's shoes to managing the sabha-mandap. Chhapaiya Nij Mandir Murti Pratishta Mohotsav - this festival took place in Uttar Pradesh at a time when there were riots and curfews imposed in Gujarat . Despite these conditions, over 1200 volunteers made the journey to help celebrate this grand festival. Shashti Purti Mahotsav - over 12,000 volunteers from NNDYM were involved in and around the Gujarat University Grounds, working around the clock to ensure that the festival ran smoothly.
NNDYM International Camps
For the past 9 years, NNDYM has organized international camps in various parts of the Europe, Africa, United States , India and Australasia. Inspired by His Holiness Acharya Maharaj Shree Koshalendraprasadji Pande and His wife, Her Holiness Gadiwalashri, youths from all around the world attend these camps. Youths learn to introspect, and identify the person they are and strive to achieve self improvement and personal satisfaction through various inspirational lectures, group discussions and presentations, cultural shows, arts and crafts, hiking trips, sports activities, Indian classical dance, henna art, and spiritual singing sessions.
Since 2002, NNDYM has prepared quarterly regional conferences for youths. Regionally, youths get together for a few days to reflect on the community activities, personal spiritual progress, and discuss future goals.
Monthly NNDYM Satsang Sabhas
NNDYM organizes monthly satsang sabhas for youth of all ages. Members meet once a month at their local temple or chapter to: Sing bhajan/kirtans, Read/discuss the Vachnamrut, View episodes from the dramatization of Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan's life: Jay Shree Swaminarayan, and discuss any obstacles/challenges they may be facing in society. These satsang sabhas are a great way to from friendships and strengthen the network of highly motivated youths. These monthly satsang sabhas encourage the young people to seek a higher purpose to life by exploring their inner self, learning more about Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan, and networking amongst their peers, they are creating an environment more conducive to happiness and success.
The Swaminarayan Faith from its inception has stressed the importance of women in society. In an effort to advance the progress of Indian women in their pursuit of individuality and independence, the first ever NNDYM female youth conference was held in December 2003, under the banner 'Truth: Explore, Experience and Express' Female conferences have since become an annual event, facilitating discussions and workshops to challenge the ladies to incorporate the theme into their lives With dynamic discussions and workshops the female youth are challenged to incorporate the 'Truth' theme into their lives
ISSO-NNDYM Sports Day
In different regions across the United States and Europe, NNDYM organises a fun-filled competitive day of games and sports. Sports Activities such as baseball, volleyball, cricket, potato sack races, obstacle races, and track & field events are organised for youths of different ages. The day is filled with food and fun and a handful of new friends.
Religion in today's world is more important than ever. Due to the many different paths people can choose for their lives, people are more likely to suffer spiritually. The simplicity found in the Swaminarayan religion touches on every aspect of a person's life. The path that is created is simple and steadfast as opposed to the lifestyle people lived many years ago. People do question and dare to live independent lives. Religion can offer solutions to problems that are neither spiritual nor religious. Religion offers the soul a path clear of self-inflicted pain. Swaminarayan religion stresses the importance of practical living and surviving to achieve eternal happiness. NNDYM is a medium for the principles of religion to be integrated into the lives of youth, stressing the importance of 'being human first, then religious.'