In the welcome address, our presenter said, “Today may be a turning point in your life. If you apply your mind and listen attentively to the presenters, you will leave this place a changed person....The programme does not try to change your religion. It will, in fact, reinforce your faith in your own religion, making it stronger, in keeping with the Sunlit Path motto, “GOD IS MY GUIDE.”
Principal of Spes Nova, Mr A. Appanna in his inspiring address said, “One of the most amazing facts of life is that your speech determines your direction in life. Not only does it determine your own thinking but it influences so many other people whom you are in contact with on a daily basis.” By way of various anecdotes and illustrations, he highlighted the importance of positive values. “The tongue controls your life”, he went on to say, “You can say, ‘I hate you!’ or ‘I love you!’ Remember, what you say, is what you get.”
Learners were reminded about the initial programme held in 2014. The following aspects were discussed in 2014: The importance of prayer, how taking drugs and consuming alcohol will affect one, how gambling could ruin a person, the value of celibacy, causes of depression and how to overcome depression, the disastrous consequences of suicide, the Law of Cause and Effect, Health & Diet, the effects of viewing undesirable scenes on TV, the checklist or the Diary and Pledge Form.
Dr D.C. Moodliar, a retired Chief Education Specialist in the Department of Education, exhorted learners to take all that they can from this programme, He said, “The theme of my talk is, ‘The importance of today’. Life is a journey, live each day to its fullest. Like any journey, you must plan the direction in which you want to go.” Dr Moodliar quoted the wise Chinese saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” To reinforce his theme, Dr Moodliar quoted from the Poem, “Look To This Day” by Kalidasa, a Sanskrit poet. His collection of poems entitled, Salutation to the Dawn is regarded as one of the most inspiring poems ever written. We quote a verse from this poem:
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today, well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a new vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation of the ever-new dawn!
In emphasising the importance of the checklist, our presenter said, “If you wish to be successful in life, then you must use this checklist daily. It will not only help you to become a better person, but will help you in your studies and most importantly, it will take you closer to God. There is no doubt about this. Great men like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill all used a diary. They recorded their weaknesses and failures. They analysed their shortcomings and took steps to overcome their failings. If you wish to attain success in school, later in your career, in married life, in business and in spiritual life, start the checklist today. You will never regret it.”
The sketch, Meeting Life’s Challenges, the Sunlit Path Way, was brilliantly enacted by our Rishikumaris and youth girls. The serious message contained in the sketch, to which they related to very strongly, as well as the healthy humour, succeeded in captivating the learners’ attention. The theme of depression and suicide as well as the factors that contribute to this cheerless existence was portrayed exceedingly well. The following thoughts from the sketch come to mind, “At one Sunlit Path workshop it was mentioned that young minds, especially, absorb everything they see and hear. These impressions that are formed in our minds directly influence our behaviour and personality whether we may realise it or not. Just as a man is judged by the company he keeps, if you are constantly in the company of Mr TV, who is relaying to you any amount of violent scenes and bad language, etc., how can you not expect the same thoughts to resurface in your daily life with disastrous consequences?”
The breakaway session based on the sketch lead to lively discussions and many searching questions were posed later in the Question and Answer session. The ill effects of bad company, the consequences of suicide, the importance of fasting, the value of prayer and repeating the Divine Name, problems of adolescence and the effects of peer pressure were answered in this session by both learners and presenters of the Sunlit Path Programme.
The day ended with lunch on the joyous note of the singing of the Theme Song, “No Harm, No Harm, No Harm”, followed by a few minutes of silent meditation.
We thank principals of the schools for allowing learners to attend this workshop as well as the Management of A.M. Moolla Spes Nova School for so readily consenting to use the hall, free of charge. Our gratitude goes to the Phoenix Branch of Divine Life Society of South Africa for their labour of love in providing breakfast and lunch. And finally, we acknowledge with deep gratitude the permission granted by the Department of Education for making this function possible during school hours.