March 26, 2017: The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Atlanta, Georgia held its annual Women’s Conference themed Resolutions: Bonds that Liberate. The conference centered on positive resolutions that shape lives by transforming habits: accepting ownership, performing hard work, and making sacrifices. Distinguished speakers discussed how one’s resolve to take ownership, perform hard work, and make sacrifices can strengthen character and develop grit.
The first part of the conference, led by Heena Parmar, focused on how individuals can cultivate personal accountability within family, community, and spiritual growth without feeling burdened. The audience learned that hard work requires drive and dedication, a commitment to finding the solution without giving up from Deepa Patel, a Judge Advocate General in the United States Air Force. Later, the audience was inspired by two unique perspectives on the subject of sacrifice. First, they learned the meaning of empowerment by extending oneself for the greater good by Tanvi Patel and second a thought-provoking speech by Praksha Patel on the notion of whether one’s sacrifice is ones dharma or in fact a sacrifice.
“We have to make choices in our life, and when I do, that’s where I am going to be committing my passion. You cannot commit to everything with passion all the time, but when you do commit you really have to go for it.” shared Dawn Whaley, President of Sharecare, a digital healthcare company, who was invited to serve as the keynote speaker for the conference. “When making a sacrifice you are ultimately making the decision to do what’s right for you and the people around you, with what you are trying to accomplish at that time.”
The Women’s Conference was organized by local youth and women volunteers of BAPS. They dedicated weeks of their time leading up to the conference to organize a professional forum where women could share their strengths and empower one another. The diversity of speakers invited to present at the conference appealed to a wide variety of interests among audience members. Their personal experiences and adherence to cultural values inspired young women to strive for success while imbibing spirituality into their daily lives.
“It takes a village and the vision of our Guru to bring such a program to life. Each volunteer is an integral piece to the overall success of the conference” said, Ashini Parikh, a local volunteer from the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir who helped to organize this year’s conference. “This year we were able to shine a spotlight on many talented women across the Southeast that embodied the message of ‘Resolutions’. They left over 700 attendees inspired, motivated and introspective about the path and journey they will now take forward.”
Radhika Patel, a senior in high school who attended the conference spoke of her experience, “Over the past couple of years, I have been attending the BAPS Women’s Conference. Each year the topics have been fascinating and inspiring. The timing for this year’s topic “Resolutions” couldn’t be better. The personal stories of determination, will to succeed, and sacrifice will help forge my future. As I look forward to my college career, I vow to change my priorities to invest even more time in developing my skills in hopes that one day I too will be able to have a story that will inspire others.”
After the conference, audience members were able to network with the speakers and other professional women who attended the event. The Women’s Conference program connected with members of the audience to bring them together and inspire them. His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj encouraged events as such to strengthen and support women to, in turn, support the backbone of our society. Today, his beliefs are persevered by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj who encourages all to lead a life infused with spirituality and integrity.
Dr. Zalak Patel, an anesthesiologist from Alabama expressed, “While playing all the different roles of a woman, such as wife, mother and professional, one can get lost in the path. It is through conferences such as this, where one can find herself again and redirect her goals. One can connect with other women and implement each other’s best practices in life. “
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace, and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families, and individuals. Through various spiritual and humanitarian activities, BAPS endeavors to develop better citizens of tomorrow with high esteem for their roots and culture. Its 3,300 international centers support these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit www.baps.org.
About Mahant Swami Maharaj
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. His devout, humble and service-focused life earned him the innermost blessings of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj travels throughout the world inspiring people through his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. His virtuous lifestyle and profound devotion to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and gurus are ideals toward which devotees strive. Mahant Swami Maharaj became the guru and President of BAPS upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.
About Pramukh Swami Maharaj
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. He dedicated his life to the well-being of others, traveling throughout the world to foster love, peace, harmony, righteousness, faith in God, and service to humanity. With genuine care and compassion, he reached out to all members of society irrespective of class, color, or age. Recognized and respected as one of India’s greatest spiritual teachers, he lived by and promoted the principle: “In the joy of others, lies our own.”