4th International Youth Conference
On August 15 2006 – the Independence Day of the Republic of India as well as the Birthday of His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda (author of the worldwide renowned scientific system "Yoga in Daily Life") – children and youth from all five continents of the world presented their visions, ideas and concerns about our today's and future world.
Titled "Youth for a sustainable future", this event was already the 10th youth conference of "Yoga in Daily Life" and the 4th one held in Czech Republic. It was organized by Czech "Yoga in Daily Life" Society and the Yoga In Daily Life Youth Union. This annual Conferences as well as the foundation of Yoga In Daily Life Youth Union have been initiated by His Holiness Swamiji with the purpose to awake and reinforce the consciousness of ethic and moral principles, non-violence (Ahimsa), respect of every culture, tolerance and understanding towards every nation and religion, creation of world peace, healthy environment and healthy families for the young generations.
This year the conference was held under the patronage of:
- Mgr. Tomas Zatloukal, Deputy of the European Parliament,
- PaeDr. Alena Gajduskova, Senator of Czech Parliament,
- Libor Lukas, Marshall of Zlin region,
- Mgr.Tomáš Úlehla, Town Mayor of Zlin.
The conference participants were children and youth from age of 5 till 30 years, coming from more than 20 countries: Czech and Slovak Republic, India, Syria, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Italy, Great Britain, USA, Canada, South Africa, China, Israel etc.
At the opening ceremony the children recited a Vedic Peace Mantra: OM dhyau shantih, antariksham shantih, prithvi shantih, apah shantih, oshadaya shantih, vishvedeva shantih, bhrahma shantih, sarvam shantih, shantireva shantih, sama shantiredhi, offering flowers and lightening a peace-candle on the altar. The conference proceeded with addresses of dignitaries, VIP speakers, and presentations of children and youth. The cultural program included contributions of national and international artists, singers, dancers and musicians. His Holiness Swamiji, the initiator of the Conference, gave the opening and the closing speech. Below are excerpts of his two addresses:
I am very happy to be here to support the efforts of youth for a better future. There are many peace conferences around the world but very few are giving children and youth the opportunity to contribute and express their visions and concerns. The future is in hands of youth, but at present, the future is in hands of parents and teachers. How parents and teachers will educate the children today, like this will be the future. What we have, we have to hand over to the children. You cannot expect from the children anything different from what you have given them. Nowadays education is missing. Not the education of modern technology or earning money, but it is the ethic education that is missing. Education to love every creature and to take care of and protect the environment. Result of this missing education are wars. Wars never lead to peace. Every war causes a big wound in the heart of people, and this wound lasts for many generations. Their blood is boiling in the thought of revenge. Nowadays education has separated human from human. Children have lost love and respect for their parents. Students have lost respect and attention towards their teachers. We are running to a dark future. But we don’t want to live in a dark world. We don’t want that children repeat our mistakes. Therefore, also adults should get education about how to teach their children about love, respect, tolerance and understanding towards all religions, cultures and nations. Ethic, moral and spiritual education shall be restored again. Without spiritual education, there cannot be world-peace. We all know that our world is in troubles. By drugs, criminal activities, terrorists, climate change etc. We humans are responsible for this. Can we hope for a better future? Yes, we can, and for this purpose we are here today. I appeal to all parents and teachers, to all humanity, to support children, to give them opportunity to express their ideas and visions - and give them good ideas and visions for a better future. "Yoga in Daily Life" is working in many fields, especially for integral health, for ethic and moral education, for spirituality and upliftment of human consciousness, as well as for protection of animals and environment. If we cannot do more, at least we should give this world into the hands of children as pure and healthy as we got it from our ancestors. If we cannot offer them more, at least we shall offer the youth a glass of clean water. Millions of humans are suffering because they do not have access to clean water. And the situation will become even worse. This all we shall put into the consciousness of our children. What means a "sustainable future"? What has been created will be destroyed. This is not sustainable. Is the atom bomb, our technology that creates pollution, our money, wars that are going on – is this all sustainable? This will be discussed today and the children will give us their opinion and answers to these questions in this conference. Youth has a message for us, and they ask us to hand them over the light of wisdom, to leave them a flame to enlighten their future. It would be pity if we die without having given them our knowledge, our wisdom. Our knowledge will disappear with us if we are not giving it to others.
Dear brothers and sisters, dear juniors, it was a beautiful day. It was a great joy and a lesson for us to hear the requirements, the knowledge of the youth and we can learn a lot from them. Yes, indeed they are the culture of tomorrow. Tomorrow will be as they are. There is a poem written by Rabindranath Tagore. One evening at the time of sunset he was walking in the garden and he saw the orange-coloured beautiful horizon, the sunset. Being a poet, he made a poem, a story out of this beautiful evening scene. He was thinking what the sun might think while going down. The sun is sad that his time was gone and that this part of the world will be swallowed by darkness. Sun is looking to the left and to the right, asking if there is anyone who can take his place. In that minute, Tagore heard a sound, the sound of the bells in the temple announcing evening prayers, and a beautiful lamp, an oil lamp, was lit. Tagore turned to the temple and saw the radiance of this tiny flame. And he was writing about the thoughts of that flame: when it saw the sun setting and the sun being sad, the flame said to the sun: "Don’t worry, I will try. I can't be the sun but I will give the light to the world." Likewise, it is with the seniors and juniors. The time of the seniors is passing away, and we would like to pass on our wisdom to somebody to carry our work further. Now it is the duty of the juniors to take over the future of the world in their hands. We had a beautiful day, we heard beautiful thoughts. Some were pleasant, some were unpleasant. The truth is sometimes not easy to digest. Millions of children and mothers are crying because they became victims of the wars. Not only humans, also animals are suffering immensely. Difference between humans and animals is that humans have the power of their intellect, and animals unfortunately do not have this. Ahimsa is the highest principle in the world. If you cannot give life, you have not the right to take it. How to stop the killing, killing of humans as well as of animals? What can we do? Can we do anything at all? Yes, we can! Charity begins from our own home and peace begins from our own heart. It is time to act now! I wish a happy future to our youth. I am very happy for them, and I wish that they will not be a tiny flame but a big and strong light. Don’t give up your work. Act according to your visions and ideals. Go straight forward. Don’t give up!