13th Anuual Women’s Conference Hosted by BAPS
BARTLETT, IL- BAPS Shri Swaminaryan Mandir, in Bartlett Illinois, hosted its 13th annual Women’s Conference. This year, the conference was themed on “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. The conference presented an insightful look at our efforts to reach such goals, mental and circumstantial challenges we may face, and ways to overcome difficulties along the way. The conference focused on one’s endeavors while on the path of spiritual sadhana.
The conference began with the first speech by Dr. Sima Patel (resident physician at University of Minnesota). Speaker Dr. Sima Patel 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” said Dr. Patel. 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. Furthermore, Dr. Patel 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. Dr. Patel gave the example of her guru, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who was appointed the president of BAPS at the age of 28. He 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’s second speaker, Dr. Leena Patel (PharmD, University of Illinois), focused her speech on spiritual sadhna. She said, “Spiritual sadhana makes us more prepared for all other efforts we undertake and brings inner calm to our chaotic lives.” She revealed four practical tips to help the audience imbibe spiritual sadhana into their daily lives: practice dharma, listen to kirtans or devotional hymns, listen to katha or religious discourses, and study scriptures. Religious implementation of these tips into 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” said Dr. Patel.
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.
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 emphasized, “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.” In this way, Dr. Rangala invited each individual to commit to seeing the divinity in
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. This year’s conference was the first for Dr. Monali Desai. She attended this conference because, “I wanted to be open minded. I had been in a spiritual journey, but this was new. I wanted to hear what other women had to say”. Shree Gurusamy noted, “It was a fantastic effort to put together by the team. It is a good way to get youngsters involved.”
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.