Unity is strength. This was the simple yet powerful subject of conversation at this year’s annual women’s conference of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, or BAPS held at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs across North America in 14 different locations on dates between April 21 and May 5.
Held in 14 cities across North America, this conference aims to inspire its attendees to bring about change through dialogue and reflection and this year was no different. At the conferences across the nation, women from different backgrounds and of different ages stressed the power of humility and positivity in creating a unified nation and global community. Organizers said an estimated 2,000 women attended the conference at different centers, including in New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, speaking at the Washington conference, Amita Shukla, CEO of Vitamita, emphasized the importance of the mindset in achieving unity. “Positivity is simply surrendering our fears, humility is surrendering our ego, and unity is becoming one with the elements and seeing everything as an interconnected whole,” she said.
At the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, Texas on April 21, 2018, the conference dwelt on unity as it is currently on the minds of many in society, and separation due to differences natural, the conference instead focused on the individual’s role in creating a unified nation and world. The speakers delved into the qualities of humility and positivity and their roles in initiating a more unity-centered mind-frame.
At the conference in Robbinsville, New Jersey, the state’s first lady Tammy Murphy, State Sen. Linda Greenstein and New York Assemblywoman Nily Rozic were among the speakers. “It doesn’t make you less powerful to be united. It adds great strength to anything that you’re doing. The unity within us enables and fosters the unity around us,” said Greenstein (DMiddlesex).
The conference covered three key concepts: importance of unity, power of humility and power of positivity and provided an opportunity for attendees to understand the significance of unity as a global concept while also discussing the little steps everyone can take toward this goal.
Another New Jersey speaker, nephrologist Tamanna Kalra used an evidence-based approach to affirm that humility is not a fixed trait, but one that should be practiced and developed. Dr. Priya Patel, a resident in ob-gyn, closed out the conference with a talk on the power of positivity. Her story of a cancer patient’s calm, thoughtful, and positive response to a life-ending diagnosis inspired the attendees.
Naimi Patel, closed out the conference with a compelling talk on the power of positivity. Giving a simple yet practical piece of advice, she said, “You can turn a negative situation into a positive situation through a change in perspective.”
Gauri Chandna, author of the book “Sparks” said at the Westborough, Massachusetts location: “Women play a great role in the growth and development of society making it an advanced and modern society,” and offered a quote often attributed to Brigham Young, a Utah politician and leader in the Latter Day Saint movement: “You educate a man, you educate a man. You educate a woman, you educate a generation.”