“Umm…not very much, I guess?”, “err….ahem……. I pray a lot before an exam!”, “Yes, I will answer your question but can you tell me the exact meaning of spirituality please?” were some of the responses received when a group of researches from a leading English daily, set out to find the relevance of spirituality in youth , by asking them, “How spiritual are you?” This, however, was in the year 1999.
Thank the influence of movies, books, television, or just the entire outlook of the new generation, but the view towards spirituality has undergone a sea change among the youth, in the period between 1999 and today. The old stereotype image of students as creatures in misery praying to God only before an examination has become passé. This image is now increasingly being replaced with those of teenagers practicing yoga and meditating before the examination or attending positive -thinking workshops. This is definitely not to say that the new breed is a flock of saints, making the temples their new hangout and shunning materialism. Rather, these young guns are aspiring to worship God in Gucci!
In fact, a spirituality class for collegians has the following thought was written outside, “The more money you donate, the more you get. Earn more, spend more, and then receive again. The cycle of karma is almost impossible to understand.”
“The maximum turnout, we have for our weekly life-empowerment workshops by eminent spiritual gurus, is from the college crowd,” says Ms.B.K.Radha, city coordinator for the Art of Living Workshop. “In fact the response to this 7 day workshop has been so overwhelming that we have now introduced a workshop customized for college students.” she adds.
Asking an active participant of a similar workshop and a firm believer in the principles of Jittu Krishnamurthi, Preeti, a 21 year old collegian says, “These workshops started publicizing themselves in the recent years. Initially, youngsters were skeptical and did not care for such lectures. But after they started showing positive results in the lives of ordinary twenty-somethings, the trend caught on. Moreover, the activity based techniques are enjoyable. There is hardly ever a dull moment there. They are great places to socialize too. These workshops teach us a lot and our teachers and parents encourage it. Now, it has become a rage!”
Be it crash courses in yoga or words of wisdom by Osho, youngsters are increasingly adopting spirituality in their daily lives. A college counselor, Mrs. Dixit, opines, “For some, even reading a book on spiritual techniques is therapeutic. Often, after an emotionally draining session, I advise my patients to attend such workshops, or just meditate for a while. As yet, I have received only positive feedback for these techniques.” Even leading youth-based magazines are spreading the popularity of these methods of lasting relief. While many advise mediation before a stressful exam , play, a competition, a job interview or a presentation, various magazines dedicate certain sections solely for spiritual guidance and sayings that centre around the depth of life etc.”
“In our college, we have a club for believers in spirituality named, ‘The seekers’, open to staff and students alike. We meet up every weekend at a peaceful place and exchange books or films or meditative music and discuss our problems with each other. Sometimes, we arrange lectures on life empowerment and Veda-readings in college .These are excellent stress busters and provide a much-needed understanding into the vagaries of life. I, definitely, feel wiser after each meet.” , says Kanika, a 19 year old collegian.
Today, most collegians are becoming increasingly aware of their spirituality and the power of belief in it. For those who aren’t, well, they at least end up sporting the ‘rudraksh’ bracelets and symbolic lockets that have become campus must-haves due to this growing trend of spiritual awareness!