JVB conducts 22nd Annual Family Camp — “Search for Existence”

Group photo of attendees and samanijis

By Kuldeep Lunia


Under the spiritual guidance and presence of Samani Arjav Pragyaji, Samani Samyaktva Pragyaji Samani Abhay Pragyaji and Samani Swati Pragyaji, JVB Preksha Meditation Center, Houston conducted its 22st Annual 3-day Family Retreat Camp at Radha Madhav Dham in Austin, TX from March 29-31st 2024. Over 120 participants from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Michigan came to nurture their souls through powerful discourses, yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques while  enjoying the calm and scenic surroundings.

The camp commenced on Friday with Gaurav Jhaveri, JVB President, delivering the welcome note. JVB Director, Pramod Bengani hosted the “Ice-breaking” session where the attendees and their families introduced themselves. After the introduction, Samani Arjav Pragyaji started the program with the topic “EVOLVE” where she gave us the concept of “Negative Thank you” and 15 min of Positive thinking. Parallel session for youth from ages 13 to 17 years was conducted by Samini Samyaktva Pragyaji on the topic “REINVENT..EVOLVE..LEAD” and sessions for Kids from 8 to 12 yrs old were conducted by Samani Swati Pragyaji on the topic “Doctor-Doctor”. Session for kids from 3 to 7 yrs was conducted by Samani Abhay Pragya on the topic “FUN and LEARN”.

First time participants, Dhanesh & Pinal Shah said “Big shout out to all JVB volunteers for planning, coordination and execution of a memorable camp.  Although this was the first time for me and my wife, we felt as if we have been coming here for ages.  Kudos to all JVB family and attendees for driving inclusiveness. We not only bring back great memories from the camp but lifelong associations.  Thank you again for including us.”-

Saturday and Sunday morning sessions started with powerful “Bhaktambar” shlok recital by Samani Abhay Pragyaji followed by Meditation and Yoga Session by Upma Chauhan. Samaniji briefly explained the importance of Bhaktambar, Samayak, Meditation and how it can help us in our daily lives. The session indeed recharged and filled everyone with positive energy. A parallel session was conducted for kids as well.

The Samanis led 9 more interactive and learning sessions throughout the camp which included lectures, presentations and practical experiments on different meaningful topics of SEARCH FOR EXISTENCE. Samani Abhay Pragyaji spoke on topic “CUSTOMIZED LIVING” where she explained that we should have ANGER, EGO, DECEIT, GREED and should replace it by FORGIVENESS, HUMBLE, SIMPLICITY, SATISFACTION. Samani Samyaktva pragyaji spoke on the topic “RADIANT LIVING” where she taught us how to work without ANGER. Samani Swati Pragyaji Spoke on the topic “ACTIVE or PASSIVE EXISTENCE” which was about “power of questions” and how parents can be role model for their kids. Samani Abhay Pragyaji spoke on the topic “ROADLESS TRAVEL” where she described the importance of setting up boundaries for desire and awareness.

The retreat had concurrent youth programs, where they focused learning on various fun-filled topics such as “Exploring Jainism in Daily life”, “My Life – My Rules”, ”Inner Make-up Vs Outer Make-up”, “Be a Lion”, “Conquer the Real world” and other creative and playing activities conducted by different Saminis along with volunteer teachers.

The kid sessions were also conducted by Samanis on the different topics like “Lights, Camera, Action”, “White-White Bright-Bright”, “Static Movement”.

An 8 year old participant said  “Food was amazing and I had a lot of fun. I want to come again”

Everyone participated in the cultural eve on Saturday, where they expressed and shared their learning. 6 different teams were formed out of which 3 teams had to create an instant story based on a topic given by Samaniji which should be based on things they had learned in the camp.  Balance 3 teams had to prepare a 4 to 5 min skit on a story created by other teams. The youth team also created an instant story and enacted it. Creativity peaked in each of the team skits, and the audience enjoyed the entertaining fun presentations. Nitesh Jain and Rajat Khater played the perfect host for the evening.

All participants applauded the great assemblages of programs, activities, and the way arrangements were handled professionally by the JVB team.  Food arrangements were handled by Sarika Gandhi & Anju Bengani and few other volunteers.

A 15 year old participant Manya commented “the camp leaves us bonded with unforgettable memories. Personally, I learnt a lot from Samanijis and enjoyed every moment during the camp. I also made new friends and am looking forward to participating next year.”

The Annual camp concluded with a half-an-hour interaction with families. JVB Director Pramod Bengani moderated the feedback session with the families. He expressed gratitude to Samanijis, all attendees and volunteers for making this a memorable and successful event for one and all. JVB Executive committee comprising of Gaurav Jhaveri, Kuldeep Lunia, Pradeep Jain, and Harshad Parakh handled the execution along with the help of several volunteers. JVB President Gaurav Jhaveri gave a vote of thanks and asked for forgiveness for any oversight from attenddes. Samaniji brought the event to a successful close by reciting Mangal Paath. Everyone parted while taking the excellent learnings from the camp and a vow to come back next  year.

​​JVB Preksha Meditation Center is home to a specially designed Preksha Dhyan ‘Pyramid’ Meditation Hall and is located at 14102 Schiller Rd, Houston, TX 77082. For more information and current & upcoming programs please visit www.jvbhouston.org  or call 281.596.9642