“YEP has given me much more than what I can articulate in a limited time and space, but it has foremost taught me how to think, and how to maintain an inner sanctuary of peace through the chaos of our daily lives. “
-Sanjana Manikandan

Sanjana

Coming to YEP, I had heard stories from people who had changed vastly in 2 months, to the point that they were unrecognizable from when they started YEP. However, I didn’t believe it for a second; in my mind, 2 months was not enough time for me to wipe out anything that had been firmly planted in my personality for 20 years.
But after the first week, I quickly realized that YEP was not going to be easy. I was kept busy from 5:30 in the morning till 10:30 at night, with hardly any time to introspect. The discipline that was required to wake up on time and maintain the schedule was especially hard after 3 years in college of doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. I realized the benefits of this discipline- that it is truly freeing (as Swamiji had drilled in our heads for the past 2 months), and that it gives us the opportunity and clarity to prioritize our days.
After inculcating some semblance of discipline, albeit begrudgingly, in the first few weeks, I was finally able to focus more on myself and how I need to grow. We were instructed to journal every day, and not just like a diary entry. Our journals were supposed to be daily logs of which vices we displayed, the cause for those reactions, and the underlying thought process behind each reaction. This was another aspect of our sadhana that took some time to get used to. In the start, I found myself very defensive and unready to admit the fact that feelings I had during the day, or things I said were unnecessary and hurtful. As I kept track of these tendencies more, I started seeing facets of my personality that needed to change. And that was probably the one thing I constantly applied myself towards at YEP. Learning to let things go, to gain patience, to be more compassionate, all in small ways, was and continues to be a work in progress. But I will leave YEP with the idea that most of the time, our reactions and emotions are not worth it, it is our Ego speaking and wiping out that Ego little by little is the only way to reach that highest potential that we can all be.
For me, YEP was not a place that I needed to learn the value of our scriptures. I already knew coming in that our scriptures provide unparalleled knowledge about everything in life. However, at YEP, I was able to not just learn the scriptural teachings, but apply these values daily. And it is this application of Vedanta that will serve as my clarity and inspiration after returning to samsara. YEP has given me much more than what I can articulate in a limited time and space, but it has foremost taught me how to think, and how to maintain an inner sanctuary of peace through the chaos of our daily lives.

Sanjana graduated from Rutgers University with a Double Major in Cell Biology and Neuroscience, and Psychology. She is the head of Central New Jersey CHYK group as well as a Balavihar Teacher. She is a part of the CHYK West Steering Committee and involved in planning YEP 2016, Cam-tra-con and Regional Planning Conferences.