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Love and Light

Region 5 - Inaugural YAP (Young Adult Programme)

"Selfless Service to Society is True Sadhana"

The year 2012 promises to be a momentous year for the Sai organisation, especially within the Youth Wing. The task of continuing the Lord’s teachings since His Mahasamadhi has been placed on the shoulders of the Sai Youth across the world with the guidance of our elders to shape the future of the World for generations to come.

With this in mind, Region 5 Sai Youth convened on Wednesday 14th March for their inaugural YAP (Young Adults Programme). The occasion was marked by the National Youth Co-ordinator (Shyam Jamnadas) addressing the Region 5 youth for the first time via webcam. Shyam spoke about the purpose of holding a monthly YAP, in order to explore Swami’s life and His teachings and use our inspiration to go out and serve the community. He also mentioned all the on-going National Youth initiatives and opportunities that Region 5 youth could take part in.

One of the aims of the Region 5 Sai Youth has been to integrate more with their peers throughout the country. Thus, they were fortunate to be joined by youth from Region 2 and youth from as far as Northern Ireland participating in the session via webcam

The Region 5 Youth coordinator, Nishal Govindji, introduced the theme for the session: "Selfless Service to Society is True Sadhana" which was based on Swami’s Discourse given to the Kerala Youth in 2006.

Swami says,

"The individual is a part of society. Society is an aspect of creation which has emerged from God. It is therefore the duty of every individual to undertake sacred and selfless service to society. All actions of man should be devoted to the service of society."

The focal points for the evening were:
1. Why should we serve?
2. How should we serve?
3. Whom should we serve?

Why should we serve?

The evening started off with the Youth brainstorming about why service is important. Numerous reasons were put forward, such as: to reduce our ego, to help the needy, to improve our karma and to use our time efficiently.

Although we are aware of why we should do service, often we find it difficult. Breaking up into pairs, we discussed the challenges we faced when trying to serve others and how we had overcome them. Various issues were raised, but most of us agreed that time is a major limiting factor, as well as the motivation to do service.

Upon reflection, we decided that every act should be seen as an act of service, no matter what the time or the place or the situation.

How should we serve?

This led us on to the attitude required when doing service. This objective was introduced through an innovative exercise in which the youth were asked to write down the similarities and differences between them and those around them. A 'diversity chain' was then made using all these notes. From this exercise we realised that whilst we are all different in society, we are all part of the same community and family, and are each an equal and important link which holds us all together. It is with this mind-set that we should serve others. There are no differences between us and the people we serve.

Service with the attitude of love and sharing
When we do service we are simply sharing the love and the gift of time, energy and skills that God has given us with others who also have the same God within them. This is how service can be done with a pure heart.

Keeping good company
The youth were asked to suggest why Swami started His discourse on Selfless Service with the topic of keeping good company. We concluded that in order to develop the correct attitude for service, we must be in good company, as the company we keep will influence our thoughts and actions. Keeping good company is an important start to ensuring we continue on the correct path of service.

Whom should we serve?

The final topic of discussion involved us looking at photos of different people in society (such as a beggar, a prisoner, a homeless alcoholic, a wealthy man, a child) and debating who out of these individuals we would prioritise when serving. This led onto a discussion about serving non-sathwik food to those who are in need of food. We also touched on the topic of serving people who are not in apparent need of service and to assess if our good nature was being taken advantage of by such people.

Whilst opinions differed, there was a general consensus that if a person was in distress, we should serve them regardless of their circumstances.

Take home messages

The session ended with two key take home messages which Swami Himself has given to us for guidance when undertaking any action. With these words, any doubt about when to serve, how to serve and whom to serve will certainly be dispelled.

"God will not ask you, when and where did you do service? He will ask, 'With what motive did you do it? What was the intention that prompted you?' God seeks quality, the quality of the heart, the purity of the mind, the holiness of the motive."

"Do not judge others to decide whether they deserve your service. Find out whether they are distressed; that is enough credential."

The evening concluded with the youth snacking on tortilla chips, hummus and salad. With Swami’s Grace we pray that all the youth were motivated and ready to put their words into action.

Jai Sai Ram
Saiwarren, Region 5
Active Youth, Greater Manchester Sai Centre