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Love and Light

Region 4 - Salcey Forest Service

On the morning of Sunday September 23rd 2012, having previously checked the weather forecast I was well prepared, wearing warm clothes and suitable footwear. A group of youth and adults met outside Soar Valley College prepared for a day of outdoor service. We went on to the minibus and sang lovely bhajans which were relaxing and spiritually uplifting, therefore giving us the best start to the day’s activities. We arrived at Salcey Forest where we were served ‘garam garam chai’ (hot hot tea) to boost our energy levels. Jo Roberts from the Forest welcomed us all and assigned us the task of cleaning up a secluded area of the forest where trees had previously been cut down. The area had lots of branches and other debris which we cleared up to allow for new plants to grow. We started on the work by getting into teams and making chains to allow us to pass the branches along quickly. Jo started a fire and as the flame grew as the day progressed. The entire team worked for the hole day and it was great to see everyone getting together and working well in the name of God, just as the Swami would want us to.

We had a fantastic dinner served by the local devotees which included ‘channa’ (chickpea curry), rice and pasta. One of the uncles from Birmingham enlightened us with teachings of Mother Nature and how we can apply these lessons to our daily lives. For example, we were surrounded by many tall trees which were standing tall and straight and reaching for the sunlight despite all the obstacles they faced. They had not let anything stop them from growing taller and reaching higher. As we were throwing the branches into the fire, we did not hold back and threw them in as quickly as possible. We can apply the same attitude to sadhana; just dive in and not hold back or be scared about what may happen, just throw those negative qualities in and move on.

All in all it was an uplifting and spiritual day and as Baba says, "Hands that help are holier than lips that pray".

Bijal Desai
Region 4