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Love and Light

Region 4 - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Birthday Celebrations at Coventry Sai Centre

Upon arrival, devotees walked into a heavenly atmosphere as they were presented with a beautiful altar set up. Many centre members had dedicated hours and hours into creating the wonderful backdrop and decorations, and it certainly instilled a sense of peace before the Birthday celebrations began.

The programme commenced with three Aums and the Sathya Sai Ashtottarashata Nama Ratnamala – 108 names of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba – whilst the SSE children went to Swami’s chair to offer flowers at His Lotus feet. After this, the SSE children confidently sang the Sarva Devata Gayatri Mantra, followed by the powerful chanting of Purusha Suktam by the large congregation of devotees.

At this point, the first part of the musical offering began with devotees joining together to sing the Sri Sathya Sai Navaratna Mala followed by 3 bhajans, giving everybody the opportunity to sing the glory of the Lord. The SSE children then presented a garland of multi-faith prayers which wonderfully displayed the “One religion” message that Swami emphasised his entire life and which also forms the very symbol of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation. The children then proceeded to sing a medley of short songs which tied in with the theme of the programme: “I am the Light, the Light is in me”. The songs were sung so brilliantly by the SSE children, especially considering the limited amount of time they had to prepare, that the entire hall applauded them once they had finished.

This led perfectly to the next item – a talk by Perdeepbhai Asi on the theme for the day. He started by mentioning that much of what he was about to share with us, he had learnt from Dr. Dhirubhai Gadhia. He demonstrated how the concept "I am the Light" could be applied when chanting the Gayatri Mantra, as initially taught by Dr. Gadhia. Perdeepbhai then explained the significance behind the three statements "I am in the light", "The light is in me" and "I am the light". The "light" that is referred to in these statements refer to God’s light and love, and therefore these three statements reflect three different levels of awareness. He explained how these levels are represented by Jesus’ progress through the levels when he made the following statements during his life: "I am the Messenger of God", "I am the son of God" and finally, "My Father and I are one". Perdeepbhai emphasised how Swami has told us this repeatedly and has even given us the prayer “I am God, I am God, I am not different from God”. This helped everyone remember that there is no better way to celebrate Swami’s birthday than by following His primary message.

Perdeepbhai’s inspirational talk certainly provided many points to reflect on as well as giving practical applications of this teaching. Devotees were able to sit and soak in these words with the start of the second part of the day’s musical offering. More melodious bhajans were sung with love and light, followed by three final group songs. These songs were rendered beautifully and the final song reached a crescendo, which flowed seamlessly into the birthday song that was sung whole-heartedly by every person in the hall.

This brought an end to what was a thoroughly enjoyable programme and devotees left the hall filled with joy, love... and cake too!

By Mukund Prajapati
Youth Coordinator, Coventry Sai Centre