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Region 1 - Sai Legend Visits Sai Mandir

Thursday 29th November

For so many of us, Dr Sam Sandweiss’ book, the Holy Man and the Psychiatrist, was our first introduction to Swami. To read it is to be taken right back to the years to rediscover that early thrill of discovering the Avatar. So, unsurprisingly, the temple at Merton was packed as we awaited the arrival of Dr Sam Sanweiss and his wife Sharon.

First impressions were of a couple still as enthusiastic and dedicated to Swami as when they started out on their adventure 40 years ago. Retirement has not slowed them down and in fact they have only increased their dedication and effort in undertaking Swami’s work all over the world. Sam’s main messages was that we should all be making our lives into a song and to sing it out confidently.

Sam and Sharon shared the stage and Sam spoke of his attempt to make a film about Swami, with Swami’s apparent encouragement which is currently being uploaded onto a website that he is putting together. Another recent project for the couple was when they and their Centre put together a wonderful free concert for the enjoyment of local people in their area. Snippets of the concert were shown and we could see that the standard of the production and of the artistes was superb. Sam’s message of not letting ourselves underestimate ourselves stayed with us, and this encouraged us to use our talents and find a way to use it and make our lives into a song.

Sharon’s bubbly and humerous paersonailty was infectious and she captured the entire audience’s attention. She lovingly spoke about raising 4 daughters to love Swami whilst living the American life. Sharon reminded us of the importance Swami gives to women and the old phrase “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world". She spoke of Swami’s determination to get their girls married and taking on the role of organising their husbands himself. It was initially apparent to them that not all the sons-in-law ticked all the parental boxes in terms of not vegetarians or Sai devotees, but as long as they were of good character, that seemed to be Swami’s main criterion – now 3 of the 4 daughters are happily married and the grandchildren are coming along.

Finally, Sam took us through a short film on the Water Project. He suggested that this was the way to talk about Swami and his work. He himself is soon to present a paper to a Conference of Psychiatrists on Swami.

Having both of these esteemed guests in the centre was a treat for the eyes and the ears. To hear so many experiences they had with Bhagawan left and impression on us all, and their infectious enthusiasm brought a lasting smile to everyone who heard them.