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Love and Light

National Report 2012


The ‘Year of Illumination’ started with the National Orientation and Welcome Day. Dr. Kiran Patel (UK Chair) introduced the theme of the year: ‘Illumination’. ‘We started last year with the theme of ‘Re-Connect’ which reminded us of our heritage, the ideals and principles that Bhagawan had given. After Swami left His mortal coil, we all started to ‘reflect’ on our relationship with Swami and our role. Now we have had time to do this and have got answers to our query – thus the ‘year of illumination’.

The month also bought forward an array of National and Regional events; Service Wing - Experiences at Dang Medical Camp, Youth Wing - National Youth Meeting, Region 1 - YAP: "My Sai and I", Region 2 - New Years Eve Prayers, Region 3 - Ilford Sai Centre: Sankranti Celebration, Region 5 - Working with the Refugees & Asylum Seekers in Newcastle upon Tyne, Region 6 - i-2-I Self Knowledge Workshop: "Who am I?", Region 7 - Mayor of Bath’s Annual Call To Prayer to all Faith Groups, Region 8 - Medicare Initiatives from Scotland


February was a month of Regional Orientation and Welcome days and Regional Shrivratri Celebrations took place. Regional Orientation and Welcome days took place in Region 3, 4 and 5 whereby the National Wing work programmes were broken down and plans to implement at a Regional level took place. Regional Shivratri Celebrations took place in Region’s 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 at various venues and capacities but the sacred vibrations created by chanting and singing the Lords name was felt by one and all.

This was also the month where SSLTP had its introduction weekend for the cohorts of 2012 and Region 2 had its SSEHV Holiday School for 5-11 year olds. Results of SSEHV in the community were also seen through Abbey Primary Community School, which is in partnership with the Sri Sathya Sai School in Leicester, recently received an outstanding grade for its Ofsted Inspection. Twenty-nine areas were considered 'Outstanding' from the thirty-two required.


This month saw a variety of Spiritual and Service activities both in the Organisation and also out in the wider community. Region 1 had a Sai Laksharchana and Interfaith Walk in Wimbledon, Region 5 had their SSE Training Day and a Devotional Singing Workshop, Region 6 got involved with a local Tree Planting project and in Region 7 Swindon’s SSE Class Celebrated Easter.

March was also busy for the Youth wing where Region 2 and 5 had their Inaugural YAP (Young Adult Programme) sathsangs where themes like ‘The Universal Presence of Sai’ and "Selfless Service to Society is True Sadhana" where explored. Region 3 also had their regular youth Sathsang exploring "Mind, Body and Atma". Service was also on the agenda for Region 1 and 3 whereby Easter Eggs were collected and taken to local Children’s hospitals.


The National Gratitude Bhajans 2012 took place on 21st April. The Bhajans commenced with a musical offering. The melodious sound of the flute, keyboard and tabla stilled our minds aiding our preparation to focus on Swami and receive him in our hearts. A video of Swami’s beautiful darshan, life and legacy was being played in the background. This was then followed by an inspirational outpouring of love and gratitude to our Beloved Bhagawan through six hours of continuous Bhajans.

National Sai Remembrance Day 2012. ‘There is only One Religion: The Religion of Love’ is the Divine Declaration of Bhagawan Baba. In the spirit of this Universal Message, the program commenced. We were blessed to have with us, as our esteemed guest for the day, brother Sanjay Sahni, Director of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Brindavan Campus, who gave a rapturous, awe inspiring talk.

Other activities of the month included Youth Sathangs exploring themes like ‘whats next’, ‘Transformation through Service’, ‘Healthy Living the Sai Way’, ‘Bhajans why do we need them?’ and ‘To be’. Region 5 had their Mahasamadhi Celebrations and Region 8 had their Sathsang with Professor Sanjay Sahani. Brighton Centre in Region 6 arranged a memorial bench for Swami in a local park with the engraving ‘'There Is Only One Religion, The Religion Of Love.- Shirdi Sai – Sathya Sai – Prema Sai'’.


National Easwaramma Day 2012. Easwaramma Day is celebrated the world over by Sai devotees, commemorating the passing away of Mother Easwaramma, Bhagawan Baba’s Chosen Mother, on 6th May 1972. Children attending SSE (Sai Spiritual Education) classes offer their gratitude to mothers for their love and sacrifice through participation in various activities on this day. The theme chosen for this event was centred around expressing gratitude to the ‘5 Mothers’ that Bhagawan has taught us to revere. These include, apart from our physical mother (Dehamaatha), our Motherland (Desamaatha), our Scriptures (Vedamaatha), our Cattle (Gomaatha), our Mother Earth (Bhoomaatha).

Other activities in the month included Regional Easwaramma Day Celebrations in Region 1 and 8, Sathsangs with Brother Sri Sanjay Sahni, Region 2 Age Link Party with the theme Love in Action and Unity in Diversity, Region 3 held a Free Walk in Health Awareness clinic in Central London, Region 5 Cutting the Ties that Bind Workshop in Halifax, Region 7 – Laksharchana in Bristol and SSE Swindon joining in with the Jubilee Celebrations. Youth Sathsangs also took place in Region 1, 2 5 and 6 exploring themes ‘Meet the Stranger’ and ‘Making our Lives Swami’s Message’.


This month 2 Free walk in Health Awareness clinic’s took place, in Region 2 and 6. Sai-lympics Family Fun Day took place in Region 4 along with a Ladies Event in Leicester and Shirdi Sai Satcharitra Reading in Gujarati in Leicester. In Region 5 Summer Bhajans took place in the Gita Bhavan Hindu Temple and a Youth Retreat took place in the Isle of Man entitled "Art of Living...Art of Life". Region 6 held a Lakcharchana in Basingstoke.


The month of July started auspiciously with the Rudra Ekadashi Homam on the 1st of the month at the sacred and holy premises of the Shri Venkateswara Temple in Birmingham. The UK had the opportunity to offer our loving gratitude to our dear Lord, Master, Guide and Satguru Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on the auspicious occasion of Gurupoornima. Also, on the day of Gurupoornima, July 3rd, a Bhajan Book iphone application developed by one of our UK Youth was launched.

Three Free Health Awareness Days were conducted by the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (SSSSO), Region 2, in association with Brent Indian Association (BIA), Wembley; Region 6, Farnborough in association with Hampshire NHS Trust and Rushmoor Council; and Region 3 at The Mayor’s Newham Show. The youth of Region 5 also managed to organise a Youth Retreat on The Isle of Man entitled "Art of Living...Art of Life" which was a great success.

Sathya Sai Centres across the country celebrated Global Service Day. Coventry and Rugby joined together and invited elderly and disabled people from care homes around Coventry and Rugby and provide entertainment, delicious food and a fun day out!


After an absence of several years, the UK National Sai Retreat exploded onto the scene in 2012 and was held in Llandudno, North Wales, from 17th to 19th August. Talks given by the eminent guest speakers, Mr Vadgama and Professor Anil Kumar, calmed and cheered the attendees. There were no highlights at this weekend, as all the programmes and the hospitality were of an exceptionally high standard and very enjoyable. There were two surprise events: the laksharchan spanning two days that was conducted by Mr Vadgama; and the talk on the Saturday evening by the professor of his experiences, prompted by ex-Sai students who were actually present when these events occurred. Professor Anil Kumar toured for a whole week speaking to devotees from every corner of the UK spreading Swami’s message with fun and a zeal for life.

Regional SSE Sport Days were held around the country; with the Olympics coming to the capital in the summer of 2012, this day provided the opportunity to create a buzz amongst the Sai children and their parents as they took part in their very own day of athletics. The idea behind these sporting events is to encourage healthy competition, and show how important teamwork and team spirit are. As our Divine Master says; "the mind sees separateness; Love sees unity."

On Sunday 26th August, Sai devotees from Regions 1, 2, 3 and 6, young and old, gathered to offer their selfless service at the NHS Blood Donor Centre near Oxford Circus, Central London, from 9.30am until 3.30pm. Our beloved Swami has always placed an emphasis on the beautiful yet simple words, "Love all, serve all." With this in mind, the project of ‘Liquid Love’ was born, to enable Sai devotees around the UK to donate blood to help save the lives of others.


With the Grace of our Lord, the second annual Sai Ideal Healthcare Seminar was held in Hatfield, London on the 16th September 2012. The seminar attracted health care professionals from across the UK, all of whom were eager to share experiences and expertise on advancing the Sai Global Healthcare Mission.

The theme for this year’s Seminar was “Sai Ideal Healthcare through sustained Partnerships” and during the course of the day, a wide variety of projects, being conducted both locally and internationally, were presented, illustrating the impact of healthcare projects delivered with love and compassion.

Devotees from across the UK, united in adoration and love for our Beloved Bhagawan, in Watford, London for a second instalment of ‘Sai Smaran’ – a loving offering of Bhajans, expressing our gratitude at the divine lotus feet of our Beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The Bhajans also formed part of the sadhana for the UK Pilgrims about to embark on a wonderful spiritual journey to Prashanti the following week. The final Pilgrimage meeting also took place at the venue 2-4.30pm.

Sathya Sai Leadership Training Programme Outward Bound Weekend, Upminster, Essex. The SSLTP weekend session incorporated outdoor activities in addition to the normal modular lessons.

Region 4 get their hand dirty in Scaly Forest where they were assigned 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 was cleared up to allow for new plants to grow.

Region 7 hosted a Basic and Intermediate level SSE training over the weekend of 15th & 16th September 2012. The Cheltenham group hosted our Basic Training day. The training was attended by SSE teachers, both new and experienced as well as office bearers and parents.


Journey to the Divine Light - The much anticipated pilgrimage ‘Sai Jyothi’ became a reality as the U.K devotees queued excitedly in front of N7 in the divine and serene surroundings of Prashanti Nilayam on the glorious morning of 7th October 2012. From the moment we stepped into the portals of our spiritual birthplace, our Divine Mother’s home, it was a home-coming that will remain forever etched in our hearts.

Region 5, in conjunction with Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and Oldham Council (Greater Manchester), successfully hosted its 2nd Health Awareness Day on 6th October, 2012. The event was inaugurated by the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Olwen Chadderton who was also joined by Oldham’s Director of Public Health, Mr. Alan Higgins.

Both the guests and the volunteers enjoyed the Region 1 Youth cowboy themed Age Link Party immensely. As with all Age Link events, the exhaustion of everyone in the hall bore testament to the level of participation and enjoyment throughout the day.

Region 4, After a wonderful Laksharchan at the National Retreat, the Divine Light was brought to Coventry by our most beloved brother Vadgama who gave us another opportunity to chant the name of Bhagawan in such an uplifting manor. Through his unwavering faith, we received Swami’s Prasadam of Divine Light once again.


National Birthday Celebration - Aptly reflecting the theme for the day- The Light in our Hearts- the programme commenced with a beautifully choreographed traditional Bharatha Natyam dance titled ‘Deepanjali- An Adoration of Light’. Our beloved ‘little hearts’, SSE children from all across the country, who lovingly presented their Lamps of Love at the Divine Feet of our Bhagawan. Esteemed guests from America, Dr Samuel Sandweiss and his wife Sharon, reminded all those present of our unique fortune in being the contemporaries of the Sathya Sai Avathar who bestowed His Love constantly and unconditionally on all of us, and who worked all His Life tirelessly towards our spiritual transformation. Everyone who has ever been fortunate enough to be in the Divine presence on His birthday (or seen the videos) knows that the Jhoola ceremony is an immensely special and unique part of an unforgettable celebration. This event was no exception, and the Jhoola swayed once again to the divine melodies in the form of a beautiful music offering by a group of 11 extraordinarily talented musicians.

Dr Samuel and Sharon Sandweiss following the National Birthday Celebrations tirelessly travelled around the country speaking at Sathsangs and interacting closely with devotees. This culminated in London with a unique opportunity for SSE teachers and parents to listen to the wisdom and experience our guests could share which was generously interspersed with Swami’s love. Finally the youth had the same opportunity to interact with Dr Samuel Sandweiss who is a global visionary that has big ideas on how to spread Swami’s message referring to Swami’s thoughts on the youth and how they should be courageous like lions taking his mission forward, and living by His message.

"Akhanda Bhajans is unbroken Bliss - This day You have resolved to imbibe Divine Bliss by reciting the Glow of God in chorus with music continuously for twenty-four hours" - Sathya Sai Speaks - volume 13. Between Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 November 2012, Centres from around the UK hosted worldwide Akhand Bhajans, designed by our beloved Swami.

Ladies Day was also marked by most regions and activities ranged from Satsangs, ‘Serving man, Serving God’ to practical sessions on ‘Laughter Yoga’ and seva in local communities.


National Christmas Celebrations held at Cheltenham Ladies College - The whole day had flowed seamlessly, guided by the gentle touch of the MC for the day Dr. Mahesh and Mel Griffin’s eloquently respectful opening welcome; the delightful singing of the Children’s Gospel Choir; the beautiful carols and Bible readings telling the story of the nativity, led impeccably by the Rev. Katie McClure. SSE children represented from all regions acted out the nativity beautifully and innocently as only children can. The Mayor of Cheltenham, Councillor Colin Haye gave an impassioned and thought provoking talk on the importance of such sathsangs. Rev. Leonora Van Gils spoke so eloquently on Swami’s message of love and the day was intermingled with wonderful music. The SSE children made an offering of cookies which they decorated themselves to a local Elderly home and the day was completed with an appearance from Father Christmas.

Christmas celebrations were held around the UK where SSE children took part in nativities and carols were sung. Simultaneously, local communities were served through feeding the homeless, shoebox appeals in collaboration with the Samaritans and Help the Aged to name a few.