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Youth Wing - National Youth Conference 2013: How To Make OUR Life HIS Message

22nd February – 24th February

Please visit our Youth Conference Website to see videos, photos. Workshop materials and much more!

http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/NYC2013

It was an inspirational sight in itself to see Group 4 SSE and Youth aged 16-35 from all corners of the country gather together to learn from each other and take Swami’s Message forward into the wider world. The title of the National Youth Conference 2013 was ‘How to Make Our Lives His Message'; focusing on the theme of Our Master, His Message and how we can be His ’Messengers’. The background movie theme to the conference symbolised how this world is Swami’s Divine play and that we are His puppets.

The first day, the evening of 22nd February began with Bhajans and a welcome address by our National Youth Coordinator, Shyam Jamnadas. This was followed by a talk given by our National Chair, Dr Kiran Patel. Kiran uncle told us that leadership is not to command, but to follow His command. This was particularly relevant to the youth, since Swami has said that He wants His students to be “leaders like lions”. Our keynote speaker Dr Sunder Iyer then gave us a glimpse of what was to be in store from the conference in his opening thoughts. He told us that when we find that “treasure in the attic” and realise our true nature, nothing in life will disturb our inner tranquillity.

Both of the following mornings began with morning prayers and silent sitting, followed by an energising Yoga session led by Dr Sunder Iyer, who learnt directly from Swami. Yoga is a means by which we can unite the body, mind and spirit. It begins with tuning into the body through exercises. After this has been established, we can regulate the breath to make the senses turn inwards; allowing us to experience clarity of our thought and the glimpse of spirituality.

Dr Iyer addressed the youth at various intervals throughout the conference. His talks were based on the three sub-themes of the conference, ‘Master, Message, Messenger’. From his talks he left us with six words to summarise what he learned from Swami: Discipline, Determination, Discrimination, Detachment, Devotion and Duty.

Master (Morning of 23/2/2013)

In his first keynote address, Dr Sunder Iyer emphasised that it is sometimes difficult to fathom Swami as God since God is beyond the comprehension of the human mind and this creates a distinction between Him and us. Swami had access to an infinite source within Him, and we must realise that divinity within us by following the example He set for us through His life. It is easier for us to put Swami on a pedestal and reject the notion that we are divine but He walked, talked and faced difficulties and physical illnesses like we have to so that we can learn to do so the way He did. Masters such as Krishna, Jesus and Swami became the change that they wanted to bring. They were Love so that they could spread Love. Similarly, we can all be Masters to bring about that change.

Seeing the Master in action, Dr Iyer saw discipline in Swami. Swami attended to every little detail, even when organising massive projects such as the Chennai water project and the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences because He knew that the little details build the bigger picture. Swami focused on being in the moment and doing what that moment required with focus and one-pointedness at all times. Similarly we should focus His Message. We should have one Master and one Message so we can focus on the destination.

As a Master nothing shook Swami’s will. He had determination. His Message and Mission was Love and He carried this forward without any doubt. We must do the same in life; we have to start saying ‘I am God’ so that it becomes a reality rather than a future state.

With this energising speech reverberating in our heads, we then gathered in workshop groups to identify our own personal connection with Swami. We discussed how we can sustain that connection with Swami and be Masters ourselves.

Message (Afternoon of 23/2/2013)

Undoubtedly, Swami’s one key message is Love. Brother Divij Desai and some of our brothers from the UK youth shared their experiences of Swami’s Love in action through Grama Seva. Brother Divij described Swami’s attention to detail and how He ensured that every individual received the package of food and clothes. He also explained how Swami said that in service He does not seek perfection but dedication. If we are dedicated and serve whole-heartedly, God will ensure that the service is perfect. Phil D’Costa from the UK Trust spoke about service and encourage the youth to grab every service opportunity we can whilst we are young. 3 brothers then spoke on how Grama Seva had significance far beyond the simple food package that the villagers received on that single day. It was a symbol to them that God is always for them. They reminded us that Swami said that in service the person giving should feel humbled and the person receiving should feel proud. The situation should not be the reverse of this.

Dr Sunder Iyer told us how Swami demonstrated discrimination. He knew what was important and what was not. We constantly chase success in life but we must question ourselves: “what is success?” Our inability to discriminate stops us from controlling the mind and senses and understanding true success. Understanding that we will not be able to take all our luggage with us when we leave the Earth will help with this.

We know the right path to choose but we must have detachment; the ability to let go of what is unnecessary. This means that we must hold Swami’s hand and step out of our comfort zone. We should be empowered by our love for Him but fear keeps us where we are and stops us from progressing. We know the right path to choose but we need to make the decision to take it.

Being inspired to love all and serve all, we gathered in workshop groups to discuss the real definition of Love, why we struggle to love all, why we should serve and how we should serve.

Messenger (Afternoon of 24/2/2013)

Sister Srilatha Komaravolu shared her experiences of ‘God as Guide’. She explained how Swami took on different roles as her guide. As a mother Swami taught her to look presentable; as a father He asked for discipline and as a Divine Master He explained that nothing should be accepted or expected in response to service. She said that God is the perfect guide since He knows the past, present and future and has no expectations of you. He is ever ready for us; we must simply give Him the freedom to be our guide. His Message is always available. For us to be His messengers we must have God in our hearts, and put His message in action.

In his final speech of the conference, Dr Sunder Iyer told us that as messengers we must allow God’s light to shine through us with devotion. Swami demonstrated unshakeable devotion to His Mission and His devotees. He constantly wanted to serve them. As a child, Swami had the dream of spreading the message of Love and He gave up everything to fulfil that Mission. How many of us are willing to give up everything for a cause? Swami said that He is like the second hand on the clock. He keeps going and has no rest.

The sixth word that Dr Iyer left us with was duty. He explained that we must ask ourselves: “am I what I want to be?” We must answer the call of duty within us and follow it with devotion and determination, living our lives in discipline. We are co-creators with Sai, we choose every second of every day. We must make the right choice of what we want in life; from our friends, to our food, to our lifestyles. Swami is saying to us “walk beside me”. We must live and spread Swami’s message by example.

The final workshop group gave us the opportunity to discuss how we can put the message of Love into action. It drew upon the examples of great Masters such as Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King Jr. who spread their message by practicing it.

Along with the inspirational talks and thought-provoking workshops there were a variety of musical offerings throughout the conference. They ranged from classical Indian violin music to a Spanish guitar composition by Greys, one of our youth sisters; to a softened version of a British pop song sung by Gajan, one of our brothers. The conference ended on an uplifting Bhajan medley

As our National Youth Coordinator brother Shyam told us at the beginning of the conference, the three days of the conference were just part one of the Divine Play. Part two began when we left the conference full of motivation and enthusiasm to become His Messengers. We are the future, but the future begins today. We must not impose limitations on ourselves. Every time we say we are just an ordinary man we will remain an ordinary man. We must remind ourselves that we ARE the Master, we ARE the Message, and we ARE His Messengers.

Anshi Dattani, Region 2