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Region 1 - Vaisakhi, Raam Navami and Hanumaan Jayanti at Brixton Sai Centre

The month of April is always a busy one for the members of Brixton Sai Centre in Region 1. Besides the commemorations of Swaami’s Mahaa Samaadhi and the marking of various New Year celebrations such as Yugaadi and the Tamil New Year, April also sees the festivals of Vaisakhi and – held jointly – Raam Navami and Hanumaan Jayanti.

On 14 April 2013, whilst everyone in Punjab was celebrating the festival of Vaisakhi, members gathered in our Sai centre to do the same. As usual, we started the programme with silent sitting, a reading of the thought of the day, recitation of the main prayers of all the major faiths and our regular group devotional songs. Most songs were multi-faith orientated, with particular focus on Guru Naanak.

After the aartee, vibhooti prayer and some meditation, one of the SSE students, Amitesh Manandhar from Group 2, gave a talk on Vaisakhi, on how and why it is celebrated. He told the story of how Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the ten Gurus of the Sikhs, gathered his followers and tested their faith and how, in 1699, he proclaimed that the holy book called the Guru Granth Sahib would be the eternal Guru.

On 21 April, Brixton celebrated Raam Navami and Hanumaan Jayanti. The programme was similar, except this time the devotional songs focussed on Raam and Hanumaan. As in the previous week, the songs were sung with great devotional fervour and the energy was felt by all.

This time, there were two talks by SSE children. The first was given by Sameer Patil from Group 2, on the story of the birth of Lord Raam. He narrated the story of how the sacred pudding that was given as consecrated food from a special prayer to procure children for Dasarath, the King of Ayodhya, led to the births of the four brothers Raam, Lakshman, Bharat, Shatrughna as well as Hanumaan.

Afterwards, Yaanika Balloo, another Group 2 student, spoke about the attributes of Hanumaan, most notably his total devotion to Lord Raam, as well as His might and power. She told how some view Him to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva and, thus, how His birth helped free his mother, Anjani, from a curse.

Special consecrated snacks were served after both programmes. The celebrations on those two weeks left us all feeling uplifted and inspired.