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Love and Light

National Easwaramma Day 2013

Spirit of Oneness
Homage to Mother Easwaramma by the Children of the United Kingdom

This year’s National Easwaramma Day celebrations held on Saturday 4th May 2013 on a bright and warm day in the lovely setting of Hertfordshire was yet again, a fitting tribute to Mother Easwaramma, the Chosen Mother for our Beloved Swami – who left her earthly body on 6th May 1972. Honouring Mother Easwaramma’s simplicity, humility and selflessness – SSE children, children from the Good Values Club, Leicester, youth and parents, grand-parents and devotees from around the country gathered at the Onslow St Audrey School in Hatfield, Hertfordshire to commemorate her life by celebrating the Spirit of Oneness and Honouring the Unity of Faiths.

The programme commenced with the lighting of the candle by one of our esteemed elders from the Sri Sathya Sai Trust, U.K. which heralded the start of the a colourful procession by nearly 150 SSE children – each heralding flags to recognise the 5 human values serving as the golden thread uniting all faiths. The older SSE children bearing flags denoting the religions of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam and their respective holy books led the procession into the main hall to the lively music that was played by the SSE alumni and youth orchestra. The younger children were dressed in their respective faith costumes to depict the traditional attire as worn by the followers of each faith. Many a scintillating tune was played to enthral the waiting audience as the children marched in with big smiles and to complete this charming sight, rose offerings were laid before Swami’s Chair as a token of the children’s love for HIM.

Children from Region 1 then chanted the invocation prayers for each religion to lovingly invoke the presence and blessings of the Almighty, which was followed by a heartfelt group pledge taken by each SSE student to our Beloved Swami – led by Mrs Pravina Patel, Region 4 SSE Co-ordinator. This was followed by a heart-warming welcome address delivered by Mrs Vidyulatha Narayan, National SSE Co-ordinator as she greeted everyone and offered a prayer to Swami dedicating all the hard work and preparation of recent months at Swami’s Lotus Feet.

The compere for the morning programme Mr Kamal Arulvel then introduced the Chief Guest, Dr T Ravi Kumar, Faculty and Warden, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Brindavan Campus. The next hour had the entire audience completely enthralled as they listened to the delightful and spontaneous narration of Dr Ravi Kumar – who elaborated on the pivotal and singular role that Bhagavan had played in his life from an early age. Peppered with humourous anecdotes, such as how Swami had demonstrated His Omniscience by reminding the young Ravi Kumar of frequent trips to a local cinema during school hours, yet keeping the “secret” safe from his father by calling him a “good boy” moments later when his father appeared, had a profound effect on the young boy. Hence, our Bhagavan lovingly installed Himself in the boy’s heart forever and thus the transformation and his Journey to Love began. The audience were also privileged to hear of the moving recollection of how Swami had saved Dr Ravi Kumar eye sight – not once, but twice down the years. Indeed, many of us were moved to tears as the our articulate guest speaker elaborated on events from his past – drawing out the complete LOVE that Swami had showered consistently as mother would. In conclusion, the children and devotees present were easily able to appreciate Dr Ravi Kumar’s utter sense of complete surrender and heartfelt gratitude for all He had received from Swami, the Divine Mother who in this case had also fulfilled the role of the earthly mother.

As the children left the hall to be given a sumptuous lunch as all their energy would be needed for the afternoon programme yet to come, the adults were happy to wait for their lunch, as they were treated to a further panel discussion with Dr Ravi Kumar and two Sai Students – Mr Karthik Prashant and Mr Anand Venkatraman. Precious memories from student days with Bhagavan in Brindavan were recollected by the panel bringing much joy and bliss to all present.

Whilst adults then partook of the delicious hot meal which awaited them, the children were directed to various classrooms to take part in interactive activities which included a an art and craft workshop for the younger children who made decorative stained glass SARVA DHARMA symbols and decorative Unity mobiles, whilst the older children took part in workshops around the Message of the Lord for the boys where they created postcards and Service to Man is Service to God for the girls who spent the hour making friendship bracelets for children in a local London hospice. During this time the lower floor was also a hub of activity for the Group 2 SSE children where a very impressive exhibition representing the Unity of Faiths had been put together by talented youth from all around the country serving as a Learning Zone with activities and quizzes for this age group.

The afternoon session began with the entire 500 strong group of adults and children coming together once again in the main hall while vibrant and uplifting bhajans helped everyone focus their minds once again, followed by an enchanting video on a day in the life of the baby elephant, Sathya Geetha much to the amusement and squeals of laughter by the children and adults alike!

The compere for the afternoon Ms Kinali Vagadhia then introduced the next speaker, Mr Deepak Fakey O.B.E who gave an inspiring talk with the help of his Good Values Club children on the topic ‘The Golden Thread’ – highlighting the commonality in all the faiths by bringing out the human values as taught by each religion.

The next item was offering entitled “Spirit of Oneness” by SSE children from across the different regions of the U.K. They presented 6 beautifully enacted scenes from the lives and teachings of the saints from Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism and finally, Islam highlighting the unity of all faiths. Each scene was beautifully enacted and brought to life by accompanying stage props, visual aids, live music from the youth and sound effects. A warm and loud applause was given to the wonderful efforts of the children and their teachers for their thought provoking presentations.

As the day was soon drawing to a close, Dr Kiran Patel, Chairperson, UK Central Council gave the closing remarks as he recollected a personal encounter with Mother Easwaramma herself before her passing in 1972 and how her unique and memorable qualities had made such an impression on his young mind.

A buzz of excitement filled the air as an announcement was made for the children’s certificate ceremony was to commence. Dr Ravi Kumar, our chief guest along with Dr Kiran Patel presented a Certificate of Appreciation to each SSE child who had travelled from far off places around the country to come and take part in the day’s programme, not to mention the weeks of preparation that had taken place beforehand. Yet again, it was evident that only LOVE for Swami could have motivated such co-operation and teamwork on this scale and magnitude. As the day drew to a close the vote of thanks was offered ending in Mangala Aarti which was joyfully offered to our most beloved Lord without whom nothing would have been possible.

The dedicated and cheerful band of volunteers handed out bags of goodies for the children and prasadam to the devotees as the stage was prepared for the finale, children’s group photographs with our esteemed guest. As the cameras clicked away, the feeling of joy filled the air and most importantly, everyone agreed that our Beloved Swami’s presence was definitely felt and experienced throughout the day.

Sutopa Sen, Region 3