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Serve the Planet - a Global Service Project

“I always conduct Myself in accordance with the principle of Help ever, Hurt never. This has been My motto. I never harmed anyone. I derive great joy in helping others. That is why I tell the devotees to always pray, Loka Samasthah Sukhino Bhavantu (May all the people of the world be happy!) All should be happy, healthy and blissful. With such sacred motive, I have been spreading the message of love to the entire world.”

Sathya Sai Baba 20th October 2002- this was a momentous discourse that Bhagawan had given about His early life on the occasion of the 62nd Anniversary of the Avatar Declaration Day.

What is Serve the Planet?

Serve the Planet is a global service initiative being undertaken this year to commemorate Bhagawan Baba’s Avatar Declaration Day on October 20th. All overseas Sathya Sai Organisations have committed to carry out this project under the leadership of Prasanthi Council, as a sacred offering on this epoch-making day.

On this significant day in 1940, Bhagawan in His infinite Love and Compassion announced His Avatar to the world. He declared that the purpose of His Advent and Mission is the transformation and redemption of mankind through Love. And all through the 85 years of His sojourn on earth, He was engaged in this Mission of Love through selfless service to humanity. In fact, His central message ‘Love All, Serve All’ has been the shining light, guiding millions of devotees and followers around the world in their spiritual journeys.

“The core of the spiritual discipline of service is to see everyone as yourself and yourself in everyone. You are not doing service to others, you are doing service to yourselves, to the God in you who is equally present in all” – Sathya Sai Baba 21/11/1981

The project “Serve the Planet” is an effort to focus the attention all over the world on the importance and significance of Service with Love. On the Avathar Declaration Day, and in the week leading up to it, various service activities will be undertaken by individual countries based upon locally identified needs. Serving food to the poor and hungry (Narayana Seva) has been suggested as one of the main focus areas for this project.

“The gift of food is the noblest of all gifts. You have today arranged the feeding of a large number of people and thus justified the name of this village. The years of life allotted to man is very short; the world in which he lives is very wide; time extends far behind and far beyond. What little man has to do here has to be done quickly, at the place that is assigned to him within the time that is allotted to him. And, man has such a formidable task before him; it is to fulfil it that he has come as man, exchanging for human habitat, all the merit he has acquired during many past lives. The task is no less than the manifestation of the Divinity latent in man. The easiest and the most pleasant means by which this can be accomplished is Seva-the service of man, done in a spirit of dedication and devotion. And, in village like this, Seva is a potent and profitable discipline. And, the best type of Seva is feeding the hungry. The first step in this discipline is the establishment of mutual help and co-operation in all seva activities among the residents. This will ensure peace, security and prosperity for the village”.

Apart from bringing devotees together from centres under a shared vision, the project aims to provide a wonderful opportunity for everyone to participate, be it children, youth, adults and the elderly, to reflect His Message of Loving and Serving all. When carried out together by the Sai family around the world on the same day with a singular focus, very similar to the Global Akhand Bhajans, the impact on our planet will be amplified manifold. It is also hoped that this project will create a lasting effect upon local communities throughout the UK, by our united and sustained efforts through the various Sai Centres around the country.

What will be the activities in UK?

The Sathya Sai Organisation in UK, via its Youth and Service Wings, has identified mainly 2 avenues to serve food to the needy, as part of this Global Project.

1. Food Banks
2. Homeless Shelters

It is indeed distressing to note that in the UK, over 13 million people live below the poverty line i.e. 1 in 5 persons. A lot of people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from homelessness, lack of adequate income, sickness, changes to benefits, unemployment, debt etc. The current economic climate has also not helped the situation.

Food Banks

It is well known that the Trussell Trust UK, via its network of over 350 Food Banks around the country, does yeoman service in extending food supplies to the needy. These banks provide a minimum of three days emergency food supply for people in crisis, and only last year about 350,000 people including 125,000 children were served. It has been identified by us that the food banks themselves have an immense need for supplies of various non-perishable food items.

As part of the Serve the Planet Project, our effort will be to collect these items at the Sai Centres in the coming weeks. These will be delivered at the nearest and local Food Bank in the week leading up to the Avatar Declaration Day. Please contact the relevant Regional or Centre office bearer for further details such as collection dates, collection points etc. Please also click the weblink below for further information.

The following food items are listed for this service activity: Milk (UHT or powdered), Sugar (500g), Fruit juice (carton), Soup, Pasta sauces, Sponge Pudding (tinned), Tomatoes (tinned), Cereals, Rice Pudding (tinned), Tea bags / Instant coffee, Rice / Pasta, Tinned fruit, Jam, Biscuits or snack bar

Your local food bank has its own dedicated website which will provide details of specific items needed. It is advisable for Sai Centres to try and meet this demand.

Homeless Shelters

On the Avatar Declaration Day itself, all the 8 Regions of the SSSSO UK will be conducting Homeless Shelter Feeding at various Centres. Please contact your Regional Service or Youth Coordinator if you are interested in participating in this activity.

Laksharchana Programme

Our dear lord Bhagawan Baba says:

You arrange dinner parties and picnic, where members are treated to costly feasts, more as part of social convention, than to appease hunger. This is sheer exhibitionism, and display. Instead I would ask you to feed some hungry people with the delicious dishes, people who have never had in their lives the joy of having eaten a full meal, not to speak of a rich meal. Serve man as God. Give food to the hungry, food that is the gift of Goddess Nature. Give it with love, and humility, give it sweetened with the name of the Lord.

As part of the Serve The Planet Project, we will also be conducting a Laksharchana Programme for the welfare of the planet in London on the 20th of October simultaneously as the Homeless Feeding activity. Those amongst our Sai family members, who are unable to participate in the Narayana Seva activities on the day, are encouraged to participate in this Naama Seva opportunity. For further details, please click on weblink below.

Let us all utilise the above opportunities wholeheartedly and offer our most loving gratitude at the Lotus Feet of our Divine Master on the occasion of the day when He Announced Himself to us and entered our lives to steer them to safe shores, out of sheer Love and Compassion.

“A single homestead cannot make a village; many have cluster together and live as one family in order to constitute a village. And, for such Seva as you are doing, each homestead and every member thereof has to lend a helping hand and achieve success in the common venture. The physical strength, the monetary resources, the intelligence of all have to be pooled in order to make the project succeed. This garland has not happened out of a single flower; many flowers of different hues and fragrances have string themselves around the string in order to achieve the common aim of decorating the picture or person. No one in the village can stand apart and say, "This work is not mine; it is the responsibility of man or this group". Bhagawan Baba