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Love and Light

Region 1 - Swami's Love Spreads Across the Oceans with SSE Sports and Family Values Day

When we moved to Australia at the end of May this year, we knew it was going to be heartbreaking to leave behind our loving family and friends. We were especially going to miss our Sai family after being involved in Lewisham Sai Centre since it began and also being an active part of Region One…all is one…Region One as we would say proudly! What kept us going was that Swami had plans for us in Melbourne and he would give us strength to heal our hearts. After a few weeks of moving here, I came to realise that there was something missing from our lives. In the midst of being so busy settling in, we had not yet joined a Sai centre and our weekly bhajan fix was not happening. Swami ended up having to come in my dream and told me to go to bhajan, talk about a wake up call! Thanks to our cousin here in Melbourne by the name of Sai, we came upon a beautiful Sai centre called Nunawading which had bhajans every Thursday, this was perfect as we used to go on Thursdays at Lewisham Sai Centre too.

I found most astounding was seeing the love everyone has for Swami around the world which brought tears to my eyes. I felt the same love and vibrations created by the amazing bhajans and study circles at Nunawading Sai Centre that I would have found in London. It made me truly appreciate Swami’s omnipresence. The Sai devotees here really embraced us like their own brother and sister; we knew Swami had brought us to a home away from home.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as they were due to hold their first Regional SSE Sports and Family Values day in 3 weeks. This event was a mainstay of our SSE calendar back in Region One in London, which I had the good fortune to assist in planning and volunteering over the years from being a youth and as SSE Co-ordinator later on. I felt that Swami was giving me a chance to share my experiences and the knowledge, which I had gained from my fellow brothers and sisters in Region One who had been planning these events for years. Once I revealed this to the Regional SSE team here in Melbourne, they were overjoyed with the Regional SSE Co-ordinator happily remarking that “Swami has sent you to help us at the right time”. I personally wasn’t doing anything at all; I had learnt so much from my time at Region One that it would be a crime not to share it. Normally these events are planned months in advance but Swami had the most dedicated and passionate team here to do his work so we were confident that we would get through it.

I quickly contacted our Region One Chair back in London who I also worked with when he was Regional SSE Co-ordinator and he put me in touch with another devotee for additional help with information for the day and wished us well with the event. I also spoke to my loving Sai Sister who was the Region One Youth Co-ordinator and she forwarded me examples of timetables to use and other relevant event ideas in order to organise sports in parallel. I also got in touch with her Shadow Region One Youth Co-ordinator, a very helpful Sai brother who quickly sent me the march past music that we could use on the day. This all happened in less than a matter of days which goes to show it doesn’t matter how far away you are, the Sai family is always with you, making sure Swami’s work happens wherever we are.

I was now fully equipped to meet our Melbourne Regional SSE team 2 weeks before the event where we had a very productive meeting at the sports day venue. We all felt reassured that thanks to Swami’s grace, everything was coming together. The true test in fact would be the day itself! The Regional SSE Co-ordinator and the team allocated roles to helpers from the 3 Sai centres that were due to participate on the day, namely Nunawading, Glen Waverley and Box Hill Sai Centres. We were looking forward to half a day full of activities for the children and parents but there was one thing, which would have stopped it all - the rain. The Nunawading Sai Centre Chair informed me that the weather forecast was hail in the morning and rain. He said this with a smile because he knew, like we all did, that Swami would not let us down especially the little hearts of his sweet children.

The day came and the sun shone bright, we held the march past with a great turnout of around 50 children of all ages, this was amazing considering we were expecting less because of the weather. Parents turned up in full support and the hard working volunteers and teachers did their utmost to ensure all the activities ran smoothly such as long jump, sprint, lemon and spoon, sack race and more. It reminded me of how sports day would have started out in Prashanthi with the students back when the world was beginning to awaken with the realization of that the Lord himself has incarnated on earth. The children were ecstatic; their enthusiasm knew no bounds and their smiles were priceless. They were split into houses under the names of the human values, Love, Peace and Right Conduct. We stressed the emphasis on everyone being a winner by giving each child a participatory medal, those who came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in races contributed to their overall house score and the winning house was given a special shield. The parents participated in tug of war, which proved to be very comedic and fun.

Towards the end of the morning there was a brief downpour and then sunshine again, we believed that this was Swami’s blessing for us all. We thank Swami for bringing us all together and uniting the community. We have had so much positive feedback to have the SSE Sports and Family Values day as an annual event. This wouldn’t have been possible without a truly global effort connecting regional experiences from London to Melbourne and goes to show how much we can help one another around the world in the name of our beloved Swami.

Jai Sai Ram!

Laavanya Nagendran