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Region 3 - Ladies Day 2013

In November 1995, our Beloved Bhagavan declared that 19th of November every year should be celebrated as Ladies day, saying that "Ladies' Day is celebrated to make you understand the value of mother's love and her concern for you."

This year on Sunday 17th November 2013, we saw Regional Ladies Day being held at the Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Mill Hill, whereby the ladies of Region 3 all gathered to celebrate this annual occasion.

The programme began with Sister Sutopa giving a brief introduction into Ladies day and the importance of celebrating it, followed by a wonderful video “Giving With Love”, produced by Jaina Parmar (a youth of Mill Hill Sai Centre). It perfectly portrayed the tremendous efforts of many ladies and SSE children from various Region 3 centres over the past year in support of the “Giving with Love” service project, examples of which were also exhibited at the back of the hall. The video also showed how the Region 3 ladies have continued to forge relationships with other religious communities through their activities. For example, the ladies worked closely with a mosque in South Woodford, Essex during the project and also held a wonderful Ladies retreat last summer at a Buddhist temple in Milton Keynes. The video concluded by showing the splendid work carried out by the “Operation Christmas Child” project whereby shoebox gifts are collected for underprivileged children oversees every year. (This year, a huge effort by Thurrock and Mill Hill Sai Centres subsequently resulted in a donation of 40 shoebox gifts on behalf of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK, which received much praise from the co-ordinating charity, Samaritan’s Purse).

We then had the immense pleasure of listening to Sister Leela Sivayogan-Jones, sharing with us an inspirational talk about her life and the experiences she gained along the way with our dearest Divine Mother. She went on to remind us of the importance of Sadhana and the best way to fulfil it, reminding us that Sadhana isn’t just for SSE students but also for us as adults to maintain throughout our life. She spoke of the importance of facing the challenges thrown at us with positivity and therefore overcoming any negativity, providing examples from her own life where she had strived to do this, thereby growing closer to Swami and her own self along the way.

The ladies of Ilford Sai Centre went on to perform a beautiful play based on one of Swami’s Chinna Kathas, “Drawing God”... which told the tale of a renowned artist who yearned to draw God and after waiting a long while, finally received the opportunity when Krishna Himself manifested before him and allowed the artist to make a portrait. However, after much trial and error, (and following timely intervention by Lord Narayana), the artist soon realised that the only way a perfect portrait of God could be achieved is by using... a MIRROR!. The time and effort gone into producing such a wonderful drama was greatly appreciated (especially by the children!) and taught us the importance of humility before God’s endless splendour and magnificence, understanding that there is nothing greater than God, yet His Love is so gentle.

This was followed by another inspiring talk, this time by Sister Mayfare Agymen, who shared some beautiful personal experiences she has had with our Beloved Bhagavan over the many years of her nursing career and how he guided her with such love and compassion. She reminded us of the small things Swami does to show us He is always there, be it by testing us or saving us, but always protecting us, like the Divine Mother He truly is. The audience were genuinely thrilled upon hearing some truly remarkable stories proving God’s Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence. In particular, Sister Mayfare’s selfless attitude towards life – astounded everyone as she explained how she never prays for herself or her family...only for others. She also recounted how Swami had personally told her that He was still very much present in Prashanti Nilayam...inside the Samadhi...so we should all continue to visit as before to receive His blessings and grace.

We then had the pleasure of Sister Cookie from Milton Keynes Sai Centre, a trained music teacher, presenting an excellent Bhajan Workshop, accompanied by her daughter, Yashoda who accompanied on the harmonium. Sister Cookie explained about the key components of a bhajan (raaga, taalam and bhava) and the importance and significance of each. She also delighted the audience by singing various bhajans, demonstrating their diversity in raaga and taalam, as well as the significance of using our “singing voice” as opposed to our “speaking voice” when trying to hit those high notes. Most importantly, the need to sing with bhava (from the heart) was beautifully explained, as Sister Cookie again demonstrated how bhava can transform even the simplest bhajan, and also the need to remain disciplined and selfless in our approach to bhajan singing in general. All the ladies present sat in perfect silence, taking in the precious little tips shared; no one wanted the session to end.

However, a soothing treat lay in store for everyone as the 2013 Regional Ladies Day programme finally concluded with the ladies of Mill Hill Sai Centre singing three devotional songs; “Mera Jivan Tere Hawale”, “Tumhi Ho Mata” and “Tu Pyaar Ka Saagar Hai” in unison. The audience joined whilst watching an enchanting DVD of Swami’s beautiful, graceful form giving Darshan. A wonderful sense of calmness and unity filled the hall during this ultimate offering at the Lotus Feet.

The aarti was then offered to our Beloved Bhagwan for making the entire programme possible...and a wonderful feast jointly prepared by Region 3 Ladies was lovingly served by the host centre...before the devotees made their way home, fully re-charged!

JAI SAI RAM Kinali Vaghadia & Sutopa Sen