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Love and Light

Region 5 - Birthday Celebrations

The hustle and bustle hushed, the Mandir slowly silenced and as the hum of the harmonium sounded, all could feel a reverberating divine vibration engulf each and every devotee gathered for the region 5 celebration of Mahila Day and Swami’s birthday organised at Oldham Indian association on November 24th.

We arrived to be greeted by our truly divine Mother Sai. Swami’s ever-glowing face and radiant smile welcomed us into a hall full of friendly faces as the Sai family reunited once again. With everything organised and set up with great efficiency, we all sat down ready to start in a place of peace and harmony. The day started with the pure and striking voices of the regional SSE children as they chanted prayers and Vedam. This was followed by Bhajans to evoke the energising vibrations that filled the hall and created the perfect atmosphere for a day to forget the chaos of our busy lives and internalise to focus on our Divine Lord.

Mahila day celebrations then started with a melodious musical medley from Lidget Green. They sang three songs – Tu pyar ka saagar hi, Sathyam Sivam sundaram and a qawalli , Sai Mere Sai. These perfectly pitched harmonies took us on a journey of love where we could close our eyes, and be transferred to a place with Baba. While contemplating on the omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience of our beloved Baba, we could feel the love pouring out of the hearts of the devotees as they sang with such heartfelt devotion.

Maanya and Dishani then performed for Shivasthakam in classical Kuchipudi style. From the elegance of every eye movement, the twirl of each hand gesture and the enjoyment seen in their beautiful smiles, we could see clear depictions of the various forms of Shiva in all his glory. With the delicacy of the trishula and damaru,to the powerful stance of Nataraja, we all watched, immersed in the glory of the Lord. This exquisite and exciting performance showed such talent from the girls who were truly inspirational with the amount of hard work put into performing with perfection for our beloved Baba.

Next in line was a truly inspirational speech from our guest speaker Miss Bindu Malini Gunupudi. After studying in Sri Sathya Sai Primary School and doing her Bachelors' degree at the Anantapur Campus of Bhagawan's University, Sister Bindu came to the UK in 2010 to pursue a PhD in Quantum Device Physics at the School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Birmingham. We were very fortunate to hear her words of wisdom and she was a truly inspiring role model for us as we strive to make progress on the spiritual path to reach our beloved Lord. Her school day experiences taught us the importance of perfecting everything we do; ensuring we are always improving ourselves to be the best we can be for Swami. We all felt privileged as we realised how lucky we were to be together as a Sai family, realised how lucky we were to have Swami in our lives and most importantly how he is there for us no matter what. Any time of the day, any day of the week, he will be by our side forever.

The ladies of Leeds and Bolton recited perfectly written poems which made us churn our intellect to concentrate of the words of Baba. This conjured a sense of spiritual thought cultivation to improve practical spirituality. They shared the importance of the Gayathri Mantra and the role of women in Swami’s word. Each devotee had time to reflect on their love for Baba and how important a role he plays in our lives to challenge and guide us. We must live in peace and harmony by following Swami’s teachings and to continue keeping Swami in our hearts all day and night.

A hearty lunch was all that was needed to keep the devotees going for the afternoon. The catering team was ready to serve the devotees by 12:30.The food was so delicious and it was served with the greatest efficiency and everything was cleared in a record, hours’ time. The devotees were ready for more spiritual food to be served in the later part of the day. The morning’s program had filled the hall and hearts of all present with so much love, but there is no end to Swami’s love...as the afternoon’s program would reiterate.

Swami’s birthday celebrations brought home the message that ‘GOD IS’! As though the celestial beings had themselves come to play for our dearest Swami, the region 5 instrumental offering had the entire room captured in Swami’s love. The SSE children from Warrington sang and danced to beautiful tunes spreading the message of universal love and unity of faiths. They then prayed for swami’s grace to let their light of love shine always. They concluded with a song “He has got the whole world in his hands” which said loud about his omnipotence. They all sincerely promised swami that they will love him and serve him more and more. Could there be a better gift to swami on his birthday from us ?

The upbeat and light-hearted talk by Dr Mahesh Narayan had all the devotees in stitches but clearly embedded in us all that Swami is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Although He has taken Mahasamadhi and left his physical form, the fact that we were all gathered together celebrating in such high spirits just highlighted the fact that Swami hasn’t left us. He is in all our hearts pouring more and more Love.

Swami so perfectly says ‘Why fear when I am here?’ So simple yet so true! We get ourselves so wound up in this materialist world that we easily forget to even say ‘Thank you’ to Swami for waking us up and giving the opportunity to serve Him for another day. But Swami never forgets us! No matter what, He is shedding His love and blessings on us constantly, much as a mother does for her children. As Swami says, “Devotion has to be unintermittent, uninterrupted, like the flow of oil from one vessel to another.”

What better way to depict Swami’s fun-loving ways than to tell the stories of His form as Bala Krishna. The SSE children of Manchester centre so beautifully and creatively/ ingenuity recreated the stories of the playful yet mischievous Kaanha, including His tendency to steal the villager’s butter and the conquering of .....Naag who was poisoning the Yamuna. The joy and love that the SSE children had for Swami showed throughout as they joyfully re-enacted these classical stories adding a modern twist to enhance the performance.

The day had flown by and it was sad to think that yet another of Swami’s beautiful programs was ending. What better way to end the day in which we had cumulatively cultivated Love for Swami than to sing His glory. Supreetha Rao and Gayathri Nadella accompanied by Praveen on Harmonium and keyboard and Prahalad on Tabla, took us on a blissful journey of Love with their 3 song musical tribute to Swami. The joy of singing the Lord’s name was carried through the birthday song and cutting of the cake and ended with the magical closing bhajans, during which time the SSE children offered their hand crafted gifts of art to Swami by hanging them on the birthday tree. The children offered to swami how they are going to make a positive change in their life from this birthday. Due to Our Gracious Lord’s Blessing, there is no doubt that the day started with Love, was filled with Love and ended with more Love! The strong positive vibrations that had enveloped us all throughout the day were taken away by one and all to be spread to those who could not be there.

Let us continue to keep Swami with us always. ‘If He is a tree, be a creeper that clings to it; if He is the sky, be a tiny that twinkles in it.’

Radha Measuria & Sai Sreenidhi
Liverpool Sai Group
Region 5 Youth