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Love and Light

Region 1 - 88th Birthday of our Lord Sathya Sai

The annual birthday season came early to Region 1 this year as, on the afternoon of Saturday 16 November, devotees from across that region congregated to mark Swaami's 88th birthday.

The programme was designed to reflect all the wings of the Organisation: there was a play by SSE children; a musical item by Sai Youth; group devotional songs led by ladies to mark Ladies' Day, representing centres from across the Region; a talk by the National Spiritual Coordinator, Brother Veeru; and all of it was wonderfully accompanied by loving service from an army of volunteers.

After the recitation of Ganapati Atharva Sheersham and Purusha Sooktam, the main prayers from major world religions were recited, before the first set of rousing devotional songs were sung by ladies. There was then the screening of a video produced by Swaami's students covering His childhood and part of His mission. The sounds and images captivated the audience throughout!

Brixton Sai Centre's SSE children then staged their play, "Money comes and goes, morality comes and grows." Through their wonderful acting, the audience was reminded that ego and greed would lead only to ruin.

It was then the turn of our Regional Chair, Brother Yoges, to recap the events of the year via a series of photographs. He thanked all centres and groups in the region for their love, support and help with all the regional events held in recent years, saying these would otherwise have been difficult to organise.

Thereafter, Brother Veeru rose to speak. He said that the purpose of Swami's mission is to transform us, to drive inner change, to remove the silent killer tendencies of anger and jealousy. We are transformed by Him with one word, one touch, one look. He came in 1926 and left in 2011 - was that it? No, our resolve should be to give happiness to everyone. As the contemporaries of the greatest Avataar who has ever walked the earth, we cannot simply continue as before! Although we may say we have travelled thousands of miles to Prashaanti Nilayam, in reality we have not travelled an inch if we have not made the effort to remove the silent killers of anger and jealousy. We need to develop equanimity. Brother Veeru said Swaami once said to him, "Do not 'try': 'do' it!?"

Music came next, with a suite of instrumentals and devotional songs by a group of Sai Youth from Tooting Sai Centre. With a mixture of Indian and western influences, the audience were spellbound by the skill and talent on display.

Finally, the programme was rounded off with a closing set of energetic group devotional songs from the ladies, the aaratee and the cutting of the cake by a pair of SSE children, the latter accompanied by the traditional birthday song.

With a programme incorporating such diverse elements, there was the usual risk that it would be too long for the audience to enjoy fully. This time, though, an interval had been incorporated, meaning audience members left after the programme feeling that it had been just the right length. It was our little birthday gift to them, one might say!

Thank You, Swaami, for giving us another opportunity to come and work together in unity.

Sai Raam!