Text size: A A A

Please Click Here
to Return to
Love and Light

National Wing Meeting: A Summary

Held on Sunday 9th March 2014

Following the National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference in January this year, when the 4 National Wings discussed and announced the various programmes for the year, around 120 Wing Coordinators from across the country met again on the 9th of March to review the progress and finalise their plans. This face to face meeting took place in the familiar surroundings of South Oxhey, Watford. The theme of the year - ‘One with Sai: His Words and His Work’ was reinforced and the understanding that transformation of our hearts, through following His Teachings (His Words) and participating in the activities of the Organisation (His Work), is the only way to experience the bliss of Oneness, was deepened.

The day started with ‘sunny’ bhajans, and yes, we had a rare sunny day after the persistent bad weather recently. Bhajans were followed by a warm welcome from Dr Kiran Patel, Chairperson UKCC. Ketan Gokani, coordinator of the recently formed Sathya Sai Emergency Relief (SERV) Committee in UK, gave a presentation on the Flood Relief efforts undertaken by our Organisation; whilst it was moving to hear about the hardships that people faced in the flood affected areas, it was heartwarming to hear about the overwhelming response from fellow devotees across the country to the Flood Relief appeal made by our Organisation. Thus enthused, the coordinators of the 4 Wings then started their respective meetings in great earnest. A summary of the Wing Meetings is presented below.

The day was particularly unique and inspiring as it brought together all the four wings of the organisation together, providing members with a broader perspective and understanding of the Divine Mission and roles of each of the wings in it. The setting also provided an opportunity for wing coordinators from the different centres to engage with each other and exchange valuable ideas. It also offered members the opportunity to have a say in the objectives of the year and plans to accomplish them, thereby enhancing participation in activities. Members of the UK Central Council participated in the various wing sessions during different times of the day, to express and extend their support.

The day ended with updates from each of the wing deliberations followed by closing comments from UKCC Vice Chair, Dr Veeru Rao.

National Spiritual Wing

The first spiritual wing meeting of the year after the NSSOC, was indeed a special one. For the first time, not only the Regional Coordinators but also the Centre Coordinators were invited to join this meeting. And, needless to say, there was a vibrant response and enthusiastic participation from all regional as well as centre spiritual coordinators, and everyone earnestly looked forward to the various projects and activities planned for the year. Leading the meeting was Dr. Rakendu Suren, the National Spiritual Co-ordinator, who began with highlighting the uniqueness and the sacredness of the roles and activities that we take up as workers of Sai, for we report to none other than God Himself directly! Reminding one and all that the main purpose of the activities in our Sai organisation is for individual transformation, brother Rakendu guided the discussion for the various projects planned for the year:

Bhajans: It was acknowledged by all that bhajan singing is a cornerstone activity of the spiritual wing and so it is very important to maintain the quality of bhajans in the centres and encourage as many devotees to participate, learn and sing wholeheartedly. This would be facilitated by conducting bhajan workshops regularly. It was also stressed that as much as we should encourage new singers to lead bhajans, an eye on the quality must be kept at all times.

Beloved Bhagawan advises us to sing the divine names of the Almighty Lord in all languages and in all Forms with love and reverence. In this context, Region 4 Spiritual Coordinator, sister Jenni Robson, spoke about the English Devotional songs recording project. This is a unique endeavour aimed at familiarising English songs amongst the devotees attending Sai Centres in UK, so that they could feel confident to sing them during regular Centre meetings. The project aims to gather a comprehensive audio collection of English bhajans that could be accessed readily online by our fellow devotees. Spiritual coordinators were urged to encourage singers in their respective centres to make simple recordings of the English bhajans that they sing best and send the same onto sister Jenni. Musicians who can help play accompaniment for the recordings, as well as musically literate members of our Sai centres who can help in preparing score sheets for the English bhajans were also requested to join in this first of its kind project. This project has been piloted in Regions 1, 4 and 5 and is now open to all our devotees. The aim of this project is to experience devotional singing in different languages, reflecting the universality of the Swami’s teaching.

Sai Smaran bhajans held at a national level is another activity that has given a lot of joy to devotees. It has also enthused the members of our Youth Wing to participate actively and work in unity with each other and with the Spiritual Wing at all levels of our Organisation. It was decided to hold discussions with the Youth Wing with regards to the forthcoming sessions in 2014, and work together to further enhance participation from all Regions.

Study Circles: In several centres study circles have been conducted consistently and successfully. However, many other centres feel a strong need for help with regards to running study circles. Brother Karthik Prashanth, former Regional spiritual coordinator of Region 3, updated the gathering on the Study circle project. The aim of the project is to develop topic based material for study circle which would serve as a ready resource and reference for devotees and facilitators. Additionally, workshops for study circle coordinators would be conducted to help enhance the engagement with and the experience of study circles in Sai centres. The first workshop is expected to be announced soon.

The group also discussed the status of the Sathya Sai Speaks recordings project, where each region is allocated one or two volumes of the Sathya Sai Speaks series to read and record with the aim of bringing out an audio book on some of Swami’s earliest discourses. Brother Mahendra Patel, Region 7 Spiritual Coordinator updated the group on the progress of the project and clarified some of the technical questions the group had with regards to recording and available support.

Dr Vijay Nadella, Regional Spiritual Coordinator from Region 5, shared with all present details of the 52 Readings project, an effort aimed at compiling a ‘ready reckoner’ spiritual material for post bhajan readings. The materials are being compiled from a wide variety of authentic Sai Literature sources and will include inspiring experiences of devotees, excerpts from Bhagawan’s divine discourses, ‘Chinna Kathas’ etc. These will then be made available to all Sai centres via the Sathya Sai UK organisation website.

Meditation: The lead on the Meditation Project, brother Suresh Sajnani, Regional Spritual Coordinator of Region 2, shared with everyone gathered the aim of the efforts. The project intends to make available to everyone in our organisation standardised recordings and resources for meditation based on the three types of meditation taught to us by Swami. A meditation workshop will be conducted in every Region to raise awareness and encourage regular practise; these workshops will include short talks, panel discussions and group meditation sessions.

Interfaith activities: There was also a very interesting and enlightening discussion on interfaith activities undertaken in various regions- Interfaith walks, Multi-faith chanting days, Sarvadharma Bhajans, etc. It was agreed that we will now focus more on interfaith activities at a centre level, for instance, two or three centres coming together to host an interfaith chanting day, inviting the different faith representatives in the region.

As a group we reminded ourselves that the aim of all these activities is self-transformation. It was felt by all that the entire day was mutually beneficial it was strongly felt that the group should meet again in three months’ time. In the meantime, if there are any questions or suggestions or if you are interested to participate, in relation to any of the activities above, please contact spiritualwing@srisathyasai.org.uk

National Spiritual Team

National Service Wing

Around 39 Service Wing Coordinators participated in discussions which were led by Mukund Patel, National Service Coordinator.

The Service wing divided into four workshop groups and throughout the day reviewed and contributed to the three main sections:

- Role of the Centre/Group Service Wing coordinator
- Review of current service activities carried out in the Centres/Groups
- Plan a number of activities for the year in 2014

The findings of the first two workshops highlighted the importance of the service coordinators’ role to inspire and provide everyone in the centre/group an opportunity to participate in service activity and to carry out regular reviews of their activities to identify needs for further training and opportunities to expand the services delivered.

In the final workshop the groups discussed four proposals for future activities and presented their conclusions as follows:

- Disaster Relief – Set up relief teams and a database of skills and expertise from across the regions to respond immediately and provide help when required. The presentation on the UK flood relief provided experience to progress further.
- Training – conduct workshops in Food Hygiene, Health & Safety and First Aid.
- Overseas Service Projects – investigate areas where there is a need not currently met by other international agencies and initiate a project through the UKCC. One proposal is a project of ‘Adopting a Child’ to help, educate and nurture disadvantaged children where there is no current support.
- Environment – promote energy saving projects through recycling, car sharing, walking rather than driving, switching off lights when not needed and environmental improvements through contact with local authorities and agencies to pick up litter, tree planting etc.

Finally, the Service Wing will be organising a National Service Wing Conference in October this year where all service volunteers can participate and share their expertise. There is also a proposal to hold a one day National Service project where everyone can participate at the same time and at given locations – ideally over a weekend.

National Service Team

National SSE Wing

SSE wing had representation from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 with Regions 5 and 8 being represented through reports provided by their respective Regional chair and Regional SSE Coordinator. The morning session was dedicated to reflection and evaluation of the progress of the wing at regional and centre levels. The SAI approach (systematic, appropriate and integrated) was used to measure the impact of the learning experience for children attending SSE and the crucial role that all other wings play in supporting and enhancing the work of the SSE wing.

The afternoon was spent in group discussion by the coordinators on 5 key areas identified from the morning’s feedback and evaluation of the wing. The aim of these group discussions was to look at ways to further enhance and ensure progress of the wing nationally, regionally and at a centre level keeping in mind that each activity is undertaken as an offering to our Lord. Areas discussed and action points identified were the following:

- Integration of the four wings in supporting the activities of the SSE wing
- Enhancing the learning experiences of children who may have additional needs
- Improving participation by families who are new to the teachings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
- Engagement with the wider Community
- SSE resources for teachers

The day concluded with presentation to the wider group on the next steps. The singular feeling amongst all who attended was that of bountiful enthusiasm, love and the eagerness to serve in His divine mission!

National SSE Team

National Youth Wing

Around 30 youth from around the country participated in the youth wing meeting.

The Youth Wing meeting started off with a wonderful video compilation of what Swami had said both to the Youth and about the Youth; reminding the youth to be self-confident and leaders like lions.

A welcome address by the National Youth Coordinator, Shyam Jamnadas, set the scene for the meeting who reminded members that the end goal of their roles was one’s own self-transformation. As leaders, he reminded that the youth are provided with the opportunities to self-transform through the activities undertaken within the Wings of the Organisation. He emphasised the importance of the youth wing to work hand in hand with the other 3 wings. He stressed the need to ensure there was effective communication to all youth so as not to deny anyone the opportunities provided and also to leadership upwards.

A video of Swami was then shown. Everyone was then asked to reflect upon His Actions in the video and His Words that He says. One concluded that what He said was always reflected in His Actions.

The National Youth Objectives for 2014 were then presented to the team and the members were then asked to brainstorm ideas on each of the themes:

  1. To lead on Serve the Planet 2014 - this year is on the theme of "Children are our future."
  2. To expand on the 2013 Serve the Planet Food Bank Initiative that was undertaken by UK.
  3. To work with the Service wing in expanding on other existing service activities undertaken by SSSSOUK both in the UK and abroad.
  4. To integrate more with SSE wing.
  5. To participate in Global Youth Offerings and start the build-up for 2016 World Youth Festival in Prasanthi Nilayam.
  6. Young Adults Programme (YAP), which is on the theme on implementing the 9 Point Code of Conduct in our daily lives for 2014
  7. Sai Smaran Bhajans which is co-led by the Youth in conjunction with the Spiritual Wing.

Each of the objective themes were further explored. To achieve this, 4 Groups were formed and the youth split into these four groups, which naturally formed into the 3 wings (Service, Spiritual and SSE & Other)

Group 1 (Service Group) focussed on objective 2&3, expanding on the food bank initiative and other service activities undertaken by SSSSOUK in UK and abroad
Group 2 (Spiritual Group) focussed on objective 6&7 focussing on expanding Sai Smaran Bhajans and Implementing the 9 Point Code of Conduct in daily life via Young Adults Programme (YAP).
Group 3 (SSE Group) focussed on objective 1&4, focussing on Serve the Planet 2014 which is themed “Children are our future” and further Integration with the SSE wing.
Group 4 (Other) focussed on National and International Events and explored the theme that emerged from the post-it; that participation needs to increase in events. The UK Pilgrimage was the focus for discussion for this group.

Each Group presented back to the forum:

Group 1 (Service) had some wonderful ideas about supporting disaster relief in the UK, looking after the elderly and homeless and also expanding on the food banks initiative with action plan.
Group 2 (Spiritual) had inspiring ideas on Bhajan workshops for adults to SSE led by Youth and multifaith songs and prayers as well as making Bhajan singing a service activity to involve other communities.
Group 3 (SSE) had interesting ideas around the SSE curriculum to make it more exciting and also SSE camps that the youth can support in planning and running.
Group 4 (Other) focussed on the purpose of going to Prasanthi Nilayam and how that can be shared in the UK through various communication tools to inspire devotees to go.

The next steps are to have a meeting with the National Wing Coordinators and explore ideas that could be taken forward. The youth are looking forward towards working closely with the Service, Spiritual and SSE wings in achieving our objectives for 2014!

National Youth Team