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Region 4 - Sathya Sai Regional Orientation Day

16th March 2014

On Sunday 16th March 2014, 65 office bearers and active workers from Region 4 joined the devotees of Leicester Sai Centre who hosted the Orientation Day at the Soar Valley College, Leicester. They were joined and supported in their deliberations by Brother Veeru Rao, Vice Chair, UKCC.

Following a welcome address by Narendrabhai Mistry, Regional Chair, the programme commenced with a review of 2013 – ‘Year of Harmony’ presented by Brother Ketan Gokani, including a feedback on the valuable contribution made by the region towards the Flood Relief UK programme. The next stage in this ongoing programme was for service volunteers to go and help with the clean up of properties and areas affected by the recent flooding.

Next with an introduction and a few inspiring words of encouragement from Brother Veeru,
kicked of the conference reminding each of us the key role we play in this divine organisation and the importance of oneness with God and the bliss feeling it creates. All of the activities that we engage in are opportunities for our spiritual growth and how only this organisation has the charter provided by the Lord himself. How lucky for those who have had the glimpse of this opportunity to serve. We often have to remind ourselves the purpose of our role and understand how we put into practice the commandments given to us directly by GOD in human form. We need to be mindful of our conduct not only in the organisation but to every being we come in contact with knowing the divinity that exists in all. We all strive for happiness but we fail to understand that happiness is within us and not outside. Satsungs are a great place to charge our batteries and reaffirm our understanding and the message to all of us now is “My Life is your message”.

The participants were then divided into three workshop groups to discuss the theme – ‘One with Sai: His Words’, the main topics of the workshop were:

  1. Transforming our lives into His Message
  2. Transformation through His Organisation

We began with a power-point presentation discussing important quotations from Swami relating to His incarnation, aims and mission in this world. Swami stressed that mental and spiritual transformation was very essential rather than attaching importance only to the external world. How do we transform our lives into His Message? This was discussed after watching a video of Swami’s Darshan and noting the holy and uplifting feelings being generated within us. The key message was that we must take Swami’s words and put them into practise in our daily lives.

The unique qualities and activities of the Sai Organisation were next outlined as noted below, to show how we could transform through His Organisation.

  1. Jyothi Meditation
  2. Service – Love in Action
  3. Spiritually Integrated Education (SSE, Youth)
  4. Bhajan Singing (GDS)
  5. Human Values
  6. Interfaith Spirit
  7. Nine Point Code of Conduct

The key message was that we must fix our attention on God only. Focus on God, do selfless service and be happy. Further discussions took place on practical issues encountered with practicing Ceiling on Desires, Interfaith Programme, Practical Human Values and Service. Brother Veeru concluded by reminding us of the importance of the need for steadfast faith and commitment. The workshop closed with three AUMS.
After a wonderful lunch and short bhajan, we listened to a youth presentation by a Sai sister entitled ‘Commit to Sai’, in which she described how with complete faith and surrender to Swami, she was guided by Bhagwan in her study and choice of life changing career.

Next followed the Wing feedbacks for SSE, Spiritual, Service and Youth.

SSE: Sister Pravinaben began by telling us of the various practical difficulties that the SSE wings face and how important it was for all our centre members to support SSE / Balvikas classes and how (as Officer Bearers) we should have a strong faith in Swami in order to carry out our task efficiently and with commitment. She also urged everyone to raise awareness of Teacher training in their centres to encourage devotees to become part of the SSE team within the centre. It is planned to have a training day in the region sometime this year. Also coming up is the National Easwaramma Day on 3rd May to be held in Hatfield.

Spiritual: Sister Jenny spoke about the success of the ‘Sai Smaran Bhajans’ which had been held around the regions throughout the year (the next one is 31st May in Tooting) and bhajan workshops to help us all improve our singing skills. There is also the English devotional songs project where lead singers and instrumentalists can be involved in recording English songs for upload to the UK website so that all devotees can download and have access to songs and lyrics as a learning tool. The aim is to enhance the bhajan programmes in the centres and groups and follow Swami's teachings on oneness of all faiths.

Interfaith activities for example encouraging centres/groups to organise their own chanting days and interfaith walks would also create a bridge into the community and help devotees learn about other faiths on the path to unity and brotherhood of man. Under the title of study circles there will be a workshop where prospective facilitators can gain skills, and ideas that can be taken back to the centres to then be passed on to those devotees who wish to facilitate study circles in their centres.

Sai literature reading are an ongoing project and region 4 had already began recording SSS vol4 to create a CD that can then be played at home or in the car and work as an alternative tool in the learning process. In a few months we will also receive 52 readings (1 for each week of the year) taken from Swami's discourses that can be encouraged to read in the centres after bhajans. Finally a meditation workshop will be held that will be based on the technique that our beloved Swami so succinctly instructs. There are lots of opportunities that are in front of us it’s for us to take the first step!

Service: Brother Rohit highlighted the activities undertaken in 2013 and looking forward to the New Year informed the gathering of the forthcoming activities:

Hazelborough Forest Environmental Project – 22nd June 2014
Monthly Return - (replacing the quarterly report for the Service Wing)
Rudra Homam Celebration at Balaji Temple – July 2014
National Service Conference – October 2014
National Birthday Celebrations (Leicester) – 23rd November 2014

Youth: Brother Ketan presented the feedback on behalf of the youth describing the successful National Youth Conference held in February 2013, the pilgrimage to Prashanthi in July and the Serve the Planet project in October last year.

Finally, Brother Kishor Mistry from Coventry reflected on the days’ programme with a summary of the main events and thanked everyone for their attendance and participation in the activities of the day.

The programme concluded with a short bhajan session, followed by Arathi thus bringing an end to an inspiring and uplifting day. We all felt we took something special away with us to work on in the coming year.

Jai Sai Ram
Ramubhai Rathod, Kishor Mistry, Jenni Robson