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Love and Light

Sathya Sai National Human Values Day 2014

"Love as Thought is Truth; Love in Action is Right Conduct;
Love as feeling is Peace; Love in Understanding is Non-Violence."
-Bhagawan Baba

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Avatar of the Age and Embodiment of Supreme Love, has inspired the multitudes of humanity from across the globe to fill their hearts with love and lead their daily lives in a spirit of universal kinship. His Life and teachings during the 85 years of his physical sojourn on earth, highlight for us the essence of all religions of the world, namely, unconditional and universal love for all beings. In His Light, it has been possible for us to expand our consciousness and recognise that Love is the basis of all creation, and of all existence. Through His Example, we find encouragement to practise this divine love in our daily lives through its expression in every thought, word, action and interaction that we are engaged in. Perhaps never before in the history of humanity, have the fundamental but profound principles of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace and Non-Violence been defined as clearly and cohesively as the Human Values, and explained with such simplicity and practical relevance as in the quote above.

To offer gratitude for bestowing on humanity such precious gifts, and as a loving tribute for His eternal presence in our lives on the occasion of His Mahasamadhi in 2011, the 2nd annual Sathya Sai National Human Values Day was held on the 26th of April 2014 at the prestigious Watford Colosseum in London. About 600 devotees from various parts of the country, along with leaders and groups of representatives from 9 different Faiths and Religions, participated in these celebrations with joy and enthusiasm. The theme for the day was based on Bhagawan’s exhortation to us: ‘God is Love, Live in Love’.

Even as the day dawned with bright sunshine, the spirit of the theme came alive as teams of volunteers arrived early and applied themselves in an efficient manner to prepare the venue- decorate the huge Stage and the auditorium, set up the audio-visuals, welcome desk for guests, procession area for the children, kitchen and catering services, car parking assistance, bookshop and so on. Devotees, children, parents and guests soon started arriving in their numbers, and were received warmly by teams of young adults and member of the Central Council of the Sathya Sai Organisation UK. The spiritual ambience generated whenever Bhagawan’s devotees gather in love and gratitude is always a thrilling experience in itself, and it was no different on this occasion.

At 11am bhajans commenced in the main auditorium. This was a signal for the 50 or so children and teachers of the Sai Spiritual Education (SSE), gathered at the main entrance of the spacious venue to begin their Multifaith Procession. The young ones, with beaming smiles and joyous faces, each carrying either the symbol of a religion or a scripture or human value flags in their hands, led the 50 or so guests from the 9 faiths into the main auditorium much to the delight of all the devotees assembled. After offering their obeisance at Bhagawan’s Mahasamadhi Altar, they led the leaders of the Faiths and Religions onto the huge Stage which was gloriously bedecked with a bewitching portrait of Bhagawan on one side, His Chair on the other, the sacred Symbols of the world religions, beautifully lit up, in the middle and the human value banners framing the edges.

The young hearts then invited all those assembled to join their SSE Choir in singing ‘Love, Peace, Righteousness and Truth’ and aptly culminating with ‘We are One in the Spirit’! Amitesh Manandhar, a young SSE student from Tooting (London) welcomed and thanked the leaders on the Stage in his short Talk that was delivered with love and confidence. All the guests were highly impressed by the dedication, devotion, and discipline with which the SSE children displayed their conduct and talents.

Dr. Kiran Patel, the National Chairperson of our Organisation, took stage to welcome the gathering and introduce the theme for the day. He dwelled on the Love and Concern that Bhagawan had for all beings, even from a very tender age of three, when he would free little chickens held captive for later consumption! He spoke about the inspirational projects that Bhagawan willed into existence- free hospitals, free education, free water, etc- again out of the same Love and Concern. He summarised that Bhagawan was an Incarnation of Love, who lives to teach us the path of love, and leads all to live in the realisation that God is Love.

What followed after this rousing introduction was a spectacular, mesmerising, elevating and uniting festival of Love and harmony. Each Leader of a Faith or Religion came on Stage to share their love for God through prayers and music, and God’s Universal Love for his children as expounded in their scriptures. It started with Her Holiness Sister Yoshie Maruta from the Japanese Buddhist Temple in Milton Keynes who touched everyone with her humility and prayerfulness. She was followed by Ms. Bonnie and Rose Smith from the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is, Mr. Noshir and Ms Tenaz Bacha from the Zoroastrian Centre in London, Brother Julian from the Society of Saint Francis in Plaistow, Mr. Vinay Shah from the National Institute of Jainology, and Mr. Kuldip Singh Ubhi from the Namdhari Sikh Gurdwara who filled the ambience with their sincere prayers and spiritual reflections.

Interspersed amongst the above were prayers and scriptural messages on divine Love that were rendered in a musical format. The Watford Gospel Manna Choir led by Ms. Susan Watt from London, the Shaam Islamic ‘Nasheed’ Group from Birmingham led by Brother Haroon, the Gurbani Group from the Namdhari Sikh Gurdwara in Birmingham led by Kirpal Singh Panesar, and the Bhakti Vedanta Kirtan Group led by Sister Krsnapurna Devi Dasi from the Hare Krishna Temple in Watford- all created such sublime vibrations of love and harmony in every heart, that it seemed as if all individual identities melted and merged in a collective and universal One! Everyone enjoyed this powerful and liberating experience, and it appeared that each was making a strong resolve to preserve this feeling within oneself for a long time. This was acknowledged and echoed by Councillor George Derbyshire, the Deputy Mayor of Watford, in his brief address.

After a sumptuous and delicious lunch, Sri Ajit Popat, our Guest Speaker for the day delivered an inspiring and insightful Talk. Giving everyone some food for thought about ‘how to worship God’ in a true sense, he encapsulated the answer as five steps, denoted by 5 ‘L’ s, in the spiritual journey that a ‘seeker‘ of God, a ‘lover’ of God and a ‘follower’ of God would need to undertake: Listen, Learn, Lift up (oneself to practise), Live, and Love. He exhorted everyone to ‘live’ the prayers and the scriptural messages shared on the day and then ‘lead’ oneself into the Light of Divine Love that God Is, whether extolled as Rama, Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, and so on. He reflected on his experiences with the Supreme Divine Master, Bhagawan Baba, and shared his learning with the assembled audience.

Whilst our minds were absorbing these words of wisdom, shared so lovingly, our hearts were once again drenched in an enchanting session of instrumental bhajans by the popular ‘Sai Bandhan’ group led by Mrs. Roopa Panesar. This group comprising of internationally renowned and highly accomplished musicians had performed in Bhagawan’s Divine Presence in Prasanthi Nilayam on more occasions than one, and had offered at Bhagawan’s Divine Feet a special CD compilation titled ‘Sai Bandhan’ last year. On the day, they rendered popular bhajans as ‘Allah Hu Akbar’ and ‘Sai Bhajan Bina’ that enthralled everyone and transported our spirits into the precincts of the Divine Abode.

A youth concert and bhajans, led by eminent vocalist Mrs. Mathurini Vinothan, brought the curtains down on a day that will be cherished for some time to come by all those who worked for it and participated in it. For, Bhagawan’s Divine Presence and Love was closely felt, lived, and shared freely on this Sathya Sai National Human Values Day.

Dr. Veeru Mudigonda,
National Vice-Chair,
SSSSO UK