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Region 1 - November 2011 Update

Sai Laksharchana - Saturday the 15th of October

Region 1 was very fortunate to host the divinely blessed Sai Laksharchana, chanting of the Lord’s name 100,000 times, on Saturday 15th October 2011 performed by uncle Vadgama. Just over 120 Sai brothers and sisters including children from across the Region 1 and 6 gathered at the Sai centre of Tooting.

The day commenced with prayers and group devotional singing by SSE children and youth. Throughout the Sai Laksharchana, Uncle Vadgama uplifted the day by sharing his experiences. Together in unison, with joined hearts and hand, everyone chanted the powerful mantra ‘Om Sri Sathya Sai Krishniya Namaha’ and each grain of rice were offered before the Divine Lotus feet of our beloved Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It was beautiful to see youths, adults and children offering yellow rice grains while chanting together.

The day concluded with group devotional singing and Mangala Aarti. Each family received a book Sri Sai Satcharita as prashadam from Uncle Vadgama.

YAP – Young Adult Programme - Friday the 16th of September

On 16th September, the Sai Youth of Region 1 gathered together for their monthly YAP (Young Adults Programme). This month’s programme was focused on the quote: “Make your life a rose that speaks silently in the language of fragrance.” We discussed: what opportunities we have, as Sai devotees, to become leaders; how can we be more proactive in serving neighbouring communities; and what influences in our everyday lives can help us to become more like a rose.

During the course of our discussions, it was clear to see that the opportunities for leadership are numerous and open to all. Many Sai Youth highlighted that uncoordinated leadership resulted in the recent UK riots. It was clear to see that more time and effort is needed for helping nearby communities. One Sai Youth suggested contacting other organisations in the nearby area which could be beneficial in understanding the diverse cultures. When discussing the influences in our everyday lives that can help us become like a rose, the Sai youth came up with many examples such as friends, family and Sai colleagues. One Sai Youth took the metaphor of the rose literally and stated that, with the beautiful rose, there come the thorns; another Sai Youth noted that we do not have to take the good with the bad, as it is our choice to discriminate between what is right and what is not. Overall, the Sai Youth felt very inspired after the discussion, aware of the many different opportunities for leadership as well as a greater understanding of how to change our lives to become more like a rose.

Jay Mistry
Brixton Sai Centre

Service for Peace at Merton Sai Centre - Sunday the 25th of September

To celebrate London Week of Peace, Merton Sai Centre held a “Service for Peace” at the Sai Mandir on the afternoon of Sunday 25th September. As part of their contribution to the service, Group 1 SSE children decorated beautiful white doves of peace with brightly coloured stars and sequins, which were then cut out and used to decorate the entrance to the Sai Mandir. The service began at 3pm, with English and Sarva dharma bajans, and continued with the chanting of multi-faith and vedic prayers by the SSE children. This was followed by readings from the Hindu holy scriptures in Sanskrit and in Tamil. The children from the Sai Spiritual Education classes read passages on Peace from the United Nations and ended with quotations from our beloved Swami on unity and peace.

The Rev. Andrew Wakefield, vicar of St. Andrew’s Church in Wimbledon, completed the service by reading the Beatitudes from the holy Bible (Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10) and talking about this year’s theme for London Week of Peace, which was “Giving Back”. The service concluded with Arathi and everyone chanted Swami’s exhortation for peace and happiness for the world “ Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavanthu”.

After the service, the wonderful refreshments by our sevadal ladies provided everyone with the perfect opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and continue the interfaith dialogue. The service was well attended by approximately 150 devotees and members of other faiths and left us with a feeling of great joy and with renewed determination to continue to “give back” to the community through the voluntary work that we do in His name.

Commemoration Of Avatar Day - Thursday the 20th of October

On Thursday 20th October, to commemorate Avatar Day, a picture of Swami’s Samadhi was installed in the Sai Mandir, Effra Road, London SW19. When news of Swami’s passing reached us in April, the Mandir was kept open and continuous Bhajans and Namasmarana took place, as thousands of devotees came to the Mandir to gain comfort and express their loss of our Lord’s physical form. The Mandir stayed open all night on the day of the funeral and we watched together, as one family, the live streaming of the last rites and placing of the body in the Samadhi. So the installation of this large photo of His Samadhi in the Mandir marked an important milestone for the devotees.

After half an hour of chanting of the Gayathri, the assembled devotees watched as Sridhar Iyer (Priest) from the adjoining Ghanapathy Temple unveiled the photo and chanted vedic prayers of blessing and consecration, as he placed flowers around the picture and placed the tilak on the picture of Swami and on the marble cover of the Samadhi. We then all joined in a very poignant rendition of the arathi song, as Sridhar Iyer moved the sacred flame around the picture and then to the main altar. A special Bhajan took place after that and, as we watched, many of us were filled with great emotion. A sense of peace and joy descended on the congregation, an acknowledgement that having this depiction of Swami’s last resting place in the Mandir acted as a salve to our troubled minds, an understanding of the true nature of our Lord and the understanding that it was now time to focus on the next part of Swami’s mission – our inner transformation.