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Love and Light

Region 5 - Guru Poornima Celebration: A Youth Perspective

Om Sri Sai Ram

The morning had finally arrived and rays of sunshine shone through the slits of the curtain, waking me up for what promised to be fantastic day. Opening the curtains further, there in the sky was the effulgent sun in all its glory, providing light for us all. Today was the celebration of Guru Poornima and with that in mind, I looked up into the sky and asked Swami a question. “Swami, you are my mother, my father and my guru. In the Gayatri manthra, you say, that you are that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination, and divine grace of universal intelligence. Swami, will you therefore, as my guru, teach me some important lessons and I pray for the divine light to illumine my mind.”

Lesson no. 1: As I reached the venue in Sandbach, a single yawn slipped away. Walking into the main hall, I stood for seconds in awe. Everything was set up and ready. Devotees had travelled from near and far to set up the beautifully breath-taking altar which covered the entire stage, creating the perfect setting for devotees to bask in the glory of the Lord from anywhere in the hall. The SITA team had clearly been very hard at work, as all the electronics and visual equipment had been set up and was ready to go. Even the catering team had come in early and prepared a wonderful breakfast for the devotees. People rushing here, people rushing there, and here I stood in a stand still looking at the beautiful altar. Needless to say, I knew my lesson was to stop yawning and get helping out in any way I could. Baba says “Constant work in loving service to others covers the seeds of past sinful and harmful actions, so that they die away and do not grow into a new round of misery.”

Lesson no. 2: The programme had the title “Nava Rathna Mala- a day of devotion filled with music and stories”. It focussed on the 9 forms of devotion. Namely, Shravanam, Keerthanam, Vishnusmaranam, Padasevanam, Archanam, Vandanam, Daasyam, Sakhyam and Atmanivedanam. Each centre had been given a single form and been given the task of expressing this form, in a short performance. Before this celebration, these words might as well have been from another planet because I had no clue what each of them meant. I could maybe have guessed a couple, but really, I was very lost. This was Swami’s subtle mini lesson for me to read more books to expand my spiritual knowledge. Each and every centre had worked so hard to portray the form of devotion in an exciting and enthralling way. Every performance was unique and outstanding in conveying the message of the Lord. From the opening performance of songs with an accompanying guitar to the strike of a dancers anklets as her foot hit the floor, we needed only to close our eyes to be transported to a campfire setting singing the glories of the Lord to the majestic halls of Prasanthi, where girls would perform Bharathanatiyam with grace and beauty. SSE children teamed with adults in teaching the importance of Archanam, tales of Radha were brought to life with exciting and innovative modern twists and lessons of a yogi were conveyed with the use of exquisite props and costumes. All the performances were lessons in themselves, but the unity and teamwork that had been put in, delivered outstanding performances. Our dear Bhagawan says, “The mind sees separateness, LOVE sees unity.”

Lesson no. 3: Whether it be a single strum of the guitar, a mellow note from the flute or the strong strike as a finger makes contact with the tabla, the musical melodies of the day proved to be a real highlight. Devotees were entranced by a medley of songs from various religions and a Qawwalli that set the halls ambiance on fire. In the words of our dear loving Baba, “Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish; let the glory of God be sung in all languages in a variety of tunes. That should be the ideal.” There are so many forms of devotion, so many ways of reaching Bhagawan. One need only remember “There is only one religion; the religion of Love. There is only one language; the language of the Heart. There is only caste; the caste of Humanity. There is only one God, He is Omnipresent." As I watched the performances, there was something really special about each and every one of them. There was so much effort and scrutinized planning, but what was it that made every one so beautiful? It was the fact that every thing was performed as an offering to God. Swami says “What is offered to GOD is totally free from all defects and imperfections.”

Lesson no. 4: The programme was coming to an end and as aarthi began, I had a quick look around the hall. There stood all the devotees, singing in union, eyes closed and contemplating on our dear beloved Bhagawan. “Unity is divinity; purity is enlightenment.” Each and every one of us has a role to play in the world. Whether it be the love and care of a mother, the discipline given by a father or the duty of a student to gain as much worldly knowledge and spiritual insight, we must always remember that we are simply the instruments of God. “Life is a game, Play it”. I thank Swami, my mother, father and guru, for all these lessons and giving me guidance every step of the way.

Om Sri Sai Ram
Sai Ram