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Love and Light

Region 1 - Brixton Centre Visit to Skanda Vale

On the night of 22nd August, Brixton Sai Centre made their journey to Carmarthen, South West Wales to visit the Skanda Vale Temple. As we began our departure, we commenced the journey chanting the Vedas and sang group devotional songs throughout the night. We reached our destination at about 4.30 am ready to attend the first prayer at 5 am.

Skanda Vale is a multi- faith monastery located in the valleys of South West Wales which was founded by Guru Sri Subramaniam in the summer of 1973. The road to the temple is very narrow allowing just one vehicle to pass at a time. There are three temples: The Murugan Temple, The Maha Shakti Temple and The Ranganatha Temple, each one is dedicated to Lord Subramaniam, Divine Mother Kali and Lord Vishnu.

As we reached the entrance to the Murugan temple, delegates quietly assembled and patiently waited until a monk arrived to welcome us; women were seated on the left and men on the right. As I entered the temple, I noticed a big picture of Baghawan Shree Sathya Sai Baba on the wall welcoming us too. The Monks started the proceedings by reciting the multi- faith prayers and sang devotional songs; we joined in the chorus, and concluded with Aarathi to Lord Subramaniam.

We then made our way to the Maha Shakti temple located at the very top of the hill. The pathway was directed with signs to the temple at each point. The scenic view while walking up the hill was beautiful. Skanda Vale is surrounded by tall hills, large trees, cows, buffaloes, deer, goats, rabbits and dogs. It was lovely to feel and be surrounded by a different living, united atmosphere. As swami says, ‘To see God in everything, to love everything as manifestations of God, and offer everything to God as an offering of love- this is the way of love’. Transport was provided for the elderly and anyone unable to walk up the hill. This truly reflected upon Swami’s teaching as ‘Service to man is service to God’. The Sarva Dharma emblem was imprinted on the transport vehicles.

The prayers inside the Maha Shakti Temple started at 6.30am. During the prayers, the vibrations we received were so divine, it felt as though time had stopped for a second; we were in absolute peace. All the contributions such as fruits, flowers and groceries from delegates were offered for blessings while chanting the name of Goddess Annapoorna, the mother of food. As the temple could take in a few delegates only, there was a large colourful tent situated outside the temple with long benches so everyone could sit and watch the proceedings of the prayers on a big screen. We then concluded with aarathi to Maha Kali.

After, everyone had the opportunity to visit the temple and pay their respects; we made our way down the hill to the canteen to have maha prasadam, which was lovingly made and served by the volunteers.

Our last visit was at the Ranganatha temple, located outdoors. There was a large statue of Lord Vishnu sleeping in a lake, who appeared to be floating in the abode of peace. We sang devotional songs as we waited for the monks to arrive. The prayers started at 9.30am with water gushing through the large rocks showering over Lord Shiva and entering the lake to Lord Vishnu and flowing towards Goddess Lakshmi. Offerings from delegates were placed around Lord Vishnu. It was a magnificent and picturesque scene. The final aarathi was offered to Lord Vishnu and prasadam was distributed, as blessings. There was a souvenir shop to treasure our wonderful visit and to obtain snacks for our return journey to London. Overall it was a memorable and spiritual trip which we will never forget with the grace of our Lord Bhagawan Baba.

Jai Sai Ram.
Jugdish Injore