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Love and Light

Region 5 - Birthday Celebrations

Our beloved Bhagawan`s birthday was celebrated at Bolton on 23rd November 2014 with great enthusiasm and devotion. The altar was most beautifully decorated by a dedicated Altar Team who had a Jhula (Swing) for Swami in the middle. The theme for the day was “One with Sai” which was the theme for all our sathsangs this year.

The celebrations started with Vedam chanting (One with Sai through Vedam initiative). Every centre had taken up learning one Vedic hymn this year and they most humbly offered it at the Lotus Feet on His birthday. The initiative has restarted Vedam learning and classes in the Region after a few years.

The day had 3 beautiful offerings from the Region 5 SSE group (One with Sai through SSE). The first one was on “Motherhood” by the Warrington SSE children. The second programme was a play on “Ramayana” by the Halifax SSE group. The third was a play on “An episode from the Avatar`s life” by the Manchester SSE children. All three programmes were a delight to the audience. The dedication and enthusiasm of children, SSE gurus and the parents were highly commendable. There was so much thought put into the costumes, acting and delivery of the items by them.

The guest speaker for the day was Dr Nishith Patel from London. He delighted the audience with his simple and sincere talk. He started off by saying that One with Sai is nothing but “building a relationship with Bhagawan”. He shared many incidents as an SSE alumnus age and also from his family to substantiate how Swami responds as soon as you treat Him as your own. He said how Swami sees you in the same manner as we see Him. He gave many examples of how he treated Swami as a friend and how Swami responded to Him with all His love every time.

We also had the pleasure of having Mr Sairam Iyer, a prolific singer from Mumbai, India on the day. Mr Iyer's performance delighted them with a mix of classical devotional songs and Sai bhajans.

The celebrations also witnessed a beautiful and colourful dance on the Goddess (Gharbha style dance) by the Bolton sisters group. We also inaugurated a “Spiritual poetry Darbar” with the Region 5 poets sharing some of their spiritual poems for us on the day.

Regional chair also announced two important service projects on the day- BabySai project and the Vastradhaan Project to commenmorate the “One with Sai through Service” initiative. He also mentioned that the “Pret a Manger” initiative has become highly successful with groups in Leeds and Manchester organising it every week. Leeds had so far shared sandwiches worth £5400 this year from Pret to St Georges Crypt which feed the homelss people. Manchester (which serves the homeless through the Chaplaincy) also donated a fridge and freezer to them for the sandwiches in November.

Whilst the devotees thought that this cant get better, the Region 5 Music team came up with a beautiful Qawwali performance (One with Sai through Music). Popular Qawwalis including Allah Hoo, Haji Ali, Sai Bhakton Ki Saji Mehfil , Sai Bin Raha Na Jaaye and Shirdiwale Sai Baba were rendered beautifully by the team. Each centre had practised one Qawwali each and the enthusiasm was imminent in every song. It was received with thunderous applause from the devotees.

After thanking every devotee who worked hard for the sathsang (Vote of Thanks), we had soulful bhajans and arati. All the children were brought to the stage and given a small token of love for their participation. They all stayed together to cut a specially designed cake for our beloved Bhagawan amidst glitters. Devotees did not want to leave the venue after such a lovely day. They left taking Bhagawan in their hearts wishing each other and Bhagawan “Happy Birthday”.

Kailash Venkat
Region 5 Chair