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Love and Light

Region 3 - Sathya Sai Orientation Conference from a youth perspective

The region 3 conference which welcomed people from all across the region was held in Ilford. There was a continuation of the theme from the national conference with the title: Love Is My Form, Living as Reflections of Love and Service.

Following the opening prayers, everybody in attendance split into their respective workshop groups. The key topic of the workshops was “Swami’s Love.” This was a very simplistic topic that was assembled and addressed by the youth of the region. The facilitators examined this topic, breaking it down in a manner in which every person was able to connect by making recollections about the love they had received from Swami. The first question raised was “Give a time when you have felt Swami’s love and what did it make you feel?” There was a range of responses from devotees. For instance, one devotee said “Swami answering their prayers gave them goose bumps and energy.” Another said “Swami looked into their eyes while giving Darshan giving them a feeling of immense and pure happiness, making them smile.” This led on to the topic of what we can do with this love or feeling? Devotees concluded that they could spread this feeling in a various ways. Carrying out service, complimenting someone, make someone else happy, or just smiling were identified as mechanisms for spreading this feeling.

To conclude the workshop devotees were presented with two case studies about certain centre situations in which they had to provide an assessment of how they would react and respond to such situations. The first scenario depicted a centre failing to follow through with a seva opportunity and postponing it to a further date. Homeless feeding was the seva opportunity. A volunteer at the homeless feeding centre then complains to one of the Sai devotees that it took too long for the Sai Centre to come and help, and this is not the way Swami operates! The majority of devotees’ reaction to this scenario if in the position of the devotee was to get angry or to argue back that a lot of effort had been put in. The key answer for me, however, was what Veeru Uncle mentioned. Taking a completely different perspective of the incident, he asked why do we want to get angry? Why do we want to react? He said, it is because we think that WE are doing the work and therefore when criticised, we take it as a personal attack. We must remind ourselves that we are merely instruments of the Lord. Swami is doing the work, Swami is the orchestrator. We have to detach from the work we do. Uncle further reiterated his stance by using another example. He said if somebody tells Sahil that he played Tabla poorly today, he will get upset. Why? Because he would be under the impression that he has played the Tabla! This is wrong. Swami has played the Tabla, and when somebody tells you that you have not done well, you should tell Swami, “Swami, I tried my very best” and then let it go. Do not be attached.

After the workshops there was an opportunity for some reflection amongst devotees. Gathering again in the main hall, feedback was presented on the key points from their individual workshops. A short comfort break followed this after which the wing meetings commenced. Being a former youth coordinator, I attended the youth wing meeting. Issues were discussed with regards to youth numbers within the Sai centre as well as ways that we as a region could be united through activities. The key ideas proposed were: day retreats, sports activities such as sports day, study circles on topics similar to the workshop and service activities like Easter egg collection.

The take home message for the conference was how to take Swami’s love in the various ways that we as individuals had received it and best bring it and spread it to those around us, be it through service or how we go about our daily lives. Remembrance of how much love Swami is able to give to so many people is crucial as we can then implement this within our everyday interactions and behaviour.

Jai Sai Ram

Sahil Kotecha
Youth, Hatfield Centre