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Love and Light

Sathya Sai National Human Values Day 2015

Love - The One Divine Principal in All

The Life and Teachings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba shine as a Guiding Star in the human firmament helping individuals expand their consciousness through Love, and thereby, experience lasting happiness. Divine Incarnations of God have graced humanity on a few occasions since the beginning of Time to lead individuals towards their true divine nature. But none other than the glorious Sathya Sai Incarnation of Love has made us understand that Love and Service are the eternal and universal paths to our Truth, Peace and Bliss. That pure and unconditional Love itself IS the summum bonum of ALL Human Values: Truth, Right Conduct, Peace and Non-Violence in the world. That Love is the very Source, even the path and the Goal to happiness. That, in reality, Love is God!

To celebrate such a Divine Life is indeed an opportunity to remind oneself of these unique teachings and rededicate one’s resolve to follow them with gratitude. The annual Sathya Sai National Human Values Day in UK is a special event focussed on this purpose that every devotee awaits with so much enthusiasm and excitement. This year it was held in the prestigious Watford Colosseum in London on the 26th April and more than 600 devotees from all across the country participated with immense love and devotion.

Venue – Watford Colosseum and central stage

Based on the aptly titled theme, "Love - The One Divine Principle in All", the inspirational programme was a seamless integration of prayers, music, dance, talks, discussions and discourses that allowed the participants, both from the Sai family as well as guests from other religious faith communities and professional organisations, to share and bask in the warmth of a common bond of love and understanding. The entire arrangement at the Venue, including the human value banners and multifaith symbols on the stage and the beautifully illuminated pictures of Divine Masters from various Religions that installed specially in the auditorium, embraced the theme and encouraged the human spirit to soar to higher dimensions of universal and unifying Love which every world religion and every Great Master endeavours to teach humanity.

Children taking in the exhibition on Swami and His international Organisation

Religion of Love: A Multifaith Celebration

The morning began with a multifaith procession led by the SSE children holding Sarva Dharma flags and banners which carried very powerful messages on human values and universality of Swamis’s teaching. Leaders from Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism and Hinduism joined in the procession. The procession entered the auditorium even as it was reverberating with the full-throated group singing of Sarvadharma Bhajans. The tiny tots sweetly offered their obeisance at the beautifully decorated Mahasamadhi Altar of Bhagawan and the multifaith leaders went up the dais to light the lanterns of love and unity near the throne kept for Bhagawan.

Opening procession with all the children and our multi faith guests

Dr. Kiran Patel, President of Sathya Sai Organisation UK welcomed all the participants. In his address he explained how Bhagawan Sathya Sai, with one simple yet profound word- Love -transcended race, language, culture and religion, and demonstrated to all of us the practical way to experience kinship with all beings in this world. He highlighted Bhagawan’s unfathomable magnetism of selfless love that has inspired millions across 150 countries to follow in His Footsteps and serve fellow beings in various ways by providing free education, free medical facilities, free drinking water, housing, food etc. He concluded with Swami’s quote: “When there is righteousness in heart there will be beauty in character when there is beauty in character there will be harmony in home, when there is harmony in home there will be order in the nation, when there is order in the nation there will be peace in the world”. He exhorted each one assembled to adopt these principles of Love and Service, thus contributing our bit sincerely towards individual and collective peace in the world.

Bhagawan’s Divine Discourse

A short video clip of Bhagawan’s Discourse was then played in the auditorium which the participants listened in rapturous attention. The majesty in his divine voice and in his uplifting and unifying message enthralled everyone. The eminent representatives from various religions spoke next, and it seemed as if they too were taking divine cues from Bhagawan’s discourse in articulating their wisdom through their talks. Below are brief summaries contributed by our Sai Volunteers from the guest hospitality team, who spent the day in the company of our esteemed guests.

Buddhism (Click here for videolink)

First among the series of talks was given eloquently by the world renowned and revered monk Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala, Head of London Buddhist Vihara and also the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain. The venerable monk beautifully blended his talk with quotes from Lord Buddha’s words of wisdom, coupled with reciting prayers and singing mellifluous verses and hymns.

Buddism offering by Monk Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala

He highlighted that LOVE is the core theme that runs as an undercurrent in the principles and tenets of Lord Buddha. He began his talk by defining the word Metta (roughly translated as Loving Kindness in English), and emphasised the significance of Metta as an essence of life that displaces negative aspects and feeling such as hatred, jealousy and anger. He described that one can cultivate this Loving Kindness by harvesting one’s heart with compassion. Monk Seelawimala then touched upon some practical ways to inculcate this pure love by renouncing attachments and expectations.

The revered seer later read out a verse in Pali, attributed to Lord Buddha that enunciates the efficacy of Pure Love and how it heals the several ills surrounding human existence. He referred to the recent tragedy of earthquake that struck Nepal and wreaked havoc causing insurmountable losses. He prayed for the wellbeing and peace for the people who are affected as well as those who are helping and supporting them. The revered monk ended his insightful talk on Love by reciting a prayer in Pali language, which aims to provide succour, peace and love to one and all.

Speaking about his experiences from the event, the revered monk has all praise for the event, its content and the people involved.

Pardha Sarathi Mantravadi,

Islam (Click here for videolink)

Islam was represented by Mulla Ebrahim Rashid and Rizwan Bhai, from Hyderai Islamic Centre, London. Mullah Ebrahim Rashid spoke sincerely about the true values of Islam and the correct interpretation of the Islamic teachings.

He said that he and his group saw this event as an unique opportunity to express the need for on-going and continuous dialogue between the different faiths. This he felt was necessary to reduce tensions between different communities and the risk of young people straying away from the true path. Particulary in current times, he said that a shared event such as this helps to promote a better understanding of the true Islamic path of Peace. Such opportunities also allow people to share their experiences without fear and in an understanding environment of Love and Peace. He congratulated our Organisation and expressed his eagerness to participate in any future events of such shared learning.

Ilamic presentation by by Mulla Ebrahim Rashid and Rizwan Bhai

Pradip Trivedi,

Christianity (Click here for videolink)

Christianity was represented by Sister Chrisitne Brown, a member of the International Congregation of Catholic Nuns. She belongs to Waltham Forest women’s interfaith network, a branch of National Women’s Interfaith Network.

Throughout the day, she demonstrated her preference for a simple and sincere exchange with others, always very thoughtful of other people, and she engaged in conversation very readily with leaders of other faiths. During her talk on Love, she humoured everyone by ringing her bell and quoting from Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem” in a loud voice:

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

It was an important reminder of our fragility and of our failings, our ‘cracks’, yet a great message of love and hope. She encouraged everyone to continue loving God in all, despite our frailties, for this is the only way to pure happiness and light. She spoke with simplicity and humour, yet with great strength, and everyone enjoyed her presentation, and found her wonderful and inspiring.

Christianity represented by Sister Chrisitne Brown

Pierrette Poirot, Southampton

Jainism (Click here for videolink)

Jainism was represented by Dr Vinod Kapashi, President of the Mahavir foundation. He is an eminent writer, and has authored 16 books, and is associated with the World Congress of Faiths.

Following a brief introduction to his talk, Dr Kapashi invited two young children on stage for a dance depiction of Jain worship. Aishwarya Rajkumar Shah and Princess Rajkumar Shah, then performed the famous and sacred Namaskara mantra, to the great delight of all the assembled delegates. The two received a much deserved warm applause.

Dr. Kapashi then elaborated on the ancient Jain religion which teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live lives of harmlessness and renunciation.

He explained that the essence of Jainism is concern for the welfare of every being in the universe and for the health of the universe itself.

Dr Vinod Kapashi and children from the Jainism faith

Darshan Patel, Cheltenham

Hinduism (Click here for videolink)

Hinduism was represented by Krishna Subrahmanian, an investment banker and alumni from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam, India.

He introduced Hinduism as a religion that enables man to conduct a journey from Ashanti to Prashanti (Restlessness to Supreme Peace) through the practise of human values. He made an interesting observation that Spirituality being a solution to a problem, it becomes necessary to understand the problem well. And so Hinduism enables us to first understand Ashanti- the restlessness that troubles one, and then guides one along the paths of human values to Peace. He elaborated in a scholarly way that Hinduism identifies three aspects which initially appear as distinct entities- I (Aham), Universe (Idam) and God (Tath). All problems in life are because of an incorrect relationship between the three.

Hinduism represented by Mr Krishna Subrahmanian and the audience

Quoting the Vedas, he explained that resolving the identity between the three and establishing relationship between the three is necessary. This journey begins from the transformation of Aham- I. In order to start from ‘I’, one needs to purify the mind with Truth (Sathyam) and practice of Dharma (Righteousness). Divine love will spring only by following Sathya and Dharma. When it comes to Idam , one who is good-hearted, for him the whole world is one family. Hence, Love and Non-violence are the basis of relationship between Aham and Idam. When it comes to Tath, it is the very God that we worship. We should see everything as a manifestation of God be it human being, animal or even trees or plants. Whatever be His true nature we should offer our salutations. Perfect Harmony and Bliss can be attained only when unity of all three Aham – I, Idam –manifest Universe and Tath – God happens.

Aneet Govindarajan, Mill Hill

Sikhism (Click here for videolink)

The Sikh Group from Croydon Gurdwara represented the Youth wing of their organisation. Mr Sunni Singh at the outset welcomed us all and spoke about the spiritual and service activities they undertake, as well as our mutual interests. The group greatly appreciated the opportunity to share with the SSSO the key message of Love from their Religion. They embraced the universality of Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings on Pure Love and Selfless Service.

Representation from the Sikh faith, Sunni Singh offering his thoughts

Daksha Trivedi, Hatfield

After this amazing offering of a bouquet of inspiring multifaith presentations in the morning, and a sumptuous take away bag full of tasty food for lunch, delegates enjoyed the afternoon session packed with music, dance and interactive panel discussions.

What could be more energising after a sumptuous lunch than watching angelic SSE children from Region 3 perform a highly aesthetically choreographed multifaith dance with purity, precision and full of love. As the dance concluded with Bhagawan’s Message that God is one and that God is Love, the auditorium roared in thunderous applause from the audience.

Children from Region 3 offering an enthralling multi faith dance enthralling the audience

Human Values in Nation Building: Panel Discussion

This was followed by a lively Panel Discussion on the theme ‘Human Values in Nation Building’, anchored and led by Shitu Chudasama, former President of UK Sathya Sai Organisation and International Youth Co-ordinator, and currently serving as a member on the Publications Committee of Prasanthi Council. Brother Shitu started by first highlighting Bhagawan’s miracle in curing and healing people through the love He showered upon them.
He then brought attention to the challenge that is being faced in Britain today in fostering and integrating the Five human values of peace, love, truth ,right-conduct and non-violence in our societies. He shared that all people from all professions should consider taking an active role in promoting community cohesion through value-orientation and integration. He then invited three renowned professionals from the fields of education, music and police onto the panel for what was to be a very interesting and engaging discussion.

Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Mr Giles York, first gave a brief but insightful talk on Human Values in Leadership. It was impressive to note that his work and dedication has led to the Sussex Police being regularly in the Stonewall top 100 employees. He was also awarded the Queens Policing medal in the 2015 New Years Honours.

In his humble but intelligent demeanour, Mr York explained how he strives to do the best he can in his various roles as a policeman, a public leader and as a family man. Mr York, in a humorous but sincere manner explained how he finds it difficult to maintain the value of non-violence in the job that he does. He mused that his focus on upholding Truth and Right Conduct gave him the necessary balance and clarity whilst facing these challenges. He then shared about his role as a public leader, where his focus similarly is not just on what to say but, more importantly, on how one could say it. Mr York felt that in relating to the community or family, compassion is very important.

Shitu Chudasama and Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Mr Giles York opening the panel discussion

A video with a powerful message from Head Teacher Mr Tim Foster followed, on the impact that human values have had on Abbey Primary Community School in Leicester. He explained that Abbey was held together by the golden thread of human values and also explained how important it is to set up human values systems in schools. Mr Dipak Fakey OBE, Director of Institute of Sathya Sai Education, UK and one of the panellists on the day, explained the triangle of the society- the child, the teacher and the parent- and how each one of them needs to take the responsibility to make the children, who are like little buds, enlightened with human values. He further explained how to incorporate human values in daily life responsibly with practical and real life examples from his model of the Good Values Clubs in Schools, which are based on Bhagawan’s Principles on human values and serve as a stepping stone for integrating values seamlessly.

Mr Deepak Fakey OBE and Dana Gillespie offering their thoughts on the panel

Dana Gillespie, the internationally renowned musician, was the other eminent member on the panel who shared her experience that people across the world are same and God is one! Dana beautifully explained that the more she travelled, the more people seem the same. This further reinforced to her Swami’s teachings that all religions are one and all people are same. She felt that music and arts brings light to dark places.

The Mayor of Harrow Councillor Ajay Maru then delivered the Mayoral Address, which in a way, summed up the Panel Discussion. He started off beautifully quoting Bhagawan Bab: Love in thought is truth , Love in action is right conduct, Love in feeling is peace, Love in understanding is non-violence. Councillor Ajay Maru emphasised that only when we preserve human values in our character and conduct, will we be able to transform others. He touched upon actions of love, kindness, appreciation and the message he conveyed clearly was “ Practice what you preach”.

Mayor address by Councillor Ajay Maru and the audience watching the programme

Love The Love: Human Values Concert

After a quick break, when delicious ice-cream was served to the immense delight of all delegates, and an inspiring video was shown on Sathya Sai Organisation’s service activities across the rural and urban India, it was time to enjoy an enthralling Human Values Music Concert, ‘Love the Love’, by none other than Dana Gillespie.

The fantastic Dana Gillespie with a very memorable musical performance

Dana started off with Salam-alaikum song; the intensity in her voice, the devotion that oozed out of her, and the energy that vibrated across the massive hall was something that left us all in heavenly bliss and connected us so much with our one and only Avatar of Love, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Dana went on to render many other amazing songs some of which were Om Shakti, Guardian Blue angel, and finally Allah Hu Akbar! Words cannot describe our happiness when we listened and enjoyed the powerful and inspiring rendition of Dana. It was a heavenly experience that left us all in bliss and connected us with our Bhagawan intensely.

The uplifting celebrations ended with the offering of Arathi to Bhagawan. It seemed that every heart sang and danced, thanking him in love and gratitude, for the divine inspiration He continues to give us in leading our lives meaningfully with Love, and for Love! And one could perhaps attempt to summarise the wondrous celebrations on the day in a few simple words as follows:

S – Selfless Love
W- Words of Wisdom
A – Attaining divinity
M- Manifestation of God
I – Infinite blessings, blessings and blessings...

Compiled by

Aneet Govindarajan
Dr Veeru Mudigonda