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Love and Light

Region 4 - Global Service Day at Salcey Forest

As part of a national initiative of the Sri SathyaSai Service Organisation 44 Sai Devotees from Region 4 (Midlands) of a diverse range of ages took part in volunteering at the Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire on Sunday 12th July. The day was inspired by His Divine Holiness Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings of serving our planet through Enviro-care, which is one of the five global service initiatives adopted.

Sathya Sai Baba says :

"Man is deriving innumerable debt from Nature, and enjoying the amenities provided by Nature in various ways. But what is the gratitude he is showing to Nature? What gratitude is he offering to the Divine? He is forgetting the Divine who is the provider of everything. That is the reason for his becoming a prey to various difficulties and calamities. While he is receiving countless gifts from Providence, he is offering nothing in return to Nature or God. This shows how unnatural and heartless is the behaviour of man. When we are enjoined to return good for evil, how unbecoming it is to fail even to return good for good? Man is not learning the great lessons Nature is teaching him. The foremost lesson is doing service with no expectation of return. People ask, "Where is God?" The answer is provided by Nature.

Who is it that has created the five elements, the five life-breaths, the five sheaths, the five external sense organs and the five internal sense organs, which are all ceaselessly carrying on their functions according to their prescribed roles. The seasons in their regular cycle are teaching a good lesson to man. Therefore Nature is the demonstrable proof for the existence of God. Nature is not under any obligation to any man, it takes no orders from any man, it operates according to the will of the Divine".

The blessed morning started with divine prayer by chanting Om followed by pranayama( deep exhalation and inhalation ) to help connect with our divine nature and inner self with a short commentary about the benefits of deep breathing as given by a Yoga teacher, Ashok Jethwa, who guided everyone. Jo, the Forest Ranger showed us how to cut the overgrown trees and branches providing us with the tools to use. We all happily stuck in and connected with Mother Earth.

Such an invigorating way to spend a Sunday!

A few hours later we stopped for a wonderful lunch sharing and connected with each other. We then spent the afternoon clearing the forest area to allow horses to ride through and providing a habitat for other wildlife in the forest.

The day ended beautifully with devotional chants, spreading the spiritual vibrations to the universe starting with the gayatri mantra and some lovely sai bhajans and Aarti.

Then there was this beautiful wave of silence that surrounded us as we gave gratitude for being fortunate to serve and contribute to the betterment of the planet.

On reflection of the day, not only did we connect with nature by cleansing the forest the way we cleanse ourselves, we also connected with each other. There was the spirit of teamwork, love and happiness. It was a great pleasure to be working amongst like-minded people, with the same motivation: to take Swami’s mission forward as his beacons of love and service and inspire others to do the same

Om Sai Ram
Krish Ruparelia