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Love and Light

Region 5 - Sathya Sai Regional Orientation Conference 2016

Office Bearers and Active Workers travelled from far and wide across the region to attend the Regional Orientation Conference on Saturday 27th February 2016. Newcastle, Bolton, Leeds, Halifax, Warrington, Greater Manchester, Lidget Green and Preston centre chairs and active workers attended the event which was lovingly hosted by devotees of Leeds. We were joined by Dr Veeru Mudigonda, National President SSIO UK and Dr Kiran Patel, Outgoing National President SSIO UK. The day started with bhajans and beautiful darshan of Swami. Dr Vijayanand Nadella, Region 5 President welcomed Dr Kiran Patel and the rest of the office bearers and active workers. He said that this orientation conference is an opportunity for all the active workers to come together and share the wonderful work done by the different centres in the region and thus inspire and motivate one another in taking the mission of Sai forward.

Dr Veeru Mudigonda, National President SSIO UK, then addressed the gathering. He emphasised that we should have a heart to heart communication within our Organisation. Swami knows every feeling in our hearts and Swami will only accept those feelings and actions filled with Love. Swami is interested in the worker and just not the work. The means to the end is equally important. We can do work as individuals but what Swami is more interested is collective work. Only when we interact with people can we give the chance to expand our Love – our hearts expand when we interact with other with Love. We can always do meditation, bhajans, japa on our own, but when we come together and interact together, the Love expands. We should be able to work together by looking at the divinity in each individual. Take every opportunity to connect with hearts across the country, across the world, Dr Veeru said.

Dr Kiran Patel addressed the audience and highlighted the enormous responsibility of the office bearers in safeguarding the interests of the devotees. He said that we come closer to Swami by serving in His Organisation. He shared wonderful direct lessons he learnt at the feet of Sai and how Swami stood as an exemplary icon of selfless service. To Serve is above even Moksha (liberation). When we offer all work to Swami, then work becomes Worship. Keep focussed on Swami! Follow the Master and Finish the Game.

Certificates of affiliation to the Sathya Sai Organisation were then presented by Dr Veeru to all the Centre Presidents. All the members present congratulated the devotees from Leeds for their hard work to get their group status promoted to a centre.

We then had the presentations by wing coordinators and centre chairs which was followed by a quick lunch. After that, Mr Vinesh Parmar, R5 vice-president, and Sai Sreenidhi, R5 Youth Coordinator facilitated the Ideal Sai Centre workshop. The workshop materials were beautifully put together – the quotes, videos, scenarios and interactive sessions moved and inspired us as well as giving us plenty to reflect upon. There was something for everyone to learn and to take away.

Dr Vijay Nadella (Left) and Dr Veeru Mudigonda (Right) holding Affiliation Certificates

Workshop Group Discussions

Some of the reflections by the members following the workshop are given below:

What is the purpose of a Sai Centre ?

  1. Personal spiritual development and improving spiritual knowledge
  2. Meeting other families for Sathsang and thereby form a Sai Family in the local community
  3. Raise awareness of the Divinity within us
  4. Become a role model and inspire the youths and guide them where necessary
  5. Discuss Swami’s discourses from different festivals and faiths
  6. Focusing on devotees’ experiences

According to Sathya Sai Baba, the purpose of a centre was to make one aware of their inherent divinity. He had established various wings in a centre to enable individuals to fulfil this purpose.

Youth and SSE roles:

Youth Action Programmes (YAPs) to be organised to facilitate the following:

  1. Keeping the youth unified in a spiritual environment
  2. Providing a platform for the youth to contemplate deep spiritual issues with their peers

Leadership Roles for youth: To facilitate the leadership transition from the elders to the younger generation in an effort to mould the youth to become the future leaders of the organisation.

SSE participation during bhajans: To provide the SSE children an opportunity to serve during Bhajan sessions e.g. set up altar, singing, playing instruments, manage PA and IT equipment, make announcements, give talks, enact dramas etc. These would benefit children with self-confidence and spiritual living.

Service

Multi-faith Youth Initiative: To provide a forum for various faith groups to engage in service. This is to foster God-Consciousness amongst the various faith groups through the participation of service and for youth to expand their hearts transcending caste, creed, and religion.

How can a Sai Centre achieve its objectives through Group Devotional Singing?

  1. Bhajans - introduce more English bhajans
  2. Prayers - Lord's Prayer
  3. Chanting – in addition to Vedam chanting, to include chanting from other faiths as well.
  4. Music - take musical experience beyond the centre, for example by contacting Oldham Library to see if they would allow their venue to organize a musical event in the library.
  5. Interfaith - celebrate other festivals from the different religions.
  6. Inviting representatives from different faiths to present stories/prayers during festivals at centre.

The day concluded by setting dates in the calendar for future regional events. All the office bearers took the oath as laid out by Bhagawan.

A big thank you to our regional team for facilitating the day. Everyone was left feeling uplifted, inspired and energised ready to start our journey for the year.

Dr Vijayanand Nadella,
President, Region 5 SSIO UK