April 2012 Edition

Quote

When Jesus proclaimed that he was the Messenger of God, he wanted to emphasise that every one is a messenger of God and has to speak, act and think like one. This is the true Karma-Kaanda (branch dealing with action and its reaction) of the Vedhas: saadhana (discipline) of karma (work), japa (prayer), seva (service) and dhyaana (meditation). When progress is furthered, Jesus asserted, each one can recognise all as Sons of God, Children of God, brothers and sisters of oneself, and so, deserving of worship. The Upaasana Kaanda (branch of Vedhas dealing with contemplation) is the scripture in Sanaathana Dharma (Eternal Universal Religion) for this stage. Finally, knowledge ripens into wisdom and the goal of Jnaana Kaanda (branch of Vedhas dealing with spiritual wisdom) is reached, when each one realises, I and my Father are One.

~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

News

Sri Sanjay Sahni - Schedule of Meetings with our Special Guest in UK

Articles

Education Wing - National Easwaramma Day 2012

Region 1 - Interfaith Walk in Wimbledon

Region 1 - Sai Laksharchana 2012

Region 1 - Youth Service Activity for Easter

Region 1 - “All Is One”.... Interfaith Walk

Region 2 – Inaugural YAP (Young Adults Programme)

Region 3 - "Youth Eggstravaganza": Easter Egg Seva!

Region 3 - YSAP "Mind, Body and Atma"

Region 5 - Devotional Singing Workshop - Morecambe

Region 5 - Inaugural YAP (Young Adult Programme)

Region 5 - SSE Training Day

Region 6 - Get Your Hands Involved With Your Local Community

Region 6 – Youth Reflections

Region 7 - Regional Orientation & Welcome Day

Region 7 - Swindon SSE Class Celebrates Easter

Region 8 - Medicare initiatives from Scotland

Spiritual Wing - "I and My Father are One"

Spiritual Wing - Sri Sanjay Sahni

Spiritual Wing - The Holy Week of Easter

Editorial

Dear Love & Light Readers,
Loving Sai Ram to you!

As we celebrate the festival of Easter, we are lost in deep thought and reflection for it was on the 24th April, one year ago that our Divine Master, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba made the transition from the form to the formless. Whilst He continues to remain with us, ever guiding us and protecting us, His physical loss to us as devotees and for humanity at large can never be replaced.

Baba had touched the lives of each one of us. We all cherished a special relationship with Him as our Teacher, Friend, Father, Mother, Guide and God.

Ever since His Advent, He sacrificed every moment of His Life for the welfare and spiritual transformation of humanity. He constantly reminded us to lead lives around God centeredness. He showed us by His example to Love God by serving fellow beings. He declared that His mission was to establish on earth the brotherhood of man based upon Love which He demonstrated every moment of His Life.

Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs and people from other religions came to Him. He didn’t establish a new religion but brought everyone together in the understanding that there was only one caste, the caste of humanity and that there was only one religion, the religion of Love. He exhorted everyone to become better in the practise of their respective religions.

The welfare projects that He had undertaken are beyond anyone’s imagination both in terms of scale and time – free education, free medical aid with state of the art facilities, drinking water schemes, serving the poor and many others which had far reaching impact upon the masses of people. These were just a reflection of His sense of kinship, His compassion and His Love for fellow beings, a startling lesson for us, His devotees to follow.

Let us all get together and participate in the programmes planned this month, to offer our prayers, our Love and Gratitude, to join hands and draw strength and commemorate one of the most significant events in our Lives.

Dr. Kiran Patel,
National Chair

With Love, Enter the Kingdom of God

Love alone can reveal the Divinity latent in all. Love is God. Live in Love. Love lives by giving and forgiving. Self lives by getting and forgetting. Love is self-lessness. Selfishness is Love-lessness. Do not waste your lives by pursuing the narrow interests of the self. Love! Love! Become what you truly are, the embodiments of Love! No matter how others treat you, or what they think of you, do not worry. Follow Jesus Christ! ~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

The extraordinary life of Jesus Christ is an eternal lesson in Love and Unity: Love for God, Love of God, and Union with God. His overwhelming compassion, total surrender to the Will of God, supreme forbearance and sacrifice – attributes that reached such unfathomable, and galactic yet sublime proportions during his crucifixion- were all manifestations of His Love and Union with God, His Father; manifestations of his being firmly established thus in the Brotherhood of Man. He was a Divine Master born with a purpose, the mission of restoring Love and Compassion in the heart of man.

During this most spiritual time of Easter, when both Isa and Sai- the Son and the Father- gave up their physical coils, it is with immense gratitude that we remember their Divine Lives and the lessons they taught. Because in a bruised world, both internal and external to us, where the ego is making puppets of us all and denying us our true legacy of inner peace and contentment, it is only their simple and soothing Message of Love that heals our hearts, calms our minds, gives us hope and energy. It refreshes us, recharges us, and indeed resurrects each one of us!

Bhagawan Baba, our dear Swami, says that far more beneficial than honouring the great is the practice of loving them. Whilst glorification raises them on to an unreachable pedestal, Love binds one heart to another. Our gratitude for the instruction and inspiration received from them must therefore bind our hearts in love, and set us firmly on the path of love in our journey towards the Kingdom of God.

"Try to be like Jesus. Jesus was a person whose only joy was in spreading divine love, offering divine love, receiving divine love and living on Divine love. Christ proclaimed that God is all-powerful and omnipresent, the One without a second. His teachings have to be interpreted, understood and followed from this universal point of view" ~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Dr. Veeru Mudigonda




Sri Sanjay Sahni - Schedule of Meetings with our Special Guest in UK

National Wing News

Schedule of Meetings with our Special Guest in UK
Sri Sanjay Sahni

Director Brindavan Campus and Former Student,
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam


DateTimeVenue
28th April Saturday11am to 4.30pm
National Sai Remembrance Day
Maher Centre
15 Ravenbridge Drive
Leicester LE4 0BZ
national-programmes@srisathyasai.org.uk
29th April
Sunday
R8
2.30pm to 5.30pmEdinburgh
Sai Mandir, 2 Granton Road, Edinburgh, EH3 3HQ
region8@srisathyasai.org.uk
2nd May
Wednesday
R3
8pm to 9.30pmTotteridge Village Hall, Badgers Croft (Off Totteridge Lane), Totteridge Village, London, N20 8AH
region3@srisathyasai.org.uk
4th May
Friday
R1
7pm to 9pmSai Mandir
131-133 Effra Road
Wimbledon, London SW19 8PU
region1@srisathyasai.org.uk
5th May
Saturday
10.30am to 4.30pm
National Easwaramma Day
Onslow St Audrey’s School
Old Rectory Drive, Hatfield
Hertfordshire AL10 8AB
ssewing@srisathyasai.org.uk
6th May
Sunday
R6 & R7
11am to 2pmRidgeway School
Inverary Rd, Wroughton,
Swindon, Wiltshire SN4 9DJ
region7@srisathyasai.org.uk
6th May
Sunday
R2
5.30pm to 7.30pmOxhey Wood School, Oxhey Drive, South Oxhey WD19 7SL
region2@srisathyasai.org.uk

Education Wing - National Easwaramma Day 2012

5th May 2012

Swami has dedicated Easwaramma Day as Children’s Day the world over. It is a day when we celebrate the 'Glory of Motherhood'. Our Beloved Swami has often told us that we should love, honour and respect our Parents.

Swami reminds us that our gratitude is to be shown not just to our Physical Mother who has given birth to us (Dehamaatha), but also to the cow (Gomaatha) who offers us sustenance in the form of milk, to Mother Earth (Bhoomaatha), the land that grows the crops and feeds us, to our Motherland (Deshamaatha)or Country that gives protection, care, love, rights and chances to serve and elevate oneself to one's full height and to our Holy Scriptures (Vedamaatha), the heritage of spiritual treasure that reveals the aim and purpose of human life and takes one step by step, towards the Goal of Self-realisation. The Dhehamaatha must reveal to the child the glories of all the other four; so her responsibility is the greatest and most crucial.

To kick off the National Easwaramma Day Celebration, The NED planning team invited all SSE children to encapsulate in a poster painting event the main theme on 'Honouring the Five Mothers'.

Hundreds of SSE Children across the 8 regions participated and the above poster from Janvi Vaja in Region 7 was selected to launch the flyer for the celebration. The NED Planning Team would like to ‘Congratulate’ all of the children who took time to submit their entries. The great news is you will all have an opportunity to admire the talents of our children as an exhibit will be set up to display the entries on the actual day of the celebration.

Over the last few weeks our SSE family from across the United Kingdom have also been reflecting on the role of Sai Spiritual Education in their lives and these reflections are being captured as an e-book to be launched and made available on the SSE page of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation U.K. website.

Your Regional SSE Coordinators are busy arranging practise sessions for the Regional Offerings by the children, so do make sure your centre is fully involved and to avoid disappointment of missing out get your SSE children, parents and teachers registered before capacity reaches maximum of 500.
Please click on the link below to go straight to the registration page.
http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/easwarammaday2012/registration.php

Hundreds of SSE Children across the 8 regions participated and the above poster from Janvi Vaja in Region 7 was selected to launch the flyer for the celebration. The NED Planning Team would like to ‘Congratulate’ all of the children who took time to submit their entries. The great news is you will all have an opportunity to admire the talents of our children as an exhibit will be set up to display the entries on the actual day of the celebration.

The program is action packed with interactive activities such as Treasure Hunt, Creative Workshop for the children, Offerings of love - SSE children’s presentations, inspirational talk by our guest speaker Sri Sanjay Sahni (Director, SSSIHL – Brindavan Campus and alumnus of SSSIHL, Music for the Soul with Sister Renu Gidoomal, Panel discussions for Parents, Adults and Youth with esteemed panellists and our esteemed guest Sri Sanjay Sahni.

We look forward to your presence on the day and share in offering our heartfelt gratitude to Our Dearest and Loving Mother Sai.

Written on behalf of NED Planning Team.
For further details please email ssewing@srisathyasai.org.uk

Spiritual Wing - "I and My Father are One"

Christians and the Christian Church prepare for the climax of Jesus Christ’s life story at Easter, the time of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, through penance, contemplation and the fasting of Lent. Drawing upon Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness, where he is tested, tempted and triumphs over all inner and outer demons, we attempt to follow in his footsteps and recognise all impediments and obstacles, which arise before and out of ourselves. We consequently seek to offer these demons up to the Father God and seek to come into alignment with the true Self, the Holy Spirit residing at the core of our being, thereby preparing ourselves for the final stage of Jesus’ revelation in the final Ascension.

I recognise that Easter, Oestre, symbolised through the ‘Egg’, is a time of rebirth where we surrender the old to be awakened anew in the light of the immortal, the Holy Spirit as God’s true Self residing as the source and core of all being. During Lent we have the festival of Ash Wednesday, which reminds us of the impermanence of all forms and where, through surrender, repentance, sacrifice and letting go and letting God, all things are awakened and born anew and true. We recognise that when we offer up all petty and temporary desires and ideas of a separate self in the firmament of God’s fire, we are freed of all delusion and the idea of death and are graced with salvation.

Christians who come in humility and love to the feet of Christ Jesus and seek to cross the river of life and illusion find salvation in the idea and expression of Christ’s resurrection and ascension. This Guru’s example and life removes all darkness and ignorance and for this Christians are eternally grateful. And perhaps, in the belief that this incarnation is the fulfilment of Scripture, a tendency may grow for Christians to develop (to my mind) fanatical assumptions: that Jesus is the ‘ONLY’ begotten son of the Father rather than that there is only One God and He is Omnipresent. We read in the New Testament ‘I AM the way, the Truth and the Life; no man goes to the Father except by me…’ and I believe that this I Amness, this Oneness that Jesus refers to is this One Omnipresent God residing in his and all hearts.

Jesus died and rose again thereby exposing the illusion called death as told in the Easter story. Through his sacrifice he willingly demonstrated that life has no end, that the spirit, the Holy Spirit is limitless and one with God. He revealed that, like himself, all humans, once merged in the awareness of God, are free from all bondage and illusion of separateness. As Baba explains, moving from a idea of being the messenger of God to and through being the Son of God, Jesus ultimately reveals “I and my Father are One.”

Jesus, like Sai Baba, fulfilled a profound yearning arising within me personally. The glow and warmth that caresses my heart when I contemplate their lives opens a strong and steady faith in God’s presence. But the movement of upwelling, irrepressible love and joy that the contemplation of such love incarnated in the likes of Jesus and Sai, is for me the very stuff of life. This embrace instils in my heart and mind a peace beyond all understanding.

Jesus laid out a message, given since ancient times, that God resides at the heart of all things mortal and immortal. That we, as with Him, are the sole/soul property of God alone. This recognition becomes available to my mind’s eye through expressions of such selfless beauty and harmony as we find in the beauty of Nature, the trusting eye of a babe in arms, the unconditional love experienced in the midst of birdsong and the dappled rays of sunlight, as is found in the song of a divine incarnation. Jesus so evidently has offered this perfume of understanding to humanity and I love him immeasurably for this gift of grace. Not least for the intensely compassionate act of sacrifice offered at the Crucifixion, and in its exquisite turning through the Easter story in the Resurrection. I and many other Sai Christians are deeply moved and aware that Sai chose to take his Mahasamadhi on Easter Sunday, the day we cherish as the day of the Resurrection.

Roland Pargeter

Spiritual Wing - Sri Sanjay Sahni

Director Brindavan Campus & Associate Professor
Department of Commerce, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning

"Be Connected Within Always"

A distinguished alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, and currently the Director of the Brindavan Campus of the Institute, Sri Sanjay Sahni is one of the fortunate few to have been blessed by Bhagawan Baba to be in His Immediate Divine Presence for 20 long years. He is a familiar figure to the Sai family all over the world as an engaging and enthralling speaker, as Bhagawan ‘invited’ brother Sanjay on numerous occasions over these years to deliver talks in His Presence, which often served as ‘preludes’ to His Divine Discourses!

Sanjay joined the first batch of the five-year integrated programme in Commerce launched by the university in 1982. And very soon, in fact within a few months since joining in October that year, he was blessed with the first opportunity to address a huge gathering in the Poornachandra auditorium in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan during the Dasara Celebrations. He says, "I actually forgot my speech but somehow managed to finish it. Swami gave a beautiful all-knowing smile, as I bent down to take Padanamaskar!" Since then, under the watchful and loving guidance of the Divine Lord Sai, brother Sanjay has delivered many impeccable and inspirational talks.

Reminiscing on his journey prior to joining Bhagawan's University, Sanjay acknowledges that it was a yearning that developed in intensity gradually rather than instantaneously. In 1972, in far away Bengal, his father's 'adversity' in life became the ‘opportunity’ for God to enter it: Swami entered via the book Man of Miracles! He went to Prasanthinilayam, had Swami's darshan during which His Divinity was confirmed, returned home with firm faith, gave up eating meat and drinking alcohol immediately, and started attending bhajans and regular prayers at home. Young Sanjay's first visit was to Brindavan during the Summer Course of 1978, where he along with his parents would gather outside the hall to listen to Bhagawan's Discourses. One vivid memory he shares is of an evening, when it started raining heavily and Swami instructed the volunteers to let in all those getting drenched. Sanjay along with a few others somehow found himself placed right at the front next to the dais, and the Love and Compassion he felt emanating from the Divine Face of Bhagawan touched his heart deeply. He later spent 9 days in 1979 in Prasanthi nilayam during the Christmas celebrations, and he feels that this has been a turning point for him. He experienced the immense Love of Swami, and for Swami, and also noticed the closeness of the Students to Bhagawan. The first seeds to join His University were planted, seemingly insidiously.

The next 2-3 years brother Sanjay considers as his preparatory phase. He attended balvikas, and later many Seva activities such as eye camps etc, and studied Sai Literature albeit with an intention to garnish his talks and give him an edge over others in the many debating and elocution competitions in which he participated and won in Calcutta! But, he says that all these and especially the Seva activities made his mind receptive and ready. Thus, the experiences in the Divine Presence that began in 1982 gathered pace quickly, and the lessons given and learnt became more enjoyable, insightful and profound over the years.

After completing his M.com in flying colours, having been awarded 2 Gold Medals by Bhagawan Himself, he joined the Department of Commerce at Prasanthi nilayam campus in 1987 as a faculty member. Swami then entrusted him with the responsibility to serve as the Warden of the Sri Sathya Sai Hostel, Prasanthi nilayam from 1990 to 1993. Later he joined the Brindavan campus of the university where he has been serving as Principal since 2002 and was designated Director of the campus in 2011. He is associated with the value education courses at the university and has participated in a number of national and international workshops/conferences on value education.

Recently a young student accosted him in the hostel at Brindavan and asked, "Sir! What is the one thing that you have learnt from Bhagawan during all your years of stay in His Presence?". Without even having to ponder much, brother Sanjay replied, “ That happiness is man’s choice! Happiness is union with God! One could make the firm choice to be with God within at all times, and thus be happy in any situation.” He later elaborated that the only changeless thing in this world is God and His Love for us. So, Be Connected Within Always!

Please click here to view the meeting dates with our special guest in the UK.

Spiritual Wing - The Holy Week of Easter

Daffodils, sunshine and chocolate eggs! That is what Easter might mean to most people. However to Christians it is a time to remember the last week of Jesus’ life. This is called Holy Week and it signals the end of Lent, the traditional time of fasting in the Christian calendar.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, (the Sunday before Easter Sunday) when Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish festival of Passover. Jesus travelled into Jerusalem on a donkey and many people gathered to catch a glimpse of him waving palm branches as he rode by shouting “Hosanna” which means “Save us now”. In Christian churches now on Palm Sunday , the congregation are given palm leaves that have been blessed by the priest.

The next important day of Holy week is Maundy Thursday when Jesus gathered together all his friends and followers for the Passover meal which is now called “the Last Supper”. As this was the last time Jesus would eat with his disciples before his crucifixion. At this meal Jesus told his Disciples that they should love one another –This was a mandate or command from which the term Maundy is derived. It was on that night that Judas betrayed Jesus to the Roman soldiers who were to execute him on “Good Friday”.

On Good Friday Jesus was taken before Pontius Pilate who asked the crowd of people whether Jesus should die as he had made claims about being the son of God. The crowds said he should be crucified. This method of execution was one of the most brutal known to man and this is why the cross is so significant to Christians and is behind the tradition of eating hot cross buns on Good Friday.

It is reported that as Jesus took his last breath the sky turned black. His body was removed and placed in a sealed tomb. The services in Christian churches on Good Friday are very solemn and retrace the steps of Christ to his crucifixion.

Jesus told his disciples in advance that he would rise again on the third day after his death. He had been buried in a tomb with a large boulder to seal the entrance. On the third day some women came to visit his grave and found that the boulder had been removed and his body was gone. A few days later when his disciples were meeting in a locked room Jesus came to them to show that all that he had said was true.

Easter Sunday is a day of great celebration for Christians as by Jesus showing himself it proves that he is with us always.

Christians believe that Jesus Christ suffered and died for all of us so that all our sins could be washed away on Easter Sunday . When he rose from the dead it was a sign of rebirth and a new beginning for everyone to start afresh, to live our lives in loving one another as he had commanded.

Carol Griffin

Region 1 - Interfaith Walk in Wimbledon

It was 1st April, a beautiful Spring day, when a band of devotees, some 36 strong, set off from Ganapathy Temple in Effra Rd to begin an exciting round of visits to a number of religious venues. This was ambitiously billed as a “walk” of 6.29 miles but fortunately cars were allowed when needed.

Our first stop was the Wimbledon & District Reform Synagogue. Very few of us had ever been in a synagogue and it was a most interesting experience. Though the building was unremarkable from the outside, our guide, Diane Barnett assured us that in their faith, it was not the external that mattered so much as what was inside. Once inside, we found ample evidence of a thriving community and, in the worship area, the sacred scrolls, on which are handwritten parts of the Old Testament, known as The Torah. Diane took one of these out from the "Holy Ark", removed it from its ornate cover and allowed two of our children to hold it – a real honour. Diane conveyed a sincere enthusiasm and love for the Jewish faith, explaining many symbols and rituals to us, but she was also very respectful of other faiths. Interestingly, there are two rabbis at the synagogue, both women, who share the duties of teaching and leading the congregation.

The next stop was the Buddhapadipa Temple and this time we all walked together, holding aloft banners proclaiming Swami’s teachings. This renowned temple is built in the exuberant Thai style, looking perhaps a little unexpected in the leafy roads of Wimbledon with its red, white and gold exterior. Inside the temple, we found the same ornate style with a central shrine showing 3 Buddhas, one of which, a black Buddha, is 1000 years old. All around, the walls were covered with colourful paintings depicting many scenes from the Buddha’s life, but also more recent additions in the form of Margaret Thatcher, Charlie Chaplin, Mother Theresa and Col. Gaddafi – as our guide said Buddhism tries to present things and people as they are, without judgement. The beautiful grounds provided a peaceful setting in which to enjoy a cup of tea before piling back into the cars and heading to the next port of call, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church.

There the Rev. Andrew Wakefield greeted us most warmly as old friends. An ardent enthusiast of Interfaith initiatives, Revd. Andrew is well known at the Ghanapathy Temple and the Sai Mandir and delighted in talking about his visits. A larger than life character, he talked to us at some length about many of the traditions of Christianity, especially Easter, and about St Andrew’s itself, a really lovely red-brick church. In particular, he emphasised the importance of "breaking bread" together – and to prove the point, his congregation had made some delicious snacks for us and he told us that he always thoroughly enjoyed the curries at the Temple and so it was nice to be able to return the hospitality.

Eventually, we set off on foot, and arrived back at Effra Road for aarathi and light refreshments. A most interesting day packed with new experiences and with much good will and tolerance from all concerned. Many thanks are due to the Youth in Region 1 and also Merton Sai Centre for making it all possible.

Maureen O'Hara
Wandsworth Group, Region 1

Region 1 - Sai Laksharchana 2012

"Laksharchana" refers to group chanting of this powerful Mantra 100,000 times (Laksham) collectively, while offering (Archana) rice grains at the Divine Lotus Feet of our Beloved Sai.

On Saturday, the 10th of March 2012, Tooting Sai Centre was once again fortunate to host the Region one Laksharchana. After experiencing and hearing about the powerful energy of the Laksharchana held in 2011, many people came from centres in Region 1, to experience for themselves and share in this auspicious event. Fircroft School’s hall was transformed from a simple school hall to a beautiful shrine with hangings of red and gold, plants and statues.

People started to gather at the centre from 2 pm, in eager anticipation, waiting for the Laksharchana to begin. Soft, lilting music drifted through the air and a great sense of peace reigned on the bright Saturday afternoon. One attendee commented that he was reminded of the tranquillity of Prasanthi Nilayam.

The arrival of Uncle Vadgama who would be leading the Laksharchana signalled everyone to be ready. Musicians and bhajan singers prepared themselves and at 2:30 pm, the proceedings began with 5 bhajans performed by the youth of the region. The atmosphere in the hall soared as all those who were seated sang in unison, concentrating on the Lord. After the last note of the fifth bhajan faded to silence, Uncle Vadgama spoke. He shared a few words about his life experiences with Swami and the things that he learned. He related to all a story about how it was Swami that showed him the power and significance of performing Laksharchana.

Following this he explained that were would recite "Shree Sathya Sai Krishnaya Namaha" for the duration of 10 malas, each of which had 108 beads. ensure that we did not lose focus, there would be a bhajan after every second malas. The chanting began; slow at first, increasing in intensity.

By the start of the 7th mala, the atmosphere within the hall was reaching a pinnacle and all who were there were reciting the words “Shree Satyha Sai Krishnya Namaha” with great passion. The energy within the hall was rising with every iteration.

The final two malas were the culmination of all of the day’s sadhana and Uncle Vadgama told us to ask God for something for this last round of chanting; anything from helping someone who was having problems to helping with studies as it would come true. He also instructed us to give something in return such as saying “Shree Sathya Sai Krishnaya Namaha” every night or “Sai Ram” before going to sleep.

By the end of the 10th mala, over 110 people had chanted the powerful mantra, "Shree Sathya Sai Krishnaya Namaha" to collectively exceed 100 000 times while offering rice at the Divine Lotus Feet of our Beloved Sai. Event were concluded by more bhajans and aarthi, at the end of which Uncle Vadgama gave his final address.

The Laksharchana had come to an end, and everyone who attended felt thoroughly rejuvenated by the chanting.

Region 1 will continue to hold Laksharchanas on a regular basis, at different centres. All are welcome to attend these inspiring and uplifting events.

Ujas Patel and Hari Surendran
Tooting Sai Centre Youth, Region 1

Region 1 - Youth Service Activity for Easter

"Engage yourselves in service activity. Consider social service as service to God. This is the best way to earn God's Love. Love all and serve all. Your entire life will be sanctified thereby."

~ Sathya Sai Baba

In light of the spirit of Easter, the youth of Region 1 organised a service activity, which involved the collection of Easter eggs during our Young Adults Programme (YAP) meeting and Multifaith walk. These humble offerings were given to the children and elderly patients of our local hospitals - the Royal Marsden Hospital, Chelsea and St George's Hospital, Tooting. It was initially anticipated that 108 Easter eggs would be collected but, in the name of Sai, the youth went beyond their expectations and a total of 120 eggs were collected. Both hospitals were astonished at the number of Easter eggs contributed and the patients were equally pleased with their gifts.

Swami says, "Service to man is service to God"; verily, we seek any opportunity to practice this. Swami also tells us that when we serve another, we should remind ourselves that we are serving the Divinity within that person; we are merely God's instrument.

We are most grateful to our beloved Swami for this gracious opportunity, and for inspiring us with this project.

Abi Gnaneswaran
Region 1 Youth Co-ordinator

Region 1 - “All Is One”.... Interfaith Walk

The sun shone brightly on Sunday 1st April, when the first Region 1 Interfaith Walk commenced at the Sai Mandir, Merton Sai Centre. Devotees from across the region congregated and, before the walk began, Interfaith prayers and devotional songs were sung in the Mandir. The Interfaith Walk encompassed a Jewish Synagogue, Buddhist Temple and Christian Church respectively.

Inside the Wimbledon & District Synagogue, which is part of the Reform movement of Judaism, we were introduced to the Synagogue and the Jewish way of life by Diane Barnett, who welcomed us so warmly and helped to convey the true essence of Judaism. Following a brief tour of the building complex, she showed us the holiest place in the Synagogue - the Ark. This is the most important feature of the building. We learnt that external decorations matter little, for what is inside is the most important - the Torah scrolls, the word of God made manifest. The Torah comprises the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, more commonly known as the Old Testament. Torah is a composite term meaning ‘teaching’. The rituals and ceremonies that those of the Jewish faith must adhere to are seen as Torah – a way of life. From food regulations to the proper way to put on the robes for a bar mitzvah, Torah truly is the guide for how a Jewish person should live their life, which is why it is so revered. In the short time that we were there, Diane managed to convey the deep devotion and spirituality and sense of family and community that is so much a part of the Jewish Faith, and we left with a much deeper understanding and respect for one of the world’s oldest religions.

We then walked, carrying banners and placards with Swami’s quotations on interfaith, to the Bhuddapadipa Thai Temple nearby. A very large traditional red and white building, set amidst a picturesque setting of lakes and gardens, it truly is an island of peace in the hustle and bustle that is London. Inside the Temple, Mrs. Lynne showed us beautiful and intricate wall paintings that describe the life of Buddha. Covering every single wall surface, the paintings depicted various important events and teachings of His life. The painters, young at the time of working on this masterpiece, decided to also include modern elements, such as Superman and Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Colonel Gaddafi, as testaments to the continued blending of ancient traditions and modern practices in most of the major religions nowadays. After enjoying the beautiful grounds of the Temple and sharing hot chocolate and biscuits with other Thai devotees, we then made our way to St. Andrew’s Church for the final leg of our interfaith journey that day!

At the Church we were greeted by the very jovial Reverend Andrew Wakefield, who takes a very active role in Interfaith work in London. He is no stranger to the Sri Sathya Sai Service organisation, as he has been attending programmes at the Sai Mandir for many years and was also the guest speaker at the recent regional Christmas celebrations. He explained to us the significance of the Church, not only in the lives of Christians, but also in the lives of general community members of all faiths. Churches are very visible reminders of places of worship in the local community. In addition, centuries ago, Churches were the only places that had large enough indoor spaces to house large public gatherings, and this tradition has continued throughout their existence. We also learnt about how different denominations of Christianity approach art and iconography in church, with some advocating as much as possible and others preferring a very minimal approach. We also learnt more about the different festivals associated with Easter and enjoyed a delicious spread of tea and cakes and samosas made by the young people and ladies of the church.

As we walked back to the Sai Mandir, to finish the Interfaith Walk with arathi and prasadam, we reflected on what we had gained from the walk and visits. The major lesson we learnt from the whole day was that, although religions widely may differ in their belief in God and their approaches to worship, these should not be differences to be picked over and focussed upon. Rather, it is more important to embrace these differences and accept that every individual, whether a Hindu, Christian, Jew, Buddhist or atheist is ultimately on the path to becoming a better human being, no matter which route they take.

Region 2 – Inaugural YAP (Young Adults Programme)

We would like to thank Swami for giving us the opportunity to not only conduct, but also to share with you the events our first Young Adults Programme (YAP) hosted by Harrow West Youth in Region 2! Swami definitely guided the programme from start to end, and His Divine Presence could be felt by the adults, youth and SSE children that evening.

YAP was held after the regular Centre Bhajans that Sunday and the session welcomed all centre members to stay and to be a part of the programme with the Youth. This not only gave everybody a chance to sit and enjoy the programme as a family, but also gave the youth an opportunity to take a leading role in the Centre.

The theme was ‘The Universal Presence of Sai’ and the programme consisted of an interactive ice breaker followed by a drama, an inspirational video, and a talk by our guest speaker, Shyam Jamnadas (National Youth Co-ordinator).

The dedication and heart of our hosts, Harrow West Youth, showed through in the inspirational drama. The drama was centred on a young youth who had lost her faith in Swami and therefore found herself in a confused state of mind. This was especially portrayed in the scene where she was sat at Bhajans but just could not ‘feel the vibe’ or connection to Swami. She then visited her friend in hospital and even though terminally ill, her friend showed unshakable faith in Bhagawan and His Omnipotence. The young youth broke down and was deeply moved by what she had witnessed, as she was feeling very ashamed of her own lack of faith.

The drama was then followed by a moving video complied by the Youth featuring actors such as Jim Carey, who through moments of enquiry, had experienced sparks of the Divine within him. Jim Carey also mentioned that he felt this moment had given him the purpose for his life! The imagery and the music were very powerful and encouraged all present to search inwards.

Our National Youth Co-ordinator, Shyam Jamnadas, spoke on some very personal moments in his life where he has felt the Universal Presence of Sai. It was truly amazing to learn of his faith and surrender to Swami and to hear how Swami has guided him especially during recent challenges in his life. Bro. Shyam also shared a very interesting story about his wedding ring, but you’ll have to ask him personally to know about that one!

The last item before concluding was a Region 2 Youth Pledge which emanated from Swami’s teaching, "Love is God, Live in Love". The pledge was recited by all the Youth to enable us to remember to live in His Divine Love. The Region 2 Youth Pledge is as follows:

I pledge to love all my brothers and sisters.
I pledge to send ONLY positive vibrations to all.
I pledge to never live in fear, anger, greed, lust or jealously.
I pledge to understand my own True nature.
I pledge to live in bliss.
Aum Sri Sai Ram

We very much look forward to the next YAP to be held on Sunday, 29th of April, hosted by Harrow East Centre.

With love and light,
Suresh Sajnani
Region 2 Youth Co-ordinator

Region 3 - "Youth Eggstravaganza": Easter Egg Seva!

Om Sai Ram!

"All service should be regarded as an offering to God, and every opportunity to serve should be welcomed as a gift from God. When service is done in this spirit, it will lead to self- realization."

Sathya Sai Baba

Throughout the month of March youth across Region 3 have been gathering chocolate Easter eggs to donate to local hospitals/hospices as a youth-led service activity. This was a task that many devotees in Region 3 eagerly participated in. From the outset we had set a target of donating a 108 Easter eggs, however we soon began to realise that our expectations were very quickly going to be exceeded!

In total we managed to donate over 210 Easter eggs to three different hospitals/hospices for children across the region. We had youth travelling across the region in order to personally deliver the Easter eggs to the following institutions:

  1. Queen's Hospital, Romford via Lennox Children's Cancer Fund
  2. Keech Hospice, Luton
  3. Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

With Swami's Grace the amount of love and effort that went into this service activity was truly inspiring.

The hospitals/hospices were all very happy and have expressed both their gratitude and hope that we can work together in the future. We will endeavour to work together and support them in the future more regularly.

This service activity has not only brought the youth and centres together, but it has also created opportunities to look into more further projects. We would like to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to all the adults, children and youth across the region who kindly and generously donated Easter eggs. We pray for the children and their families who are in hospital over Easter for happiness and good health.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter!

Subo Gunam,
On behalf of Region 3 Youth

Region 3 - YSAP "Mind, Body and Atma"

The quarterly Region 3 Youth Self-Awareness Programme ( YSAP ) took place at Mill Hill Sai Centre in Totteridge on 18th March. The programme began with Group Devotional Singing led by the youth and was followed by an interactive workshop based on the theme of ‘Mind, Body and Atma’. The workshop was attended by youth, Group 4 SSE students and adults from across Region 3.

"The Body is like a water bubble, the mind is like a mad monkey. Don't follow the body, don't follow the mind. Follow the conscience"

- Baba.

The first part of the workshop began with an ice breaker exploring the way the mind works and analysing our thought patterns! This was followed by discussion on each of the three separate aspects of the mind, body and atma. The group was split into three teams and each group explored various quotes from Swami on each topic. The main aim of the discussions was to clarify what we understand to be the mind, body or atma and look at the way each of these elements function and interact in our daily lives.

The discussions gave way to a debate between each team as to which aspect was more important in managing the sometimes busy lifestyle that many youth face today. Various points were made and each team took it in turn to present their case and ask questions. There was also time for rebuttals and counter-arguments from each team. The discussions were lively to say the least! The group concluded that the mind, body and atma are very much inter-connected and as spiritual aspirants we must strive to understand each aspect. The session concluded with the following quote from Swami:

"You are all embodiments of Divine Atma! The atma is divine. Never forget this fact. Some people find happiness in physical practices, but the pleasure they derive out of them is only physical and is temporary in nature. All that is associated with time is bound to disappear one day or the other. You have to attach yourself to that which is permanent, eternal and real. God's Love is beyond all description. It is supreme. On the other hand physical love is momentary and is associated with physical relationships. Whatever is associated with the body comes and goes, but pure and selfless love, which emerges from the heart, comes and grows. You have to cultivate such love. It will never diminish. You do not have to beg for this love from anyone. You cannot purchase this love from a shop, since it is not a saleable commodity. God is the only source from which love flows. It is available only in His shop. Therefore find a way to reach Him. The happiness arising out of worldly things is only momentary. Only God's love is the eternal principle. Therefore always seek God's Love. You cannot get it from anywhere else except God."

- Baba

Region 5 - Devotional Singing Workshop - Morecambe

3rd March 2012

On a cold but sunny day, devotees from across the region gathered for a singing satsang and workshop. The session was arranged following feedback (and demand!) from the first workshop held in September 2011.

Everyone who attended was treated to a fun session: learning new songs in English, as well as the occasional Sanskrit one too. It all blended beautifully with stories that related to the songs. For example, there were songs sung to Swami at Christmas celebrations and songs that were composed for the UK in the "English language" - that were contributed to programmes in Prashanti Nilayam. We also spent some time talking about the Gayatri mantra and delving briefly into its significance, power and what Swami says about it.

Ajit Patnaik led the workshop and introduced us to some lovely songs: some slow, some funky and some that just touched your heart. I'm not exactly sure how he managed it, but Ajit took us through over 20 songs in just over three hours of actual workshop time - quite an achievement!

At the workshop there was a mixture of young and mature souls: in terms of both their worldly age and the length of time they have known Swami. There were even some newcomers too, who just loved to sing!

The bhajans were brilliant. The ladies singing together sounded heavenly. Everyone sung in tune, in time and were simply singing their socks off. At times I just sat and listened; it was beautiful! Everyone left the workshop feeling lifted and recharged, and the food afterwards meant that we truly had food for the body and soul.

On a more personal note, the tunes, the words and the stories are engrained in my heart. All of a sudden, weeks after the event, I find myself waking up humming or singing a song. The tunes are very catchy and so different - refreshingly different from our usual Indian style bhajans. We are incorporating many of them into our weekly devotional singing at Centre level. I remember a story about the bhajan singers in Prashanti asking Swami if he was happy with their singing... his response was: "are YOU happy?"

For me the event has really brought home how music helps us to connect with God within, and how by making our hearts sing, we really can feel Swami inside, bopping to the groove along with us.

Sanjay Vaja
Greater Manchester Sai Centre Spiritual Coordinator

Region 5 - Inaugural YAP (Young Adult Programme)

"Selfless Service to Society is True Sadhana"

The year 2012 promises to be a momentous year for the Sai organisation, especially within the Youth Wing. The task of continuing the Lord’s teachings since His Mahasamadhi has been placed on the shoulders of the Sai Youth across the world with the guidance of our elders to shape the future of the World for generations to come.

With this in mind, Region 5 Sai Youth convened on Wednesday 14th March for their inaugural YAP (Young Adults Programme). The occasion was marked by the National Youth Co-ordinator (Shyam Jamnadas) addressing the Region 5 youth for the first time via webcam. Shyam spoke about the purpose of holding a monthly YAP, in order to explore Swami’s life and His teachings and use our inspiration to go out and serve the community. He also mentioned all the on-going National Youth initiatives and opportunities that Region 5 youth could take part in.

One of the aims of the Region 5 Sai Youth has been to integrate more with their peers throughout the country. Thus, they were fortunate to be joined by youth from Region 2 and youth from as far as Northern Ireland participating in the session via webcam

The Region 5 Youth coordinator, Nishal Govindji, introduced the theme for the session: "Selfless Service to Society is True Sadhana" which was based on Swami’s Discourse given to the Kerala Youth in 2006.

Swami says,

"The individual is a part of society. Society is an aspect of creation which has emerged from God. It is therefore the duty of every individual to undertake sacred and selfless service to society. All actions of man should be devoted to the service of society."

The focal points for the evening were:
1. Why should we serve?
2. How should we serve?
3. Whom should we serve?

Why should we serve?

The evening started off with the Youth brainstorming about why service is important. Numerous reasons were put forward, such as: to reduce our ego, to help the needy, to improve our karma and to use our time efficiently.

Although we are aware of why we should do service, often we find it difficult. Breaking up into pairs, we discussed the challenges we faced when trying to serve others and how we had overcome them. Various issues were raised, but most of us agreed that time is a major limiting factor, as well as the motivation to do service.

Upon reflection, we decided that every act should be seen as an act of service, no matter what the time or the place or the situation.

How should we serve?

This led us on to the attitude required when doing service. This objective was introduced through an innovative exercise in which the youth were asked to write down the similarities and differences between them and those around them. A 'diversity chain' was then made using all these notes. From this exercise we realised that whilst we are all different in society, we are all part of the same community and family, and are each an equal and important link which holds us all together. It is with this mind-set that we should serve others. There are no differences between us and the people we serve.

Service with the attitude of love and sharing
When we do service we are simply sharing the love and the gift of time, energy and skills that God has given us with others who also have the same God within them. This is how service can be done with a pure heart.

Keeping good company
The youth were asked to suggest why Swami started His discourse on Selfless Service with the topic of keeping good company. We concluded that in order to develop the correct attitude for service, we must be in good company, as the company we keep will influence our thoughts and actions. Keeping good company is an important start to ensuring we continue on the correct path of service.

Whom should we serve?

The final topic of discussion involved us looking at photos of different people in society (such as a beggar, a prisoner, a homeless alcoholic, a wealthy man, a child) and debating who out of these individuals we would prioritise when serving. This led onto a discussion about serving non-sathwik food to those who are in need of food. We also touched on the topic of serving people who are not in apparent need of service and to assess if our good nature was being taken advantage of by such people.

Whilst opinions differed, there was a general consensus that if a person was in distress, we should serve them regardless of their circumstances.

Take home messages

The session ended with two key take home messages which Swami Himself has given to us for guidance when undertaking any action. With these words, any doubt about when to serve, how to serve and whom to serve will certainly be dispelled.

"God will not ask you, when and where did you do service? He will ask, 'With what motive did you do it? What was the intention that prompted you?' God seeks quality, the quality of the heart, the purity of the mind, the holiness of the motive."

"Do not judge others to decide whether they deserve your service. Find out whether they are distressed; that is enough credential."

The evening concluded with the youth snacking on tortilla chips, hummus and salad. With Swami’s Grace we pray that all the youth were motivated and ready to put their words into action.

Jai Sai Ram
Saiwarren, Region 5
Active Youth, Greater Manchester Sai Centre

Region 5 - SSE Training Day

The SSE Basic Training for Region 5 was conducted on the 24th March 2012 at Warrington. Five Balvikas teachers travelled from as far as London and East Bourne to conduct the training. The day began at 10:00 am and went on till 6:00pm and was attended by Balvikas teachers, helpers, parents and alumni from various parts of Region 5. This event was hosted by the Warrington Sai family, who made everyone feel at home.

The day began with the invocation prayers and bhajans. This was followed by Vidyulatha Narayan, the National SSE co-ordinator, giving a presentation on "The Gift of Balvikas".

Sister Vidyu, reiterated the fact that Swami gave SSE a special place in His mission and that today’s children are tomorrow`s leaders. She then mentioned the 5 teaching techniques which help in attaining the goal of being a good human and leading a moral life. The teaching techniques are: Silent sitting, Story telling, Group devotional singing, Prayers and Group activities.

Each of these teaching techniques were dealt with in detail by the trainers.

Silent sitting was presented by Uncle Chunmugavel, an experienced Bal Vikas teacher from London. Uncle Chun began by highlighting the importance of silent sitting and went on to speak about meditation and its impact on our day to day life.

The whole module was done in a professional way and yet had the humour and light-hearted fun to hold the interest of the audience. Uncle Chun, not only inspired us by his meticulous presentation skills, but also practically demonstrated the positive impact of meditation by making all of us follow some simple procedures.

The second module was taken up by Uncle Rajasingham from London. Uncle Raj is one of the pioneers who started the Merton Sai centre and has also been a Bal Vikas Guru for many years. He dealt with the topic “The Tripartite Relationship”.

Swami has always said that for a child, the most important influences are the parents and the teachers. At the tip of the Tripartite relationship is the child and at the base are the parents and the teachers. Uncle Raj poured forth his heart and soul into the time given to him and educated all of us present, in the various methods of character building and giving the child the right tools to deal with things like peer pressure, bullying and such other practical problems faced by children today.

He then went on to talk about the importance of SSE in the Sai organisation and that it is like the heart of a human body and that SSE was most dear to our lord. Kids make a Sai centre or any other place for that matter, lively and happy. He added that SSE has to be taken up by all the centres and given a special place in everyone’s heart. This was followed by lunch and once again the food was divine.

Lunch was followed by Group Devotional singing, one of the modules that was taken up by myself. Music is divine and it appeals to all age groups and categories. Swami, the master musician, enjoys singing and listening to bhajans and other devotional songs. Bhajan singing helps concentration, relaxes the mind and body and encourages social skills. It is a vehicle to achieve oneness with the divine by creating positive vibrations. Children enjoy Bhajan singing as it enables them to sing the praise of God and also gives them a sense of achievement. Children should be taught to sing with Bhava (meaning), Raga (melody) and Tala (Rhythm). A unison of all these three aspects results in elevating the mood and enhancing devotion. Then we all sang different bhajans, some in a call and response method and some in unison, which filled each one of us with a sense of devotion and positive energy.

Dr. Mahesh Narayan from Eastbourne, an ardent devotee who has been associated with SSE for several years was the next presenter. He discussed the significance of Prayer as a teaching technique. He explained the meaning of Prayer and he shared with us many anecdotes and experiences to illustrate the power of Prayer. Prayer is a powerful instrument to communicate with the Divine. We can pray to God in different ways and for different things. The pronunciation, time of prayer, the melody is all very important for God to enjoy our prayer. Brother Mahesh made the whole experience extremely interesting and memorable by using apt incidents, substantiated by stories. The energy levels were very high and brother Mahesh inspired one and all with his humour and honesty.

This was followed by the next module, Story- telling, by Uncle Chun. He began by stressing the significance of good story telling skills, which are vital in making a story interesting for the children. Story telling is an art and we should all master it as SSE teachers. Stories are the best vehicle to convey great morals to the kids in a simple and practical manner. Swami was a master story teller. He, as the master of the universe, had the capacity to narrate great truths in a lucid and simple way.

Uncle Chun then narrated a small story about a Lion and a mouse. He used visual aids (puppets) to enthuse and entertain the audience. He also used voice modulation as technique to generate interest in the kids. Children are innocent, simple and honest. We, as teachers, should have the skills to make the class interesting and inspiring. A moral lesson conveyed through a story is seldom forgotten!

Pravinaben, an experienced SSE teacher from Leicester, was the next person to share her immense knowledge and wisdom. She dealt with the module on Group Activities.

She started the presentation by talking about the importance of group activities and how they help a child to relate to the Bal Vikas class. Group activities increase social skills in children and adults as well. They improve the skills of team work, leadership and friendship. Kids love doing things involving a group.

She then made all the people participate in various group activities. One was to put together a jigsaw, which had the sloka Vakrathunda Mahakaaya on it. This activity not only makes the kids work together towards a common goal, but also makes them learn the words of the sloka.

She then divided the audience into two groups and asked each group to make a News letter about that day`s events, including some pictures. All the participants eagerly took part in this very interesting activity and we managed to make the News letters with all the information and some caricatures as well! This, we found, to be very helpful in improving team work, and communication skills. Hats off to Pravinaben and her fabulous activity box which she got with her, which were full of surprises. I think I can call it the Pandora’s box!!!!!!!

This was followed by Sister Vidyulatha giving away certificates of participation to all the people who attended the training. Then there was arathi to our beloved Swami and everyone could feel His presence which ended the eventful day on a tranquil note.

Mrs Gayathri Nadella
Region 5 SSE Coordinator

Region 6 - Get Your Hands Involved With Your Local Community

Region 6 got their hands dirty with the local Reading Council in tree planting at Prospect Park in affiliation with the Queen’s Jubilee.

On Saturday 17th March a group of us joined hands with Reading Council to plant 36 trees which included sweet gum trees and tulip trees.

The morning began with rain, however this settled quickly and the sun showed up by the afternoon. We started off by receiving safety information and a demonstration of how to plant a tree. Thereafter, we were put into groups and the action began by pushing the large trees into a stump, hammering, strapping down the trees and filling the air gaps by digging the earth into them. We became efficient with the process after planting a few trees and having a quick tea/coffee break. This was the first time for most of us and it was exciting, fun, new and refreshing to be with nature. It was calming for the mind, however due to the manual work involved, muscle aches were experienced later. Our youngest team member, Reuben [5 months] visited to cheer us on and take photographs. We all thoroughly enjoyed planting the trees and will look forward to the blossoming trees which will be admired by all. Mother's Day fell on the same weekend and tree planting gave us an opportunity to support our Mother Nature who is the sustainer of life.

Sathya Sai Baba stated on numerous occasions that;

"Service is the highest spiritual discipline. Prayer and meditation, or knowledge of scripture and Vedanta (Holy Scriptures of India), cannot help you reach the goal as quickly as service can. Service has a double effect: it extinguishes the ego and gives bliss".

The beauty of our organisation is that we can get involved as we wish to, so even if it's a few hours a week, a month or a year we need to make that decision and go about it with the right attitude.

Sai Ram
Bhanu Bhatti
Reading Service Co-ordinator

Region 6 – Youth Reflections

A year since Swami's Samadhi

Since Swami's Samadhi my spiritual journey has intensified; I have felt a greater urge to question my existence and make an active effort to follow his teachings. For me the real journey has just begun.

Youth - Woking

After Swami's physical departure, it felt that nothing would really change, however in the past year I really have felt disconnected. I have thought about the many reasons that have made me feel so apart, but then I thought to myself whether I was just making up excuses? I have time to eat, to sleep, to meet friends. So why don’t I have time for someone who is always beside me? From this I realised that it is me who disconnected myself from Swami and I need to create that relationship once again that I had lost.

Youth - Reading

A year since Swami's Samadhi…. He is still here. A lot has changed in my personal circumstances this past year, and at every step of the way, no matter how big or small, Swami has been there in front of me in one form or another (a picture, a symbol, a ringtone, a flame a flicker). I have found that if you keep Him in front and remember his name he will be there.

Youth - Portsmouth

Even knowing that God /Brahma has 2 aspects -i.e. Nirgun (the Formless) and Sagun (with Form), we all get so caught up in the beauty and grace of His Physical Form-so 24th April will always be indelibly etched in my mind. It was shocking and heartbreaking to hear the news that Our Belowed Swami had left His physical body.
But almost a year on now-and with being able to pay my respects at His Maha Samadhi in Prashanthi -has helped bring acceptance and to turn my focus more inwards -to believe that He is Antaryami (residing within us) and He is with us, above us, below us and all around us-always guiding and always protecting.

Youth – Eastbourne

The past year has flown by as Swami's words to us to "work, work, work" have certainly been realised. Despite no longer being here in his physical form I have felt his presence more and more and find myself striving to ‘be’ according to his teachings that have been familiar to me for so long. I am certain that as time goes on my yearning will only intensify and immersing myself in Swami's work will keep me focused and energised.

Youth – Reading

Baba has always been a constant in my life through all the ups and downs. I think of him in times of need, I pray to him for the well being of my loved ones and most importantly I ask Baba to guide me and help me be a better person. Having Baba here on Earth in his physical form was indeed a privilege for many but Baba is still within us and around us. So, one year on from Baba's samadhi nothing has changed except the acceptance that we should not be attached to any physical form.

Youth - Folkstone

Poem by Youth - Reading

Region 7 - Regional Orientation & Welcome Day

The setting was the idyllic and picturesque village of Bath, on a leisurely Sunday morning and the spirits of all who gathered were lifted by the opening prayers and bhajans.

Our minds and hearts were prepared and focussed on Bhagawan through the words of our UKCC chair Dr Kiran Patel, who shared some amazing experiences in the Divine presence of Bhagawan, during his time there as a student of Swami’s Institute. He reminded us all of our good fortune to have been contemporaries of the Avatar of this Age. “To whom more is given, more is expected” set the tone and scene for the rest of the day.

The “Heart to Heart” workshops were well received, in particular the role-playing by attendees which yielded gasps and laughs alike while conveying powerful messages on how to conduct ourselves as devotees of our Lord. Humility, Devotion, Discipline and most importantly, Loyalty to the Divine Name and Form were amongst the key take home messages.

After a hearty feast of a lunch, the afternoon session saw reports from the Chairs of different groups from the region. The Cheltenham group spoke of the unifying and purifying impact that learning Rudram has had on its members who met weekly for 6 months and continue to chant Rudram on a weekly basis. We heard from the Bath group of one of its few youth members who makes regular trips to the local hospital to provide companionship and read to elderly patients which has now inspired the rest of the group to take up service to the elderly as well.

The SSE coordinator spoke of the impact that SSE was having in both the groups (Swindon and Bristol) that hold classes. By Bhagawan’s Grace, more children are being attracted to these classes and we heard of how children from different cultures and faiths have started to attend; their parents reporting that their children’s behaviour and performance at school has improved and attributing this to exposure to our Beloved Lord’s teachings. We were all reminded and humbled by this account as we were reminded that there is but one religion, The Religion of Love, and of Bhagawan’s ability to capture the hearts of all.

The UKCC panel enlightened us further and many thought provoking questions were raised and answered. We all left feeling energised and focussed in our efforts to be worthy instruments in the hands of our Lord Sai.

Mahendra Patel
Regional Spiritual Coordinator

Region 7 - Swindon SSE Class Celebrates Easter

On a warm Saturday morning, the SSE children of Swindon concluded the end of term and the start of the Easter holidays with an outdoor SSE Class in the sunny gardens of The Royal Wootton Bassett Park.

Morning prayers were followed by value based games and team building exercises, in which the children had lots of fun whilst learning to trust each other and work together. This was followed by an exciting Easter egg hunt, in which Group 2 and 3 children where teamed up with the nursery and Group 1 children to find the Easter eggs that were hidden around the park. Clues on where to look had to be solved by answering questions on Bhagawan’s saying, that “Nature is the Best Teacher”. Only the “straightest trees” in the park concealed sweet treats and children were reminded of the importance of being straight trees in the Lord’s garden. Even the park benches hid tasty Easter eggs and taught the lesson of being servants to all, whilst asking for nothing in return. The children listed many other aspects of nature that gave so selflessly, the Sun, the trees and flowers and of course the cows whose milk made the delicious Easter eggs.

In the lead up to Easter, lessons had focussed on the period of Lent and the benefits of fasting. The children had learnt about what it meant to sacrifice and about the lives of the Disciples of Christ who imbibed the qualities of a disciple. Before tucking into their chocolaty treasures the children reflected on what lessons could be learnt from Easter eggs and came up with 3 qualities of Easter eggs which they put into the form of Art work.

We ended the day with a Human value song.

Wishing you all a Happy Sai Easter and remember to be like an Easter Egg :

Region 8 - Medicare initiatives from Scotland

Medical education for doctors attending overseas medical camps, continued with the third lecture given by Dr. Madhu Sriram, consultant paediatrician, who spoke on: Common Ailments in Indian Practice.
The talk was held at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on 17th March 2012.

She spoke on common paediatric conditions including malnutrition, tuberculosis, skin infections, hook worm infestations, iron deficiency anaemia, vitamin deficiencies and rickets.

In addition, she gave valuable tips on how to identify these problems in a rural setting and educated us on simple treatment plans for these disorders.

Patient Education:

Dr. Madhu highlighted that simple measures such as sanitation, regular hand washing, bathing and ample exposure to sunlight were key measures for healthy living and prevention of infectious diseases. Parents should also be taught to use simple nutritious food and measures such as adding sugar, vegetable oil and peanuts to treat and prevent malnutrition.

She recommended that parents be made aware of: the availability of free immunisations, HIV treatment for high risk populations, tuberculosis treatment centres, and free midday meal programmes at the local Peripheral Health Clinics (PHCs).

Medical Education:

This included management of conditions such as tuberculosis, iron deficiency anaemia, scurvy, rheumatic heart disease and rickets. She recommended WHO treatment protocols for tuberculosis.

Consultants and associate specialists from various specialities including ENT, Gastroenterology, Ophthalmology, Endocrinology and Psychiatry, attended these sessions.

Sai Ram
Region 8

Data Protection Act 1998
Please note that "Love and Light" is also published on the National Website and is freely available to countries outside the EEA.

"Love and Light"
© Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK) 2013

All rights reserved
"Love and Light" is the only nationwide monthly publication of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK). You are free to pass it on in its entirety to any interested party. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK) UK National Chair.