February 2014 Edition

Quote

Cultivate a nearness with me in the heart and it will be rewarded. Then you too will acquire a fraction of that supreme love. This is a great chance. Be confident that you will all be liberated. Know that you are saved. Many hesitate to believe that things will improve, that life will be happy for all and full of joy, and that the golden age will recur. Let me assure you that this divine body (dharmaswarupa) has not come in vain. It will succeed in averting the crisis that has come upon humanity.

Milestone Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

23rd November 1968

~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

News

Service Wing - Philippines Disaster Relief Medical Camp

Advisory Note to Devotees

Articles

Education Wing - Speech Ms Diya Bechoo at the National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference

Institute of Sathya Sai Education (ISSE)...Latest!

Milestone Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2014 ‘One with Sai: His Words & His Work’

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2014: Wing Workshops

Region 1 - Makara Sankaranthi Celebrations at Merton Centre

Region 1 - Young Adults Programme

Region 3 - New Year and 35th Anniversary Celebrations

Region 4 - Sai Cinema on a Sunday Afternoon in Leicester

Service Wing - Philippines Disaster Relief Medical Camp

UK Floods: Relief Efforts by the Organisation

Youth Wing - National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference – Reflections from Youth Perspectives

Editorial

Dear Love & Light Readers,
Loving Sai Ram


January witnessed the gathering of office bearers and active members of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK) in Hatfield for the annual National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference. In line with the theme of the year,’One with Sai’, the theme for the conference was aptly named ‘One with Sai – His Words & His Work’. It truly was a conference for spiritual seekers, of members who had the faith and the loyalty to the name ‘Sathya Sai’. Every delegate who participated came away recharged with renewed vigour and focus upon His Message and Mission.

Devotees around the globe will be celebrating Sivarathri on 28th February. Sivarathri means "Auspicious darkness". It signifies the night when devotees are expected to stay awake by chanting the sacred name of Lord Shiva. Spending the night reciting the Lord's name would sanctify one's life.

We also recap the past few weeks when UK has experienced some of the worst weather conditions ever seen with South West England and areas along the Thames impacted. Huge numbers of people have been dealing with misery of continued flooding and power outages. Our Organisation has launched an appeal to centres and groups in UK to donate essential items to help those affected. Our heartfelt prayers go to all fellow brothers and sisters afflicted by the weather.

Dr Kiran Patel,
Chairman, UK Central Council

Service Wing - Philippines Disaster Relief Medical Camp

National Wing News

2nd to 11th April 2014

On November 8, 2013, a category 5 typhoon named Haiyan (locally called Yolanda), hit landfall in Guiuan, a small town in the Eastern Samar province of the Philippines. As the typhoon ripped through the Philippines, it left a broad swath of destruction with an estimated 15 million people affected by this storm and over 6,000 deaths as reported by the United Nations and the Government of the Philippines in December 2013. Haiyan is the most powerful storm in recorded human history. Many cities and towns have experienced widespread destruction, with as much as 90 per cent of housing demolished in some areas. Roadways, airports and seaports are impaired, heavy ships have been thrown inland, water supply and power have been cut, much of the food stocks have been destroyed, many health facilities are not functioning and medical supplies are now quickly being exhausted.
Since its inception, the Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) has been providing selfless and loving service to mankind through various humanitarian projects including immediate and sustained disaster relief in several countries.

SSIO have requested SSSSO UK to arrange a small team of 12-15 medical professionals to visit Philippines from 2 to 11 April 2014 (inclusive of travel dates).

SSIO has requested for the following specific medical specialities from UK:
- General Medicine
- General Medicine Sub-Specialties - especially Gastroenterology, Cardiology & others
- Paediatrics
- Dental (if any)
- Nurses, Physician Assistants or Nurse Practitioners

Limited general volunteers and eligible medical students will also be accepted on a selection basis.

Tentative travel schedule
- Depart UK on Wednesday 2 April 2014 in order to arrive Manila by Thursday 3 April 2014
- Leave to Tacloban City the next day (i.e. Friday 4 April 2014)
- Work Saturday 5 April 2014 through Wednesday 9 April 2014
- Leave Tacloban City to Manila on Thursday 10 April 2014
- Leave Manila Thursday 10 April 2014 night or Friday 11 April 2014 morning

If you are interested in participating in this medical camp, please send the following documents asap by 2 March 2014 by email to servicewing@srisathyasai.org.uk or by post at Sai Hirdaya, 57 Heming Road, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 9AB:

1. A copy of your CV and copy of your M.B.B.S. Degree certificate;
2. A copy of your GMC / GDC / relevant medical council certificate;
3. 1 passport photograph (original);
4. A copy of the main page of your passport containing your personal details and photograph

The UK team will travel together. You will be responsible for the payment of the air tickets from UK to Manila and Manila to Tacloban City and back (the team will travel together and tickets will be booked in a batch – details to be provided once we receive confirmed names). Local accommodation and transport will be provided for all volunteers in Manila and in Tacloban by the host Sai Organisation.
Once you are selected for the medical camp, you will be invited for a meeting when you will be provided further details of the camp. Devotees can also help by supporting the camps through Ceiling on Desires Programme and sending their contributions to the UK Trust.
Please contact Dr Upadhyay or Urvi Widhani (07957 210237) for further details in relation to this camp.

Mukund Patel,
National Service Coordinator

Advisory Note to Devotees

National Wing News

Several claims have been made in the recent past by individuals, organisations and others either claiming to be Sai Babas or claiming to have received instructions from Him, seeking from general public and devotees - contribution, support or attendance at their congregation.

While imitation is the best form of flattery and the devotees and others are free to act as per the dictates of their conscience, it may be worthwhile to remember what Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself has said about such activities.

"There are some who extol others for the absurd reason that Sai Baba speaks through them! How silly? It is all drama which cheats sick minds. Do not fall a prey to these. That is why I say, keep your devotion within yourself, under control, and not be led away by crooks and self-seekers. These lead you astray by giving you a wrong idea of the Lord's manifestation. They befoul the faith that their brothers and sisters repose in God."

Excerpts from Discourse at Prashanti Nilayam on October 15, 1964

"Talking of faith, I must issue a warning. Many people are collecting money in various places using My Name for various purposes like arranging receptions, building temples, doing Puja, etc. That is unauthorised and against My wish and command. Do not yield to such requests and encourage this practice, which I condemn."

"There is another set of people who trade on your faith. They advertise that I am 'talking' through a medium or some other thing. Treat all such people and their agents or brokers as you treat cheats; if you do not treat them so, then you are also accomplices in the cheating process."

"There are others who gather groups of followers and admirers and collect money .They even declare "Baba sent me to you to take from you some money" or "Baba has given me this" or "Baba blessed me specially thus and thus" and then ask for your help or your praise or your purse! I ask you to chastise all these types of men and turn them away, whoever"

Excerpts from Discourse on November 25, 1962 at Prasanthi Nilayam

"People say 'Baba appeared to me in a dream and commanded me to do this and that, to you, to collect so much from you etc., etc. Do not give heed to such cheats; punish them in the way they deserve. That is the advice I have to give you"

"Do not believe if any one comes to you and declares, "Sathya Sai Baba came to me in my dream and commissioned me to do publicity for him. Please help me as far as you can". I do not commission any one for such work, either in dream or while he is awake. Such men are cheats; treat them as such, without mercy"

Excerpts from Discourse on March 26, 1965 at Kakinada

Do we need any more clarity than these stirring words, particularly our becoming accomplices to cheating, if we encourage this?

Prof A. Anantharaman
(Media Coordinator, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust)
Prasanthi Nilayam
28th November 2013

Education Wing - Speech Ms Diya Bechoo at the National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference

My most humble and loving Pranams to my beloved Lord Sai, respected Elders, dear brothers and sisters - Jai Sai Ram,

Like many of my brothers and sisters in SSE when I was born and eventually brought home the first thing that happened was that I was placed at Swami’s Divine LOTUS Feet. I grew up just accepting as my mum and dad said, that this is God, so even when my friends came home and asked who’s that person in the picture with the big afro, I simply said that He is God and I have seen him. They must have thought I was mad, but no doubt if mum and dad said that He was God then Swami must be GOD.

From such a young age, I sat in on SSE classes even though I was too young, (I think it was my mum and dad's idea of free babysitting). This opportunity granted by Swami gave me the chance to undertake activities with the SSE and Youth.

Additionally, my Gurus loved me as I was a nice, chubby, happy child ready to do anything they asked. So it was not surprising that I was allowed to sing and lead bhajans at our weekly Sunday bhajans.

It felt like Swami was taking me with His invisible hand and leading me to become a confident singer not only at the centre but also in school. As Swami knows everything, he knew what I liked and led me to join the school choir, drama groups and nativity plays, which further led me to discover the things I liked and could do well.

As well as singing, the SSE classes taught me how to pray and be respectful to people from all faiths. I learnt that I should care for people and treat them lovingly. Also I should be kind to animals, especially my bunny which my dad and sisters do not like, they say he occupies the entire garden but he is so cute.

However it isn’t always easy to be thoughtful and kind to everyone, as Swami challenged me with an incident last year. I was being bullied when I became the youngest editor of the Schools news paper and fashion section. My friend that I knew since pre-school, together with another girl began to say hateful things to me and told lies to the teacher about me.

This was a sad time for me, so I told my big sister who got really angry and she said she was coming to school the next day to beat those girls up, as no one was allowed to mess with me. However my mother and father said no, this is not how we act, will Swami approve of that? My sister replied saying but Swami wants Lions in the organisations, to which my mum said Lions of Truth, Peace and Love, there is a time for everything and we must not act as others do. Swami also says Help Ever Hurt Never.

My mother then advised me to go and speak with these girls, and tell them that I was not afraid of them and that if they did not like me that was fine as we cannot like everyone but we should at least be civil or stay away from them if they upset us.

My SSE gurus also said the same; however they also advised me to send Love and Light. This was very difficult for me as they were very hurtful. However, I tried and then left it over to Swami to solve. I also followed my father’s advice in that I should not be scared as I had done nothing wrong and that if I am the truthful one, I will be fine.

Eventually by Swami’s grace everything worked out perfectly as the girls stopped bullying me. Unfortunately the girl who was my friend and began all the bullying lost all of her friends. Other children started bullying her. One option for me was to leave her alone, however my mother advised me to help her and include her with my other friends. Looking back Swami had given me the opportunity to practice what I was learning from SSE in daily life. Swami, my parents, my grandparents, and SSE gurus have all taught me to become who I am, because they’ve guided me in the right path.

I can go on talking for hours like my Granny does but before they throw me off the stage I better stop!

I would like to end with a short bhajan that helps me connect with Swami:

“I keep feeling your love in me over and over again............”

Jai Sai Ram

Institute of Sathya Sai Education (ISSE)...Latest!

With the Divine Blessings of our beloved Bhagawan Baba, we bring to your attention the appointment of Mr. Dipak Kumar Fakey OBE as the new Director of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education (ISSE) UK. Known to many of us in the Sai family for his ‘Good Values Club’, which he started almost 20 years ago in the Abbey Primary School in Leicester as a vehicle to introduce and integrate SSEHV Programme in UK, brother Dipak’s indefatigable commitment, infectious enthusiasm and wide experience in this field will provide the appropriate leadership in progressing the good work undertaken by ISSE to date in UK.

The Institute of Sathya Sai Education ISSE UK -recognised by the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation – is a part of a world-wide network of educational institutions, established to promote the principles and programs of Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV), in schools and communities in UK. They facilitate the understanding and application of the principles of Sathya Sai Education, based on the teachings of our Bhagawan, through the practice of Truth, Love, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-violence for the total development of human personality and character. The approach taken by the Institute is highly inclusive and appropriate to the plural multicultural nature of UK society.

The ‘Good Values Club’ model encompasses the above unique features of the SSEHV programme in a simple and seamless fashion, which in turn enables its practical application in the context of schools in UK. Its role in transforming the Abbey Primary School, known as a Partnership Sathya Sai School, from a 55th position on the League Tables to the 2nd position, did not go unnoticed. In fact, brother Dipak was awarded the high honour of OBE by Her Majesty, The Queen, in 2013 in recognition for his services to education and community cohesion.

Whilst accepting the role of Director, ISSE UK with his trademark humility and devotion to our beloved Bhagawan, brother Dipak has indicated that in the first phase, he and his team of volunteers would focus on meeting the increasing requests from various local schools in Leicestershire to introduce SSEHV Programme into their schools via the Good Values Clubs. He pledges however, to work hard and expand these efforts so as to widen the scope and reach of the SSEHV Programme in various schools and communities across the UK. He wholeheartedly welcomes support from anyone in the UK interested to join hands and strengthen ISSE UK and its role in the Sathya Sai Mission.

Dr. Veeru Mudigonda
Vice Chair, UKCC
SSSSO UK

Milestone Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

23rd November 1968

For the protection of the virtuous, for the destruction of evil-doers and for establishing righteousness on a firm footing, I incarnate from age to age. Whenever disharmony (asanthi) overwhelms the world, the Lord will incarnate in human form to establish the modes of earning peace (prasanthi) and to reeducate the human community in the paths of peace. At the present time, strife and discord have robbed peace and unity from the family, the school, the society, the religions, the cities, and the state.

The arrival of the Lord is also anxiously awaited by saints and sages. Spiritual aspirants (sadhus) prayed and I have come. My main tasks are fostering of the Vedas (Hindu scriptures) and fostering of the devotees. Your virtue, your self-control, your detachment, your faith, your steadfastness: these are the signs by which people read of my glory. You can lay claim to be a devotee only when you have placed yourself in my hands fully and completely with no trace of ego. You can enjoy the bliss through the experience the Avathar confers. The Avathar behaves in a human way so that mankind can feel kinship, but rises into his superhuman heights so that mankind can aspire to reach the heights, and through that aspiration actually reach him. Realizing the Lord within you as the motivator is the task for which he comes in human form.

Avathars like Rama and Krishna had to kill one or more individuals who could be identified as enemies of the righteous (dharmic) way of life, and thus restore the practice of virtue. But now there is no one fully good, so who deserves the protection of God? All are tainted by wickedness, so who will survive if the Avathar decides to uproot? Therefore, I have come to correct the intelligence (buddhi), by various means. I have to counsel, help, command, condemn and stand by as a friend and well-wisher to all, so that they may give up evil propensities and, recognizing the straight mark, tread it and reach the goal. I have to reveal to the people the worth of the Vedas, the Sastras and the spiritual texts which lay down the norms. If you will accept me and say "Yes," I too will respond and say, "Yes, yes, yes." If you deny and say "No," I also echo "No." Come, examine, experience, have faith. This is the method of utilizing me.

I do not mention Sai Baba in any of my discourses, but I bear the name as Avathar of Sai Baba. I do not appreciate in the least the distinction between the various appearances of God: Sai, Rama, Krishna, etc. I do not proclaim that this is more important or that is less important. Continue your worship of your chosen God along lines already familiar to you, then you will find that you are coming nearer to me. For all names are mine, and all forms are mine. There is no need to change your chosen God and adopt a new one when you have seen me and heard me.

Every step in the career of the Avathar is predetermined. Rama came to feed the roots truth (sathya) and righteousness dharma. Krishna came to foster peace shanti, and love prema. Now all these four are in danger of being dried up. That is why the present Avathar has come. The righteousness that has fled to the forests has to be brought back into the villages and towns. The anti-righteousness that is ruining the villages and towns must be driven back into the jungle.

I have come to give you the key of the treasure of bliss ananda, to teach you how to tap that spring, for you have forgotten the way to blessedness. If you waste this time of saving yourselves, it is just your fate. You have come to get from me tinsel and trash, the petty little cures and promotions, worldly joys and comforts. Very few of you desire to get from me the thing that I have come to give you: namely, liberation itself. Even among these few, those who stick to the path of spiritual practice (sadhana) and succeed are a handful.

Your worldly intelligence cannot fathom the ways of God. He cannot be recognized by mere cleverness of intelligence. You may benefit from God, but you cannot explain him. Your explanations are merely guesses, attempts to cloak your ignorance in pompous expressions. Bring something into your daily practice as evidence of your having known the secret of the higher life from me. Show that you have greater brotherliness. Speak with more sweetness and self-control. Bear defeat as well as victory with calm resignation, I am always aware of the future and the past as well as the present of every one of you, so I am not so moved by mercy. Since I know the past, the background, the reaction is different. It is your consequence of evil deliberately done in the previous birth, so I allow your suffering to continue, often modified by some little compensation. I do not cause either joy or grief. You are the designer of both these chains that bind you. I am the embodiment of bliss (Anandaswarupa). Come, take bliss (ananda) from me, dwell on that bliss, and be full of peace (shanti).

My acts are the foundations on which I am building my work, the task for which I have come. All the miraculous acts which you observe are to be interpreted so. The foundation for a dam requires a variety of materials. Without these it will not last and hold back the waters. An incarnation of the Lord has to be used in various ways by man for his uplift.

The Lord has no intention to publicize himself. I do not need publicity, nor does any other Avathar of the Lord. What are you daring to publicize? Me? What do you know about me? You speak one thing about me today and another tomorrow. Your faith has not become unshakable. You praise me when things go well and blame me when things go wrong. When you start publicity you descend to the level of those who compete in collecting plenty by decrying others and extolling themselves.

Where money is calculated, garnered or exhibited to demonstrate one's achievements, I will not be present. I come only where sincerity and faith and surrender are valued. Only inferior minds will revel in publicity and self-aggrandizement. These have no relevance in the case of Avathars. Avathars need no advertizement.

The establishment of righteousness (dharma): that is my aim. The teaching of dharma, the spread of dharma: that is my object. These miracles, as you call them, are just a means toward that end. Some of you remark that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (an Indian saint) said that yogic powers (siddhis) are obstructions in the path of the spiritual aspirant (sadhaka) Yes, yogic powers may lead the spiritual aspirant astray. Without being involved in them he has to keep straight on. His ego will bring him down if he yields to the temptation of demonstrating his yogic powers. That is the correct advice which every aspirant should heed. But the mistake lies in equating me with a sadhaka, like the one whom Ramakrishna wanted to help, guide and warn. These yogic powers are just in the nature of the Avathar -- the creation of things with intent to protect and give joy is spontaneous and lasting. Creation, preservation, and dissolution can be accomplished only by the Almighty ... no one else can.

Cynics carp without knowledge. If they learn the Sastras or scriptures, or if they cultivate direct experience, they can understand me. Your innate laziness prevents you from the spiritual exercises necessary to discover the nature of God. This laziness should go. It has to be driven out of man's nature in whatever shape it appears. That is my mission. My task is not merely to cure and console and remove individual misery but is something far more important. The removal of misery and distress is incidental to my mission. My main task is the reestablishment of the Vedas and Sastras (spiritual scriptures), and revealing the knowledge about them to all people. This task will succeed. It will not be limited. It will not be slowed down. When the Lord decides and wills, his divine will cannot be hindered.

You must have heard people say that mine is all magic. But the manifestation of divine power must not be interpreted in terms of magic. Magicians play their tricks for earning their maintenance, worldly fame, and wealth. They are based on falsehood and they thrive on deceit, but this body could never stoop to such a low level. This body has come through the Lord's resolve to come. That resolve is intended to uphold truth (sathya). Divine resolve is always true resolve. Remember there is nothing that divine power cannot accomplish. It can transmute earth into sky and sky into earth. To doubt this is to prove that you are too weak to grasp great things, the grandeur of the universe.

I have come to instruct all in the essence of the Vedas, to shower on all this precious gift, to protect the ancient wisdom (sanathana dharma) and preserve it. My mission is to spread happiness, so I am always ready to come among you not once, but twice or thrice -- as often as you want me. Many of you probably think that since people from all parts of India, and even foreign countries outside India, come to Puttaparthi, they must be pouring their contributions into the coffers of the Nilayam (Prasanthi Nilayam: name of Sai Baba's ashram). But let me declare the truth. I do not take anything from anyone except their love and devotion. This has been my consistent practice for the last many years. People who come here are giving me just the wealth of faith, devotion, and love. That is all.

Many of you come to me with problems of health and mental worry of one sort or another. They are mere baits by which you have been brought here. But the main purpose is that you may have grace and strengthen your faith in the divine. Problems and worries are really to be welcomed, as they teach you the lessons of humility and reverence. Running after external things produces all this discontent. That type of desire has no end. Once you have become a slave to the senses, they will not leave hold until you are dead. It is an unquenchable thirst. But I call you to me and even grant worldly boons so that you may turn God-ward. No Avathar has done like this before, going among the masses, counseling them, guiding them, consoling them, uplifting them, and directing them along the path of truth, righteousness, peace and love (sathya, dharma, santhi and prema).

My activities and movements will never be altered, whoever may pass whatever opinion on them. I shall not modify my plans for the establishment of righteousness (dharmasthapana), my discourses, or my movements. I have stuck to this determination for many years and I am engaged in the task for which I have come: that is, to inculcate faith in the path of the highest spiritual peace (prasanthi). I shall not stop or retract a step.

Not even the biggest scientist can understand me by means of his laboratory knowledge. I am always full of bliss. Whatever may happen, nothing can come in the way of my smile. That is why I am able to impart joy to you and make your burden lighter. I never exult when I am extolled, nor shrink when I am reviled. Few have realized my purpose and significance, but I am not worried. When things that are not in me are attributed to me, why should I worry? When things that are in me are mentioned, why should I exult? For me it is always, "Yes, yes, yes." If you give all and surrender to the Lord, he will guard and guide you. The Lord has come for just this task. He is declaring that he will do so, and that it is the very task that has brought him here. I know the agitations of your heart and its aspirations, but you do not know my heart. I react to the pain that you undergo and to the joy that you feel, for I am in your heart. I am the dweller in the temple of every heart. Do not lose contact and company, for it is only when the coal is in contact with the live embers that it can also become live ember.

Cultivate a nearness with me in the heart and it will be rewarded. Then you too will acquire a fraction of that supreme love. This is a great chance. Be confident that you will all be liberated. Know that you are saved. Many hesitate to believe that things will improve, that life will be happy for all and full of joy, and that the golden age will recur. Let me assure you that this divine body (dharmaswarupa) has not come in vain. It will succeed in averting the crisis that has come upon humanity.

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2014 ‘One with Sai: His Words & His Work’

Not long after the start of the New Year, the UK Sai Organisation congregated on a Saturday morning on the 25th of January 2014, with a renewed focus to engage in the annual Orientation Conference in Hatfield.

The theme was "One with Sai: His words and His work", and this pervaded the day's programme effortlessly. The series of workshops, uplifting talks and wing presentations highlighted our role in His Work. It was an opportunity to reconnect with Swami, with the core principles of His mission and identify our inner purpose. We also re-visited the purpose of the Organisation and the way it enables our own transformation.

Besides talks from Dr Kiran Patel our UK Chairperson, and Dr Veeru Rao the UK Vice-Chair, we were blessed to listen to a recorded message especially for the occasion from Dr Samuel Sandweiss, the well renowned author of "Sai Baba: The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist" from America. In the afternoon through another video talk, we heard from Mr Leonardo Gutter, Prashanti Council member for Zone 2 (Latin America), from Argentina. They all reminded us of our great fortune to have known Swami, to be in His Organisation and to be given the opportunity to work for Him, to expand our hearts, and to realize our own innate divinity.

The day then moved on to 2 workshops, the first for everyone to reflect on Swami’s message and implementation into our daily lives. This workshop on "His Words" took us right back to basics. The first part of the workshop was spent reflecting on which of Swami’s quotes most resounded in our hearts. Through the process of observing Swami’s darshan, we then identified our reactions and feeling to His words and seeing His form. We were all reminded by the links between our chosen quotes and our one-word reactions to the darshan that His life was indeed His message.

The workshop then focused on the Sai Organisation, and its uniqueness in this world. First and foremost it is headed and guided by our Divine Master, our beloved Swami Himself; but also has features such as recognising the universality of faiths, having non-exclusivity of the preferred divine name and form in devotional singing, the most elevating Jyoti (Light) meditation, the Human Values Programme, the 9-point Code of Conduct, and Service to all as if serving God. We can often forget these aspects of His Organisation that make it divinely unique.

Lastly, the workshop centered on a few topics for deeper discussion, namely Ceiling on Desires, Service, the interfaith programme and the practice of practical human values. As before, whilst these are all accepted as everyday elements of our Sai activities, it was helpful to be reminded of some key principles. For instance, donating plenty of money to charity and performing service whilst continuing to indulge one’s limitless desires does not conform to the spirit of the Ceiling on Desires.

After a hearty lunch, we were treated to a second workshop which took the form of the different wings. All the delegates were split into Service, Spiritual, Youth, SSE and Centre chair workshops to discuss the plans for the coming year. An account from each workshop can be found below.

After a short break, we all congregated back in the main hall and were delighted to hear from Dr Upadhyay, in his capacity as Trustee of the Sathya Sai Charitable Trust UK. Dr Upadhyay updated the Conference delegates about the relief efforts undertaken by the International Sai Organisation during recent disasters in Uttarakhand (India) and Philippines. Many devotees from UK had participated in supporting these loving efforts, and it was heartening to see and hear the way the global Sai Family rallied to serve our fellow beings in dire need.

The next part of the afternoon was entitled “The nation on its Wings” which was exactly what it was. The national coordinators Mr Mukund Patel, Dr Rakendu Suren, Mrs Vidyulatha Narayan and Shyam Jamnadas took us through some of the individual wing highlights of 2013 and their vision and objectives for the coming year.

We were then blessed to have two of our young speakers take to the stage and narrate personal experiences of how Swami had been a part of their lives. Diya Bechoo, a SSE student from Region 3, and Punit Ghumra, an active Sai Youth from Region 1 shared with us how Swami and the Organisation had shaped their lives. It was inspiring to listen how Diya had been guided by her SSE lessons, particularly during times of adversity such as school bullying; and hear how Punit felt that something had been missing from his life after university, before he decided to rejoin his Sai Centre. Both of them have since gone on to become active workers in the Sai mission.

Towards the end of the day, Sanjay Vaja from Manchester indulged us to one of his very humorous and captivating poems, in which he summed up his relationship with Swami and how we should be ideal instruments in His hands. It was truly a poetic treat for the ears accompanied by some playful photos of Swami.

The uplifting and enriching programme concluded with the vote of thanks from Mrs Vidyulatha Narayan, the National SSE coordinator, and with bhajans and arthi. The conference gave us the opportunity to reflect on the fundamental purpose of studying Swami’s Words and practicing them through participation in His Work: That purpose being self-transformation. It gave us all an open invitation to embark on this exciting spiritual journey of transformation through action, in the year 2014 and beyond, spreading the joy and light with in oneself to all beings in the world.

Roni Ramdin
Brixton Sai Centre, London

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2014: Wing Workshops

Centre Chair’s Workshop

I am currently an active worker in our Centre and attended the Centre Chairs workshop with a view to supporting our Centre Chair. It was a very open session of Q&A with the National Chair and National Vice Chair. Support and experiences were shared by everyone in the room.

For me, there were some key messages that came out from the workshop:

• The purpose of Sai's mission is to awaken the divine consciousness in man. Where and how does this happen? It happens In our Centres and Groups, which are beacons of light, spiritual powerhouses, all over the UK and the world. And so, the Chair position is not to be taken lightly - it is a key position in the unfolding of Sai's mission and its flow through to all devotees.

• Linked to the above point, what actually is Sai's mission? The divine mission? WE ARE! He is here for OUR awakening only - we must remember that as we carry out our duties.
• As Centre chair (and I guess any office bearer), remember that power and position can easily corrupt us - be careful. Or as I heard recently, BABA - Be Aware, Be Alert.
• As Centre Chair, one needs to function not only as a good administrator, but more importantly, as a good leader who always maintains a sharp focus on the higher ideals of the Divine Sai Mission: Love, Unity, and a broadminded vision. This focus is communicated to all the members and office bearers of the Centre, so that all work undertaken by various Wings is performed in harmony. One could say that a Centre Chair is like the glue that holds the entire Centre together.

We also talked about what we can do to motivate youth to attend more regularly. Through the discussion, I was pleased to hear that actually there are more youth attending Centres and keen to be involved. Our role is to encourage, support and most importantly, listen to their ideas and be open to making changes. If we are so fixed that we carry on doing what we've always done and don't listen to ideas or are not prepared to change, is it really a surprise that youth or others don't want to attend?

I left the workshop feeling that office bearer positions are not 'easy' positions to hold, but are ones where our relationship with Sai grows stronger and stronger as we delve into Sai's teachings and more importantly, learn how to live Sai's teachings. They are positions where Sai's hand will guide us, and where we allow his mission to unfold. What a beautiful opportunity we have been given!

Sanjay Vaja
Former Chairperson, Region 5
Active worker, Sathya Sai Baba Centre of Greater Manchester

Youth Wing Workshop

“You are the ones who will assume the leadership of the country in future.
The future of the nation depends upon you.
Your nature and character will decide the character of the nation.
You should work for the prosperity of the nation, welfare of the world, and universal happiness.
First of all, you must follow the command of the Lord.
Therein lies your welfare, as well as the security of the nation and society.”
~ Sathya Sai Baba

With His words as our inspiration, the youth workshop aimed to make His work fuel our enthusiasm and energise us to put His words into action! The youth wing workshop aimed to practically apply Swami’s teachings.

The Role of the Youth Coordinator in the SSSSO

Our aspiration is to unite as Youth across the country and share our ideas, experiences and talents. With Swami’s Grace we were fortunate to have our Deputy Zonal Youth Coordinator, National Youth Coordinator, Regional Youth Coordinators and Centre Youth Coordinators and active youth from various regions present in one room. The message to the Youth was that the purpose of any coordinators role in the Organisation is one and the same: Self-transformation and the duty to ensure all youth are provided with information and opportunities for their own Self-transformation. The Organisation a vehicle given by Swami for the journey to Self-transformation.

Purpose of the Youth Wing

• To integrate into all the Wings of the Organisation
• To nurture our Character at this young and crucial stage of life

How will we fulfill the purpose of the Youth Wing? - Objectives of the Youth Wing

1. Integration with the service wing through Serve the Planet. We will lead on this project and build on what was started in 2013.
2. Expand on existing service projects.
3. Integrate with SSE through projects suitable and applicable at centre level
4. Integration with the spiritual wing through Sai Smaran. This is an on-going joint initiative between the two wings.
5. Nurture our characters as youth through the Young Adults Programme (YAP) by focusing this year on discussions centered on the 9-point code of conduct.

The youth broke out into groups and initiated discussions on the above objectives. The youth coordinators will now discuss these objectives with their centre members and other centre youth. Plans will be shared back at National Youth Wing meeting on 9th March 2014.

Youth Workshop Team for NSSOC

Service Wing - Workshop

Approximately 70 delegates gathered in the Gym for the second workshop of the day, possibly thinking a physical workout in the Gym following an ample and delicious lunch was on the cards, however this was not the case but an interactive mental workout was!

The workshop presentation and interaction focused on our understanding of being one with Sai in the form of:

1. His Work and how to be One with Sai through His work,
2. What is his work and how should we do it,
3. Who should participate in His work
4. When should we do it and
5. Why should we do his work

We then highlighted proposals for National service projects and the current activities carried out during the year 2013. These were summarised as Food bank; soup kitchen; visiting elderly; feeding homeless; Christmas parcels; GDS at elderly homes; clothes donated to homeless; food hampers; entertaining elderly etc.

Delegates then divided into groups to interact and discuss activities currently undertaken by them, which culminated in each group selecting five key activities they would like considered for further review.

The criteria given for the workshop was not to worry about the result but “Help as much as you can, as efficiently as you can, as silently as you can, and as lovingly as you can; leave the rest to God, who gave you a chance to serve.” [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1967.11.06]

Invigorating discussions ensued within each group, following which all delegates reassembled for the. Many and varied activities were put forward, and the following were selected for further review:

• National Disaster team
• Environmental project
• Service project overseas
• Training for the Organisation – first aid, food hygiene, risk assessment
• National Service project involving all the volunteers at the same location

Delegates then went away to dwell on the need-basis, the feasibility, the processes and skill-base required for the effective delivery of these projects. It was decided to engage in further discussions and to submit Project Plans by the 9th of March when the National Wing Meetings would take place.

In summary the key messages were; self transformation through activity and working selflessly without desire for reward. Do not believe that you can by means of selfless service reform or reshape the world. You may or may not. That does not matter. The real value of seva, its most visible result, is that it reforms you, reshapes you.
[Sathya Sai Speaks. 1966.03.29]

To conclude the workshop a moving and inspirational message from our beloved Bhagawan was read out with copies given to all delegates

These are My words to you, My Devotees. Each of you has a unique and valuable
part to play in this lifetime. Only those whom I have called can serve Me…
My mission has now reached that point in time when each one of you now
has work to do. I call upon you to radiate the Devotion within you so
that its unseen power will envelop all who come into your orbit. To
successfully perform your part always remain centered upon Me. Allow
yourselves to impart that purity of heart within you towards all human
beings and all living creatures and do not reach for the fruits of your
work. This part of my mission will be performed in absolute silence.
You are My instruments from whom My love will pour. Be always aware
that the moment you let your ego descend upon you My work ceases. When
you have overcome your negative un mind-fullness you will again become
My Source. The multiplication of My Love will be felt throughout the
world. I have prepared you for this work over many incarnations. I have
drawn you to Me. I have made great steps in My Mission over these past
incarnations. My work is ceaseless and so your work too, is without end.
Know that I am within you and without you. There is no difference. Rid
yourselves of petty matters forevermore. You are now Me and I am now
Thee. There is no difference. My Darshan will pour forth from Me to and
through you…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
You may be unaware of this constant action. Be ever pure of heart and
soul and mankind in your lifetime will benefit from your unique
qualities. Others too, will join Me in this Mission when I draw them to
Me. The time is approaching when all humanity will live in
harmony. That time will be here sooner than one expects. Before it
arrives be prepared for whatever is needed to reveal to every living
thing the true purpose of existence. It is not what anyone alive can
imagine. It is not something that one can try to aspire to. It is
beyond all comprehension. I can say that it’s Beauty is magnificent
beyond all dreams. And as each of you perform your work silently I will
embrace you to My Heart and henceforth your soul shall be lifted up and
your eyes will reveal My Presence within you. This I say to all My
Devotees from the Lord's Mountain top where all the Universe become
one. Be about My work, My beloved Devotees. Your breath will carry the
scent of the Blossoms of Heaven. Your example will be that of Angels.
Your joy will be My joy
“BABA” 22 Nov 2009 9:54 AM

Mr Mukund Patel,
National Service Coordinator

Spiritual Wing Workshop

Following a vibrant morning workshop on ‘One with Sai-His Words’, devotees participated in the afternoon spiritual wing workshop to discuss the vision and plans for the Spiritual wing and its role within the Organisation. The group included of a mixture of Spiritual coordinators, previous office bearers, active workers, youth and other devotees.

The session started with a brief introduction by Dr Rakendu Suren on Spiritual wing and how we achieve the oneness with Sai by doing his work, with self-transformation being ultimate goal of all Sai activities. Following a brief introduction of the current projects undertaken by the spiritual wing, regional spiritual coordinators who are leading the projects did a brief presentation on the the activities aimed to take the spiritual wing forward.

Sister Jenni Robson , Region 4 Spiritual coordinator initially presented English devotional songs recording project, which has already been successfully piloted in the region. Brother Karthik Prashanth, previous Region 3 Spiritual Coordinator presented the on-going study circle project, a project aimed at supporting and facilitating the study circles in different centres, including supporting centres with relevant materials, multimedia support etc. Brother Mahendra Patel, the Region 7 Spiritual Coordinator, presented on the ‘ Sathya Sai Speaks audio recording project ‘ where each region was allocated a volume of Sathya Sai Speaks to record for an audio book. Brother Suresh Sajnani, our Region 2 coordinator presented a project on Meditation which is aimed at facilitating Meditation sessions in Sai centres. Ongoing projects such as Saismaran and interfaith activities were also presented.

Following the presentations, the group actively participated in discussions on implementing projects in their respective centres. It was a rich discussion with a lot of interest from the devotees to take part in these projects. We also came up with practical action points in implementing these projects which will be further discussed in Spiritual Wing Coordinators meeting on 9th March. As a group we reminded ourselves how each Sai centre should provide a platform for individual transformation and the role of the Spiritual wing in facilitating this.

Dr Rakendu Suren
National Spiritual Coordinator

Sathya Sai Education is Education for Transformation

At the National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference in January 2014, the Sai Spiritual Education wing held a workshop with the purpose to know and understand how to be one with Sai through his work; to know and understand how to practically apply this to activities of the wing and to know and understand how we as SSE teachers, helpers, parents and youth can live Swami’s teachings and share it.

Before we could move forward, we needed to first understand Swami’s work.

"The establishment of righteousness (dharma): that is my aim. The teaching of dharma, the spread of dharma: that is my object". And "My mission is to spread happiness, so I am always ready to come among you not once, but twice or thrice —as often as you want me".
-Sri Sathya Sai Baba

The workshop invigorated our mind awakening us to understand if we really have understood Swami and his work. A positively striking message which was imparted at the workshop was that without information there is no transformation and the transformation of the world is related to the transformation of the individual.

The room was filled with SSE coordinators, teachers, helpers, parents and youth, all of different ages who came together from different parts of the United Kingdom to discuss and map out steps to enhance and develop specific areas of the SSE wing and it’s far reaching impact. This was a unique opportunity to unite and understand how we are able to achieve this transformation. A list of current activities undertaken in the SSE wing was presented to everyone. As Swami says, ‘The organisation is intended to broaden your love, to channelise your activities through devoted service’, the list had illustrated this love. We began our focus for the year ahead with three aims for the SSE wing; further development of Parents’ Study Circle at the centre level, Teachers’ Study Circle as a means for self transformation and Integration of the SSE Alumni into the various wings of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation here in the United Kingdom.

This session was to enable a wider group within the SSE wing to participate and drive these focus areas over the coming months. The energy and enthusiasm of the participants was immense and the workshop ended with Bhagavan’s words ringing in our ears,

“The transformation of the individual is a pre-requisite for the transformation of the world”.

Miss Alisha Manandhar
SSE Coordinator, Brixton Sai Centre
Region 1

Service Wing - Philippines Disaster Relief Medical Camp

2nd to 11th April 2014

On November 8, 2013, a category 5 typhoon named Haiyan (locally called Yolanda), hit landfall in Guiuan, a small town in the Eastern Samar province of the Philippines. As the typhoon ripped through the Philippines, it left a broad swath of destruction with an estimated 15 million people affected by this storm and over 6,000 deaths as reported by the United Nations and the Government of the Philippines in December 2013. Haiyan is the most powerful storm in recorded human history. Many cities and towns have experienced widespread destruction, with as much as 90 per cent of housing demolished in some areas. Roadways, airports and seaports are impaired, heavy ships have been thrown inland, water supply and power have been cut, much of the food stocks have been destroyed, many health facilities are not functioning and medical supplies are now quickly being exhausted.
Since its inception, the Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) has been providing selfless and loving service to mankind through various humanitarian projects including immediate and sustained disaster relief in several countries.

SSIO have requested SSSSO UK to arrange a small team of 12-15 medical professionals to visit Philippines from 2 to 11 April 2014 (inclusive of travel dates).

SSIO has requested for the following specific medical specialities from UK:
- General Medicine
- General Medicine Sub-Specialties - especially Gastroenterology, Cardiology & others
- Paediatrics
- Dental (if any)
- Nurses, Physician Assistants or Nurse Practitioners

Limited general volunteers and eligible medical students will also be accepted on a selection basis.

Tentative travel schedule
- Depart UK on Wednesday 2 April 2014 in order to arrive Manila by Thursday 3 April 2014
- Leave to Tacloban City the next day (i.e. Friday 4 April 2014)
- Work Saturday 5 April 2014 through Wednesday 9 April 2014
- Leave Tacloban City to Manila on Thursday 10 April 2014
- Leave Manila Thursday 10 April 2014 night or Friday 11 April 2014 morning

If you are interested in participating in this medical camp, please send the following documents asap by 2 March 2014 by email to servicewing@srisathyasai.org.uk or by post at Sai Hirdaya, 57 Heming Road, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 9AB:

1. A copy of your CV and copy of your M.B.B.S. Degree certificate;
2. A copy of your GMC / GDC / relevant medical council certificate;
3. 1 passport photograph (original);
4. A copy of the main page of your passport containing your personal details and photograph

The UK team will travel together. You will be responsible for the payment of the air tickets from UK to Manila and Manila to Tacloban City and back (the team will travel together and tickets will be booked in a batch – details to be provided once we receive confirmed names). Local accommodation and transport will be provided for all volunteers in Manila and in Tacloban by the host Sai Organisation.
Once you are selected for the medical camp, you will be invited for a meeting when you will be provided further details of the camp. Devotees can also help by supporting the camps through Ceiling on Desires Programme and sending their contributions to the UK Trust.
Please contact Dr Upadhyay or Urvi Widhani (07957 210237) for further details in relation to this camp.

Mukund Patel,
National Service Coordinator

UK Floods: Relief Efforts by the Organisation

Below is an extract of communication sent out to centres and groups over the weekend in response to the floods affecting large parts of the country. If any of our Love & Light Reader wishes to donate the items listed, please contact your nearest centre / group. Whilst the date for collection is set for 13th February, we will continue to collect the items beyond this date due to the deteriorating situation:

The recent storms in UK have severely affected the lives of significant number of people throughout Cornwall, Devon and Somerset due to continued flooding and power outages. Many of us have watched or read about the courage of local communities in dealing with such adversity, as well as the untiring relief and rescue efforts by various governmental and voluntary agencies. As the severe weather conditions are predicted to persist for a while longer, the need exists for continued assistance and support.

You will all agree that as devotees of Bhagawan Baba, to respond to this need at our ‘doorstep’ is a sacred duty and opportunity to serve our fellow beings. SSSSO UK has thus taken a humble initiative to participate in the ongoing relief efforts immediately.

I request and encourage all the members of our Sai family in UK to come forward enthusiastically and participate in a spirit of oneness with our fellow beings, and as an offering of love and service to our beloved Bhagawan.

Following is a list of essential items that are needed. Please drop your item(s) with your Centre Chairperson by Thursday, 13th February:

Sleeping bags
Duvets / blankets
Body wipes
Snacks – biscuits, crisp packets, dry nuts

Let us pray to our beloved Lord Sai to shower His Divine Blessings on all those suffering in the current natural disaster. Through His Grace, let us serve those in need with humility and dedication.

Lovingly,

Dr Kiran Patel
National Chair, UKCC

Youth Wing - National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference – Reflections from Youth Perspectives

“The NSSOC paved the way for what I can only describe as a new beginning and the opportunity to continue to serve our Dearest Swami. With a beautiful film on the accomplishments from 2013, this was followed by an inspiring clip of Dr Samuel Sandweiss which made me feel like he was truly in the room with us! Morning Workshops discussed how Swami's Word is found in all his actions. We also discussed how to ensure our words are in perfect sync to what we do.

As is the norm for all Sai activity organised with love and bundles of devotion, the yummy lunch provided us with the refreshment our bodies needed. A quick spritz of Bhajans enabled us all to refresh and be ready for an afternoon of energy and motivation.

A personal highlight for me was the youth workshop filled with debate and honest discussions. Whilst it is so often easy to isolate ourselves when we face problems, the workshop showed me just how many other youth are in the same boat. Coming together also united everyone and for the first time had representation from youth serving Swami in small centres through to national and international levels, enabling everyone to see the bigger picture and ensure everyone is on the same page.

The afternoon continued with a review of the service activities in disaster stricken Philippines, followed by a humorous touch with a beautifully written and expertly executed poem by brother Sanjay depicting a conversation between Swami and his devotee. Images of Swami were featured to emphasise various points in the poem which caused much laughter amongst all of us, particularly Swami wearing headphones!

The day concluded with beautifully rendered Bhajans and Arthi. I personally felt energised and more equipped to handle any obstacles with ease knowing that I had the strength of a family that I felt grew closer that uplifting Saturday and most importantly Swami's presence as my guide.”

Mathurini Visakan
Former Youth Coordinator, Merton Sai Centre
Region 1

“The National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference was an amazing experience from start to finish. The atmosphere was filled with an abundance of Sai energy which was immense. It was great to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who want to make a difference in the organisation and to the community.

The whole journey and meaning about being an Office Bearer is about finding out who we truly are and to find that special spark from within us and to put it into thought, word and deed, in other words self- transformation. We should also not forget that we are, one with sai. If Sai can achieve so much we can too with severe perseverance and dedication. We need to have divine vision towards all that we do and spread the message through ourselves as we are all reflections of Swami. One small step is the starting point, so let us all be an example to those around us and be proactive individuals by doing our duty to our highest capability. We have all been chosen for a reason; it was not a random happening.

Thank you Swami

Yours in Sai Service”

Aranee Navaratnam
Youth Coordinator, Luton Sai Centre
Region 3

“New year brings changes and new resolutions in the lives of many of us. It brought some changes to our Sai Organisation too as some members changed their duties, some received new ones and some left theirs.

In relation to that, on the 25th of January the active members and leaders of our Sai Centres came together to the National Orientation Day from around the country. It was an opportunity for everyone to meet our National Sai leaders and to get updates of the latest activities and projects. We aligned our strategies, ideas and projects and had a chance to understand the direction that our Organisation should be going towards this year.

The Youth Wing embraced several new members too and we were able to meet each other, make friends and receive the necessary support. Personally, coming from Region 5, I got a better understanding about what is happening Nationwide and what the youth in other Regions are up to. It was pleasing to know how very important we are for each other and it was somehow uniting for us, as we understood that everyone around the UK faces more or less similar difficulties.

We also discussed the new vision for Sai Youth: to unite Sai Youth across the UK focused on one goal: to make our life HIS message. Moreover, to serve the wider community; following Swami’s message ‘Service to Man is service to God’. Compared to our neighbours in Europe and looking from an International perspective, I understood that Seva projects should gain more importance in UK. As energetic and young people we should be taking on more Seva opportunities and to be keener on getting our hands dirty by helping the needy.

Fortunately, the Sai Youth have many nice ideas and initiatives buzzing around in their heads and once implemented they could benefit a lot of the communities nationwide. The innovative young people will need support from every one of us, and every wing in the Sai Organisation has exciting plans ahead. Therefore, we should all work closely together as one team to achieve every goal in our service projects and truly make our life Swami’s message.”

Milda Petraityte
Youth Coordinator, Greater Manchester Sai Centre
Region 5

Region 1 - Makara Sankaranthi Celebrations at Merton Centre

One of the lessons our Swami teaches us is about “Seeing divinity in unity”. Therefore, following our divine Mother’s example, our SSE children conduct the bhajan every 1st Sunday of the month at the Merton Sai Centre, followed by a special assembly about a festival from one of the major religions of the world that will be taking place that month. This is done, not only for the children to learn, but also to enable them to teach their parents and fellow devotees about different cultures and celebrations, in order to recognise the common ground between the many different pathways to God.

This month, in order to commemorate the celebration of Thaipongal / Sankranthi; the Group 1, Year 3 Boys gave a beautifully presentation on how Thaipongal is celebrated and the implications of the rituals and traditions that are practised.

The presentation began with a Ganesha bhajan and the Gayathiri mantra was chanted to Lord Surya –the Sun God, to whom this festival of thanks is dedicated to. The boys did not just convey descriptive material and devotional songs but, more importantly, the words of our beloved Swami on how devotees should make every effort to cultivate good qualities on this auspicious day and in the year to come. The Sai devotees were very appreciative of their efforts and words of wisdom, as were the devotees of the adjoining Hindu Temple, when our SSE children spoke on Thaipongal day on January 14th. Fittingly so; they concluded their production with swami’s words;

“Let there be a change in your behaviour for the better. The festivals of Bharatiyas (Indians) are meant to impart sacred teachings and transform human behaviour. They are not meant to merely eat, drink, and make merry.

Kraanti (change) and Shaanti (peace) both reside in the heart. You need not search for them in the outside world. Discover them within you. This is your duty. Serve your parents and society. Lead a godly life, dedicating all your actions to God. Live in love “

The presentation was a lovely reminder for us all to strive together, work hard and give gratitude to the Lord for showering us with His blessings.

Harini (Merton Centre)

Region 1 - Young Adults Programme

Let us join The Lord in writing the future...

The first Young Adults Programme (YAP) of 2014 in Region 1 kick started with a very uplifting evening covering the aims, objectives and activities planned for 2014 at Centre level, Regional and National outlining the year ahead for the Region 1 Youth Wing.

Region 1 Youth Coordinator, brother Saiganesh, asked everyone in the group to think of someone who “inspired” them and why. Everyone's responses were different which was shared amongst all the youth.

Brother Saiganesh talked about various future exciting projects planned for 2014. He started by discussing Serve The Planet, where we will look to continue the food bank donations and also work with the SSE children focussing on ceiling on desires so that the children can save money to buy food items to donate to the food bank.

For Evelina & Royal Marsden hospital project currently done by Region 1 youth, we will be looking to arrange a fun day for the kids. This will include collecting Easter eggs and at the same time work with the SSE children so that they can also play a part on offering eggs. As a suggestion to make the day even more fun and special we will look to organise an Easter egg hunt.

Similarly to previous years, the youth in Region 1 work with an organisation called The Passage, and we will continue donating Christmas Hampers, but also looking at other ways in which the youth can get more involved throughout the year with regular services rather than just in December.

A Youth Retreat suggestion seemed to be very well received by everyone and so it’s looking likely this will be arranged in July as part of YAP and in conjunction with Gurupoornima the day after.

And finally with Valentines day soon approaching and February symbolising the month of Love Region 1 youth will be visiting a Nursing home in Bromley on Sunday 9th February 2014, where we will be spending some quality time and playing fun games with the elderly.

Looking ahead, 2014 for the youth will be filled with lots of exciting and fun projects, where we can share, integrate and offer our love and support to the community.

Robin Pillay
Region 1 Youth Team

Region 3 - New Year and 35th Anniversary Celebrations

On January 18th 2014, Hatfield Sai Centre held their New Year & 35th Anniversary Celebrations. The centre was founded on 20th January 1979 (with support from Central London Sai Centre) by Mr D. Amirthanandan (Amir Uncle) who till this day, at the age of 92, continues to attend the centre and sing Bhajans along with his wife, Mrs Pathma Amirthanandan – affectionately known to all as “Pathma auntie”.

The programme proceeded with a short darshan video of Swami allowing everyone to contemplate and re-live their Prashanthi Nilayam experiences; this also set the tone for the rest of the programme. The next hour was filled with vibrant bhajans and everybody felt that they really were seated before Swami’s Mahasamadhi – as a large image of this was also projected onto the screen before them. This was followed by guided Jyoti meditation.

To add to the sacred atmosphere, two of Swami’s discourses were then projected onto the screen. The first one encapsulated Swami’s verdict on duty and its essence. Swami spoke to the youth about their responsibility to their parents as well as the peer relations and how this should be formed. Swami used the analogy of comparing a physical ship to friendship and said that friends are only temporary, for a ship always sinks! He emphasised that life must be lived with no excessive attachment.

During the second discourse, Swami spoke about the parity of all religions and faiths. He said that the reason why there is so much war and hatred in the world is this belief that one religion is superior to another. To solve this, we must look for the Peace within us and spread the Love around us! “Swami is in you, around you, above you, below you!” He said. Though there may be numerous factors to take into consideration in terms of increasing the unity between them, Swami summed up saying that the most significant factor was to spread the light of love that will get rid of the dark ignorance. “This being not only in you, but within the people you come across every day”. Swami concluded his discourse with the bhajan: HariBhajanaBinaSukha Shanti Nahi; Without Singing to the Lord There’s No Peace or Happiness!

The programme finished with fast bhajans, MangalaAarti and announcements during which our centre chair, RanjeSivakumar, issued the programme for the year ahead which was presented at the Lotus Feet of our dearest Swami by the SSE and youth of Hatfield Sai Centre. Finally, she explained that, with Swami’s grace, Hatfield Sai Centre had rejuvenated the centre website with integrated Centre, Regional and National announcements as well as latest bhajan recordings and pictures from various programmes.

Jai Sai Ram!

Sahil Kotecha & Sawan Kotecha
Youth Coordinators

http://www.hatfieldsaicentre.org.uk

Region 4 - Sai Cinema on a Sunday Afternoon in Leicester

On Sunday 19th January twenty seven devotees attended the East West Community Centre to spend a few hours at the ‘Sai Cinema’ watching two DVD’s (from the series: Shirdi Sai – Parthi Sai Divya Katha featuring ardent Baba devotee: Anjali Devi) detailing the life and times of Shirdi Sai Baba’s and his devotees as played by various actors and actresses. The devotees were moved by the actors and actresses who played the roles of Shirdi Sai Baba and his devotees so well, and were further more spoilt by the appearance of both drinks and pop corn (both chilli and unsalted) in the two intervals.

The DVD’s certainly brought home the love that Shirdi Sai had for his devotees and vice versa and also the trials and tribulations that Shirdi Sai had to endure. Also the love for God that Shirdi Sai Baba’s parents had, such that they left Shirdi Sai Baba (as a baby) alone in the forest. The message that this devotee gained from the afternoon was that God is always around us, and that all else is but an illusion. So fix your mind on God always, above all else. The next Sai Cinema session (continuing the series: Shirdi Sai – Parthi Sai Divya Katha) will be in about two months time and will show the life and times of the second avatar: Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi.

Rupert Ward

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"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.