February 2016 Edition

Events

National Pilgrimage 2016: Sai Sevanam - Love in Action

Articles

A Letter from the Lord

Echoes of 2015- June to December

From the Poets

My Sai and I

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2016

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2016 - A Youth Perspective

Photo of the Month

Region 1 - Basic SSE Training

Region 1 - Bhajan Workshop

Region 1 - Easwaramma Day Celebrations at Tooting Sai Centre

Region 1 - Sai Prema: First prayer meeting for Nepal Earthquake Disaster

Region 2 - 20th Anniversary Celebrations of Sathya Sai Centre of London West

Region 2 - Chanting and Glorifying the Divine Name: A Teenagers Reflection

Region 2 - Family Values Day

Region 2 - Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day 2015 in Brent

Region 2 - Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Harrow West: An Enviro Care Project

Region 2 - Visit to Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple and Farm

Region 2 - YAP: Cleaning Up the Park

Region 2 - YAP: Painting the fences at Mother Theresa Soup Kitchen Southall

Region 4 - A Spiritual Trip...

Region 4 - A Very Inspiring Satsang...

Region 4 - Global Service Day

Region 4 - Global Service Day at Salcey Forest

Region 4 - Global Service Day: Coventry & Rugby Sai Centre

Region 4 - Gratitude Day and Walk for Values

Region 4 - Rudra Homam

Region 6 - "Clean for the Queen" Event: Sandgate, Folkestone

Region 6 - Family Values Day

Spiritual Quiz

Editorial

Dear brothers and sisters,

Loving Sairam, Happy New Year and Warm Greetings to you all.

It is indeed a great delight to bring out this first issue of the Love and Light magazine for the Year 2016: A year in which SSIO UK has chosen to focus on an important theme, ‘LOVE in ACTION’.

A momentous year has just passed us all! The 90th Year of the Advent of our Lord Sathya Sai, the Supreme Avatar of Love, has just been celebrated in Prasanthi Nilayam and across the globe with unbridled enthusiasm, spontaneous love and deep gratitude. In UK too, devotees offered various special programmes throughout the year in an unprecedented manner with great joy and love. Starting with the Global Service Day in July, the next 6 months witnessed whirlwind activity, even as UK became realigned with Zone 7 of the SSIO, and thereby opening up newer opportunities for selfless Service. A string of events, which were filled with great energy and excitement, followed. There was the 3-day Pre-World Conference in London; then ‘Sai Mahima- The Miracle of Love’ National Pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam; ‘Prayers for Peace’ Rudra Homam in Birmingham, followed by the first ever ‘Sai Vandana’ Gratitude Programme and Walk For Values events in Leicester; ‘Serve The Planet’ Service projects; the National Birthday Celebrations; and finally culminating in the Grand Finale, again in Prasanthi Nilayam during the Christmas Celebrations, when a contingent of 250 devotees spent a whole magical month decorating the entire Ashram, including the Sai Kulwant Hall and the sanctum sanctorum- the Mahasamadhi and the Prasanthi Mandir- to their heart’s content, whilst singing many a beautiful carol from the outpourings of love in their souls. Truly, an unforgettable Wave of Love and Grace, the crest of which we rode in unity and joy!

Our beloved Swami has always reminded that unity is sustained by selfless activity, where each lives for the other and all live together for God: The ‘I to We to He’ manthra, so to say. Thus the theme for 2016, LOVE in ACTION, concretises our minds in SSIO UK, whilst looking ahead following the landmark 90th Year of Advent. The theme is envisaged as a constant reminder to us, to transmute our every individual and collective action (Karma) into Right Action (Dharma) by suffusing it with Pure Divine Love (Prema), so we may experience the bliss of our inherent divinity (Brahman), thus fulfilling our human lives and indeed the very purpose of our membership in Sathya Sai Organisations. Of course, the easiest and surest way to do this is by remembering to ‘cut’ our ego and offer every action at His Divine Lotus Feet, as proclaimed by Him in the Bhagawad Gita (18:66)-

"Sarva Dharmaan Parithyajya Maamekam Sharanam Vraja
Aham Tvam Sarva Paapebhyo Mokshaishyaami Maa Suchah"
(Surrender unto Me all Karmas performed by you, and seek refuge in Me alone.
Do not worry, I will deliver you safely unto your Reality).

The fields for collective action for members of Sathya Sai Organisation are our Centres, and the Communities of which our centres are an integral part. Thus it is that we resolve in our hearts to strive and sustain our sacred Sathya Sai Centres as Ideal Centres, as spiritual lighthouses in our neighbourhoods, that endeavour constantly to promote harmony and cohesion, and which spread happiness and peace. At the recently concluded National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference, officers of SSIO UK and active workers from across the country took a sincere Oath to work towards this ideal with a sense of collective dedication at His Divine Feet. They held various discussions and various programmes were announced by the 4 National Wing Coordinators, all with the above resolve in clear focus. The coming months and years are indeed exciting times for all of us participating in the Divine Sathya Sai Mission in UK- whether they be workers, leaders, sevaks, nayaks, bhakthas, intellectuals or wise men- and the invitation to board the Sai Spiritual Spacecraft Adventurer remains as tempting as ever and more!

To those who say Yes, I respond with a Yes To those who say No, I respond with a No Yes and No are for you alone
But for Sri Sathya Sai, it is always a resounding YES, YES, YES (SSS Baba)

With Prayers to Beloved Swami to bless everyone abundantly, Dr. Veeru Mudigonda
National President, SSIO UK
Trustee, SSSCT UK

A Letter from the Lord

God if you think of, God you are

29-10-73

My dear boys,

Are you feeling my presence in the very cells of your body? God if you think of, God you are. Dust if you think of, dust you are. Verily thoughts are things. As you think, so you become. What you sow, so you reap.

Spiritual development does not germinate from the seed sown in the soil of earthly pleasures. Every reaction in the form of evil or hatred is so much loss to the mind, and every evil thought or deed of hatred or any thought of reaction, if it is controlled, will be laid in your favour. It is not that you lose by thus restraining yourself. we are going to gain infinitely more than what we expect. Each time we suppress hatred or feeling of anger, it is so much energy stored up in your favour. That piece of energy is converted into the highest power.

My dear boys! Censure and praise are mere vibrations of air. The God in you is the GOD in all. If you have not known this you have known nothing. If you are pure and strong, you are equal to the whole world. Better to be raised than to be praised. Mere praising is falling down. Search the human mind and find out the One who made it. Where there is difference, remove it; where there is misunderstanding, drive it off. You should not compromise Divine interest. Truth is more fundamental than atom.

My Boys! Shake off all the hatred and jealousy. You will gain realization this moment. Attachment to the sense object detaches you from the Supreme. Your work is not to make the soul free but to get rid of bondage. God alone is eternal, Everything else is transitory. Everything dies. Rise above the body, consume it and then only you realize the Divinity. Self realization is the highest end of education.

Sai is always with you... in... around. Be good and happy.

Blessings,
Baba

From ‘Prem Dhara Part 2 page 2’

Echoes of 2015- June to December

Sai Smaran Bhajans

Following the joyous National Easwaramma Day celebrations in May, many events were organised with tremendous enthusiasm to mark the magnificent 90th Year of our Lord Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Divine Advent. The 11th ‘Sai Smaran Bhajan session, a garland of six hours continual devotional singing of various divine names, was offered at the lotus feet of our beloved Swami in Hatfield (Hertfordshire) on the 6th June 2015. Around 300 devotees participated in this uplifting event. It brought the children, the youth and the elders together, all singing in unison the glory of God in one voice and in a variety of tunes, melodies and languages. The listening, remembering and contemplation of the divine name surcharged all those gathered with renewed energy.


Altar Set-Up during Sai Smaran Bhajans


Devotees offering their gratitude at Sai Smaran Bhajans

Pre-World Conference

A 3 day Pre-World Conference was held in Hatfield (Hertfordshire) , from 24th to 26th July 2015 as a precursor to the 10th Sathya Sai World Conference that was planned for November 2015 in Prasanthi Nilayam. The theme of the conference was 'Love is the Source; Love is the Path; Love is the Goal'. The conference focussed upon Love that epitomized and encapsulated the essence of Bhagawan's Life and Teachings; His Mission and Message. Selfless service was highlighted as the single, most efficient and universal tool for understanding, experiencing and expressing this Divine Principle of Love that Baba showed so beautifully.


Pre-World Conference - Altar Arrangement


Delegates in quiet contemplation during Prayer Session

The conference was attended by around 250 delegates. It brought together members of the organisation onto a common forum to study and discuss the profound truths given by Bhagawan in practical terms, learn from each other, energise each other, and to move forward in one’s spiritual quest along the path laid out clearly by Him. Dr. Narendranath Reddy, Chairman of Prasanthi Council; Ms. Marianne Meyer, Member, Prasanthi Council; and Mr Kishin Khubchandani, Zonal Chair delivered uplifting talks on love and selfless service.


Dr Narendranath Reddy addressing delegates


Mrs Marianne Meyer sharing her thoughts


Mr Kishin Khubchandani delivering his Talk


Panel Discussion with senior leadership

The conference Study Circles on Love and Service were led by former students of Swami’s educational institutions, who are currently resident in the UK, and with able support from the youth.


Study Circles on Love and Service being delivered to delegates

Youth and children from SSE also offered a musical programme and a drama. It was indeed a spiritually invigorating experience for all those who participated.


Musical Presentation by Youth


Dance Programme by the SSE

National SSE Pilgrimage

Inspired by the special year of Bhagawan’s Advent, a national SSE Pilgrimage was organised from UK to the divine abode of Prasanthi Nilayam. Titled, ‘Sai Mahima – Miracle of Love’, the pilgrimage lasted from the 28th July to 6th August 2015. 145 pilgrims participated, of which 60 were children. Several Sadhana meetings were arranged in the run up to the pilgrimage.

Prasanthi Nilayam provides an inspiring experience in all its activities - participating in elevating devotional singing, listening to inspirational talks, visiting important sites in and around Puttaparthi blessed by the divine touch but most importantly, feeling the Divine Presence every moment of one’s trip.

The children were doubly blessed when they were able to present a play in the divine presence in Sai Kulwant Hall on 2nd August 2015 on the theme ‘ Love for God, Fear of sin and Morality in society’. Their play mesmerized and brought immense joy to all those gathered. The children captivated the hearts of all those who gathered and watched this Play in the divine Presence.


SSE Boys Group fortunate to perform in the Divine Presence


SSE Girls Group who participated in the Play in the Divine Presence

The program ended with distribution of prasadam by devotees from UK; sacred gifts were presented to children by Sri R J Rathnakar, Trustee, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. It turned out to be a glorious evening for the pilgrims, both young and old which will be remembered by everyone for times immemorial.

International SSE Conference

During the pilgrimage, from 1st to 3rd August, several SSE teachers from UK also had the opportunity to participate in the International Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) Conference. Around 500 delegates from 50 countries took part. The conference provided a wonderful forum to share expertise, experiences and best practices to further enhance the SSE programme worldwide, which was so very dear to Bhagawan.

Prayers for Universal Peace

Sai devotees from around UK congregated for ‘Prayers for Universal Peace’ at the hallowed precincts of Sri Venkateswara Balaji Temple, Birmingham on 6th September. The special prayers were dedicated to the thousands of people migrating across Europe and to those that were rebuilding their lives after the Nepal earthquake disaster in July.


Offering Prayers on the auspicious occasion

It is said that the mark of a genuinely godly person is to strive not only for his or her peace and happiness, but also for the peace, prosperity and happiness of the world as a whole. Around 500 devotees participated with fervour, and many others joined from the general public. The prayers provided an occasion to pray collectively and selflessly for the removal of prevailing chaos and confusion, fear and anxiety in the minds of people in the world.


Devotees immersed in the sacred prayers

The auspicious day concluded with a soulful offering of devotional songs by Mrs. Deepa Hattangady, a renowned Hindustani Classical singer


Devotional Concert by Deepa Hattangady accompanied by Shivam Mistry (Left) and Kapil Dev Prashar (Right)

Sai Smaran

The Sai Smaran bhajans are usually conducted thrice a year, and this has been ongoing since the year 2012. So, the 26th September presented the third and final opportunity for the year, for devotees to recharge their spiritual batteries when the 12th ‘Sai Smaran’ devotional singing was offered in Birmingham. Around 300 devotees, many of them youth, took part spreading positive vibrations and cleansing the environment around.


Devotees immersed in the singing of the Divine Glory in Birmingham

Avatar Declaration Day

20th October is remembered as The Avatar Declaration Day of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a supremely significant divine benediction of Baba, when He revealed the purpose of His Divine Incarnation, many years ago in 1940.

Marking the auspicious occasion, UK witnessed a flood of spiritual activities on 18th October with the Serve the Planet Project - Human Values for Nation Building. Bhagawan’s Divine Mission is to help humanity realise and experience its inherent divine nature, through the practise of the Five Human Value; Trust, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence; which has Love as their basis. “Love as thought is Truth, Love as action is Right Conduct, Love as feeling is Peace, Love as understanding is Non-Violence”. And the practise of Human Values can be best achieved through engaging in unconditional Service to all. Thus, the choice of this global theme for Serve the Planet in this Milestone 90th Year of the Sathya Sai Avatar was of great significance, energising all in their onward spiritual journeys.

Gratitude Day

Gratitude Day, ‘Sai Vandanam’, an historic first was a special day of gratitude celebrated at the Spinney Hall (Leicester) on the 18th October to honour and felicitate our revered elders aged over 70 years who had selflessly dedicated their lives to Baba’s Mission. They were pillars of inspiration for everyone to follow. The thought was inspired by the life of Bhagawan Baba when He had conducted the Bheema Ratha Santhi ceremony in Prasanthi Nilayam as an example for humanity to follow, to honour our elders.


Congregation of senior devotees during ‘Sai Vandanam’

We were privileged to have amidst us special guests, Ms Marianne Meyer from Denmark (member of Prasanthi Council and Director, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation) and Ms Petra von Kalinowski from Germany (Zonal Chair).

The celebrations commenced with devotional singing followed by welcome address by Dr Kiran Patel, Council President of UK. Ms Petra von Kalinowski then addressed the gathering.


Ms Petra von Kalinowski addressing the gathering


Elders lighting a candle as their offering to Bhagawan


Mel Griffin felicitating our elders


Mrs Marianne Meyer felicitating our elders

Each elder was then felicitated and asked to light a candle at the divine feet; gifts were presented by the special guests and Mel Griffin (Trustee, Sathya Sai Trust, UK). Not one could hold back tears of joy and happiness and their gratitude to Baba. Two well-known devotees, Dr Kishan Gadhia and Mrs Lalitha Unnithan then shared their reflections of the day, their experiences and reminisced on the golden opportunity to serve Him. The programme concluded with a soulful musical offering and scrumptious lunch.


Dr Kishan Gadhia addressing devotees on his experiences


Mrs Lalitha Unnithan sharing her reflections on the day

Walk for Values

The Walk for Values programme followed the Gratitude Day. This was the first time that the Organisation had embarked upon a Walk for Values in the public arena with the objective of raising awareness and encouraging practise of Human Values of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence whilst walking together in unity. Baba has always reminded us that human values were inherent in every being and that these had to be brought out. The Walk for Values was not intended to raise funds but for individuals to make a pledge to pick at least one value and practise it in daily life.

The route for the walk was in Leicester from Abbey Primary Community School to finish at Cossington Park. Around 300 people participated, both Sai devotees and the general public.


Walk for Values Gathering in Abbey Primary Community School

The programme commenced with welcome talks by Dr Kiran Patel, President of Sathya Sai International Organisation (UK) and Mr Dipak Fakey (OBE) representing Good Values Club. This was followed by inaugural speeches by Mr Tim Foster, Head of Abbey Primary Community School, Mrs Marianne Meyer, Councillor Rashmikant Joshi and Councillor Deepak Bajaj.


Dr Kiran Patel, President, SSIO (UK) addressing the gathering


Mr Dipak Fakey (OBE) representing Good Values Club addressing the gathering


Inaugural Function (seated from Left) - Mr Tim Foster, Mrs Marianne Meyer, Cllr Rashmikant Joshi and Cllr Deepak Bajaj

Rachel Shutter representing Refuge UK, a Charity that supports women and children from Domestic Violence then addressed the gathering thanking the Sai organisation for their generous support. 750 packs containing stationery for children and kitchen utensils for women were donated by the organisation on the day. This was a memorable experience with the public captivated by the walk and the message it was conveying.


Packs being donated to Rachael Shutter and Clare Cooper of Refuge UK

Rest of the country also celebrated the auspicious day by donating non-perishable food items to Trussell Trust Food banks. Around 2 tons of food items were donated.


Walk for Values participants starting Abbey Primary School


Values with smiles and excitement


Values pervaded through Melton Road, Leicester


Children Walking the Values


Old and Young participating in Walk for Values


Walk for Values culminating in Cossington Park, Leicester


Children were presented a Certificate of Attendance for Walk for Values

90th Birthday Celebrations

The much eagerly awaited, the zenith of all our activities of the year was at last with us when on the 8th November, we celebrated the grand 90th birthday celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.


Devotees participating in Sathya Sai Baba's 90th Birthday Celebrations

The theme was aptly titled “Avatar of Love” with the entire fraternity of Sai devotees abuzz and so was the prestigious venue of Watford Colosseum (London) which was chosen for this auspicious occasion. We were fortunate to have Dr Art-Ong Jumsai, Director of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education (Thailand) as our esteemed special guest. Over 800 devotees participated.

The programme commenced with energetic devotional songs and a procession by the SSE children which culminated in a cake cutting ceremony.


Children's Procession with devotional songs sung in the background


Baba's Cake Cutting Ceremony

This was followed by the welcome address by the council president Dr Kiran Patel. Dr Jumsai then addressed the gathering with great conviction and shared some of the beautiful moulding lessons he had learnt at the divine feet of Bhagawan. The erudite speaker also addressed devotees later in the afternoon.


Address by Dr Art-Ong Jumsai

The Programme also featured the ‘Sai Mahima – the Miracle of Love’ play, which was enacted in Prasanthi Nilayam by the SSE children from UK on 2nd August 2015.


SSE Children from the 'Sai Mahima' Offering their Gratitude

After lunch, there was a lively panel discussion moderated by two of the alumni from SSSIHL living in London, Mr Karthik Prasanth and Dr Anand Venkatramanan, the panellists being Mr Abhimanyu Kaul (alumni from SSSIHL), Dr Art-Ong Jumsai and Mr Shitu Chudasama (member of Prasanthi Council Books & Publications).


Panel Discussion (from Left)- Mr Karthik Prasanth, Mr Abhimanyu Kaul, Dr Art-Ong Jumsai, Mr Shitu Chudasama and Dr Anand Venkatramanan

We were also blessed to have the European YOUnity Band who had performed in the Divine Presence on numerous occasions. The group, consisting of highly talented musicians from various parts of Europe travelled to the UK to share their love and joy through their music on this auspicious occasion.


YOUnity Band from Europe offering a bouquet of musical and devotional songs

Roopa Panesar and her team of instrumentalists then transported the audience to greater realms with a mesmerising musical concert titled ‘Sai Bandhan – the Bond of Love’ and helped bring the programme to a memorable conclusion.


Musical Concert (from Left) - Ketheeswaran Saiganesh, Kaviraj Dhadyalla, Roopa Panesar and Rishi Choudhry

Global Akhand Bhajans

Many centres and regions of UK hosted Global Akhand Bhajans during 14-15 November. This singing is undoubtedly one of the most powerful spiritually unifying force that brings people together through loving faith in God, regardless of name or form. When such ceaseless, relentless prayers happen, His bounty of unceasing Grace ensues.

Christmas in Prasanthi Nilayam

It was a historic occasion when UK was given the unique opportunity for the first time ever to decorate Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of our Lord Sathya Sai Baba for the Christmas festivities. The theme for the Christmas Decorations was ‘I and my Father are One’. Around 250 devotees from UK participated wholeheartedly in helping with Christmas decorations in the divine abode between December 5th 2015 to January 5th 2016 at different time intervals.


Devotees at work making decorations


Christmas Team moving the decorations

One had to step into Sai Kulwant Hall and note the difference. The entire arena appeared like a glorious cathedral! Not surprisingly, Radio Sai called it ‘The Cathedral of Christmas Joy’. Never before did the magnificent hall resemble a resplendent church. Befitting the occasion, the Darshan House of the Lord, the spacious Sai Kulwant Hall bore unique decorations with colourful Christmas theme adorning all over. Rare, beautiful, artistic paintings on the Christmas theme served as add-ons to the colourful festive theme. Truly, words were insufficient. One had to be personally physically present to witness and experience how fresh and fragrant this heaven was with the exceptional love from UK.


The making of The Cathedral of Christmas Joy


The making of The Cathedral of Christmas Joy


Cathedral of Christmas Joy - Gents Sitting Area


Decorations on Top of the Sanctum Sanctorum


Decorations on Top of the Sanctum Sanctorum


Stained Glass Suspensions on the ceiling


Front Pillars Masked and Lit


Yajur Mandir - Residence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Yajur Mandir - Residence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Yajur Mandir (left) and Poornachandra Auditorium (right)


Frontage of Poornachandra Auditorium


Yajur Mandir (Left) with Sarva Dharma Sthupa (Right)


Nativity Scene

The planning for this gigantic endeavour started more than 9 months prior. Several trips were made to Prasanthi Nilayam by different teams to draw up the designs and decide on the final structure, colour and finish. Teams were formed in India too to source certain materials locally as well as to coordinate this entire effort.

Joining the UK Sai devotees were Sai brothers and sisters from South Africa who had taken up the decoration of buildings, trees and corners.


Christmas Decoration at Western Canteen

Christmas reminds one of the joys, of Oneness with Supreme Divinity. On Christmas day, as the auspicious morning dawned to its solemn beauty, the proceedings began with electrifying Carol singing by the devotees from the United Kingdom who sang the glory of Lord Jesus. They sang with deep devotion in their hearts, “Our Father who Art in Heaven”, “Mary’s Boy Child”, “O Come ye Faithful”, “Silent Night Holy Night”, “Joy to the World” and “Seek Ye First”. The lively session ensured the rare beauty and grandeur a Prasanthi Christmas morning warrants, nostalgic of the golden ‘Silver Door Darshan’ of the bygone days. Adding to the splendour of the day-break mass, a shining Cross with stand, studded with 108 candles, was placed facing the Sanctum Sanctorum, symbolic of the great-grand-solemn occasion.


Carol Singing by UK Devotees on Holy Christmas Morning


Holy Cross facing the Sanctum Sanctorum

In the evening of holy Christmas, SSE children from UK had the blessing of performing the play titled, “The Christmas Gift”.


SSE Programme on Christmas Day


Group Photo of SSE Children on Christmas Day

Through a simple and imaginative story of Michael Mouse who could not arrange any gift like others could for the Divine Baby Jesus, he ultimately offered a unique gift, that of offering himself to the Lord by blocking a hole in the wall to prevent cold wind from affecting the baby; the drama taught that one should offer oneself to God and surrender totally to Him.


SSE Children offering gratitude to the Lord

The evening session on Boxing Day commenced with a traditional Christmas procession of the participating children, many of them from UK, from the Yajur Mandiram, Swami’s residence. The children in traditional Christmas dress code, carrying Baby Jesus and other festive paraphernalia, marched in a disciplined order to the venue at Sai Kulwant Hall. The Christmas costumes were lovingly planned and organised by the UK team. Rest of the programme continued after adorning ‘Baby Jesus’ in the Manger.

Devotees from United Kingdom earned a special place in the hearts of all for their dedicated participation in decorating the Earthly Mansion of the Supreme Lord with great devotion and finesse, as well as presenting the Christmas Carols and Drama. This was a very memorable and energising experience for all those from UK who were fortunate to be a part. Christmas truly became the grand finale to the celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam too, marking the conclusion of the 90 years of the Advent of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Love & Light Editorial Team

From the Poets

Dear Readers! The Bhagavad Gita describes the Lord as Kavi, the Supreme Poet, and the entire creation as His Poem. Our beloved Lord, Bhagawan Baba, himself began his every divine discourse with a short but spellbinding poem that condensed profound spiritual truths into simple a nutshell, instantly elevating our consciousness into the Light of higher wisdom and joy. Bhagawan also honoured and encouraged many famed poets in his divine presence, where they assembled with devotion and offered their labours of love during various important occasions. Bhagawan says that true poets are the pioneers who mark out the road for human progress along the lines of love and unity, and with their sharper vision share the divine quality of knowing and recognising the next step (SSS 5-48).

Through this special feature, we hope to bring to attention such poets and their poems for our benefit. If any of you feel inspired and wish to share a poem composed by you, then please mail to poems@srisathyasai.org.uk


Sathya Sai Speaks – Waves of Eternity

Sathya Sai Speaks – and, what do we hear
When we listen alert, in joy, to Him?

We hear the Voice of the Vedas, God’s own Breath,
The cheer that is showered by the epics of yore
The soothing balm that heals our wounds
The Counsel that whips us to waken and work
Lessons which teach us the Atmic science
From Him they heard from, then.

We hear the gracious words He spoke,
To many a saint and monk, many a seeker keen,
In distant times and climes.

We hear the parables of Galilee, of Arab shades;
We hear the tales of twenty lands,
To probe us on the onward march to Him.

We hera of prophets, Priests and Kings,
Simple folks and sages, young and old –

We hear the echoes of Chaitanya’s kirthan call,
Of Moses, of Jayadev, Mira, Kabir –
Echoes rebounding from his reciprocating Love.

We hear, as we listen, temple bells and gongs,
Conches and the drum, the choir resounding in the aisles,
Filling fragrance, faith in the recesses of our hearts.

We hear the first little stir, the cosmic sigh,
That caused this multimillion maze.
We hear the twinkle, the stellar swish,
Of His Mighty Will that fills the sky.

We hear the waves of eternity lapping our littleness –
We are eternal – when we listen to His Speech.
For, listening to that Voice, the Om that weaves the Universe,
We merge….in Him.
We cannot but; He thrills us, enthrals us……so.

N. Kasturi
Prasanthi Nilayam

Professor Kasturi (1897-1987) is the author of Bhagawan Baba’s biography Sathyam Sivam Sundaram. He was an ardent devotee who stayed in the divine proximity for 40 years and witnessed many glorious leelas and mahimas of the Sathya Sai Avata. He was the Editor of Sanatana Sarathi from its inception in 1958, and had the rare privilege to translate the written and spoken Words of the Divine – i.e all the Vahinis and more than twenty of the 42 volumes of Sathya Sai Speaks into English).

My Sai and I

Dear Readers! It is well known that the Infinite Majesty and Glory of the Lord cannot be captured in full measure by the human mind. However, the sweetness of His Glory can be instantly enjoyed by recounting the experiences of devotees who have contacted God, have been blessed by His Grace and chosen as His Instruments. Bhagawan Baba also says that such an exercise fosters a taste for Godward thoughts in us, and thus brings us ‘nearer ‘ and makes us ‘dearer’ to God. This Special Feature contains articles written by ardent devotees of Bhagawan describing their Experiences with Divinity, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, especially narrating ‘how’ they first came to Him! Rather more aptly, how they received His Divine Intimation! His Divine Call! We pray to our beloved Bhagawan Baba to keep us strongly connected with Him always.
Love & Light Team

The following is a transcript of the talk given by Dr Kishan Gadhia at the Gratitude Day – Sai Vandanam on 18th October 2015 in Leicester where he was felicitated with another 89 elderly devotees for the selfless service they had offered to Bhagawan Baba’s Divine Mission. The event was conducted by the Sathya Sai Organisation (UK) inspired by Baba when He conducted the Bheema, Ratha Shanthi ceremony in Prasanthi Nilayam. It was with great sadness that we heard that Dr Kishan Gadhia passed away on 19th December 2015 after a brief illness.


Dr Kishan Gadhia Addressing Devotees at the Gratitude Day – Sai Vandanam in Leicester

Sai Ram Brothers and Sisters

It is nice to see everyone on this auspicious day.
I was born and brought up in East Africa. My brother, Dr Dhirubhai Gadhia, brought news when I was in Kampala, Uganda that the Lord was walking on Earth and is in Puttaparthi. He was the incarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba. He introduced and opened a centre in Kampala. I was young at that time and could not believe how God can be there. I thought He may be some priest, sadhu or something. I believed God to be Shiva, Rama or Krishna. I wanted to go to India to do medicine. My mother placed a photograph of Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba in my suitcase and advised me to pray to Him. I said to my mother that I would do that and she should not worry. I secured admission in a medical college in Jamnagar, Gujarat in India.

My brother completed his studies in Mangalore, India. Mangalore is close to Puttaparthi, so he came to know about Swami in early days. After completing his education, he went to Swami and indicated that he wanted to go to London for his post-graduation in tropical health sciences. So he arrived in London and he went to the university and he queried if they had received his correspondence. They responded that they hadn’t received his correspondence and therefore they were unable to give him a seat. He tried his best but did not have any joy. Swami came in his dream when he was sleeping. Swami instructed him to go to Liverpool. When he woke up, he wrote down the details so as not to forget and took the train from St Pancras for Liverpool. He reached Liverpool in the evening. When he went to the medical school, they disclosed that he was lucky since there was a cancellation and a seat was going vacant. There were people on the waiting list but they were not from nearby. They advised him to go and pay his fees. That is how the Lord gave my brother Dhirubhai a seat in Liverpool!

After completing his Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Dhirubhai came to Swami again. Swami asked him to go to Jamnagar. Dhirubhai sent me a telegram saying that he was coming to Jamnagar. I received him on arrival. He came to my room and said, "Kishan, where are Swami’s photographs?” I said “In the suitcase.” He said, “Bring them out.” So I brought both the photographs out and he said, “There are many stories of the Lord with many miracles.” I accepted what he said. We then went to the town. In the town he purchased one small silver box and he said to me, “I have brought Swami’s vibhuti for you which I will give you.” When I opened the newly purchased box, there was already vibhuti inside! I said to my brother, “This goldsmith must also be Baba’s devotee, seeing you, he must have given me vibhuti as well.” He responded, “But I have come down only today”. I replied “You are a popular guy, well I don’t know!” Next day I enquired at the goldsmith and he retorted “This is made for snuff in Gujarat, we don’t know what is vibhuti!” My brother asked me to go to Sai Baba Himself and to ask him. I accepted his suggestion.

So that was how I made my first visit to Puttaparthi. With me, there were another six medical students who were inquisitive after hearing the story of my brother. We found Puttaparthi very peaceful, very nice but there was no electricity! We asked Kasturiji, “Where can we stay?” He indicated, “Anywhere you like!” So we selected a place to stay and sleep underneath one of the trees. We felt so much at peace here. Next day Swami called Kasturiji and instructed, “Call those medical students.” So we had the opportunity to interact with Swami in his interview room.

Brothers and Sisters, the divinity of the Lord is overwhelming, it makes you forget everything, even if you want to ask anything. Swami materialised vibhuti and was saying “from Kampala Gadhia is here, from Nairobi Secha is here, from Darussalam Sapatani is here, from Kashmir Bourza is there.” We were shocked to find Swami knew our names! He started giving vibhuti. Except me, He gave vibhuti to everyone! I said to Swami that I have not received the vibhuti. To this, He responded, “I already gave you in the box!” I wanted to confirm that, and he confirmed it! I said to Swami, “this is a fresh one, please give me.” So he gave me vibhuti . He took me inside, behind the curtain in privacy, and he asked me , “Any more doubts?” I said “No”. He questioned me, “Do you know the degrees of the Lord?” I said “I don’t know.” He responded, “Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence. What is happening in third world countries or what is happening there in Kampala I can tell you now.” He then said to me, “Your mother is not well. Today she is admitted in the hospital in Kampala with a heart attack.” This sent shivers in me. I said, “Swami, last week she was ok.” Swami responded, “I am talking of today. She is there in the hospital. She is my devotee. Tell her not to worry.” He then gave me three packets of vibhuti and asked me to send those to her and to tell her not to worry.

Swami asked all of us to return back to Jamnagar, and to come back next time with the beddings. He added that He would teach us bhajans. On my way, I rang my father from Mumbai, and he confirmed that my mother was not well. He asked me how did I know to which I said it was “Sai Baba” who had told me. I also advised that she should not worry and that I was sending vibhuti given by Baba especially for mother. So this was my first experience of a miracle.

One of my colleagues, Dr Shah was deaf in one ear. In those days, the middle ear operation was very difficult to do. You had no choice but to wear a hearing aid. When we went to Swami, He said to him, “I know you believe in Jainism, I know Mahavir.” He then pulled out his hearing aid and touched it. To his surprise his hearing got completely corrected and became normal. He realised that the Lord was here.

I was in Puttaparthi on 10th February 2005. I was asked by Swami to stay there to eradicate mosquitoes around Puttaparthi. In the surrounding areas of Puttaparthi, we had chikungunya virus infection caused by a strain of infected mosquitoes which migrated from Africa. Who knows why they came to see Swami? But the thing is that the infection brought us misery. While I was in the General Hospital, we saw many patients infected by chikungunya virus and high temperature of 104°F. No medication could treat this. We then approached Swami and prayed how we could eradicate it. “These mosquitoes are dangerous,” Swami said, “Do one thing, check Google first.” Google? Swami knows Google as well? I was stunned! Swami guided further,“Go and look, the mosquito medicine is there inside.” We found that paraffin goes with kerosene. So I bought paraffin and kerosene and I employed two people and hired a van. Swami had given me fifteen villages around Puttaparthi and He told me to start doing the work of spraying immediately. When we were about to commence, Swami told us, “Come back, I don’t want this medicine.” I said “Swami, what shall I bring? I am a doctor of human beings, not of mosquito”. He said, “You bring a water soluble which is not dangerous with the people.” So again I went back to my search in Google.” The search revealed to me biomedicines called Fitex and Bitex. I showed this to Swami and He gave the go ahead. 1.5 mL in 1 L of water was used to spray everywhere and the mosquitoes were eradicated completely.

Coming back to Gratitude Day, Swami had said to me in Prasanthi Nilayam that we were going to do Bheema Ratha Shanthi. I explained to Swami that I have to get back to London for my son’s wedding which is planned for 18th February 2005; and we were going to Dubai for the daughter-in-law. Swami advised me to go after Bheema Ratha Shanthi ceremony. I informed Swami that my wife was worried back in London to which He lovingly responded not to worry and that He will look after her.

My reflections of Bheema Ratha Shanthi; Swami had chosen 250 couples who were seated in Sai Kulwant Hall. Swami was giving them mangalasutra. People were eager to touch Swami’s feet and crying out of emotion, in the process some mangalasutra were falling down and volunteers helping to give it back. I saw this sacred bond of Love. Pure unsullied Love! Swami gave so many gifts such as watches, bangles and many others. That was His Love, Love and Love. After this unique ceremony, I made preparations to leave. Swami said to me, “No, don’t go to London, go to Dubai directly to the wedding. Tell your wife to bring your suit and other items from London.” That was His Love and compassion!

I will share one small incident and close my talk. Worth listening! In 2006, one of the elderly gentleman from Manchester was sitting next to me in the veranda. His daughter-in-law was pregnant in London. She was diagnosed as having Down Syndrome child. The family was very concerned. The hospital advised her that they could do a miscarriage now in early pregnancy. Once the foetus was advanced, they wouldn’t do it and she will have to go ahead with the child. She rang her in-laws sitting there in Puttaparthi and explained the dilemma. The in-laws wrote a small chit for Swami. Swami used to come in a car with the Vice Chancellor in 2004 and 2005. Swami got down in front of us. Like Krishna, He does playful acts and ignored us! This continued for a couple of days. In the meantime, the UK devotee approached me for my view and I had to say to him that being a doctor, I would give your daughter in law the same advise. I asked him to wait for the divine doctor, our Lord.

Then in the afternoon, Swami asked for the chit to be brought to Him. Swami called him and commanded, “No miscarriage. I am giving you another child.” The UK devotee asked Swami if he should call the daughter-in-law here? Swami replied, “Not necessary, I am going to London. I am going to give you a daughter. Her name will be Achintya. Once she is one year old, bring her here, I will bless them.” This happened in front of my very eyes. Within eight months she delivered a beautiful baby. There was a conference meeting there in Manchester, the gynaecology and another 17 doctors gathered together. Doctors couldn’t understand and were puzzled “where is the Down Syndrome child? All the time we were observing you with sonography and there was a Down Syndrome child!” They called the midwife and the doctors were querying on the whereabouts of the Down Syndrome child. “No, this is the child!” the daughter in law said. They were surprised as to how she had a beautiful baby! She indicated to them that this was due to Sathya Sai Baba.

Once in 2007, I was the guest of the Lord in Kodai. Swami asked me,“Hey Kishan, come, narrate how I changed the Down Syndrome child.” I responded “Swami, you are Krishna who protected Parikshit in the Bhagavatham, we have not seen it, we have read it, that Parikshit, was the only Pandava that was saved by Krishna, you yourself did that. Swami, you have done this miracle sitting in Puttaparthi, visiting London, how you have changed that child, our minds can’t comprehend that.”

Brothers and Sisters,
He has performed many miracles in front of me. You are very lucky that we have served the Lord. He has given me a small piece of work to do, at the University, Postgraduate department, and I am still busy with that.

Jai Sai Ram!

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2016

The National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference was the first big event of 2016, which brought around 300 office bearers and active members of the Sathya Sai International Organisation (UK) to Hatfield, London on 30th of January. It was energising, invigorating and heartening to see so many delegates together, all having travelled many a mile out of sheer love for Swami from around the country, all beating with one heart, ever ready to serve His Divine Mission. The theme, ‘Love in Action – the Sai Path’ very aptly encapsulated the Life and Message of our Lord Sathya Sai and the spirit of our sacred organisation.

We were privileged to have two senior leaders from our Organisation participate in the conference. Ms Marianne Meyer from Denmark (member of Prasanthi Council and Director within Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation) and Mrs Petra von Kalinowski from Germany (Zonal Chair, Zone 7).

The stage was beautifully decked with Swami’s chair on one side, a projection screen in the middle and Swami’s photograph on the other side. The conference began with soulful rendition of multifaith prayers by the youth followed by stirring devotional singing that suffused the entire milieu with devotional fervour.

Dr Nishal Govindji Bhatt and Dr Mahesh Narayan were our Programme Anchors who conducted the proceedings seamlessly with great poise.


Dr Mahesh Narayan and Dr Nishal Govindji Bhatt - Programme Anchors

Dr. Kiran Patel, the outgoing Council President of SSIO UK, delivered the welcome address and shared anecdotes on how Swami epitomised the theme of the conference. He thanked the delegates for their support during his four year tenure and expressed gratitude to Swami for guiding Him and for the opportunity to serve Him. He urged the assembled delegates not to miss the rare opportunity to serve through the sacred organisation.


Dr Kiran Patel, Outgoing Council President Welcoming Delegates & Dr Veeru Mudigonda, New Council President Addressing Delegates Please click here for the video link.

Dr Veeru Mudigonda, the new Council President, SSIO UK was the next speaker. He reflected on the rare blessing to have Swami as our mother, father, teacher and friend. He said that it was Swami who had chosen us to be His Instruments; it was His Love that had pulled everyone together. He submitted that he was embarking on this journey as Council President in all humility, in the realisation that Swami was the Giver, Owner and Doe. He added that the Sathya Sai Centres had a big role to play where Love in Action could be practised. Our work, whether we are in position or not shouldn’t stop, He remarked. He shared an experience to demonstrate that Swami alone was permanent and it was therefore essential to maintain our spiritual focus only upon Him. He thanked all outgoing office bearers with a deep sense of gratitude and urged them to continue to do His work, work suffused with Love offered to Him.

The outgoing council members, Dr Kiran Patel, Mr Mukund Patel ( National Service Coordinator) and Mr Shyam Jamnadas (National Youth Coordinator) were then felicitated and the new council was introduced. An audio-visual collage was then shown highlighting the wonderful activities undertaken by SSIO UK in 2015.

Ms Marianne Meyer in her Keynote address reiterated the uniqueness of the Organisation and Sai Centres with the aim to remove all hindrances that kept one away from God. She said that we had to conduct as brothers and sisters and only in Love could unity be achieved; that we had to co-operate as one team, encouraging and supporting each other and to lead by example. She urged everyone to connect within and to build bridges by listening and learning and to develop trust amongst each other. The erudite speaker concluded saying that our’s was a journey from I to We to Him!


Ms Marianne Meyer sharing her views with delegates

The conference delegates then dispersed to their respective workshops titled ‘Love in Action – Ideal Sathya Sai Centres’. These encouraged delegates to delve deeper into their understanding of the purpose and role of a Sai Centre; the role of devotees and office bearers in ensuring that centres functioned as Ideal Sathya Sai Centres; relevance of the 9-point code of conduct that Swami had provided; and familiarity with the 10 guiding principles.

Workshop on Ideal Sathya Sai Centre in Progress

After a scrumptious lunch, delegates reassembled at different wing workshops; and Centre Chairs had an opportunity to engage with the leadership team.

After a short break, the National Wing Coordinators: Mrs Thana Yogendran (National SSE Coordinator), Dr Anshi Dattani (deputy to Ketheeswaran Saiganesh – National Youth Coordinator), Dr Kumarasen Pillay (National Service Coordinator) and Dr Rakendu Suren (National Spiritual Coordinator) presented details of their plans for 2016.


Mrs Thana Yogendran, National SSE Coordinator Presenting Wing Objectives


Dr Anshi Dattani, Deputy National Youth Coordinator, Sharing Plans for Youth Wing & Dr Kumarasen Pillay, National Service Coordinator, Sharing Wing Objectives

Dr Rakendu Suren, National Spiritual Coordinator, Outlining 2016 Plans

Click the links below to download wing presentations:

SSE Wing Presentation

Youth Wing Presentation

Service Wing Presentation

Spiritual Wing Presentation

Mr Mel Griffin, Trustee, and Deputy Chairman of Sathya Sai Charitable Trust UK was the next speaker who provided a background to the Trust reminding that it was the first Trust formed outside India in 1979 under explicit instructions from Swami. He elaborated on the funding the Trust had made to various activities in 2015, such as the international medical camps, and Emergency Relief in Nepal and Chennai (approximately 130,000 USD). He thanked the devotees and reiterated that both the Sathya Sai Organisation and the Sathya Sai Trust in UK would continue to work together in progressing the Sathya Sai Mission.


Mr Mel Griffin, Trustee, Presenting Activities of Sathya Sai Charitable Trust (UK)

Please click here for the video link.

Mrs Petra von Kalinowski, our Zonal Chair was the final speaker of the day. She reflected on her last 3 visits to the UK in recent months and the outstanding unity and Love she experienced, praising that UK was not ordinary but an engine, a jewel in the European Sai Crown. She reminisced that in the auspicious 90th Year of Swami’s advent, UK had once more become part of Europe which presented opportunities to co-operate and share learning. After this, she presented a brief summary of activities of the Zone. The activities undertaken in the Baltic countries stood out in her Talk as they were exemplary; in spite of meagre resources, the devotees there had big hearts to serve the needy when needed.

Petra concluded her talk by sharing an interesting anecdote about Hanuman, the great devotee and servant of Lord Rama whose gigantic idol on top of the Hill View Stadium stands as an icon of selfless sacrifice. During one of the darshans in the temple in Prasanthi Nilayam, she saw Swami’s face change to that of Hanuman. After a year, a lady gave her a photograph of Swami selflessly serving devotees. The photograph also showed Swami’s shadow, but the shadow clearly and uncannily resembled that of a Monkey! She finished her inspiring talk by quoting Swami that the best way to serve God was to Love All and Serve All.


Address by Zonal Chair, Mrs Petra von Kalinowski

Please click here for the video link.

Mrs Vidyulata Narayan, who took over as the new Vice President of SSIO UK shared her concluding reflections on an immensely recharging day, thanking the special guests and felicitating them, the delegates and all volunteers who selflessly ensured a successful day. She recalled Swami’s divine discourse from the 1st World Conference, on the 21st April 1967, when Swam had spoken of the 3 qualifications that members of the Organisation should possess: To be eager aspirants for spiritual progress; have full faith in the name that the organisation bears; recognition as a good person. Swami had then asked everyone to take a solemn Oath. In a similar spirit, all delegates were requested to stand up and take that oath. Thus, concluded a memorable conference!


Mrs Vidyulata Narayan, Council Vice President Giving Her Concluding Reflections

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2016 - A Youth Perspective

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference A Personal Perspective

The start of the new year for our Organisation always sets off with the Sathya Sai Orientation Conference, from which the pathway and trajectory for the upcoming year is set forth. This year, emphasis was placed on Service which our Lord so lovingly exemplified; this provided the platform and the theme for our conference ‘Love in Action – the Sai Path’.

The earliest Conference I personally can recall dates back to 2004, when I participated as a young energetic youth, involved on the music front, with the National Youth Choir; this was my first real exposure to the ‘National Music’ team. Evidently though, things have changed over the years for me - the energy and enthusiasm are still very much there, but my involvement in the Sai Organisation has evolved over the years with active participation and deeper understanding. The ‘Sailent’ hand and guidance of our Beloved Bhagawan, is forever shaping our fortunes and paths – this is something that I have very much personally witnessed and experienced at various levels. I anticipated that this year’s Sathya Sai Orientation Conference would be similar to previous – in fact, I was proved wrong! It was the best that I can ever recall.

The inaugural address was delivered by our new President of the organisation, Dr. Veeru Mudigonda. He stressed upon the concept of the ‘Sai Family’ and how blessed we were to have Swami, who is an All-in-one facet (mother, father, etc), and it is because of Him that we were all present at such a grand event. Next, was our keynote speaker, Ms Marianne Meyer, Member Prasanthi Council & Director SSSWF. She touched upon the fact that it was our great fortune to be part of a wonderful organisation, one which has a very special aim - that being the removal of all hindrances that separate us from God, with this being our sole focus, when involved in Service/Sadhana. She emphasised that when we work together, we should overcome our differences, to develop oneness and unity and of strengthening our endeavour towards Human and Spiritual Excellence.

Throughout the day, we were treated to an array of excellent speakers, each sharing various anecdotes from their respective spiritual journeys. The two other activities of the day were our workshops, one of them was focussed upon ‘Love in Action‐ Ideal Sathya Sai Centre’. The main objective of this workshop was to understand, at a deeper level, the purpose and role of a Sathya Sai Centre; how each of the wings/activities, were intertwined, recognising that service, devotion and wisdom were interconnected, and to understand better what Swami’s words meant, when He says, “The main objective of the Sathya Sai Organisation is to help humanity recognize its inherent divinity. So, your duty is to emphasise the One, to experience the One in all...”.

Sometimes, our minds tend to forget the finer details that make the totality, and perhaps we would benefit by being reminded once in a while. That reminder came from our Zonal 7 Chair, Mrs. Petra von Kalinowski, in which, she arguably relayed the biggest compliment that our UK Sai Organisation has received ; that we are not an ordinary country of Europe, but a ‘locomotive’ – the quintessential engine – and that the UK Sai Organisation had a tremendous experience to offer and share. She reminded us that it was in the 90th year of the Advent of our Beloved Lord, where He made it possible, once again, for UK to become ‘United’ with Europe, so that we were no longer a distant isolated Island. Indeed, now the time had come for UK to unite with our fellow European brothers and sisters. She stressed upon how fortunate we were, to be ambassadors of Bhagawan Baba, but also to be blessed to serve in His Divine mission.

During the extensive, action-packed day, various messages of Unity, Cooperation, Communication, and Love in Action were touched upon. The Initial Workshop of ‘An Ideal Sai Centre’ brought home a lot of truths for us all, where we were repeatedly reminded of what the focus of the Organisation should be, and what Bhagawan expected of us all.

At the same time, it is days like these, where we should take the opportunity to reflect and bask in His Glory, and be forever thankful to Him, for providing us with such a wonderful ‘home’.

Kapil Dev Prashar
Region 3 Youth Coordinator
SSIO UK

Photo of the Month

Christmas Morning in Sai Kulwanth Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam
UK devotees leading the Carols

Spiritual Quiz

Dear fellow spiritual aspirant! Congratulations on deciding to attempt this Spiritual Quiz. This exercise is aimed as an aid for encouraging study, enhancing knowledge and deepening reflection. May our beloved Bhagawan bless us in this endeavour.
Please attempt all questions and mail your answers to quiz@srisathyasai.org.uk by 15th March. We hope to acknowledge the names of the first 5 ‘All Correct’ responders in our next edition.
Sairam and Best wishes- LnL Team

21. Living a hidden, simple life of prayer, St. Theresa was gifted with great intimacy with God. Through sickness and dark nights of doubt and fear, she remained faithful to God, rooted in His merciful love. Christians around the world came to know Therese through her autobiography, "Story of a Soul". She described her life as a "Little way of spiritual childhood." She lived each day with an unshakable confidence in God's love. "What matters in life," she wrote, "is not great deeds, but great love."

What was St. Theresa also popularly known as?

A. God’s Beloved Child
B. Little Flower of Jesus
C. Messenger of Love
D. Heavenly Star

22. In Islam, a Sufi is one who is a lover of Truth, who by means of love and devotion moves towards the Truth, towards the Perfection which all are truly seeking, and who dedicates himself to the quest after mystical union (or, better said, reunion) with his Creator from whom he has been cut off and become aloof – and his longing and desire to restore it.

Jalalud'din Rumi is one of the world’s most revered mystical Sufi poets, whose outpourings capture the hearts of spiritual seekers because of their depth and beauty. For Rumi, religion was mostly a personal experience and not limited to logical arguments or perceptions of the senses. “The religion of love is separate from all forms of religions. Lovers are of one nation and one religion – love. And that is God.”

In essence, what was the nature of Rumi’s teachings through his poetry?

A. Universal
B. Ethnic
C. Diverse
D. Secular

23. Saint Kabir is one of the major inspirations behind Sikhism. His name, ‘Kabir’, is often interpreted as Guru's Grace. A substantial amount of Kabir's verses (dohas) are pious songs sung in deep meditation and are present - about 500 of them - in the Sikh scripture, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, that is considered the living Guru by the followers of Sikhism.

During a Divine 1976 Discourse, Swami spoke on this holy saint thus: "Kabir, the great mystic-poet, sang, 'Here are my prostrations to the bad. Here are my prostrations to the good.' When asked why he offered prostrations to the bad along with the good, he replied, 'I prostrate before the bad so that they might leave me alone; I do the same before the good, so that they might remain near me always."

What method of attaining salvation did Kabir advocate the most in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib?

A. He insisted on forming a special group amongst Sikhs
B. He created a special mantra for all his followers
C. He advocated meditation and isolated worship
D. He recommended everyone to find a true Perfect Spiritual Master

Click here: http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume13/sss13-24.pdf

24. Acharya Bhikshu was one of the great revolutionary saints of Jainism. He was a staunch disciple of Lord Mahavir and completely immersed his life on the path given by Him. In pursuit of finding Truth, he sacrificed material goals, honor and luxuries and studied and analyzed the various disciplines of the Jain religion thoroughly and on this basis, compiled his own ideologies and principles of the Jain way of life.

In the initial phase of his spiritual revolution, he had 13 saints,13 followers and 13 basic rules. This coincidence resulted in"Terapanth" – “tera” represented the number 13, panth meaning religious order.

What was the most important principle observed and stressed upon in this religious order of Terapanth that Acharya Bikshu propagated?

A. Devotion
B. Dedication
C. Self-Discipline
D. Compassion

25. Dalai Lama means Ocean of Wisdom. The current Dalai Lama, is often called "His Holiness” (HH) by Westerners. His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama.

How do the Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness, the current XIVth Dalai Lama as?

A. The Saint of all Saints
B. The Greatest Philosophe.
C. The Wish-Fulfilling Gem
D. The Most Needed One

Courtesy: RadioSai

Region 1 - Basic SSE Training

Saturday 9 May

After all activity relating to Easwaramma Day 2015 had passed, the Region 1 SSE Wing turned its attention to training the next batch of SSE teachers. Relatively early for a Saturday morning, around 20 people arrived at the venue in Tooting to attend basic-level SSE training for the whole day. The following is an account given by one of the attendees.

“From the outset the entire team put in so much love and hard work into creating this teaching day.

“The session began with brother Roni (R1 SSE Coordinator) taking us through the purpose of Swami’s mission, which is to remind us of who we are (divinity) and why we are here in this human body.

“We were then given an in-depth understanding about how every child is different in the way they learn and their learning styles. Sister Vidyu (National Secretary and former National SSE Coordinator) took us through the various stages of a child’s development, both emotionally and cognitively; and went through Jean Piaget’s developmental stages of child psychology. This gave us an understanding about how SSE pupils would behave in their respective age groups and what sort of activities would be best suited to keep children of each age group engaged. I found this session to be invaluable.

“Aunty Thana (National SSE Coordinator) covered the importance of the tripartite relationship, i.e. the relationship between the student, the teacher and the parents. We were reminded that the parents invariably have a greater influence on their child than the teacher, since they spend much more time with the child each week. The image of having the student riding a bicycle comprising the parents as the back wheel (for support) and the teacher as the front wheel (for direction) was a powerful one.

“Sister Vidyu and Uncle Yoges (former R1 Chair) then taught us how to teach bhajans (group devotional songs) to young children. The important aspect that I learnt was that one has to read out the lines of the bhajans first to the pupils, following which one has to teach the tune and the lines.

“Although I have been doing meditation for a while, I never knew how to teach meditation to children. Uncle Chun, who taught the silent sitting section, broke down the steps of meditation and made it really simple and easy for us to even teach three year-olds meditation.

“Story telling was another great aspect of the SSE training. We were narrated a story and I was sat there giving my fullest attention because of the narration style of uncle Chun. There was modulation of voice, animation of the story using apt body language and puppets that were handcrafted and used for the same purpose. We learnt that the above-mentioned aspects were essential to narrate a story to any SSE pupil.

“Sister Vidyu then gave a very useful presentation on the value of prayers and this reminded me about the importance of the act of praying.

“On the whole we found the training to be very interactive and there was not one moment when we felt like we had learnt enough. There was a practical session at the end of the day on group activities, run by sister Geetha Maheshwaran. In this, we were given the task of making puppets to put a story together with a moral for SSE pupils. I learnt that it is important to awaken all the five sense organs while engaging a child, e.g. have some bhajans playing in the background while engaging a pupil in a task; use some incense to awaken the olfactory sense; use paint and various textures of paint to involve tactile sensation; and overall engage the child in a fun-filled learning session of human values.

“I would like to convey my humble thank yous to Swami and the team who facilitated this experience for the entire day, including the yummy lunch and snacks provided.”

Archana Raman
Sathya Sai Centre of Brixton
SSIO UK, Region 1

Region 1 - Bhajan Workshop

‘The Ananda (joy) I derive from Bhajans, I do not derive from anything else.’-Sri Sathya Sai Baba

On Saturday 11th April, Region 1 organised a Bhajan (devotional singing) workshop that was hosted by Sathya Sai Centre of Tooting. The workshop started with 3 Oms followed by 2 Bhajans. It was a good interactive workshop with a slide presentation where the significance of singing Bhajans was explained

The workshop emphasised on the importance of learning the meaning of each and every word of a bhajan, to meditate on the meaning and connect to the bhajan. A great way to sing and bring out the feeling in a bhajan was to understand the words and to create a story, if possible. One must also practice the bhajan a hundred times, if required to ensure one is perfect before leading in a Sai centre. Guidelines were provided to singers; for instance, when an opportunity arises to lead a bhajan, it is important to understand the meanings behind the words and to sing with the deepest feeling of love to the Lord. Lead bhajans only if one can sing to proper scale and have a good voice, and select simple, short bhajans. Singing devotional songs helps to purify the heart, mind and the surroundings. The list of bhajans in the centre should contain at least two English and also one or two multi-faith bhajans as a rough guide. One should arrive at the venue well before the start of the devotional meeting, and after the bhajan, one must avoid indulging in unnecessary talk; instead one should maintain silence and reflect upon the experience. In this way, one is able to take home the divine vibrations. I learnt a lot from the bhajan workshop and look forward to the next one.

Jai Sai Ram
Jugdish Injore

Region 1 - Easwaramma Day Celebrations at Tooting Sai Centre

Tooting Sai Centre celebrated Easwaramma Day on 3rd May with an offering from the SSE children, where each class presented an act to express their heartfelt gratitude to our Divine Mother Sai. As usual a lot of preparatory work was done by the teachers, children and parents to make the event a resounding success. This is one of the few events that brings out the Communal Spirit of the Centre as a number of parents helped to set up the Hall, Stage and Altar a day before in readiness for the event for the following day whilst the children were doing their rehearsals at the same time.

The Vedas declare that worship of the mother as God is of the utmost importance in human life. Two comperes introduced the event and provided an interesting dialogue throughout, illuminating an audience of 130 people, about the life story of Easwaramma.

Easwaramma is renowned for the three selfless wishes that she asked Swami to fulfil. Firstly, she asked him to construct a small hospital in their village to prevent suffering locals from travelling far for treatment. Secondly, she pleaded for a small school to be built so that all children in the neighbouring villages could be educated. Lastly, Easwaramma requested that clean drinking water would be provided to all the villagers. Easwaramma’s vision has improved the living conditions of countless individuals and continues to do so, thus demonstrating why Swami advocated that Easwaramma Day should also be regarded as Children’s day, due to the immense love that Easwaramma had for children.

The event began with the nursery class where each child presented on stage, a collage of images and artwork that expressed their theme; ‘We are all special’. The children then recited the prayer Vakratunda, before following this with a bhajan to invoke Lord Ganesha. To conclude their presentation, they performed a song entitled ‘We are special’.

This was then followed by a joint sketch with children from Group 1, Year 2 and Group 2, Year 2, who illustrated the life of Buddha and how he became enlightened. Colourful costumes and props aided the children in their dramatization of the life of Buddha, describing how after marriage, Buddha ventured outside of the royal enclosure and saw many individuals who were sick, old and dying. He realised that due to reincarnation, individuals would never be free from this endless cycle of suffering. Thus, Buddha renounced his royal luxuries to pursue the truth about how these miseries could be ceased.

The narrators discussed the 8 Fold-Path, which we couldn’t help but notice drew many parallels with our dear Swami’s guidelines, such as the 9 Point code of Conduct and the Human values. Buddha’s life demonstrates the importance of doing good and practicing what you preach. The overall message that we received from this presentation was that individuals should maintain unity in thought, word and deed. This message was reiterated in a song called ‘Wouldn’t it be nice’. The presentation concluded with all the children singing the bhajan Sai Natha Bhagawan, which mentions the three jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The song reaffirms that the only way to end this cycle of suffering is to engage in Dharmic practices, such as meditation that will help us attain supreme enlightenment.

One SSE student then performed a Bharatanatayam Dance, to the song Gajavadhana Karuna Sadhana. Bharatanatayam is a South Indian classical form of dance, which is said to reveal spirituality through the physical and emotional body. The student’s dance involved acting out movements that mimicked those of an elephant, thus praising Lord Ganesha and his celestial origins.

The next presentation was from the children of Group 1, Year 1 entitled ‘A journey relating to Prayers’. Each student said a few words about prayers taught during their SSE classes had helped them develop as individuals. The format involved each student reciting a prayer and its corresponding bhajan, whilst in costume representing the various deities they were worshipping.

The last component of the programme was performed by the children of Group 3, in a drama titled ‘My Life is my Message’. The script followed the lives of three school children in the run up to their examinations. Whilst two of the students spent their time engaging in social activities and social media, the others helped out at home and set aside some time to revise. When the students got their exam results, the two girls who had idled away their time were disappointed with their marks, whilst the girl who had assisted with the household chores was delighted with hers. The students who had not done so well asked the other girl what her secret was. Here, various slokas from the Bhaja Govindam were interwoven with the storyline to demonstrate profound life lessons, for example the verse Sathsangtve… which explains the importance of good company and how this leads to de-attachment and eventually freedom from desires. Swami says that as students, we should prioritise our studies and place a ceiling on desires and limit time spent on social matters. In fact Swami has described Television as ‘televisham’, which means poison, thus reinforcing the idea that engaging in in righteous activities with like-minded people is highly important, in order to develop a good character. The message we took from this play was that SSE provides children with the tools necessary to engage in a process of discrimination and acknowledge, if not always choose, the right option.

The programme as presented by the SSE children involved a wider range of performances including the recitations of prayers, numerous plays and a dance presentation. The event concluded with all the SSE children making their offerings of ‘Love in the box’, which consisted of each child collecting written notes of some of the good deeds they had done.

A key theme that resonated with us throughout the programme was the importance of prayer, as it is a link to our Lord, a friendship that is never compromised. This has recently become increasingly more relevant, as Swami is no longer physically with us. Thus, prayer acts as a lifeline, to keep us in check and forward us on our journey of self-realisation.

Serena Jones & Arti Patel
Tooting Sai Centre

Region 1 - Sai Prema: First prayer meeting for Nepal Earthquake Disaster

Sai devotees across the UK reached out with their hearts and hands to pray for their fellow brothers and sisters in Nepal, affected by the devastating earthquake that shook the country on 25th April 2015. An estimated 8,800 people lost their lives and 23,000 were injured by the earthquake measuring 7.8Mw magnitude with its epicentre located in the Eastern District of Lamjung in Northern Central Nepal, situated approximately 180 km from the Capital city of Kathmandu.

The Sathya Sai International Organisation UK was quick to respond, organising a prayer meeting on Sunday 3rd May at Tooting Sai Centre in South London. Devotees gathered to offer their heartfelt condolences and prayers, beginning with three Aums, numerous multifaith prayers followed by 30 minutes of sublime and uplifting bhajans to our dearest Lord to bring comfort, peace and relief (both material and spiritual) to all those affected. Dr Veeru Rao, Council Vice President, opened the meeting with a welcome and introductory message on the importance of prayers for the brothers and sisters of Nepal, who had been affected by the earthquake.

This was followed by a talk from Dr Kiran Patel, Council President, who elaborated on the Nepal Earthquake Relief UK; he explained how the Sathya Sai Organisation in UK was providing service to Nepal. Region 1 President, Rajendra Krishna Manandhar shared an update with a short video presentation on the situation of Nepal after the earthquake. The guest speaker of the day, Dr Achyut Dhital, former Chair of the Nepalese Doctors’ Association provided further updates of the situation in Nepal and his gratitude to the organisation for their support. Dr Upadhyay in his talk also shared his thoughts and prayers too. Brother Ketan Gokani elaborated on the relief efforts taking place for the Nepal Earthquake Relief through the Sathya Sai Charitable Trust UK, Disaster Emergency Fund.

The updates from the speakers touched everyone. We sent our sincere prayers and personal messages of hope, as blank cards were handed out to each member of the congregation to put into words their message of sympathy, love, peace and prayer, which would be delivered to all those affected. In this way, devotees not only connected with their brothers and sisters in Nepal, but got an opportunity to live Swami’s message of Humanity standing in Unity under the ‘Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God.’

The talks were followed by half an hour of intense chanting of prayers, with all mental energies focused towards bringing healing to the South Asian country and its people. During the powerful chanting, each participant placed a flower at Swami’s divine lotus feet in a prayerful and moving gesture to our Lord to take care of everyone affected in Nepal, as they come to terms with the loss and devastation and start to rebuild their lives once more.

The programme ended with Arathi and chanting of the vibhuti mantra. The Prayer meeting was finally concluded.

Priya Kotecha

Region 2 - 20th Anniversary Celebrations of Sathya Sai Centre of London West

It was a beautiful sunny day and the weather outside reflected our spirits inside as we prepared for the 20th Anniversary celebrations at the Sathya Sai Centre of London West. Two life size pictures of Shirdi Sai and Sathya Sai were installed on that day. In the backdrop of a beautiful white flower embedded cloth, it looked as if our Mother Sai had come to the venue and was standing in front of us - blessing us. The Chairperson of Sathya Sai Centre of London West, Sister Pamela, unveiled these pictures just before the commencement of the programme.

The programme started with the chanting of Gayatri Mantra followed by Vedam chanting by the SSE students. The entire hall reverberated with the divine recitation of Ganesh prayers and 1st Anuvakam of Rudram. This was followed by melodious devotional singing by the SSE students and the lead singers of the Sathya Sai Centre. The feeling with which the devotional songs were sung electrified the entire hall. All the devotees participated enthusiastically and the hall was filled with positive divine vibrations. When the bhajan ‘Why Fear when I am here’ was sung, one balloon burst making much noise like an explosion thrilling everyone around!

This was followed by a picture presentation of the history and the journey of the Sathya Sai Centre – its highs and lows and the way it evolved to its current state. The presentation also highlighted how the Seva (Service) Wing and the Education Wing of the Sathya Sai Centre evolved. Monthly visits to the Old People’s Home at Heston House, commenced around the year 2000 and these are still continuing to this day. Food donations from the centre members are being made regularly to the local food bank. Whilst the first SSE (Sai Spiritual Education) class was held in Sept 2012, SSEHV (Sathya Sai Education in Human Values) classes commenced in April 2015. There are over 40 children attending SSE and 20 children attending SSEHV classes.

The history presentation was followed by Brother Aanand Venkat’s talk on his experiences with Swami as a Sai Student. He enthralled the audience with his childhood experiences with Swami. His talk highlighted that when we pray to Swami with sincerity, he will always respond – be it the desire to be invited for lunch with Him or the desire to know that Swami is aware of our presence. He also stressed the importance of having faith in Swami. When we truly believe that Swami is present and is presiding over the day’s events – He will always make His presence and Bless us although our senses may not be able to perceive this. When we bring in the seeds of doubt then He leaves.

We ended the programme with the announcements and Thought for the Day. Sister Gayatri Bikoo, our Regional President cut the 20th anniversary celebration cake along with the SSE students. This was followed by Aarati. The Sathya Sai Centre also celebrated birthdays of two SSE students the same day and wished them well on their special day. Snacks and cake prasadam were served for all the participants of the programme.

It was a day filled with love and happiness and we the Sathya Sai Centre members are energized to continue to play our roles in the divine mission for many more years to come.

Jai Sai Ram
B Sai Ranjani

Region 2 - Chanting and Glorifying the Divine Name: A Teenagers Reflection

Every Sunday my mum and I go to the Sai centre to offer our pranams to Swami. I was asked to write an article about my belief in Swami and also on Lakhacharana, at first I was confused and overwhelmed about what I should write about. However after attending the Laksharchana, I learnt a lot about my belief and how it was explained. Originally we practised Buddhism and many of Lord Buddha’s teachings are similar to Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings.

When I was in Sri Lanka, every Friday, I used to go and take part in Sai activities, before I moved to England. I didn’t enjoy it at first as a toddler and I was always complaining about how boring it was, but over time my faith in Sai Baba has grown, and I’ve learnt so many lessons such as to always be kind, never lie, respect elders and Swami taught to love all and serve all.

Since my grandparents were also Sai devotees, I can remember now how much Swami meant to them and how much they prayed to Swami every day. Every year they visited Swami. My mum told me how my grandparents saw Swami in person and how Swami blessed my grandfather by materialising a gemstone, for him. This has been passed down to us. It’s wonderful. My mum always told us that if we keep faith in Swami, He will always be there with us. I know that my mum always believes in Swami, she prays to him every day and has total faith in him. Over time my faith in Swami has also grown.

I have been coming here to the Sathya Sai Centre of Southall West for almost 10 years on sundays and we join in the singing the bhajans . It makes us feel peaceful and blessed. We also do meditation and at the end of the bhajan session, I always distribute Swami’s vibhuti and enjoy doing it very much because the devotees bless me when I give out the vibhuti.

On Sunday 3 May 2015, a Laksharchana was organised at the centre.

The Laksharchana which was conducted by Uncle Vadgama was magical. It brought us all together amidst vibrations and we all enjoyed it.
I’ve learnt many teachings from Swami. Such as we should always have love and do activities with love and that we should all have patience in everything we do. We all need patience in our lives. Compassion is another of Baba’s teachings; that we should all have compassion in our lives. Respect and treat others the same way no matter what their race or religion.

Baba told this quote to many of his devotees, ‘Never turn away anybody from your door, be it a human being or animal’. Be selfless and perform selfless acts to the poor, sick and the needy not for rewards but out of kindness and love. Don’t lie and always tell the truth and promote peace and respect the laws put in place by society and take care of the environment.

I know that if I keep my faith in Swami, I will also be successful and happy because I know that Swami is always with me. The last 10 years of coming to the Sai Centre has helped me so much through my life so far and my belief in him will always remain till the end because I know that he will always be by my side.

Senali Kohomange - 14 years
Sathya Sai Centre of Southall West, Region 2

Region 2 - Family Values Day

Swami lovingly reminds us,

“Life is Love, enjoy it;
Life is Challenge, meet it;
Life is a Song, sing it;
Life is a Dream, realize it;
Life is a Game, play it;
Life is a Goal, achieve it.“

The Annual Summer Region 2 Family Values / Sports Day has been a wonderful opportunity to bring together children, youth and adults and spend time together.

The Family Values Day was planned for Sunday 12th of July 2015. Despite the weather prediction of heavy rain, with our beloved Swami’s Grace, it held off until the event got finished. The centre SSE coordinators, teachers, youth, parents, members of the Region 2 team and other volunteers all helped organise to put together the wonderful event.

With gazeboes to house a little altar for prayers on one side and plenty of food and drinks on the other side, the day started with prayers. The sports field was large with an athletics track which was convenient for the races. All the children took part in flat races and a relay, cheered and encouraged by the parents, youth and other adults.

Many of the adults also took part in a flat race and were cheered on by the children. The younger children then went on to play games such as dodge ball, duck duck goose and obstacle course races while the older children enjoyed games of rounders, football and cricket. The bouncy balls were a big favourite with all the children. It was good to see the men enjoying cricket and football along with the children.

Lunch and drinks were provided by the SSE teachers and other volunteers. After a couple of hours of fun and games, everyone enjoyed the food and a bit of relaxation. The day finished with group photographs.

More than 120 people participated at the Family Values Day. As always, we were grateful to our Lord Sathya Sai for giving us this opportunity to come together in love and unity.

Shyama Jeyaseelan
Region 2 SSE Coordinator

Region 2 - Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day 2015 in Brent

This Year with an immense Grace of our Lord the health awareness day was held jointly with Brent Indian Association (BIA) and Asian Foundation for Help in the London borough of Brent on Sunday 10th of May 2015. BIA as previous years offered their whole building for the camp. This was the 18th Health Awareness day held in Brent with Voluntary Organisation raising health awareness in the local Community which has now become an annual event!

The morning in the waiting area began with some gentle flute music being played on the sound system to put everyone in a mellow mood. This was followed by the arrival of dignitaries, culminating in an official opening ceremony. The Mayors and the Councillors who attended the opening ceremony appreciated and recognised the selfless services given by all the healthcare professionals and the volunteers.

The expert medical team of Qualified Medical Professionals on behalf of SSSSO (UK) including Doctors, Dentists, Optometrists, and Nurses participated enthusiastically and offered their loving services to the people who attended. Dental and Eyes checks were done as well as Blood pressure, Blood sugar, BMI and Diabetes risk assessment. GP advices were also given by medical professionals in English, Gujarati and Hindi. Volunteers old and young worked with compassion in serving the patients.

This year surprisingly, many visitors from the Nepali communities attended the health camp from the neighbouring London Boroughs of Harrow, Ealing and Pinner with lots of interest and availed the services offered. They were also provided with Nepali translators to make them fully understand the medical advice. The patients felt the love of servers and applauded their service motto, which was reflected in the excellent feedback given by service users. We later came to know that these Nepalese had travelled from distance to take advantage of these yeoman services offered to them. Swami had indeed taken care of all their needs.

The Eye and Dental checks needed to be extended until evening as these two are the most expensive services in England. The whole team of experts and volunteers worked empathetically and welcomed the people with zest until the end of the day reflecting our beloved Swami's teachings “Service to man is service to God". 202 visitors attended and 865 consultations were made. Altogether 33 referrals were made to the NHS.

Presentations on various health topics were delivered by the experts to engage and educate patients during their waiting time. The first of the guest speakers was Dr Sabby Kant, a GP from Northwood in Middlesex, who is also a Lead GP Educator for Raised Awareness in Hillingdon. Ably assisted by his wife, Dr Kant ran an open Q&A session on Raised Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Diabetes, Angina, Heart Attacks, Stroke, Healthy Diet, etc. This was well received and gave detailed information to the guests in a simple and lucid manner. Where needed, explanation was also offered in a different language as well. This was followed by a brief introduction to Ms Elaine Fletcher, representative from Health Watch Brent, who was running an information desk, and collecting feedback from visitor to the Health Awareness Day. She also offered information on some subsidised services available to the elderly and infirm.

A very lively Yoga session followed, led by Mrs Joyce Power, who did her best to take the mystery out of this ancient guide to wellbeing with an ongoing PowerPoint presentation, as well as simple exercises which could be adapted for those who lacked flexibility. She picked on a couple of able assistants, and then got everyone to join in to breathing and vocal exercises.

Once they recovered from all the activities, Dental Surgeon Mr Nishma Somaia presented a talk on Oral Care, with particular emphasis on some habit forming carcinogens within the South Asian minority groups. She described the effects of such usage and explained that there was a very high probability of facial disfigurement and loss of life. Once the point got home, there was a lively and informative interchange with the audience. Again, she demonstrated versatility by talking in Gujarati,(a language familiar to most present at the time) as well.

Newly qualified GP, Dr Mahesh A Shah, was next. He has also just taken on the mantle of Clinical Lead for the SSSSO UK Region 2 Health Awareness Team. Dr Shah offered presentations on Diabetes and Blood Pressure. A lively Q&A session followed each one of his presentations. Several people recognised Dr Shah from the previous year and congratulated him upon the subject matter and quality of presentation.

Last, but not least, was a talk by Brother Keith Banfield, who had been involved in helping with the continuity of presentations during the day and had also assisted with the Yoga presentation. His talk included very sensible and simple to follow guidelines for Healthy Living, Exercise, Stress & Anger Management, Diet & Nutrition. All of this was relayed in calm and easy to follow manner.

A light lunch was prepared with love and served for the medical professionals and volunteers by the members of Sathya Sai centre of Alperton. Expression of Love through Service: This was An Offering to Our Dear Lord on 90th Year of His Advent.

Sathya Sai Centre of Alperton

Region 2 - Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Harrow West: An Enviro Care Project

Envirocare offers us an opportunity to be more aware and to learn from the natural world. We learn to notice and to appreciate and we learn how to "read" the natural world and to integrate the lessons learned into our lives in a practical way.

As part of the Selfless Service Seva activities, on June 13th, members of the Centre undertook an Enviro Care project at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. The hospital is based in Stanmore and treats patients from across the UK with complex and rare conditions.

The hospital was founded in 1905 with the amalgamation of three Orthopaedic hospitals into one. During the First World War the hospital became and emergency hospital for the military and during the Second World War many ‘Nissen’ huts were erected to house civilian orthopaedic cases and casualties.

As the hospital has been around for over a century it is not in the greatest of conditions. The open spaces surrounding the buildings needed urgent care. The aim of the project was to tidy up the areas surrounding the wards enabling the able patients to spend time outside and enjoy the beauty of nature.

The above picture shows the overgrowth outside one of the patient wards almost covering the view from the inside of the ward. The gardens have been neglected and there was overgrowth of plants and weeds everywhere.

Inspite of the dull weather and some light rain, this did not deter the enthusiasm of any of the volunteers. With just some basic tools to work with the love and devotion of the volunteers made the task lighter. In the background bhajans were being heard as a volunteer had tuned into Radio Sai. This made the seva truly devotional.

The task seemed quite big at first but as Swami has always said that when we take one step towards him he will take a thousand steps towards us.

With the amount of work involved the volunteers really got involved with the task and each one determined to.

Due to Health and Safety reasons volunteers under the age of 14 were not allowed to participate in the seva. However we were truly blessed to have the support of one of the youngest members of our youth to the most senior member of our centre joining us in the seva.

The gardens needed a lot of weeding and the plants needed to be pruned. Any overgrowth had to also be removed to make way for seed to be planted.

It reminded us of Swami’s teaching:
To reform: First weed out the evil thoughts and bad habits. Second cultivate good habits. – Sathya Sai Baba

So much love and attention was poured in the task that they beauty of the gardens were beginning to show signs. Extra care was being taken to ensure that the existing flower beds were all kept intact and room made for new ones to flourish.

It was not just about tidying up the gardens but also the path between the wards which was covered with thick moss. This needed to be cleared to allow patients to safely walkabout and spend time outside the ward and consume some freshness of the cool air of the summer season.

With Swami’s grace the task was completed in good time and it was such a joy just to stand back and admire the difference that the work had made and the pleasure that it will give to the hospital staff and patients.

The hospital was gracious to acknowledge the difference the task had made to the appearance of the area between the wards. The staff working in the wards also appreciated the work and how this will greatly benefit the patients.

A great tribute to the volunteers who supported the project and dedicated their time in making such a big difference to a small part of the hospital.

We thank Swami in providing us with this opportunity to serve the community and particularly the hospital with all the good work that it undertakes.

In service to our Lord

Chhaya Thaker – Service Coordinator
Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Harrow West
SSIO UK, Region 2

Region 2 - Visit to Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple and Farm

16th August 2015

At the Hare Rama Hare Krishna temple, there were two huge, beautifully decorated statues of Rama and Sita and Krishna and Radha. We met our friends there and we prayed and listened to bhajans for about five minutes, then we left the temple, pulled on our welly boots, and got ready to do some farming!

Everybody drove a bit further on from the temple to the farm entrance. The placid scenery was full of rather plump cows and horses in the barn grazing on the tawny hillside. Some of us even spotted a few cheeky bunny rabbits!

As we entered the farm, there was a small pond with goldfish swimming around in it. A volunteer explained to us that there were different types of spinach to harvest, so keep them separate from each other.

We had to gently grasp the roots and pull it out and after we had a big bunch, tie it up with a rubber band. All of us ended up getting dirt in our nails as we weren’t wearing gloves!

After this, the adults carried on harvesting the spinach and the children went off to pick blackberries and raspberries and taste them! We were warned to be careful of thorns and stinging nettles, yet some of us still got stung from the nettles. Ouch! Fortunately, we rinsed our hands out with cold water and it was all better.

Me and a few other ladies were asked to weed a huge patch of coriander and dill. One of the people thought the just-planted coriander was ready to be harvested, but they weren’t.

Lunchtime! We all had a plate of scrumptious rice and curry and the most heavenly banana milkshake! Once we were done, a volunteer, who was serving rice, asked us kids if we wanted to feed the fish with rice in the pond. We politely said yes, and tossed it in to the pond as the fish eagerly gobbled it up.

We walked back to the car park, arms full of fresh fruit and vegetables and we drove back home. This was the best farm trip ever!!!

Harinima, SSE Group 1
Sathya Sai Centre of London West
Region 2

Region 2 - YAP: Cleaning Up the Park

On 20th June 2015, a small group of 9 youth undertook the task of picking up litter around Cassiobury Park, Watford. We split up into groups of 3 and aided members of the ‘Friends of Cassiobury Park’ group with clearing litter found in the nature reserve, and in the main areas of the park itself. Swami graced us with little rain, contrary to the weather forecast for that day. We spent around 2 hours picking up litter and, I can say on behalf of all those present there, it was a truly wonderful way to do Seva. Swami has said countless times before in many of his talks about how we should serve our Divine Mother Earth, and how it is our responsibility. The youth present were given an incredible opportunity to do just that. We were truly able to see the beauty of Mother Nature after having cleared away the litter, especially those who had done the nature reserve, we were able to see just how much of a difference a single piece of litter makes to the beauty of the environment.

Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, where I felt I could be at one with nature, and the litter picking itself was a somewhat therapeutic activity, where I could collect my thoughts. It was suggested that in the future, we should incorporate Namasmarana into the activity. It was a wonderful experience and we would like to return as a group on a yearly basis, if not monthly.

Branavan Premachandra,
Sathya Sai Centre of Harrow West
SSIO UK, Region 2

Region 2 - YAP: Painting the fences at Mother Theresa Soup Kitchen Southall

With a small team of dedicated youth we were able to add a splash of colour to the fences of the already beautiful Mother Teresa garden. Struck by the array of flowers and colours of the garden, the mind of each young person mellowed to a peaceful state.

With great enthusiasm and energy and a yearning to start the spiritual service, the youth started painting. Without losing focus, thinking about worldly attachments, distractions and time, each fence panel had its first coating just before lunch.

The second coat of paint was completed after lunch and we were blessed to have the privilege to see the final product of our work.

Whilst it was satisfying to see the difference made, we must dedicate the final product of our service to Swami and thank him for the wonderful weather He provided on the day to enable us to carry out the service project.

Dinu Sajnani

Youth Coordinator, Sathya Sai Centre of Harrow East
SSIO UK, Region 2

Region 4 - A Spiritual Trip...

On Saturday 16th May 2015, the devotees of Narborough Sai Centre were fortunate to go on a spiritual day trip to the Venkateswara Balaji Temple in Tividale. We all left by coach in the morning around 9 am. During our journey we chanted prayers to fill ourselves with spiritual vibrations and after a very enjoyable time, we reached there at 10.45 am. Everyone was so impatient and eager to discover / visit this holy place and feel the divine atmosphere present in the area and inside the temples. One may wonder what a spiritual trip to a holy place brings. Swami gives us the answer:

"Never yield to indolence or despair. Suffer loss and grief gladly, for they help to toughen your personality. The diamond is found amidst rocks; you will have to blast through the vein to get gold. Follow the strict regimen that the doctor enforces in order to make the medicine yield the best result. The battery of your ‘car’ is charged when you come to Puttaparthi or when you go to some other holy place. Or at least that should be the aim of the pilgrimage. Charge the battery of your spiritual effort and then, after you return home, do not keep the car idle. If you do, the battery will run down; take the car around and keep it going; then the battery will charge itself. So also, if you do not continue the holy company, the good attitude, bhajans, and remembering God’s Name as part of your life, all this charging will turn into a waste.” - Divine Discourse, Jun 25, 1960

The Balaji temple is open to the public irrespective of one's creed, religion and ethnic origin, for prayers, spiritual fulfilment and meditation. It makes one realise the Unity in diversity and recollect with oneself.

As soon as we entered the gates and saw the majestic architecture of the mandirs surrounded by the greenery, we felt the serenity of the atmosphere. It was so peaceful. And the sun came out of the clouds especially for us! Our spiritual visit was about to start.

We started with the superb and divine Shirdi Mandir, where we were fortunate to be able to sing Bhajans for about an hour. Being in there really made us connect with and focus our attention on Shirdi Baba. The atmosphere was so beautiful; it felt as if we actually were in Shirdi. It also made us recollect instances from the Shirdi Sai Sat Charitra. We indeed have Shirdi Sai Sat Charitra readings twice a year in Narborough Sai Centre, and it is always a memorable day full of divine vibrations.

Everyone in our group was having a great time and could be seen with smiles on their faces. We then performed Aarti in front of Shirdi Sai and made our way to the main Temple.

This enormous Balaji temple was so pristine and full of divine vibrations. We sat down there for a while and took darshan of Lord Balaji, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Hanuman.

After this, as on the site there were different temples for different deities, we visited all the temples in our own time and took darshan.

At about 2.00 pm it was time for prasadam and we all sat down in a big group to have a picnic on the grass outside the temples.

The sun was shining with a cool little breeze and devotees had a beautiful satsang, talking amongst each other and sharing and caring for one another. We also sung some songs outside on the grounds and had a very joyful time playing games!

Unfortunately the day was coming to an end at about 4 pm and we had to say goodbye to Balaji Temple after a beautiful and spiritually recharging day out.

After getting on the coach all the devotees were so happy to have come and were all talking about what a beautiful divine day it had been. We were all blessed to be part of this day and look forward to another spiritual and divine trip!

Karisma & Karan Tanna,
Sathya Sai Centre of Narborough
SSIO UK Region 4

Region 4 - A Very Inspiring Satsang...

For a number of weeks, a special spiritual Satsang had been awaited with great impatience by the Sai devotees of Leicester…

On 23rd May at 7pm, our humble guest for the evening, Dr Veeru Mudigonda, stepped in the hall and the session immediately started with prayers, few bhajans and a short video where Ravi Kumar sir, an alumnus of the SSSIHL in Prasanthi Nilayam, was singing a touching bhajan to our Lord.

Immediately following that, Dr Veeru was introduced. Dr Veeru was the National Spiritual Coordinator and currently the National Vice Chair of the SSSO UK. He has also been a Sai Student and therefore has got innumerable experiences with Bhagawan. He is currently working as a neurosurgeon in Cardiff.

Dr Veeru, throughout his talk, reminded all of us how extremely lucky we are to know Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Purna Avatar of Kali Yuga. His physical closeness with Swami enabled him to share unique moments with our Lord and experience His care and love. However, he insisted that it was not only because he was a Sai student that he has had lots of grace, but all of us are dear to Swami and, whether we have been physically close to Him or not, we all have a very strong relationship with Swami in our heart and He cares in the same way for all of us.

Dr Veeru also mentioned about how his family came to Swami, talking in particular about his brother’s past disease. At that time, he and his family were not devotees of Swami yet and his brother was suffering from a skin disease. One day, they were told that Lord Venkateshwara would come down the hill to cure him. They did not believe too much into this statement. But one day, in the darshan line, Swami came and, looking at Dr Veeru’s brother, He said: “It will be cured”. That was it! The boy got cured the next day! And faith in Swami grew up very strongly. How simply and beautifully our Swami attracts His devotees towards Him…

A short break during the talk was taken, and devotees had a light and refreshing prasad, which was then followed by one bhajan and the second half of this spiritual talk. In the middle of sharing of divine experiences, Dr Veeru wholeheartedly sang 2 beautiful bhajans which devotees enthusiastically joined and this was followed by a Questions & Answers session. This beautiful evening ended with Arati and devotees left the centre filled with divine energy and with the desire to have more satsangs like this, in order to fill themselves with divine vibrations and share spiritual thoughts.

With much Sai Love,
Marine Aufranc, Spiritual Coordinator Sathya Sai Centre of Narborough
SSIO UK, Region 4

Region 4 - Global Service Day

On Saturday 18th July 2015 we celebrated our Global Service Day at Birstall Parish Hall, Leicester. Our 65 guests were excited in anticipation of the day ahead. They had tea and biscuits on arrival and then joined us in bhajans. Chirag one of our youth started the session with some very funny Gujarati jokes which brought lots laughter. This was followed by some soul stirring songs by Chirag and Suman sung by Saints of India that are familiar to our guests. The guests were then served with hot delicious lunch which they all thoroughly enjoyed.

The afternoon session started with an unusual game where our guests where all given paper plates and a pen. They had to place the plate on their head and draw a house with a chimney, door and windows, a sun and gate. It was an eye opener to see their pictures, some of which were amazingly accurate. The next game got their grey cells working where each team of guests on their table had to work together to make a list for example of different types of flour, models of cars, names of the variety of flowers and names of actors in certain films. There was great team work between the seva dals and the guests.

Quite a few of guests love to sing, so the next item on the programme was solo performances! Many of the guests also joined in our final item which was Garbas the traditional folk dance of Gujerat. After Aarti we took our guests who had happy smiles on their faces home. We were smiling too; the day gave us lots of happiness!!

The joy one gets while promoting another's joy is incomparable. ~ Sri Sathya Sai Baba ~

Anita & Sadhana
Sathya Sai Centre of Narborough
SSIO UK Region 4

Region 4 - Global Service Day at Salcey Forest

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

Sathya Sai Baba says :

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

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

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

Such an invigorating way to spend a Sunday!

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

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

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

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

Om Sai Ram
Krish Ruparelia

Region 4 - Global Service Day: Coventry & Rugby Sai Centre

The weather was perfect on Sunday the 19th of July, not too hot with a gentle breeze, a lovely summer's day. An ideal day for our annual Global Service Day event held jointly by Coventry and Rugby Sai Centres. As always a great deal of care and preparation had gone into ensuring everyone had a fun and memorable day.

"Consider all as members of one divine family. Regard yourself as a trustee and use your wealth and talents for the good of others. Use every opportunity to help others. Be compassionate at all times. Students in particular should always be ready to go to the help of people in distress. God today is in search of good men. Everyone should strive to be sincere in thought, word, and deed. Then you need not go in search of God. God will discover you". Baba

This year over 120 volunteers planned, arranged, practiced, booked, cooked, cleaned, lifted, fixed, sorted, sang and helped in every way possible to make it a success. Alongside all the hard work was the underlying love in every task that was undertaken. Global Service Day has a real knack of unifying everyone involved and this year was no exception.

Our 100 guests had come from a number of local institutions including the Asian Blind Association, Bonds Hospital, Frank Walsh House and Millhouse Court. They were treated to some wonderful performances; we started off with six young Bharat Natyam Dancers, SSE & non-SSE girls from Coventry and Rugby centres who delighted us with two traditional classical dances performed in unison and one Bollywood dance performed by two of the SSE girls this year.

This was followed by heart-warming songs from the Singing City choir who perform at various festivals for the elderly including Coventry’s Godiva Festival and have been working with BAFTA award winning composer, Ilona Sekacz. This was their second attendance at the Global Service Day following a very warm reception last year. They were more than 10 performers who filled the floor with harmony and cheer.

Our now resident DJ and entertainment maestro Ian King picked up the pace with a medley of old and new favourites and encouraged lots of participation and singing. Ian has been a key fixture at Global Service Day over the years entertaining in his own outgoing style. In his spare time he features in a local band.

With the action filled programme, appetite for lunch quickly grew. Lunch was being swiftly served with a smile by an army of our volunteers.

Ian helped us work off lunch with another round of foot tapping melodies and now we had been joined by Lady Godiva who wasted no time getting onto the dance floor and getting everyone else on there too! As always helping to make the day even more special for us all.

The Singing City choir, recharged after lunch, were back and had made considerable efforts this year to deliver an unsuspecting twist by reciting an old Indian classic song ‘Yeh Dosti’ from the Bollywood film ‘Sholay’. It was a beautiful gesture which brought laughter and cheer across the audience and a lot of active participation as well.

It was great to see such interaction which reminded us what Global Service Day was all about.

"Fill your time with good actions. There is no greater Sadhana than this. Sanctify the time given to you by good thoughts and good actions. For this, you need to cultivate the company of the good, which will in due course lead you to liberation. Fill your mind with thoughts of God. Engage yourself in godly actions. This is true Sadhana". Baba

Bingo was up next with Mike and Rupert, both regulars to Global Service day doing the honours in English. Naginbhai Prajapathi provided translation in Gujarati. With everyone seated it was time for some concentration on those winning numbers.

As the afternoon drew to a close it was back to Ian for a final blast of tunes in the summer sun to accompany some delicious dessert.

With the day at an end and after a heartfelt thank you and farewell, our guests were escorted back to their vehicles for a safe journey home. Global Service Day had again captured what is good about the human spirit. It is worth reminding ourselves of Swami’s message - ‘Love all, serve all’

Jai Sai Ram
Pravin Gaikwad
SSIO UK, Region 4

Region 4 - Gratitude Day and Walk for Values

An epic moment in time

My humble and loving pranams at the lotus feet of our lord Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Sunday 18th October marked an auspicious moment in the history of the Sathya Sai International Organization UK. Devotees in the UK were brought together for one common cause: Gratitude and values.

90 elders from across the UK who have been instrumental in driving the organization forward were honoured on this day for their drive, determination, dedication and most of all, LOVE for the service organization and for our dear Swami. We take our direction and inspiration from Swami himself who first conducted this in Prashanti Nilayam in 2005 and the occasion was named Bhima Ratha Shanti.

The program commenced with bhajans and address by our UK chair Dr. Kiran Patel. We then had a blessed speech by the SSE children reminding the audience of the importance of gratitude to elders for their inspiration and guidance.

As the main programme commenced, it became evident that even at such a grand age, the elders were full of youthful spirit, joy and love as they came up to the tastefully decorated dais to light a candle and receive gifts of gratitude. One elder was filled with so much happiness to see the youth lovingly help them on and off the stage that they were moved to tears. This is the depth of the bonds of love formed between generations of the Sai family.

After the ceremony, we were lucky to be inspired by our zonal chair Petra von Kalinowski who shared a beautiful story of how Swami had called her into the family of Sai and how she felt she had come home when visiting Prashanti for the first time.

We were also addressed by Dr. Kishan Gadhia who shared with us many loving stories of his journey with Swami and the beautiful playful nature of Swami.

This was followed by a musical offering by Akash Parekh and Aarti.

The next part of the day was a Walk for Values, which was the first of its kind in the UK. The aim was to remind and instill values in the hearts of all as we walk. There was a sense of unity as people of all ages and faiths joined together to promote and inspire others to hold fast to truth, peace, right conduct and non-violence. Walking from Abbey primary school to Cossington park with banners and shouting together ‘Walk for Values!’, you couldn’t help but feel positivity being dissipated in to the universe.

On this day we also had visitors from Refuge UK, a charity that aims to help those women and children who are victims of domestics violence. Thus far the UK have gathered more than 200 packages for women and children. These packages of love from us all will enable the women and children to have confidence and hope to move forward in life.

Overall, this day was filled with the 5 human values Swami has all taught us through thought, word, action and heart. Let us continue to move forward in the mission of Sai and be the beacons of love, light and service to the world.

Nirali Sisodia
Regional Youth Coordinator
SSIO UK, Region 4

Region 4 - Rudra Homam

A day full of divine vibrations

"It is the foremost duty of everyone to pray for the peace, welfare and happiness of all people in every country. Everyone must strive to promote the peace and welfare of the world. You must broaden your outlook, shedding the narrow concern about your own well-being, and developing the eagerness to promote the welfare of the world as a whole. You must recognise the basic truth that your individual well-being is bound up with the well-being of all people. On every available occasion recite the sacred name of the Lord". Bhagawan Baba (sss19-07)

On Sunday 6 September 2015, a day of prayers for peace took place in the very hallowed site of the Sri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple, Birmingham.

To start with, the weather was absolutely beautiful. The altar, which had been prepared the day before, was radiant with its purple tone. Purple is the colour of spirituality, which is what our world needs the most currently.

The programme started with bhajans at around 8:15am, followed by a procession conducted by all the male chanters, departing from the Shirdi temple within the precincts of Balaji temple. Reciting various Vedic prayers with heartfelt enthusiasm, they entered the marquee, bringing in strong vibrations.

After a brief introduction by our National Chair, Dr Kiran Patel, the priest addressed the gathering of devotees, explaining the processes of the different pujas that were going to be conducted, and their inner significance This was such a wonderful opportunity to be able to gather and sing prayers for peace, and have the details and signification of the prayers explained by the priests. For Swami’s 90th birthday, the opportunity to conduct a Gayathri Puja as a part of this Homam, was offered to devotees. Dozens of devotees took part in it and venerated Gayathri. What a blessed moment!

The much awaited moment finally arrived: the recitation of Rudram 11 times. Rudram is a very important Vedic mantra, and Swami specified that it is the essence of all the Vedas. The Lord’s name has got immense powers, and chanting it has been recommended by our dearest Bhagawan especially in this Kali Yuga Age. He says that “the Divine name can turn poison into nectar”.(SSS 22-15).

The recitation was done with much dedication, energy and devotion. Let us pray that these strong vibrations of Rudram chanting have brought more peace to the world.

Once the Rudra Ekaadashini was concluded, a few more prayers (Astakams and Stotrams) were recited and whilst some special rituals were performed on the Lingam by the priests; bhajans started again. Devotees then had darshan of the Lingam and Prasadam was distributed, with bhajans still being sung in the background, so that the air was always filled with melodious vibrations.

The afternoon programme started with a talk by Professor Shyam Sunder. He shared with us his divine experiences with our Lord. Devotees thoroughly enjoyed it and that was yet another divine opportunity to listen to Swami’s glory and Message. The last item of this wonderful day was a very melodious Hindustani Vocal concert given by Sister Deepa. This was a pleasure to the ears and brought us all nicely to the end of this blessed day. Aarti was offered to Swami and devotees started to slowly leave, their hearts filled to the brim with joy and peace.

It was such a wonderful day full of blissful vibrations and we pray to our dearest Lord to always give us such opportunities to sing His name and be used as instruments to bring peace in our tormented world. Jai Sai Ram.

Marine Aufranc,
Spiritual Coordinator at Narborough Sai Centre, Leicester.

Region 6 - "Clean for the Queen" Event: Sandgate, Folkestone

Folkestone Sathya Sai Centre organised a Beach Cleaning event on Sunday, 14th February 2016 as part of the National cleaning campaign, “Clean for The Queen”. Clean for The Queen is a campaign to clear up Britain in time for Her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday, which will be officially celebrated in June 2016. This event was also aptly dubbed as “Romantic Beach Clean” as it fell on the Valentine’s Day!

About 38 people assembled in Castle Road car park, in Sandgate, Folkestone for this very worthy community work at 10am. Mr Giles Barnard, The Shepway District Community Safety officer provided all necessary kits for litter pick and high-viz jackets for all participants. The participants were allocated their respective areas to cover in different groups. After 2 hours litter pick all assembled back in the car park and a group photo was taken by the photographer arranged by the Safety officer, Mr Barnard to cover this event on local papers. Thankfully the weather favoured us tremendously beating the forecast of wind and rain at that time of the day; however that followed soon after we completed the event at 12pm!

This event gave every participant a great sense of community work, joy and self satisfaction in being able to carry out the service.

Nabin Siwa
Sathya Sai Centre of Folkestone
SSIO UK, Region 6

Region 6 - Family Values Day

19 July 2015

Wow! What an amazing day! The excitement was literally fizzing in the air, the joy bouncing on our faces, as we enjoyed it. Even the weather seemed to show its excitement by giving us a sunny cloudless day with a cool breeze in the afternoon. It was so much fun that friends had promised to come next year and to bring other fellow friends.

In my opinion it was the best day that Swami had given us. The day started off with a procession, followed by a treasure hunt. We, as the older children, helped the younger ones to find the hidden gift bags, thus experiencing one of the true meaning of Family Values Day, ie. of sharing and teamwork.

After that we had a choice of different sports ranging from cricket, tennis, football, basketball and many more. Later we had the planned races: the sack race which was very hard; the “lime and spoon” races and finally the three legged races (always a laugh.) All the children, parents and teachers participated in these races

Furthermore we had a "tug of peace" event in which all the females compete against all the males. This year the females had won -I think this was because they had more of them!!

A very special thanks to all the parents for providing us with a scrumptious lunch. What a spread it was, enough for second and third helpings!!

The day ended with the presentations of beautifully decorated certificates, which brought further joy to our hearts.

Thank you Swami for this glorious day and beautiful weather - I certainly look forward to next year’s event.

Subigya Ranapaili
Age 11
Region 6 SSE Student

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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.