July 2013 Edition

Quote

It is only when attachment to the fruits of one's actions is discarded that the action becomes yoga (Divine communion). Members of the Seva Dhal should overcome the sense of 'mine' and 'thine' When they embark on service activities, they should regard it as a privilege to serve others and look upon it as a form of worship of the Divine. They should look upon service to society as the means of finding self-fulfilment in life. They should face whatever problems may arise with faith and courage and carry on their service activities without fanfare in a spirit of humility and dedication.

Sai Baba - Puurnachandra Auditorium, Prashaanthi Nilayam, 18 November, 1984

~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Events

National Pilgrimage 2013

Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam 2013

Articles

Education Wing - My Baba and I

Education Wing - SSE Teacher Training: Song for God

Floods in North India - Sri Sathya Sai Trust (UK) Participates in the Relief Effort

Region 1 - AgeLink Party at Tooting

Region 1 - Sports and Family Values Day 2013

Region 1 - Three Days of Service by Brixton Sai Centre

Region 1 - YAP on Spiritual Practices!

Region 1 - Youth Service Activity

Region 2 - Role of Parents in Sai Spiritual Education, an Awareness Workshop

Region 3 - Giving With Love: Ladies Service Project

Region 3 - SSE Basic & Intermediate Teacher’s Training in Milton Keynes

Region 4 - Global Service Day at Gulab Ashram, Birmingham

Region 4 - Tapovanam Reading at Narborough Sai Centre

Region 6 - i2I workshop

Region 7 - Summer Tea Party for the Elderly in Wotton Bassett

Region 7 - The Lord Mayor of Bristol Visits Bristol SSE Class

Service Wing - Prevention is Better than Cure

Service Wing - Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day

Service Wing - Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day – Hayes, London

Service Wing - Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day – Russell Square, London

UK Pilgrimage- Sai Anandam: In Harmony with Sai

Your true Guru is God alone

Youth Wing - How to lead a Dharmic Life Youth Workshop

Editorial

Dear Love & Light Readers,
Om Sri Sai Ram!

The month of July not only brings sunshine and warmth but a blossom of festivals and their spiritual benefits. The month starts with the holy Muslim festival of Ramadan followed by the auspicious day of Gurupoornima for the Hindus. For the Organisation in the UK, there is the special event of the Rudra Homam and the annual pilgrimage to the holiest of holy places for Sai Devotees, Prasanthi Nilayam.

We pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters in their observance of fasting and the discipline and self- restrain that they are having to observe during the holy month.

‘The Ramzan month, the fast and the prayers are designed to awaken and manifest this realisation. Whichever may be the religion, its emphasis is on unity, harmony, equal-mindedness. Therefore, cultivate love, tolerance and compassion, and demonstrate the Truth in every daily activity. This is the Message I give you with My Blessings.’

Sathya Sai Baba. Discourse on Ramzan, Prashaanthi Nilayam, 12-7-1983

Guru Poornima, one of the major festivals for the Hindus is being observed on 22 July 2013. Many Sai Centres around the world including UK will be participating in the celebrations. Baba reminds us,

’The term guru means one who dispels the darkness of ignorance. Gu means one who is beyond attributes (gunas), ru implies one who is beyond forms (rupas). This refers only to God. That is why the guru is hailed as Brahma, Vishnu, or Siva. Only God is the true guru. All others are merely teachers, like the teachers of different subjects in a college. Guru is the one who reveals the guri (target) to the disciple. Guri here refers to the Aathmic Principle.’

Sathya Sai Baba. Discourse: 20 July 1997

As an expression of our love and gratitude to our Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on the auspicious occasion of Gurupoornima, the sacred Rudra Ekaadashini Homam is being performed at the Balaji Temple in Birmingham on 21st July 2013. Information and registration can be found at: http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/rudrahomam2013/

Our National Pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam is at last in sight with about 60 devotees departing the UK 28th July to 3rd August. The pilgrimage is set around the theme of ‘Sai Anandam – in Harmony with Sai’. The pilgrims have so far participated in 3 sadhana meetings as part of preparations. The programme in Prasanthi Nilayam will include sadhana camp, visit to Brindavan (Baba’s abode near Bangalore), musical performance in Sai Kulwant Hall and inspiring talks and experiences by eminent speakers. It will truly be a memorable experience as it did for the pilgrims last year.
For more information please visit link below:
http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/NP2013/

Finally, let us remember the thousands who are suffering and lost their lives following the devastating floods in Northern India and pray to Bhagawan for His Grace and Blessings. The Sathya Sai Organisation in India are heavily involved in the relief efforts supported by the International Sai Organisation. The UK Trust has opened an account to facilitate anyone wishing to provide donations for this cause (please see later for details).

Thank you for your active participation in the activities and initiatives that have been conducted in the UK.

Jamie Raju,
Vice Chair, UKCC
Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK)




Education Wing - My Baba and I

Swami is always watching over me, as does a mother watching over her child. Swami has sent guidance and care, love and warmth in the form of my SSE gurus and my dear Sai family.

Attending Bal Vikas has enriched me with good values. These values will be my guiding light to be able to face the challenges and hardships of modern society. The world we are living in today we all turn to someone when we face our ups and downs. With the encouragement and upliftment that Bal Vikas has given me I am confident and I know that my dear Sai Ma is always there to lend me a hand in times of trouble. All His teachings will armour me with strength and help me face anything with a smile. It is through my SSE teachers that Swami sends his messages and tells us that whatever happens is for our best.

Bal Vikas has helped me to learn to be considerate to the environment, respect Mother Nature and be kind to animals and other living beings. I enjoy the activities the teachers organise for us, such as the quiz programmes, role plays and celebrating special days of different religions. This gives us children an opportunity to understand and respect all religions, which is one of Swami’s greatest teachings. The significance paid to Honouring our parents, honouring our gurus through celebrations such as Easwaramma Day and Guru Poornima has enlightened me and reminded me to show my gratitude, love and respect to them. Bal Vikas has also taught me that one should not waste food, water, energy and time as Food is God, Energy is God, Time is God.

I remember fondly as Bal Vikas children from the U.K. we were blessed and privileged to sing for Swami, when we went on the National Pilgrimage to Puttaparthi in 2010. I consider myself as one of the lucky ones whom Swami has taken under His wing. Writing this article would not have been possible without His Will.

Luckshi Jegatheeswaran
(SSE Group 3- Age 13 )
(Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Mill Hill, Region 3)

Education Wing - SSE Teacher Training: Song for God

It was a privilege to be able to be part of the 'Bhagavad Gita' shlokas workshop held at Oxhey Wood Primary School in Watford on Saturday 8th June 2013.

The training was very well organised by the National SSE Training Board. The former National SSE Coordinator Ms Gowri Mayilvaganam who was the trainer for the day very eloquently explained the context, significance and application of the timeless message of the Gita and how it was relevant to all times, all ages and all creeds.

The 25 stanzas incorporated in our SSE syllabus were hand-picked by our Beloved Bhagavan to be adopted and taught to our Group 2 SSE children. Gowri beautifully clarified their meaning with her in -depth knowledge of Bhagavan’s interpretation of each verse. The explanations were further enhanced by adding relevant stories from the various holy scriptures interspersed with the narration of her personal experiences with Swami gained during her time spent in the Divine Presence on her frequent visits to Puttaparthi.

Two talented and dedicated teachers Hema and Hina recited the shlokas beautifully which enabled us to affirm the correct pronunciation and intonation required to teach the verses to our SSE children. Dr. Mahesh Narayan shared some touching stories of devotees’ personal experiences with Bhagawan and the invaluable lessons for us to learn in the context of the eternal message that the sacred Gita teaches us.

I thank Swami for giving me the opportunity to be part of the SSE programme which provides a platform for me to learn and grow each day. I hope such fantastic workshops continue to be organised in the future so we in our capacity as SSE Gurus can learn, apply and impart these life lessons to the children in our care. I would especially recommend them to the youth and encourage them to come forward and avail the opportunity provided, as these workshops inspire us to apply what we learn in our everyday lives, and elevate us spiritually.

Nupur Faujdar
SSE Co-ordinator & Group 3 SSE Teacher
Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Mill Hill (Region 3)

Floods in North India - Sri Sathya Sai Trust (UK) Participates in the Relief Effort

"Sometime ago, there were heavy floods in the State of Orissa. They ravaged several villages in four districts. The houses, trees, standing crops and even animals, and some people were swept away by the surging flood water. Hundreds of villages were inundated and people were marooned. They were fear-stricken at the fury of nature.

Then I sent a telegram: "Don't worry. Be happy. I will build your houses." The people of Orissa came to see Me, by arranging a special train. The government was there, MPs and MLAs were there, who were expected to come to their rescue in that hour of need and provide succour to them. But, none came forward. I sent ten crores immediately and arranged for distribution of relief material and building of pucca houses for the affected people. I am not interested in accumulation of money. I want only your love. Be happy. Develop your morality and love for God. If you develop love, that love itself will drive away the demonic qualities in you.

It is only to demonstrate this principle of love that I have done this housing project in Orissa. We should love and help each other. The calamity that has befallen them can happen to anyone. When you make them happy, you will also be happy. Therefore, we should all be united.

us all move together, Let us all grow together,
Let us all stay united and Grow in intelligence together,
Let us live together with Friendship and harmony. (Telugu poem)

It is only when we grow in intelligence together can there be unity. We should move and work with unity. No one should hate anybody. If any thought of hatred comes to you for a moment, you should brush it aside and develop the feeling of unity from the very next moment. It is only love that unites all".

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Divine Discourse 3/4/2009 (SSS Speaks 42-07, 42-09)

From June 14-17 2013, the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in Northern India suffered devastating rainfall, floods and landslides. More than 100,000 people have been rendered homeless and over 1000 people have died. It is estimated that there are 4700 people missing and unaccounted for, and all these figures are still rising alarmingly on a daily basis.

As these the States are home to the holiest of Himalayan shrines and temples such as Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Joshimath, GuptaKashi, Gaurikund etc, about 70,000 pilgrims and tourists have been stranded. Although many pilgrims have been rescued by the courageous efforts of the Indian Army, Air Force and other such government agencies, tens of thousands of the local populace are still trapped and need to be rescued. Food and essential supplies have to be transported to starving and suffering survivors. Roads, homes, water supply, medicines, transportation channels and basic infrastructure need to be rebuilt, supplied and established.

Current Relief Efforts

The Sathya Sai Service Organization in India began delivering relief to the affected areas immediately following the disaster. A two-phase relief operation is currently underway. The first phase provides assistance to pilgrims and villagers who have been evacuated from the affected areas. Generous amounts of food, blankets, clothes, medicines, cell phones and water proof tents are being distributed. In addition, post- disaster counselling is being provided for the victims. Numerous relief centres have been set up and these centres not only cater to the victims, but also to their relatives and friends who are trying to locate and find their loved ones.

In the planned second phase, villages will be adopted and infrastructure developed to deliver complete holistic care to fulfil the needs of the local population. A detailed survey of the villages will be conducted and a rehabilitation plan developed respecting local ecological, safety and environmental compatibility. Orphanages and shelters will be constructed and staffed as needed.

As a spontaneous and natural response, many Sathya Sai devotees and office bearers of the Sathya Sai International Organisation too, wished to actively participate in this noble endeavour and help in the ongoing relief efforts. This international response is being co-ordinated by Dr Narendranath Reddy, Chairman of the Prasanthi Council, through the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation (SSSWF) which is a registered non-profit charitable organization in the U.S.A., that directly supports the work of the Sathya Sai Organization throughout the world including India. The SSSWF has established channels to support the work of the Sathya Sai Organization in India, and is therefore able to provide immediate assistance to the colossal relief efforts in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

As part of this international efforts, and on behalf of devotees in UK, The Sri Sathya Sai Charitable Trust (UK) has humbly contributed US Dollars 50,000 (Fifty Thousand) to the World Foundation as an immediate response, since the need of the hour is urgent and essential relief supplies are to be distributed immediately to the affected population.

The Trust which is a registered Charity with the Charity Commission UK has opened a specially designated account ‘Disasters Relief Fund – Uttarkhand & Himachal Appeal’with Barclays Bank PLC to assist in this relief effort. Those devotees wishing to participate in this Seva activity can credit the amount directly to the account under advice to the treasurer at sssct.treasurer@gmail.com.. All the donations received by the UK Trust will be channelled through the SSSWF in USA which as mentioned above is co-ordinating the International Relief effort.

GIFT AID:

Any donors who are UK tax payers, can take advantage of the generous GIFT AID scheme. If you require the gift aid form, kindly contact the Treasurer Mr. Ashok Bhagani at the above email address or write to the Trust at the Bookshop address given below.

The details the bank account are as follows:
Barcalys Bank, PLC
Sort Code: 20-77-67
Account No: 50068349
Account Name: SRI SATHYA SAI CHARITABLE TRUST (UK)

The donations can also be sent by post to the following address:
Sri Sathya Sai Charitable Trust (UK)
c/o Sai Bookshop (UK)
19, Hay Lane
Kingsbury
London NW9 ONH
E-mail: sssct.treasurer@gmail.com

The cheques should be payable to:
SAI SATHYA SAI CHARITABLE TRUST (UK)
(ON THE BACK OF THE CHEQUE PLEASE WRITE (“UTTRAKHAND AND HIMACHAL RELIEF FUND”)

The task at hand is undoubtedly stupendous and of mammoth proportions, but with our united efforts and the Divine Grace of our beloved Bhagawan, we will be able to reach out to our suffering brothers and sisters in these severely devastated areas in their time of great need.

Ashok Bhagani,
Treasurer,
Sathya Sai Charitable Trust (UK)

"A few days ago, I had sent Lorry loads of rice, grams, etc., to the earthquake victims of Gujarat. Some people asked "Swami, why should you take the trouble of spending so much money for sending the relief material to Gujarat. You could have as well averted the earthquake." I replied, "My dear, man has to blame himself for the earthquakes. Due to excessive greed for wealth, he is disturbing the balance of the earth. Hence the earthquake. That is the law of Nature.

You have to express your love for man by helping the needy. Love is your nature. Just as balance is very much essential for Nature, so also love is very much needed for man."

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Divine Discourse, 21/2/2001 (SSS Speaks 34-03)

Service Wing - Prevention is Better than Cure

Disease prevention is a key principle of the Sathya Sai Ideal Healthcare model. Speaking on the topic, Bhagawan said, "One sacred duty of the doctor is to advise persons on how to preserve health and prevent disease. Instead of treating people after the onset of illness, it is better to ensure that they do not fall ill at all. What is the use of spending millions on curative measures without promoting health? It is a waste of money"

The Sathya Sai Health Awareness Days (SSHAD) which are being organised by the Service Wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK, embrace the Ideal - “Prevention is better than cure."

The objectives of the SSHAD are:
• To increase awareness of commonly occurring diseases.
• To increase awareness of healthy lifestyle options and disease prevention.
• To increase awareness of local National Health Services.

This service initiative is being delivered through sustained partnership with the local National Health Service, healthcare charities, and the love and dedication of healthcare professionals and volunteers, who give freely of their time and skills.

Over the past two months, there have been a number of Sathya Sai Health Awareness Days conducted in different regions around the UK, with more planned in the month to come. We pray, that we are blessed with the opportunity to conduct many more SSHADs across the country. Below, there are a few reports from recent SSHADs.

Should you be inspired to organise a SSHAD in your area, please get in touch with your centre Service Coordinator or Chairperson. Alternatively, you may wish to contact the National Healthcare Team by sending an email to: saihealthcare@srisathyasai.org.uk

NEXT SSHAD:
Date: 13th and 14th July 2013
Venue: The Newham Show, Central Park, High Street South, Eastham, E6 6BE
Time: 12h00 – 18h00 daily

Dr. Kumarasen Pillay
On behalf of National Sathya Sai Healthcare Coordinating Committee.

Service Wing - Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day

On Sunday 19th May 2013, a Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day was conducted by Sri Sathya Sai Organisation, Region 2, U. K, in partnership with Brent Indian Association (B.I.A), Wembley. The venue was the Brent Indian Association Headquarters.

The event was opened by local councillors and the chairperson of the Brent Indian Association, who acknowledged the work that was being done to promote a healthier lifestyle, providing a service to the local community.

Over 250 people from multicultural backgrounds sought professional advice and support for their medical needs. Services included, blood pressure, blood sugar, BMI checks and an opportunity to discuss findings and obtain advice from General Practitioners and a pharmacist. Dental and Optometry checks and advice were also provided, with referrals made to local services when required.

We were also grateful to have the support of Diabetes UK and the Stroke Association who attended and provided an informative display. Topics included, amongst others, advice on foot care, lifestyle changes and even nutritious recipes, in different languages.

Presentations, on health related topics, were made throughout the day and this engaged attendees during the waiting time. Many who attended commented on the loving atmosphere and the caring, cheerful manner of the volunteers and professionals.

We are grateful to our beloved Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, for blessing us with this opportunity to serve in His name.

Service Wing - Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day – Hayes, London

The Botwell Leisure Centre in Hayes was the setting for our Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day conducted on Saturday, 15th June 2013.

The event was run in partnership with the Hayes City Council and Primary Care Trust. Over the six hours that the programme ran, 230 people had their blood pressures, blood sugars, BMI and Diabetes Risk screening performed, and many also had dental and optometry examinations.

On hand, were the very helpful and enthusiastic volunteers from Diabetes UK, The Stroke Association, and Rethink. They provided plenty of information on common health conditions, their management, and preventative strategies and also raised awareness of the availability of local health services.

General Practitioners and a Psychiatrist were also available to offer consultation and advice to attendees who were found to have abnormal results or wished to discuss any concerns they had.

“I think this is a brilliant service and should be organised every month in places like shopping centres and McDonalds”
- Mr. Sandor Horvat (a local resident)

“A lot of these people don’t know they have issues with their eyesight so are surprised to be told they must see the optician. It’s definitely been valuable.”
- Aarti Suresh Kumar (a volunteer)

Written by: Priya Kotecha (Volunteer)

Service Wing - Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day – Russell Square, London

The Central London Sai Centre conducted its annual Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day at the Coram Fields Nursery, Gulidford Street, London on the 16th June 2013. This service, was loving offered to the individuals from the local homeless shelter.

We were all humbled by the touching account of a gentleman, who experienced first –hand, the loving service offered at a SSHAD.

Last year Mr J was examined at a Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day in Region 3. He was told that he had a cataract in his eye, for which he required a surgical procedure, and he was referred to the NHS for treatment. He was not aware of the extent of his problem, when he presented to the Optometrists at the SSHAD.

This year the Big Issue seller walked back into the same clinic at the Central London Sai Centre in Russell Square, to tell his story and thank the health professionals and volunteers who helped restore his eyesight.

He said: "Last time I got diagnosed with a cataract, the optician gave me a report and told me to take it to the hospital with a letter requesting urgent treatment and an operation. Today I have come simply to thank everyone for helping me. I wouldn’t have even known I had a cataract until it was too late."

Mr. J said that he found the environment at the SSHAD clean and the event, well organised. He said, "The people who volunteer are doing this for such a good cause and I am so thankful to them and to Sai Baba. Everyone loves Sai Baba." Mr. J found out about the clinic after attending the homeless shelter in Lincoln’s Inn Field in Holborn where Sai devotees offer hot food every Monday.

Mr J’s personal experience is a testament to the principles of Sai Ideal Healthcare in practice; providing highest quality care with love and compassion.

"Treat the patients as your own kith and kin" - Bhagawan Baba

Written by: Priya Kotecha (Volunteer)

UK Pilgrimage- Sai Anandam: In Harmony with Sai

The Sai Anandam UK Pilgrimage 2013 will soon be commencing on the 28th July in Prasanthi Nilayam, the holiest of abodes where many of us saw, touched, spoke with, and felt God! Even today, it is the place which fills us with amazement and inspiration, with hope and joy, with immense love and peace. Indeed for millions around the world like us, it is the sanctum sanctorum of our spiritual rebirth as well as fulfilment!

This year 55 pilgrims, including 8 children, are undertaking this spiritual journey to the Divine Abode. And we met recently on the 29th June in London for the third Pilgrimage Sadhana Day. As with the previous two Sadhana Days, but more so on this occasion due perhaps to the fact that we were getting closer to our much anticipated day of departure, there was amidst the group a palpable sense of excitement and spiritual fervour! Apart from the frenetic activity in relation to finalising travel plans, accommodation, filling various forms, and instructions regarding matters such as general discipline, dress code etc., the day offered opportunities for individual and collective reflection too! After all, is it not the ultimate purpose of any sadhana or any pilgrimage to be connected constantly with one’s Self?

Thus the pilgrims studied selected chapters from Bhagawatha Vahini in smaller groups and shared their experiences and understanding. Many were touched by the profound messages that our dear Lord Sathya Sai conveyed through His beautiful narration of the wondrous Leelas of Lord Krishna and the steadfast devotion of the Pandavas. We later dwelt on the themes of Ananda (Bliss) and Harmony, both central to the current pilgrimage titled Sai Anandam: In Harmony with Sai. Many practical insights were shared and reflected upon. It was quite heartening to see the children too participate actively in the group activities that have been designed specially for them around these topics.

The Name of the Lord always has a soothing effect on the mind and quietens it almost instantaneously. This was the experience of all the pilgrims on the day especially during the Likhitha Nama Japam (Writing the Name). As we quietly sat down and wrote in silence the divine name ‘Om Sai Ram’, a certain sense of calm and joy too, rose within us almost unnoticed. One could also feel a perceptible peace in the hall, even at the end of a very short session of 15 minutes!

As we left for our homes, we resolved firmly to stick to our Sadhana plan (study of 3 Vahinis- Bhagawatha, Dhyana, Sandeha Nivarini-, Likhitha Nama Japam, Regular Prayers- Suprabhatam, 108 Names, Nirvana Shatakam-, Jyothi Meditation and Ceiling on Desires) and make the best use of this Pilgrimage in our spiritual lives. We now look forward to our week long stay in the hallowed precincts of Prasanthi Nilayam, to saturate our beings with the divine vibrations and fill our hearts with the divine love of our dearest Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Programme Overview
28th July - Orientation Day
29-30th July - Sadhana Camp
31st July - Brindavan Visit
1st August - Musical Offering
2-3rd August - In Harmony with Sai

Arvind Patel
Leicester Central, Region 4

Your true Guru is God alone

Bhagawan's Gurupoornima Message

Today is Gurupoornima. Poornima refers to the full moon with all his 16 aspects being illumined by the sun. In man there are sixteen black spots: the six enemies (lust, anger, greed, infatuation, pride and envy), the two Gunas, Rajas and Tamas, and the eight types of mada (conceit) based on lineage and scholarship, wealth, youth, beauty, position and penance. It is only when man gets rid of these sixteen evil traits that he will be able to realise his oneness with the his poornatva (Divine).

Who is the one who enables man to achieve this state of Poornatva (fullness)? It is the Guru. Guru refers to one who has transcended the gunas and has no form. The gurus of today are filled with qualities of all kinds. The disciples seem to be better than the preceptors. The disciples are making sacrifices. The preceptors are acquiring possessions. In this situation it is difficult to say who are gurus and who are disciples.

People today tend to be naive in their actions. Whenever they see some aged persons, they seek some mantra (spiritual message) from them. What is the mantra they really need? It is the understanding of their true nature. This mantra is within them. Each contains within himself the mantra, tantra and yantra (the spiritual message, the method of practising it and the instrument for implementing it). Your process of breathing contains the mantra you need: “So-Ham", "SoHam". (Bhagavan demonstrated how this should be done). "I am That," "That is I." This is the mantra. What is the yantra (the instrument)? It is your physical body. What is the tantra? Your heart! When you have in you all the three, why go to anyone for a message? It is a sign of weakness and ignorance.

Your true guru is God alone. He transcends all gunas. He is beyond all forms. He is the only one who can dispel the darkness of ignorance and light the lamp of Prajnaanam (Supreme Wisdom). It is a mark of ignorance to go after nondescript preceptors and seek messages from them. When they are wallowing in bondage themselves, how are they going to free you from bondage? How can one who is filled with delusions himself rid you of your delusions? Can one who is begging for food relieve your hunger?

Have confidence in the Atma! Do not go in search of gurus. Strengthen your faith in the Atma. Seek to enjoy the Atmic bliss. Strive to develop the conviction: "I am the Atma." That is the true message. When you have grasped this Truth, all other things will be unnecessary. For experiencing this Guru, there are no restrictions as to time, place or circumstances. Only for the man steeped in the mind, changes in time exist and he is bound by them. But to the man who has transcended the limitations of time, everything remains immutable. This spiritual state can be reached only through confidence in the Atma.

Gurupoornima is observed as a day for honouring the Guru. Some types of gurus welcome this day as the day which brings them income. They are an inferior breed. The real Guru is only one. He is the One, the God of gods, who is hailed as father, mother, teacher, knowledge and wealth and all else. He is the Supreme whom you must seek by your sadhana. God alone can transform your spiritual efforts into a transcendental experience. You have the vision of the Divine (saakshaatkaara). The vision does not come from outside. It is within you, because the Divine is omnipresent. Only the person who considers himself separate from God will have the feeling that the vision of God comes from outside. God is everywhere. You are God.

Dedicate every moment of life to the Lord. It is the agglomeration of body, mind and the senses which is preventing you from recognising your inherent divinity. You are covering yourself in this manner. You are the cause of your bondage through the body and the mind When you understand the nature of the body-mind complex, you will realise your true essence. It is enough if you develop the conviction that you and the Divine are one--"Aham Brahmaasmi." Cultivate steadfast faith in this Divine oneness through love. That love will lead you to Self-realisation.

You need not wait for a whole year to observe Gurupoornima. Wherever you may be and whatever you do, regard yourselves as instruments of the Divine and act on that basis. Treat every moment of your life as being intended for dedication to the Lord. This is the way to experience the Divine all the time at all places. This is true Saakshaatkaara. Serve all and love all. Firmly believe that the Divine is in everyone and constantly act on this belief. Only by continual practice can you develop this sacred attitude. Fill yourself with self-confidence and courage.

Make your life a complete offering to the Divine, who is the real source of all that you are and all that you have. There was an old woman in Uttar Pradesh who used to give away many things in charity. She used to go about with her head bowed. Some people asked her why she was humbling herself in that manner when she could hold her head high because of the numerous gifts she was making to all and sundry. She modestly replied: "When the Lord is giving me so many things with His thousand hands, all that I am giving is only with a single hand. What reason is there for feeling proud about what I am doing? Should not people feel ashamed about giving to others with one hand what God gives to them with a thousand hands?"

Hence, everyone must develop the spirit of Thyaga (sacrifice). You must serve the people with your body. You have to cherish good and noble thoughts in your mind. You must use your wealth for supporting educational and other institutions to help the people. Give food to the starving. This is the way to lead a purposeful and sublime life. Life has been given to you not to fatten yourself. The body is the basic instrument for the practice of Dharma.

Dedicate your entire time to service and the discharge of your duties. Your sadhana must not be for selfish ends. It must promote the good of others. Giving up selfishness, cultivating selfless love for others, sanctify your lives.

Excerpts from Divine Discourse at the Poornachandra Auditorium, on 7- 7-1990, Gurupoornima day.

Youth Wing - How to lead a Dharmic Life Youth Workshop

Spirituality is beautifully complex, yet so subtly simple. For me it's like a cloud that appears to be distant and fluffy and only attainable when flying in the skies, yet when one attempts to grasp and cradle it a thousand miles away, there is nothing tangible to hold. In reality spirituality is not in the skies, it's only our vision and thoughts that are clouded.

The clarity of thought or what others may term as the power of discrimination must be one of the most useful tools to exploit in this challenging and fulling spiritual journey. In the i2I workshops we are encouraged to understand, reflect and implement the spiritual concepts and make them a way of life. After all, as Sai aspirants on this arduous spiritual journey, why should we limit the teaching to our Satsang sessions; it's a way of life that ought to be spread through to all wings of our life. Whether in our professional life, as parents, as children or as citizens.

Incorporating the theoretical concepts of Swami's teachings which are so eloquently put, but arguably not grasped in its entirety by our humble intellect can seem an easy task, however true understanding must come from living and breathing His teachings. This is why the i2I workshops fuel my yearning and quest to be a better beacon of Swami's teachings.

For illustrative purposes, in our last session we touched upon the meaning of Dharma, which as many will be familiar with, is the cosmic order of Ishwara, Ishawara being the law maker and the law. We are all born with the basic instinct that we do not want to be hurt and also that we do not want to hurt anyone else. Right and wrong are intrinsic, yet good and bad are subjective and determined by ones judgement which is fuelled by personality. At a glance it appears to be such a simplistic definition, however on greater exploration the exquisite contradictions and profoundness can be identified.

How does one live a Dharmic life then? This must be the crux of our life surely? In short, should we not live a life where we do good things? Yes but how is this achieved? There is no formulae for this but Swami's teachings such as the five values give us all the aids and our power of discrimination fine tunes these.

From experience, I can assure you that when one surrenders to the Lord and pledges to live a more Dharmic life, the Lord shall answer. And no doubt, He will NOT be feeding you the formula of Dharma with a silver plated spoon, but He will churn, shape and mould you so that one day you realise what you always were and are. Trust your faith and instincts and do not be afraid to use your intellect to bring clarity to your actions. Dharmic lifestyle will one day be involuntary to us, but until that day we must seek comfort in God's grace and our power of discrimination.

May the Lord uncover the cloud of illusion from our eyes so that we may be on cloud 9 wherever we may physically be.

Jai Sai Ram
Yeliz Atak
Region 6

Region 1 - AgeLink Party at Tooting

On Sunday 23rd June, Tooting Sai Centre had the pleasure of hosting an AgeLink Party for the elderly people in the local area. This is an annual event at the Tooting Sai Centre and on this occasion there were 34 guests in total. Prior to the event numerous e mails were sent around organising food, transport, musical items, games as well as the general coordination of the Youths from the various other Centres.

Everything was planned in detail and when the guests started to arrive, eager volunteers assisted them to their seats and offered them teas and coffees.

It was really good to working together and volunteers from all groups from 4 yrs to 80+ yrs all working together with everyone for the common goal of making this day both memorable and enjoyable for the elderly.
Despite one car getting delayed in traffic, the entertainment began on time.

Performances by the SSE children included playing various musical instruments such as the flute, violin, keyboard and clarinet. As well as this, there was much opportunity for the elderly to sing along to certain favourite songs such as 'Mary Mary' and participate throughout the day, playing bingo and taking part in a quiz. A special birthday cake was made for one of our guests who thoroughly enjoyed the attention and love being lavished on her. Another guest who has been coming to these parties for some time now has really got into Swami's teachings and expressed a desire to go to Puttaparthi.

Words cannot express that overwhelming feeling of love and unity one gets from being part of such an event. AgeLink gives us all an opportunity to spend some time with the elderly, talk to them and make them laugh. We all forget how lonely lives some of them lead and some of them do not see anyone apart from their carers for weeks on end. They eagerly look forward to these events and always leave with a smile on their faces with prizes and gifts to take home.

The joy and appreciation from the guests touched us and reminded us of Swami's saying -

' Service springs out of love, and it scatters love in profusion'.

Tooting Sai Centre

Region 1 - Sports and Family Values Day 2013

On Saturday 29th June, Region 1 held their Annual Sports and Family Values Day at Tooting Bec Athletic track and Sports Stadium and, once again, Swami gave us the perfect Weather ..... after a rainy week before – Blue Skies and warm Sunshine, with a gentle Breeze for the children – Thank you Swami!

It was a hive of activity at the Stadium, with helpers and volunteers setting up the Altar, the food hut (Sai Café!), the Track and the Registration Office etc and, throughout, beautiful Instrumental Bhajans were being played over the loudspeakers and the beautiful smell of incense drifted on the breeze – close your eyes and you could have been in Prashanthi!

Around 90 SSE children attended the event - ranging from Nursery to Group 3 yr 3 students, the Youth and approx 100 + Adults. We were joined for the first time by the admirable 23rd Wimbledon Scout Group, founded last September in the Sai Mandir, inspired by Swami’s own experiences as a young scout and run completely by Sai Volunteers who are based at Merton Sai Centre. The children (who are mostly from the SSE classes) and their Scout Leaders came with sports equipment, acted as referees and created Family Values Games that were enjoyed by all, adding greatly to the enjoyment of the day.

At registration each child was given a coloured wrist band denoting which value house they were in, Red – Prema, Purple – Shanti, Blue – Dharma, Yellow – Sathya, Green – Ahimsa. Then came the March past and the Salute to Swami with the Scout Troupe leading the way - holding small flags each representing a Value. After some very smart marching to stirring recorded music from the Prashanthi Brass Band, all the children had a quick change of clothes ready for the Games to begin!

The Games began with fun Obstacle Races, lively Sprint Races, Football and Rounders. We also had a lovely addition of a new game called Value Dodgeball! This involved each child representing a Value but they had to dodge 2 balls that represented bad values and they were attacked from both sides – great fun and an active way to learn about the need to guard yourself against negative influences and values in your life!

Relay races and the Long jump followed and, whilst these were being played, Face Painting was taking place for the little ones in between their own activities. Parents too were having their own games such as Musical Chairs for the mums and Shot Put throwing for the dads!

During the course of the afternoon, Councillor Penny Sheldon - the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston-Upon-Thames, honoured us with her presence. Everyone gathered around Swami’s altar as she spoke to us - saying how much she had enjoyed watching the Games and indeed the Face Painting! She said how impressed she was that we had all gathered together and it showed how united we all were. She also said she was amazed at the purpose of the day – The unity of families. She said that when she heard that we are a Multi-faith Organisation and how we come from all denominations - that in itself showed true Community Spirit. The Mayor finished by speaking to the children and telling them exactly what Swami tells us – that the children are the Leaders of the Future – and she told them to think about it carefully. She then presented them with the Certificates that they had won throughout the afternoon.

Snacks and Drinks were plentiful throughout the afternoon with trays of delicious sliced Melons, Apples and Oranges brought around by our dedicated Sai Volunteers, helping to keep everyone happy and healthy throughout the whole event.

Family Games then continued with the Mum’s and Dad’s races – which was run with eagerness and determination, as well as enjoyment for the children, cheering on all their parents!
The last item of the day was the all time favourite Tug Of War! First was Mums-vs-Daughters – the Mums won! Then Dads-vs-Sons – the Sons won! Then all the Girls-vs-Boys – Girls won. Much fun and laughter and cheering was created by all and a great way to end a day of sporting triumph and teamwork!
The day ended with Aarti to our beloved Baba. A great time was had by all and, with Swamis Grace, we look forward to next year’s Sports and Family values Day with great eagerness.

Thank you to all the SSE Teachers and Seva Youth, Uncles and Aunties who made the day so enjoyable for all the children and parents who attended a day full of laughter and enjoyment, teamwork and human values that created great memories and learning experiences for all those who took part. Jai Sai Ram!

Sandra Fletcher (Bromley Center)
Gisela Robinson (Wandsworth Group)
Geetha Maheshwaran (Merton)

Region 1 - Three Days of Service by Brixton Sai Centre

The month of June 2013 saw the members of Brixton Sai Centre hold three large service events, known locally as “Fundays”. These are usually held at care homes or at sheltered accommodation schemes and involve the members interacting with the residents and entertaining them with fun and games for a whole afternoon. This year was extra-special because it was the first time ever that Brixton had decided to hold three such events...and all in the same month! Two members give below their accounts of the activities.

Aashana House

On Sunday 2 June, Brixton Sai Centre held its first Funday of the month at Aashana House, a residential care home for older Asian people in Streatham, South London. We all got ready to go there straight after our centre’s group devotional singing to start our activities at 3pm. Our centre attends the home for monthly devotional singing, but that day was going to be special!

After starting the programme with prayers and devotional singing, we played a game of pass-the-parcel, followed by a quiz between two teams of residents. Finally, we played a game of antaaksharee (a popular singing game) which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Consecrated food (prashaad) was distributed to everyone and packets of biscuits were also offered to the residents as the day concluded at about 5:30 pm.

Truscott House

The “Funday” at Truscott House, a sheltered accommodation scheme for mainly older people in West Croydon, was held by the Centre on 15 June. Brixton normally holds a bingo session there once every month.

The day started with a sumptuous lunch, consisting of sandwiches, jacket potatoes and curry and rice, followed by apple crumble and custard for dessert, all of which cooked and served by the members. Lots of entertainment ensued, starting with pass-the-parcel, which was full of prizes and forfeits to keep everyone amused.

Thereafter, the residents were divided into two groups for a challenging quiz! After questions in no fewer than five categories, the winning team was declared and each joyfully received a gold medal.

Afterwards, there was a sing-along, which got the residents to sing and hum along and took them back to their past. Old favourites such as “Oh, what a beautiful morning”, “Molly Malone”, “Que sera, sera” and “Don’t dilly-dally (my old man said follow the van)” were sung loudly by one and all, residents and Centre members, finished off by a rousing rendition of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”!

The next item was “Play Your Cards Right”, based on the popular television game show, with our very own Bruce Forsyth! Cries of “higher” and “lower” could be heard; and fun was had by all, even though the luck of the cards played against both teams. (“You don’t get anything for a pair, not in this game!”)

But all the residents were eagerly awaiting the star item: bingo! Our bingo host even donned a special hat and cloak for the occasion! From our monthly bingo sessions at Truscott, we already knew the residents to be bingo fanatics, so it came as no surprise to us when they wanted us to carry on and on!

Freeman Court

After the first two Fundays, we were really looking forward to the final Funday at Freeman Court, on 22 June. Freeman Court is another sheltered accommodation scheme for mainly older people in Norbury, South London. As with Truscott House, Brixton holds a monthly bingo session at Freeman Court.

We served a full lunch at 12pm that was popular with all our guests. Then we played two rounds of pass-the-parcel, which the residents really enjoyed.

Thereafter, we had a quiz formed of two teams and the winning team won medals. The residents were served tea, coffee, biscuits and cakes during their short break so they could get ready for a sing-along. Everyone joined in all the songs and thoroughly enjoyed it; we even received requests for further songs, so we all kept going! To end off the day, they all played bingo and won lots more prizes.

The organisers and volunteers all lead busy lives but still dedicated their spare time to interact with the residents, many of whom were older people who helped to build this country but who are now largely forgotten. Everything was planned in detail and executed professionally. As an SSE parent, I was mesmerised by the efforts of all the organisers and volunteers who remained enthusiastic throughout the whole five-hour event, never tiring and helping to keep everyone engaged right to the end. Hats off to them!

Region 1 - YAP on Spiritual Practices!

Om Sri Sai Ram!

The youth of Wimbledon Sai Centre were presented with a wonderful opportunity to host the Region 1 Young Adults Programme (YAP) on Friday the 21st of June at Merton Centre Sai Centre. The YAP provides youth a chance to get together and voice opinions and ideas on a chosen topic. The task for this YAP was to find answers to the question, ‘Is there any purpose to spiritual practices in today’s world?’

The research covering spiritual practices of different religions allowed us to come up with 3 main sub questions for the regional youth to discuss on the day. The youth were split into three groups, with each focussing on one of these questions. The discussion lasted for about 25 minutes, after which a spokesperson from each group presented the points generated during the discussion.

Some of the questions were open ended and allowed the participants to express their feelings of how they truly felt about spiritual practices within religions. The YAP also gave some individuals the opportunity to learn why different spiritual practices take place. The purpose of the YAP was to open the participants’ minds to a different level of thinking.

Discussions of the significances of certain religious acts such as doing Arathi, the 5 K’s of Sikhism, Muslim women wearing the Hijab (veil) and praying during different times of the day. The points were summarised at the end and we agreed that spiritual practices can help character building and that while they may be diverse, they all lead to one goal – a pathway to God.

I personally enjoyed doing research for this topic prior to YAP and it is always nice hearing what the fellow youth have got to say. Learning about other religions is important and I found it an interesting experience to compare my spiritual practices to that of others.

Rhagav Viswanathan

Region 1 - Youth Service Activity

This service for many years has been provided on a monthly basis by the various centres and groups in region 1, the youth of the region have now taken on board to provide this service 3 to 4 times a year and this is a youth’s experience of their first time involved in this activity:

Spires is a charitable organisation based in the South London area. It is a community based project which reaches out to the homeless and the needy. The actual headquarters is a community hall adjoining to St Leonards Church and not too far from the hustle and bustle of Streatham town.

As you enter the hall, you immediately see the care and attention the volunteers bring to the place with lovely window plants and books lining the perimeter. A friendly atmosphere is very noticeable.

The kitchen is at the rear of the hall and is spacious with ample work surface area. We are first introduced to a seasoned veteran who has agreed, as this being the youths first time carrying out this service activity, to guide us on what to do, how to do it and what not to do starting with a few health and safety rules and briefly runs through the process of making the main dish of the day which will be a vegetarian curry. In total there are seven of us, and after donning aprons we head straight to our stations and start preparing the vegetables. We start off with the onions, chopping them finely which provides the base for this soon to be sumptuous curry.

The main cooking pot is what you would call a ‘banquet size’ pot and the aim is to feed approximately 120 people.

Already there is a buzz in the air as everyone is getting stuck into their various tasks. Soon we hear the sizzle of the onions frying gently over a low heat with one of the volunteers stirring continuously with a long handled wooden spoon.

The rest of the ingredients are then added, chopped tomatoes, mixed vegetables and the special spices flown all the way from India. Pretty soon a lovely aroma wafts around the kitchen enveloping those standing by and initiating mouth watering taste sensations. As the curry bubbles away we all stand back to take a break to make our introductions as we sip on the delicious spiced tea brought in by the coordinator. After an interesting but brief chat we all got back to the task in hand. We peer into the pot and we see a beautiful rich curry dotted with the colours of the mixed vegetables. The curry is ready to be ladled carefully into the individual serving trays and the cleaning operation began in earnest.

This experience has been wonderful knowing that some people will be getting a decent hot meal. It is something that many of us can take for granted. There are many, young and old, in our communities struggling to make ends meet, with rising costs of food amongst other things. So we can all try our best to give back to the community not only with financial help but with our time as well.

Hema Iyavoo - Region 1 Youth

Region 2 - Role of Parents in Sai Spiritual Education, an Awareness Workshop

As per Swami’s will, London West Sai Center had the opportunity to organise a workshop on the topic “Role of Parents in Sai Spiritual Education, an Awareness Workshop” for all the parents and also future parents of SSE children.

The Guest Speaker for the Workshop was Mrs Vidyulatha Narayan our National SSE Coordinator.

The Workshop started with 3 Aums , two bhajans and an interactive session by our Guest Speaker Mrs.Vidyulatha Narayan. There was a round of introductions by all participants before the topics were discussed. Some of the important topics discussed in the workshop were:

1. The Foundations of the Bal Vikas movement
2. Blossoming of excellence of the five domains in a child’s personality (Emotional, Physical, Mental, Intellectual and Spiritual) and how they relate to each human value
3. Tripartite Relationship of the Child, Parents and Guru
4. First Be, Then Do and Then Tell – Bhagavan’s message

Following this session a touching talk was delivered by Mrs Lakshmi Wunnava, the SSE Coordinator for London West Sai Centre on the “Impact of SSE on my life”. She shared her experiences on being a Balvikas Student herself for 9 whole years, having had the good fortune of being an alumnus of Swami’s Anantapur College for girls, a Bal Vikas Guru and currently a parent of an SSE child. This clearly impressed upon the audience the benefits of this sacred programme.

The Plenary session was held by Dr. Mahesh Narayan who shared lot of stories narrated by Swami on the topics discussed in the preceding sessions. It was a very lively session followed by couple of Questions and Answers. Dr. Mahesh did answer a few questions which were unasked but were lingering around in the minds of most of the Indian parents and provided smiles and relief in the parents faces.

The one and half hour workshop came to a close with Mangala Arthi and Prasad distribution.
We did start on time and also closed the session on time. The young parents who attended were able to do so with no worries or stresses of child care was thanks to the dedication and love of two of our Sai sisters.

Thank You Swami for the wonderful opportunity provided to all of us for being a part of YOUR MISSION.

London West Sai Centre
Region 2

Region 3 - Giving With Love: Ladies Service Project

Sunday 23rd June 2013 celebrated the GIVING WITH LOVE Region 3 Ladies Service Project successfully meeting its first deadline to supply the Kazakhstan Medical camp with 130 gift bags for distribution to children and local volunteers at the forthcoming medical camp in August.

Hosted by Upton Park Sai Centre in East London, the programme started with a short video put together by youth girls involved in the project showing how this group of ladies had worked with adults and SSE children across various Sai centres and groups in Region 3 to hand-make cards, clothes and “friendship” bracelets for those less fortunate than themselves. The aim was to serve Swami, not only by sewing/knitting and silent prayer, but also by reaching out to SSE children and youth – introducing wider participation of these craft activities within a value based framework. The video showed how, by being given the opportunity to make cards of LOVE and friendship bracelets for those in need, participants here in the UK made a heart to heart connection with these far – off countries. In line with Swami’s teachings, the ladies had also reached out to other faiths within the immediate community and had succeeded in motivating ladies and youth girls from a local mosque to join the project. The video brought out how our Beloved Swami Himself was the Founder, the very Inspiration behind the project -being the perfect role model for the GIVING WITH LOVE principle during His years in the physical form.

The audience were then treated to a wonderful talk by guest speaker, Dr S Upadhyay who had taken time out of his busy schedule to attend the function and support the project. He spoke of the importance of hand-making items as an offering to God and also his experience of visiting various countries around the world on medical camps, at times bringing him face to face with the very depths of human degradation and need. The doctor shared Swami’s teaching that prevention is better than cure and giving clothing to the needy members of the society is one way of preventing many illnesses. The doctor kept the audience completely enthralled as he also related a beautiful experience of when our Beloved Swami dropped in on the doctor and other devotees carrying out gardening “seva” in Prashanthi Nilayam, many years back. It was very touching to hear how Swami took a moment to stop and explain to the doctor how to gently tend to a little baby plant – providing it with the necessary support and protection, thereby allowing it to grow strong and in turn provide shade, oxygen and beauty. The speaker went on to share his experience of meeting and working with Mother Theresa and how She embodied the principle – Service to Man is Service to God and also how Mother Easwaramma had been such a pivotal figure in Swami’s Mission – thereby illustrating the huge potential for goodness and sacrifice – which all women inherently possess. The doctor finished his excellent talk with a moving video re-counting the scenes met by volunteers on various international medical camps, which perfectly complemented the speech and illustrated the desperate need in these impoverished countries.

Following the Aarti to our Beloved Swami, the audience took time to visit an impressive exhibition of some of the work presented by the ladies group – needlework, knitting, crochet, beading and card-making with several individuals and centres expressing an interest to join the project going forward. Finally, a delicious lunch prasadam was partaken by all before the programme was finally brought to a close and all those who attended fully agreed that Swami’s graceful presence had been felt throughout the morning, which inspired each and everyone involved to work even harder in serving others, where possible, in future. JAI SAI RAM

Sutopa Sen, Region 3 Ladies Co-ordinator

Region 3 - SSE Basic & Intermediate Teacher’s Training in Milton Keynes

SSE teacher’s training day was organised by the National SSE Training Board, hosted by Milton Keynes Sai Centre in Region 3. The aim of this day was to encourage new teachers, SSE helpers, youth and parents to take on the role of an SSE Guru with confidence and faith. Three different training sessions were held, all of which were inspirational.

The first session on the ‘Significance and Teaching of Multi-Faith Prayers’ was facilitated by Mr Roni Ramdin an experienced and dedicated SSE teacher and SSE alumnus from Brixton Sai Centre in Region 1. He taught us several multi-faith prayers from various religions, along with their meanings. This workshop emphasised the significance of promoting, informing and enabling our children to understand the important lessons that the World Religions teaches us, which have been enunciated by our Beloved Bhagavan in many a divine discourse.

The second session conducted simultaneously was on the ‘Significance and Teaching of Bhaja Govindam’, sacred stanzas composed by the great Teacher and Saint Adi Shankara. This session was conducted by Dr Mahesh Narayan and Mrs Pravina Patel, both experienced SSE teachers and trainers. They went through each of the pertinent verses and were taught to recite it with emphasis on pronunciation and intonation. They explained each verse with clarity and used stories and practical activities to highlight the meaning and relevance of Bhaja Govindam to our everyday lives.

The third session that was run alongside the other two was the Basic Training for new teachers, SSE helpers, interested youth and parents. This was an opportunity to go in depth into the foundations of the sacred and noble programme, the five teaching techniques, SSE parent’s study circles, SSE teacher’s sadhana and the importance of Understanding Children. Each of these aspects were delivered in an informative, practical and inspirational way by our trainers who included Dr Chunmugavel, Mr Raj Rajasingham, Mr Yoges and Mrs Thana Yogendran and Mrs Vidyulatha Narayan.

All-in-all, it was an enjoyable experience and it has certainly inspired us all (whether it was a refresher course to some, or a new journey for others) to apply these teachings in our everyday lives and in our SSE classes. I am sure this training day has motivated more people to get involved in the Education Wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation as it is a key activity of the Sai Centre or group. The SSE programme is an invaluable treasure entrusted to us by our Lord Sri Sathya Sai Baba to mould the character and personality of our children. Swami always reminds us, “The end of education is character.”

Ramani Jeganathan
(Region 3 SSE Co-ordinator)

Region 4 - Global Service Day at Gulab Ashram, Birmingham

23rd June 2013 may have been a wet day outside but inside the purpose built Senior People's Home called Gulab Ashram, there was lots of hectic but happy activities going on.

The programme started at 10.30am with welcoming the guests and our chief Guest, our Beloved Swami, followed by prayers and bhajans.

We shared Swami's Love and Light with the guests by having activities that we our guests really enjoy, such as bingo, pass the parcel, SSE children’s musical performances and antaksiri. After which we ended the programme with a few more bhajans, followed by aarthi.

Our guests thanked everyone especially the SSE children for their presents of roses they received. It was mentioned that the children's performances were as enchanting as the roses they shared with the elders.

Our most humble thanks to Swami and our guests for giving us this opportunity of service. We all look forward to the next Global Service Day when we can share our love with our most worthy guests.

Sai Ram
Subash Thearia
Birmingham Sai Centre

Region 4 - Tapovanam Reading at Narborough Sai Centre

“I felt like I was in Sai Kulwant hall!”
“As I sat and listened I could visualise all the events, and it took me back to the time, when they were relayed by students in His Divine Presence.”
“My job is very stressful but sitting here and listening made me feel utterly peaceful.”
“I was totally immersed in the reading and I forgot my house, my kids everything-just felt completely connected to Swami”

These were some of the comments made by people attending the reading of the Tapovanam

A Youth’s Perspective

(Life story of Sri Satya Sai Baba) on Saturday the 15th of June at the Narborough Sai Centre in Leicester.

As one entered the hall they were greeted by a murti of Swami with his right hand raised blessing all, He smiled looking out at all who sat before Him. To add to the beauty of this, in the middle of the altar there was a gigantic framed photo of Sathya Sai seated in a cream chair, bounteously smiling, again, catching the eye of those who looked up at Him to find their hearts filled with inner peace and love. On the right proudly stood the fitted throne on which Baba sat. Each face of the altar was adorned in fresh flowers, as a garland: each hugging one another, getting close to what they coveted. The setting was provided by a white backdrop with blue lights which seemed to twinkle like stars.

On the floor were placed plastic plates neatly aligned and placed within them were objects which would be used to perform Paduka Pooja. It was Sunrise. The birds chirped along with the sun which rose in all magnificence around the altar under the aegis and the will of Bhagwan Himself. The day was a snapshot in the legacy left by the physical presence of the Eternal Charioteer. All sat behind their plastic plates, ready to perform the Paduka Pooja, looking yearningly towards the altar. In the heart of their hearts they took the Padukas on which their Baba rested, and placed them in front of themselves. With love, they poured obeisance onto their Swami – This is called Avahan. Interaction was at its peak. Energy, aura and divinity had filled the room. A connection had been activated. This connection had no extent. The smile on Baba’s Photo had grown into a cheeky grin.

To be able to perform Pooja in front of the Sathya Suriya Narayan Sunrise was His grace in itself. Petals and rice grains dropped and lay at peace at each syllable of Baba’s 108 Names.

After the Pooja, the Padukas were placed at the foot of the photo of Baba. Now the second part of the day’s proceedings began.

The Tapovanam also known as the Sathya Sai Satcharitra, is a collection of experiences throughout Bhagwan Baba’s early life given by devotees with whom Baba had much interaction through his omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence.

Everyone sat down, some on chairs and some on the floor. Their faces reflected devotion unwavering and unfathomable. They knew their Baba was present in the room. The room turned into a darbar. The subjects and devotees of the ‘king’ were sat on either side. Ladies on one side and gents on the other. The king sat in his throne in the middle of the altar waiting to hear his own story. Just like the line in the Bhajan Jhulana Mein Jhule Mere Sai Nandalal, which states ‘apni hi katha suno tum nanadal’ (listen to your own story Sai Krishna for you are the avatar. You are the Lord. You know everything) Sai Krishna sat and smiled, ready to listen.

Some closed their eyes to see Baba’s Leelas unfold right in front of them. Others sat, gazing into the eyes of their Swami – re living their own experiences and relating them to what they heard. From this their connection with Swami deepened. The bond was once again strengthened. Sitting there they listened and took turns to read. They read with pure hearts and with unconditional love.

It seemed to deliver motivation and faith to the listener. Faith in the fact that their Swami would be there for them. ‘Why fear when I am here’ is what Baba said.

The day was an offering to Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He, however, offered to those present a vast amount of blessings and in actual fact, hearts were filled with love and connections with Baba were rekindled!

Anand Lad

Region 6 - i2I workshop

The workshop on May 19th consisted of a variety of topics, including Parusha, Prakrthi, Darma, Karma, discrimination, Parama Athama and how they all work together.

Purusha is the Soul (Also known as Athma, Ishwara, Spirit) and Prakrthi is the basic nature of intelligence by which the universe exists and functions.

Prakrthi to put tangibly consists of all of the following: perception, the mind, the physical body (arms, legs etc), the physiological forces (i.e. breath), actions, the will to act.

Purusha is where Truth lives hence is called Sathya, whereas Prakrthi is where falsehood can cultivate and reside, hence its existence depends on something else, thus is known as mithya.

Both purusha and Prakrthi work together in giving a level of reality to the individual.
Depending on where your level of reality comes from, either from Truth or from the mind then the WAY you live your life and your behaviours will all be affected, as your outward actions will be driven from either of these sources.

The “Will to Act” is generally governed by the law of Dharma (right Conduct) and Adharma (Misconduct, opposite of Dharma)
In general all actions are unimportant unless derived from Dharma, as the action performed is from the spirit, hence is from purity and nowhere else.
The law of Dharma comes from the Soul and hence man’s choice to carry out his “Will to ACT” can be actioned in three ways.
1. Action,
2. Not Action or
3. Action Differently.

Dharmic action means Right (correct) action, this action is inborn, hence comes from “the spirit.” The concept of Good/Bad action is actually a judgment on an action and is not from “within/the spirit”, but is from the “mind/Ego”.

The question that arises from here is How do you know which action to perform in a given situation? This is where discrimination comes in. Discrimination is defined as recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.

Hence, in this case, difference in behaviours. An individual will need to understand why they are behaving in a certain manner and what has driven them to do that. This understanding comes from understanding your own self, and your behaviours in different circumstances. Generally in life CHALLENGES will always arise but the REACTIONS to them is the problem; the reaction is the actual behaviours and actions carried out.

Attached to all actions are consequences, Karma & Karma Pala.
Karma is incurred when actually doing the action whereas Karma pala is the fruit of the action. The meaning of “doing the action” is to create the karma. The creation is done through thoughts, speech and behaviours. These will in turn affect our present reality and our future. The affect on the present reality is the behaviours, thoughts, speeches when CHALLENGES arise and the affect on the future is the reaction to it. The influence of karma carries over from one lifetime to the next, remaining through death and rebirth. The law of karma accounts for the circumstances of one’s birth, one’s individual nature and the differences among all living beings and their environments. Good karma, then, means actions born from good intentions, kindness and compassion and bad karma arises from greed, jealousy, hatred etc, impure thoughts.

How this all works together is as follows; Truth overpowers falsehood. Hence, if Truth is what an individual live’s by, then there will always be “peace of mind,” as the actions are governed by dharma which is driven from the spirit/purity. When the individual performs an act, and the reason why one is performing the action is risen from “within” and not from elsewhere, the individual cannot incur any karamic consequences for the future and lives a more fluid life that is in the moment and transitions forward smoothly towards light (bliss).

In simple English; You have fewer problems and enjoy life more!!!!

Jai Sai Ram
Gita Pathmanathan
Region 2

Region 7 - Summer Tea Party for the Elderly in Wotton Bassett

On the last day of our SSE class for the year, the Swindon SSE children hosted a tea party for the elderly in the community. This service activity has been on-going by the children in the last year and everybody looks forward to it! This one however, felt very special for our elderly friends were very moved by the pouring of love that was showered to them. A cream tea and warm weather set the scene for a typical British tea party. Playing a few games and chatting to our elderly friends, seemed more like talking to family than friends. As a parent, I’m am filled with pride when I look at how my daughter interacts with the elderly, offering them a cup of tea and sometimes just bringing a smile to their face by sharing something funny!

An activity that was enjoyed by everyone, was ‘planting the seed of love’ in which children and elderly were paired up to plant little pots of flowers to take away with them to nurture and watch grow. This really touched everyone!

A beautiful poem was recited by Ruth, our regular attendee from the community and another lady even played us a tune or two on the keyboard from her young days at school.

The children led a few songs, in which everyone joined in, singing so beautifully to our Beloved Swami!

We felt privileged to be a part of this service, as my daughter has been learning some of Sai’s teachings, that Service to man is Service to God; and its through activities like this, she is able to put them into practice. The atmosphere was filled with lots of love and our children assisted in making everyone feel very special and welcome! I know our elderly family will be eagerly awaiting our next party from our children.

We offer all our gratitude to our beloved Sai, for allowing us to always serve in His name!

Sai Ram
Mrs Radha Fortune (SSE parent)

Region 7 - The Lord Mayor of Bristol Visits Bristol SSE Class

There was excitement in the air, as the children of the Bristol SSE class, were expecting a special guest today. The Lord Mayor of Bristol; was visiting and everyone was full of anticipation to welcome him. Mr. Gaurang Patadia, the Chair of the Bristol Sai Group, and Mrs. Eileen Whiting, the Head Teacher of Kingsforest School (the venue in which we hold our classes every Saturday)
and a supporter SSE for many years; welcomed the Lord Mayor inviting him to join the assembly, with the children all neatly seated with big smiles!

He listened to the bhajans ‘Hu Allah’ and ‘Let the love we are sharing’ along with morning prayers, chanted beautifully by the children. There was a presentation of SSE classes, and little ‘speeches’ by children on what SSE meant to them and how it has benefitted them in their day- to- day lives. This was followed by an inspirational talk by the Lord Mayor himself where he congratulated the children for regularly attending the SSE classes on a Saturday morning instead of sleeping or watching TV as many of their peers may be doing. He then went on to explain how diverse Bristol was as a community, how essential it was for children to spend their time constructively focusing on values and value education. He explained lovingly to the children how he rose to this high rank from a very humble beginning, and how one can achieve anything in life by perseverance and patience. These two values had, in fact, been the theme for our lessons this term!

The Lord Mayor took time to attend each of the classes in turn to see what the children were learning and how they were putting Swami’s teachings in action.

It was clear that the children were inspired as they gathered round the young Lord Mayor with their joyful faces and various questions. He explained that he was the youngest Mayor in 800 years and the Gold Emblem he wore weighed a whole kilogram and was 300 years old! You could see their eyes widening! The Lord Mayor was deeply touched by our SSE class and the love and warmth and acknowledged everyone for the good work undertaken in Swami’s name.

A very special guest brought forth to the SSE Classes Bristol, by Swami himself! It became apparent, that He was with us- from the immense love, joy, sunshine, and celebration experienced by everyone!

Aum Sri Sai Ram
SSE Team, Bristol

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