June 2012 Edition

Quote

Love is the word which indicates the striving to realise the falsehood of the many and the reality of the One. Love identifies; hate separates. Love transposes the Self on to another and the two think, speak and act as one. When love takes in more and more within its fold, more and more entities are rendered as One. When you love Me, you love all; for, you begin to feel and know and experience that I am in all. By means of dhyaana (meditation), you can realise that I am the resident in all hearts, the urge, the motive, the guide, the goal. Yearn for that vision, that awareness and make it your priceless possession. Then, you have what you often ask Me for --- saakshaathkaara (Direct Vision of Reality). Your love has to be as pure and as free from the taint of ego as mine so that it can merge in Me.

~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Articles

Education Wing - Buds to Blossoms

Region 1 - An Evening with Brother Sri Sanjay Sahni

Region 1 - Easwaramma Day

Region 1 - Young Adults Programme (YAP)

Region 2 - Age Link Party – Love in Action and Unity in Diversity

Region 2 - Pinner Sai Centre Legacy Programme 2012

Region 2 - Young Adults Programme: “Meet the Stranger”

Region 3 - June 2012 Update

Region 5 - Cutting the Ties that Bind Workshop at Halifax

Region 5 - Young Adults Programme (YAP)

Region 6 - Youth Satsang: "Making our Lives Swami’s Message"

Region 7 - Laksharchana, Bristol

Region 7 - SSE Swindon joins the Jubilee Celebrations

Region 8 - Easwaramma Day Celebrations

Spiritual Wing - First National Sadhana Meeting

Spiritual Wing - Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam and Gurupoornima Celebrations

Editorial

Dear Fellow Pilgrims,
Om Sai Ram

I am thrilled and excited having attended the first Sadhana meeting on the 3rd June. A warm feeling of unity and oneness had been felt on the day by all devotees who attended the programme. The day was open to all who were interested in attending the National Pilgrimage 'Sai Jyothi' - Journey to the Divine Light. Now we are hearing from many devotees across the Nation who would also like to practice the Sadhana plan and play a part in other aspects of the National Pilgrimage whether they are coming on the pilgrimage or not . The Journey to the Divine Light is something we have in common as Brothers and Sisters of the Sai Family, let us come together as one in this offering. Please visit the link below for registration and more information about the National Pilgrimage.

http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/nationalpilgrimage2012/

As we prepare for the Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam 2012 & Guru Poornima Celebrations the excitement is already building up for our offering of love and gratitude at the Divine Lotus Feet of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. We request all those attending to help us plan and pre register so we have an idea of the numbers that will be attending. See link below for more details and registration.

http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/rudrahomum2012/

National Spiritual Retreat : 17-19 August 2012

On behalf of the UK Council I am pleased to inform that we have managed with Swami's Grace to locate a venue at the beautiful Welsh coastal town of Llandudno for the National Retreat, a befitting location which would provide an uplifting and elevating experience to everyone attending. We are praying for inspirational guest speakers to grace this event. Please watch this space .......

Registration will open in the next week.

Jai Sai Ram,
Jamie Raju
UKCC Vice Chair

Education Wing - Buds to Blossoms

An SSE offering

It is with great joy that I take this opportunity on behalf of the Sai Spiritual Education Wing, Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation U.K. to present the E-book titled ‘Buds to Blossoms – The SSE Experience’, capturing the thoughts and feelings of the SSE fraternity on the role and impact of Sai Spiritual Education in their lives.

This collection of reflections from the children, teachers, parents and SSE alumni is a loving offering dedicated at the Divine Lotus Feet of our most Loving Mother Sai on the sacred occasion of the celebration of the National Easwaramma Day 2012 in the U.K.

The articles, poems, artwork and photos have been chosen to echo and represent the sense of gratitude and love felt for Bhagawan by His children from across the regions of the United Kingdom. The enthusiastic response received from the SSE fraternity to the request made for contributions towards this memento has been overwhelming and indeed very humbling. Although we are unable to publish every contribution made, it is heartening to know from the thoughts penned down and illustrated that Bhagawan’s teachings have permeated the hearts and minds of the young and the young at heart and His dictum ‘First Be, Do and Tell’ is at the core of their understanding.

Vidyulatha Narayan
National SSE Coordinator

Please click the front cover image below to view the eBook

Spiritual Wing - First National Sadhana Meeting

3rd June 2012, London
Sai Jyothi 2012: Journey to the Divine Light
UK National Pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam October 7-27th

'The first task of a Saadhaka is the cultivation of enthusiasm. Through that enthusiasm, he can derive any variety of Ananda. Never get inflated when you are praised, never get deflated when you are blamed. Be a spiritual Lion, regardless of both. One must oneself analyse and correct one’s faults, this is most important.'
-Bhagawan Baba, Prema Vahini p113

For the first of the four Sadhana Meetings, planned as part of the preparation for the sacred Sai Jyothi UK National Pilgrimage in October 2012, it was heartening to see about 150 fellow Sadhakas assemble with great enthusiasm and love in Watford, London despite the slightly damp weather conditions on the 3rd of June. The day started at 10:30 am with the group chanting Sri Sathya Sai Ashtottharam (108 names of Bhagawan) followed by bhajans.

Dr. Kiran Patel, National chairperson of the SSSSOUK welcomed the gathering. He reminded everyone that Prasanthi Nilayam is the holiest of holy places, an epicentre from where the entire mission of our divine master unfolded, and indeed our spiritual birthplace. The majestic Temples of healing and education in Prasanthi Nilayam came about very quietly without any advertisement, and stand in testimony to the Divine Will, Glory and Leelas of our beloved Bhagawan. They also reflect the eternal relationship of pure love between God and Man. Just like the monkeys in the Rama Avatar built the bridge by chanting the divine name of Lord Rama, so too in this age, devotees participated in constructing these mighty institutions by chanting the Name Sai Rama while engaged in various tasks, including carrying sand bags and bricks.

Karthik Prashanth , an alumnus of the Sathya Sai institute was our programme Anchor for the day. He said that when Bhagawan wants to shower his grace on us, we should be able to receive it. For this we need to be in the recipient mode, ready and prepared to be drenched in the divine love and grace. The Sadhana meets will help us towards achieving this goal. He narrated an incident when a few of them as youngsters got together and wanted to do all night bhajans to draw Swami’s attention. They tried their best but couldn’t continue with the endeavour and soon fell asleep. The next day at darshan, Swami came up to them and encouraged them by acknowledging their effort and said that it was the motive and the spirit that mattered most.

This was followed by a detailed presentation about the Sai Jyothi Pilgrimage by a team lead by Dr. Kumi Pillai. Brother Kumi highlighted the inner significance of the Journey to the Divine Light, and took us all down the memory lane by reminiscing on the blissful experiences of Darshan , Sparshan and Sambhashan granted in Prashanthi to many devotees and groups from UK over the years. When like minded aspirants with a common spiritual goal get together in a spirit of unity and devotion, great things are achieved and much progress is made spiritually. The sadhana meetings are planned with this in mind where all of us have the opportunity to light the Lamp of Love, can take steps to preserve its brilliance and enhance its lustre. We will then be able to connect to the source and draw our sustenance from it. He reiterated that in times when we lead very busy lives, this pilgrimage offers us a golden opportunity to share a common platform of service and spirituality.

Brother Karthik then gave a quick outline of the Sadhana plan which includes Likhitha nama japam, study of five vahinis ( Sandeha Nivarini ,Prema Vahini, Dharma Vahini, Dhyana Vahini, Sathya Sai Vahini), daily prayer (Suprabhatham, Ashtottharam and Nirvana Shathakam) and finally practice of ceiling on desires. This was followed by Brother Jamie Raju detailing the logistics of Registration, travel arrangements, accommodation etc and the various features of the website created for the pilgrimage.

http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/nationalpilgrimage2012/

Grama Seva in the villages around Prasanthi Nilayam is a unique aspect of this National Pilgrimage. It is a great opportunity for the young men in our country to serve and learn invaluable lessons in simplicity, contentment, gratitude and faith in God. Dr. Amit Patel shared how his experience from a Grama Seva trip to Prasanthi in 2006 had a profound impact on his life. He said the change in his attitude and outlook towards service, towards keeping a check on his desires, and the deep feelings of love towards Swami following that visit helped him in his daily life including his career.

We then had a refreshing and uplifting ten minute session of Jyothi meditation ( Meditation on the Light). Please find the link below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldq3eChOAm0

The national spiritual co coordinator, Dr. Veeru Mudigonda, took us all through the Nirvana Shatakam.Nirvana Shathakam is a six stanza composition (Shatakam) by Sri Adi Sankaracharya at the age of eight. He was a great sage who lived around 780 AD and brought to the attention of modern man the eternal concept of Advaitha or non-dualism. The translation that was presented was rendered by another great saint and proponent of the vedantic thought, Swami Vivekananda. Brother Veeru mentioned that as students of Swami, this Shatakam was often sung in Swami's Divine Presence. The words in Sanskrit and their meanings are quite profound and significant. Just contemplating on them elevates the spirit towards expansion and freedom.

We were indeed blessed to have amongst us two very eminent guest speakers for the day: Sri H J Dora and Sri Ajitbhai Popat.

Sri HJ Dora is a highly decorated officer of the Indian Police Service, and an ardent devotee of Bhagawan Baba since the year 1965. Bhagawan has handpicked him to serve in many key roles in His Divine Mission, and especially in his current role as one of the Directors of the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation.
Professionally and personally, at every significant stage of his life he was able to receive Blessings from Swami directly. He most often served as ‘Swami’s Car Driver’ whenever Bhagawan toured the various cities and villages of Andhra Pradesh, and Swami blessed Him by visiting their home too.

Sri Dora spoke on the topic ‘Journey to the Divine’. Some of the key points are mentioned here. Whether aware or not, we are constantly making a journey towards God, he said. When man goes astray, Avathars take the physical form from time to time to guide mankind back on track. He explained the difference between a saint and an avathar as revealed by Swami. Saints through practice evolve and achieve awareness of the supreme, while the Avathar who is verily the Supreme Consciousness, descends to a physical form so as to guide humanity.

Swami was completely detached, Sri Dora reflected, even at the tender age of 14 when he declared his avatharhood. He addressed his father, Pedda Venkapa Raju, as gruham abbayi (the man of the house) and his mother, Easwaramma, as gruham ammayi (the lady of the house).

Avathar comes with a clear and complete road map laid. And Swami had said that once He Decides, no power will be able to obstruct His Will. Swami had no advantage whatsoever as he was born in a rural village in one of the poorest parts of Andhra Pradesh. Puttaparthi was a very primitive place and Swami was born into a poor family. Now puttaparthi is on the world map and is a spiritual epicentre. This is possible only because Swami is Kaliyuga avathar, the Incarnation of the Age.

Bhagawan's prediction in 1943

Sri Dora narrated an experience of a devotee to whom, as early as 1943, Swami as a little boy foretold the great events that were to unfold, including the construction of the Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir, super specialty hospitals, University etc facilities which exist now. He described the coming of millions of devotees including those from distant countries. People around Him found it difficult to believe as Puttaparthi was a very remote, snake-infested dry land, and Swami only a small seventeen year old boy! Swami was always surrounded by people who were in utter disbelief and always questioned his predictions. This was purely because of the Maya which engulfed them.

Avathars don’t fail

Swami had a clear vision about his mission right from his birth. Swami always guided all those who followed him with faith and love, in spiritual and personal issues. He constantly toiled for their spiritual uplift, and in fact had no holiday in the 86 years of His Life on earth. Wherever he went, he was always surrounded by thousands of devotees! Swami’s sankalpam (Intention or thought) is as strong as a diamond (Vajra Sankalpam)

Whenever Baba wished anything it would happen well within time inspite of several obstacles. The hospitals were opened on time and surgeries were performed as declared inspite of acute shortages of cement and steel. 2000 kilometres long pipelines were laid for the supply of water to remote villages. With great regard and respect people came forward and offered their land for this project.

Miracle defies scientific principles

Being contemporaries, we don’t understand the importance of the moment and even doubt Swami’s actions. He explained how Dr S Bhagavantham an ardent devotee of Bhagawan and a great physicist, was mystified as to how two metallic objects could stick to each other without even the generation of any heat, as it happened when Swami casually stuck a pendant to a silver idol of Shirdi Baba! Sri Dora himself was a close eyewitness to many a traditional ‘ear-piercing ceremony’ performed by Swami where the little girls didn’t feel any pain nor was there any bleeding!

Sri Dora in his conclusion said that Swami always followed what he said. In spite of the money pouring in, mega projects etc, there was never a change in the life style of Swami. He is an embodiment of love, and love alone is the most powerful instrument. Devotees from several countries came to Swami’s feet only through his message of universal love.

We had a sumptuous lunch and this was followed by Likhitha nama japam. The gathered devotees spent about ten minutes in writing the divine name. Brother Veeru explained the significance of writing Swami’s divine name everyday. He narrated how Swami made a room just outside the Sai Kulwanth hall for the completed Nama Japam books written by his devotees. Swami then installed a marble idol of Lord Hanuman over the vault, as He said that only Hanuman could withstand the vibrations generated by these books. Devotees aspiring to participate in the Likhitha Japam should write regularly and have a particular time dedicated to it. It is vital to have a silent and peaceful atmosphere to visualise the Form and experience the qualities of Love and Bliss associated with it. Care should be taken to not treat this just as a mechanical exercise. This Sadhana apart from being practised daily by an individual, could also be undertaken together periodically as a group either with in the family or even in our respective Sai Centres to motivate one another and reap the benefits.

The next speaker of the day was Sri. Ajit Popat, who spoke on Grama Seva is Sai Rama Seva. Sri Ajitbhai Popat, whom Bhagawan used to address endearingly and lovingly as Puppet, is well known to the Sai family in UK and beyond. Dedicated to the service of our Divine Master, Sri Ajitbhai has been blessed by Bhagawan to participate in many significant projects such as Swami’s Hospitals in Prasanthi Nilayam and Whitefield, Parthi ‘Grama Seva’, and various Parthi Yatras (pilgrimages) from UK. An inspirational and insightful speaker, he was one of the fortunate few who was regularly invited by our dear Bhagawan to address the august gatherings in His Divine Presence on various occasions.

Sri Ajitbhai Popat took the whole gathering on a roller coaster ride for the next one hour. It was a very emotional and every minute was uplifting and spiritually elevating. He spoke about the significance of Grama Seva and why it was so special and endearing to swami. Ajit bhai was granted the opportunity by Swami to participate in Grama Seva in the year 2000 and it continued every year from then on. Some of the highlights of his talk are given here.

God in Action

Swami once said to Ajit bhai: Do you want to see god in action? If so go and join Grama Seva boys. Baba took active role and lead from the front. The planning started from as early as Shivaratri and lasted till Navarathri (Dasara). Swami would enquire every evening about the day’s events, and was very pleased with the Seva done by the UK boys. The UK boys in spite of several difficulties always participated in Seva enthusiastically. They overcame language barrier by learning the local language. They came face-to-face with abject poverty and thus understood the largesse that in comparison they were bestowed with in their home country.

PHD : Pure Hearted Devotee

Swami once asked Ajit bhai (AB): What is PhD?

AB: Doctorate swami.

Swami: No. No. It is Pure Hearted Devotee

Swami then said spend time with my boys during the Grama Seva and that is the best Sadhana. Swami reiterated that one of his eyes is on the devotee while the other eye is on Grama Seva.

Grama Seva : A process of learning

Swami highlighted that Grama Seva is a learning process and that it is not a process of serving. Swami once remarked that one should go deep rather than always swim in the superficial waters of spirituality and service. He went to state – ‘When god is ready, you should be ever ready!’

The whole gathering was absolutely silent and was very emotional when he narrated few conversations between Swami and himself during the Grama Seva time. One evening Ajit bhai mentioned about a 100 year old lady to Swami to whom they had given a saree during Grama Seva that day. Swami was very happy and enquired with great concern and love, ‘Did she wear the saree? Please ask her to wear it. Will you?’

Swami said to Ajit bhai on one occasion, ‘ To serve, don’t just look for opportunities. Create opportunity! That will make me proud! There is no use of just having good intentions, when you don’t have the plan to translate them into definitive action.’

Baba is Allah

Once during Grama Seva which happened to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan, Ajitbhai came across a devotee who was just returning after the evening prayers. He offered Swami’s Prasadam to this devout Muslim who immediately was overwhelmed how Baba answered his prayers to Allah. On another occasion, when he enquired from a lady in a village if she was happy with the choice of the saree given to her as Prasadam, the lady without any hesitation retorted that there could never be anything wrong with God’s Choice, and could never be a substitute for Swami’s Prasadam.

3 kinds of devotees

Swami explained that there are three kinds of devotees. One who follows to the core whatever Swami says, second is the one who needs constant prompting, and the third is the one who anticipates the wishes of the Master, and plans and executes even before he is told. One should aim to anticipate and carry out Swami’s work with utmost motivation and love.

Ajitbhai concluded that indeed we, his devotees, are his legacy. Every moment is golden and let Him operate while we cooperate. God is working with us, not working for us. Baba created facilities so that one day we will follow in his footsteps. The intensity of our involvement should be similar to that of a person dying of thirst for a drop of water in a desert. It was a truly emotional and unforgettable experience listening to Ajit bhai.

Brother Kiran Patel summarised in conclusion and offered his gratitude to Swami and His devotees. He said that past is past and future is uncertain, but the present is important. So it is all the more important for all of us to embark on this divine journey.

Time just flew and the event concluded with Arathi. It was a truly enlightening Sadhana meet which I will cherish for ever.

Please click here to download the days power-point presentation

Dr Vijay Anand Nadella
R5 Spiritual Coordinator

Spiritual Wing - Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam and Gurupoornima Celebrations

July 1st 2012, The Balaji Temple, Birmingham

"Innumerable superhuman benefits are conferred by God on mankind. Even electricity is an expression of the Divine. From magnetism to electricity, heat and light, all these various forms of energy are considered as different forms of matter. This is not so. God is the source of all energy. If this is not realised, we will be failing to appreciate the true source of the air we breathe, the light we enjoy and the heat that sustains life.

For the power we consume or the water we use, charges have to be paid for their supply. That being the case, do not we owe gratitude to the Divine who has provided the world with air, water and light free? As the beneficiaries of the benefits provided by the five basic elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth), we should show our gratitude to them as manifestations of the Divine. The five elements are the source of five qualities experienced by the five senses: Sound, Touch, Vision, Taste, and Smell. Man makes use of these five elements but shows no gratitude to them. Gratitude should be an essential quality in man." SSS Speaks, Volume 14, chapter 52

Bhagawan Baba, our dear Lord, reminds us that the terms Homam or Yagnam do not just mean the offering of oblations in fire as a mark of our gratitude to God. But the true Yagna or Homa is offering oneself to God, to please God and to become worthy of His love. He further explains that any action that we perform, if we offer the fruit thereof to the Lord, it becomes a Yagna. In other words, a true Yagna involves unity of mind, action and words.

Sri Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam to be performed by the members of the Sai family under the direction of the priests on the 1st July 2012 in the Balaji Temple at Birmingham, is being done as a part of the Gurupoornima Celebrations. This Homam draws its inspiration from the Athi Rudra Maha Yagna that was performed in the Divine Presence of our Lord in Prasanthi Nilayam in August 2006. Swami declared thus at its inauguration:

"This Yagna is being conducted for the welfare of the world. There is a very important aspect of this Yagna. The Athi Rudra Maha Yagna protects and fosters the divine nature in the human beings, while rejecting and diminishing the demonic qualities. Thus, it works for the welfare of humanity."

Thus in concordance with the above Divine Injunction of our Lord Sai, the purpose of this Homam is to pray together selflessly for the welfare of all the beings in the world through the process of self purification, self sacrifice, and self transformation. Many Sai brothers and sisters across the UK, both young and old, have dedicated long hours in learning the sacred Sri Rudram chant over many months with sincere devotion and faith, motivated by a sole but higher desire to offer their gratitude and love to Bhagawan.

The sacred chant Sri Rudram is known for its potency in aiding this process of self purification when chanted with full faith and sincerity. Acclaimed as a great purifier, Sri Rudram when chanted repeatedly with devotion is known to expiate the worst of the sins, and grant freedom from the ills of the world (Mukthi).

Sri Rudram, also known as Rudraprasna, is a hymn devoted to Lord Shiva. It is part of the Krishna Yajur Veda and one of the greatest of the Vedic hymns for all round benefits, and which removes all maladies and obstacles. The Hymn is in two parts. The first part is known as Namakam because of the repeated use of the word "Namo" in it. In this sacred hymn the devotee repeatedly salutes the Lord who pervades the animate and the inanimate, tangible and intangible, visible and invisible aspects of creation. The Namakam concludes with the most potent Mrutyunjaya stotram-

Tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushhtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhananmrityormukshiya maamritath

He who has divine fragrance, He who makes men powerful and full of plenty, Him even we worship, the three-eyed Rudra. Like a ripe berry from its stalk, release me from death, and let me not turn away from immortality and enlightenment.

The second part of the Rudram, is known as Chamakam because of the repeated use of the words "Cha me". The devotee prays to the Lord for blessings and benefits both in this world and beyond. The Shanti patha (invocation for peace) in the concluding part of Chamakam begins with, "Idaa devahuurmanu…" meaning:

“Let my pleasant thoughts bring forth pleasant actions and the resultant enjoyable fruits. Let my joyous offerings bear fine and worthy speech and my words please the divine. May men lend their ears to gladden me and may the Gods enlighten me and make my words powerful. May my forefathers feel joyful over this and bless me to perpetuate it.”

The hymns are organised into eleven portions called Anuvakams in both the Namakam and Chamakam. Normally, one chant of the Namakam followed by one Anuvaka of the Chamakam constitutes one Rudram. Recital of 11 Namakas along with one Anuvaka of Chamaka at the end of each Namaka, thus completing one Chamaka constitutes Ekadasa Rudram (11 Rudrams). Recital of 11 Ekadasa Rudrams is Laghu Rudram or Rudra Ekaadhashini (121 Rudrams). In the forthcoming Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam, a minimum of 11 chanters will each chant 11 Rudrams!

There is a long-standing traditional belief that chanting the Rudram confers benefits of various kinds. For example, chanting it a few times grants freedom from disease, worldly difficulties, etc. As the number of the repetition increases, one is supposed to get progressively more and more benefits but at some stage, the benefits switch from being worldly to spiritual, the culmination being becoming one with God.

Bhagawan Baba often speaks of Gurupoornima as the day that is dedicated for thanksgiving to the Guru, the one who removes the faults in vision and destroys the darkness of ignorance; the one who reveals the Aathma to the individual and makes him free. In fact He says that God, the God within, is the Guru of Gurus. His Grace can make the blind see, the lame walk and the dumb speak. By a mere touch, He can demolish the sins of the past and erect the basis for peace and joy. We who owe our existence to the Divinity are duty bound to think of Him constantly and worship Him gratefully for the welfare of all mankind.

Let us all join together as fellow pilgrims on the spiritual journey, and offer our gratitude to the Divine in all His Manifested Forms during this Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam. The Balaji Temple authorities and priests too are keenly waiting to welcome us!

Dr Veeru Mudigonda,
National Spiritual Coordinator

Region 1 - An Evening with Brother Sri Sanjay Sahni

'Every word of Bhagawan is a Mantra'- Sri Sanjay Sahni

Brother Sri Sanjay Sahni completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1983 from Sri Sathya Sai University. He received a gold medal for this degree and later pursued his Masters in Commerce in that same University. He again managed to achieve another gold medal on his post-graduation. Subsequently, he joined the Prashanti Nilayam Campus of his alma mater. He then became the warden of the Sri Sathya Sai Boys’ Hostel in the same campus in 1992. Later he moved to the Brindavan Campus and currently he is the Principal of this campus.

A large crowd of Sai devotees including youth and children of Region 1 were gathered at Sai Mandir on Friday 4th May for an evening with Brother Sanjay Sahni as he shared his divine experiences with Bhagawan. The anecdotes not only mesmerised the crowd, but also brought laughter and curiosity upon the faces of the young Balvikas children. There was something for all!

‘What is a mantra?’ Asked Brother Sanjay Sahni, and he answered, it means, ‘Mannanttrayateiti Mantrah – That which contemplated upon, protects us’. He gave an example from the Bible when Jesus said, ‘Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the lips of the Lord’.

Brother Sanjay then spoke about the opportunity that devotees had for decades to listen to the Lord, to hear Him at a one-to-one level, whether it would be a group of people or a large crowd at Prasanthi Nilayam or places where He would visit. Swami would interact with everyone, no matter whether they were young or old. Brother Sanjay Sahni said that doctors make medicine by using many types of mixtures, so in the same way when our Beloved Lord speaks, it becomes the same as a mixture instead of a lecture. He gave an example about the times when Swami would break the connection in the sentences of His discourses. On one occasion, a devotee was worrying about his children while Swami’s was giving a discourse in the Sai Ramesh Hall. Suddenly Swami started to speak about parents worrying about their children. At that instance the devotee’s attention drew back to Swami’s talk and he was relieved. After a while Swami would then speak about another devotee’s problem. Every individual listening to it, would feel that the statement was meant only for them. Brother Sanjay again assures us that this is just one example of how our Lord connects with us at an individual level.

This magnificent, enthralling and inspiring evening concluded with devotional singing and Aarati.

Region 1 - Easwaramma Day

Sai devotees from Region 1 congregated for the annual Easwaramma Day celebrations on Monday 7th May 2012. The day commenced with a march involving the SSE children of Region 1 followed by Vedam, multi-faith prayers and devotional singing. The day comprised various items led by SSE students, such as readings of Sai Discourses by the children of Tooting, songs from the Beatles which were reconstructed by SSE children of Bromley and didactic plays by the children of Brixton, Wimbledon, Merton, Lewisham and Kingston. Every item that was offered by the SSE children was based on the five human values. There were different messages to be learnt from each play.

During the programme, anecdoteswere narrated about Mother Easwaramma with a message of how we as children should serve our parents, our fellow brothers, sisters and elders.

A wonderful talk was given by Brother Anand Venkatraman, who shared his divine experiences with Bhagawan during his days as a student at the Sri Sathya Sai University.

The programme concluded with devotional songs and Mangala Aarati. The SSE children were also presented with mementoes.

Colourful posters produced by the SSE children were also exhibited. It was wonderful to see the unity amongst the Sai devotees and the contentment on their faces.

Region 1 - Young Adults Programme (YAP)

Youth of Region 1 were blessed on the 18th of May 2012 with a visit by Uncle Balakrishnan, an ardent devotee of our beloved Bhagawan (all the way from India!). The YAP session was held at the Sai Mandir in Merton and commenced with introductions and three Aums.

We were blessed to have as our first speaker, Uncle Balakrishnan who has been a devotee of Swami for many decades and has been blessed with many Divine experiences. His son, Ganesh Balakrishnan studied at Swami’s College at Prashanthi Nilayam. Our second speaker was Sai student, Partishbhai, who is most blessed having traversed every domain of Sai education. He currently works in the finance industry in the City.

Uncle Balakrishnan commenced YAP narrating his experience with the Divine Lord, and he explained how he yearned for an interview with Swami for 32 years. The key message that he highlighted was that patience is a virtue and Swami will shower His grace, and provide what we need at t¬¬¬¬¬he right time, and at the right moment. We all pine for things, but only receive them when the moment is right. Swami had spoken to him about how an interview doesn’t make a devotee any more special than another. The value of an interview is specific to one’s individual need. In fact, Swami explained to Uncle Balakrishnan that a devotee, who doesn’t have an interview, has unwavering faith in Him. Uncle shared stories of yearning to speak in Swami’s presence and how he was given that opportunity in Summer showers. He poignantly concluded with a story when Swami had asked him to translate Vedam into English. Despite Uncle not being entirely fluent in speaking English, he proceeded with Swami’s grace and Swami was most pleased!

Next, Partishbhai spoke about his experience of being a Sai student. Swami has always emphasised to regard the youth as leaders of tomorrow. He discussed¬ the importance of upholding the value of a Sai devotee including his response to the question asked by one of the youth girls:

“What methods can we approach to practise and strengthen our spirituality in the society we live in today?”

Partishbhai explained that time-management is crucial and that if “we really want to do something; we will find or make time to do it”. Partishbhai spoke about determination and related this to a Catholic devotee, who made himself a promise that every Sunday he would go to church. However, he was put to the test one day when it coincided with a match and everyone had been pestering him to play in the finals! After much debate, the devotee had decided no matter what – he had made a commitment and so, he missed the finals and went to church to do his prayers. We should use this as an example and he recommended for all youth to read, The Harvard Business Review article, "How will you measure your Life?" by Prof Clayton Christensen.

He gave another example: “when commuting to work you will witness travellers on their gadgets such as IPhones/Blackberries. This is an ideal opportunity to listen to gayatri mantra or vedam chanting and what better way could you start the day!” Or another example could be setting aside as little as ten minutes a day to regularly read Sai literature or to perform daily meditation (as mentioned in the nine-point code of conduct). He emphasised sincerely and addressed that we should make every effort to hear speakers such as Sri. Sanjay Sahani who have been in Swami’s presence. Other things youth could do is regularly attend youth meetings, do Seva and visit Prashanti at any opportunity.

Partishbhai then said we must always remember the four goals of life - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Dharma must be the bedrock of our lives. Artha (wealth) has to be attained by Dharma and Kama (Desire) must be for Moksha. As youngsters we may have an aim of earning a lot of wealth. We must remember that wealth earned must be used for the welfare of society. We must give some of it back to society by participating/supporting various Seva projects. We are bound to get bad thoughts in our head – just think you are a human being and not an animal. He concluded with the analogy that our life decisions are like Roman weighing scales. Imagine one of the scales to be the world and the other to be the Lord. Naturally if one of the scales is lighter than the other scale, it will be lifted - and therefore let it be your choice to make either the world or god your priority: as you start to make God your priority you can slowly detach yourself away from worldly desires.

The next YAP will be June 15th 7:30-9:30PM at Sai Mandir. If anyone would like more information or give suggestion to topics, please feel free to email region1saiyouth@hotmail.co.uk

Sindhu Sivagnanasithyar
Active Youth, Merton Sai Centre

Region 2 - Age Link Party – Love in Action and Unity in Diversity

20th May 2012, 2-5pm

Baba regularly reminded us that Service to man is Service to God. Many organisations exist in the world providing food, clothing, shelter etc. to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. The beauty of Sai Seva? Is doing all of those things, and recognising that we’ve been given the opportunity to serve, to infuse love into the heart of that service. Truly, we are not helping anyone but ourselves - purely because of the joy it gives us. Pinner Sai Centre in conjunction with Harrow West Centre has been supporting the Age Link charity for many years now. The core objective of this activity is to give Love and Joy to others.

Most of the guests who attended the Age Link party on 20th May 2012 rarely have visitors to their homes and often they have few family or friends. These parties are an outing for them to interact with people; people who care! One of the most common problems in the UK, as stated by Sathya Sai Baba in an interview to the UK Youth was that ’UK has a lot of mental problems, help them’. Mental problems can often stem from loneliness.

The Age Link party begins weeks, if not months before, making preparations for our divine guests because we want them to feel the principle of Athithee Devo Bhavaha. Together with Age Link, we made arrangements for our guests to be collected from their homes, at no cost to them. Before the guests started arriving, our volunteers were in the background warming up delicious food that was prepared lovingly in our homes. We arranged the hall to make our elderly guests feel welcomed and comfortable.

Athithee Devo Bhavah - there was an anticipation in the air just as if we were expecting Baba (in the form of our elderly guests) to walk through those doors any minute now for Darshan. As our guests started arriving, our eager volunteers assisted them to seats offered tea of coffee to start with. All the volunteers from Sai Organisation and from Age Link worked in unity. Baba says ‘unity in diversity will bring you closer to me’ There was no differentiation at all. Of course, when Love is present throughout, then all challenges can be handled in a spirit of understanding and togetherness.

Some of the elderly guests shared songs with us in old Hindi and English. They were reminiscing about the times when they first heard that song which took them back to that happy place in their hearts and minds. No party is complete without some games; we played Bingo. At our Bingo - everyone is a winner - and no one leaves empty handed! Would a mother let her child leave without something when they only visit once in a while? That is the Love of Sathya Sai Baba. The food, juices, teas and coffees were free flowing.

Our aim was to ensure that our divine guests felt the love and joy with which we wanted to serve and share. The smiling eyes and lips of our elderly guests said it all; volunteers and guests all were like one big happy family. Only Baba can create such as event and atmosphere. Love was being served in the form of food and companionship. The sense of joy was overwhelming. It’s as if they Swami himself was pouring out His Love through everyone present!

As we drew closer to the end of the programme we felt the truth of Shakespeare’s words, ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’. Announcements were being made by the Age Link Management to thank all involved for their hard work and effort in making this event successful. We thanked Baba, first and foremost, for this opportunity and for overseeing each and every little step. We had been given such a wonderful opportunity to make our lives His message. Swami has said, “I don’t want your devotion, I want your transformation.” This was an event where transformation took place. Even those who are not followers of Sathya Sai Baba, expressed thanks for his teachings to mankind. This event was truly Love in Action demonstrating Unity in Diversity.

Article submitted by Brother Vinesh Vaghela on behalf of Sai Centre Pinner

Region 2 - Pinner Sai Centre Legacy Programme 2012

On Sunday April 29th 2012, Pinner Sai Centre honoured Swami’s first anniversary, when He transcended from the Form to the Formless. Swami came to Earth and left us a Legacy, just as did Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna and Rama, to name a few divine personalities. The devoted and enthusiastic SSE children and teachers presented a performance called ‘LEGACY’’, which celebrated Swami’s teachings of the Unity of Faiths. The twelve SSE classes, ranging from ages 1 to 16 along with the SSE teachers offered sketches, songs, poems and video. We were blessed with a huge audience of devotees from other centres, as well as the children’s extended families coming along to view and support their humble offering. It was an interactive programme whereby the congregation most eagerly participated along with the children, in quizzes, Group Devotional Singing and clapping. The morning ended with a finale of songs from different faiths by SSE teachers, followed by Aarti, Vibhuti and Prashad. The seams of the hall were bursting from the vibrations of the morning.

Region 2 - Young Adults Programme: “Meet the Stranger”

On Sunday 27th May London West, Harrow West and Heston Sai Youth from Region 2 gathered for their monthly Young Adult Programme (YAP). This month’s YAP session was the first of a kind to be based around the Service Wing.

The R2 Youth were invited by Lambeth Interfaith Organisation to attend and the event was entitled “Meet the Stranger”, whereby youth from the Sai Organisation were able to engage with those from the Christian and Other Faiths that were present.

This day held a special august gathering commemorating “Pentecost” which is defined as the fiftieth day after Easter; following the descent of Jesus Christ. Some therefore describe this day as the “Birthday of the Church”.
The Parish Service commenced with a reading from the Bible followed by the singing of melodious hymns in great unison. Following we witnessed the baptism of four children in the presence family, friends and well wishers.

Thereafter the Head of the Parish, Father Steven Tricklebank stepped into the gathering and recited a beautiful passage where Jesus referred to the advocate of God and tells his disciples ‘ The One who Sent me will come ’ The atmosphere in the Parish felt electric as we knew Jesus was referring to our own Bhagwan, Sri Sathya Sai baba! Jesus mentioned in the chapter, how he had to tell this message now, in the present day as his disciples would not have understood it if it was told all those years ago.

Towards the end of the service, Ramesh Lingampalli (Heston Sai Centre Chairperson) was invited by Father Steven, to take to the platform and address the assembly. Ramesh mentioned that the main aim as a multi-faith organisation was to provide an opportunity for men, women and children of all faiths to gather together and find the way to progress along their own spiritual paths, and to help others on this same journey. Ramesh talked about the five human values as being the formula for leading a meaningful life and also stated that the message of Love All Serve all, will lead mankind from the pain of Darkness to the light of immortality. Ramesh finished on a beautiful quote given by Sathya Sai baba : “There is only one caste, The caste of Humanity, There is only one religion, The religion of Love, There is only one language, The language of the Heart, There is only one God, And He is Omnipresent!” The speech received a great reception from the gathering, and as well as Father Steven Tricklebank.

The Parish service then ended with the singing of hymns such as “When the Saints Go Marching In”. You could definitely feel the divine vibrations as everyone sung together in harmony. Sai Youth then partook in the communion where the Priest individually blessed everyone. The last part of the day was then wrapped up with a vegetarian barbeque lunch specially organised by the Church in the warm and pleasant weather outside. This made everyone feel very welcome and made an amiable atmosphere to engage with those eager to understand each-other’s faiths and spiritual practices in more depth.

Overall this was an awe-inspiring meet and greet with the Interfaith community which will no doubt lead to sustainable service work together in the future. These kind events may also help us all to feel no distinction or separateness between our faiths, races, nationalities or sects, but to unite all as part of one multi-faith service organisation, which can spread and far-reach the universal message of Love.

Vishal Paul,
Youth Co-ordinator, London West Sai Centre

Region 3 - June 2012 Update

Values Alive Camp at Meadfurlong School, Milton Keynes

Another very successful Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV) Values Alive camp was held on Saturdays 19 and 26 May 2012, in a local school in Milton Keynes. Meadfurlong School has hosted eight camps with Milton Keynes Sai Centre since 2003. Around 57 children from Fishermead and Oldbrook enjoyed a series of activities aimed at developing the innate values.

The five human values (truth, love, peace, right conduct, and non-violence), which are the core tenets of the SSEHV programme, were the essence of the camp. The day started promptly at 8.30am with an assembly based around the camp theme of WATCH: watch your words, watch your actions, watch your thoughts, watch your character and watch your heart. Thereafter, the children were taught about these values through the five teaching techniques (silent sitting, quotation, storytelling, group activity and singing). The day progressed with cooking, drama, a design and technology creative project and sporting activities, all as part of a curriculum aimed at developing human values.

The activities were run by Milton Keynes Sai Centre with a team of very enthusiastic and energetic volunteers. The schoolchildren, aged 7 to 11, enjoyed the day to the fullest. Their lunchtime was very different from usual, which is normally chaotic. At the camp they first gave thanks and then ate in silence with calm music in the background. This was definitely a new experience for all of the children: most of them said that they were able to taste the food better, enjoy every mouthful and they preferred their lunchtimes in the hall like this.

Nelly, aged 7, said "It was enjoyable and fun! We got to learn watching our thoughts and words because we can hurt people."

In response to the question, "What did you learn over the last 2 weekends?" Sergeys, aged 8, explained, "We learnt how to be good to people."

Natalia, aged 10, elaborated, "It was a really exciting way to learn new things – more fun than school! I love coming to school on Saturdays if it was just like the values camp."

One of the volunteers, aged 14, was a pupil who had attended two previous Values Alive camps. She enjoyed interacting with the children and loved participating as a teaching assistant in all of the activities. Well, Milton Keynes Sai Centre and the school have yet again provided the children an opportunity to experience and grow with good values.

Submitted by: Nirasha Ramlugan - event organiser

Eashwaramma Day Celebration – Foster Hill Sai Centre – Bedford

The Foster Hill Sai Centre Sai Youth rose to the 'dharmic' challenge of organising an uplifting and informative programme for the Eashwaramma Day celebration on the 6th May 2012.

Before paying homage to the Mother of our beloved Sai, the Sai Youth joined hands to decorate the altar with simplicity and charm. The programme commenced with Bhajans led by the SSE children and the Sai Youth.

This was followed by a charming and heart-warming Indian classical 'Bharatnatyam' dance to the Mudhugare Yashoda song by our youngest, 4 year old, SSE student.

Some of the other SSE students performed the following choral recital on the value of a family in our lives:

What is a family?

A family is very special
We all want to be happy
To live in loving kindness
To live with our mummies and daddies

Family love is very special
A love as soft as a dove
To have this love is essential
A love that comes from above

Family love is based on truth
Which brings peace as its roots
From peace comes love
A great blessing from above

Therefore, treasure your life
Given as a gift from the Almighty
Be prepared for any outcome
As it is YOUR destiny
The session concluded with Aarti and a reading on the life of Eashwaramma, a mother so blessed but a lesson in simplicity to us all.

Submitted by: Foster Hill Sai Centre, Bedford

Ilford Sai Centre Eashwaramma Day and Buddha Poornima Celebration on 5th May 2012

An exciting evening started with centre devotees arriving early and eager to take part in a double celebration, despite having earlier attending the National Eashwaramma Day celebration in Hatfield. The altar was adorned with the beautiful photo of our Lord Sathya Sai Baba, Shirdi Baba, mother Eashwaramma and our Lord Buddha.

The evening started with Omkars, Gayatri mantras, Vedam chanting and multi-faith prayers signifying the divine message of unity of faiths.

Baba says, "Bhajan is a disciplinary process by which 'Kama' (desire) and 'Krodha' (anger) can be kept away. In this busy age of fear and anxiety the remembrance of God and repetition of his name is the one means of liberation that is accessible to all." Group devotional singing commenced with Ganesh and Guru bhajan, followed by the sweet loving voices of the young ones who provided a glorious musical atmosphere, creating enormous vibrations in our lovely temple. Baba’s leela never ceases to amaze us, with the children giving such an outstanding offering.

Readings were researched and presented by SSE Group 3 and Sai Youth emphasising the meaning of Buddha Poornima, the true devotion of mother Eashwaramma and the total essence of motherly love. The beautiful prayers concluded with the message of love and the whole gathering thoroughly enjoyed the musical items.

The preparations for Eashwaramma Day consisted of workshops, spanning a number of weeks, for all the children to produce poems and posters. Many young talents were displayed at Ilford Centre for a few weeks. Everyone was a winner and certificates of achievements were presented to all the participants. Special prizes were also presented to the different age groups: under-5s, under-12s and over-12 years of age. The poems were truly inspiring and some brought tears to the eyes, as Swami's children are the true examples of leaders in the world.

Mothers from the centre had the opportunity to present the certificates and the prizes. The winning children read their poems and celebrations came to an end with Aarti, vibhuti and sweets distributed to all. This was a truly moving day which touched the hearts and souls of everyone present and left a loving smile on everyone's face.

Submitted by: Sheila Ring, Spiritual Coordinator, Ilford Sai Centre

Region 5 - Cutting the Ties that Bind Workshop at Halifax

The Halifax Group came into existence towards the end of 2011. The group is just finding its feet and we were proud and excited to organise our first event in St Jude’s Church Hall, Halifax on May 27th.

It was a very bright and sunny day and around 40 devotees from Halifax, Bradford, Leeds and Manchester participated. The programme kicked off at 2pm with the lighting of the lamp while the vibrant Rudram was chanted. Bhajans followed for about an hour.

Neil Bisarya from Skelmersdale, conducted a meditation workshop. Neil completed training in Sri Sathya Sai Education in Human Values with Carole Alderman in 2006 and the 2 year training course to teach the Cutting the Ties that Bind Method with Phyllis Krystal.

All the devotees were welcomed and Neil was introduced to the gathering. He highlighted the subtle individual transformation brought about by Bhagawan through his message of love. Man can travel to the moon and dive into the depths of the oceans but he cannot perfect the art of loving everyone. Emptying the mind of negative thoughts is a process by which we realise the truth, i.e. Sathya. Getting rid of the weeds of lust, greed, anger, jealousy and attachment allows us to get in contact with the higher consciousness.

We are all bound by invisible chains that bind us, block us and keep us from being who we really are. These ties come from childhood, from family environment, culture, fears or reactions to events that took place years ago.

A method developed by Phyllis Krystal can help us to cut the ties that bind us to anyone or anything that acts as an authority and exerts control over us. Detachment from such control will allow us to remove the accumulated layers of conditioning which obscure the inner light of the higher consciousness or real self.

The exercises that are contained in this method can help to free us from everything that prevents the real self from being expressed through the exterior shell or receptacle comprised of the body, mind personality and ego.

The workshop was done in two parts of one hour each. The first hour we learned about and connected to the Maypole symbol. In the second half following the break, we learned about the figure 8 symbol and used it to cut ties to impatience, as that was a common theme for participants, and when Neil asked if that felt right for everyone, a flower fell from Swami’s photo as confirmation.

Brother Neil impressed on the devotees how, through the use of these symbols, we can contact our inner guide, our higher consciousness, to Swami within and cut the ties to whatever obstacle gets in the way or is blocking our spiritual progress. Our subconscious understands symbols rather than words, which is why this technique works so well. Connecting to the Maypole is a way of connecting and staying connected with Swami and allowing Him to flow through us and use us as instruments. Neil reiterated that by using these techniques we can overcome our daily problems including, for example, issues with people at work.

The workshop was followed by bhajans and Aarthi. Prasadam was served following the vote of thanks by Halifax Group Chair, brother Shankar.

The devotees went home thoroughly uplifted and it was a spiritually fulfilling day.

This event was well supported by the Manchester youth, Leeds Group and Lidget Green Centre. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

Dr Vijayanand Nadella
R5 Spiritual Coordinator and member of Halifax Group

Region 5 - Young Adults Programme (YAP)

Our Duty as individuals and how this Duty impacts the different aspects of our young adult lives

Our sathsang took place in Greater Manchester with participation from around the region via Skype video link.

As young adults living in the Western world, our thoughts, words and deeds are often influenced by the commercial world around us. We thought it would be appropriate to spend some time looking at what our Duty should be, in this world filled with ‘work, materialism and envy’.

We often think that Duty is a direct translation of the Sanskrit word ‘Dharma’, however, in His discourses, I found that Swami has noted them as different. Swami states that our Dharma goes further than just our duty in this world. Dharma is Right Conduct, which is often much more than just the duty which has been allocated to us during our day to day living.

In the Bhagvad Gita, importance is placed on SWA-Dharma (our OWN-dharma). We must do our duty according to our age and stage in life (Varanas): from childhood to being a student, to starting a career and becoming a householder, then into later life (Vanvas and Sanyas).

We discussed our Swa-dharma as is relevant to us as young adults whilst being students, workers and householders.

The Dharma of a worker

As workers, Swami has given a beautiful message which touched our hearts:

"Work in the spirit of love; it will lead you to worship. That is to say, work without any regard to the proportion of benefit you derive from it. Work, since it is your duty; work since you love to work, since that is the way you can offer God the gratitude for the skills endowed upon you."
(Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 11, Chapter One)

The Dharma of a householder

As householders, Swami has given some instructions specifically to men and women, however we discussed that we should consider the Dharma of both men and women in our day to day activities, as the role of the man and woman in a household often overlaps nowadays:

Dharma as a Woman - Stridharma

* Prepare Satvic food
* Teach SSE / 5 Human Values
* Respect God
* Develop the Intellect

Dharma as a Man - Purushadharma

* Bring the husband and children to God
* To provide for the home * To earn an honest living and to spend righteously
* Trustworthiness * To practise ‘work is worship’
* To honour his wife as the ‘head of the home’ and act in accordance with her wishes

The Dharma of a married couple

There are teachings and guidelines given to the married couple:

"The most important reason for a marriage commitment is having a Spiritual partner that can help you to evolve towards your Divine heritage." (Sathya Sai Parenting – Part 2, Rita Bruce).

“A wife must be virtuous and modest... she must plant the seedlings of the fear of sin and the fear of the Lord in her heart and cultivate the charms of humility.” (Know Thyself, Gerard Satvic).

As a married couple, their Dharma is to look after the house and home, the nurturing and upbringing of their children and to care for their parents in their old age.

When should we follow our Dharma?

Historically, spiritual development and service to society were not seen as important focus points of life until over the age of 50 years (Vanvas stage), but Swami has said that spiritual development and service to society should begin from childhood and continue throughout life. We can do this at every stage of life by following the teaching of “Love All, Serve All” and “Help Ever, Hurt Never”.

Swami says: “The highest dharma is for each one to follow his Swa-dharma boldly”.

How should we follow our Dharma?

We concluded with a reading which elaborated on how we can follow our Dharma. The message of HOW we can follow our Dharma is given in the meaning of the 3rd name of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 108 names:

“Om Sri Sathya-Dharma-Paraayanaaya Namaha"

Sathya – Speak what you have seen or felt; Act as you have said.
Dharma – Follow the rules of conduct laid down for the profession that you follow, the status you demand, the right you claim
Paraayan – One who is Interested in, Absorbed in. Swami is the embodiment of Dharma, we therefore should take this example and also be absorbed in following our Dharma.

So to help us follow our own Dharma and as we perform our duty, we can simply practice:

1. Love All, Serve All and
2. Harmony in our thoughts, words and deeds.

Bhavesh Maisuria
Greater Manchester Sai Centre

Region 6 - Youth Satsang: "Making our Lives Swami’s Message"

Thank you Swami, thank you Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation and thank you to all He has used as an instrument to reinforce His most beautiful teachings. Swami has so lovingly and kindly given us the most precious and profound jewels of life – the teaching of truth and love.

It is very easy to lose sight of why the organisation was created and forget the many reasons to feel gratitude for God. Therefore, the Region 6 Youth Sathsang held on 20th May was a brilliant tool for us to feel gratitude and love for Swami and His sacred teachings. The programme was, in all honestly, carefully crafted to arouse our spiritual awareness and understanding of Swami’s message.

The day began with a beautiful and inspirational video of Sai Baba’s message to the youth and a thought provoking quotation from the “Guidelines to Active Workers of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations”:

‘The sole objective of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation is to enable man to discover his innate divinity, regain his self-confidence, and faith in God. The faith derived from the faith in self from Faith in God, will be enduring and ever-sustaining. The objective of the SSSO is to make people again become aware of this truth and to live in that awareness.’

Following on from this extract, questions were explored in groups the feedback from each question was as follows:

What spiritual programmes and practices has Swami recommended for all people and how do we use these to enhance all aspects of our lives?
There are many programmes and practices that we can undertake such as: meditation, japa, prayers, and regular study of spiritual literature, seva activities, Ceiling on Desires, study circles and so forth. Swami has given us these spiritual aids to help us to control our senses and mind, and to help us to reach or realise our ultimate goal - that we are Divinity.

These practices are inter-linked and it helps us to create a balance in our lives by creating unity in our thoughts, words and deeds, that we are ultimately not the “DO-ER” and this surrendering of “ego” helps us to attain Self-Realisation.

What spiritual programs and disciplines chosen personally and part of the Sai organisation, enable, facilitate and enhance the spiritual transformation in us?
The body was given for us to understand our true self- that we are God. We have ourselves created a gap of duality which has been enhanced by the Maya [illusions] around us. This illusion has been created by the mind, however it can also be the key to liberation as Sathya Sai Baba says ‘Manah Eva Manushyanam Karanam’ [the mind is responsible for both bondage and liberation]. The mind can distract us by our thoughts by pondering on the past and future and thus controlling our mind to be in the present time is vital.

The gap of duality can be reduced by having a true understanding of just BEING, living in the PRESENT, using LOVE in action and being aware of who we really are - ‘GOD’. We feel incomplete and therefore go seeking outwards for completeness and engage with activities that serve this purpose. This is where our Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation becomes a vehicle in our spiritual transformation journey. This journey has many paths for individuals to embark on and there is no right or wrong path as we are all embodiments of love.

The SSSSO has many wings; Spiritual, Youth, Service and Education which gives us the opportunity to serve. These include study circle, reading books, singing bhajans, service activities etc

However, participating in the SSSO is determined by the individual’s level of motivation, acceptance, receptiveness and having unfettering faith in God. Swami has given us all the spiritual tools yet there is resistance to embracing these whole heartedly. How lucky are we? We have been offered the most profound jewels of this world by God, yet we decide to chase the most worthless material objects in life.

We should be honoured to take part in Swami’s activities, when there are opportunities for service we should grab it whole heartedly, for we are serving no other but ourselves. It is no wonder that Sathya Sai Baba says: ‘hands that help are holier than the lips that pray’.

A new youth member joins the centre group for meetings. What teachings of Sathya Sai Baba do you feel are important that you would discuss with them and why?

Love is the universal force that sustains everything and Love is God and God is Love. As Sai Baba says “only in loving can the embodiment of love be gained,” and Sai Baba is the embodiment. Listen to His words: “I am the embodiment of love; love is my instrument. My message is Prema (Love). My activity is Prema. My teaching is Prema. My way of life is Prema. There is nothing more precious within human grasp. And “The sole purpose of your incarnation is to grow in love, expand that love and merge with God who is Love, and this is best done through service.”

The fundamental teachings of Swami are Love All, Serve All and practising the human values which are Love, Peace, Truth, Non Violence and Right Conduct. But ultimately we need to expand our love to everyone we meet and welcome and help them on their spiritual journey knowingly or unknowingly just by our behaviour of Love in Action as demonstrated by our dear Lord.

The group feedback sessions were followed by guest speaker, Uncle Gulab who directly served Swami and was responsible for the Seva Dal’s in Kenya during Swami’s visit. His sharing of personal experiences re-enforced the blessing of service and Swami’s beautiful message. He worked hard to enable the youth to take part in service activities, at a time when parents were reluctant for girls and boys to take part in the same activities. Uncle’s love and passion in serving Swami was felt by all even though he shared experiences from over 50 years ago!

The Sathsang was a great day; both spiritually stimulating and deeply thought provoking. I sincerely hope that many more sathsangs are planned, where more youth attend, for the organisation was created for our self-development to help us realise our true self.

Written by Active Youth in Region 6

Region 7 - Laksharchana, Bristol

The Sai Group of Bristol organised a Laksharchana (chanting of the Divine name of Bhagawan Baba 100,000 times) on the 27th May 2012. The venue was the spiritually charged temple hall of the Bristol Hindu Temple. Over 130 members of the local community and beyond gathered and joined in the vibrant chanting and singing of the Lord’s name.

Everyone felt truly uplifted by the experience and vibrations created by repeating the Lord’s name. After the Laksharchana, we had the opportunity to hear some of the inspiring experiences of Mr. Vadgama, who had conducted the Laksharchana.

Everyone experienced the omnipotence of Bhagawan when Mr Vadgama spoke of a recent Laksharchana in Italy. Mr Vadgama told us of the Laksharchana, which was conducted in a hotel. The night before the prayer, devotees had decorated the hall and placed photos and flowers on the Altar. That night, there was an earthquake in Italy, and everyone arrived at the venue to find that the restaurant below the hall had significant damage, as did the office next to the hall. The hall however was unaffected. Every photograph and every flower was as it had been the night before, untouched by the tremors; Swami’s omnipresence and omnipotence was experienced by all present. The Laksharchana gave everyone great peace and happiness.

“The Name; it is that which will guard you and guide you throughout life......The mouth is the principal gateway of the body, and the tongue must always carry the name. Like a small lantern the Name must go when and where you go, and then you can travel easily through the whole forest of life”.
- Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Region 7 - SSE Swindon joins the Jubilee Celebrations

The Nursery and Group 1 SSE children of Swindon have been learning about the many lessons that Mother Nature teaches. During their lessons, they have planted little gardens, which they have nurtured and lovingly tended.

The children planted a miniature garden that they submitted as an entry to “The Queen’s Garden”, a miniature garden Competition that formed part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.

The garden drew the attention of the Mayor of Royal Wooton Bassett, who presented a certificate of appreciation to the Children.

Region 8 - Easwaramma Day Celebrations

12th May 2012

With the Divine blessings, Region 8 celebrated Easwaramma Day on 12th May 2012 at the Perth Station Hotel. We were blessed with a glorious sunny morning and clear blue skies; a fitting day for a celebration of the glory of motherhood.

The celebrations began with vibrant chanting of Omkaars and the Gayathri mantra followed by beautiful Vedic chanting by the SSE children of the Ganapathi Atharva Shirsham and Mantra Pushpam. SSE children from centres across the region presented their heartfelt offerings of dance, songs, a mime show, speeches and plays with the common thread throughout being the importance of mother and how she selflessly sacrifices her own desires to fulfil the needs of the family.

A workshop for the adult devotees was also conducted to discuss the importance of each of the five mothers in our lives. The message that came out of the workshop was that our physical mother (Dehamaatha) is our first God whom we must respect and make proud. We also discussed the various other significant forms of mother including: Gomaatha (the cow that gives us sustenance in the form of milk); Bhoomaatha (the land that grows the crops which feed the body); Deshamaatha (our Motherland or country that gives us protection, care, love, rights and the chance to serve) and Vedamaatha (the heritage of spiritual treasure that reveals the aim and purpose of human life to help us progress towards the goal of self-realisation).

The children along with their SSE teachers put in a tremendous amount of hard work in preparing each of their presentations. It was wonderful to see devotees from all the centres coming together and organising this wonderful event.

Both the adults and children had a truly spiritually uplifting day thoroughly enjoyed by all. The day closed with beautiful bhajans sung by the SSE children followed by aarathi. We thank our beloved Mother Sai for this wonderful opportunity to be unified in satsang as one Sai family.

Sai Ram
Region 8

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