June 2014 Edition

Quote

The golden life of man should be tested on the touchstone of the Lord's name. Instead of following this easy path, man involves himself in multifarious troubles and wastes his precious life. Man is not merely a human. Verily he is God. He is submerging his inherent divinity in worldly desires. He should utilise the pure and sacred thoughts that arise in him to turn away from the transient attractions of the world and to set him on the path towards the Divine.

"Whether it is described as Chaitanya (Cosmic Consciousness), or the Kshetrajna (Indwelling Knower), or ,Jnana (Supreme Wisdom) or Ahamkara (I-am), or Easwara (the Supreme Lord), or Vishnu, or Ananda (Pure Bliss), or the Paramapadam (Supreme Abode), or Prakriti (Nature), or the Aadi Sakthi (Primal Energy)---all these are only different names given to the Atma (the Supreme Spirit). Originally It had no name." (Poem)

The effulgence of the Atma exceeds the splendour of a multi-faceted diamond. The diamond may have a myriad facets, but it is one and the same. Likewise, the Atma radiates infinite number of rays, but is only One.

~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Events

National Pilgrimage 2014

Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam 2014

Articles

Blessings at a height of 30,000 feet

Devastation in the Balkans

Do Inanimate Things too have Emotions and Feelings?

Letter from Dr. Narendranath Reddy Chairman, Prasanthi Council

Philippines Medical Camp Report

Region 1 - Young Adults Programme (YAP) May

Region 2 - Buddha Jayanti Celebrations at London West Sai Centre

Region 2 - Easter Sunday at Harrow West Sai Centre

Region 2 - Easwaramma Day Celebrations at Harrow West Sai Centre

Region 2 - Harrow West Sai Centre: Buddha Purnima Celebrations

Region 2 - London West Sai Centre: Youth Day

Region 3 - Central London Sai Centre: My Dear Lord

Region 3 - Regional Spiritual Event Hosted by Milton Keynes Sai Centre

Region 3 - Youth Narayana Seva

Region 4 - An Interview with the Youth at Narborough Centre

Region 4 - Knit One, Purl One

Region 4 - Narborough Sai Centre: A Birthday to Remember

Region 5 - Bolton Sai Group Paduka Pooja

Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam and Gurupoornima Celebrations

Sai Smaran Bhajans

Sai Spiritual Education Training Workshops

Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day

Special Rudra Abhishekam

Stokes Wood Good Values Club Event (SSEHV)

UK National Pilgrimage 2014 Sai Samarpanam – One with Sai

Editorial

Dear Love and Light Readers
Loving Sai Ram to you!

As we enjoy the longest daylight hours of the year, the eyes of the world is focussed upon Brazil with the soccer players demonstrating their supremacy in human excellence. The month of June also saw the 70th anniversary of the D-day landings by the allied forces that liberated Europe to freedom which is benefiting all of us today.

As an organisation, our centres have been busy with their spiritual meetings to raise the spiritual consciousness of followers of Sathya Sai Baba enabling them to be ‘One with Sai’, the service wing engaged with their local community activities providing selfless service and the SSE (Sai Spiritual Education) teachers providing value based education to children broadening their hearts and filling an important space in the young lives and the youth embracing all the wings of the organisation.

Since the last edition of Love and Light, we had the 1st Sadhana Meeting on the 18th May, in preparation for our National Pilgrimage, ‘Sai Samarpanam – One with Sai’ planned 27th July – 2nd August 2014. The 2nd meeting was held on the 14th June. There is still the chance to join the pilgrimage, please register at:

http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/NP2014/registration/registration.php

SSE training for existing and new teachers was organised on the 24th May; teachers have a significant role in the Sathya Sai Mission - apart from moulding the character of children, they make a significant contribution towards nation building.

The 7th Sai Smaran bhajans, a garland of devotional songs sung in a variety of languages, tunes, melodies and voices was offered to our Lord on the 31st May in Toothing, London. There was oneness in thoughts, in chants and action.

This month, Jews celebrate Shavuot signifying the revelation of the Torah by God to Mosses on Mount Sinai. Sikhs remember the martyrdom of the 5th Master of Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev and Muslims around the world prepare for Ramadan when they will observe fasting during daylight; it is believed that Quran was revealed during the holy month of Ramadan.

For us, excitement is building up in anticipation of the Gurupoornima celebrations. We will be congregating at the holy sanctuary of the Balaji Temple in Birmingham, on the 12th July for Rudra Ekadashini Homam.

Apart from our offering of Love and Gratitude to our Lord, this unique event is performed as part of our prayers towards peace and happiness for everyone around the globe. To remember a few, the recent devastating floods affecting large areas of the Balkan region of South East Europe, people in the Philippines rebuilding their lives after the destruction left behind by a Typoon, terrorism inflicting pain and causing grief around the globe and many more.

The Homam will be an experience to cherish and remember! Please register at:

http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/rudrahomam2014/registration.php

We pray for the Grace and Blessings of our Master, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Dr Kiran Patel,
Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK)

Blessings at a height of 30,000 feet

It was one of the evenings during May 1970, in New Delhi India, when I was about to leave my office for home. One of my colleagues in the office asked me, if I could be interested in attending a Sankeertan. Having been blessed to be born in a God fearing family and going to Keertans with my parents during my school days, I readily agreed and accompanied him.

We arrived in a beautiful flat in one of the posh localities of New Delhi known as Sundar Nagar. On arrival I observed that all the persons were sitting in a row one after the other in pin drop silence. There were separate queues for men and separate queues for women. They were all waiting for Sankeertan to start. I along with others sat in one of the queues on the men’s side.

The proceedings started with Three Oms.

First Lord Ganesh’s Bhajan and then Guru’s Bhajan were sung. The other Bhajans that followed, were in the praise of Rama, Krishna, Hanuman, Durga and other deities. All the singers were taking their turns, without any interruption and without waste of even a single minute. The Bhajans continued uninterrupted in a very peaceful and comforting manner. Finally, all stood up for Aarti and after Aarti, one by one, went up to the Altar to touch Swami’s feet in a very large beautifully framed picture. After distribution of Prashad, in a most orderly manner, we all dispersed quietly taking with us the uplifting spiritual feelings.

It was for the first time in my life at age 44 that I had participated in a well organised and spiritually uplifting Sankeertan without the physical presence of the Master. I came home a very happy person, as if, I had achieved something very great on that day. I shared my good feelings with my family, who got equally excited. I then started attending the Bhajans at Sundar Nagar as regularly as I could.

Just after three months of my attending the first Sankeertan, I was asked by my employers Life Insurance Corporation of India, if I would accept a transfer to their UK Office in London. After due consultations with my family and well-wishers, but with some reservations on my part about my future career (as most of the very important jobs in the organisation being in India), I accepted the transfer.

I was called to Bombay for a brief for my UK posting. During my week’s stay in Bombay; I started looking for any place of worship and prayers for Satya Sai Baba. However, on my enquiry each time I was directed to Shirdi Sai Temples. It was the year 1970. But it was Baba’s Will that someone told me about Dharmakshetra in Andheri. Not familiar with Bombay, one evening after office, I found my way to Dharmakshetra. I was able to join Baba’s Sankeertan. It was Thursday evening. After the Bhajans, Vibhuti was distributed as Prashad. I then approached the person in charge, if he could give me some vibhuti which can last me for sometime, as I was going to UK for four years and I shall not be able to get Baba’s Vibhuti over there. He very kindly packed some Vibhuti for me in a paper and handed it over to me.

It was on 8th November 1970 that I took a flight for London with my wife and three children. During the flight I, thought of Swami number of times, feeling sorry that I have left the country for four years without even knowing about Swami, and without his Darshan.

While thinking about Swami during the flight, I picked up from the various journals and newspapers kept in the plane for the passengers, a copy of READER’S DIGEST September 1970 issue published from New York. I came to my seat and to my surprise as I opened Reader’s Digest, I found an article on Swami with a beautiful photograph of Swami. I could not believe my eyes, and rubbed my eyes to be sure that I was not dreaming!

My joy knew no bounds and I could not believe that Swami would listen to my inner voice and bless me with His Darshan at a height of 30,000 feet. The sad feelings which one gets when one departs from one’s family for a long period of four years, all disappeared in no time. I felt that I could not think of a better luck than having Swami’s Darshan on my new posting which I was yet to join.

Having arrived in London on 8th November, I took charge of my office on Monday the 9th November 1970. The next day was obviously Tuesday, a day on which I have always been observing fast since I was 16 years of age. Before coming to London, every Tuesday I had been going with my family for prayers to Hanuman temple. (This practice I had continued even in Mauritius where I had a posting from 1958 to 1962). I therefore, asked my colleague in London office, if there was any Hanuman Temple where I could go and pray. I was told that there was no Hanuman temple that he knew, but he knew of one SITARAM who held Sai Baba Bhajans every Sunday at his house. I was amazed, felt extremely happy as I could not believe that Baba was already in UK. Immediately, a contact was established with Sita Ramji and I attended my first Bhajan on the second Sunday after my arrival in UK with two of my children. It was 15th of November 1970.

At Sita Ramji’s house we were hardly 10 to 11 persons (including ladies). Mr Sita Ram Ji and one or two ladies sang most of the Bhajans. There was not a single musical instrument, except Manjiras.

As it was November, it was decided to celebrate Swami’s Birthday. We were able to get a small Church hall in Pinner. It was extremely cold and I remember that we sat on the chairs with our coats and overcoats on and had Sankeertan for an hour.

My wife Damyanti was not able to join me for Bhajans at Sita Ramji’s house, as she had to look after my youngest son and also attend to household chores, as there was no domestic help available then.

I somehow, wanted to involve Damyanti in Bhajans, as before coming to London she had been singing Bhajans at All India Radio Delhi. She had also brought her harmonium to London. I therefore requested Sita Ram ji, if on one Sunday Bhajans could be held at my house. He readily agreed and informed all present there about the Bhajan at my house. Being in the Government of India organisation, I invited all my contacts from the Indian High Commission, Indian Banks etc.

That Sunday, we were about 50 persons attending the Bhjajan at my house. The Bhajans went very well with all the discipline and in the right format. Sita Ram ji was extremely pleased and after Aarti he approached Damyanti, if she could attend Bhajans every Sunday at his house in Pinner with the family. Sita Ramji was almost in his early seventies, and for Damyanti to refuse a request from such a person was not in her character. She called him Pita Ji (father) and readily agreed to be a participant in the Bhajans.

Next Sunday I, Damyanti and all three children went to Pinner. It was for the first time in early 1971 that Harmonium was played in Bhajans in UK. This practise of attending Bhajans every Sunday continued and we started getting involved more and more in the Bhajan activity.

One evening, Damyanti and I had a conversation in which we felt that we did not have any real clue about Satya Sai Baba. We had never seen him! We were not only getting involved more and more ourselves but we were involving our children as well. We felt that in case Satya Sai Baba is not what we were thinking and if later we discovered that He was a hoax ( kindly excuse me for this), like some of the Swamis in India about whom we had read in the Indian press, then neither our children would pardon us nor we would be able to pardon ourselves. We had therefore, a very keen desire to know about Swami.

As it was not possible for me to visit India due to my job, we decided that Damyanti would join Sita Ramji on his next visit to Puttaparthi. It was on Swami’s Birthday in 1972 that Damyanti accompanied Sita Ram ji and his wife to Puttaparti. And Swami, to who we had been praying so far, not only did not disappoint us but filled our hearts with eternal joy and happiness!

(To be continued...)

Balram Puri
London

Sri Balram Puri is one of the oldest devotee of Bhagawan Baba living in UK today. He has been involved in the development of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation in the UK since its very early days. He was instrumental in founding the Sri Sathya Sai Charitable Trust in UK as per the divine instructions of Bhagawan, and actively served on it as a Trustee until his retirement recently.

Devastation in the Balkans

In recent weeks, the Balkan region of South East Europe has been ravaged by severe floods caused by unprecedented levels of rainfall. Large parts of Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Croatia have been flooded, even causing major land slides in several regions. Almost one million people have been evacuated or relocated from their homes in a matter of days.

Our brothers and sisters of the Sathya Sai Organisations in these affected countries are actively helping with the relief efforts alongside various government agencies and other charities. They report an enormous need for food, drinking water, blankets, clothing and medicinal supplies in the immediate phase in these regions. Also, the task of rebuilding and rehabilitation would be a mammoth one in the coming months.

Needy people are being housed in temporary shelters (schools, gyms, other public spaces and areas) where they are provided medical help and are served food, water and other elementary items. Although these items can be bought in markets and shops, many are unable to afford it due to poverty.

The waters in some areas are receding, leaving behind a trail of destruction - mud, ruined houses, landslides, dead animals, terrible smell, swarms of mosquitoes etc. Our local Sathya Sai leadership has established that there exists a high risk of contagion. People are coping with this terrible situation as they can. Many of them visit their houses during the day, do some cleaning, burn stuff, and then return to the shelters in the evening. Professionals and institutions are doing their best to cover the basic needs. The countries affected are poor, not formally a part of the EU yet, and have been hit hard with an enormous calamity. The Bosnian and Serbian governments are doing their best, but help and support from various bodies is essential in the attempts to meet this gigantic need. This is where the Sathya Sai Organisation has been playing a big role.

A very good communication and cooperation has been established with institutions and professionals who work locally, so our leadership in these areas can exchange information and organize actions and activities according to the need.

As a natural response to such calamities, and in conjunction with our beloved Bhagawan’s teachings and divine example, the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation (SSSWF) has extended full support immediately to the relief efforts on behalf of all the Sathya Sai devotees in the world. As part of this effort, the Sri Sathya Sai Charitable Trust (UK) has immediately transferred funds for the purchase of essential items locally.

The relief and rehabilitation efforts undertaken by our fellow devotees in these countries are ongoing and indeed heart-warming. We therefore request and encourage all the members of our Sai family in UK to participate wholeheartedly in these efforts in a spirit of oneness with our fellow beings, and in love and service to our beloved Bhagawan.

First and foremost, let us pray to our beloved Lord Sathya Sai, collectively in all our Sai Centres, to shower His Divine Blessings on all those affected by this natural disaster and to alleviate their suffering. Through His Grace, let us also serve those in need with humility and dedication.
For those who wish to voluntarily contribute funds towards the relief efforts, please send a mail to balkanrelief@srisathyasai.org.uk for further details.

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.

Let 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)

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (SSS Speaks 42-07, 42-09)

Dr. Kiran Patel,
Chairperson, SSSSO UK Central Council

Do Inanimate Things too have Emotions and Feelings?

Do inanimate things too have emotions and feelings?

"I related this story to Hislop, when he asked me, whether inanimate things too had emotions and feelings of disappointment and despair. The occasion at Dharmakshetra was:

I asked that about a hundred saris be brought, so that I could select some, for distribution to the women workers at Anantapur who are helping build the Sathya Sai College there! I selected 96 and asked them to return 4 to the shop. I kept the 4 aside and 96 were placed in my room. Later, when I passed the table on which the four discarded saris were kept (Hislop was standing by the side of that table), it was noticed that the card board box which contained the four was dripping tears! The saris were weeping (!) that they could not get appreciation from me and were declared unfit. Yes! They had shed tears. You may ask whether this is ever possible. I answered, there is nothing in this world which has no heart, which is incapable of feeling joy or grief! Only, you must have the eye to see, the ear to listen, the heart to respond!"

Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 7, 73

How can we please Baba?

"I have come for Dharmasamsthapanarthaya, for the restoration of Dharma (Right Conduct), the Right that sustains the earth that ensures peace among men and among the nations. Live in Dharma, promote Dharma by your acts, thoughts and words – that is the Puja (worship) I appreciate, for that is paying reverence to the task which I have set before Myself. Foster Dharma, feed Dharma, fertilise Dharma, encourage Dharma – it is My Work and I will be pleased."

Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 7, 49

Letter from Dr. Narendranath Reddy Chairman, Prasanthi Council

Prasanthi Council, P.O. Box 660995, Arcadia, CA 91066-0995, USA.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Greetings of loving Sairam to all of you. We are celebrating Guru Poornima on 12th July 2014. This is an auspicious and special day for spiritual seekers to pay homage to their Guru and rededicate their lives to live His message. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, our Guru and God has come to show us the guri (goal of life) by getting rid of the darkness of ignorance. It is very important for us to remember His message through His first bhajan “Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam” and we should one-pointedly hold on to His feet so that we can reach the goal.

It has been brought to my attention that emails have been circulating that Swami has been speaking through some people and delivering discourses in subtle forms in various places. It is reported in these emails that they claim to have seen His “light body” and they have been instructed to establish institutions. They are seeking donations, participation and support. It is good to remember and practice what Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself has said about such activities.

I urge all Sathya Sai devotees to pay careful attention to the excerpts from Swami’s Divine discourses given below. Swami has always emphasised in His Divine discourses that He has a unique heart-to-heart relationship with each devotee and has no intermediaries. At one time I asked Swami if worshipping His Divine lotus feet mentally is equivalent to worshipping Him physically. Swami immediately responded “Yes, mental worship has the same spiritual benefits”. Therefore, Sadhana is the inward path.

Let us sanctify and redeem our lives by implicitly following the Divine command.

Let us focus on the goal without being distracted by anyone or any external influences.

Let us dive deep into the nectarine words of Swami and practice His universal and eternal message of love and selfless service in our daily lives.

Let us love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and serve Him till our last breath.

Jai Sai Ram.
Lovingly in the Service of Sai,
Dr. Narendranath Reddy,
Chairman, Prasanthi Council.

EXCERPTS FROM DIVINE DISCOURSES

"Our relationship is only heart-to-heart and love-to-love, nothing else. Swami is love personified. Swami gives importance to love and nothing else. Do not give any value to mean and meaningless talk."

Excerpts from Discourse on 15th October 1999 at Prasanthi Nilayam.

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

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

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

Excerpts from Discourse on 25th November 1962 at Prasanthi Nilayam

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

Excerpts from Discourse on 15th October 1964 at Prasanthi Nilayam

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

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

Excerpts from Discourse on 26 March 1965 at Kakinada

"There are quite a few who declare that I am coming "upon them," possessing them rather, and they sway, shake and shiver and say all kinds of things, claiming that I am speaking through them or that they are under My Influence. They answer questions and 'foretell' things and perform many tricks to collect money or things from people who do not know Me and My reality. All this is sheer deceit; it is a disease that is spreading. Do not encourage it; nip it whenever you see cases of people suffering from it. Such people have agents and brokers; scotch them first and their puppets will disappear. They wear the dress of holiness, but their greed announces them as vile. People say 'Baba appeared to me in a dream and commanded me to do this and that, to you, to collect so much from you etc., etc. Do not give heed to such cheats; punish them in the way they deserve. That is the advice I have to give you."

Excerpts from Discourse on 3 March 1965 at Amalaapuram

"In order to make known My majesty and My glory as the Divine that has Incarnated, miraculous happenings of an amazing nature do take place in certain areas. Taking advantage of the attraction that those happenings draw upon them, many misuse them for personal propaganda and aggrandizement. They trade for money the Vibhuthi (sacred ash) that the pictures in their altars shower! They go about pretending that they are "superior devotees" of a higher order and conferring boons and blessings on the innocent folk whom they fleece. Others put forth false claims that vibhuthi is emanating from the pictures of Baba in their homes, that Amrith (nectar) is dripping from them or that material objects are falling from them, like written answers to questions. Samithis and other Units should have no contact with such cheats and crooks. Anyone who is attached to such or who encourages such can be immediately removed.

There are others who claim that I am speaking through them, and answering questions put to them. These people must be either insane or hysteria-affected or they are possessed by some ghost or by the greed to earn money thereby. I can only tell you that it is not I that speaks through them. I do not need media; nor do I need substitutes or subsidiaries or representatives."

Excerpts from Discourse on 22 November 1970 during All-India Conference of Workers of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations at Prasanthi Nilayam

"There are some people who are doing business in the Name of Sai. They are cheating others, pretending to be devotees of Sai. I do not approve of such behaviour. They are not devotees at all. They are going to different parts of the country and also abroad to make money in the name of Sai. It is a big crime. I do not ask for even a single paisa from others. I never approve of such business. Whoever it may be, if somebody approaches you with such a crass motive, tell him to get out at once. Do not allow business to enter the field of spirituality."

Excerpts from Discourse given on 22 July 2002 during International Seva Conference at Prasanthi Nilayam

"In foreign countries, some Indians are claiming themselves to be Swami's devotees, and they are telling many lies using the name of Swami for collecting money. Some claim they are constructing temples and schools for Swami, and they collect money. These are all blatant lies. Swami has not accepted any money for any purpose. So be careful, and keep those people at a distance who approach you for money in the name of Sai."

Excerpts from Discourse for American devotees on 27 July 2002 at Prasanthi Nilayam.

Yet others, invoking the name of Swami and claiming that they have been endowed with miraculous powers by Swami Himself, are collecting money. There can be nothing more diabolical than this.

This is a matter to which Swami has thus far never made even the slightest reference, to anyone and at any time. Sai’s name is being invoked and a bad name is being brought to Sai by people engaging in such foul actions. This is one of the ways in which Sai activities are being converted into business transactions.

Excerpts from Discourse on 21st November 1988 at Prasanthi Nilayam.

"Utilize the chance of association with Me as much as possible, and endeavour as quickly and as best as you can, to follow the directions that I have been giving. Obeying My instructions is enough; it will benefit you more than the most rigorous asceticism. Practice Sathya, Dharma, Santhi and Prema, which are dear to Me; resolve to keep those ideals before you ever, in all your thoughts, words and deeds. That can confer on you the summum bonum of mergence in the Supreme Substance of divinity."

Excerpts from Discourse on 17 May 1968 during World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations at Mumbai

Philippines Medical Camp Report

Fifteen medical volunteers from the International Sai Organisation made their way across the oceans from UK and USA to the typhoon affected area of Tacloban in Philippines to offer their medical services as an expression of their Love for Swami. During this Sai Medical Mission there were 15 overseas volunteers (4 from the USA and 11 from the UK), 11 volunteers from Manila (6 staying for the whole duration), 3 helpers from Manila, Bob Singh from USA who had been in Tacloban for 3 months and sister Liz staying at a coordinating centre known as ‘Sai Home’. The medical team included Paediatricians, Pain Management specialist, Psychiatrist, General Practitioners, Nurses, Pharmacist, Psychologists. Other general volunteers had joined from different professions and skill groups. The team number unsurprisingly was restricted due to limited accommodation that was available.

The team went to remote villages (“Barangay”) of Tacloban to spread Swami’s love.

On arrival in Manila we were first greeted by the Sai family of volunteers from Manila who hosted us in their beautiful homes and a few of them accompanied us to serve the masses in Tacloban.

Sai Devotees in Manila

Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Typhoon Yolanda) was a powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of South East Asia, particularly the Philippines, on November 8, 2013. It was the deadliest typhoon on record that struck the Philippines, killing at least 6,268 people in that country alone. According to UN officials, about 11 million people were affected and many were left homeless. In Tacloban, Leyte, the terminal building of Tacloban Airport was destroyed by a 5.2 m (17 ft) storm surge which touched the second story of the building.

The storm surge caused widespread devastation to Tacloban City, especially in San Jose, with many buildings being destroyed, trees knocked over or broken, and cars piled up. The low-lying areas on the eastern side of Tacloban city were hardest hit, with some areas completely washed away. It is stated that approximately 90 percent of the city had been destroyed or damaged. Ninety percent of the structures were either destroyed or damaged

Devastation caused by Typoon Haiyan

Arrival in Tacloban

We departed for Tacloban in the early hours on 4 April 2014 and were warmly received at Sai Home by our hosts on arrival, Mr Bob Singh from USA and sister Liz from Tacloban; sister Liz unfortunately had lost her husband in the typhoon. Both Bob and Liz had been working tirelessly for the people in Tacloban for the previous three months spreading Swami’s love and actively participating in Narayan Seva.

The International Sai Organisation and the Sai Organisation in Manila had been coordinating relief efforts since the disaster. They continue to work tirelessly providing health care, Narayan seva and other support as needed to the villages. The volunteers accompanied the team to the affected sites and helped in the organizing the camp, manning the registration desk, arranging the interpreters, helping in the pharmacy and all other allied departments.

The team would leave Sai Home around 7am. Each day the team would travel to do a different camp site and at times, two camp sites would be covered. This was rather challenging logistically and from a planning perspective. A devotee from Manila had provided a van. This was used to transport medicines and other general items.

The group included representatives from Muslim, Christian and Sai devotees. The camp would begin every day with a Christian prayer, Muslim prayer and Gayatri Mantra. Inspite of different background, the group showed great sense of unity and worked together to alleviate the suffering of people traumatically affected by the Typhoon. With Swami’s Divine Grace, the team would screen, treat and arrange for further care where necessary for patients who were visiting in hundreds from surrounding villages every day. The team of volunteers provided relief, explained symptoms and empathised with fellow brothers and sisters who had lost everything and who were trying to rebuild their lives again.

Hygiene Team

During weekends, young adults from Manila joined the medical team who worked with the patients, mainly children, teaching them about hygiene, the importance of brushing teeth and spending some time playing art games with them and so on.

Registration team

Interpreters - our voices!

Queues waiting patiently to be seen

Our Psychologists from USA patiently counseled and taught various de-stressing exercises to the affected adults and children.

The army provided protection for us, particularly in remote areas where there was fear of guerrilla warfare. They were touched by the selfless loving service of the volunteers and came forward to help us in every possible way.

Assistance provided by the Army

The holy camp site in a church

The doctors identified some critical patients at makeshift camp sites which were located in little sheds, churches and community halls. Crowds would wait patiently for treatment well after dusk despite no electricity during these times! For some needy patients, immediate care was provided including drainage of large abscesses troubling little children.

On one of the days at the end of a camp, a patient walked in with severe cardiac problems. He was screened and his symptoms were explained to his uncle who was deeply touched by our loving service. The uncle had tears in his eyes after he saw the love and attention they received from the doctor. He remarked with tears in his eyes,” Whether the surgery will take place or not, we are happy. Thank you for your love and patience in explaining it all to us....”

The Cardiac patient

Patients with hyperactive thyroid disease needing treatment thought they had stress and were correctly diagnosed and treated.

Another patient was a” blue baby” needing urgent surgery.

Medical Treatment

Medical camps were set up across 6 days, some days included packing up and moving to second camp site in the afternoon. Before the camp, pre packing of medicine was held, as well as going through all the medicine stock in the Sai Home stock room. So clearly lot of planning was required. During the 6 days, 2874 patients were treated of which 1276 were adults and 1275 were children. In addition, there was another camp where registration was unclear, an estimated 1100 patients were treated.

Apart from free medicine being handed out, the following items were also distributed to patients and families:

- New clothes
- Dehydration drink “Paedialyte” or crystals
- Energy drink “Ensure”
- Itch creams (baby & adult)
- Plasters
- Colouring books & crayons for children
- Soap bars – part of the hygiene pack
- Tooth brush & tooth paste – part of the hygiene pack
- Toys

The nursing teams helped with wound dressings, GPs with the blood pressure and sugar tests, the pharmacy team in preparing & dispensing medicine, patients with understanding about their medicines and use etc.

The patients we came across were resilient despite going through such a catastrophic event, where they lost not only their belongings but their family members and friends. They had immense faith in Lord Jesus and one of the patients remarked that this was just a test from the Lord.

The indomitable spirit of the affected inspired us to work tirelessly for them.

When dreams come true...

Dr Yamuna Ekambaram, Paediatrician from USA had a dream in December 2013, immediately after the typhoon where Swami was standing with many little Phillipino children who were calling her and her son for help saying, “Swami is with us every day!”.It was then that she decided she would want to go and serve in Yolanda, Tacloban.

The physicians and our dedicated pain specialist helped to alleviate chronic pain for the many. On one occasion a patient who had been deaf since the typhoon started to hear again!

Paediatric Team

Pharmacy

The pharmacy team had a considerable challenge due to the nature of the make shift camp. Medicines had to be off-loaded at every camp site. Planning of the type of medicine required, stacking in the van and so on, was vital. The pharmacy team worked tirelessly dispensing several hundred medicines everyday to patients. The host team were a great help to the pharmacy team.

Dr Nikila Pandya
Paediatrician, UK

Sai Smaran Bhajans

"Sing aloud the glory of god and charge the atmosphere with divine adoration...." (SSS, VI 239)

On the 31st of May 2014, the 7th ‘Sai Smaran Bhajans’ national gratitude programme was held in Region 1 of SSSSO UK at Tooting Sai Centre. Sai Smaran Bhajans have become more and more popular, and devotees from across the country come and participate in singing HIS glory, as an offering of love and gratitude at HIS feet and experience bliss.

Like previous ‘Sai Smarans’ a lot of planning and preparation had gone in to this event too. Devotees all over the country attended practice sessions in their respective regions which were facilitated by the regional spiritual and youth coordinators. Devotees who wanted to lead the bhajans were encouraged to attend the practice sessions and feedback was given to them by a group of experienced singers and instrumentalists. For the first time at this event, SSE children also participated in large numbers which was very heartening to see.
With the Grace and Blessings of our beloved Bhagawan, and the continuing support from all devotees in the UK , this event which is conducted once every 4 months, has continued to be a great success.

Attended by over 300 devotees from across the UK, this Sai Smaran was no different to the rest. The day started with a melodious Flute and Mrudangam concert, rendered expertly by two young brothers, Harrisan (flute) and Anushan (Mrudangam) Mohanarajah. The young but finely honed talents of these 2 brothers created a perfect ambience in which all the agitations of the mind settled, and all hearts were prepared to receive the joy of singing His glory. With the unison of voices and prayers from our hearts, powerful vibrations of Swami’s love was felt throughout the day.

Bhajan singers and musicians had prepared diligently in the lead up to this occasion, giving devotees the opportunity to listen to various devotional songs, some of which they might not have come across in their own centres or regions. Also, bhajans were sung in a multitude of languages, for example in English, Tamil , Telugu and Hindi -all with the underlying message that we continue to yearn for the love of our dear God.

As well as preparing for bhajans, much planning went in to the organization of the day too. Many devotees were working in the background silently prior, during and after this special occasion. For months, a core committee had been working on various arrangements such as the venue, altar set-up, decorations, food and logistics. As Swami says “love my uncertainty…”, on the eve of the bhajans, the venue was handed over to us much later than agreed, at the late hour of 10pm! We thus had a shorter timeframe in which to get all the preparatory work done! As usual, Swami made sure there were plenty of volunteers at hand, who turned up even at such short notice and at such a late hour. As the quote goes, “many hands make work light“; devotees worked tirelessly to set up the Altar, sound systems and the food hall until 2 am, only to return again early at 8am the same morning for final preparations before devotees arrivedI It was truly amazing to see this spirit of service, sacrifice and love amongst all of them.

The attractively decorated hall had the colour theme of orange and purple with beautiful fresh flowers, candles and draping throughout the hall, a key theme were the human values as beautifully displayed on the Altar.

To add to this, in true Sai Smaran style video projections of classic film footage of Swami’s darshan were played throughout the day. Fortunately, bhajans in the main hall were streamed live, and thus volunteers serving in the food hall and devotees partaking their Prasadam too could participate in the singing. The Prasadam was lovingly prepared by members from various Centres in the Region and served with immense love and care.

The programme finished at 4pm with concluding thoughts from Dr Kiran Patel, our National Chairperson. This was followed by Aarti and then the devotees were served a further hot sumptuous meal prior to embarking on their journeys home. The bhajans sung with great devotion, love and discipline created an atmosphere of Prashanthi Nilayam. The overwhelming feedback from the event was that people felt they were in Prashanti, rather akin to singing in the Sai Kulwant Hall and then going off to the various canteens for partaking of the Prasadam! Mention was also made of the harmonious, congenial and serene atmosphere which pervaded throughout the day and many devotees remarked on how the multitude of volunteers worked as a cohesive team in serving our Lord.

May our dear Swami always guide us in future events and allow us to do more such devotional offerings at His Lotus feet.

Sai Ram.

Jitesh Patel
on behalf of Region 1

Sai Spiritual Education Training Workshops

Sai Spiritual Education Training Workshops held on 24th May 2014 A Report

The SSE wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK held its third workshop for the year 2014 on Saturday 24th May 2014 in South Oxhey, Watford. The aim of workshops was to inspire and guide Bal Vikas teachers, helpers, parents, youth and office bearers all over the country to whole-heartedly participate in the sacred movement within their respective Sai Centres and Sai Groups.

The forum provided a mix of activities for the 60 devotees who attended. After an introductory session, participants had the option to attend one of three different workshops that were running in parallel. Aspiring Bal Vikas teachers attended Basic SSE training, while the more experienced gurus attended Multi Faith prayers sessions, Bhaja Govindam training and the session on Child Psychology.

Swami says: “Teaching is the noblest of professions”. This was the ideal opportunity for current and future teachers to re-familiarise themselves and learn the fundamental principles of Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas or Sai Spiritual Education programme.

The Basic SSE training explored the five teaching techniques of Silent Sitting, Group Devotional Singing, Prayers, Story Telling and Group Activities and their benefits in developing the child’s personality into balanced, self-confident, loving and virtuous children as prescribed by Swami.

This aspect of the training was done through experiential learning. Thus, participants learnt different methods and had the opportunity to practice them.

Swami has emphasized the importance of parental participation and support in the SSE programme, and this was discussed through case scenarios and Swami’s teachings. Whilst the child and the parent receive the spiritual lessons through the SSE classes, it was most important for the guru to undertake their own personal sadhana to invoke the grace and inspiration of the Jagadguru, our Beloved Bhagavan. This was briefly touched on during this session.

The Basic SSE training was educational, inspiring and above all entertaining. Everyone left the workshop feeling motivated to teach Bal Vikas students, helping them become good citizens and leaders of tomorrow – the aim set by Sathya Sai Baba when launching the Bal Vikas Movement in 1969.

Dr Ritesh Sunnasy
Sai Youth, Region 3

Workshop on Multi-Faith Prayers & Understanding Children

The Multifaith Prayer session was conducted by our Sai brother Ronnie Ramdin, Brixton Sai centre Chair and SSE alumnus. He taught us to chant some of the main prayers, and also explained the meanings to these chants from the faiths of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Zorastrianism with references provided in Bhagavan’s divine discourses.

The afternoon session on ‘Understanding Children’ was conducted by Dr Rakendu Suren, Consultant Child Psychiatrist who explained the developmental models in relation to a child’s personality and the importance of being aware of the special needs that a child may have so as to be able to adapt the class to be inclusive. He facilitated a meaningful discussion on applying the understanding of the developmental models to the five teaching techniques used in SSE, so that maximum benefit is achieved when teaching a class.

Miss Nuleen Panday
Regional SSE Coordinator, Region 6

Workshop on the Significance and Teaching of Bhaja Govindam

In the spirit of Vedantic analogy, if the SSE curriculum was compared to an Ambala sweet, then the Bhaja Govindam would no doubt be its delectable epicentre. Whilst too easily relegated behind better known epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, once found, the Bhaja Govindam is a treasure trove of learning for students and teachers alike. Indeed this masterpiece of the great Sri Adi Shankaracharya is so replete in its poetic and philosophic beauty that Bhagawan Himself dedicated to it an entire summer camp for students in 1973. These verses expounded by Bhagawan during those Summer Showers in Brindavan today form part of the Bal Vikas syllabus.

The advanced training session facilitated by Dr Mahesh Narayan and sister Praveena Patel brought together their many years of experience teaching the Bhaja Govindam. The session provided invaluable tips and insights into conveying its message to today’s generation and inculcating in them an affinity to this timeless classic. An important aspect of this was an understanding of the unique geo-religious context in which Shankaracharya emerged, whose legacy is still very much evident in every corner of India today. The disciples, personalities and sub-stories which feature along the way are worthy of narration in themselves and told inimitably by Bhagawan over the years to bring to life the glory of Shankaracharya and his epic poem. Attendees were also doubly privileged to be joined by Dr Kiran Patel, Chairperson UK Central Council who was among the golden batch of students present at Bhagawan’s original lectures in 1973.

This session also provided suggestions through which the wisdom and essence of Bhaja Govindam could be imbibed by the SSE children. The session commenced with the life of Adi Shankaracharya followed by recitation of verses and their meanings. Both new and experienced SSE teachers along with SSE helpers, youths and parents were taken through each of 16 out of the 31 verses included in the Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas Syllabus. Topics on each verse were supported with Swami’s teachings, stories as well as their applications in our day-to-day lives. All these activities would certainly enhance the learning process of the SSE students, making it fun with full of interactions.

The SSE trainers also suggested many sources from books and Swami’s discourses to further understand this beautiful poem. This training has certainly inspired and revived the spirit of Bhaja Govindam in both experienced as well as aspiring SSE teachers.

Mr Thanusan & Miss Prathista
Sai Youth and SSE teachers
Region 3

The day of learning and sharing together, came to a close with Dr Kiran Patel, UK Central Council Chairperson sharing his thoughts and experience on the vital role SSE plays in carrying the Sai Mission forward. He also stressed on the role of our Sai Centres in ensuring that our children have all the opportunity to grow and blossom into virtuous, self-confident, loving, humble and good human beings within the portals of the loving environments of each and every Sai Centre. Our children are our future serving the society in the name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Embodiment of Love!

Special Rudra Abhishekam

12th July 2014
8.30am to 2.00 pm

Om Sri Sai Ram!

Welcome to the special Rudraabhishekam Programme. This programme will be a part of the 10th Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam being conducted on the 12th July 2014 at the Sri Balaji Temple, Birmingham. Both the Homam and Abhishekam will be our offering of gratitude on the auspicious occasion of Gurupoornima, at the Lotus Feet of our Divine Sathguru, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The Rudraabhishekam programme will take place alongside the Homam. It starts at 08.30 am and culminates with Purnahuthi at about 2.00pm. Sri Rudram will be chanted during this entire 51/2 hour programme. Senior priests will conduct and supervise all the proceedings.

For the Rudraabhishekam, 2 members of a family can register. Each family will be given a Shivalingam ( approximately 2 inches in height), and other materials necessary for the worship. After the Rudraabhishekam, the family will be able to take the Shivalingam to their homes for personal worship and Sadhana.

Those who wish to register for this special Rudraabhishekam, please note the following:
1. Both family members will be required to sit on the floor, along with all the priests and Lead Chanting team, for the entire 51/2 hour duration of the Rudraabhishekam.
2. Due to space constraints, we are unable to provide chairs or tables.
3. The dress code is ‘whites’ for men and sarees for ladies.
4. Once installed in your altar at home, offering simple but regular prayers to the Shivalingam ( chanting Om Namah Shivaaya and offering some fresh water) is advised and encouraged as a part of spiritual sadhana.
5. This opportunity is open to ALL devotees, and is totally free of cost. However places available are limited, and will be allocated on a ‘first come-first serve’ basis.

We hope you will participate in this special programme with great fervour, enthusiasm, and love. With sincere prayers to Bhagawan Baba for His Blessings and Grace on All the fellow beings,

Please click here if you wish to register for this Special Rudraabhishekam.

Jai Sai Ram.

Stokes Wood Good Values Club Event (SSEHV)

Lady Gretton, Lord-Lieutenant, the official representative of Her Majesty The Queen for the County and City of Leicester was the chief guest for the first ISSE (UK) event where around fifty children from two schools and twenty-five volunteers from around the country and abroad gathered together to experience and bring alive the values of Love, Peace, Truth, Right Conduct and Non-Violence whilst engaging in fun activities; the activities included singing, craft making, martial art, sports, drama, assemblies and daily SSEHV lessons using the five components of the Direct Method – Quotations, stories, songs, silent sitting and worksheet based activities which used ‘educare’ process of drawing out the inherent values from within in children.

An overcast sky and rain over the week 26th to 30th May 2014 did not deter children and adults alike participating in the Sathya Sai Education in Human Values Programme who were rewarded with joy and peace within.

The venue for the event was Stokes Wood Primary School located near a large council estate; this drew children from one of the most deprived areas of Leicester. Despite the dismal weather the children were enthusiastic and attended all days. As one parent remarked, ‘ I was pleasantly shocked when my younger daughter got up by herself demanding to attend the programme on the second day when she was poorly. She kept praising everyone including teachers and made lovely friends. This was very uplifting to see!’

Feedback from parents and children was very positive. The Head teacher who was present for most of the week remarked that it was an ‘excellent week overall’ and was grateful for ‘this wonderful opportunity.’

Steve White, the Head of the` School s Development and Sport Authority Leicester’ (SDSA) praised the programme and remarked supporting it in schools. Councillor Manjula Sood, former mayor of Leicester City Council was pleased to represent Abbey Primary Community School. Dr. Kiran Patel, National chair for the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation (UK) explained the relevance of SSEHV and the role it played in moulding the character of children and nation building.

The event brought together the School, the Good Values Club, the Institute of Sathya Sai Education (UK) and the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation (UK).

Deepak Fakey, OBE
Director, Institute of Sathya Sai Education (UK)

UK National Pilgrimage 2014 Sai Samarpanam – One with Sai

2nd Sadhana Meeting

The second Sadhana meeting was held on Saturday 14th June at Oxhey Wood Primary School, Watford. Pilgrims from various parts of UK gathered together in the spirit of oneness to participate in the sadhana activities as part of their preparation towards the pilgrimage to the abode of peace, the most holy of the holiest places from where our Master, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba launched His Divine Mission and gave solace to millions from around the globe.

The meeting commenced with the resonating sound of the three Aums and melody of the devotional songs. Dr Kiran Patel, National Chair, welcomed the pilgrims and recapped the importance that Bhagawan had placed in our preparations to have the maximum benefit. Dr Veeru Rao, National Vice Chair, covered some of the activities listed below:

Likhitha Nama Japam (Writting the Lord’s name)
Study of 2 Vahinis - Sathya Sai Vahini and Bhagavata Vahini - (the Vahinies were written by Swami)
Learn Chants - Sathya Sai Ashtottharam (108 names of our Lord Sai)
Suprabhatham, Nirvana Shatakam , Sri Rudram.
Ceiling on Desires - to offer group service activities whilst on the Pilgrimage.

We were all asked on the progress of our Sadhana. It was pleasing to note that most of the pilgrims were making progress in Sadhana activities. We then split into two groups, gents and ladies to participate in a study circle on chapters 2 and chapter 3 of the Bhagavata Vahini respectively. Lot of us hadn’t read the Bhagavata Vahini. As we read and assimilated paragraph after paragraph, our eagerness and enthusiasm to continue the reading grew. At the end of the chapter, we had to present a short summary of what we had deliberated on the subject. Likewise the ladies also reflected on the content that they were meant to look at. We could not wait to read the subsequent chapters and complete the book before our next Sadhana meeting.

I recommend everyone to read the Bhagavata Vahini. You will not forget the joy of that experience.

We were then treated to a sumptuous lunch lovingly prepared by our Sai devotees. Whilst eating, a video of our beloved Bhagawan was played ensuring no time for idle chit chat!

A few of us then shared our own experiences and how we were drawn to Swami and His Divine Mission. It was humbling to note how Swami had touched the lives of so many of us.

As the day was drawing to a close, a few questions and answers were exchanged. The meeting ended with a short bhajan and Arthi was offered to Swami. We departed, inspired by His stories and the company of the wonderful and loving devotees that we had interacted with on the day.

Yoges Yogendran, Chair, Region 1

Region 1 - Young Adults Programme (YAP) May

Jai Sai Ram

The topic of May’s Young Adults Programme (Yap) in Region 1, was ‘Life is A Game, Play It- The game is easy, when we have the instruction’. The group started with attempting to put together a puzzle that after completion showed Swami’s inspirational message of ‘LOVE ALL SERVE ALL’.

The focus of the meeting was to plan for the Sports Day event, which would take place in July. As a group we had a thought provoking quote from Benjamin Franklin which was ‘BY FAILING TO PREPARE, YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL’. This was then linked to putting together a puzzle. The concept was that we would start by placing the corner stones, supporting the structure and filling the content. We then used this to decide how we would plan and execute a great and memorable sports day for our SSE children in our Region.

By placing the corner stones we looked at the purpose of the sports day, why it is important, how it help serve Swami’s Mission, how it helps self-transformation and also benefit others. At this point a heart-warming story was shared of Swami’s participation in small game of cricket. Of how He not only bowled a batsman out but also hit a 6 whilst batting with minimal effort. This was a story that was shared with our Regional Youth Coordinator on the UK Pilgrimage 2 years ago by an ardent devotee.

In terms of the supporting structure the group focused on engagement, communication, and planning the event; we brainstormed ideas focusing on how we could get as many children involved as possible. The group created a list of things to organise and put this into a timeline.

Finally the team of youths looked at filling the content. This is where it is important to ensure that the plan created is executed. It was important to make sure that the day would be success from the skills that the centres have at their disposal.

The YAP meeting ended with a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower- ‘plans are useless, but planning is indispensable’

The important message from this yap would have to be the importance of having a plan. We realised that planning can be irrelevant as soon as it implemented as we never truly know how things are actually going to happen and Swami has often said “Love my uncertainty”. But the idea is that at least there is a plan in place if things do not pan out as expected.

Planning is a process and we need to understand and get used to it so that it comes as second nature. As youth, we are the future of our scared organisation and will be taking the lead, therefore getting involved in planning events is a great experience.

Jai Sai Ram

Sai Balakrishnan, Region1
Youth Coordinator, Bromley Sai Centre

Region 2 - Buddha Jayanti Celebrations at London West Sai Centre

Region 2 London West Sai Centre celebrated Buddha Jayanti on Sunday 11th May.

Buddhist devotees set up a special altar with Lord Buddha's statue decorated with beautiful flowers and Tibetan sacred scarf lovingly draped around the statue of Lord Buddha.

Beautiful bhajans were sung with a lot of feelings. As the centre was packed with devotees on this occasion, everyone sang joyfully.
After the bhajans, one of the Buddhist devotees spoke on the Life and Teachings of Lord Buddha, the Enlightened One.

Special mention was made of the Lord's greatest teachings of THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS and the EIGHTFOLD PATHS also known as Middle Way.

It was a great day for every one. Prasadam was distributed for the occasion.

Mingma Tamang

With best wishes
Jai Sai Ram
Pamela

Region 2 - Easter Sunday at Harrow West Sai Centre

Om Sai Ram!

"You are all separate beads strung together on that one thread – God" - Sri Sathya Sai Baba

On the 20th of April, Easter Sunday, Harrow West Sai Centre had an outstanding programme for our beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. This programme was delivered by the Harrow West Youth and SSE children. This included setting up the altar and musical instruments, organising the bhajans, controlling the PA system and of course leaving the premises spotless.

The programme started by remembering the lives lost in the Korean shipwreck and dedicating the prayers to those affected. This was followed by vibrant prayers and uplifting bhajans, all in English. It was thoroughly enjoyed by the adults and all the children.

Our beloved Swami had blessed us to have Auntie Pamela from London West Sai Centre as the guest speaker. She gave a very informative talk about Jesus’ life and the significance of Easter.

Auntie Pamela also narrated a few leelas of Swami. The story of Swami materialising a crucifix for Mr Hislop was heart touching. Swami had said that the cross was made from the same wood as the one Jesus was crucified on, about 2000 years ago. While speaking Baba had tears in His eyes as He felt the pain of what Jesus had felt during the time of the crucifixion.

The evening closed with Arathi which was also sung in English. We thank our Swami for this wonderful opportunity to be unified as one Sai family. With His grace anything is achievable. Swami blessed us by a flower falling off from his chair at the end of the programme. Finally, following tradition, all the children received Easter eggs before leaving.

Jai Sai Ram
Seshan Kanagasabai - SSE student, Harrow West Sai Centre

Region 2 - Easwaramma Day Celebrations at Harrow West Sai Centre

On the 11th of May Harrow West Sai Centre filled the hall with divine vibrations as they celebrated Easwarama Day, commemorating the anniversary of the mother of our beloved lord Swami. A lot of work had gone into this auspicious occasion as a beautiful altar was designed and a special program was waiting ahead. Our mother Easwaramma always loved children, so the day was dedicated to the involvement and achievements of the children and youth.

The programme began with the usual prayers, followed by glorious bhajans led by the children and youth. This truly brought divine vibrations to the hearts of the devotees. The Nursery, Group One and Group Two children together offered a wonderful song called, ‘I will love you’ – their sweet and innocent singing touching the hearts of many. The Group Three children then gave us an engaging and insightful presentation on the Bhaja Govindam by Adi Shankaracharya, emphasizing the importance of devotion for God as a means of spiritual development and liberation from the cycle of birth and death. As the children chanted 16 of the most meaningful verses, they were accompanied by visuals and a translation on the screen – allowing the devotees to better understand and connect with the words of the scripture. A video was then shown of our beloved lord chanting the Bhaja Govindam, and many devotees started to join in with Him.

The programme ended with the Arathi, Vibhuti Prayer and the Kshama Prathana, and despite this you could still feel the wonderful vibrations that had been created lingering long afterwards. A big thank you to all of the active members of Harrow West Sai Centre team, for through their teamwork and service they helped to produce a very loving commemoration of our Swami’s mother and the love she stood for. On behalf of Harrow West Sai Centre, we also thank Swami for joining us on this special occasion, for being a guide, Guru and mother, and for helping us every step of the way.

Shriya Thakkar - SSE Student

Region 2 - Harrow West Sai Centre: Buddha Purnima Celebrations

Buddha Purnima was celebrated at the Harrow West Centre on 18th May 2014. It was decided to introduce the chanting of the ‘Pancha Sila’ at the Centre as a celebration of the Buddha Purnima day and then make it a regular practise on every Sunday.

We invited a Buddhist monk, Venerable Sumana M.A, from the Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre in Kingsbury, London NW9 as Guest Speaker on the day. In addition to his monastic duties, Ven. Sumana teaches Religious Studies at a local school and is knowledgeable in all the leading Religions.

He led the assembled devotees through the 'Tisaranena Pancha Sila' or 'Pancha Sila' (for short), which consists of paying homage to the Buddha, seeking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha and acceptance of the five Precepts (Sila), a code of conduct for the laity, as taught by the Buddha.

He then explained the meaning of the Precepts and spoke of their importance in leading a caring life and also as a way of achieving discipline of the body and the senses as a prelude to achieving discipline of the mind through meditation.

The Precepts are as follows:

  1. Not to harm any living being or creature.
  2. Not to take (by force, deceit or stealth) what belongs to another.
  3. Not to indulge wrongfully/excessively in gratification of the senses/desires.
  4. Not to indulge in wrongful speech. (harsh words, lies, gossip, back-biting etc.).
  5. Not to consume intoxicants (alcohol, drugs etc.).

Buddhists traditionally chant the Pancha Sila daily and it is considered a must at the commencement of all Buddhist religious activities.

The loving Buddhist monk preached that according to the Buddha, discipline of the body and mind, Sila and Samadhi leads to Panna (wisdom) and thence to Liberation.

Jai Sai Ram.
Padmasiri Jayasekera – Harrow West Sai Centre.

Region 2 - London West Sai Centre: Youth Day

I was informed by Vishal, our Youth Coordinator, that all youth would be doing everything at the centre on Sunday 18th May 2014. This would give the adults a well deserved break. He had also arranged for Brother Shyam, National youth coordinator, to join us and give a talk about his experiences with Swami.

All youth turned up early on the day and helped set up the centre and Altar:

At around 9:45am all youth sat down for Bhajan practice.

We started bhajans at 10:15am and everyone enjoyed all the bhajans that were sang by the centre youth. Brother Shyam also joined in:

After the Bhajans, brother Shyam took to the stage for his talk.

The Talk by Brother Shyam

As brother Shyam was growing up he started to question himself about Swami. He would think to himself why everyone around him had some sort of experience with Swami and he did not.

Brother Shyam was an SSE teacher but then forgot his priorities and stepped away from the SSE classes when he started University. He then led a typical University life style which included being a DJ in the clubs and working behind the bar in the Student Union. However, after completing his studies he got back to the SSE classes and was offered the role as Youth Coordinator.

Brother Shyam also spoke about his first time experience with Swami. It took place in Prashanthi and he always wanted a ring from Swami. On the third day he would ask himself why he was there.

Swami came out and took everyone’s letter but walked past brother Shyam. He was very upset that Swami did not take his letter and walked straight past him. All Brother Shyam wanted Swami to do was acknowledge him.

Swami then comes out for the second time and again walks straight past Brother Shyam. This time brother Shyam said in his head to Swami, “if you are really God, then you will take this letter from me!” In that instance, Swami turned around, walked towards brother Shyam and took his letter.

About six months ago brother Shyam was on the train on his way home from work. He could not help noticing a woman sitting opposite him that looked exactly like Swami. There was something divine about this woman. She then got off the same stop as brother Shyam carrying a lot of luggage, so brother Shyam helped her with the load and took her to the nearest Taxi office. He then said goodbye. This woman’s reply was “Goodbye, Sai Ram”

Brother Shyam seems to think that this woman was Swami in Human Form and he was very happy and emotional with this experience.

It was a very inspiring and uplifting talk and brother Shyam finished off with the words:

"Follow the master, face the devil"
"Fight to the end and finish the game"
"Life is a challenge so meet it"

I then did the announcements for the day:

Brother Bala Ram finished up by reading out the Thought for the Day:

It was a very well organised day by the youth and we are hoping to do this more often.

Jai Sai Ram
Pawan Harish

Region 3 - Central London Sai Centre: My Dear Lord

Swami frequently reminded us that what we see in the phenomenal world is not real. Unfortunately, man in his sensory pursuits gets entangled in worldly possessions which bind him to the material world. Believing that he is the body, he gets attached to the physical body. In many of His discourses Swami reminded us that we are being deluded into thinking that Swami is His physical body and warned us not to get attached to the 5 foot 3 inches body of His. In spite of that we found ourselves clinging to His physical presence and in the process suffered and continue to suffer pangs of separation when the Lord left His physical body.

Back in the times of Lord Buddha there was a similar situation when one of His foremost disciples, namely Ananda could not get Nirvana (realisation) due to his attachment to the Lord’s physical presence. It is only when Lord Buddha was approaching the last few hours of His life that Ananda, His elder brother realised that although he was very close to the Lord day and night, he was nowhere near attaining liberation. Lord Buddha reminded Ananda that his love for Him was conditional and that was an obstacle in his attainment of liberation and if he was serious about Nirvana, he should give up the body attachment and have pure, unconditional love for the Lord. Only then he could get Nirvana.

This is the plight of many Sai devotees who feel dejected and have lost their way in the absence of Swami in flesh and blood. This short drama was enacted to remind people that it is the attachment to the body that is the source of suffering. Swami in fact is very much with us, in front of us, behind us, beside us, below us, above us and in us. He has not left us. We should wake up from the delusion (maya) and realise that everything around us is permeated with His Divine presence. He is in the animate and the inanimate objects and from time to time He has manifested Himself to answer the prayers of fervent devotees. Thus, when Hiranyakashap challenged his son Prahalada and struck the pillar in his arrogance to show that there was no God, at that very moment He manifested Himself as the form of Narasimha, half man and half lion.

This play was a humble offering at the Lotus feet of our Lord to illustrate that Swami is very much with us and we should consider ourselves extremely fortunate that we live in an age when God walked on this earth, is among us, teaching us, guiding us, and helping in everything possible way to reform and transform us. The challenge is ours to take – to be transformed and be liberated or continue to be born and die in a cyclical manner.

Below are some photos depicting scenes in the drama. The play starts with the entry of fairies.

SSE children playing the role of fairies at the beginning of the drama.

Vivek, one of disciples who used to participate in annual seva in Puttaparthi, is very reluctant to go for seva again as he cannot bear the separation from his Lord. He is disillusioned and cannot understand what to do and breaks down. He is comforted by the seva group leader Prema.

Lord Buddha blessing His disciples before He takes mahasamadhi.

Ananda, Lord Buddha’s elder brother realises his mistake of getting attached to the Lord’s body. After deep meditation, he attains enlightenment.

Vivek now realises that Swami has not gone anywhere. He is all around him.

Members of the audience commented that they felt very much part of the whole drama and empathised with the characters.

“Everything changes, so don’t be attached, instead clear your mind in finding true happiness”- Buddha.

Aneet Govindarajan
Central London Sai Centre, Region 3

Region 3 - Regional Spiritual Event Hosted by Milton Keynes Sai Centre

On 10th May 2014, members of our Region 3 Sai family came together for a beautiful, heart-warming and divine day full of learning and inspiration. The event, hosted by Milton Keynes Sai Centre, included stimulating, interactive discussions, led by the respected Reverend Leonora Van Gils, exploring the ideas of spirituality, Swami’s teachings and healing through song, word and action. With melodic bhajans, stories and guided meditations, it was a truly enriching and affirming day.

The day commenced with Vedic chants and Ganesha Bhajans, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere and setting the scene for the rest of the day. Then Sister Leonora began her first talk, entitled ‘How to keep Swami in our Lives’. Sister Leonora told us tales of her encounters with our beloved Sai Baba, and described us as all as ‘unsharpened pencils’ before Swami’s teachings sharpen us. We then discussed the different ways each of us remember Swami in our day to day busy, hectic lives and how we can keep connected to Him. Here is a list as a reminder:

  1. Talking to Swami in conversation everyday
  2. Surrendering all thoughts – shoot the arrow of your worries up to HIM and He will take care of it
  3. Listening to bhajans (Radio Sai)
  4. Visualisation exercise: look at yourself in the mirror every morning and picture Swami entering you so YOU and HE become ONE
  5. Never give up LOVE. It helps you to come back stronger
  6. Reading His teachings and messages
  7. Recognising His omnipresence
  8. Service
  9. Remembering that Swami is in all of us so we are also God, we are no different from God
  10. Recognising that real happiness is Union with God
  11. Trying to detach. When we are attached, we cannot find happiness
  12. Reading Sai Inspirations from Radio Sai
  13. Listening to the experiences of Sai devotees on various websites
  14. Having Swami’s darshan first thing every morning by watching His DVD
  15. Reading His discourses. Listening to His Voice
  16. Morning and Night prayer
  17. Be in Nature: you can see God in everything
  18. Remembering Swami’s leelas
  19. Remembering Swami’s advice – whatever happens in your life...tell yourself “this is for my own good”.
  20. Always remembering that He will never let go of you...even if you let go of Him
  21. Remember that only God is permanent. Dedicate every action to Him
  22. Satsang: spending time with Sai devotees
  23. Look within. Everything you do...do it for HIM
  24. He is the sound in our hearts...
  25. Start by loving yourself. You are perfection in God’s eyes.
  26. Swami helps us through others. So help others too.
  27. A smile spreads love and costs nothing
  28. Regular meditation helps us to connect to God
  29. See God in everyone
  30. Always keep a sense of humour with everything...take it lightly
  31. Try tapping...to control fear and anxiety
  32. Remember Swami’s words...”None can love me, without my loving them”
  33. Six affirmations as soon as you wake:
    I am alive, live through me
    I am breathing, breathe through me
    I am thinking, think through me
    I am speaking, speak through me
    I am acting, act through me
    I am loving, love through me
  34. LOVE IS GOD

All the thoughtful contributions to the discussion made for a lively and fulfilling morning session. Following a delicious lunch made and served by volunteers, the afternoon commenced with a short film about Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Watching Swami delivering beautiful darshan to His devotees with such love and kindness, touched our hearts.

The afternoon session took the form of a recollection as Sister Leonora described her many blessed encounters with Swami and her journey through the challenges of life. She shared with us key moments in her life where Swami’s guiding hand had shown her the way. Her honest reflections about the challenges of family life, relationships and the development of her work and practice inspired us all. With grace, humility, and a lot of humour, she provided practical examples and personal evidence of what staying connected to Swami means.

The day’s activities ended with a musical tribute to Swami, featuring a wonderful array of powerful, and moving bhajans that united everyone present and filled the hall with love. A truly inspirational and blessed day, enjoyed by all.

Shivani Sharma
Milton Keynes Sai Centre R3

Region 3 - Youth Narayana Seva

"Serve Man, Serve God" is a quote often referred to when carrying out any service activity within the Sai Organisation. The mere meaning behind this saying is so beautiful that it leads us to truly appreciate the latent divinity within others. It reminds us that, we are not just the physical body but, we are embodiments of the Lord himself. With this in mind, service activities should be undertaken with the same attitude, love and devotion one would express when serving God.

The youth of Region 3 have been putting this into practice through a Narayana Seva Project, involving the preparation and the distribution of lunch/snack bags to the homeless in the Strand area of London. The most recent event took place in the morning of Sunday 1st June, where 7 youth distributed 70 bags along with fresh tea and coffee. The mutual feeling of love, gratitude and kindness dawned upon us all as the morning went on.

Ultimately, this project gives an opportunity to exercise selfless service as well as seeing the divinity within others. After all when we serve a fellow man, we are indeed serving God.

Jai Sai Ram
Region 3 Youth Team

Region 4 - An Interview with the Youth at Narborough Centre

Why do you like coming to the centre?

• The centre is like a big family, full of warmth, happiness and so much love. When I first attended the centre I
was really shy and scared of being around new people but everybody made me feel so welcome.

• The centre is my Baba’s house, my Yajur Mandir it feels like home

• I love coming to the centre, because there is lot of love shared.I need that to be happy and feel peace in myself. Love is and will always be my inner oxygen tank.

• I like the fact that the centre is Sarva Dharma and all religions and festivals are celebrated.This has given me a greater insight and broadened my understanding.

• I want to give back what my Sai Centre has given me over all these years.

The devotees taught me everything Swami taught me, to smile, to speak softly, to walk with pride and to love.

• Because the Centre is a family and it is like going home. The good company and bhajans lift my vibrations, so make me feel good and able to keep my energies high and sustained in the world! I love Swami and l love the devotees, that's what makes the Centre what it is.

• Being part of the Centre helps keep our focus and be better people in Society

Do you get the opportunity to do what you like?

• We are given encouragement by the elders and there are lots of opportunities because we are a small centre. However it is also for us to be proactive and get involved.

• I have enjoyed attending some of the committee meetings as I have been able to give my ideas for future activities.

• I feel our views are valued by the committee and this encourages me to do more.

• Yes, l have a role so this is a great opportunity to be involved in the Centre at a deeper level. Lots of seva opportunities too, there is always something to get involved with!

• You learn so much from getting involved, especially the Study Circles. The idea is to share and discuss but the growth is in the preparation too. To be part of the Centre and help in whatever way l can, l am aware l receive the benefit of love, grace, growth regardless of how l get involved, that's why it is such a blessing

What has been your inspiration?

• Seeing elders being committed over the years can only inspire youth like me. Their dedication fuels us with enthusiasm.

• I have learnt from the discussions on Swami’s teachings during the study circles.

• I enjoy listening to the Thought of the Day,to think about what is said and if I can apply this in my week.

• Seeing Baba serve his children tirelessly over years, can anything be more inspirational?

• We as a team of youth inspire each other, both in the centre and when we meet socially outside the centre.

What challenges have you encountered?

• My own challenge is that I bring science and rationality into everything.

I tend to notice contradictions in speech. I have lots of questions in my mind” Is Swami happy with me?” “Will I remember Swami in the future as I do now?

• When I teach the Rudram my deep desire is to see it taught properly and to see more and more people come to learn. When the turnout is low I used to be sad but I have learnt that my duty is to teach without worrying about the rest.

• To resist from I want to do and do what I am meant to do.

• Being a youth from a family who are not Sai devotees and not being able to share my thoughts or have their support.

• Time management trying to balance my work, my family , my social life and the centre work

• I haven't sung as yet and l have the 'singing fear'. Manly because l don't feel good enough (which is ego by the way!) but one day when l have time l will practice and sing on a Thursday.

• I have dealt with challenges by laughing and loving and...understanding each persons point of view is key and staying calm.

• Being kind to yourself and knowing you are doing your best.

• People that are passionate about something, we all want what we think is the best for the Centre and there are bound to be miscommunication sometimes and debates but that's where the growth is, we can learn from this and grow as people

TRANSFORMATION

Would you like to share any personal experiences/ contribution?

• Our Centre first decided to have a have a website 8 years ago. Few months ago when I attended a Committee meeting and this came up again I decided to get the bull by the horns and set myself a challenge! We were going to launch the website on Swami’s Mahasamadhi Day 2014. (I must have been mad!)I encountered lots of challenges but I kept my focus on Swami. And guess what www.nrsaicentre.org.uk was launched on the 24th of April 2014.I have met lots of wonderful people and learnt a lot in the process.

• To imagine my life without any influence of Sathya Sai, I can most definitely say with one hundred percent conviction that I would be in prison-such was my company! The Sai youth
friendship, turned into botherhood and now into a family for me.

• I am from France and Swami has given me the most wonderful opportunity to be with like- minded youth and participate in all the centre and national activities. Swami has made it possible for me to teach the Rudram, play the harmonium and sing bhajans all of which I love very much. Now I can speak gujerati as well!!

• Being one of the older youth, the other youth sometimes look to me for advice and inspiration. Thus Swami has put me into a leadership role. We have some wonderful heated discussions and I have always got to remember that I am a role model and I have to be careful to be good!! But we have lots of laughs and fun-because spirituality is meant to be fun (as Swami says “No Castor Oil Faces”) I have enjoyed writing and directing plays for Swami’s birthday celebrations and Global Service days.

• I am a technical person and like doing technical activities. One project I was involved with was that I had to think of a solution where we could sing any bhajan. The centre had created a bhajan book and the devotees only sang bhajans from the book so that everybody could follow them. This was very restrictive. I finally came up of a solution where I would create a Microsoft Access database and list bhajans on there. Everytime the centre would sing a bhajan they would select it from the database and then an automated process would extract the bhajan onto a PowerPoint presentation. This has saved the centre money and time and Swami does say “Time Waste is Life Waste”.

• In the past I have also Live streamed events nationally. One example was that the centre had organised a local event, Laksharcharna, with the revered Mr Vadgama. Mr Vadgama insisted that even though it was a centre event he wished that it could only be a national event. It was then agreed that the event was to be streamed live to all the centres nationally in the UK. By doing this I felt that many people in the country would have benefited from this. While the stream was happening we received comments on the stream to say “Thank You” as some people would have not been able to make it to this event and they had the pleasures of performing the sacred pooja as a family in their own home. Doing some kind of technical activity gives me a sense of satisfaction and drive.

• Although I am a beginner and not very good, I love singing bhajans. One day whilst travelling to work and listening to Nada Brahma, I was fascinated by one bhajanI “Gauri Nathaaya Vishwa Nathaaya”. I really loved this bhajan and I dreamt of singing it. I went to bhajan practise and they told me you need more practise, which usually means this one is not for you! But I had this intense prompting that I had to sing this bhajan. I practised this bhajan in the car, at home and at every opportunity. 6months later during Shivratri I sang this bhajan to my heart’s content. Now I felt satisfied. The bhajan co-ordinator and several others congratulated me on a fantastic job! I know Swami sang the bhajan through me.The irony was that we think we are singing for Swami, but this time he sang through me to Himself!

• l am part of Swami's organisation in the Sai family and l have so many brilliant opportunities at my feet. What a wonderful thought!
I am involved in various different areas being the current spiritual coordinator. I used to be the Youth coordinator a few years back. Having a role is recommended because of the interactions, discipline, and growth as a person.

• Being part of the youth we have time to grow and put our roots down, so we have a solid foundation for many years to come. The youth are full of energy and enthusiasm and are a great tool to our Centre, they do a fab job and love what they do, serving our dear Swami.

• Many years ago the Sai centre started in my house by my parents, so I was literally born into the Sai fold.I was a typical boy doing what most teenagers do and then wham! Four years ago my dad suddenly passed away, my world was shattered!! Swami fast tracked my spirituality into the awareness of how short life is. As I scattered my dad’s ashes into the Chitravati river, I promised him that I would continue serving Swami and the Centre that he had so loving started and served. Today Swami has transformed me , into a youth who knows his life’s purpose.
I have a long way to go but I have a very strong will and a great sense of humour, and that’s just me!

The Centre has provided an environment for the youth whereby they have the opportunity to harness their vitality ,enthusiasm and skills towards specific tasks or projects. This in turn has given them strength, confidence and courage in themselves, especially when they go out into society. We may have provided encouragement and constructive feedback, but the youth have also provided us with inspiration through their examples. Best one being sense of humour! This journey of spiritual transformation can be lots of fun!!

Centre Chair-Narborough Sai Centre

Region 4 - Knit One, Purl One

The sisters in Leicester from Narborough Road and Leicester Central Sai Centres joined up to knit “Something Beautiful For God”. A project that was started in Region 3 back in 1995 and has been going strong ever since supplying knitted and hand-made garments for those in need whether in the UK or abroad. Often the clothes are sent via the devotees and volunteers attending medical camps in Africa, Romania, Middle East, India, Thailand and many more countries.

The knitting sessions were organized over two Sunday afternoons and in total 45 sisters attended. There was a lovely mix of young and not so young! And those who were experienced at knitting taught those who had never held knitting needles before and after gaining (or losing) a few stitches along the way soon learnt to master the art! Several of the sisters (including youth) admitted they had always wanted to learn but never had the opportunity as it seemed to be a dying art.

The sessions went so well aided by tea and scones for refreshment and everyone enjoyed the good company with gentle bhajans playing in the background so the ladies have decided they would like to continue with further knitting get-togethers!

The knitting also continues at home and we are accumulating a good supply of cute babies clothes, blankets, multi-coloured hats and scarves being lovingly produced ready to be sent to our brothers and sisters around the World.

We would thoroughly recommend you dig out those knitting needles and for those ladies who would like to do seva but sometimes are unable to join in the more physically demanding projects this is a great opportunity. It’s lots of fun so do get knitting!

We thank our beloved Swami for inspiring us all.

Jai Sai Ram

Jenni Robson
Region 4 Spiritual Co-ordinator

Region 4 - Narborough Sai Centre: A Birthday to Remember

As I entered the residential home on the Sunday afternoon I noticed 3 care workers consoling an elderly lady "We are your family!" "So what if your family haven’t come to see you".
I came to know that this was a 76 year old muslim lady and she was upset because it was her birthday and her family were not there.

The second Sunday of each month we go and sing bhajans and chat to the elderly residents of this Home in Leicester. Our bhajan singers vary from 5 to 10 or more depending on their own family commitments. But on this Sunday the 11th May there was a turnout of 17!!

We set up the PA system and the musical instruments and began our bhajans.The sun was shining and the residents began to clap and sing with us. The energy and vibrations in the lounge where we performed, took the residents and us to a wonderful place –where time stood still! But the best was yet to come. The muslim lady requested that the youth sing a Qawali.

The Qawali the youth sang was Allah Hoo by the famous Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Here is some of the translation of the words

King of kings
One without peer.
There is no God but He.

If thou desirest God,
then utter aloud

Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo
Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo

The Lord of all the universe.
All creation is your witness
In each melody and song
You are present
Everything begins and ends with you.
Where ever I look I see only you.

The chorus of Allah Hoo reverberated throughout the Home and the muslim lady had a big smile on her face!

She was happy to do the arti and after that we all sang Happy Birthday to her in hindi. She shared her delicious cake with us. Swami ensured that her birthday was celebrated in style and one not to be forgotten by any of us!

Narborough Sai Centre

Region 5 - Bolton Sai Group Paduka Pooja

Bolton Sai Group organised Swami`s Paduka Pooja on the 5th April 2014. Swami`s padhukas were bought from Prashanthi Nilayam and were blessed from the Mandir before using it for the pooja.

Padhukas were also bought in bulk from Prashanthi for the devotees so that every family had one set of padhukas to do the pooja on the day.

The pooja started with Omkaar; Vedam and bhajans. The Padhukas were brought to the hall amidst the chanting of the Vedas.

The pooja was then done for the padhukas with abhishekam done for the same. Every devotee in the hall participated in the pooja.

As a group, we took the journey of the pooja together and took time to embark on the significance of many of the aspects

The pooja ended with Arathi and the Vote of Thanks was given by Mrs Vasanti Vaja. Prasad was served to all the devotees.

Devotees left the hall with hearts filled with peace and happiness after the spiritually uplifting pooja.

Mr Ketan Parmar
Bolton

Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam and Gurupoornima Celebrations

“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.”

Bhagawan Baba, 09/08/2006,
Inauguration of Athi Rudra Maha Yagna, Prasanthi Nilayam

Inspired by these Divine Words and the Divine Yagna in Bhagawan’s supremely holy presence in 2006, many devotees across the world have since learnt to chant the majestic Sri Rudram, have contemplated on its message and have participated in many Yagnas and Homams over the years. Devotees participating in the Sri Rudram prayers for World Peace consider this as their great good fortune, and as a humble way of contributing to the Divine Sathya Sai Mission of Peace and Love. Above all, it is their heartfelt offering of love and gratitude at the feet of our most beloved Lord, our most compassionate Sathguru, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Sri Rudram, also known as Rudraprasna, is a hymn devoted to Lord Shiva. It is one of the greatest of the Vedic hymns for all round benefits and to remove all maladies and obstacles. It contains within it two of the most potent Manthras- Panchaakshari `and the Mruthyunjaya (Om Namah Shivaya and Thryambakam Yajaamahe respectively). Sri Rudram is in two parts. The first part is known as Namakam because of the repeated use of the word ‘Namo’ (salutations) 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 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 hymns are organised into eleven portions called Anuvakams in both the Namakam and Chamakam. Normally, one chant of the Namakam followed by one chant 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. Recital of 11 Ekadasa Rudrams is Laghu Rudram or Rudra Ekaadhashini.

In the United Kingdom, since 2007 Sri Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam has been conducted with great devotional fervour, faith and sincerity. Large numbers of our Sai family have dedicated long hours and many months in learning this sacred Chant. This enthusiasm appears to be in response to a recognition of two important features that our beloved Bhagawan has highlighted for us. One, that individual transformation leading to peace within, contributes immensely to Welfare and Peace in the world. Second, that Sri Rudram is known for its potency in aiding the process of self purification, conferring on us lasting peace, happiness and auspiciousness.

“What man should aspire for is Peace. This is My desire. Everything is contained in peace”. Bhagawan Baba 09/08/2006

Thus with the divine blessings of our sacred Lord Sathya Sai, on the auspicious occasion of Gurupoornima, the 10th Rudra Ekaadhashini Homam and Rudraabhishekam is being conducted at the Sri Balaji Temple in Birmingham, on Saturday the 12th of July between 0830 am and 4.00pm. For the first time in this event, devotees are being offered an opportunity to sit together and perform Abhishekam to individual Shivalingams as part of the Homam. Arrangements have been made for 108 such Abhishekams to be performed on the day. This will no doubt enhance participation for devotees and the spiritual vibrations thereby generated.

Please click on the link here for registration and other details

At this juncture, it will be helpful to remind ourselves of the true meaning of the terms Homam or Yagnam, that Bhagawan Baba, our dear Lord, has given us. He says that they do not just mean the ritualistic offering of oblations in fire as a mark of our gratitude to God. But the true Yagna or Homa entails 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.

Elaborating the significance and rationale behind performing this Yajna, Bhagawan said: “Some learned people may think why large quantities of grain, ghee and other materials are offered in the fire. Can they not be used for serving the poor and the needy?”. He explained the same through an anecdote: A farmer collects large quantities of paddy, immerses them in water, dries and sows it in various parts of the field. Is it right on the part of the farmer to do so? Will it give him good results?...one may ask. One knows very well that at the time of harvest, the farmer reaps double the quantity of what he sowed. In the same manner, Yajnas performed by the priests will surely give good results. Never consider them as waste. The grain and ghee that is offered as worship to God in the sacrificial fire will give results multifold in future. What we have to offer to God are our desires in a spirit of renunciation. If you do so, you will get good results in future.

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. Samastha Lokah Sukhini Bhavanthu. Om Shanthih Shanthih Shanthih

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

Dr. Rakendu Suren,
National Spiritual Coordinator, SSSSO UK

Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day

The 15th annual Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day in Wembley, London, was conducted on Sunday, the 18th May 2014 in partnership with Brent Indian Association (B.I.A) at their premises.

The 15th annual Sathya Sai Health Awareness Day in Wembley, London, was conducted on Sunday, the 18th May 2014 in partnership with Brent Indian Association (B.I.A) at their premises.

This offering of Service, delivered with Love in Region 2 of Sri Sathya Sai Organisation UK, has become an opportunity for many individuals in the surrounding community to have access to healthcare professionals, expert advice and information on health promotion, totally free of cost.

We were honoured to have the programme officially opened by the Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Nana Asante, who spoke of the need for healthcare projects that serve the local community and acknowledged the good work of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK and the Brent Indian Association in organising the day’s programme. We were also privileged to have other dignitaries- Councillors Harshadbhai Patel (former Mayor of Brent), Muhammed Butt and Suresh Kansagra- at the event.

As people arrived, the volunteers greeted them with a warm welcome and broad smiles. After completing the registration process, they were directed to the professionals they had come to see. For those waiting, interesting presentations and health promotion talks on a variety of common conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and glaucoma were organised . Each talk was followed by a question and answer session which encouraged active participation and was well appreciated.

Members of the community had access to General Practitioners, a dentist, optometrists, and nurses. Screening for raised blood sugar and blood pressure was undertaken, BMI Checks and eye tests were conducted.

180 people from all walks of life attended the Health Awareness Day. For some, whilst it was the first time they realised the importance of regular eye and dental checks, for others, it was the provision of translators who could explain the advice being given that made a significant difference. Those who needed further follow up or treatment were signposted to local NHS services and provided with a written referral.

Volunteers were busy throughout the day. But they were uplifted by the wonderful energy and love that pervaded the premises, and worked until everyone had been carefully served. By the gracious blessings of our beloved Swami, the event was a resounding success. We offer our gratitude to Him for the opportunity to offer selfless service to our brothers and sisters in the community.

Alperton Sai Centre

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