May 2013 Edition

Quote

Education must inculcate respect for human values like truth, righteousness, love, and peace. Education is for life. Life is for man. Man is there for society. Society is meant for spirituality. The spirituality is there for the nation. The nation is part of the world, and the world is for peace.
Today everyone wants peace. In fact you can attain and acquire peace only out of human values. For peace and happiness, human values are most important. Bereft of human values, man can never be in peace.
Without understanding this principle, man tries to acquire education. Man today considers that receiving information is education. It is not information that confers human values. Modern education makes a man machine, a computer. Greatness lies in becoming not a computer but a composer. You have to acquire education to make your life ideal.

~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Events

Sai Smaran Bhajans

Articles

Education Wing - Poem: Baba and I

Education Wing - Poem: My Mother

National Easwaramma Day 2013

Region 1 - Taking Sai Bhajans (devotional singing) to the Community

Region 1 - Thornton Heath Sai Centre Mahasamadhi Anniversary

Region 1 - Vaisakhi, Raam Navami and Hanumaan Jayanti at Brixton Sai Centre

Region 2 - Dr T Ravi Kumar’s mid week talk at Wembley Sai Centre

Region 2 - Having Swami in My Life...

Region 4 - 25 Years of Narborough Sai Centre

Region 4 - Easter Sunday Message by Pastor Thomas at Leicester Central Sai Centre

Region 5 - Mahasamadhi Day

Spiritual Wing - Veda Part 2: Texts of The Vedic Tradition

The Sathya Sai National Human Values Day: Remembering the Divinity within

Editorial

Dear Love and Light Readers,
Jai Sai Ram

We reflect on the month of April which is commonly associated with spring in the northern hemisphere; the month very aptly started with the celebrations of Srirama Navami denoting the birth of Lord Rama. This was celebrated with great spiritual fervour in many Sai Centres around the UK.

The month was also very special to us, His devotees around the globe who were immersed in prayers and gratitude for the countless benedictions that we continuously receive from our Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who transcended to the formless on the 24th April 2011.

As Baba poignantly reminded us on the purpose of His advent and those of other Incarnations (Avatars), "Every step in the career of the Avatar is predetermined. Rama came to feed the roots truth (sathya) and righteousness (dharma). Krishna came to foster peace (santhi), and love (prema). Now, all these four are in danger of being dried up. That is why the present Avatar has come.” Sathya Sai Baba, 23Nov6.

As remembrance to the purpose of His advent, we celebrated the Sathya Sai National Human Values Day on the 27th April which drew hundreds to Leicester.

The event very lovingly put together and inspired by our Lord, reiterated His Message on Human Values, "Human values are in everyone. What we need are persons who will provide the stimulus and the encouragement to bring them out. If the feeling that the divinity that is present in everyone is one and the same, is promoted among all, human values will sprout naturally in every person. To have this sense of spiritual oneness is the prelude to experiencing the highest bliss." Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 20,20-21

The programme fittingly included representatives from the different faiths who elaborated on the importance of values from their religious perspective, presentations by children and musical offering by reputed artists. The highlight was the address by our guest speaker, Dr T Ravi Kumar (Associate Professor, Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and Warden, Brindavan, Whitefield) who shared his sweet and intimate experiences that he was blessed to have, having lived in the divine presence for over 4 decades.

We were then blessed with Summer Showers of Bhagawan’s Grace when Dr Ravikumar travelled around the UK to share the Love of Bhagawan with fellow devotees.

We remembered the chosen mother at the National Easwaramma Day on the 4th May.

Baba was once asked about His birth by Pandit Rama Sharma. Swami asked Mother Easwaramma to tell what happened to her during pregnancy. Mother Easwaramma said “My mother-in-law had dreamt of Sathyanarayana Deva and had cautioned me that I should not be frightened if something happens to me through the Will of God. That morning when I was at the well drawing water, a big ball of blue light came rolling towards me and I fainted and fell. I felt, it glided into me." Swami turned to Rama Sharma with a smile and said "There you have the answer! I was not begotten. It was Pravesa (an Entrance), not Prasava (Enceinte)." Easwaramma, The Chosen Mother” by N Kasturi

Having energised and refreshed ourselves, we have the excitement of the next session of Sai Smaran Bhajans this month on the 18th May in Watford, London. This incidentally also coincides with the 2nd Sadhana Meeting for our National Pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam to be held at the same venue ‘Sai Anandam - in Harmony with Sai’ planned for 28July – 03August. We are very fortunate to have as guest speakers, Mr Nimish Pandya (Vice President, Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation, India) and Mrs Kamala Pandya (National Deputy Coordinator for Balvikas, India) both very blessed with innumerable experiences in the Divine presence.

Kailash Venkat,
Chair, Region 5




Education Wing - Poem: Baba and I

Baba has played a large part in my life,
He helps me through my every day,
I follow his teachings, he shows me the way,
He makes me feel tranquil and happy,
Energised but gentle,
This is how I feel about my, Baba and I!

Region 2 SSE Alumni - Shajiny Tharmalingam

Education Wing - Poem: My Mother

My mother is always there for me
She loves me and protects me
My mother is as soft as a beautiful feather
She makes me happy whatever is the weather

My mother always consoles me
Whenever I am sad or even angry
My mother cares for me when I am ill
And feeds me when I am hungry

God made my mother
And God made me too

I will never forget all the things
My mother had done for me
Otherwise the world will
Mean nothing to me

Written by : Ankitha Kunigiri (10)
10/3/13

National Easwaramma Day 2013

Spirit of Oneness
Homage to Mother Easwaramma by the Children of the United Kingdom

This year’s National Easwaramma Day celebrations held on Saturday 4th May 2013 on a bright and warm day in the lovely setting of Hertfordshire was yet again, a fitting tribute to Mother Easwaramma, the Chosen Mother for our Beloved Swami – who left her earthly body on 6th May 1972. Honouring Mother Easwaramma’s simplicity, humility and selflessness – SSE children, children from the Good Values Club, Leicester, youth and parents, grand-parents and devotees from around the country gathered at the Onslow St Audrey School in Hatfield, Hertfordshire to commemorate her life by celebrating the Spirit of Oneness and Honouring the Unity of Faiths.

The programme commenced with the lighting of the candle by one of our esteemed elders from the Sri Sathya Sai Trust, U.K. which heralded the start of the a colourful procession by nearly 150 SSE children – each heralding flags to recognise the 5 human values serving as the golden thread uniting all faiths. The older SSE children bearing flags denoting the religions of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam and their respective holy books led the procession into the main hall to the lively music that was played by the SSE alumni and youth orchestra. The younger children were dressed in their respective faith costumes to depict the traditional attire as worn by the followers of each faith. Many a scintillating tune was played to enthral the waiting audience as the children marched in with big smiles and to complete this charming sight, rose offerings were laid before Swami’s Chair as a token of the children’s love for HIM.

Children from Region 1 then chanted the invocation prayers for each religion to lovingly invoke the presence and blessings of the Almighty, which was followed by a heartfelt group pledge taken by each SSE student to our Beloved Swami – led by Mrs Pravina Patel, Region 4 SSE Co-ordinator. This was followed by a heart-warming welcome address delivered by Mrs Vidyulatha Narayan, National SSE Co-ordinator as she greeted everyone and offered a prayer to Swami dedicating all the hard work and preparation of recent months at Swami’s Lotus Feet.

The compere for the morning programme Mr Kamal Arulvel then introduced the Chief Guest, Dr T Ravi Kumar, Faculty and Warden, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Brindavan Campus. The next hour had the entire audience completely enthralled as they listened to the delightful and spontaneous narration of Dr Ravi Kumar – who elaborated on the pivotal and singular role that Bhagavan had played in his life from an early age. Peppered with humourous anecdotes, such as how Swami had demonstrated His Omniscience by reminding the young Ravi Kumar of frequent trips to a local cinema during school hours, yet keeping the “secret” safe from his father by calling him a “good boy” moments later when his father appeared, had a profound effect on the young boy. Hence, our Bhagavan lovingly installed Himself in the boy’s heart forever and thus the transformation and his Journey to Love began. The audience were also privileged to hear of the moving recollection of how Swami had saved Dr Ravi Kumar eye sight – not once, but twice down the years. Indeed, many of us were moved to tears as the our articulate guest speaker elaborated on events from his past – drawing out the complete LOVE that Swami had showered consistently as mother would. In conclusion, the children and devotees present were easily able to appreciate Dr Ravi Kumar’s utter sense of complete surrender and heartfelt gratitude for all He had received from Swami, the Divine Mother who in this case had also fulfilled the role of the earthly mother.

As the children left the hall to be given a sumptuous lunch as all their energy would be needed for the afternoon programme yet to come, the adults were happy to wait for their lunch, as they were treated to a further panel discussion with Dr Ravi Kumar and two Sai Students – Mr Karthik Prashant and Mr Anand Venkatraman. Precious memories from student days with Bhagavan in Brindavan were recollected by the panel bringing much joy and bliss to all present.

Whilst adults then partook of the delicious hot meal which awaited them, the children were directed to various classrooms to take part in interactive activities which included a an art and craft workshop for the younger children who made decorative stained glass SARVA DHARMA symbols and decorative Unity mobiles, whilst the older children took part in workshops around the Message of the Lord for the boys where they created postcards and Service to Man is Service to God for the girls who spent the hour making friendship bracelets for children in a local London hospice. During this time the lower floor was also a hub of activity for the Group 2 SSE children where a very impressive exhibition representing the Unity of Faiths had been put together by talented youth from all around the country serving as a Learning Zone with activities and quizzes for this age group.

The afternoon session began with the entire 500 strong group of adults and children coming together once again in the main hall while vibrant and uplifting bhajans helped everyone focus their minds once again, followed by an enchanting video on a day in the life of the baby elephant, Sathya Geetha much to the amusement and squeals of laughter by the children and adults alike!

The compere for the afternoon Ms Kinali Vagadhia then introduced the next speaker, Mr Deepak Fakey O.B.E who gave an inspiring talk with the help of his Good Values Club children on the topic ‘The Golden Thread’ – highlighting the commonality in all the faiths by bringing out the human values as taught by each religion.

The next item was offering entitled “Spirit of Oneness” by SSE children from across the different regions of the U.K. They presented 6 beautifully enacted scenes from the lives and teachings of the saints from Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism and finally, Islam highlighting the unity of all faiths. Each scene was beautifully enacted and brought to life by accompanying stage props, visual aids, live music from the youth and sound effects. A warm and loud applause was given to the wonderful efforts of the children and their teachers for their thought provoking presentations.

As the day was soon drawing to a close, Dr Kiran Patel, Chairperson, UK Central Council gave the closing remarks as he recollected a personal encounter with Mother Easwaramma herself before her passing in 1972 and how her unique and memorable qualities had made such an impression on his young mind.

A buzz of excitement filled the air as an announcement was made for the children’s certificate ceremony was to commence. Dr Ravi Kumar, our chief guest along with Dr Kiran Patel presented a Certificate of Appreciation to each SSE child who had travelled from far off places around the country to come and take part in the day’s programme, not to mention the weeks of preparation that had taken place beforehand. Yet again, it was evident that only LOVE for Swami could have motivated such co-operation and teamwork on this scale and magnitude. As the day drew to a close the vote of thanks was offered ending in Mangala Aarti which was joyfully offered to our most beloved Lord without whom nothing would have been possible.

The dedicated and cheerful band of volunteers handed out bags of goodies for the children and prasadam to the devotees as the stage was prepared for the finale, children’s group photographs with our esteemed guest. As the cameras clicked away, the feeling of joy filled the air and most importantly, everyone agreed that our Beloved Swami’s presence was definitely felt and experienced throughout the day.

Sutopa Sen, Region 3

Spiritual Wing - Veda Part 2: Texts of The Vedic Tradition

The Vedas belong to those who value them, who are moved by thirst for spiritual uplift, who desire to practice them and who have faith that they will benefit by that practice.

(Source: Sathyam Shivam Sundaram, Part 2 - Chapter 3).

The four Vedas form the core teaching of the Vedic tradition. However, there are some texts other than the four Vedas that are necessary to understand and practice the teachings of the Vedas. Such texts are also considered to be part of the Vedic tradition. Including the four Vedas, there are 14 such texts (including 4 main Vedas) and are popularly known as the “14 abodes of knowledge”.

These 14 texts explains dharma (right code of conduct) and are organised as follows.

Four Vedas:

They are Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. While each of the fourteen texts is profound and authoritative in their content, the four Vedas reign supreme among them. These four Vedas are the basis of the remaining texts.

Six Vedaangas:

Vedanga means the “limb of the Veda”. They assist in the chanting, understanding and practice of the Vedic teachings.

The six limbs of the Vedas are:

1. Shiksha: Phonetics
2. Vyakarana: Grammar
3. Chandas: Poetic metres
4. Niruktam: Etymology and meaning
5. Jyotisha: Astronomy and astrology
6. Kalpa: Rituals

Four Upaangas:

Upaanga means “secondary limb of the Veda”. They provide further insight into the Vedas and give practical methods to implement its teachings in daily life. They are:

1. Mimaamsa: Analysis that helps to determine the purport of the Vedas
2. Nyaaya: Logic
3. Puraana: Anecdotal exposition of Vedic injunctions
4. Dharma Shaastra: Code of conduct governing various aspects of life

In addition to the above mentioned fourteen sources of knowledge, there are four other ancillary subjects that are considered as useful accompaniments. They are called Upavedas.

Four Upavedas:

The four ancillary subjects are:

1. Ayurveda: Medical science
2. Dhanurveda: Science of warfare
3. Gandharvaveda: Fine arts – music, dance, drama etc.
4. Arthashaastra: Economics, public administration, politics, etc.

In the distant past, all students of Vedas were expected to learn as many of the Vedas as possible. At the dawn of Kali Yuga Sri Vyasa Maharshi classified the Vedas into four (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva) and divided each of them further into several branches. He foresaw that the compulsions of the coming Kali age would limit man’s intellectual capacity and concluded that it was enough if each person could learn at least one branch.

Sri Adi Shankaracharya, in one of his works namely Sadhana Panchakam advises spiritual aspirants to "study the Vedas daily; practice well their prescriptions".

Krishna Subrahmanian Chair Person
Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Mill Hill.

(To be continued...)

The Sathya Sai National Human Values Day: Remembering the Divinity within

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Avathar of the Age, took Mahasamadhi two years ago on the 24th of April 2011. To mark this epoch-making event, devotees in the United Kingdom gathered this year on the 27th of April in Leicester with immense love and gratitude in their hearts. This important occasion was observed as the Sathya Sai National Human Values Day where the gathering of about 900 devotees celebrated the Divine Message and Mission of Bhagawan.

The theme and the dedication of the day to the celebration of the 5 Human Values seemed so apt to every assembled devotee. For, in the 85 glorious years of the earthly sojourn of our Divine Master, every single moment , every single word and every single deed of His epitomised the perfect manifestation of these 5 Values: Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Non Violence and Love. In fact, as everyone knows, He was the very embodiment of selfless, divine, universal Love. As He lived these Values and ‘walked the talk’, His Message to the world, exhorting and advising everyone to integrate and practise these Values in daily life, has a profound transforming impact. Many a devotee in the assembly, as well as millions worldwide, could vouch for this from their personal stories of spiritual transformation and expansion of their hearts and minds.

Love in Speech is Truth
Love in Action is Right Conduct;
Love in Thought is Peace
Love in Understanding is Non Violence
Sathya Sai Baba

As devotees arrived from various parts of the country to a warm reception, their spirits soared at the sight of a beautifully decorated Stage! It had the blue sky as the background with huge lotus petals in the front, upholding a 6 feet high ‘Sathya Sai Human Values Emblem’, in the centre of which was a bewitching picture of our dearest Bhagawan! It was later learnt that this design was an inspiration from one of the Stages put up in Prasanthi Nilayam for one of Bhagawan’s Birthdays! No doubt then, that this fragrance of Prasanthi Nilayam was experienced by all those assembled through out the day’s programme.

The Programme commenced with uplifting bhajans and human values songs. As the singing continued, the children of Sai, our dear beacons of love and light marched in procession towards the Mahasamadhi, holding their banners of human values as an offering to Swami. They prayed in unison to bless their mission to always be the example of these human values.

Our UK National Chair Dr Kiran Patel, a graduate from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and a former lecturer there, welcomed the gathering of various dignitaries that included leaders from various faiths and religions and the Guest speaker for the day, Dr T Ravi Kumar from Brindavan, India. The highlights of the day are summarised in the hope that we may all immerse ourselves in this divine truth and recharge our spiritual batteries.

Our Master tells us...

"There is only one religion, the religion of Love;
There is only one language, the language of the Heart;
There is only one race, that of Humanity;
There is only one God, He is Omnipresent."
Sathya Sai Baba

Each of the five human values was highlighted by a team of speakers from the Youth Wing of our Organisation and the guests from various faiths and religions. Whilst each Human Value was introduced by the Youth speaker quoting from Bhagawan’s Discourses and from personal experiences, the multifaith leaders shared their understanding on this from their Scriptures and experiences. The Multifaith speakers from the following religions were present- Baha’I, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. It was exquisite hearing each speaker. Each emphasised the glory of human values within religion and highlighted the unification of religion. It was a session filled with prayers from these various religions and scriptures, and an opportunity to experience the common thread running through all religions and binding together all humanity.

The session closed with the radiant children from the Good Values Club in Leicester singing their hearts out in unison celebrating the fact that the human values are a great treasure within each and every one of us. All we need to do is to be aware of this and manifest the values in our thoughts, words and actions. It was evident the hearts of us all were touched, as we gathered in unison knowing no bounds of caste, creed or religion but knowing as our Bhagawan tells us:

"True dharma is unity of true human life, unity is the goal of life : unification of the divinity. Therefore all shall be united." – Sathya Sai Baba

We had the great pleasure of listening to Dr. Ravi Kumar our esteemed guest speaker, a former Sai student and a present Faculty member and Warden of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Brindavan campus. He lovingly shared his unique experiences with the divine master. The experiences with Swami thrilled our hearts and reaffirmed our faith and love in God. Such experiences remind us that surrendering to God is the best way. As stated in the Bhagawad Gita, not even a blade of grass can move without the Will of the Divine Master. This was brought to mind as Dr Ravi Kumar shared many experiences, especially how Swami cured his father from cancer with a seemingly simple but Divine Statement: “Cancer cancelled!”

After a delicious lunch, prepared and served by the loving and devoted volunteers of the Lord, the day continued with beautiful musical melodies, initially by the lovely children of the Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) who offered their lamps of love and gratitude, and then from talented musicians. Tharsica Sivagnanasithiyar an exceptional Violinist and the talented Sai Ganesh Ketheeswaran on Mridangam with their Carnatic interlude. The audience particularly enjoyed their collaboration on the popular song “ Sai Natha Tere Hazaro Haath” ( O Lord Sai! You have a thousand hands!).

Mr Deepakbhai Kumar Fakey who was most recently presented by Her Majesty the Queen with the prestigious award of an OBE for his longstanding dedication to education and community cohesion through the Human Values project, the Good Values Club at the Abbey Primary School in Leicester. He delivered a heart warming talk and spoke passionately about his journey in participating in the Sathya Sai Mission of Human Values, and the great need to highlight these to the children of today through the education system. He encouraged all to be a part of this divine mission and to get involved in actively serving it.

"End of education is character" - Baba

We were further blessed with a scintillating musical performance by a team of highly accomplished and well known musicians namely- Roopa Panesar (Sitar), Upneet Dhadyalla (Tabla), Rishi Chowdhary (Tabla), Kaviraj Dhadyalla (Santoor, Vocal) and Poonam Panesar (Vocal). They captivated the audience with their heavenly compositions and classic sai bhajans. Our hearts and minds were once again transported to Prasanthi Nilayam as we reminisced the feeling of the warm breeze, as our Bhagawan would come out to give His Divine Darshan.

Councillor Manjula Sood MBE from Leicester City Council, an ardent devotee of Bhagawan, awarded Ceritificates of Appreciation to all the children who participated in the various activities during the Programme. The day came to a close with Arathi offered to Bhagawan by Dr T Ravi Kumar.

Over all the Sathya Sai National Human Values Day embraced the essence of Bhagawan’s teaching and reminded us all that we hold in our hands the greatest opportunity of all lifetimes: To realize the eternal truth and experience our true nature, that we are divine! It is through the portals of the human values and their constant practice that we can excel on this exciting spiritual journey!

'Human values are the qualities that already lie within each of us like a golden effulgence and can be drawn forth into consciousness in all our cultures through Educare. Educare is the spiritual process of eliciting the 5 human values latent in every person. The five human values are the essential ingredients for good Character, which is the end product of education and the catalysts for sweetening and strengthening the daily life curriculum into something that can benefit society.' – Sathya Sai Baba

Dr. Bijal Sisodia
Leicester Central, Region 4, SSSSO UK

Region 1 - Taking Sai Bhajans (devotional singing) to the Community

On Sunday 14th April some of our Bromley Center members were asked to sing Bhajans at the St. Faiths Community Center, Red Post Hill to mark the 1st Anniversary of a ladies Husband who had passed, as this is the second time that we have been asked to do this at the same community center we duly did so. There were some 150 people there but not many were Sai Devotees. We started off by reciting Multifaith Prayers followed by the Hanuman Chalisa and then we sang our Bhajans and as there was no Microphone system available we had to sing extra loudly to make ourselves heard above all the talking that was going on amongst the non devotees. Aarti was followed by the Vibbhuti Mantra, we took Vibbhuti around to everyone present and although some of them did not know what to do with it by the end of the Mantra Baba was firmly placed on all of their foreheads - Jai Sai Ram .. A local Southwark Councillor was there and she gave a report of the achievements that her council have done since being in Power. The Evening ended with Delicious Prassad. I am sure that we will be asked to do this Seva again and of course we will, and who knows we may even have made some new Sai Devotees.

With Sai Love,
Sandra Fletcher (Bromley Center).

Region 1 - Thornton Heath Sai Centre Mahasamadhi Anniversary

Thornton Heath bhajan group (Region 1), reflected on Swami’s 2nd Maha Samadhi anniversary at our usual Thursday bhajans.

Although the anniversary fell on Wednesday 24 April, we combined the Maha Samadhi day along with our weekly Thursday bhajans on 25 April.

Helpers arrived early at the hall to decorate the altar on this very special day. An artificial floral arch was specially made to house Swami’s photo and cream and gold colour materials were used for the backdrop. Devotees started coming from 7.30pm onwards and as they came in each one of them offered a flower at Swami’s Maha samadhi photo. Bhajans started at 8pm promptly with three aums, followed by Ganesh and Guru vandana shlokas, followed by chanting Gayatri mantra and recitation of 108 naam smarana while offering grains of rice at Shirdi Sai baba’s lotus feet. Thereafter the bhajans commenced and after the last bhajan a song was played from a CD titled ‘Sai Maa’ to end the bhajans beautifully and on a peaceful and serene note.

A homage to our mother of the universe. As per tradition aarthi was performed, followed by silent sitting for few minutes. A short reading and ‘thought of the day’ as written in Prashanthi was read. After the last prayers, few minutes of silent contemplation took place to reflect on Sai and to thank our dear lord for giving us an opportunity to sing his glories and to offer any seva in any way we can.

The programme finished at 9:30pm and packaged prasadam consisting of mango, banana, apple and packet of vibhuthi was distributed to all devotees.

Sai Ram
Thornton Heath Bhajan Group

Region 1 - Vaisakhi, Raam Navami and Hanumaan Jayanti at Brixton Sai Centre

The month of April is always a busy one for the members of Brixton Sai Centre in Region 1. Besides the commemorations of Swaami’s Mahaa Samaadhi and the marking of various New Year celebrations such as Yugaadi and the Tamil New Year, April also sees the festivals of Vaisakhi and – held jointly – Raam Navami and Hanumaan Jayanti.

On 14 April 2013, whilst everyone in Punjab was celebrating the festival of Vaisakhi, members gathered in our Sai centre to do the same. As usual, we started the programme with silent sitting, a reading of the thought of the day, recitation of the main prayers of all the major faiths and our regular group devotional songs. Most songs were multi-faith orientated, with particular focus on Guru Naanak.

After the aartee, vibhooti prayer and some meditation, one of the SSE students, Amitesh Manandhar from Group 2, gave a talk on Vaisakhi, on how and why it is celebrated. He told the story of how Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the ten Gurus of the Sikhs, gathered his followers and tested their faith and how, in 1699, he proclaimed that the holy book called the Guru Granth Sahib would be the eternal Guru.

On 21 April, Brixton celebrated Raam Navami and Hanumaan Jayanti. The programme was similar, except this time the devotional songs focussed on Raam and Hanumaan. As in the previous week, the songs were sung with great devotional fervour and the energy was felt by all.

This time, there were two talks by SSE children. The first was given by Sameer Patil from Group 2, on the story of the birth of Lord Raam. He narrated the story of how the sacred pudding that was given as consecrated food from a special prayer to procure children for Dasarath, the King of Ayodhya, led to the births of the four brothers Raam, Lakshman, Bharat, Shatrughna as well as Hanumaan.


Afterwards, Yaanika Balloo, another Group 2 student, spoke about the attributes of Hanumaan, most notably his total devotion to Lord Raam, as well as His might and power. She told how some view Him to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva and, thus, how His birth helped free his mother, Anjani, from a curse.

Special consecrated snacks were served after both programmes. The celebrations on those two weeks left us all feeling uplifted and inspired.

Region 2 - Dr T Ravi Kumar’s mid week talk at Wembley Sai Centre

Thursday 2nd May 2013

Wembley Sai Centre have been thrice blessed during the period of the last 12 months by Swami’s University being brought to us. First of all, we were honoured by a visit from Professor Dr V Chandrasekaran, Head of Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed University), Prashanthi Nilayam. He had been on a very short visit to The UK to attend a conference in London and then kindly rearranged his schedule to attend our Guru Purnima celebrations. At that time, Wembley Sai Centre had just concluded its 35th Anniversary and we had made enquiries for one of Swami’s students to come and speak at the centre. Then the message came through – ‘Why do you want a student to attend when you can get a professor?’ And at Guru Purnima too - you can guess how blessed we felt. This was soon followed by the news that our centre member, Bro. Keith Banfield, had been visiting the University and been asked to lecture the students and demonstrate his skills in Choi Kwong Do—and how these practices enhance spiritual well being..

Imagine our delight when told that it was also going to be our privilege to welcome Dr T Ravi Kumar for the talk scheduled to address Region 2!
The evening of 2nd May saw some settled weather after a long, uncertain winter period. As usual, the sisters had prepared a beautiful altar. A fallen flower had indicated Swami’s presence before the prayers commenced. All gathered in the little hall we are blessed with for our devotional meetings got absorbed in veda chants and Sri Sathya Sai 108 Name prayers. This was followed by a short bhajan session. Dr Ravi Kumar then addressed us in a calm, evenly pitched voice and a humble manner. This had everyone immediately settled and listening intently to the seamless flow of words which transported us to Prashanthi Nilayam and in to his interaction with Swami over 30 years of being in His proximity. Each tale enlightened about how giving The Lord is when you channel the right effort wholeheartedly into all your actions. Swami will then help bring about desired results. He demonstrated how Swami knew about each person’s failings as well as strengths—and sought to guide them in ways which led to personal progress—in life as well as spiritual growth An example of this was when Dr Ravi Kumar had to choose from the subjects he had passed—one of which he could select for his
Masters degree. He had hoped that Swami would guide him in making this decision, and it transpired that he ended up in Swami’s presence when he least expected it. He was asked which one of his subjects had he received the lowest marks. ‘Chemistry, Swami’ ‘So Chemistry it is that you take for your Masters’. Subsequently, Dr Ravi Kumar has now gone on to get a Readership in the Department of Chemistry at SSSIHL. The message here being to strive in face of adversity. You will learn more and due rewards will follow.

After a brief Q&A session, the programme concluded with Dr Ravi Kumar offering the aarati and prayers to Swami on our behalf. This was followed by a vote of thanks given by Bro. Senthil Kumarathevan, R2 Chairperson, and a reading of the Thought for the Day. Light refreshments prashadam was taken by all before blissfully floating out to the night air...
The listeners, who had come from far and wide, had included Dr Ravi Kumar’s students wanting to pay their respects. Also there were an elderly couple, who had been staying close to the Brindavan Campus for many years, and had came post haste looking for Dr Ravi Kumar when they heard he was due to be in town. Some of those gathered had travelled long distances and evidenced the regular announcements at other centres and the spirit of cooperation in the parts that constitute Region 2. We also had excellent support from National and Region 2 Council members. Sister Gayatri Bikoo, Bros. Senthil, Siva, Shankaran, Veeru were among those instrumental (some literally!) in our arrangements. Centre members were, as always, the willing helping hands for whom we are justifiably proud.

Wembley Sai Centre devotional meetings are held every Thursday from 8.00pm to 9.30pm. Venue: BSNL Hall, 128 East Lane, Wembley HA0 3NL. (Very close to North Wembley Station. For those who followed the Olympics last year, it is a little further than a discus throw away from the Centre)

Region 2 - Having Swami in My Life...

Knowing Swami and having watched the way He lives and speaks has definitely touched my life for the best. Reading many of Swami’s messages/quotes has had a huge influence on my life. One divine discourse which made me think and personally touched me was a discourse which He gave on 23rd November 1994, where Swami mentioned “those who aspire to become devotees of God must give up meat, liquor and smoking."

I knew that there was a reason for why I came across this message and felt it was the right time to follow this especially if I want to promote my spiritual progress. I have since given up eating meat and have never considered or indulged in drinking or smoking, which can be very hard when you are a student surrounded by those who do.

We are all faced with many problems in life, be it work, family or friends. Whenever I am faced with worry I always read some of Swami’s discourses as I find it a way of helping me to relax, and somehow while reading these discourses I feel that it is Swami that is talking to me as they always tend to relate to the worries I may have.

Swami has definitely held my hand throughout my life especially during the times I needed Him the most. All I have to do is call Him with pure faith and love and He immediately answers my call and instantly I become a stronger person. Without this faith I have in Swami, I don’t think I could even imagine how I would have the strength to face the obstacles that come in my life. Just remember always have faith in His grace, and whatever situations you may be faced with in life do not give up this faith and do not question it because “If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it”. Put all your faith in Him and He will guide you and guard you.

He has shown me that His life really is His message and now I will try my very best to make Him proud We are the chosen ones and it is our duty to carry on his legacy by living our lives as His message!

Shajiny Tharmalingam (SSE Alumni)
Region 2

Region 4 - 25 Years of Narborough Sai Centre

25 years of Leicester Narborough Sai Centre, was celebrated on Sunday 14th April, in the presence of over 225 friends and devotees. This Centre started in the home of Trikambhai Bhalsod who was the inspiration and the founder member. Today his family are continuing his good work by actively serving in the Centre. Narborough Sai Centre is an oasis and a beacon of Swami's light for the devotees in that part of Leicester.

The programme started with uplifting bhajans that set the tone and bhava for the afternoon, followed swiftly by a video on Swami life. This beautiful video presentation by the youth brought many a tear to the eye with back ground song lyrics that tugged the heart strings... "What He Means" "If there is Grace in this world, if there is light on this earth, Let us use it, let us see it....starting right now".

Then followed the Paduka Pooja, led by another youth Chirag Vithlani. He led the Pooja step by step, interspersing it with meanings, songs and experiences. As the 100 padukas were being worshipped the vibrations and energy in the hall was palpable .The devotees joy knew no bounds as Swami indicated his omnipresence! A beautiful garland that adorned a large photo of Swami's feet on the stage,just fell down, everybody was delighted and the Pooja continued with greater vigour.

The Centre's 25 year history was presented by Arun Gohill and Vikki Cooper who have both held the post of Centre Chair. It was interesting to see the progress of the Centre through the years and also the people who Swami used as his instruments.

Brother Selva Kumar from London, a regular guest speaker at the Centre provided words of wisdom that inspired us to think about how we can "Love All Serve All, Help Ever Hurt Never". He encouraged us to change ourselves and walk towards Swami and practise the five human values so that we can attain pure love that is universal, unconditional and selfless. Brother Selva Kumar reminded us that people and circumstances come into our life to teach us a lesson. We need to be ready to lead ourselves before we can lead others.

The afternoon ended with a few more uplifting bhajans, mangal aarti and the devotees departed after mahaprasadam.

Our journey with Swami up to now has been filled with joy and this provided us with the inspiration for our theme for the next two years "Service with Joy".We are eager, excited and enthusiastic about our next 25 years with our Lord !

Geetika Sodha

Region 4 - Easter Sunday Message by Pastor Thomas at Leicester Central Sai Centre

Pastor Graham Thomas of Lutterworth Church and some members of his congregation came to our Centre on Easter Sunday. Pastor Thomas said it was a joy for him to be present here, amongst Sai devotees, on this very special day for Christians all over the world. He commented on the beautiful bhajans – he thought they were being played from a CD Player!

In his talk, Pastor Thomas made the point that God loved everyone. This was the same love that made God send his own son to help everyone on earth. This same love for which the son of God became man and followed the way of humility and self-giving to the very end. He was sent to help mankind and heal those who were unwell.

Pastor Thomas asked: “What does it mean – ‘Jesus has risen’?” He explained that this means that the love of God is stronger than evil & death itself, it means the love of God can transform everyone’s lives. Pastor Thomas said he had looked up Swami on our web-site and read about Swami helping those in need, about the serving of food, and about His message of love and providing spiritual guidance.

Pastor Thomas and the other guests then joined us for refreshments. He was very interested in the work of Swami, and some of the Centre’s activities. He invited everyone to visit him in his church – we would all be most welcome to join him in his church in Lutterworth.

Region 5 - Mahasamadhi Day

Region 5 Mahasamadhi Day was lovingly hosted by the Leeds Sai centre on 28th April 2013. The programme started in the afternoon, however, our brothers and sisters from Leeds and surrounding areas were busy from the early hours ensuring every item was ready, eagerly awaiting our arrival.

The programme opened with Vedam and Bhajans. The melodious Bhajans helped still our minds, enabling us to receive His divine message.

The scene was wonderfully set by our regional chairperson; brother Kailash, who reminded us that the purpose of the afternoon was to celebrate the removal of boundaries, in the same way our beloved Swami transcended from the physical form to formless. We were reminded of the reason for coming together to re-emphasise Swami’s message of "brotherhood of Man, fatherhood of God."

We were very fortunate to have in our presence, an eminent guest speaker Dr Ravi Kumar- Associate Professor in Chemistry and Warden at the Brindavan Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, India. In his talk, Dr Ravi Kumar shared with us his unique experiences and interactions with Swami. His narrations took us on wonderful journeys to Brindavan, Puttaparthi, Kodai Kanal, all the while reminding us of the basic nature of Bhagavan- that is Love. Dr Ravi Kumar revealed the unconditional love and compassion Swami showers on everyone- as a parent, friend, teacher- sharing how Swami "loves to be included in all we do" and Swami's sole concern is for the welfare of mankind, and our happiness is His happiness. We felt truly blessed to hear such unique experiences, all of which filled our hearts with renewed fervor and yearning to feel His divine omnipresence in our every thought, word and deed.

The talk was seamlessly followed by a variety of offerings from the region's SSE children. The first item was a Mahalakshmi dance. The hard work and practice was evident from the precise movements, the dance was flawless! This was followed by a short play entitled “Buddham Sharanam Gachchami”- capturing an incident in the life of Lord Buddha. The underlying theme of universality of faiths and the celebration of this unity was beautifully highlighted by this performance.

We were further uplifted by the next performance by Mrs Ramya Tangrila. She sang beautiful bhajans and classical songs which focused our minds. The following devotional songs sung by a Sikh group again drew our attention highlighting the theme of "Brotherhood of Man".

The programme drew to a close with Bhajans and Aarthi. The whole gathering left the programme feeling elated and revived after listening to the glories of the Lord…. And yet there was more to follow!
Dr Ravi Kumar engaged everyone in a question answer session at the end of the programme tailored for the youth. He addressed some of the common questions and quandaries faced by our youth today, relating to studies, marriage and Swami’s transformation from the form to formless.

Hannah Mistry
Region 5

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"Love and Light" is the only nationwide monthly publication of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK). You are free to pass it on in its entirety to any interested party. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK) UK National Chair.