October 2011 Edition

Quote

You cannot see me, but I am the light you see by. You cannot hear me, but I am the sound you hear by. You cannot know me, but I am the truth by which you live.

~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Events

National SSE Conference

News

Sathya Sai School Year 10 GCSE Modular Results

Sathya Sai School, Leicester - Enters the 11th School Year

Articles

Region 1 - October Centre Events

Region 3 - Dhyana Vahini

Region 3 - Macmillan’s Coffee Morning

Region 5 - Superb Seaside Satsang in Morecambe

Region 6 - Family Values Day

Region 6 - Folkestone Centre Service

Region 6 - SSE Training

Region 7 – Universal Prayer Day Peace and Well Being in the Community and the World

Service Wing - National Medical Conference - Sai Ideal Healthcare

Youth Wing - October 2011 – Vision of Love Experiences at the Ukraine Medical Camp

Editorial

Dear Love and Light Readers
Sai Ram

Looking back over the year I can see how we have all come closer together and seen how Swami’s continued guidance and unseen hand is ever present in our actions and direction.

I have seen how our initiatives and projects have a strong spirit of unity and harmony amongst all involved. The Youth are crying out to be given opportunities to be of service but at the same time need the continued support and direction from the elders in upholding Swami’s mission.

The recent National Medical Conference which brought together all health professional across the country had very positive response, more included in this edition.

This month will host the National SSE Conference and preparations are well underway in making this a memorable and inspiring day for all involved with SSE. We also have the great pleasure in having with us Mr & Mrs Nimish Pandya from Mumbai as International guest speakers at the National SSE Day. Nimishbhai will also be speaking at Sathsangs being organised in Region 2, 3 and 4. Please contact your Regional Chairs for further information.

We also have the launch of SSLTP 2011, the programme is open to all adults and youth, though the minimum age for applicants on this course is 21 years of age. More information included in this edition. The Sathya Sai Leadership Training Programme (SSLTP) is a journey to dive deep and tune into the message and teachings of our Divine Master, by transforming ourselves this will in turn have an impact on ourselves and the people around us. It is a unique opportunity to nurture the leadership qualities inherent within each of us through a structured programme helping to discover our true potential.

I would like to take this opportunity in praying that we all dedicate our lives to the teaching of our Master.

God Bless you all and Sai Ram

Jamie Raju
National Youth Coordinator


Sathya Sai School Year 10 GCSE Modular Results

National Wing News

The school started KS4 (GCSE) courses in September 2010 and became an Approved Examination Centre for AQA, OCR, Edexcel, and WJEC exam boards in October 2010.

In the last academic year our year 10 pupils sat national GCSE modular examinations for the following subjects during the academic year 2010/11: English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Religious Studies, ICT, Geography, Business Studies, Product Design and Art.

The integration of the SSEHV programme in all subjects and daily injections of meditation and silent sitting have produced focussed students; who have positive attitudes and who treat “WORK as WORSHIP” and who are determined to do their personal best.

With Swami’s Grace our first year results came out on Thursday 25th August 2011 and were as follows: (Key: Attainable grades: A*(90-100), A(80-89), B(70-79) and C(60-69))

GradesA*ABC
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Our percentage of grades A* to C is 91% compared with 52% for Leicester City. Over half our results were A* or A grades!

Thank you Swami for such a good start and we will strive for excellence in all areas! Thank you parents, teachers, friends & supporters.

Sathya Sai School is a registered independent mixed school for children aged 3 to 16. For admission enquiries and visits to the school please contact the school on office@sathyasaischool.org.uk or phone on 0116 2546400.

“Sathya Sai School – Developing Character Alongside Academic Education”

Mrs Usha Lim
Headteacher

Sathya Sai School, Leicester - Enters the 11th School Year

National Wing News

The school year 2011-12 will be an exciting year for the Sathya Sai School Leicester with the on-going developments at all levels. The current school roll has now reached 113 pupils and the first 8 year 11 students will be taking their final GCSE examinations this academic year.

The Sathya Sai School remains anchored in the five values of Love, Truth, Right Conduct, Peace and Non-Violence and it continues to focus on Human Excellence which includes academic excellence along with character development.

We invite every one interested to visit the school. The chair of the Board of Directors has offered to meet all visitors preferably on Friday morning when she will be available in school and will be happy to greet visitors and prospective parents wishing to consider admission for their children.

The school hopes to work closely with the Sai Community as well as the local community. To this aim the Directors – Madhu Gurung Thapa (Chair), Dr Madhavi Majmudar and Dr Kishin Gadhia gave a talk about the school development on 25th August 2011 at Narborough Sai Centre in Leicester. We hope to continue with these activities.

Dr Madhavi Majmudar
Director

Service Wing - National Medical Conference - Sai Ideal Healthcare

The first Sai Ideal Healthcare Conference in the United Kingdom was convened on Saturday, 17th September 2011 at Henley Business School, University of Reading. It was attended by about 150 professionals from various fields such as medicine, surgery, anaesthetics, paediatrics, dentistry, psychiatry, pharmacy, optometry, nursing etc. The purpose of the conference was to raise awareness of the Principles and Practise of Ideal Healthcare, as taught and inspired by our beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Whilst the morning session of the conference focused on the Principles of Sai Ideal Healthcare, the afternoon session highlighted various practical projects currently in operation- such as hospitals, clinics, and camps- that incorporate these principles.

The Conference started on an auspicious note with an invocation and prayers for the Grace of the Almighty. The modern and spacious venue set in the peaceful sorrounds of the University also seemed to uplift the minds and spirits of all participants. A delightful picture of Bhagawan projected on to a big screen on the stage, and Bhagawan’s throne placed in the centre of the front row amidst the delegates, brought a palpable sense of sanctity and calmness in the auditorium that prevailed throughout the day’s proceedings.

After a brief introduction by Dr. Anila Modi, who anchored the morning session and herself a scientist researching on pancreatic islet cells, delegates were welcomed with an overview of the conference by Dr. Puvanachandra, Consultant Ophthalmologist and member of the International Medical Committee (IMC) of the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation. He reminded the congregation very aptly, that whilst it is important to engage in discussions and plans for various healthcare projects and participate in conferences , it is more important not to lose sight of the fact that Bhagawan Baba exhorts us to first practise the Principles of ideal healthcare in our daily personal and professional lives.

Following his talk, seven short presentations on the principles of Sai Ideal Healthcare were made by various speakers. They shared experiences from their day to day professional lives that illustrated how, with only some little effort, these principles when put into practise brought joy and happiness to everyone.

1. ‘Spirit of Sacrifice is the Hallmark of a Healthcare Professional’
Professor Surendra Upadhyay , Honorary Professor and Consultant Ophthalmologist, UCL London.

Prof. Upadhyay is well known in the Sai family as a pioneer of International Medical Camps run by the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK, and as a Member of the International Medical Committee. He elaborated on the meaning of sacrifice as described by Swami- to love and serve in need without any personal reservations or expectations to the best of one’s capacity. He illustrated it through his numerous experiences and interactions with Swami, Mother Teresa and observations at the many Sai Medical Camps he conducted in various countries. He encouraged all healthcare professionals to participate in the medical camps.

2. 'Purpose of Healthcare’
Dr. Nikila Ankur Pandya, Consultant Pediatrician, Maidstone &
Turnbridge Wells NHS Trust

Dr. Pandya quoted Swami’s teachings which emphasize that the purpose of healthcare is to express Love and achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. She then brought to the attention of the conference that many healthcare bodies in the world including the WHO, now acknowledge and concur with this principle, as reflected in their statements and definitions of health. She illustrated this through her experiences at the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Camps in Malawi, Russia, Ukraine and Alike, India.

3. ‘Integral Approach to Healthcare’
Dr. Adam Stainton Price, General Practitioner, Cornwall.

Dr. Price, an ardent devotee of Bhagawan Baba, elaborated on the holistic approach to healthcare as emphasized by Swami and which he has practiced in his daily clinical work. The primary physician is in a unique position to treat the patient as a whole, in the context of a better knowledge about the patient’s circumstances and background, and thus is able to focus not just on physical ailments but also ensure mental and emotional well-being. He also stressed the importance and value of team work amongst the healthcare professionals, communication skills between the healthcare professional and patients and reminded delegates that 50% of the cure is provided by our soothing and calm speech.

4. ‘Healthcare with Social Consciousness’
Mr. Daryll Baker, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Royal Free Hospital, London

Mr. Baker has participated in several international medical camps. He spoke of his experiences at these camps and his understanding of the Sai principles that he gathered from these experiences. He summarized that Sai principles emphasized the expansion of one’s social awareness, thus allowing an individual to acknowledge the suffering of our fellow human beings in different societies of the world. Such consciousness must be translated into positive action to reduce this suffering using high-quality healthcare.

5. ‘Prevention is Better than Cure’
Dr. Suneil Aggarwal,
Specialist Registrar in Cardiology, The Heart Hospital, London

Dr. Aggarwal previously worked as a Cardiology Resident at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram, India between 2005 and 2008. He also has participated in Medical Camps in India and Malawi and in Health awareness Clinics in London, Southampton and Oxford. Dr. Aggarwal emphasized Swami’s message that Prevention is Better than Cure and illustrated this with his experiences and observations at the Sri Sathya Sai Insititute of Higher Medical Sciences. He ended very aptly by quoting from a conversation with Bhagawan, when He said that ideal healthcare ought to result, in fact, in there being no need for hospitals!

6. ‘Food and Health’
Professor Keshavan Niranjan, Professor of Food Bioprocessing at University of Reading, UK.

An internationally acclaimed Food Scientist, Professor Niranjan is well known to the Sai family as the Director of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education, Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK. In his interesting talk, the Professor stressed the importance of the process of food preparation and the how this can impact physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. He highlighted that healthcare professionals have a duty to educate their patients on healthy eating which could prevent many diseases. He reminded the importance of ‘being’ spiritual, apart from participating in spiritual activities such as nutrition camps, medical camps etc.

7. ‘Why Serve’
Dr. Nishith Patel, Specialist Registrar in Cardiothoracic Surgery,
Bristol Heart Institute, UK.

Dr. Patel has actively participated in International Medical Camps in Kenya, Russia and India. He based his talk on quotes from Swami’s Discourses on the meaning of Service and why one should serve. ‘Activities performed with holy motives, with love, and with no selfish expectations are determined by the Divine as acts of Service or Seva’, he reminded the delegates. He emphasized that the purpose of service is to help one recognize that the same divinity exists in all beings.

The morning session concluded with an interactive session addressed by a panel consisting of Dr. Upadhyay, Dr. Puvanachandra and Mr. Baker. The Conference Souvenier booklet titled ‘Experiencing Kinship through Healthcare’ was released by Mr. Shitu Chudasama, Chairperson of the UK Sai Organisation. After a sumptuous lunch, when delegates also had a chance to visit the Exhibition on Sai Ideal Healthcare, the afternoon session commenced.

Anchored by Dr. Rakendu Suren, Consultant Psychiatrist in London and a Saistudent alumnus, this session began with a series of short talks on the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospitals and the Institutes of Higher Medical Sciences in Prasanthi Nilayam and Bangalore. Dr. Dharam Maudgal, a retired consultant gastroenterologist from London, who now works and leads the department in Prasanthi Nilayam shared his journey of spiritual transformation and happiness under the Divine Guidance of Bhagawan Baba. He encouraged all present to grab any opportunity that might come their way to offer their services in these divine institutions. Dr. Suneil Aggarwal, who worked in Cardiology in SSSIHMS Prasanthi Nilayam for 3 years, spoke of the learning and experience he gained from his seniors in the department who were always loving and patient. Dr. Pinakin Shah, a dentist from London who participates in the international rota and has been working as a visiting dentist over many years in Prasanthi Nilayam, recounted his various experiences that were both educative and insightful to many participants, especially the young dentists in the audience. Dr. Puvanachandra, who coordinates the international medical rota from UK, concluded this section with an update on the opportunities available and guidelines for service in these hospitals.

Then followed a detailed presentation on international medical camps by Mrs. Urvi Widhani, a banking professional from London who has been involved in organizing the camps along with Dr Upadhyay since many years. Various aspects were covered, such as- initial survey of needs, building local partnerships, obtaining necessary approvals from local governments, logistics of procurement and transportation, mobilizing personnel and equipment, etc. Mrs. Bina Patel then elaborated on the organization of Pharmacy services in these camps, whilst Mr. Kanti Mistry gave glimpses of the tremendous work that the Optometrists render to support the Ophthalmology services in these camps. Mr. Kathiramalai, who coordinates the activities of ‘Something Beautiful for God’- a voluntary group that sends clothes and toys for children in various parts of the world as gifts, handmade lovingly in UK- then gave a very short but touching presentation on their activities. Dr. Upadhyay concluded this session recounting some beautiful experiences from the recent medical camp in Ukraine.

Mrs. Gayatri Bikoo, National Service Coordinator and a clinical nurse specialist by profession, gave a presentation on various healthcare activities undertaken within the UK by the Sai Organisation in partnership with local councils and other agencies. These include organising Health Awareness clinics, blood donation and bone marrow donation clinics; in 2011 alone, about a 1000 patients have been seen in the 6 clinics conducted so far, and more are still being organized. She shared that the Organisation wishes to build sustainable partnerships with local government councils and invited interested delegates to extend their support.

This was followed by a very informative presentation on the sustainable projects, such as hospitals and clinics, being run by devotees of Bhagawan in various parts of the world, and where ample opportunities to serve exist at present. Dr. Kumarasen Pillai, Consultant Psychiatrist, Newport talked about the Sathya Sai Hospitals in Rajkot, Pothepalli and Alike in India; he also brought to the attention of the conference the Sathya Sai Clinics in South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Dr. Puvanachandra spoke of the ongoing activities in the Vavuniya area of Sri Lanka, and gave an update on currents needs and opportunities for Service.
After a short coffee break, delegates reassembled for a surprise treat! A live video-link with Dr. Narendranath Reddy in California USA, and Chairman of the Sathya Sai International Medical Committee. Dr. Reddy assured the conference that Bhagawan’s Global Healthcare Mission would continue to carry forward His Divine Message of Universal Love with unabated enthusiasm and vigour. He congratulated all delegates for participating in the Conference and encouraged all to engage with the various activities such as medical camps, clinics and hospital rotations. He invited interested professionals to enlist for telemedicine activities currently being conducted by the International Medical Committee such as teaching webinars, tele-reporting, video- consultations etc. Dr. Reddy’s talk was very warmly received by one and all at the conference.

The Conference was brought to a close with a brief presentation on the ‘Way Forward’ by Dr. Veeru Mudigonda, National Spiritual Coordinator and a Saistudent alumnus, followed by a Vote of Thanks by Mrs. Gayatri Bikoo. The next Healthcare Conference will be held during the 15th and 16th of September 2012. It is envisaged that whilst we continue with our various activities in the ensuing period, a fully functional National Healthcare Coordinating Committee will be in place in the immediate future. The sole objective and purpose of this committee will be to optimize all efforts and resources available within UK, thus enabling participation in the Global Sai Ideal Healthcare Mission in a more efficient and effective manner.

Youth Wing - October 2011 – Vision of Love Experiences at the Ukraine Medical Camp

“Doctors know that in the eye there are billions of cells which react to light rays. If any one of these cells are affected, the vision is affected. For man ,the eye is the most important organ for comprehending the universe. Hence the eye has to be regarded as a sacred instrument. You cannot change creation, but by changing your vision you can get the proper view of creation. When people view the world with vision of love, they will have peace.”
- Discourse at the Sathya Sai Hospital - Whitefield (03/06/1995)

As a practising optometrist Swami’s teaching has a profound effect on my daily life and in the way I work-especially by practising the adage: “Duty is God, Work is Worship.” Swami’s Life, as an Embodiment of Love, is an inspiring example to us as professionals, to treat all our patients with love and compassion, no matter what their caste, creed, colour, religion or gender is. We can do this by having “even-vision”, by acknowledging the Divinity present in everyone. So each patient that I see, I try to recognise the Divinity in them and carry out my tests as if I was treating my very own family member. |This ensures that I am giving my best at all times.

On a recent medical camp in Ukraine, many lessons were learnt. The working hours were certainly long and tiring, but the continuing inner transformation that occurs thereafter is phenomenal. It was difficult, in that in the UK we have access to modern equipment, and in Ukraine we had to do the best we could with limited facilities but we were still able to treat patients to the best of our abilities. It certainly has given me a new appreciation for the range of medical services that are available to everyone in the UK. Patients used to come from miles to see us. Many elderly patients had not had an eye examination previously, and it was rewarding and touching just to see the happiness on their faces after they were dispensed spectacles as it enabled them to see family members more clearly, or to be able to read a book again or even to help in their jobs. There was such an atmosphere of love and camaraderie from fellow volunteers, translators and patients which helped us to feel the message that: “Service to man, is service to God.”
I will certainly encourage any health professional to participate in the medical camps, international hospital rotas or even the walk-in clinics in the UK. It certainly is a rewarding experience.

“When a devotee seeks with humility and purity to give seva and prema to My creatures who are in need of such selfless service and sublime love, when he considers all creatures as My children; as his beloved brothers and sisters, as the blessed manifestation of My Immanence, then in fulfilment of My role as Sathya Sai, I descend to help, accompany, and carry that yogi. I am always near such a yogi to guide him and shower My Love on his life.”

Nuleen Panday
Region 6
Eastbourne

Region 1 - October Centre Events

On the bright sunny morning of 3 July 2011, the SSE children, parents and teachers from Brixton Sai Centre travelled to St Bartholomew’s Catholic Church, Norbury as part of the children’s study about other faiths and their practices. The children attended the 10am Mass Service which was attended by an approximately100 strong congregation. The children participated in the beautiful hymns sung from the hymn books provided, and watched the ceremony of communion as adults and children filed to the altar to receive the bread and wine representing the body and blood of Christ. The Vicar kindly received the SSE children who also approached the altar to seek the Lord’s blessings. As part of the service, the SSE children were privileged to see the children in the congregation, ascend the altar with offerings of pictures they had drawn and display these for all to see. The pictures depicted scenes of peace and happiness. Thereafter, the children were able to visit the numerous statues of the Holy Mother Mary and Christ and discuss the various scenes depicted on the walls of the key events in Christ’s life. It was a memorable day which the SSE children, teachers and parents thoroughly enjoyed.

On Saturday 16 July 2011, Brixton Centre hosted its annual Fun Day at Truscott House in Croydon. Truscott House is a care home for the elderly where Brixton Centre holds a monthly Bingo session and hosts its annual Christmas Carol concert. The event in July was well attended and the residents enjoyed playing ‘Pass the Parcel’ and ‘Play Your Cards Right’, participating in a quiz, singing along to popular tracks such as “Lord of the Dance” and “Daisy Bell” and enjoying a tasty lunch made by the devotees. The highlight for many of the residents was the SSE children’s drama entitled ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’; this was about two little boys who did not realise the impact of their littering and the disrespect shown to the environment and the creatures around them. One day, after falling asleep under a tree in the forest, the animals gathered around to tell the boys of their plight.The SSE children dressed as rabbits, bumblebees, fish, a bird and a flower each explained to the boys the important contribution that they make to the environment, helping the boys to realise the sacredness of nature. The children performed to a near silent audience who were captivated by their innocence and heartfelt acting. At the end of the performance, the residents filled the room with rapturous applause and praise for the children and their moral tale. It was a wonderful day of service enjoyed by the residents, SSE children and devotees alike and we are grateful to Swami for providing the opportunity to undertake this valuable service.

Wimbledon Sai Centre Family Fun Day

Every year at Wimbledon Sai Centre, the SSE students (and teachers/helpers) look forward to a Sunday filled with games, fun and laughter, entwined with some Sai-orientated competitiveness. This year was no different. The long awaited anticipation was built up over the summer holidays for the big date of 18th September 2011. The youth were asked to organize the activities for the family fun day, whilst the adults organized the food. However as we live under the beautiful grey sky of England, Swami had us thinking on our toes up to the day itself. All weather forecasts were reporting rain on that Sunday. In line with the ideal Sai pathway, we were preparing ourselves for any situation including the unfortunate event of rainfall. But as the day approached, we started with our regular Sunday morning bhajans. Our prayers were answered the skies opened up and the sun shined through for the rest of the day.
We started the family fun day with three Aums and then gathered all the SSE kids and separating them into three girl teams and three boy teams, of mixed age. Once all the groups had been allocated, we asked the kids to choose a team leader and a team name. The younger kids were then separated from the older kids, and the games began. The younger kids started off with an activity to get their hearts pumping with Sai love, we had a parachute which all the kids held around the side, and when their team name was called they had to run under the parachute and get to the other side before the other competitor. While this activity was going on, the older kids were engrossed in an obstacle race. After this there were various sprints, relays and other races. Once everyone was tired out by all the activities, we had a special obstacle course that was built in the playground at which we were hosting the event. We got each team to choose the person in they thought would be the fastest to get around the challenging course. Each team went around the course with their team screaming motivational help from all around them. We then stopped for some deliciously prepared food, which gave a break to the kids and energized them for the final activity of the day. We ended the day with the boys playing football, and the girls playing a game of rounders.

The eventful day finished with one Aum and three Shanthis which then led us onto cleaning of the premises and leaving everyone eagerly waiting for next year’s family fun day!

On Thursday 1st September 2011, the Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Lewisham celebrated a series of festivals which were Ganesh Chaturthi, Krishana Janmashtami and Eid Ul-Fitr. The programme commenced with 3 Aumkar, Ganesh Prathana followed by various prayers and the 108 Ashtotra Namavali of our Beloved Bhagawan. Subsequently to mark these auspicious celebrations the centre conducted Bhajans led by the Youth, Adults and SSE children who sang an array of uplifting Bhajans which made everyone feel our Dearest Lord’s Omnipresence.
The Centre was very fortunate to have two members from Region 1- : Brother Yoges Yogendran (current Regional Chair) Brother Raj Rajasingam (previous Regional Chair) visiting on the holy day of Ganesh Chaturthi. Brother Raj gave a few short words to all the devotees who attended reaffirming everyone’s faith that even though our Bhagawan’s physical body has departed from Earth, that He was is very much still amongst us in the our hearts and the various Sai Centres across the globe. Brother even shared that he could feel the presence of our Swami in the centre and he emphasised the importance of why we need to maintain and practise Swami’s teachings and values in our ever changing society. The programme concluded with Arati, thought for the day and Maha Prasad was served to everyone.

The following Thursday, 8th September 2011, was also a special occasion as Lewisham Sai Centre was celebrating its 14th anniversary. With Bhajans being led by the SSE students, the evening brought a tremendous amount of vibration to the centre and everyone left feeling incredibly energised. We also had two members of the centre that have been attending bhajan at Lewisham Sai Centre since the day it was formed who gave short speeches. One of these was Thanam aunty who spoke about some of the other founding members and a few of her experiences throughout the time she has been part of the centre. Thanam aunty spoke proudly of some of the current youth and how they first began as little children who sat at the front and sang bhajans and are now active members of the youth wing leading the centre to the heights it finds itself today. The second person to speak was a well respected elder of the centre, Jaya aunty, who was the first chairperson of the centre. Jaya aunty urged the members of the centre to continue to work hard and to help the centre progress further. Her speech was emotional for all of us. After the speakers Bhajans was brought to an end and Arthi offered, after this thought for the day and Maha Prasad was served and we all basked in a truly joyous occasion.

Regrettably however, the day was also dedicated in remembrance of the late Sri Victor Kanu. Hailing from South Africa, Sri Victor Kanu was an ardent devotee of Swami who, served Him for several years, but on 3rd September 2011 he passed away. One of our Sai family member, Roger Digbo who had close association to brother Victor shared a few words praising the work of Sri Victor Kanu and the life he lead. Brother Kanu will be sadly missed by all of us.

Region 3 - Dhyana Vahini

Amongst the Vahini Series, Dhyana Vahini holds a special place for spiritual seekers interested in meditation. The “Dhyana Vahini” workshop was conducted by Dr.N.Chunmugavel (Dentist by profession). It was hosted by Hatfield Sai Centre on behalf of Region 3 on the 17th of September 2011.

“Dhyana Vahini” session included power Point presentation, practical meditation exercises, and Question and Answers session. Dr Chun started with the creation and highlighted the importance of Dhyanam. He brought to the attention of the devotees the connection of breathing and the Mind and how the mind could be calmed. Practical meditation exercises would help the devotees to experience this. When meditation is carried out in quiet surroundings devotees felt how quickly they could attain concentration. Power point slides were applauded by the devotees for the high quality technical content.
As Baba says, “Just as soap is necessary to make this external body clean, repetition of the divine name, meditation, and remembrance (smarana) are needed to clean the interior mind.” This event helped the devotees as a stepping stone in their spiritual endeavour.

Sam Sampanthan
Region 3 Vice-Chair

Region 3 - Macmillan’s Coffee Morning

On Saturday 24th of September, Region 3 took part in the annual Macmillan’s Coffee Morning for the fourth year. This year marked 100 years of ‘The World's Biggest Coffee Morning’ which was Macmillan Cancer Support's biggest fundraising event. This charity provides support for cancer patients, their families and carers.
Although designated as a ‘coffee morning’ our event ran from 10.00am to 3.00pm! Sai devotees arrived at the site from 8.00am to set up the stalls.

With a total of over 30 volunteers, 7 stalls and wonderful weather, the day was a great success. Though stalls like ‘Lucky Dip’ and ‘Krispy Kreme’ were popular, our ‘Petting Zoo’ with our prized rabbit drew the greatest attention! We were fortunate to have two youth who put up a live musical performance which attracted a lot of the public.

We also had a stall dedicated to ‘Organ Donation’, which provided the public with greater awareness about their cause. There was a ‘bring and buy’ stall which gave the opportunity for individuals to bring their unwanted items which could be put up for sale to help raise funds for the charity. The food stall was busy selling hot dishes, snacks, cakes, tea, coffee and soft drinks. The day came to an end with the completion of the raffle and announcement of the winners. After 5 hours of fundraising we successfully raised a staggering £2,000 which will assist in providing the best cancer treatment and support throughout the UK.

Ghayathri Manogaran
Walthamstow Sai Centre

Region 5 - Superb Seaside Satsang in Morecambe

Saturday 17th September

We felt very blessed to be sitting in the calm of the Wood Room at the Holistic Centre in Morecambe on a sunny but windy September Saturday. We had gathered for a mixture of a satsang and an English devotional singing workshop. The idea for the event came about from Ajit Patnaik's wish to share his vast collection of English devotional songs with us.

We were treated to 18 songs - most with their own story of how they were composed or when they were sung in front of Swami. The songs were brought alive by Ajit on his guitar, and many times I would look around and chuckle to myself as I could see everyone's feet tapping in time with the music. In between the singing, we had stories, lots of laughs, delicious food, and an opportunity to shop at the Holistic Centre (the ladies were happy!). We ended by sharing our experiences with Swami and also a Q&A session and mini study circle where we delved into the arguments for and against the idea of free will! The event overran by 2 hours because people just didn't want to leave, and when we eventually did leave, we were all buzzing. Swami also showed his presence as a flower fell whilst Ajit was sharing a time when Swami hugged/held him close during an interview....

Many of the songs for me were very moving - the words were so beautiful and the tunes very catchy. Ajit's devotion and emotion made it difficult for us to sing at times as we all had lumps in our throats. My favourite songs were 'When dark clouds fill your skies,' 'The way He walked,' and 'In the garden of my heart.' I was amazed at some of the bhajans that were direct translations of the Sanskrit versions but fitted into the same tune - a real gift to be able to compose those. And the English aarthi - I'd not heard that before... the New Zealanders did an amazing job!

As someone who doesn't understand much Hindi or Sanskrit, being able to express love and devotion in the English language opened up something new, something very special for me. I didn't have to worry about understanding the meaning or getting the pronunciation right. The event deepened my relationship with Swami, it made it easier to express love for God and it strengthened my faith. Sometimes I think we underestimate the power of devotional singing and how it can help strengthen our relationship with God - not outside - but God within.

I'm now waiting for the recording so I can remember all the tunes and practice the songs! We all asked (demanded more like!) a part 2 session later in the year where we can learn more...

Sanjay Vaja
Region 5 Spiritual Wing Coordinator

Region 6 - Family Values Day

On Sunday the 4th September, devotees in Region 6 gathered together in Rotherwick, Hampshire and took part in the Family Values Day. This year the event was on the theme of Mother Earth. The event, organised by some of the youth from Reading, aimed to make the day one that got the group thinking about the environment and how our actions are having adverse effects, impacting Mother Earth.

On the day of the event, the English weather lived up to its reputation. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of those who attended and those that attended felt Swami’s presence and smile shining on them. The day started off with a short introduction to the theme of the day. The first activity was an interactive session which required those who attended to divide into groups and construct posters in reference to Swami’s quote: (Nature) is in essence Divinity itself…So, treat softly, move reverentially, utilize gratefully.” The twist was that the materials used were recyclable items.

It was wonderful to see the elders and children all getting stuck in and really tapping into their artistic side. Each and every poster created was different, showing us how we all interpret things in different ways, however all ultimately leading to ‘the source’.
The day concluded with a poignant video on the power of nature, but how humankind have contaminated nature’s natural beauty. The video emphasised what Swami teaches about nature being the biggest teacher we have and how important it is to preserve mother earth.

The day was enjoyed by all. It is easy to forget how much is provided by our planet. It is important to understand that every individual’s actions has an impact on our Mother Earth. Small things accumulate and eventually can cause harm. As a Native American proverb says;

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”

Sai Ram
Aran Nagendren

Region 6 - Folkestone Centre Service

On Sunday, 25 September 2011, during the National Service Day, eight of our Sai devotees from Folkestone Sai Centre offered service in Gemini Associates, Care Home in Hythe, Kent. The devotees gathered at the venue at 11 a.m. and we were given our tasks by the Care Home Administrator to clear and make the garden look nice & tidy, painting the garage door and repair a torn felt of the garden shed. The garden was reasonably good sized. Everyone gave their 100% effort to make the place look beautiful. We were blessed with a beautiful warm day and everyone was deeply concentrated in their work, no one seemed to have noticed the sweat rolling down their cheek!
We completed our task at about 2.15 p.m. The devotees had brought light lunch item to share among the group and it was wonderful. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the time spent there. We all felt totally satisfied. Well, picture tells thousand words so I better stop my writing here!
After note: I received a thank you card from the Managing Director, Sharon praising our work and her words are depicted below:

Dear all,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all so much for your generosity in giving so unreservedly of your time.
The garden now looks absolutely wonderful and so many people have commented on it. Every time I look at the shed and garage I will think of your kindness.
Kind regards.
Sharon.

Region 6 - SSE Training

SSE training was held in Folkestone Sai Centre on 7th August. The audience was an interactive group of youth and children. We were privileged to have a dedicated day on Sathya Sai Education in the presence of speakers and SSE gurus all of whom travelled a great distance to be with us.
The turnout of children, youth and adults on the day was impressive. The day served dual-purpose - to give children a taster of the SSE classes and potential SSE teachers to gain insight into the methods and application of SSE teaching. The Gurus were exhorting the glory of Swami throughout the day, promoting devotion and love.
The day started with a Ganesh bhajan and the children were immediately engulfed in the sessions. The various forms of teaching – silent sitting, meditation, prayers, bhajans, story-telling and group activities were covered on the day.
The children were attentive and participated in active thought processing, analysing morals of the stories told and group activities. There was excitement amongst the youngest of the members when working on a cross word puzzle with comments such as ‘I like this’, ‘I am going to join Bal Vikas, are you?’
With Swami’s blessing the centre will flourish with regular SSE classes. Following this successful session on SSE, Folkestone Centre will be holding its first Bal Vikas class on 4th of September. An experienced teacher will support the centre with SSE classes every month. As prospective teachers, we learnt a lot on the day and are very enthusiastic in taking this forward. We would like to express our sincere thanks to Uncle Mahesh, Aunty Vidyu, Uncle Chung and Sister Nila for a wonderful and educative day in a very entertaining manner.

Lisha Siwa & Leena Siwa
Folkestone Centre SSE and Youth Coordinators

Region 7 – Universal Prayer Day Peace and Well Being in the Community and the World

With Swami’s Divine Grace over sixty people from different faiths and backgrounds converged on Bath on Saturday 10th September to worship and pray together. The occasion was a Universal Prayer Day, organized by Region 7, in which representatives from the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Bah’ai faith participated. It was gratifying also to see such strong support from the local Bath Interfaith Group. They joined together with Sai devotees from as far away as Wales, Devon and Cornwall, in addition to others a little closer to Bath, to create a truly lovely afternoon: both very uplifting. and even moving at times.
Following the warm welcome and opening prayers, the Mayor of Bath, Councillor Bryan Chalker, who actively supports local interfaith initiatives, opened the proceedings, and was followed by the short video ‘Unity in Diversity’ which served to perfectly set the scene for the afternoon’s proceedings.

The Vedic chanting from Oman Kumar and Sathya Ganapathi represented the Hindu faith and was followed by some beautiful singing and prayers led by Ruhi Farmer and taken from Abdu’l-Baha, son of Baha’ u Ilah, founder prophet of the Baha’i Faith who claimed to be the Promised One of all Ages. The Christian Minister from Bath Abbey, Rev. Dr Adrian McConnaughie told the parable of the Good Samaritan which underlines the first two commandments: Love the Lord and your neighbour as yourself. And this was followed by some lovely prayers by the Imam Rashad Azami and Iman Jamal Azami from the Bath Islamic Society. The Jewish faith was led by Peter Walters from the Bristol Synagogue who, together with his son, taught us a Jewish song and then regaled us with light hearted dancing. The Sai Organization’s contribution concluded the proceedings with the chanting of the mantra “Om Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ya Namah to Sai Baba, and the afternoon was concluded with a Vote of Thanks by Mel Griffin, Vice Chair of SSSSO(UK) and Nirmala Pisavadia, Chairperson, Region7.

All the various religions' representatives were genuine and willing to embrace the unity of all faiths, which was reflected in their choice of prayers and readings.

It was a joyous and warm hearted afternoon where important and meaningful connections were made within the wider community. The Mayor commented on the Love which united the different religions and he seemed to particularly enjoy the songs drawn from each of the faiths which interspersed the various contributions.

On Saturday Region 7 showed how beautiful it is when we obey Swami’s injunction to:
Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish, and let the Glory of God be sung in all languages and in a variety of tunes. Respect the differences...so long as they do not extinguish the flame of unity.

Clare Pargeter
Chair, Bath Group, Region 7

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