September 2014 Edition

Quote

You are wasting your precious time thinking that all that you see in this objective world is true. No! None of these objects is real. Truth is eternal and is beyond the three periods of time - past, present and future. That Truth is Divinity. God is only one, now and forever. How foolish it is to think that the worldly vision which is subject to change from time to time is real. You are a student today. Tomorrow you will become an officer in an Organization and few years later you will be a retired officer. Then, which is true? Is it the life as a student or as an officer or as a retired official? Thus, all that you see in this objective world and all the relationships between individuals are only temporary, never real and permanent. Divinity is not like that. Recognise the Truth that the Divine is omnipresent - yesterday, today and tomorrow. ( Divine Discourse, Sep 27, 2006)

~ Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Events

Sai Smaran Bhajans

Articles

Bhagawan Shirdi Babas Birthday

Dasara Festival

Few Precious Days at the Abode of God and at His Institute

Global Youth Offering for 89th Birthday Celebrations

National Retreat 2014 Workshop Summary

National Retreat 2014: Morning Activities – Yoga, Silent Walking, Meditation

National Sai Retreat 2014 – Llandudno

National Sai Retreat, Divine Grace: Fountain of Eternal Joy

Our Welsh Weekend with Our Beloved Sai

Region 1 - "Life Is a Game, Play It"

Region 1 - Professor Nanjundaiahs Talk

Region 2 - An Evening Satsang with Professor Nanjundaiah

Region 2 - Ganesha Chaturthi at Wembley Sai Centre

Region 2 - My Janmashtami Greenford Sai Centre

Region 2 - SSE Sports & Graduation Family Day

Region 3 - Satsang with Prof. Nanjundaiah

Region 4 - In Joy: Essence of his Message

Region 4 - Laksharchan

Region 4 - Presentation at an Inter-Faith Meeting Leicester

Region 4 - Transported to Prashanti with Professor Nanjundaiah

Region 5 - Movie YAP

Region 5 - Sathsang with Professor Nanjundaiah

Region 6 - Family Values Day at Blunden Hall

Retreat Experience

Youth Wing - Serve the Planet 2014: Children are our Future

Editorial

Dear Love & Light Readers,
Loving Sai Ram to you!

We recollect the epic run of August that brought much joy to the pilgrims from UK who had the opportunity to perform in the Divine presence in Prasanthi Nilayam and the countless devotees commemorating the Divine Incarnation of Lord Krishna.

The month finished with the National Sathya Sai Retreat held 29th – 31st August in Llandudno, North Wales, which was themed ‘Divine Grace: Fountain of Eternal Joy’. The location provided the perfect setting for the retreat with the mountains that stand either side looking like sages lost in contemplation and the vast sky losing its identity to the sea.

We were blessed by the visit of Prof M Nanjundaiah, a true ambassador to Bhagawan Baba who shared very many anecdotes of the Divine Grace of Bhagawan which brought joy to all those who participated both in Llandudno and from homes through video streaming. The omnipresence of Bhagawan could be felt throughout the retreat. Prof Nanjundaiah then travelled length and breadth of UK namely Leicester, Warrington, Birmingham, Watford, Mill Hill and Toothing to share Baba’s Love. He reminded us to make use of the rare opportunity; not to be like frogs, ignoring the lotus that blooms by their side but be like bees that swarm from far and near to drink the nectar which was available in plenty. He asserted that Bhagawan was our guide and guardian, watching over us and warning us when our steps went wrong. His words, to chant the divine name with intensity and not mechanically and to continue loving Baba until the end, still resonate in my ears which he spoke with so much of authority and conviction.

There is now a real sense of autumn in the air with leaves changing colour, ultimately to shed and scatter on the ground. There is smell of dampness with chill gradually setting in.

This week marks the start of a period of intense spiritual activity for the Hindus when they focus their minds on the Divine Mother as they celebrate Navaratri festival to culminate in Dasara. Bhagawan has reminded that the festival is a celebration of forces of Goodness, of the Pure-Self over the downward dragging impulses. We recollect Dasara for the thrilling Declarations that Baba used to make during His discourses about Himself and His Divine Mission.

The Navaratri festival has a special significance this year with the celebration on the 28th September of the birthday of Shirdi Sai Baba. Sathya Sai Baba has often referred to Shirdi Sai Baba as His previous avatar.

October will be an invigorating and spiritually energising month. We congregate for the \'Sai Smaran\' Bhajans (devotional singing), our national offering of gratitude to Bhagawan planned on the 4th October in Leicester (Region 4) – see attached flyer.

The Avatar Declaration Day will be celebrated on the 20th October. As last year, we will again have the opportunity to participate in ‘Serve the Planet’ project. Details will be communicated soon.

Finally, we will be celebrating the 89th Birthday Celebrations of Bhagawan Baba nationally on the 15th November in London – Details will be communicated soon.

We wish all our readers best wishes and Sai Ram!

Dr Kiran Patel,
Chairman, UK Central Council

Bhagawan Shirdi Babas Birthday

This month we celebrate the advent of our Shird Sai Baba (28th September 1835). Below are exceprts taken from Swami’s discourse in 1990 about Shird Baba’s birth and life.

Arrival of Baba at Shirdi

One night in 1851, the boy left the ashram. He reached Shirdi, a very small village at the time. He stayed there for barely two months and then went about wandering from place to place. After strolling for many years, he reached a place called Dhoop-kheda. When he was residing there, the marriage of Chandu Patel\'s brother\'s son was celebrated there.

Baba joined the marriage party and reached Shirdi again. That was in the year 1858. From that day, till 1918, he did not move out of Shirdi. He remained there for 60 years.

While at Shirdi, Baba used to converse with those coming to him, give advice to them regarding their problems and offer courage and solace to them with regard to their troubles. In this manner, Baba\'s activities came to be known all over the country.

At that time there was in the Maharashtra area, a Deputy Collector and Settlement Officer by name H.V. Sathe (Hari Vinayak Sathe). He was grief-stricken over the passing of his wife. Prof. G.G. Narke, a friend of Sathe, came to his house and advised Sathe that there was no purpose in grieving over his loss and that it was advisable for him to have a change of place to get over his sorrow. He suggested that it was good to have the darshan of some saint and persuaded him to come to Shirdi.

Sathe was quite an extraordinary person. On reaching Shirdi, he and Narke had darshan of Baba. On several occasions, looking at Sathe, Baba used to laugh, sing and make strange gestures. Doubts arose in Sathe\'s mind whether Baba was real sage or an eccentric person. No one mentioned anything about Sathe to Baba. Sathe and Narke merely went to see Baba and sat in his presence. Baba told Sathe: "Don\'t worry about anything. Bodies are like water bubbles. Don\'t develop any attachment to the body. Develop your attachment to the Dehi (In-dwelling Spirit). Worries are passing clouds. Have courage. Protect your child." The last remark had reference to the fact that Sathe\'s wife had died after giving birth to a child. Even Narke had not heard about the survival of this child. On hearing Baba\'s words Sathe realised that Baba was not a crazy person but one who was a Trikala jnani (who knew the past, the present and the future). Sathe, who had intended to stay for a short while just to have darshan of Baba, prolonged his stay by two more days.

Making frequent visits to Shirdi, Sathe was the first to realise that there were no proper amenities at Shirdi for those coming to Baba. The place where he provided residential accommodation for visitors is "Sathe Wada." Sathe was the first to set up apartments at Shirdi.

Building at Shirdi

While serving in this manner, Sathe went again to Shirdi after he began to feel whether there was any purpose in his continuing to earn income and accumulate wealth. On seeing, Sathe, Baba smilingly said: "You appear to be losing interest in your job. You are wondering how to dispose of the wealth you have acquired. Why give it to anyone? Use it for a good cause. Build a \'Koti\' in Shirdi." Sathe told Baba: "Swami! I am not a millionaire. How can I build a mansion here?" Baba replied: "Go on doing as much as you can. Why fear when I am here?" Baba encouraged Sathe in this manner.

In due course, Sathe\'s maternal uncle, Kelkar, settled down in Shirdi. Sathe used to send funds from Poona and his uncle used to carry on the constructions in Shirdi.

In this way, Baba used Sathe as his instrument. He regarded Sathe as his right hand in regard to all matters. Because Baba was keeping Sathe close to him and relying on him for everything, the residents of Shirdi grew jealous towards him. "Many are content to do nothing themselves, but they cannot bear seeing others do things and will carry tales against them." (A Telugu poem). Several persons used to come to Baba and tell stories against Sathe. What is the appropriate name for such tale-bearers? They should be called "enemies of beggars" (namely, barking dogs).

A judge for a judge

At Shirdi, Baba used to do two notable things. One was to receive money from whoever came to him. He used to ask for Dakshina (cash offering). He did not ask for large sums. It was two rupees or five rupees. He would receive the money and give it away immediately in their presence. He kept nothing with himself.

One day a man by name Pradhan came to Baba. He had intended to offer twenty rupees to Baba. In those days, there were no currency notes. Everything was in silver coins; not like the alloy coins of today. In those days every rupee contained one full tola of silver. Pradhan thought that instead of offering so many silver coins, it would be better to offer one gold sovereign to Baba. Baba turned the sovereign this way and that and remarked: "How is it I have not seen such a coin before?" A person near Baba said: "It is a gold coin." Baba then observed: "I don\'t want this. Give me the money in rupees." He asked how much the sovereign was worth. At that time it was worth fifteen rupees. Getting back the sovereign, Pradhan gave fifteen rupees to Baba. Immediately Baba remarked: "Pradhan! You have to give me five more rupees!" Pradhan was a judge at the time. Pradhan as well as persons around him wondered why Baba was demanding five more rupees when a sovereign was worth-only fifteen rupees.

Noticing Pradhan\'s hesitation, Baba told him: "First hand over the five rupees and then think about it." Pradhan gave the five rupees. Then Baba observed: "When you set out from your home, how much did you want to offer to Baba? You intended to give twenty rupees. You gave only fifteen. So I was entitled to ask for five more." When Pradhan heard these words, he was stupefied. He admitted that Sai Baba was a good judge.

In this manner, Baba was in the habit of collecting money from those who came to him and to give it away to the needy.

Sai---the Guru

One day, he summoned Kelkar and told him, "Today is Guru Poornima. Perform Guru Puja to me." No one there knew the meaning of Guru Puja. Kelkar asked Baba what Guru Puja meant. Baba asked: “Who do you think is a guru ? It is not the pontiffs of Maths who are gurus. Nor are sanyasins (renunciants)gurus; God alone is the Guru (Preceptor)." "Brahmanandam Paramasukhadam Kevalam Jnaanmurthim Dwandwa-athitham" (He is Supreme Bliss, the giver of Divine happiness, the embodiment of the Highest Advaitic Knowledge and one who transcends all dualities. He is Supreme Divine Preceptor). "He is Brahma, He is Vishnu, He is Maheswara, He is the Supreme Absolute. Salutations to that Supreme Guru. The true guru is one who combines the three forms of the Trinity, the gods who preside over creation, protection and dissolution. Thus God alone is the real Guru" declared Baba. On hearing this, Kelkar asked: "Should I worship Brahma, Vishnu or Rudra?" Baba declared in a voice of assumed anger: "Eh Saitan! Here I am! Offer worship to Me!" Thereby Baba made known that He was Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. All those present felt that Baba was the Divine incarnate.

Sathe leaves Shirdi

As the days passed, the residents of Shirdi developed hatred towards Sathe because he was collecting all the offerings to Baba in a hundi to use the money for building a Mandir. Just at that time, a silver chariot with silver horses which was in Sathe\'s keeping, was stolen by some thieves. Sathe was the principal trustee. The people of Shirdi suspected Sathe of complicity in the theft. One day one of the residents planned to strike Sathe with an axe on the way. Getting wind of this, his maternal uncle called Sathe and urged him to leave immediately as it was too dangerous, for him to stay there. He told Sathe that he could worship Baba wherever he might be. Reluctantly Sathe left Shirdi.

Baba used to ask for Sathe ceaselessly. But Sathe was not there. Baba appeared to be in great distress. Sathe was near and dear to Baba. The devotees felt that Baba was sorely affected by the absence of Sathe.

About this time, the parents of Shyam came to Shirdi with the two-year old child. Shyam\'s father had just retired from service and decided to settle down in Shirdi. The boy\'s name was Mohan Shyam. The parents called him Mohan, while Baba called him Shyam. The boy was put to school at Shirdi and in due course he completed his studies and received training as a teacher. He was appointed as a teacher at Shirdi. The school adjoined Baba\'s room. During the day, Shyam would be teaching at school. There was a ventilator in the wall separating Baba\'s room and the classroom. Shyam used to watch Baba at nights through the ventilator. He used to notice Baba talking to himself, getting angry at times, or laughing to himself, or doing other curious things. Baba used to sleep on an eighteen-inch-wide plank suspended from the ceiling. Shyam was apprehensive that Baba might fall off from his lofty but narrow perch during sleep.

Baba\'s concern for Devotees

Once he mustered courage to ask Baba while massaging his feet: “Swami! You don\'t seem to sleep at all at nights. You are laughing to yourself or talking. What is the secret of all this?" "You simpleton! Do you imagine you are the only person about whom I am concerned in this world?

There are numerous persons who are praying to me. I am speaking to all of them," replied Baba. "When I turn my finger, I am turning their minds. When I laugh, I am amused at their follies.

These are the things I am doing for my devotees, dear child." Shyam prayed to Baba: "Swami! My classes don\'t take up much of my time. Let me stay with you during the rest of the time and serve you."

At that time there was a woman called Laxmibai who used to cook the food for Baba. Shyam used to go to her and assist her in the preparation of jowar rotis. Baba had a great liking for brinjals. Shyam went to Laxmibai to learn how to prepare brinjal dishes. Shyam went on serving Baba in this way and he alone knew the joy he derived from such service.

Baba\'s way of disciplining devotees

Baba often used to fly into a temper. This was only an outward appearance. Sometimes he used to throw a stick at someone ten feet away. Shyam once asked him: “Swami! You are hurling the stick at the man in such a rage. Supposing something happened to him and he died, will you not get a bad name?" Baba replied sharply: "Saithan! You keep quiet. That fellow\'s life is in my hands. He will die only if I permit him. You better mind your business. Why are you bothered about others? That man will come to his senses only if he sees me in this manner. If I am indulgent they will try to ride the high horse." Thus, in this way, Baba used to discipline people by threats and harsh words. "It is only with this aim in view I am displaying anger and not for any other purpose." This secret was revealed by Baba only to Shyam and none else. Baba\'s life is really a saga of love and nothing else.

Keeping Shyam near him and allowing him to serve him, Baba spent many years. One day, Baba called Pradhan and asked him to construct a small tank.

Pradhan was thus the first to be involved in the building of a Samadhi for Baba.

It was the year 1918. Pradhan\'s wife, who was living in her native village, had a dream in which Baba appeared to have passed away. Pradhan was in Shirdi. On waking up, Pradhan\'s wife started crying over the passing of Baba in her dream. At that moment she heard a voice in the house declaring: "Don\'t say that Baba has died. Say that Baba is in a state of Samadhi." Samadhi means equal-mindedness. "Life and death are alike. Joy and sorrow, profit and loss are the same. Hence, there is no such thing as death for Baba"--this was what the voice declared. When she was trying to find out wherefrom this voice came, she received a message from her husband conveying the news of the passing of Baba. That occurred on Vijayadasami day (in 1918). September 28 (1835) was his date of birth. On Vijayadasami day, he gave up his body. Although this year Vijayadasami falls on September 29, in the year of Baba\'s Samadhi, the date was different.

Sai\'s advent:the mystery

On account of the passage of time and circumstances, no one knew the exact dates of Baba\'s birth and passing. In this context, the mystery relating to Baba\'s birth should be noted. One devotee wrote a poem (Sanskrit) in which he offered his "salutations to the One born in Pathri, who lived in Dwarakamayi and who was the protector of devotees."

When Gangabhavadya and Devagiriamma were living in Pathri village, they were worshipers of Iswara and Parvathi. They had no offspring for a long time. They intensified their prayers. Gangabhavadya used to ply boats near the village for a living. One night, when it was raining
heavily, Gangabhavadya left his house to take care of the boats, telling his wife that he would not be returning in the night. After the husband had left, having an early meal, Devagiriamma took her food and went to bed. At 9 p.m. there was a knock at the door. Devagiriamma opened the door, expecting the likely return of her husband. A very old man entered the house. He pleaded: "It is very cold outside. Please permit me, mother, to stay inside." As a pious woman, she allowed him to stay in the inside verandah and went in after bolting the inner door.

A little while later, there was a knock on the inner door. She opened the door. The old man said: "I am feeling hungry; give me some food." Finding that there was no food, the woman mixed some flour with curds and gave it to him. There was again another knock after some time. When she opened the door, the old man said: "My legs are aching. Mother, will you massage them?" Devagiriamma went inside, sat in the prayer room and prayed: "Oh Mother! Why are you testing me like this? What should I do? Should I serve him or refuse?"

Going out of the house by the back door she went in search of someone who could be engaged to render this service. No one was available. Again there was a knock by the old man. At the same time a woman knocked at the back door. She said: "It appears you came to my house and sought some feminine help. I was away at the time. Please let me know what service I should render." Feeling happy that Goddess Parvathi herself had sent the woman in response to her prayers, Devagiriamma sent the newcomer to the verandah for serving the old man and closed the door.

The old man and the new woman were none other than Parameswara and Parvathi the divine couple. Parameswara told Parvathi: "Fulfil the cherished desires of this lady." Parvathi told Easwara: "You are the Supreme. Please shower your grace on her Yourself." Easwara said: "I came to test her. You came in answer to her prayers. Hence you must bless her." There was a knock on the door again. This time Devagiriamma promptly opened the door, because of the presence of another woman there. Parvathi and Parameswara appeared before her in their divine form. Unable to contain her joy, Devagiriamma fell at their feet. Parvathi then blessed her: "I grant you a son to maintain the lineage and a daughter for Kanyakadana (a girl to be offered in marriage)." Then she fell at the feet of Easwara. Easwara said: "I am immensely pleased with your devotion. I shall take birth as your third child." When Devagiriamma got up, the Divine couple were not there. Feeling ecstatic over this experience, Devagiriamma was eagerly expecting the return of her husband in the morning to relate to him the whole story.

The husband returned in the morning. Eagerly awaiting his arrival she related to him all that had happened the previous night. The husband said: "Devagiri! What is all this fanciful tale! It is all a dream. Parvathi and Parameswara appearing before you and giving darshan! It is pure fantasy!" Gangabhavadya dismissed the whole episode as incredible and fanciful.

But, as the years passed, Devagiriamma became enceinte and a son was born. A year later a daughter was born. Gangabhavadya was convinced that the birth of the two children was the result of the blessing conferred by Parvathi and Parameswara. He told his wife: "You had the good fortune (to be blessed by the Divine couple). I did not have that luck." When Devagiriamma conceived again, Gangabhavadya began to feel an urge to give up hearth and home and go in search of the Divine couple. He announced to his wife that he was leaving for the forest to do penance. The devoted wife that she was, Devagiriramma decided to follow him, though she was in the ninth month of her pregnancy. After proceeding some distance, she developed labour pains. She delivered a boy. Wrapping the babe in a piece of cloth, she left the child by the roadside and followed her husband.

Because of these circumstances, no one knew who the parents of the child were. The Fakir who found the child brought him home and took care of him. Baba\'s life-story is known only from the time of his arrival in Shirdi.

The difference between devotees and disciples

In 1917, Baba once called Abdul Baba, Nana Chandorkar, Mhalsapathi, Das Ganu and others and started asking each of them: "Do you know who you are?" Each of them replied: "I am your sishya (disciple)." Baba said: "Nonsense! Don\'t use that term any longer. I have no disciples in this world. I have countless devotees. You do not recognise the distinction between a disciple and a devotee. Anyone can be a devotee. But that is not the case with the disciple. A disciple is one who carries out implicitly the commands of the guru (the preceptor). The mark of the sishya is total devotion to the preceptor. Only the man who says, “I have none in the world other than the preceptor is a disciple. How far have you respected my injunctions? How are you entitled to claim that you are my disciples? Only the one who follows me like my shadow can claim to be my disciple. The devotee is one who prays to the Lord wherever he may be. Hence, there is a big difference between a disciple and a devotee. The disciple and the preceptor are like two bodies with one spirit. The disciple should have no sense of separateness from the preceptor. He should feel, \'I and you are one.\' There are no such disciples to be found in the world. There are millions of devotees, but no disciples.”

Baba and Shyam, the only disciple

On hearing this, Shyam was in deep pain. He felt within himself: "Apart from serving at your feet, I have no other concern." Baba then went into another room and called Shyam inside. "In this entire world, for me you are the only disciple. All others are only devotees." At that moment, Shyam fell at the feet of Baba, and cried out, "You alone, you alone" (are my refuge) and breathed his last.

In all his life of over 82 years, Baba had never shed a tear in the presence of devotees. When Shyam passed away he shed three drops of tears. The devotees present there said: “Swami! Why do you feel so grieved? All are in your hands." Baba replied: “Dear boys! I am not grieving at all. Almost all his sins had been wiped out already. By the three tear drops I shed, the remaining sins (of Shyam) have been washed away."

All that Baba said or did was for the good of the devotees alone. Towards the end, Abdul Baba came to Baba. Baba told him: “I shall appear again and give you darshan." "When will that be?" asked Abdul. Baba told him: "It will be after eight years."

"The first advent of Sai was in Maharashtra. The second advent will be in Madras," Baba said. It should be noted that when this form (Sathya Sai) made Its advent, Andhra Pradesh was part of Madras Presidency.

Advent of Sathya Sai after Shirdi Sai

When he was asked, in what form the next advent would take place, Shirdi Baba told Abdul Baba alone: “I will give darshan in the name of Sathya for upholding Truth." That is the present advent.

The two bodies are different, but the Divinity is one. The first advent was for revealing Divinity. The second advent is to awaken the Divinity (in human beings). The next advent is for propagating Divinity. The three Sais are\' Shirdi Sai, Sathya Sai and Prema Sai.

The reason for relating all this is that today happens to be the birthday of Shirdi Baba (September 28, 1835). Baba attained Samadhi in 1918. Bodies are transient. These vestures are assumed only for the sake of devotees. Unless the Divine comes with a form, no one can develop faith in the Formless. The Divine in human form is the preparation for comprehending the Formless Absolute.

The truth about God cannot be understood by anyone. He is infinitely vast. He is minuter than the atom. No one can know what is the macrocosm and what is the microcosm. Because of this mystery, one devotee sang:

Can any one unravell your mystery
Oh Krishna! You are vaster than the vastest; You are subtler than the atom.
All the countless beings in the world
Cannot grasp your baffling mystery
How can anyone know your Infinite
Cosmic form, Oh Krishna!
Nor is that all.
Among the great thieves, you are the greatest, How can anyone know you, oh Krishna!

The ordinary thieves take away wealth and riches. But this extraordinary Divine thief steals the hearts of people. Hence, when God is described as Chitta Chora (the stealer of hearts)or Badaa Chitta Chora (the greatest stealer of hearts), the appellation is not derogatory but delightful.

If you call anyone, "You thief!" he will get angry. But when you sing "Chitta chora Yasoda ke Baal" (Oh thief of hearts, Yasoda\'s darling!) everyone rejoices. The chitta chora confers delight on those whose hearts he steals. But the Vitha Chora (the one who robs you of your wealth) causes you misery. The mundane thieves take away your wealth. But the Lord steals your hearts.

It is not easy, therefore, for anyone to understand the ways of the Lord. When one cannot understand the ways of the Divine, it is best to keep silent and atleast refrain from indulging in grievous misinterpretation. Seek, therefore, to understand the ways of God and through devotion and worship strive to experience the Divine.

Discourse at the Prasanthi Mandir, on 28-9-1990.

Dasara Festival

Dasara, also known as Vijayadashami, is one of the most important festivals celebrated in Prasanthi Nilayam in the Divine presence of Bhagawan which is celebrated on the 4th October this year. It is preceded by the first nine days observed as Navratri.

On reflection, the Dasara festival has afforded an opportunity for the vast gathering of seekers coming to Prasanthi Nilayam to benefit by a course of divine lessons from Bhagawan Baba on the mystic symbolism of the vedic culture. The festival carried a special significance where Baba invariably in His Discourses used to make important declarations about Himself, His Life and His Divine Mission. To quote one of these,

“The first sixteen years of this Life have been, as I have often told you, the period when Baala leela (divine child sport) predominated and the next sixteen is being spent mostly in Mahimas (miracles) in order to give santhosha (joy) to this generation. Joy and contentment are short-lived sensations; you have to catch that mood and make it a permanent possession: Aanandha (bliss). After the thirty-second year, you will see Me active more and more in the task of Upadhesa (spiritual instruction) - teaching erring humanity and in directing the World along the path of Sathya, Dharma, Shaanthi and Prema (Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Love).Not that I am determined to exclude leela and mahima from My activity after that. I only mean that re-establishing Dharma, correcting the crookedness of the human mind and guiding humanity back to Sanaathana Dharma (eternal universal religion) will be My task thereafter.”
Prasanthi Nilayam, Vijayadhashami, 1953

When reminiscing early days back in the 1950s as narrated by Sri N Kasturi (Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram : Part 1), Dasara was celebrated with bhajans (devotional singing) and puja (ritualistic worship) with Baba decked in ornaments, rings, necklaces, crown. He used to be taken in a palanquin which was decorated in different styles everyday.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the celebration began with the Flag Hoisting ceremony located on top of the Prasanthi Nilayam temple on the morning of the first day. To the sound of bells, gongs, music and prayer, Baba used to unfurl the flag. The second day was set for social work by devotees, repair of the approach road, cleaning of the place where poor were fed etc with Swami giving a discourse in the evening. The third day was celebrated as Children’s Day with sports and fancy dress, drama and recitations by the children. Baba used to give prizes to every child participant. On the fourth day, poets assembly was held with poets from near and far expounding their pieces in a variety of languages who were graced with gifts. The sixth and eight day was spent in bhajans. On the seventh day, the poor were fed and clothes distributed. He examined the cooking and the items prepared. He also supervised the seating arrangements. He Himself used to serve the sweet Laddu to almost everyone, stooping before every leaf and pouring on the leaf as much as each could eat. There used to be musical presentations. On Vijayadasami Day, Abhishekam (offering) was done to the image of Shirdi Sai Baba.

Bhagawan Baba elaborates on the significance of Dasara festival,

“It is now Dasara festival time. What is Dasara? The celebration of Dasara festival is meant to purify the actions performed by the dasendriyas (5 senses of action plus 5 senses of perception). Every human being in this world has to perform some kind of karma. The presiding deity or the driving force behind these actions is Devi, who is the personification of energy. She is the bestower of all kinds of energy to perform various kinds of karma by the human beings. Goddess Lakshmi bestows various kinds of wealth like money, food grains, gold, different kinds of objects, vehicles for movement, etc., to human beings so that they can lead a happy life in this world. The third facet of the divine female principle is Saraswati, the goddess of learning and intellect. Thus, the Trinity of Durga (goddess of energy), Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and Saraswati (goddess of learning and intellect) are worshipped during this festival of Dasara. This is the underlying principle of worshipping this Trinity of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati during this Navaratri (9 day) festival. It is essential that man worships all these three facets of the Divine Principle.”
Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 41

“The term "Devi" thus represents the Divine power which has taken the Rajasic form to suppress the forces of evil and protect the Satwic qualities. When the forces of injustice, immorality and untruth have grown to monstrous proportions and are indulging in a death-dance, when selfishness and self-interest are rampant, when men have lost all sense of kindness and compassion, the Atmic principle, assuming the form of Sakti, taking on the Rajasic quality, seeks to destroy the evil elements. This is the inner meaning of the Dasara festival. When the Divine Goddess is in dreadful rage to destroy the wicked elements, She assumes a fearful form. To pacify the dreaded Goddess, Her feminine children offer worship to Her with red kumkum (sacred red powder). The Goddess, seeing the blood-red kumkum at her feet, feels assured that the wicked have been vanquished and assumes Her benign form. The inner meaning of the worship of Devi with red kumkum is that thereby the Goddess is appeased.

During the ten days of the Dasara, the Rakshasas (demons) in the form of wicked qualities have been routed. Rakshasas do not mean demonic beings. The bad qualities in men are the demons. Arrogance is a demon. Bad thoughts are demons. Ravana is depicted as the king of Rakshasas.He is said to have ten heads. He was not born with ten heads. Who is this Ravana and what are his ten heads? Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Moha (delusion), Lobha (Greed), Mada (pride), Maatsarya (Envy), Manas (the mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (Will)and Ahamkara (the Ego)-- these ten constitute the ten heads. Ravana is one who has these ten qualities.”
Discourse at the Kalyana Mandap at Brindavan, on 18-10-1991, Dasara Day.

In recent times, one recollects the commencement of the celebrations of Dasara in Prasanthi Nilayam with the air filled with the music of Nadasawaram. Bhagawan used to come out and be garlanded by His richly bedecked pet elephant Sai Geeta . Then He used to join the grand procession led by Sai Geeta and Nadaswaram musicians with the priests chanting the vedas to the Poornachandra Auditorium. All the devotees used to flock to the auditorium to witness the grand commencement of the Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yagna which used to be a spectacular event. Once Swami was seated, the proceedings began with two priests involved in the process of producing the sacred fire in the traditional way by rubbing two pieces of wood. After the fire was produced, Swami used to bless it after which it used to be placed in the Yagna Kunda (fire altar). Soon after, the priests used to start offering oblations in the Yagna Kunda with the whole atmosphere engulfed with divine vibrations arising from the sacred sound of the vedic hymns and other chants. The rituals continued for seven days.

On Vijaya Dasami day, poornahuti (final oblations) used to be offered by Swami to mark the completion.

“Poornahuti is a symbolic ritual wherein one should put one’s evil qualities in the sacrificial fire and come out pure and sacred. If you follow this path, the whole world will be transformed.”
Divine Dasara Discourse, Sai Kulwant Hall, 10th October 2005

After that, Swami used to go around the masses of devotees sprinkling tirtha (sanctified water). During the celebrations, on each day, the Prasanthi Vidwan Mahasabha, the elite gathering of the learned used to happen where chosen individuals had the opportunity to share their wisdom or poetry with the congregation. This used to be followed by a musical presentation before Baba’s Divine Discourse. It used to be a very joyful occasion. These traditions are still maintained today in Prasanthi Nilayam in Swami’s physical absence.

Dr Kiran Patel,
Chairman, UK Central Council

Few Precious Days at the Abode of God and at His Institute

"The Sai educational institutions have been established not merely to enable students to earn more money but to make them acquire good traits, lead ideal lives, and give them ethical, moral and spiritual strength...
This institute will be a temple of learning where youth are shaped into self-reliant, contented and enterprising heroes of action and self-sacrifice, for the purpose of serving humanity…….
To impart true, ideal education, and mould students as ideal citizens wedded to the service of society.’’

Baba - speaking of his educational institutions

And now, I am in one of his institutions. Having first paid my respects to Lord Nadarajah adorning the entrance wall and Lord Ganesha, who is installed as you enter, there you are in the main auditorium facing the MBA students, all 120 of them. As the norm, they glow in their whites, ever humble and respectful. Neat and well groomed and those clear eyes looking at you in anticipation and ready to receive – certainly different to what I usually encounter, whether I am in Southampton, Dubai, Colombo or Coimbatore addressing, students or managers from corporates attending my seminars/workshops.

For me, as a member of the visiting faculty, it is the special feeling. A feeling of almost foreboding, yet a sense of humble thrill, like that of a child. Here you are standing on the same ground where his divine feet have trod so very frequently and where he has stood and spoke to his beloved students on numerous occasions-teaching, guiding, gently admonishing them if need be -. and now He has willed and given me the highest reward – an offer to teach His beloved students in His home. My task then is to try and make the interactions interesting and insightful and to compliment the spiritual knowledge, that is already there.

I was there only for six days, but it was intense, purifying and rewarding. It was something that I needed more probably than what I could give to the loving, glowing students who as we all know, are very special atmas destined to traverse in ways which only Swami knows and also has willed.

In terms of subject matter, we spent time on exploring some key themes, such as ‘Knowing is not the same as Becoming’, ‘The triangle of Change, Strategy and Leadership’, ‘Organisational Development Change and Culture’.

The style adopted was very much as Swami has propounded and which I readily embrace, i.e, which is not to overload people with information. Instead, share sufficient information but more importantly bring out the best from the audience, already there within them. In doing so we explored some global case studies, which was very well received and much was learnt from them. Leadership, based on the Mahavakya and Change Management as subject matter, we have agreed to set more quality time in future for the upcoming courses.

Other than the students, additionally I was blessed to spend some time in Swami’s district hospital. Specifically with the key staff in the Paediatric Department, exploring the subject of ‘Emotional Well-Being’. In doing so, time was well spent on examining Emotional Intelligence, Personal Intelligence and Inter-Personal Intelligence and their relevance to treating patients and their own team working within this very busy department.

The opportunity was also well utilised to re-visit some key management functions which in turn could help these wonderful, selfless people to be more effective, whilst working under enormous pressures in providing care, for so many in need and who have very little in their hand to live by.

All in all, a very fulfilling period and unique in so many ways, thanks and Koti Pranams to our ever graceful Swami.

Professor Sri Kandiah,
Member, SSLTP Coordinating Committee
SSSSO UK

Global Youth Offering for 89th Birthday Celebrations

Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Loving Sai Ram to you!


With the Divine Blessings of our Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, we have an opportunity for a Global Youth Offering for His Birthday this year as we did last year. I urge all our youth to enthusiastically participate in this wonderful opportunity to express our gratitude.


Further details for our offering can be accessed by the attached link:
/,a href="http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/offeringofgratitude/Swami's%20Gratitude%20Offering%202014.pdf">http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/offeringofgratitude/Swami's%20Gratitude%20Offering%202014.pdf

In summary, we have planned two initiatives this year:
1. Individual messages to express our love for Swami
2. Likhita Japam to unite all the youth around the world in spiritual practice


A presentation regarding this Global Youth offering can be found on the link below, including pictures and information about last year’s offering (Swami\'s Treasure Box)
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1gMUz5H9qp6nr35MFvLGYkDrs4peuhDt-L0cabFHgn9Y/present?pli=1&ueb=true#slide=id.p

Templates for Likhita Japam and other templates mentioned can be found on the link below
http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/offeringofgratitude/


Options for submitting offering:
• Likitha Japam: To be brought to Sai Smaran Bhajans in Leicester on 4th October and given to the National Youth Coordinator
• Individual Messages:
• Can be submitted online by 30/09/14 on http://www.sathyasaizone9a.org/index.php/new/swamis-89th-birthday
• Handwritten offering can be brought to Sai Smaran Bhajans in Leicester on 4th October and given to National Youth Coordinator

With Love,

Shyam Jamnadas
National Youth Coordinator

National Retreat 2014 Workshop Summary

“The Grace of God cannot be won, through the gymnastics of reason, the contortions of yoga or the denials of asceticism. Love alone can win it. Love that needs no requital, love that knows no bargaining, love that is paid gladly, as tribute to the All-loving, love that is unwavering, love alone can overcome obstacles, however many and mighty. There is no strength more effective than purity, no bliss more satisfying than love, no joy more restoring than Bhakthi (devotion to God), and no triumph more praiseworthy than surrender.”
- Baba

The key objectives of the workshop were to understand the true meaning of love, to establish the relationship between Love and His Grace, to enhance our understanding of what Love is and to explore how love transforms us. The workshop was split into two sessions, where the delegates discussed about the Power of Love in the first sessions and tried to better their understanding of How to Love.

The first session began with a discussion about the relationship between Divine grace and Love, and reaffirmed the indispensability of one for the other, as laid out by our Beloved Lord in His Divine Discourses. It then explored the aspects of devotion, surrender, ethical discipline, enquiry and determination as means by which one can earn His Grace. Having laid the basic foundations, the workshop then focussed on understanding the real meaning of Love, the differences between worldly love and Divine love, and the challenges that we face in practising love. The session concluded with a group discussion on how “Love unifies, bestows bliss, transforms and individual and destroys evil.”

“The extent of your love determines the magnitude of your bliss”
- Baba


The second session focussed on the practical aspects of how each one of us can express and experience our Love for others better. It began with a discussion on the way Love was exemplified by Hanuman, Buddha, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Jesus Christ, Meera bhai and Mother Teresa. The idea was to relate to the unique traits of these Divine personalities so that we can put them into practice in our day to day lives. Some of the practical points that came out of the discussion were in lines with what our Beloved Lord has said in order for us to express and experience Love, i.e., keeping good company, cultivating good thoughts, eliminating ego, seeking God’s Love, practising meditation, practising Namasmarana and developing unity of thought word and deed.

Dr. Aanand Venkat
Vice-Chair, Sathya Sai Baba Centre of Merton
Region 1, SSSSO UK


Workshop: “The Power of Love”, and “Cultivating Love: Practical Ways”

Our group counted around 25 people, and we had some very interesting discussions on this topic; everyone happily contributed their thoughts. The facilitator very ably led the workshop, encouraging us to reflect on the meaning of Love, and ways of practising it.

We identified some of the obstacles for practising Love, and were reminded of the six enemies: criticism, competition, fear, desire, duality, and selfishness.
“The greater the Love for the Divine, the greater the Bliss you experience.”
Love in speech is Sathya: speak softly and lovingly, and do not speak ill of others.
Love in Action is Dharma: participate in selfless service.
Love in thought is Shanti: practise meditation and prayer.

In small groups, we discussed the lives of Hanuman, Buddha, Jesus, Ramakrishna, Mira, and Mother Teresa, and how they cultivated Love for the Divine.
We identified some qualities required for cultivating Love as:
• Practising Ceiling on desires
• Cultivating steadfast devotion
• Developing forbearance and forgiveness
• Loving without expectation of reward
• Loving with intensity
• Loving God in all.

The group facilitator was very knowledgeable and encouraged discussions with great enthusiasm.
He even persuaded us to prepare a presentation to the whole retreat on the following morning, on stage…At first there was no great enthusiasm in the group, but we gradually warmed to it, and ideas popped up from various people in the group. Somehow it was decided to present a snippet on the life of Mother Teresa, and more ideas came up. I must say that it felt a bit unreal, as there was so little time, and it became virtually impossible to meet up in the evening with other group members.
I did wonder how/if it would come together.

We had just about 10 minutes’ rehearsal before our appearance on stage, and it became clear that Swami had been directing the whole thing from the start, giving us ideas, and picking a small number of us to do the “acting”. I felt that He was pulling the strings from above, and helped us overcome our stage fright. I probably needed reminding that He was directing the Show!


So we started with a brief talk about Mother Teresa’s life and her work. Then we all recited the Lord’s Prayer, as done by Mother Teresa every morning. She made it clear that it was her spiritual life that made it possible for her to do what she did. Prayer and daily morning Mass were the spiritual foods that sustained her, “without which… she could not get through one single day or hour of the life of dedication she had chosen.”
We then presented a small play depicting Mother Teresa and her missionary sisters taking care of the “untouchables” (lepers) with great love. Despite the horror, disgust, and disapproval of passers-by, they nursed and fed those who were rejected by society.
She said: “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
The presentation ended with a prayer that she liked and lived her life by, reproduced here following several people’s request.

This version was found written on the wall in Mother Teresa\'s home for children in Calcutta:


“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa


Thank you Swami, for giving us the opportunity and the willingness to be the puppets. Sai Ram.

Pierrette Poirot
Regional Spiritual Coordinator,
Region 6, SSSSO UK

National Retreat 2014: Morning Activities – Yoga, Silent Walking, Meditation

Morning activities – Yoga, Silent walking, Meditation

Meditation Walks

Following Suprabathum and bhajans a group of devotees gathered by the sea front for an early morning meditation walk. Apart from the group there were few people around, only seagulls and other sounds of nature. The walk began with chanting the Gayatri Mantra sending out loving vibrations into the fresh sea air.

Yet how does one walk and meditate? Swami said in an interview with a devotee from New York “When you try to meditate, the very trial invites the success-failure conflict on the scene. You say to yourselves, ‘It is good to meditate on this and not that’, or ‘to meditate on that is wrong or foolish’. Practice choice-lessness. No objectives, no intention. Be yourself. Choose no particular Form for all are equally He; choose no particular word or sound, for all are His”

On each side of the bay is lined by limestone rocks, as if protecting this small haven. In the distance there were wind turbines turning. The air was damp and cool but not uncomfortable. Everyone became naturally silent and the sense of quiet apart from the rhythmic flow of the waves was a fitting environment to just ‘be’. How refreshing to be in an open space where one could be introspective and connect with the inner Divine spark.

There is a poem called ‘Pippa’s Song’ by Robert Browning that ends with “God’s in His heaven – All’s right with the World” came to mind when the walk was completed. A great start for the day ahead!

Jai Sai Ram

Jenni Robson
Region 4 Spiritual Co-ordinator

 

Yoga - Food for Mind, Body and Soul.

Yoga sessions at the retreat took place on Saturday and Sunday Morning s after Suprabhatam in two groups, one for brothers and one for sisters with a nice relaxing and clear minds.

The session started with 3 OM s and three Gayatri Mantras, followed by warm up exercises, stretches , bending , Asanas, Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) and Pranayams (breathing exercise). Relexation and laughing exercises with health tips and benefits were explained at the end of the session.

The hour-long classes were well attended by different age groups, who were so enthused that they felt more time was needed.

The World Health Organisation defines healthy person as having sound mind, sound body, and a spiritually and socially active life. This can be achieved by practicing Yoga, which as Bhagawan Baba reminds us, is not mere physical exercises but also control of thoughts.

“The seers of ancient India professed and practised Yoga with its eight components of Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadihi……….Sage Patanjali devoted his entire life to the study of Yoga and declared that health is most essential for life. He stated that the well-being of the body depends on discipline. He defined Yoga as “the observance of discipline for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being.”

Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1993
Our beloved Bhagawan also often says-
When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
When health is lost, something is lost;
When character is lost, everything is lost.
Yoga helps us in building character by positively influencing our thoughts.

Indiben Jethwa
Region 4

Meditation

Daily meditation is one of the nine point code of conduct laid down by Swami for all Sai devotees and members of the Sai Organisation. We were fortunate to facilitate the meditation sessions on both days , immediately after the Suprabhatham. Swami has guided his devotees to practise simple meditation techniques, which can be practised by everyone. In the sessions at the Retreat, we explored the benefits of meditation as enunciated by Swami , and also the different techniques to practice meditation- Jyothi meditation, Soham and Japa Sahitha Dhyana meditation ( Meditation accompanied by chanting the name). We also explored the deeper significance of meditation and Dr.Chun, who co-facilitated, presented on different Kundalini Chakras and energy flows. On both days the group was very vibrant , and the sessions were very interactive. Devotees enjoyed the sessions and expressed their keenness for further sessions in their individual centers.

Suresh Sajnani,
Regional Spiritual Coordinator,
Region 2, SSSSO UK

National Sai Retreat 2014 – Llandudno

The joyful time of the year had returned, for a reunion of the Sai devotees belonging to Sai family in UK was underway in our second home, Llandundo! The National Sai Retreat 2014, in this refreshing coastal town in North Wales, brought together many new faces as well as the familiar ones. The theme for this year was "Divine Grace: Fountain of Eternal Joy", and the weekend certainly filled our beings with the experience of His Grace and a lasting feeling of Joy.

The 2014 retreat has been captured from many different perspectives and can be accessed by clicking on any of the links on home page.

Welsh Costal town Lladudno / Royal Regency Hotel

Many of us started our journeys on Friday morning, some even before, and arrived in this beautiful town and to the familiar and inviting hotels, Regency Royal and Ambassador, that would serve as our lodgings for the weekend. After comfortably settling in our rooms, and a sumptuous dinner, we made our way to the nearby Conference Centre, the prestigious Venue Cymru, for a light evening session that set the tone for the entire weekend.

Venue Cymru / Main Hall – Sai Kulwant hall backdrop

The Retreat Programme started with the energetic and soulful bhajans. The gusto and involvement evidenced from all participants during the bhajan session reflected the happiness in each heart, from being together in His Presence. After a welcoming address from our National Chair Dr Kiran Patel, we were treated to an opening speech by our renowned guest speaker Prof. Nanjundaiah from the hallowed land, Prashanti Nilayam. Prof. Nanjundaiah is a former Controller of Examinations of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher learning who came into Swami's service in 1973, and stayed in close proximity in His Presence for about 40 years. He had the rare privilege of translating Swami's discourses into English for more than a decade, between 1981 and 1993. Prof Nanjundaiah is blessed with numerous experiences with Bhagawan. He considered Swami as his Mother, and developed this relationship with immense faith and love. Beloved Swami too responded to him with great affection, bestowing upon him many insights.

Prof. Nanjundaiah / Audience in Main Hall

Showers of Grace – Carnatic Programme

How fortunate were we from the UK to have such a unique personality in our midst, sharing with us such unique interactions with Swami, the insights they bestowed upon him, the love and sheer joy they filled his being with, and the peace and serenity that exuded from him. His opening address itself lifted the jets of the fountain of joy to great heights, soaking us in the thrill of His Grace. Yet we were thirsty, and in anticipation of receiving more from his ensuing talks at the Retreat.

After the talk, as is the practice in Prashanti Nilayam, there was a cultural programme, entitled ‘Showers of Grace’. Arrthi Nagaratnam and Keerthana Easwarkumar offered a scintillating Carnatic vocal programme. Accompanying them expertly on stage were Sanjay Raguseelan and Sajurran Raguseelan on the Violin and Gobi Varatha-Rajan on the Mridangam. The performance by these youngsters was received very well, and in fact, the instrumentalists were requested to perform again the next morning. The brief programme came to an end with Arathi, and as we strolled along the serene seafront, back to our rooms, one was left wondering what a perfect evening it had been!

The mornings over the next two days began before sunrise, nice and early with 21 Omkar, Suprabatham, Jyothi Meditation and bhajans. Having awakened our spirits for the day’s proceedings with these prayers, we were then offered a choice of group activities to align our minds and bodies. The delegates thus joined either the Yoga sessions, meditation sessions, chanting group or the silent walking meditation. A hearty and healthy breakfast, prepared lovingly by the dedicated Sai volunteers, then provided the essential sustenance to the body.

Bhajans Singing / Exhibition on 9 Forms of Devotion

During the plenary sessions, Professor Nanjundaiah spoke on the topics ‘The Power of Sai’s Love’ and ‘Surrender to Sai’, and participated in a ‘Question and Answer’ session. Each session, lasting about 75 minutes, was replete with precious gems of wisdom and touched everyone’s hearts. As delegates sat in rapt attention, transfixed and mesmerized by the effortless flow of divine experiences and insights, it would be no exaggeration to say that one could sense a palpable buzz in the hall: That of soaring spirits! Professor shared with the audience the contents of many letters that our beloved Bhagawan had written to him personally, advising him, guiding him, encouraging him and enlightening him. In fact, one of the letters written by the Lord in immaculate English, was projected onto the screen for all of us to see and fill our hearts with joy. The confidence and conviction with which Professor spoke- on love, faith, service, surrender and the power of the Name of Sai- had such a strength and ring of truth about them, that they resonated and reverberated in every heart, drenching us in joy and delight. Truly, only a person who spent long years in the presence of the divine, listening and internalizing every Word of Sai, imbibing every thought with the Love of Sai, and living every moment in the Spirit of Sai could have shared so simply and selflessly in generous measure, giving happiness to so many aspirants.

There were 2 workshops on Saturday on the topics, ‘Power of Love’ and ‘Cultivating Love- Practical Ways’. Delegates assembled in different rooms in groups of 20-25 and explored these topics with great enthusiasm. Conducted immediately after professor’s uplifting talk in the morning, these workshops provided opportunities and encouragement for everyone to share their experiences and feelings, and reflect deeply on their spiritual journeys. Undoubtedly, delegates left these workshops feeling enriched from the engaging discussions and the collective learning. A full account of the workshops can be viewed under the workshops tab.

Workshops

Q&A session with Prof Nanjundaiah

Following the Q & A session with Professor on Saturday afternoon, a Laksharchana programme was conducted by our much loved elder from London, Mr. Vadgama. Devotees chanted ‘Om Sri Sathya Sai Krishnaya Namah’ with deep sincerity and love, led by Mr.Vadgama, and enjoyed the bliss that Namasmarana entails. The mellifluous bhajans that accompanied the Laksharchana programme enhanced the sweetness of the Divine Name and ensured a thrilling experience for everyone.

Sri Laksharchana conducted by Mr. Vadgama

The evening programme, after a delicious sit-down dinner ( lunch was a takeaway alfresco), was an opportunity for all to enjoy the cultural talents of our SSE children. All day long, these children had been participating in programmes specially designed for them; they went up the nearby Great Orme mountain on a tram and visited a local farm that afforded them exciting tractor rides! Ms. Jhyni Ravishankar, a talented Group 2 SSE student from London, gave a riveting dance performance in the traditional Bharathanatyam style. This was followed by a group of about 20 children singing most harmoniously in choir, ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘This little light of mine’. Indeed, it was amazing to see these little lights glow, shine and sing on stage with such elan and joy! It was difficult to fathom when the Anchor announced that the children offered this programme after only a few hours of practise! How we all wish to be children again, we are sure, is how everyone felt in the hall! Two of the SSE teachers and coordinators, Mrs. Dharini Pillay and Mr. Roni Ramdin, then shared their thoughts and experiences on their personal spiritual development.

The evening programme on Saturday ended with yet another high calibre and thrilling Vocal musical concert, titled ‘Springs of Joy’ by Mrs. Deepa Hattangady-Karnad. A long standing, ardent devotee of Bhagawan and an illustrious disciple of a doyen of Hindustani Classical Music, Srimati Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Deepa captured everyone’s attention with her gifted voice, poise and immaculate rendition. But above all, what warmed all hearts was her humility, love and devotion to our beloved Bhagawan. She was ably supported on tabla and harmonium by our very own, home-grown, youth talents, Roshan Patel and Kapil Parasher respectively.

Bhajans in the Main Hall / Yoga Session

Silent Walking along the Promenade / Morning Meditation Session

The Retreat programme was brought to a close with a valedictory address by Dr. Veeru Mudigonda, Vice Chair SSSSO UK and Trustee SSSCT UK, followed by bhajans and Arati. Even as devotees embarked on their journeys back home, after another delicious and filling meal, one could not help but notice the spring in their step and a smile on their faces, that reflected the inner fountain of joy. Also, not unnoticed was the silent but hard work put in by the many selfless volunteers working in various teams tirelessly during the Retreat, and for many months in preparation. Their offerings of love, together with the love of all the delegates for Bhagawan, ensured that His Divine Grace flowed in abundance on all.

Dr. Amit Patel
Lead Coordinator, SITA Team
Service Wing, SSSSO UK

Youth Wing - Serve the Planet 2014: Children are our Future

What is Serve the Planet?

Serve the Planet is a global youth-led service initiative that started last year in 2013. It is undertaken to celebrate Bhagawan Baba\'s Avatar Declaration Day on October 20th. All overseas Sathya Sai Organisations are devoted to carry out this project under the direction of Prasanthi Council, as a sacred offering on this epoch-making day.

On this significant day in 1940, Bhagawan, out of His infinite love and compassion, announced His Avatarhood to the world. He declared that the purpose of His Advent and Mission was the transformation and redemption of mankind through love. All through the 85 years of His sojourn on earth, He was engaged in this Mission of Love through selfless service to humanity. In fact, His central message \'Love All, Serve All\' has been a shining light, guiding millions of devotees and followers around the world in their spiritual journeys.

"The core of the spiritual discipline of service is to see everyone as yourself and yourself in everyone. You are not doing service to others, you are doing service to yourselves, to the God in you who is equally present in all" - Sathya Sai Baba 21/11/1981

The project, "Serve the Planet", is an effort to focus the attention of those all over the world on the importance and significance of Service with Love.

A reminder of what we did in UK last year...

The Serve the Planet global theme last year was to “feed the needy”. Last year, the UK worked with the Trussel Trust and donated in total 4.5 tonnes of food to various food banks across the country. Many centres around UK have continued with this initiative as an on-going service activity. Trussel Trust members have also attended and spoken at some of our National Programmes last year.

As well as the food bank initiative, in 2013 all 8 Regions in the UK fed just over 1,000 homeless people in total. A Laksharchana was also conducted on 20th October itself to pray for all those suffering in the world, reciting the Divine name 100,000 times.

A full report of Serve the Planet 2013 from each country involved can be read on the link below. Please note that UK falls under Zone 9a.

http://www.sathyasai.org/files2014/STP2013InternationalReport.pdf

What is the aim and theme for Serve the Planet in 2014?

The theme for Serve the Planet around the world this year is “Children are our future”. On the Avatar Declaration Day, and in the week leading up to it, various service activities will be undertaken by individual countries based upon locally identified needs.

Apart from bringing devotees from all Centres together under a shared vision, the project aims to provide a wonderful opportunity for everyone to participate fully in this initiative, be it children, youth, adults and the elderly. It is an opportunity to reflect His Message of loving and serving all.

When carried out together by the Sai family around the world, on the same day, with a singular focus, the impact on our planet will be amplified manifold. It is also hoped that this project will create a lasting effect upon local communities throughout the UK, by our united and sustained efforts through the various Sai Centres around the country.

What is the UK doing this year?

This year, we will be working with Refuge UK by offering emergency items that are required for victims of domestic violence, in particular children. The types of emergency items will differ by location but typically will be food and toiletry items. Items offered by SSSSO UK will be distributed by Refuge UK to those victims of domestic violence that are under their care.

There will also be local initiatives undertaken within the Regions of UK. More details will be cascaded soon; various presentations will be made shortly in all UK Centres/Groups that will provide more information.

A dedicated website has been set up and can be found on link below

http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/servetheplanet/

Who are Refuge UK? [source: Refuge UK website]

Since 1971, Refuge has led the campaign against domestic violence. They have grown to become the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic violence services. On any given day they support 3,000 women and children through a range of services including; refugees, independent advocacies, community outreach and culturally specific services.

We pray to Swami to guide us as we make this humble offering for this year’s Serve the Planet initiative of “Children are our future”.

With Love,

Nishal Govindji-Bhatt, Region 5 Youth Coordinator
UK Youth Lead for Serve the Planet 2014

Our Welsh Weekend with Our Beloved Sai

Who knew that one weekend could be so blissful and thought-provoking? The weariness that everyone experienced after the stressful 7-hour car journey disappeared instantly as soon as we first walked into the main hall in venue Cymru to see the mesmerising stage background of the beautiful abode of peace, the Sai Kulwanth Hall in Prashanthi Nilayam replicated in LLandudno. The heavenly bhajans which took place in front of the grand backdrop marked the commencement of the retreat. The glorious bhajans brought back a lot of memories of our past trips to Puttaparthi. The first bhajan session helped us youngsters to compose ourselves before our musical offering which concluded the day's events.


The next day began with Suprabatham and bhajans which was very peaceful and cleansing to both the mind and soul, followed by yoga which proved to be wonderful in loosening us up after the previous day and this was the perfect start on both Saturday and Sunday. For us SSE kids a fun and exciting schedule was excellently planned integrating the incredible location with enjoyable activities. For example, we visited a local tram station, going on a long ride while enjoying the view of the rolling hills as well as a trip to Bodofon Farm which all the SSE used to practice the songs for the programme in the evening with some of their favourite farm animals! The practice and performance of the well-known songs 'Amazing Grace' and 'This little light of mine' by the SSE children was very fun and enjoyable, not to mention the activity packs, games and beach visit that we also managed to do!


Although the retreat in Llandudno was short, the memories feel long-lasting. The incredible talks and the varied programmes have completely changed our perspective on the life we are leading. There was so much on offer for everyone during the weekend. It has, all in all been a great experience for us; we hope to go again next year!

Arrthe & Saijeyan Nagaratnam
SSE Students
Merton Sai Centre
Region 1

Region 1 - "Life Is a Game, Play It"

Each and every day we go through our daily routine without looking around us, without apprehending the beauty and the stories that are embedded in our surroundings. We take for granted the world that we live in and the world that our Lord has moulded around us. All we see now is usually the negativity in the newspaper, and listen to music with our music with our heads down, without any notion of communicating with our fellow brothers and sisters around us.

This is why for August’s YAP, Region1 decided to open our eyes, and create a spiritual hunt around a popular area in central London. We chose an area from green park station stretching out towards oxford street station, and as far as Hyde Park. Within this area, we found various iconic places, also sites that had spiritual connotations. Some of these locations included:

• The building where Rudyard Kipling wrote the Jungle Book.
• Buildings that used to be Church back in the 1800s.
• The building where the Beatles performed their last live concert on the rooftop.
• A shop that sold religious porcelain sculptures.

These along with various other clues were riddled out for the youth to find. We all met at Green Park station on Saturday 16th August 2014, at 12:30. We split up into three groups, and set out to find the various clues that most of us had no idea existed. The hunt ended with the final clue being in the very building that was essentially the beginning of the Hard Rock Empire that was sold to fund the majority cost of the Super Speciality Hospital. After this we all gathered together in Green Park, to discuss how we found the day, and also to share our experiences on how we usually go about our daily lives without opening our eyes and looking at the beauty around us. Sometimes it comes in the natural surroundings that are directly provided to us from Mother Nature, but sometimes it comes through an instrument of God who has presented that item within our lives. Also by working together and talking to each other, we are able to see and realise much more around us, as each and every one of us has a different perspective about everything we encounter in our lives. Swami has told us countless times to see God in everything; He has told us numerous times that we are both the same. Therefore it is up to us to wake up from the delusion and maya surrounding us and realise that if we try to think of God in everything we do and see God everywhere we go, we too, can maybe take that step closer in a materialistic, western world, to understand the simple teaching of “You and I are one”. In order to settle our monkey mind, we can just make this process a game, just like He always told us “Life is a Game, Play It!”

Written on behalf of Region 1 Youth

Region 1 - Professor Nanjundaiahs Talk

Tooting, London; Sunday 7th September

Following the tremendously uplifting and enlightening weekend at the National Retreat in Wales, Region 1 devotees were further spoilt by the announcement that Professor Nanjundaiah would come and give a talk on his experiences with Swami at the Tooting Sai Centre on Sunday 7th September.

For those of us that had already heard the Professor speak, there was a degree of impatience to hear him again, such was his charisma and oratory skills.

Various Centre members came forward to render their help on the day. It was joyous to see the different specialities of the various I.T. skill set that we have within our Youth Wing and how everything seemed to effortlessly come into fruition.

Professor Nandunjaiah then spent over an hour and fifteen minutes giving us a vivid account of his interactions with Swami. The energy and vibrations radiating from him, coupled with the fact that most of his speeches are made standing up even at his ripe age is testament to his utter selfless devotion to Swami. There was no set topic as such but as the eloquent Professor began to recount his experiences, the topics of Selfless Love, Surrender to Swami, Ceiling on Desires, doing Swami\'s work, cutting of the ego, Searching for the God within, humility through education, Non-attachment to fruits of one\'s actions and constant Namasmaran in daily life were some of the themes that he touched upon.

It has been said that the hallmark of a great orator is their ability to speak on any topic of Swami with the minimal of preparation. We all felt that the Professor embodies that principle although in his humility and surrender, he will always say that it is Swami who spoke through him. He has over 40 years of experience in Swami's fold and close proximity and those experiences are priceless. The beauty of all that Swami taught him could easily apply to the likes of you and me, such were the universal and simple messages.

May Swami shower us with more people like the good Professor to spread his glories, leelas and teachings.

Jitesh Patel
Region 1

Region 2 - An Evening Satsang with Professor Nanjundaiah

South Oxhey, Watford. Thursday 4th September

A pleasant Thursday evening in September at Oxhey Wood Primary School, Watford played host to an uplifting and inspirational talk given by Professor Nanjundaiah. Devotees from various Centres in the Region assembled enthusiastically to hear Professor Nanjundaiah talk of his first hand experiences with Swami and the understanding he derived from those invaluable lessons that he was most fortunate to receive directly and indirectly from the Lord.

Professor shared his reflections on one such instance, that involved the legendary Professor Kasturi. He and Professor Kasturi were once asked to accompany Swami to his room after a lecture given to the congregation by Professor Kasturi. As they sat by Swami’s feet, Swami began by asking Professor Nanjundaiah what he thought of the talk given by Professor Kasturi. Before he could answer, and unbeknown to Prof Kasturi, Swami indicated to Prof Nanjundaiah, by shaking His Head, to say something in the negative, that it was not perfect in some way! Now Professor Nanjundaiah was a very close friend of Professor Kasturi and both had a deep mutual respect for one another. So, one could understand the discomfiture of the Professor. Nevertheless, Professor Nanjundaiah decided to follow Swami’s direction regardless of the consequences. Swami then asked Professor Kasturi how he thought his talk went, to which a vigilant Professor Kasturi gently replied that in some areas it could have been improved... !!

This to and fro between Swami and both His devotees went on, all the while producing more confusion in both. Professor then went on to explain that, upon reflection, he had understood that Swami was teaching important lessons to both of them in this particular drama. On the one hand, He was driving home the lesson on how one should remain unaffected by praise or blame, nor seek to do actions for praise or fame; that all actions surrendered to God in Thought, Word and Deed will not give rise to feelings of ‘doer’ship and a false sense of pride.

The other important lesson was to have implicit faith in Swami’s words or instruction, and obey them irrespective of any perceived challenges or uncomfortable consequences. Professor Nanjundaiah related, in this context, the well known story of Arjuna, the ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. Once the Lord and His devotee were walking along, when Lord Krishna pointed to a bird on a nearby tree and remarjed that it was Kite. Arjuna agreed it was a Kite, but the Lord changed his mind a few times and said that it looked more like a Crow once, an Eagle a second time, and like a Cuckoo a little later. Arjuna agreed with the Lord on every occasion without hesitation. Krishna feigned annoyance and admonished Arjuna for not utilising his renowned faculties of knowledge and rational thinking. To this, the great devotee Arjuna replied, “You, Oh Krishna, are the Lord of the Universe, of All Creation. If you so Will, then whatever you say it will be! If you say it is a Kite, then Kite it will be; if you Will it to be a Crow, then Crow it will be! Who am I to say, by just the mere use of my eyes and limited knowledge, when you have already declared it as such” ! Unwavering, implicit faith in the Lords words goes beyond the mere senses and individual or even collective intellect. It crosses all boundaries of understanding at the mental level and physical levels.

As Professor reflected further, he shared more such precious gems, which so easily flowed showing that these moments were firmly etched in his heart. He began to relate another experience about how Swami corrected a pundit for his benefit and for those who sat around him. As Professor began this particular story, the flower from Swami’s picture which was placed in the beautiful Altar fell with an audible thud. As if to confirm, what was about to be said was being confirmed by the Lord Himself.

It so happened that during one darshan, while the pundit was present, a conversation had begun amongst the group. Professor Nanjundaiah , being in close proximity was privy to the discussions. The pundit was explaining how human beings and all life draw energy from the elements for their growth and sustenance, and how life is dependent on this. Although this is partly correct, Swami in His unfathomable way, as He came by the group during darshan, stopped in front of them and declared, “Yes, but the elements get their energy from Me!”. He said this looking at the pundit to see if he understood; he did, as he nodded in agreement.

Our deepest gratitude to Professor Nanjundaiah for coming to address the congregation at Region 2 as well as the other parts of the UK. Many devotees have benefited from hearing these first hand experiences. Hearing these experiences from different perspectives shed more light in unravelling and revealing the Message of Swami. They can become our own sign posts on our Spiritual journey towards the goal.

Jai Sai Ram,

K Senthil
Regional Chairperson,
Region 2, SSSSO UK.

Region 2 - Ganesha Chaturthi at Wembley Sai Centre

On Thursday 28th August 2014, Wembley Sai Centre celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi.

I sat down with my Sai brothers on the gents’ side. The programme started off with Prayers and Bhajans. We all sang Ganesha Bhajans. My Sai Brothers and I lead bhajans and played the tabla in turn.

Following the Bhajans, my Sai brother and I read Puranic stories based on Ganesha. My Sai brothers read stories based on the significance of Parvathi Thayanaya, the significance of offering Modak, The relationship of parents and children and I read a chapter on the significance of offering Green Grass to Ganesha.

Here is a short form of the story I read:

Shiva and Parvathi always liked to play a game of dice, Nandi (the Bull) was the referee and he always declared Shiva as the winner because Shiva was winning all the time and Parvathi was furious with this. Parvathi thought Nandi was biased and she punished Nandi. She gave Nandi indigestion. Nandi told Parvathi that Shiva is a good player and that is why he wins. Parvathi then said if you give green grass to Ganesha on Chadurdasi, I will relieve you from pain. Nandi gave green grass [his favourite] and was relieved from indigestion. This is why we offer green grass to Ganesha.

After reading out the stories, my Sai brothers and I ate prasadam (which included Ganesha’s favourite Modaka and some cake from a Sai Grandma’s birthday that day) together and played.
Then it was time to go home, we wished each other Sai ram and went home.
We had so much fun on Ganesha Chaturthi.

Jai Sai Ram
Article written by
Shankar Nimalathevan. Age 7.

Region 2 - My Janmashtami Greenford Sai Centre

On the 17th of August, it was Krishna Janmashtmi (birthday of Lord Krishna)! It was a really auspicious occasion. I was really happy. So, we went to morning Bhajans.

Everyone was happy on this joyful occasion. The deities were adorned gracefully and colourfully. It looked beautiful! People were merrily humming tunes and Bhajans. I helped a bit with the marvellous preparations.

Then Bhajans started. A few announcements were made. The last announcement was for my two friends and me to do the puja. I was over the moon! I ran to the altar and I was taught what to do.

The lights were switched off and the puja started. I picked flowers and placed them at Bhagwan’s feet. It was so exciting. The puja took a lot of time but it was worth it. I was so lucky.

Then 4 bhajans were sung. I gleefully sang along. Then it was time to rock Krishna’s cot. We were called to the front. The arati started. I started to rock the cot. This was the best Janmashtmi so far!

Bhagawan means the world to me. He has helped me achieve some very important tests. He has guided me through the path of righteousness which has led me to victory. He is the best mum, dad, brother, sister and friend a person could ever have. He is the best.

Jai Sai Ram
Article written by Saioviyan Raveendran
Greenford. Region 2.

Region 2 - SSE Sports & Graduation Family Day

This year, the SSE and the Youth Wing came together to plan and deliver Region 2 Sports Day on 6th July 2014. It was extra special this year, not only were we using a new venue but we were celebrating our 5th Anniversary of this special family event. Swami began testing us for two weeks, prior to the event day with continuous rain and thunder.

He kept this up to the morning of the event. The planning team debated in the morning whether to use the indoor facilities or continue to set up outside and leave it to Swami to wave away the dark clouds and the showers. Once we had decided to leave the outcome to Swami, in no time the clouds started to move away and the day started to shine brightly with Children and Adults praying and meditating hard on Swami.

As usually, the planning team had put a lot of thought behind the event. We ‘Started the Day’ from 10am, ‘Filled the Day’ with fun activities games that were suitable for all of Swami’s children attending as young as 6 months to 80+ years old. Before the start of the first game, we were transported to Prashanti in the Hillview stadium; as we all lined up in our teams and walked and saluted Swami to take his blessings.

This year we had around 175 participates and they were all divided into 3 groups of 2 teams. Each team were encouraged to cheer on their team as loud as possible and earning bonus points for their endeavours. After each game, each team were asked a question related to the SSE Syllabus to earn more bonus points.

It must be said, the children have been paying attention in their SSE classes as majority of the questions were answered very promptly. Some even has to chant a verse or two of the vedams or sing a devotional song of their choice with the help of their team. It was amazing how talented our SSE is and the future looks bright for us all.

Then we were served the deliciously home cooked food prepared by parents and teachers of the Region 2 centres. But before that we still have energy to take ‘Selfies’...

After Lunch, Swami was carried into the main hall accompanied by the children singing bhajans for the SSE Graduation ceremony. This was the second year of awarding Children, Parent Helpers and Teachers for the dedication, commitment and hard work in making SSE such a success in our region.

It was just amazing to see the big smiles on the faces of the children as they received their medal from our special guest Bhirtiben (R2 VC) and Bharatbhai (SSEC, Pinner). We look forward to making next year event even more special. We wish to Thank Swami for always guiding us and giving us the opportunity to serve him.

Article written by SSE & Youth Planning Team.

Region 3 - Satsang with Prof. Nanjundaiah

Mill Hill, London; Saturday 6th September

On Saturday 6th September, we gathered at Copthall Primary School in North London to await the arrival of Professor Nunjundiah sir, former Controller of Examinations, Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. The programme began with a musical offering of bhajans which set a beautiful atmosphere and creating a positive ambience in the hall. A warm introduction by the National Chair, Dr Kiran Patel set the perfect scene as he shared a few thoughts about the revered guest speaker and how well he had been received by devotees throughout his UK trip. Professor Nanjundaiah sir then took to the stage to address the fortunate crowd.

Professor firstly showed his appreciation of the bhajans and talked about the efficacy and power of bhajan singing as a powerful medium for transformation, particularly when bhava, raga and thala are observed correctly and full attention is given to the meaning and pronunciation. He mentioned how the listener can be transported to a completely different level whereby a feeling of detachment from the body and worldly pursuits can be experienced. He also mentioned that lead singers should remind themselves not to develop a sense of pride from singing well, as this causes a detrimental effect on them. Equally, the speaker referred to Namasmarana as another powerful medium for transformation.

“Namasmarana is the most effective sadhana. Remember with each name - the glory behind the name. Escape from the clutches of anger, jealousy, hatred, malice and greed. Do not seek to discover others defects. Do not gloat over them; when others point out your defects, be thankful and keep quiet. “ BABA

The guest speaker then mentioned about the power of Divine Darshan as a cleansing and purifying energy with miraculous benefits. He highlighted that our Beloved Swami is the perfect role model, embodying simplicity and compassion in all His words and actions, and shared a few of his own experiences with Bhagawan which illustrated this eloquently. Professor Nanjundaiah sir then went on to talk about our Beloved Swami’s mission to make us realise our true identity (Divinity) and understand that we are not this body. He explained with such conviction how, above all else, each one of us had to BE GOOD, DO GOOD, SEE GOOD and be ever vigilant with our thoughts, using discrimination to keep well away from bad thoughts and think only good and positive thoughts.

“Examine every day what you do and with what motive; then you can yourself pronounce judgement on your own progress. Select only pure thoughts, pure motives and pure deeds. Always remember that you are the Atma”. BABA

Much to the delight of the audience, Professor Nanjundaiah sir continued with many wonderful stories of how he had the great opportunity of observing our Beloved Swami over many years at close quarters and learning much from this blessed experience. He reminded everyone that Swami’s Omnipresence, Omniscience and Omnipotence is being experienced by many across the world, stronger than ever before, and so he urged everyone to take encouragement from this.

The complete attention of the audience was held for over an hour by the Professor, with his brilliant exposition of Swami’s Key Messages and aspects of His divine magnetic personality. As the Professor brought his talk to a close with rousing round of applause from the audience, a vote of thanks was offered on behalf of the devotees from Region 3, SSSSO UK. These words could hardly do justice to express the gratitude that was felt by everyone present. Heartfelt thanks were also offered to the National Team for their co-operation and support, and to all those who worked behind the scenes to make the event such a success. Finally, Professor Nanjundaiah sir offered Aarti to our Beloved Swami for the divine love and grace showered upon everyone that evening. Devotees partook prasadam and made their way home, feeling much elevated having attended such a beautiful satsang.

Sutopa Sen
Region 3 Ladies Co-ordinator

Region 4 - In Joy: Essence of his Message

Birmingham, Wednesday 3rd September

We were blessed to enjoy Sathsang with Prof.Nanjundaiah in the spiritually charged environment of Shri Venkateshwara Balaji Temple with their generous hospitality.

Dr Kiran Patel, gave a brief introduction for Prof.Nanjundaiah, followed by Prof delivering what he humbly described as a small sample of his time & learning with Swami. I’m deliberately not going into the details of his talk as this would be available soon; instead, I have chosen to highlight some of the key reminders that in my humble opinion I need to keep at the forefront, as I interact in everyday life.

1. Swami delivered his sweet message through Prof as his instrument. It was instantly evident why Swami must have chosen the Prof as an instrument, and therein is a message for all those assembled, I felt. Despite his high learning and stature, the Prof was simple, approachable, joyful, giving, and seemed almost egoless, with his thoughts, words and actions always focussed on Swami.

2. Love as an energy is the only currency that we use for all our interactions with ourselves, with our family members, with our fellow devotees, with everyone that we are blessed to meet in our lives and whole of creation.

3. To put greater emphasis on faith in God, who exists within oneself and in others, rather than allowing the monkey mind to create chaos through constant doubt & worry. It is impossible to know God without faith, to know yourself without faith and to know others without faith.

4. To always remember the temporal nature of our physical body and the eternal nature of our spirit. Devote more time to develop awareness of the Spirit.

5. Acknowledging that the only purpose for human life is to merge with Divine, by means of continuous service that is rendered with an attitude of dedication and devotion. This awareness that each one of us is only doing this so as to reach the goal of human life sooner rather than later, is of great importance. Because in reality, Swami does not require any of us to fulfil His Mission!

My heartfelt gratitude for all the respected elders, brothers and sisters for making it possible for Prof. Nanjundaiah to visit Birmingham. Personally, I feel deeply grateful to Swami for allowing me to experience the Bliss of his sweet message.

Yashwant Patel
Chairperson, Sathya Sai Baba Centre of Birmingham
Region 4, SSSSO UK

Region 4 - Laksharchan

In this Kali Yuga we are so busy with our day to day lives we forget God. I personally felt that if we could spend just a few hours chanting the divine name a 100,000 times it would be highly beneficial. This Laksharchana on Saturday the 9th of August gave us the opportunity to help us to buy back time in the sense that we could play catch up on time we have lost in not chanting Gods name.

Swami has given this wonderful explanation regarding the importance of nama-smarana in the present age: “This Kali Yuga is praised in the scriptures as incomparably conducive to the salvation of man, for he can now attain the Highest through the mere thought of God and remembering His Name. So, of all the Yugas this Yuga (era) is described as the most holy and the most beneficent. For this Kali Yuga, the simple remedy prescribed is just nama-smarana, the constant awareness of the Name of God. In spite of this, it is a pity that men do not care for this path and so make their lives a barren waste." Therefore we must take every opportunity to make the Lords name our very own life breath!

The event started by chanting of Vedams and Multi-Faith prayers, shortly followed by melodious bhajans. Mr Vadgama began the event by sharing his blessed moments with Swami and how Swami chose to come into his life via a 4" x 2.5" photo. Although Mr Vadgama was unwilling to accept the man in an orange robe into his life, Swami illustrates to us that He chooses when He wants to enter our life! After a brief explanation on how the Laksharchana is to be conducted, the chanting of the divine mantra began and was joined by voices people of both old and young. The chanting continued for 4 hours with bhajans sung in between the naama-smarana, we all felt very powerful vibrations. The whole venue was charged with divine energy. At the end of the program. Mr Vadgama kindly offered each and every one Vibhuti and photos of the Swami.

Niky Gohil
Narborough Sai Centre

Region 4 - Presentation at an Inter-Faith Meeting Leicester

On 15th of September like minded people came together in a like minded room with like minded ideas. The venue was a library full of conscious spiritual energy, and spirited personalities – uplifted by their love for knowledge, spiritual transcendence, and divinity. Books in each corner were bursting with a story to tell.

The visitors from Sri Sathya Sai Baba Centres of Leicester told some stories and the hosts listened, acute to hear something fascinating. Brahma Kumaris, Christians, Buddhists and other spiritual followers assembled around this camp fire like a story – each leaning forward training their ears to hear something different and learn something new. There were different story tellers but each had the power and confidence in their excerpts to enable the mind to run wild and free, and remember or in the case of the hosts’: imagine the devotees, looking up to Sri Sathya Sai Baba as he, with his arms behind his back gave directions in order to complete the three promises he made to his mother at the age of fourteen. The hosts were astounded with the stories and the video presentation on the life’s mission of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba which was followed by questions and answers. The divine message and life of Sri Sathya Sai was experienced by all through talks given by his youth, his student, and his longstanding devotee.


The hosts asked “ Why more people were not made aware of this wonderful mission and works of Sri Sathya Sai Baba?” They also commented on how wonderful the youth were for they are our future. They were amazed at the work of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation and how it sustained itself.

A lovely observation for the mind behind this article was when extraordinary minds come together to talk about extraordinary things for extraordinary purposes, their ordinary actions can become extraordinary . Dear readers, if such beings can come together and be inspired by the work of the one who some believe to be God on Earth, and others a mere good soul, why should credit matter? Why should anything matter? Whilst performing good deeds what bad will happen? Trust in him who gives you peace knowing what you are doing is correct, and look for him in every being you serve and dear readers, you shall surely be HIM.

Anand Lad
Narborough Sai Youth

Region 4 - Transported to Prashanti with Professor Nanjundaiah

Leicester, Wednesday 27th August

On the blessed day of Wednesday 27th August 2014, Sathya Sai devotees in Leicester were fortunate to enjoy the company of dear Professor Nanjundaiah. His wise words and his vast experience with Swami that he lovingly shared were enjoyed by one and all. The evening started off with bhajans and an introduction by Dr. Kiran Patel, our National Chairperson.

Professor Nanjundaiah, the former controller of examination of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher learning and Swami’s translator for more than a decade, shared the stories which portrayed the playful, loving and motherly side of Swami’s divine personality, which was heart warming for us all. We truly felt Swami\\'s presence during the talk.

There was much emphasis placed by the esteemed Professor on love and faith. Swami has great love for his students, he said, always looking out for their well being. “He gives the love of a thousand mothers on the students and helps them in every way possible. Instead of scolding the students when they have done wrong, Swami offered guidance and a loving way forward so that the student never feared coming to Swami with their problems”, he revealed. What a joy it was for us to hear these stories of Swami\'s caring and understanding nature! We felt closer to Swami in an instant!

There were also many examples given of Swami\'s omnipresence. Do not be fooled, he said, that Swami is not here in the physical form. He is everywhere and there have been miracles occurring still all over the world to show that Swami has never left us. He is above us, around us, next to us always. We just have to be vigilant and aware of Swami’s incomparable majesty and glory. We need to open our eyes and see that Swami is everywhere.

A few moments that stuck in my mind were when Professor Nanjundaiah spoke the following words:

“Swami says, I am in your heart, not in your head. Have you confirmed Swami is in your heart? Why do you complain that I am only in Parthi?”

“Sai is mother. Swami ignores our weaknesses and makes us in to Bangaru (Gold).”

Professor Nanjundaiah alluded to a very sweet story about sadhana and how it should be performed. Intensity is the key to sadhana. Namasmaran should come from the heart and then Swami will certainly come running! The holy lady, Pedda Bottu Amma, was very tired one day and was laying to rest, when she suddenly said “Sai Ram!”. There was so much intensity and love in those words that Swami came running to her side and said, “ Why are you disturbing me?” Pedda Bottu was baffled! Such is the power of Sai Ram!

Professor Nanjundaiah also spoke about how we struggle in life to commit to something, whether it is seva or namasmaran. We say we shall TRY to do the task at hand. Swami says, “Trying, trying, you will become dry! Just do it. It can be done if you really want to do it.”

There were messages for us all in the talk but the certain take home message above all was to develop faith. Pray for faith and intensity and everything will certainly fall into place. Swami will do! We thank Professor Nanjundaiah and our Dear Swami for blessing us with his presence and guiding us by sending his nearest and dearest to ensure we always live up to the ideals that Swami has shown us so lovingly.

Nirali Sisodia
Youth Co-ordinator, Leicester
Region 4 SSSSO UK

Region 5 - Movie YAP

"Ceiling on Desires" - Utilise savings generated for service to mankind.

In the 38th Chapter of Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume III, Baba asks, “Just consider – do you come out of the cinema theatre more peaceful, more heroic, purer, nobler than when you went in?” In our most recent YAP we watched a movie that did not meet all of these criteria, but it did leave me feeling inspired to think and act more nobly.

‘The Ultimate Gift’ was a film with a refreshing and realistic take on the often misunderstood relationship between wealth and happiness. The world around us is saturated with materialism and capitalism, from which we deduce that wealth equates to happiness. More money, bigger house, better clothes, latest gadgets…you get the idea. But is this really the case? Can money buy us happiness and inner peace? This was main theme of the film, and also our YAP.

It can be difficult to know how much is enough; do I really need everything that I claim that I need? The protagonist of the film, the spoilt, pampered grandson of an oil-tycoon, Jason is similarly challenged. He thinks that money is ‘a way to live life, worry free’, after all, it does get him everything that he ‘needs’. His misapprehensions are corrected through a series of challenges set in his grandfather’s will. Slowly but surely our hero learns that there are more important things in life, such as the gifts of hard work (or discipline), true friends, learning, family and forgiveness. All of a sudden he finds that money doesn’t matter so much, and is able to give it away for the greater good of society and live happily ever after.

Now, we cannot all have billionaire grandfathers who grow wise in their old age and want to help us see the light after their passing away through a written will. But why should we worry? For we have the Lord himself helping us and guiding us. Swami Himself stresses that the point of ceiling on desires is to reduce our own expenditure of resources, and give it to those who are in need. He especially stresses that we should not “give to others while allowing your own desires to continue to multiply.” It is important to note that ceiling on desires is most definitely not only charity; those who receive the surplus of our food, time or energy will benefit briefly, but as we learn how to curtail our desires, we will reap the greatest reward ourselves.

"Who is the poorest man?
He who has much desires is the poorest man in the world.
Who is the richest man?
He who has much satisfaction is the richest man in the world".
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba

As for the youth, our discussions on this just scratched the surface, but we certainly have a lot of food for thought. And with Swami’s Grace we’re slowly but surely, working towards our own happy ending...

Srujana Govindaraju,
Region 5 Youth

Region 5 - Sathsang with Professor Nanjundaiah

Warrington, Monday 1st September

With the Divine Blessings of our Lord, Region 5 had the opportunity to host Professor M Nanjundaiah. The Sathsang was organised at Warrington on the 1st September between 7PM and 9.30 PM. The Sathya Sai group of Warrington was very swift in finding the venue and organising this divine event.

The evening started off with a couple of bhajans. Prof Nanjundaiah was then given a warm and loving welcome by the assembled devotees. The following are some of the excerpts from his talk:

Bhajan is the language of the heart. Swami has left the body and we will be able to see him only when we sing with complete surrender and faith. When we sing we should appreciate and feel every word of the bhajan. Bhajans will have an impact on heart even though we don’t understand the language. Always participate in bhajans and enjoy them thoroughly. When you call God, let the call come from the core of your heart.

We won’t be able to see him as long as the cataract of ego affects us. God is an experience not a mere word. One who realises God will be in ecstasy. Every human being has access to God irrespective of their status, religion or nationality. We are unable to say that we have seen God in spite of Swami declaring that He is God in 1968, because we lack faith and belief in what He declared so many years ago! Our approach to Him should not be casual. We need to develop the sincerity and intensity in our yearning. Part time devotion will not help us in any way. Swami once said that His heart is like butter and even a little warmth of the intense yearning will melt him. Swami has infinite patience and He will bear with us but we should have a single-minded approach towards Him.

Whatever Swami says is a mantra and it is the truth. It is the starting point of everything else. A devotee once questioned Swami whether He is the cosmic Christ who sent Jesus. Swami with a smile answered in affirmation saying that He is the cosmic Christ who sent Jesus. Swami always preached that every one of us is God but we haven’t realised that. He recited a Telugu poem which translates to “God himself has come down to transform man into God and transform earth into heaven”.

Swami is the wish fulfilling tree ( Kalpavriksha), the celestial cow (Kamadhenu) and the gold mountain (Meru parvatha) and it is His nature is to give, give and give. He is fond of His devotees and He won’t rest until He protects His devotees. He never discriminates between devotees and those who criticise him just like a doctor who treats the patients based on their illness but not their status. Never try to analyse Swami. Our duty is to experience and enjoy him without a doubt. What Swami does is based on His own Divine Will but not according to our wish.

Professor’s interactions with Swami:

Prof : You are an ocean of compassion Swami.

Swami : Hey, No! Ocean has limits but My compassion has no limits!

PN : Whatever good happens in the world it is because of Your sankalpa. Whatever bad happens is because of cosmic law. Isn’t it Swami?

Swami: You are wrong. I don’t wish either good or bad for anyone. I have my own government. I run my own cabinet with various ministers like rain god, fire god etc. I personally look after only three departments and they are 1. Department of love 2. Department of selfless service and 3. Department of spiritual sadhana. I protect devotees who indulge in these activities. Rest of the issues, I just divert it to respective people and they deal with it. I don’t interfere!

Question and Answer session with Prof.Nanjundaiah:

During the question and answer session, Professor Nanjundaiah shared several intimate experiences which speak volumes about Swami`s omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience.

Q: Do people living with Swami feel at times that He is a human?

A: Swami behaves very much like a human being but the atmosphere is not artificial.There are certain fundamental truths like Swami will never tell a lie. Swami is God. Swami is perfect. If we are confused and don’t believe in these our ‘fuse’ will burst.

Q: How do we improve Vedic chanting, the intonation and pronunciation etc ?

A: As an Avathar, He gives us time to improve. What He wants is the sincere effort. Let us make a beginning and never give up. Awareness that we make mistakes and the need to improve is more important.

Q: How do we fight the bad qualities like anger and ego etc.?

A: Even the greatest of the sadhakas have problems and deficiencies. Our real nature is divine. All the bad qualities are like visitors. They are not a true part of us. Praying to Swami and overcoming these problems is the only way.

The evening concluded with Arathi offered by Professor Nanjundaiah to our beloved Bhagawan. He later had personal interaction with the gathered devotees who were delighted to speak to him. Prasadam (light refreshments) was served and we all went home with lot of spiritual thoughts to recollect and contemplate. It was truly a sathsang and every word uttered was indeed a mantra and a message to all of us. We offer our gratitude to Swami for this wonderful divine experience.

Dr Vijayanand Nadella
Spiritual Co-ordinator
Region 5 SSSSO UK

Region 6 - Family Values Day at Blunden Hall

On Sunday, 13th July 2014, the SSE wing of Region 6 held their annual Family Values Day at Blunden Hall in Farnborough. Around 85 people attended the event which consisted of SSE children from Farnborough, Rochester and Southampton, their parents, friends, SSE teachers and helpers.

Swami blessed us with warm and sunny weather as heavy rains were otherwise expected!

The day began with a Values-based treasure hunt, followed by sack races, three-legged races, egg-and -spoon races. Both adults and children wholeheartedly participated in the events which added to the team spirit and enjoyment. There were also lively games of cricket and football. The final sporting event was “the tug-of -peace” event, in which everyone participated amidst much fun, laughter, enthusiasm and cheering!

The day ended with a short sketch performed by the SSE children from Rochester, and a song by the SSE children of Farnborough and Southampton.

All the children then received certificates of attendance for SSE classes, and small tokens of appreciation for their whole-hearted participation in the Family Values Day 2014.

All-in-all, the day was a great success, and everyone is eagerly awaiting the next event! A big thank you to everyone who helped make this day a big success and created wonderful learning and memorable experiences for everyone across Region 6.

Miss Nuleen Panday Region 6 SSE Coordinator

Retreat Experience

The over-arching emotion I feel about this year’s National Sai Retreat in Llandudno is gratitude. It must be a mammoth undertaking to put together an event on this scale with so much attention to detail and loving care for the experience of every participant. So much hard work, so willingly performed. So many people dedicating so much time and resources to making it an outstanding occasion. So much love in action. And I’m so grateful to Swami for inviting us!

I am particularly grateful to all the SSE team who put together such a fun and uplifting programme for the children. My daughter still remembers all the activities from last year when she was only four, and once again she didn\'t want to go home (neither did I!) I\'m so grateful to the team for giving us parents the chance to worship and participate in the adult programme peacefully and without worries while our children were being cared for and nurtured so lovingly. I even had time for a little rest after lunch while someone else took my child on tractor rides and trips to the beach!

For me, as a parent of young children, this is pretty much the only opportunity I have in the year to participate in bhajans and satsang without interruptions and disturbances from little people, and I value it so much, to have a few hours to focus entirely on God. I soak it up like a sponge, and it feels wonderful! I used to take these opportunities for granted, but now they are so incredibly rare and precious to me. I really feel like it is a wonderful gift from the SSE team, and I\'m very aware that it is their own selfless sacrifice of adult time to worship in this way that grants me exactly that experience – after all most of them are parents themselves. They may well be aware of what they are giving to the children with their sessions, but I wonder if they fully appreciate how much they are also giving to other parents.

My daughter and I came home on a high, both filled with a feeling of love and joy, renewed energy and a determination to practice what we learnt. The next weekend her SSE teacher at home remarked how well she was behaving and participating in class. Last Friday she came home from school with a “Star of the Day” certificate from her new form teacher. The retreat really is the best possible way to start the new school year. I’m counting the days until my two-year-old is big enough to take part too!

Jo Pratt,
Region 6

Data Protection Act 1998
Please note that "Love and Light" is also published on the National Website and is freely available to countries outside the EEA.

"Love and Light"
© Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK) 2013

All rights reserved
"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.