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Love and Light

Region 5 - Mahasamadhi Day

Theme of the Day was Love and Selfless Service

Today’s event, organised by the Region 5 Planning Committee, and hosted by the Greater Manchester Sai Centre, was held in the school hall of Sanbach High School, Sandbach Cheshire.

It was a day to celebrate the life of a unique being, Sai, who lived his life, practising Love and Selfless Service to all mankind, irrespective of the different faiths that existed in the world.

Devotees arrived in coaches and cars, around 180in number, from all corners of the region and a warm welcome and refreshments awaited them on arrival. The spacious hall accommodated them all.

In the hands of Ketan and his family from Bolton, the stage, the focal point of the hall, was transformed beyond recognition, with colourful drapes and twinkling lights. The captivating photo of Swami and the inviting seat to watch the day long programme was respectfully placed. The emblem of unity of Faith was there to remind us that the love and self less service is universal in all humanity.

Under the loving gaze of Swami, the opening prayers of the SSE children of all ages from
Warrington, Manchester and Bradford rolled out the programme for the day. Their invocation prayers to Ganesha, Guru and Goddess of learning were followed by the prayers of all faiths. The devotional bhajans were beautifully sung by the children, their performance also set the standard for the day’s programme.

Bhajans were sung with love from the devotees of various centres to welcome the Lord.

Mrs Vasanthi Vaja, Chairperson of the Greater Manchester Centre, in her welcome address reminded the devotees that Swami’s life was the highest example of love and selfless service and in our journey of life, we must emulate his teaching in our lives.

Prashanti the young compere for the day invited Dr .Sathya Vishwanath, a consultant Psychiatrist, the first speaker. He recalled lovingly, how fortunate, he was to have studied in Swami’s school from the age of five and the joy of receiving Swami’s loving care everyday . Swami’s attention to detail, his concern for the welfare of his children was paramount and Dr .Vishwanath said he grew up secure in the knowledge that he was blessed.

The Theme of love and service continued in to the poetry of Sanjay Vaja. Sanjay has been writing poetry since 1990, and has contributed in many regional programmes. ‘See Me In All’, Sanjay recited his poem in his inimitable style with slides of Swami in humorous and serious situations but always with the expression of Love for all. His message is, always be happy. He is our guide, friend, guru and He is always waiting to take you by your hand and most of all ‘Always be Happy.’

Lunch break was next, and everyone enjoyed a sumptuous lunch of varied dishes and lovingly served by the ladies and gentlemen. The team behind the cooking was headed by Taraben, and her husband, Champakbhai. Long before the devotees arrived,
they were in the kitchen, preparing the dishes with a small number of helpers. Taraben dedicates her work with love and selfless service.

The classical music presentation by Halifax SSE children studying Indian classical with their teacher, Gayatri Nadella, delighted everyone; their singing devotional songs glorifying the Lord Ram was well appreciated.

Dr Vijayanand Nadella, the Region 5 Chairperson, introduced the next guest, Reverend David Page. He has a doctorate in chemistry and was a research scientist with Unilever before he was ordained as priest. He is now the Vicar of St.Peters Church, Elworth, Sandbach and rural Dean of Congleton. He explained that the Christian Faith was not different in its teaching on Love and Selfless Service. He quoted from the Corinthians on love which is read at the Wedding Service in Church. Selfless Serving Love is the epicentre of Christian Faith. Love, he said, was ETERNAL it was, it is and it will be for all times.

A musical offering to the Lord by Rakesh Joshi, an exponent of classical music and he holds concerts and teaches classical music. He was accompanied by Girish Mistry on the Tabla. Rakesh rendered beautiful bhajans, glorifying the Lord and His love for his beings. He also played Santoor (a string instrument) with great elan.

The next guest Speaker, Ishver Patel, needs no introduction, as he was in the Sai fold as a young man. He found his God, Sai, and his unwavering faith and love for Swami and to practice his teachings in daily life has been the goal. He held responsible positions at all levels in the organisation, as Centre, Regional, National Chairman and Central Coordinator. He spoke to us about Swami’s eternal love that never dies and lives on. The amusing tale about the English priest and the Indian at the door of the paradise drove a simple message that one’s thought should always be fixed on God and nothing else.

Hannah Mistry, Region 5 Spiritual Coordinator, summed up the day’s proceedings and asked the devotees, to take away with them the memorable experience of the day and to thank Swami for being the beacon of Love and Selfless Service for all mankind
Concluding bhajans was followed by Arati and closing prayers. The gathering observed a minute’s silence in memory of the departed souls in the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

Lalitha Unnithan,
Sandbach, Region 5 SSSSO UK