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Region 6 - Laksharchana in Southampton

22nd June 2014

A Laksharchana led by Mr Vadgama took place at the Vedic Society Hindu Temple in Southampton on 22nd June. It was attended by over 150 devotees from all over region 6, as well as from Bournemouth, London, Birmingham, and even Leicester! What an enjoyable and spiritually uplifting day we had, in the company of our three speakers, Mr. Vadgama, Dr Patel, and Dr Upadhyay.

Namasmaranam means repeatedly chanting the name of the Lord; it is a recognised method of cultivating Bhakti, highly commended by Swami.

The name of the Lord never fails. Stressing the point and extolling Namasmaranam, Swami said:

“The Name is what will guard you and guide you throughout life. It is such a small thing! But to cross the ocean, an immense steamship is not needed. Even a small raft will do. The name of God is the smallest of the small…Like a small Lantern, the Name must go wherever you go, and then you can travel easily through the forest of life.”

The Lord is Apadhbandava: it means, “One who rushes to the rescue of a person in distress.” Drawing attention to the infinite compassion of the Lord, Swami says:
“Think of Him, call out for Him, He melts!”

After several months of planning and preparing, it was good to see such a great demonstration of working with love in unity, a great opportunity for all to serve Swami and be willing to be instruments in His hands. The event was beautifully orchestrated by Swami, from the many helpers decorating and preparing the hall, to those preparing food, those welcoming the guests, and to all those who took part in organising the event and ensured the day went smoothly.

The timing had to be precise too, as there were the regular prayers at the Temple before the Laksharchana. The prayers were followed by a “Peace Walk” taking place on that day, which took in the Vedic Temple as part of their route to visit local holy sites which covered 7 Faiths in the City. An introduction to Hinduism and Buddhism was presented for all to enjoy and whet the appetites to learn more. As soon as the Peace walkers left the hall, we all jumped into action and the place was ready to receive our guests in no time at all…Sai Ram!

The Laksharchana was formally started by Mr Vadgama, who has been asked by Swami to carry out this ritual throughout the world. Prayers and bhajans followed to raise the already potent vibrations in the Temple. We felt transported to a higher plane by the vibrations of the chanting. Everyone looked happy and commented how much they enjoyed this beautiful setting.

Inspiring and moving talks were given by Mr Vadgama, Dr Patel and Dr Upadhyay, highlighting Swami\'s Love, Grace and Omnipresence, and emphasizing the importance of the name in their talks.

Mr Vadgama told us that we could ask Swami to help us with any problems we may have, and that it was quite alright to ask. We were reminded that anything that we recite from our heart becomes a mantra, and that the name of God is the mantra that will protect us. Sathya Sai Avatar comes only once, and we are so fortunate to have seen him. Also God often comes in disguise, and we should serve others as we serve God.

All the participants were delighted to receive Prashadam from Mr Vadgama of a beautiful photo of Swami, a booklet and blessed vibhutthi.
At the end of the day, after a very tasty meal prepared at the temple, everyone left with Love and Joy in their heart. We certainly had food for body, mind and soul

Some feedback from helpers and devotees attending this event:

“My very first experience of Laksharchana was amazing. From the very first word of the planning to the last bit of tidying up, I enjoyed it.
The planning was fun, but hard. It was great to be part of it and be responsible enough to take on jobs. As being a receptionist, I had to make a sheet to see how many people were going to attend. I had to find a picture and a few decorations to make the table look pretty.

The actual day was hectic. I woke up very early and went to the Temple to help set up. We had to lay out sheets on the floor, help the aunty decorate the front of the Temple, where we had Swami’s picture and chair. We also had to blow up balloons, to tie onto the entrance and put up posters everywhere.

The Laksharchana was great. I helped out in between the Malas, when the Bhajans were sung. The Bhajans were great. Many sang lovely Bhajans and were amazing.
At the end of the Laksharchana I helped serve the food in the back hall. During this time, an amazing miracle was about to unfold. I had just started to eat when I got pulled to the Temple by an aunty. When I went into the Temple, I saw many people crowding around a picture of Swami. As I squeezed through the crowd, I could see that vibuthi had been miraculously materialised on the photo. One aunty even said that she saw the vibuthi on the picture growing!!!

I asked an aunty about her thoughts of the day, “I have had an amazing day. I have never felt so relaxed. I really enjoyed it.”

An uncle said, “An amazing experience. The best part was the materialisation.”
At the end of the day, I helped with the tidying up of the hall.
Overall, I had an amazing day.”
Nisha Patel, 14 y.

More comments about the day:

“Taking part was an amazing, purifying and exhilarating experience. It was hard to believe that we actually chanted “Om Sri Sathya Sai Krishnaayaa Namaha" 100,000 times, as the time just flew by in a whirl of Love and devotion. Each person participating reverently placed their offerings, "from the heart", of saffron rice onto a picture of Swami. The ritual was interspersed by devotional songs and bhajans keeping the vibration high and potent. Swami’s presence felt tangible to me and was certainly affirmed after the event by the appearance of vibuthi across Swami\'s large picture at the altar. What loving joy and happiness He gives us for all our efforts!”

We received many messages from devotees uplifted and in bliss for having had the blessed opportunity of being part of this wonderful event. The feedback from all those present on the day was very positive, about the puja, and about the discipline of all devotees, especially the children. Our Beloved Swami\'s unseen hands were definitely with us throughout the planning and the day as we were only the instruments. Thank you to all of you dear souls who travelled to Southampton to be with us on the day and shared the joy of chanting together!

Om Sri Sathya Sai Krishnaya Namaha
Southampton and Portsmouth Groups