Edition

Events

Akhanda Bhajans

New Years Day

Sankranthi

Maha Sivarathri

Ugadi

Sri Rama Navami

Guru Purnima

Krishna Janmashtami

Ganesh Chaturthi

Onam

Dasara

Deepavali

Akhanda Bhajans

Ladies Day

Bhagawans Birthday

Christmas

Bhagawans Mahasamadhi

Easwaramma Day

An Evening with Vijaysai

New Years Eve Bhajans‏

National Orientation and Welcome Day 2012

Mill Hill Sai Centre New Years Bhajans

New Years Day Bhajans

Leicester New Years Bhajans

Nottingham New Years Bhajans

Merton Sai Centre New Years Bhajans

Mitcham Sai Centre New Years Bhajans

Lewisham Sai Centre New Years Bhajans

Wimbledon Sai Centrre New Years Day Bhajans

Region 2 - MahaShivarathri Celebrations

Region 6 - MahaShivarathri Bhajans

Region 1 - MahaShivarathri Bhajans

Region 5 - Regional Orientation and Welcome Day 2012

Region 4 - Leicester MahaShivarathri Bhajans

Region 4 - Birmingham MahaShivarathri Bhajans

Region 7 - MahaShivarathri Bhajans

Region 4 - Regional Orientation & Welcome Day 2012

Region 3 - MahaShivarathri Celebrations

Region - Central london Sai Centre MahaShivarathri Bhajans

Region 1 - Ekadasa Rudra Homam

Region 2 - Regional Orientation & Welcome Day 2012

Youth Study Circle - Mind, Body, Atma

Region 4 - YAP: Healthy Living the Sai Way

Region 1 - 24 Hour Sathya Sai Aradhana

'Sai Jyothi' - National Pilgrimage 2012

Region 2 - Mill Hill Sai Centre: Sai Aaraadhana

Region 2 - Harrow West Sai Remembrance Day

Region 6 and 7 - Sri Sanjay Sahni Talk

Region 3 - Hatfield Centre Easwaramma Day/Buddha Poornima

Rudra Ekaadhashini Homum 2012

“Sai Jyothi” - National Pilgrimage 2012 – Sadhana Meeting 03

Hatfield Sai Centre - SSE Class & Talk by Dr. Vickneswaren

Region 1 - Guru Purnima Celebrations

Region 6 - Free Walk-in Health Awareness Day

Region 1 - Sports & Family Values Day

Region 1 - Blood Donation Liquid Love

Service WIng - Newham Free Health Checks

Region 6 - Farnborough Sai Centre - Laksharchana Programme

Region 5 - Multifaith Celebration

Sai Smaran Bhajans

Hatfield Sai Centre - Unity of Faiths Musical Programme

Akhanda Bhajans

Akhanda Bhajans

Akhanda Bhajans

Akhanda Bhajans

Akhanda Bhajans

Akhanda Bhajans

Region 3 - Birthday Celebrations

Multifaith Chanting Day for Peace

Multifaith - Singing for Peace!

Region 2 - An Evening With Dr Samuel and Sharon Sandweiss

Akhanda Bhajans

Akhanda Bhajans

Akhanda Bhajans

Akhanda Bhajans

Region 1 - Ladies Day 2012

Region 1 - Birthday Celebrations

Region 6 - Birthday Celebrations

Region 4 - Satsangs with Samuel & Sharon Sandweiss

Region 3 - Satsangs with Samuel & Sharon Sandweiss

Region 7 - Satsangs with Samuel & Sharon Sandweiss

Region 1 - Satsangs with Samuel & Sharon Sandweiss

Region 6 - Satsangs with Samuel & Sharon Sandweiss

National SSE Workshop for Teachers & Parents

Region 2 - Satsangs with Samuel & Sharon Sandweiss

National Youth Seminar

Region 1 - Christmas Celebrations

Region 2 - New Years Eve Bhajans

Region 3 - Mill Hill New Years Eve Bhajans

Region 1 - Merton Sai Centre New Year Celebrations

Region 1 - Merton Sai Centre New Years Eve Bhajans

National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2013

National Sai Remembrance Day

Region 2 - Maha Shivaratri Celebrations

Region 1 - Maha Shivarathri Celebration

Region 3 - Maha Shivarathri at Central London Sai Centre

Region 3 - Maha Shivarathri at Foster Hill Sai Centre

Region 3 - Maha Shivarathri at Ilford Sai Centre

Region 3 - Maha Shivarathri at Mill Hill Sai Centre

Region 3 - Regional Sai Orientation

Region 3 - Maha Shivarathri at Hatfield Sai Centre

Region 4 - Regional Sai Orientation

Region 3 & 4 - SSE Teacher Training Day

Region 1 - Eswaramma Day Celebrations

Education Wing - SSE Advanced Training: Bhagavad Gita

Region 1 - Sports & Family Values Day 2013

Region 1 - Guru Purnima Celebrations

Region 4 - Laksharchana

Region 3 - Lasksharchana

A Moment With Sri R.J.Rathnakar: Leicester

A Moment With Sri R.J.Rathnakar: London

Region 1 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 2 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 1 - Birthday Celebrations

Region 3 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 4 - A Moment With Janet Bock-Bicker

Region 2 - New Year Eve Bhajans

Sai Smaran Bhajans

Region 3 - Sai Spiritual Education Basic Training

Region 6 - Sai Spiritual Education Basic Training

Region 1 - Easwaramma Day Celebration

Westminister Interfaith

Region 1 - Guru Poornima Celebrations 2014

Sathsangs with Professor Nanjundaiah in the UK

Education Wing - Workshop

Region 2 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 1 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 5 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 5 - Birthday Celebrations

New Years Day

Sankranthi

Maha Sivarathri

Ugadi

Sri Rama Navami

Easwaramma Day

Guru Purnima

Onam

Krishna Janmashtami

Ganesh Chathurthi

Avatar Declaration Day

Dasara

Deepavali

Akhanda Bhajans

Ladies Day

Bhagwans Birthday

Christmas

Region 2 - Maha Shivarathri Celebrations

Region 5 - Regional Orientation Day

Region 4 - Maha Shivarathri Celebrations

Region 7 - Maha Shivarathri Celebrations

Region 2 - Sathsang

Region 1 - Sathya Sai Orientation Conference

Region 2 - Health Awareness Day

Sai Prema Prayer Meeting - SERV Nepal

Region 5 & 8 - Summer Retreat

Sai Smaran Bhajans

Sathya Sai Pre-World Conference

Region 2 - Family Values Day

Region 6 - Health Awareness Day

Region 2 - Harrow West Guru Poornima Celebrations

Prayers4Peace

Sai Smaran Bhajans

Avatar Declaration Day 2015

Region 2 - Akhanda Bhajans

National Birthday Celebrations 2015

Region 3 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 2 - Birthday Celebrations

Region 2 - New Year Bhajans

Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2016

Region 2 - Mahashivarathri Celebrations

Pre World Youth Festival 2016: 'Legacy Of Love'

2nd Pilgrimage Sadhana Meeting

Sathya Sai National Human Values Day

National Easwaramma Day

3rd Pilgrimage Sadhana Meeting 3

Sai Smaran

4th Pilgrimage Sadhana Meeting 4

Study Circle Facilitators

Global Service Day

UK Pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam

World Youth Festival

National Retreat

Prayers for Universal Peace

National Education Conference

Avatar Declaration Day / Serve the Planet / Gratitude Day

National Christmas Celebrations

SoulJourns with Ted Henry in UK

Region 3 - Interfaith Programme

Region 2 - Laksharchana

Region 2 - Gayatri Mantra Workshop

Region 1 - Sports & Family Values Day

Region 6 - Family Values Day

Region 2 - Family Values Day

Region 5 - Family Values Day

Region 2 - Bhajan Workshop

National SSE Teachers Symposium

Sathya Sai - Love Supreme - 91st Birthday

Region 6 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 7 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 5 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 5 - Mahila and Birthday Celebrations

Region 2 - Talk by Bro. Tribhuvan Sachdeva

Region 2 - Akhanda Bhajans

Region 1 - Akhanda Bhajans

Sai Smaran Bhajans

Region 2 - Birthday Celebrations

Region 2 - New Year Bhajans

Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2017

Region 2 - Mahashivarathri Celebrations

Region 6 - Mahashivarathri Celebrations

Region 7 - Mahashivarathri Celebrations

Region 1 - Mahashivarathri Celebrations

Region 5 Manchester - Mahashivarathri Celebrations

Region 5 Lidget Green - Mahashivarathri Celebrations

Celebrating a Life of Service - Kishin Khubchandani (1938-2016)

Sathya Sai National Human Values Day 2017

Sathsangs in UK with Dr Sunam Gyamtso Tenzin

National Easwaramma Day 2017

National Pilgrimage 2017

Region 5 - Guru Poornima Celebrations

Region 5 & 8 - Summer Retreat

Prayers 4 Peace - Rudra Homam 2017

Region 2 - Evolution of the Mind Workshop

Sai Smaran

National Teachers Symosium

Sai Dhyaan - National Meditation Workshop

National Gratitude Day - Sai Vandana

News

Cancelled: National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2013

Thank you from the NHS...

Divine Light : National Sai Retreat 17th – 19th August 2012

Service Wing - Russia Medical Camp: August 2012

"Sai Jyothi" - National Pilgrimage 2012 - Sadhana Meeting 03Jun12

National Easwaramma Day - Celebrating the Glory of Motherhood

National Sai Remembrance Day - Celebrating the "Religion of Universal Love"

National Pilgrimage 2012

Announcement for National Sai Remembrance Day Venue

National Orientation and Welcome Day 2012 - Event Programme

New Central Council of United Kingdom 2012‏

Important: Fraudulent Website

National Birthday Celebrations 2011 - Event Programme

Prasanthi Council Letter - May 2011

SSS Central Trust Press Release - August 2011

SSS World Foundation Announcement - June 2011

Announcment - Pilgrimages to Prasanthi Nilayam

Resolutions of the Sai Young Adult World Conference - July 2011

Announcement from Prof. Anatharaman, Media Coordinator for the SSS Central Trust

Sathya Sai Leadership Training Programme (SSLTP) 2011 - 2012

Sathya Sai Education (UK) Website Launch

Articles

Education Wing - Master Of Light

Education Wing - National SSE Workshop with with Dr Samuel Sandweiss and Mrs Sharon Sandweiss

Education Wing - Sai Spiritual Education October 2011

Happy Sankranti: Inwards and Godwards

Has God Really Gone?

In the Footprints of the Lord - Ukraine 2011

Maha Samadhi Day

Region 2 - Orientation & Office Bearers Welcome Day 2012

Region 3 - Manor Park Sai Centre: Christmas Day Seva

Region 3 - Multi-Faith Akhanda Bhajan in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Region 3 - SSE School Sports day

Region 3 - Waltham Forest Friendship Pilgrimage

Region 5 - Summer Retreat

Region 5 - Youth Sathsang – 3rd April 2011

Region 6 - Animal Devotees of the Lord
Sai Baba and the Animal Kingdom

Region 6 - Christmas Sathsang

Region 6 - Health Awareness Clinic: Farnborough

Region 6 - Multi-faith Event

Region 6 - Serving another Mother this Mothers Day

Region 7 - Swami's Birthday/Ladies Day Celebrations in Cheltenham

Surrender

Cancelled: National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2013

National Wing News

Cancelled: National Sathya Sai Orientation Conference 2013

Dear Office Bearers and Active Workers,

Om Sai Ram.

Our two day Conference has been cancelled due to the adverse weather and the dangerous driving conditions.

Please notify other colleagues that you may be aware of that were planning to attend.

We regret the situation but leave this matter with the Divine Will.

We will notify you of a future date for the conference in due course.

With Loving Regards,

Dr Kiran Patel

Thank you from the NHS...

National Wing News

Please see linked below thank you from the NHS for giving blood on Sunday 26th August 2012 at the West End Donor Centre.

Divine Light : National Sai Retreat 17th – 19th August 2012

National Wing News

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Loving Sai Ram to everyone.

Wishing you a very Holy Guru Poornima Day!

With the Divine Blessings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, it gives me immense pleasure to announce details of our National Sai Retreat 2012. This much anticipated event promises to be a spiritually uplifting and thrilling experience, given the natural beauty of its location and the high calibre of the Guest Speakers attending.

Llandudno, the picturesque coastal town in North Wales facing the Irish Sea, will be the location for our Retreat from the evening of Friday 17th to Sunday 19th August 2012. Christened as ‘Divine Light’, the Retreat will be in line with the theme of the year: 'Year of Illumination'.

We are delighted and blessed to have with us Prof Anilkumar Kamaraju from Prasanthi Nilayam as our Chief Guest. Professor Anil Kumar requires no introduction for the majority of our devotees in the UK, for he is best known as Swami’s personal translator. He will indeed spread the Divine Light by sharing his innumerable personal experiences with our Divine Master.

Since the physical departure of Bhagawan, it has been our collective experience as devotees and office bearers in the UK that such events have enabled us to gather in unity and love as one large Sai family, and strengthen our faith and resolve in the Divine Message and Mission of Love of our dearest Bhagawan. Listening to inspirational speakers (Sravanam), and recollecting His Glory (Mananam) at these events helps maintain our focus upon Him (Nidhidhyaasanam), and thereby feel spiritually rejuvenated and recharged. This is the primary objective of this Retreat.

The programme will consist of talks, interactive workshops, music, concerts, prayers, meditation and walks on the beach.

Accommodation (shared) will be provided at the Regency Royal Hotel located at the seafront, with Retreat proceedings taking place at the prestigious Cymru Conference Centre, located close by which also faces the sea.

http://www.regencyroyalhotel.co.uk
http://www.venuecymru.co.uk

The venue will accommodate 200 Residential Delegates with additional 200 Day Delegates (non-residential). Cost for Residential Delegates is £ 80 (to cover two nights accommodation, venue and meals). Cost for Day Delegates is £ 15 Per Day (to cover costs for venue and meals). Children (under 12) will be on half board. More details of payment will be available on registration.

Llandudno has good motorway links and has direct train links from major cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and others.

Registration will commence online from Thursday the 5th of July. Please visit the web link below and register at the earliest.

http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/nationalretreat2012/

We look forward to seeing you during the weekend of the National Retreat.

Lovingly

Dr Kiran Patel
National Chairperson

Service Wing - Russia Medical Camp: August 2012

National Wing News

We are happy to inform you that the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation of Russia are organising an international medical camp in Russia, in UFA, state of Bashkiria, in August 2011. Medical volunteers from the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK have been invited to join the Russian devotees in this international medical camp.

This camp is planned to take place from 4 to 11 August 2012. The host has requested the following specialities from UK:

• General Medicine
• Paediatric
• Optometry
• Ophthalmology
• Psychiatry
• Dental
• ENT
• Cardiology
• Physiotherapist
• Lady doctors in any speciality

Please note that the host will arrange for general volunteers locally from within Russia mainly due to language barriers.
If you are interested in participating in this medical camp, please send the following documents by 9 June 2012 to Urvi Widhani at Sai Hirdaya, 57 Heming Road, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 9AB:

1. A copy of your CV and copy of your M.B.B.S. Degree certificate;
2. A copy of your GMC / GDC / relevant medical council certificate;
3. 1 passport photograph (original);
4. A copy of the main page of your passport containing your personal details and photograph

Once you are selected for the medical camp, you will be invited for a meeting when you will be provided further details of the camp.

Devotees can also help by supporting the camps through Ceiling on Desires Programme and sending their contributions to the UK Trust.
Please contact Dr Upadhyay or Urvi for further details in this regard, by email to urvideepak@hotmail.co.uk or phone on 07957210237.
Sai Ram

"Sai Jyothi" - National Pilgrimage 2012 - Sadhana Meeting 03Jun12

National Wing News

15th May 2012

Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Om Sri Sai Ram!

It gives me great pleasure in announcing the first of the Sadhana Meetings planned in preparation for our National Pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of greatest peace and tranquillity.

Prasanthi Nilayam is not only the birth place of our Divine Loving Master Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba but an epicentre from where He unfolded His Divine Mission. It is filled with fragrance of His Grace, his Grandeur, His Divine Will, His Divine Acts and His Glory. It is now also the most holy place where the divine physical form rests permanently to provide solace and blessings to the millions of devotees of the present and future generations.

Let us join this pilgrimage to rejoice together for having had the vision of the Sarvadaivathwa Swaroopam (the form that is all forms of the Gods) now, in this life itself, and express our love, devotion and gratitude to our Divine Master.

The pilgrimage is planned 7th October – 27th October to comprise of 2 phases:

a) 7-12 Oct (Spiritual activities and Cultural Programmes).
b) 13-27 Oct (Service activities – Grama Seva and other service activities)

Registration is flexible - devotees can register for either phase (a) or (b) or both – please visit the registration website if you haven’t already done so:
http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/nationalpilgrimage2012/

We recommend everyone registered, those intending to register or want to hear more, attend the first of the many sadhana meetings planned:

Date / Time: Sunday 03 June 2012 (10.30 – 15.30)

Venue: Oxhey Wood Primary School, Oxhey Drive, South Oxhey, Watford WD19 7SL

The purpose of the Sadhana Meeting is to outline preparations for the pilgrimage; Sadhana plans, talks, opportunity to ask questions etc.

I look forward to seeing you.

Lovingly,
Dr Kiran Patel
National Chair, UKCC

National Easwaramma Day - Celebrating the Glory of Motherhood

National Wing News

Theme: The Five Mothers
5th May 2012

Venue: Onslow St Audrey's School Old Rectory Drive Hatfield Hertfordshire AL10 8AB.

Timing – 10:30 to 4:30 pm

Programme

09:30 – Registration opens and Refreshments
10:15 – Please be seated in main hall
10:30 – Honouring the Five MothersSSE Children’s Procession
10:45 – Gratitude Pledge and PrayersSSE Children and SSE Alumni
11:00 – Welcome AddressMrs Vidyulatha Narayan
National SSE Coordinator
11:10 – Honour Thy Mother
Keynote Address
Sri Sanjay Sahni
Director, Sri Sathya Sai
Institute of Higher Learning
Brindavan Campus, Bangalore
12:00 – Break
12:15 – Blossoming of Inner ExcellenceSSE Children's
Presentations
13:30 – Lunch
14:15 – Loving Mother SaiVideo Presentation and
bhajans by SSE Alumni
14:30 – Sai Buds and BlossomsChildren’s Interactive
Activities
14:30 – Lessons Learnt at the Divine
Lotus Feet
Talk and Q & A session
with Sri Sanjay Sahni for
Youth and Adults
15:30 – Valedictory AddressDr Kiran Patel
National Chair
15:40 – Vote of ThanksMrs Dharani Pillay
Regional SSE Coordinator
15:50 – Divine MelodyMs Renu Gidoomal,
Talented and Renowned
Musician and Vocalist
16:30 – Arathi

Please not that all children registered will be able to participate in the children’s procession. Please arrive at the venue between 9:30 and 9:45 am in order to join the procession.

National Sai Remembrance Day - Celebrating the "Religion of Universal Love"

National Wing News

28th April 2012, 11am to 4.30pm
Maher Centre, 15 Ravensbridge Drive, Leicester LE4 0BZ

Programme

Please be seated in the hall by 10.45 am

11.00 amWelcome Processionby children of Sai Spiritual Education
11.10 am‘Unity of Faiths’Prayers by representatives from various
Religions and Faiths
12.00 noon‘Lamps of Love’Musical by children of SSE Choir
12.10 pmWelcome AddressDr Kiran Patel, Chairperson,
Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK
12.20 pm‘Love is My Form’
Keynote Address
Dr Sanjay Sahni,
Director, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning,
Brindavan Campus, Bangalore
13.00 pmLunch
13.30 pm‘Love is My Message’Video Presentation on Bhagawan Baba
13.50 pm‘Prema Vahini’
Eternal Stream of
Divine Love
Musical Tribute by
Ustad Dharambir Singhji MBE
15.00 pm‘Living in God is Realization’Dr Sanjay Sahni
Special Address on Experiences in the Divine Presence
15.50 pmValedictory AddressMrs Manjula Sood MBE,
Deputy Lord Mayor, Leicester City Council
& Chairperson, Leicester Interfaith Council
16.00 pmClosing SessionVote of Thanks, Bhajans, Arati
16.30 pmClose

National Pilgrimage 2012

National Wing News

Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Om Sri Sai Ram!

It gives me great pleasure in announcing the National Pilgrimage 2012 to Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of great peace and tranquility.

The Avatar of the Age, our Divine Loving Master Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, chose this hallowed place not only as his birthplace, but also as the spiritual epicentre for unfolding His Divine Mission. It is now also the most holy place where the divine physical form rests permanently to provide solace and blessings to the millions of devotees of the present and future generations.

When one looks around Prasanthi Nilayam, at the grandeur of His hospitals, His institutions, areas of worship such as the Kulwant Hall and the Mandir, one invariably experiences and feels the vastness of His Sankalpa, His Divine Will. When walking around, we are filled with the thrilling memories of His attributes, His Leelas (Divine acts) and His Mahimas (Glories). Our spiritual hearts expand instantly and experience the blissful love of God; our spiritual batteries are recharged and we feel refreshed by the ineffable peace that wells within us and envelops us. Indeed Prasanthi Nilayam has become our spiritual birthplace! His stirring words that reveal His Reality serve as constant reminders of our good fortune-

"This is a human form in which every divine entity, every divine principle, that is to say, all the names and forms ascribed by man to God, are manifest. Do not allow doubt to distract you; if you only install, in the altar of your heart, steady faith in My Divinity, you can win a vision of My Reality. Instead, if you swing like a pendulum of a clock, one moment devotion, another moment disbelief, you can never succeed in comprehending the truth and win that bliss. You are very fortunate that you have a chance to experience the bliss of the vision of the Sarvadaivathwa Swaroopam (the form that is all forms of the Gods) now, in this life itself."

~ 17 May 1968 (Sathya Sai Speaks VI, 210-213)

As devotees, let us rejoice together and congratulate each other that we were blessed with the most precious and rare privilege: That of being His contemporaries.

Let us resolve to offer our loving homage by treading the path shown by Him, and persisting in our Sadhana to redeem our lives. Let us all join in this Pilgrimage to express our love, devotion and gratitude to Him.

Dates: "Sai Jyothi" UK Pilgrimage to take place 7th - 27th October 2012.

Further details and registration process please click here - http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/nationalpilgrimage2012/
If you have any questions please email nationalpilgrimage@srisathyasai.org.uk

I look forward to joining us together.

Lovingly, In Sai Service

Dr Kiran Patel
National Chair
Central Council of United Kingdom
Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation

Announcement for National Sai Remembrance Day Venue

National Wing News

On behalf of the United Kingdom Central Council & Sathya Sai Charitable Trust (UK), we would like to invite you and your family to attend the National Sai Remembrance Day on the occasion of the 1st Anniversary of the Mahasamadhi of our Divine Master, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Date: Saturday 28th April 2012
Time: 11.00 – 16.30
Venue: Maher Centre
15 Ravensbridge Drive
Leicester
LE4 0BZ

Since seating may be limited, to avoid disappointment, please register on line as soon as possible at:
http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes

We look forward to welcoming you on the day.

Lovingly, In Sai Service

National Orientation and Welcome Day 2012 - Event Programme

National Wing News


10.00Prayers
10.20Welcome Address - Shitu Chudasama
10.40Divine Vision and Mission - Dr Kiran Patel
11.10‘Divine Love’ : Video on Life of Bhagawan Baba
11.25Nation on it’s Wings
11.50Echoes from the Regions (20 min video, 2 short talks 7min each)
12.30Sai’s ‘Trust’
12.45Lunch
13.45‘Heart to Heart’- Interactive Workshop
15.00Afternoon Break
15.20‘Sai Inspires’- Panel Discussion
16.00‘Thoughts from the Day’ - Jamie Raju
16.10‘Across the Oceans’- Interaction with Dr. Narendra Reddy
16.40Bhajans (Group Devotional Singing)
16.55Arati (Vesper Service)
17.00Depart

New Central Council of United Kingdom 2012‏

National Wing News

Dear Sai Brothers & Sisters,
Om Sri Sai Ram!

During this most auspicious weekend of Makar Sankranti, it gives me great pleasure to inform you and welcome in the new UK Central Council Members effective from 14th January 2012:

National Chair:Dr Kiran Patel
National Vice Chair:Mr Jamie Raju
National Secretary:Mrs Gayatri Bikoo
National Spiritual Coordinator:Dr Veeru Rao
National Service Coordinator:Mr Mukund Patel
National SSE Coordinator:Mrs Vidyulata Narayan
National Youth Coordinator:Mr Shyam Jamnadas
Region 1 Chair:Mr Yoges Yogendran
Region 2 Chair:Ms Bhadra Patel
Region 3 Chair:Mr S. Yoganathan
Region 4 Chair:Mr Ketan Gokhani
Region 5 Chair:Mr Kailash Venkat
Region 6 Chair:Mrs Nadia Eley
Region 7 Chair:Dr Kumi Pillay
Region 8 Chair:Dr B. Ram

Please join me in welcoming them and extending your blessings and support. I have every confidence that they will serve Swami and His Organisation in an exemplary and selfless manner.

We are very fortunate to have as our National Chair, Dr Kiran Patel who has been an ardent devotee of Bhagawan over many decades. Being a former Sai Student and Lecturer in Swami’s Institute, he has all the qualifications and blessings needed to build on the magnificent work being undertaken in the Sai Organisation. I hope you will give him the love, blessings and support that you afforded me during the past 2 years.

I would like to thank and congratulate Mel Griffin who has been appointed as Trustee onto the Sri Sathya Sai Charitable Trust of United Kingdom. Mel made many important and significant contributions on the UK Central Council during his term as National Vice Chair.

I would like to thank the out-going Regional Chairs, Nirmala Pisavadia and Dr Harish Thampy for their outstanding contributions in progressing the Sai Organisation in their respective Regions.

I would also like to thank the National Service Coordinator, Gayatri Bikoo and our National Youth coordinator, Jamie Raju for their outstanding contributions in 2011 and wish them well in their new roles and increased responsibilities as National Secretary and National Vice Chair.

Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all our out-going officers, at every level, the very best for the future. I pray that Swami will guide and bless them in all their endeavours.

I look forward to seeing you all at the National Orientation and Welcome day on Saturday 28th January 2012. The Conference is a must for all office-bearers, active works and devotees interested in serving within the Sai Organisation. Please ensure you register in advance at : http://www.srisathyasai.org.uk/national-programmes/NOWD2012/

Lovingly, In Sai Service

Shitu Chudasama
National Chairperson

Important: Fraudulent Website

National Wing News

Alert! The website http://srisaibabatrust.in/ purports to be a website of a Trust founded by Sathya Sai Baba. It blatantly asks for donations. It is a fraud. This site has nothing to do with the Central Trust in Prasanthi Niliyam.

Do not donate as requested on that website.

National Birthday Celebrations 2011 - Event Programme

National Wing News

Dear brothers and sisters,

On this most auspicious day marking the 86th anniversary of the Divine Advent of our beloved Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, let us unite our hearts and minds in offering our loving and prayerful gratitude to Him for His Love, Grace, and Guidance. Let us rejoice in our hearts, homes, and Sai Centres along with the millions celebrating this epoch making event around the world. On behalf of the UK Central Council, we wish you all a wonderful day filled with joy, love and peace.

We look forward to welcoming you at the National Birthday Celebrations in Leicester on Saturday, the 26th of November. We have now uploaded the Programme and some information on the speakers and musicians on the weblink (Click here). Please take a look, and if you so wish, you can print a copy for your reference. May we advise those few who may not have received the e-Guest Pass following registration, to please print a copy of this letter and bring it along with you on the day.

Wishing you once again a joyful day today, and a safe journey to the National Birthday Celebrations on the 26th.

Your's in Sai Service,
The National Team

Prasanthi Council Letter - May 2011

National Wing News

Prasanthi Council
Michael G. Goldstein, MD
Chairman

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Sai Ram!

Regarding the Sri Sathya Sai Organization our beloved Swami said:
“This is an Organization dedicated to the promotion of Universal Love. All the Organizational units are being activated by One Divine Force. All are activated by One Principle. Resolve to identify it and experience it; then, the purpose of the Organization is served.”

We were, we are, and we will always be a spiritual movement motivated, inspired, and empowered by the embodiment of Divinity, our Beloved Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Our Beloved Swami will always be accessible to each and every one of us by virtue of His Presence, His Omnipresence, in the spiritual hearts of all people forever. Now is the most important time, the greatest test, and, ultimately, the greatest opportunity of a human lifetime. Now, He, whom we have known in the world, awaits us in our spiritual hearts. He beckons to us to seek Him and find His selfless love.

Let us proceed!
Let us follow Him and find Him in our spiritual hearts by making use of the formulae for a spiritual life that He gave to us for all of life’s pursuits: Love all - Serve all, Help ever- hurt never, and application of the 5 D’s: Devotion, determination, dedication, discipline, and discrimination.

In my last conversation with our Beloved Swami, He graciously gave Blessings and Approval to all of the proposals resulting from your deliberations at the World Conference IX. I subsequently sent to all of you a letter describing what He had Blessed and Approved. I am very happy to inform you that the work has begun!

Let us proceed!

Buddha Poornima will be celebrated in Prasanthi Nilayam on May 17 primarily by countries from Zones 3, 4 and 5. The last count several weeks ago included 800 devotees in the pilgrimage.

The Young Adult World Conference, “Sai Ideal Leadership” will take place on July 13 and 14. Delegates will be selected among those young adults who have served in national and international organization roles.

Enrollment will be similar to the procedure followed for the selection of delegates to World Conference IX of the International Sri Sathya Sai Organization held last November. The International Young Adult Council will be sending out details for selection of delegates within one week after you receive this letter. The emphasis will be on the qualities and essence of a “Sai Ideal Leader”. While skills and competence are helpful, nobility of character and spiritual awareness are essential.

The drafting of uniform international Guidelines for all Sai Organizations has commenced with the appointment of a committee of senior leaders in the Sai Organization. Their deliberations are underway. The objective, as approved by our Beloved Swami, is a set of guidelines for all International Sai Organizations that will define relationships and responsibilities, programs and practices, for all International Sai Organizations.

The plans and programs for study circles that will focus on the cultural relevance of our organizational programs and practices throughout the world in the context of Swami’s Universal Spiritual Teachings have begun.

The plans and programs for public meeting that will bring Swami’s Universal Spiritual Message of selfless love and service to all people is under deliberation.

We will persevere and fulfill all of the programs and proposals that our Beloved Swami Blessed and Approved.

For your information, I have attached a wonderful, uplifting article written by the former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He has described so poignantly the scope and significance of the great humanitarian institutions established by our Beloved Swami for the welfare of the people. Let us emulate and support these monumental works of our Beloved Swami.

We will proceed in carrying out the programs that our Swami approved in His last instructions to us. We will succeed by acting properly, lovingly, and selflessly. Certainly this will please our Beloved Swami, who lives in our spiritual hearts.

Our Beloved Swami came to be with us. He inspired and enlightened us. He loved us as Divine Mother and Father. He always has and always will love us, guide us, and be present in our spiritual hearts. We must respond. Not emotion, nor mind, but rather our spiritual heart must be our guide, our mentor, our ruler, our very self. For only thus, can each of us experience the Divine Reality of His Pronouncement, “I am I.” This is the sacred legacy of His sojourn among us. Let us abide by it. Let us cherish it. Let us realize it.

Lovingly in the Service of Sai,
Michael Goldstein

SSS Central Trust Press Release - August 2011

National Wing News

New Release: Compendium -- Sri Sathya Sai Organisations Worldwide (1965-2010)

Prasanthi Nilayam, August 31, 2011: A compendium entitled “Sri Sathya Sai Organisations Worldwide (1965-2010) “ will be released on the holy occasion of the Ganesh Chathurthi on September 1, 2011. The compendium, consisting of a book and twelve DVDs, is a virtual encyclopedia of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Mission, focusing on the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation’s (SSSO) groundbreaking work in its various project areas around the globe. These project areas include educare, medicare, and sociocare.

The work received Bhagawan Baba’s Divine blessings on the March 1, 2011. The compendium not only serves to broaden one’s knowledge of the work undertaken by the SSSO, but also to deepen one’s understanding of Bhagawan’s Mission of Divine Love and Service to the Society. The compendium is a collection of work undertaken by the SSSO in the last 45 years, in India and 135 other countries through text, images, presentations, and audiovisuals. It includes many inspiring articles, poems, books, and Bhagawan’s Divine messages, as well as a full account of Bhagawan’s 85th birthday celebration. As such, this work is a symbol of the Divine legacy of Bhagawan.

This Compendium has been brought about by Sri Indulal Shah, Trustee of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and also Advisor to the Sathya Sai Seva Organisations (Overseas). Sri Indulal Shah has remained as a dedicated instrument of Bhagawan for nearly five decades.

Truly a collector’s item, this compendium will be a good source of reference because of its sweep and authenticity. It is noteworthy that this work has been authored by Sri Indulal Shah, a pious Gandhian, and who has had a ringside seat in the development of the Sai Institutions.

Copies can be procured from the Sri Sathya Sai Education in Human Values Trust, which may be contacted through email at ihs99999@gmail.com.

Prof A. Anantharaman
Media coordinator, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust
Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi,
Anantapur, AP - 515134
Telephone-08555-287369
Mobile No-9676685935

SSS World Foundation Announcement - June 2011

National Wing News

Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation
Michael G. Goldstein, MD
Chairman

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Sai Ram!

We know that our beloved Swami lives in our hearts. Regardless of the chaos in the world and the tumult that assails us from time to time, He is always there. He is always enlightening us, loving us, fulfilling whatever each of us might need to realize our Divine Selves.

At this moment, there is a new challenge. Newspapers have been making unwarranted allegations against the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust of India. In so doing they have assailed the Great Works, The Divine Works, accomplished by our Beloved, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust has been responsible for managing all of the expenses entailed in providing free healthcare, education, water, and food for multitudes of poor people for decades. The Trust has been responsible for managing the maintenance of the ashram for the accommodation of multitudes of spiritual pilgrims for decades. This is true and evident for all to see.

These Great Works have been recognized and lauded repeatedly over the years by administrations of political leaders, supreme court justices, heads of state governing all of India, including the current leaders of India. This is true and evident for all to see.

Donations of Sai devotees from India and from all over the world have sponsored these remarkable humanitarian efforts without any solicitation whatsoever. All who are involved in the management of these great works are devotees, spiritual seekers. They have managed the affairs of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust effectively and transparently. This also is true and evident for all to see.

Is it possible that the newspaper reporters have more knowledge and greater wisdom than the men who have led their country for so many years? No, it is not possible! What then is the basis for the outrageous allegations and misinterpretations being perpetrated so irresponsibly?

Let us all recognize with respect, gratitude, and Sai Love the men who have managed the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. They were selected by Swami, Himself. They have remained close by His Side for decades living austerely as His devotees and performing their duties faithfully and effectively. They are resolved to continue their management of the Sri Sathya Sai Institutions in India and Prasanthi Nilayam in the same exemplary manner in which they were run under the Divine Guidance of our Beloved Swami.

Swami’s Divine Guidance will always be accessible to everyone. We have merely to seek and we will find.

Let us all pray that Swami’s Love and Inner Guidance will enable all of us to rise above these mundane problems and not be distracted from our spiritual quest.

Lovingly in the Service of Sai,
Michael Goldstein

Announcment - Pilgrimages to Prasanthi Nilayam

National Wing News

Our worldly residence houses our physical beings, our minds and bodies, our human presence on earth and in our respective societies and communities. Our spiritual residence is our spiritual heart, the home of our Divine Indweller, source of love and inspiration, and one with our true self. While the Lord is omnipresent, he resided in Prasanthi Nilayam for His sojourn on earth, when He walked among us. Prasanthi Nilayam has been the residence of Divinity, complete and effulgent, splendid, beautiful, and loving, He resided in our midst. His residence in Prasanthi Nilayam confers upon the Ashram a blessed quality. That quality enhances our opportunity to realize our own spiritual heart....

Please see linked document below for full letter.

Resolutions of the Sai Young Adult World Conference - July 2011

National Wing News

The second World Conference of Sai Young Adults was held in Prasanthi Nilayam on 13 and 14 July 2011. The delegation included 440 officers and former officers in the Young Adult Movement from 75 countries.

Announcement from Prof. Anatharaman, Media Coordinator for the SSS Central Trust

National Wing News

The Abode of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Prasanthi Nilayam, August 30, 2011: Recently there have been several enquiries from devotees, particularly from overseas, desiring to know which location of Bhagawan in India is most appropriate for their pilgrimage.

Bhagawan’s Mahasamadhi is in Prasanthi Nilayam. The term ‘mahasamadhi’ here refers to the place of departure of an Avatar from His mortal coil. Such a place has profound significance in various faiths.

In some Muslim traditions, the holy tombs of saints are believed to be repositories of spiritual power where prayers would be particularly effective. Many scholars have noted that Buddhist communities were involved in relic and stupa (structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of the Buddha) worship after the death of the Buddha. In the Javanese belief system, cosmic forces are believed to be constantly present at the holy tombs. Even in the Christian religious tradition, some believe that the saint in Heaven is present in his tomb on earth. In Hinduism, the tomb or mahasamadhi of a realized saint is regarded by many as having an incorporeal presence. In fact, the Upanishads state: “na tasya prana utkraamanti”, meaning that the pranas (life forces) of the saints do not leave their body to take up another, since the individual self has merged with the Totality. Shirdi Sai Baba had reportedly said, “Believe Me, though I pass away, My bones in My tomb would be speaking, moving and communicating with those who would surrender themselves whole-heartedly to Me. Do not be anxious that I would be absent from you. You will hear My bones speaking and discussing your welfare." Thus, the remains of the holy persons is revered and given great importance by faiths all around the world.

Indeed, Bhagawan Baba's abode is the entire Universe. However, He took a physical form at Puttaparthi and spent 85 years of His earthly sojourn at Prasanthi Nilayam as His primary home. Other places in India and other countries will continue to be the centres for their particular activities as guided by Bhagawan, who is present wherever His work is done, wherever His glory is sung, and wherever His Name is uttered. However, Prasanthi Nilayam is the location of His Holy Shrine or Mahasamadhi and will continue to be the Centre of Bhagawan’s Mission.

This clarification is being issued to remove all doubts in the matter and to state the official position of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Sri Sathya Sai Seva organisations, and the Sri Sathya Sai International organisations.

Prof A. Anantharaman
Media coordinator, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust
Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi,
Anantapur, AP - 515134

Sathya Sai Leadership Training Programme (SSLTP) 2011 - 2012

National Wing News

Students - the architects of the future

“Students! You are the ones who will assume the leadership of the country in future. The future of the nation depends upon you. Your nature and character will decide the character of the nation. You should work for the prosperity of the nation, welfare of the world, and universal happiness. First of all, you must follow the command of the Lord. Therein lies your welfare, as well as the security of the nation and society.”
- Sathya Sai Baba, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1996.

Dearest Brother, Sisters & Respected Elders,

The need for Spiritual leadership in the world today is more pressing than ever.
Most likely in whatever walk of life you are in, you will have an opportunity to serve in a leadership role. Any group naturally gives rise to a leader who will be guide by shared goals which takes its roots from Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s vision and mission. This sacred opportunity and responsibility is something one should treat as part of their spiritual development.

Each of us has a role in the Divine Mission, and that role is being played out daily in our every thought, word and deed, in all our interactions with the world and within ourselves. How often do we stand back and really analyse ourselves in this hectic lifestyle of the 21st century society? It is said that “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

The Sathya Sai Leadership Training Programme (SSLTP) is a journey to dive deep and tune into the message and teachings of our Divine Master, by transforming ourselves this will in turn have an impact on our lives and the people around us. It is a unique opportunity to nurture the leadership qualities inherent within each of us through a structured programme helping to discover our true potential. Fundamentally, the programme prepares each of us for the most sacred of tasks – becoming an instrument of the Divine Mission. Its aim is to bring out the latent leadership qualities from within by emphasising the practical and spiritual aspects.

The programme is open to all adults and youth, though the minimum age for applicants on this course is 21 years of age. This is to ensure that potential candidates bring the necessary level of maturity to approach the course and its demands without hopefully having concerns with other educational studies.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, to receive info on how to apply to participate on the course. The deadline for applications will be 5th of November 2011.

Lovingly in Sai Service,
Jamie Raju
National Youth Coordinator

youthwing@srisathyasai.org.uk

Sathya Sai Education (UK) Website Launch

National Wing News

Dear Devotees,
Sai Ram.

I am delighted to inform you that the website of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education (UK) was launched on 23 April 2011. Centre members are most welcome to visit www.isseuk.org to know more about the Institute, its philosophy and its organisation.

We are currently in the process of developing a diploma course, and further details will be released in due course, together with the process involved in training. In the meanwhile, if there are any comments, suggestions, or queries, please contact us on contact@isseuk.org

Yours in Sai Service,
Keshavan Niranjan
Director, ISSE UK

Education Wing - Master Of Light

"I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added lustre. I have not come on behalf of any exclusive religion. I have not come on a mission of publicity for a sect or creed or cause, nor have I come to collect followers for a doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of Love, this virtue of Love, this duty of Love, this obligation of Love".
4th July 1968, Baba

Sathya Sai Baba – The Essence Of His Teachings

Through his speeches and writings, Sathya Sai Baba has offered a veritable ocean of knowledge and guidance on all aspects of spiritual, religious, and value-oriented living. He has often repeated that it is not necessary to drink the whole ocean to know its taste, that it is not necessary to read all scriptures to live a life of joy, peace, and love. It is enough to put into practice one aspect of spiritual teaching.

A few drops of the ocean of Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, an attempt to encapsulate its essence, follow. Sathya Sai Baba urges mankind to:

• Believe in God – For there is only ONE GOD for all mankind, though He may be called by many names.
• Follow sincerely their respective religions and live their daily lives in consonance with the teachings of good behaviour and morality.
• Respect all other religions – for no religion advocates the negative and lower qualities of man.
• Perform selfless service to the poor, the sick, and the needy without thought of reward or fame.
• Cultivate in their lives the values of truth, divine love, right conduct, peace, and nonviolence and promote these values among all.
• Be patriotic and respect the laws of the country in which they live.

Sai Baba, In his physical presence on Earth, provided many philanthropic services to carry out His own message and beliefs. He did everything from establishing free hospitals and schools to creating free drinking water supply projects and housing projects. At the age of 14, Sathya Sai Baba declared to his parents that he had come to this world with a mission to re-establish the principle of Righteousness, to motivate love for God and service to fellow man. Since then, he has consistently called on all mankind to LOVE ALL, SERVE ALL and has repeatedly asserted that the essence of all scriptures is HELP EVER, HURT NEVER! We should now think of how we can become his IDEAL Students and Soldiers by following his teachings of “SERVICE TO MAN IS SERVICE TO GOD”.

Almost everything known about Sathya Sai Baba's early life stems from the hagiography that grew around him, the presentation of narratives that hold special meaning to his devotees and are considered evidence of his divine nature. Sathya Sai Baba’s mission started before he took up his body and let us tell you some of his adventures before Baba’s declaration...

Education Wing - National SSE Workshop with with Dr Samuel Sandweiss and Mrs Sharon Sandweiss

On Saturday 1st December 2012 the parents and teachers from around the U.K. who attended the Oxhey Wood Primary School in Watford had the rare opportunity of sharing a session with our esteemed guests, Dr Samuel Sandweiss and Mrs Sharon Sandweiss on the subject of Sai way of parenting and Swami’s message to teachers.

After a few heartfelt bhajans to welcome our Beloved Lord, the esteemed guests were introduced. An eminent psychiatrist and author, the audience were reminded of Dr Sandweiss’s distinguished career over 40 years, and his particular interest in spirituality and psychiatry and how practices affect the mind and expand the consciousness and love. Notably, the couple’s close association with Bhagavan since the seventies had clearly shaped their fundamental understanding and approach on life, parenting and all other subjects; not least because the Sandweisses had 4 daughters, each of whom had been brought up under Bhagavan’s loving care and guidance.

A wonderful presentation was delivered to us all, providing practical tips such as how to keep communicating with our children in order to understand what they are thinking and feeling; how to encourage them to be disciplined and fulfil their potential but always to motivate them with love, not force; how to always focus on the positive ( not the negative) in order to motivate them to improve and do better and most importantly, always to ensure our children are fully exposed to Bhagavan’s teachings and instructions from an early age to help form their character and prepare them for their lives ahead. To illustrate these points, Dr Sandweiss used audio visual clips and Mrs Sandweiss provided her characteristically humorous insights by sharing advice that Bhagavan had given the Sandweisse’s during their many conversations with Him during their visits to Prashanthi Nilayam.

The audience were truly touched by the love, humility and wisdom of our guests and showed their appreciation with rapturous applause.

Following a short comfort break, the Sandweisses then took questions from the audience, posed by Mrs Nadia Eley, Region 6 Chair, elaborating the points made in their main presentation. This was yet another chance to confront some of the problems of bringing up children within a very materialistic society with love, understanding and Bhagavan’s teachings. They both emphasised the good fortune bestowed on us in having the Lord Himself guiding us on every subject and taking an interest in all aspects of our lives.

Dr Sandweiss then played two very pertinent audio visual clips where in we had the opportunity to listen and watch one of the last conversations that Dr Sandweiss had with Mr John Hislop and the second clip was dedicated to Lord Shiva with melodious chants of “Om Namo Shivaya” reverberating around the hall for a good five minutes. The inspired messages were loud and clear: to keep the Lord (Swami) always in one’s view and the power of namasmarana and prayer should not be under-estimated when dealing with any conflict and turmoil within or around us.

SSE Wing Report

Education Wing - Sai Spiritual Education October 2011

Swami in His divine discourse to Balvikas gurus in 1978 said that the impact of the guru has got to be extra strong if it has to act as a catalyst in the process of modification of behaviour patterns in the pupils. To that end, the guru has to be an embodiment of love and patience. Children have to be led into good ways of living, simplicity, humility and discipline. The fostering and development of noble character is the foundation on which the super-structure of curricula can be built.

Over the last few months, the SSE wing has seen a flurry of activity in the training and awareness sessions that have been held in most regions around the U.K. The importance of personal sadhana or individual spiritual development has been a focus for our teachers so as to enable a deeper understanding and application of Swami’s message in our own lives. Swami’s dictum of ‘First Be, Do and Tell’ is key to the success of SSE and its impact on our children in our care.

Whilst, the training sessions have been underway, other activities have been taking place around the U.K. Children, teachers and parents have participated in the centre and regional Eswaramma Day programmes offering their gratitude to their Divine Mother Sai through music, poems, paintings and drama. Wholehearted participation was also seen at the National Memorial and Remembrance Day held for our Beloved Bhagavan.

Many regions also held their end of year sports and family day events in rather glorious summer weather.

Many Group 2 Year 3 children undertook the National Exams held in June this year and also the children from the Group 3 Years 2 and 3 participated in the National Project work which was submitted in July this year.

With Swami’s grace we have also seen the start of some new SSE classes. Hull in Region 5, Folkestone Region 6, Edinburgh and Dundee in Region 8 have begun their SSE classes with great enthusiasm and dedication.

The revised SSE syllabus for Group 1 and Group 2 is also being made available to teachers this term.

In the next few weeks, the Group 4 training for facilitators is being held on 8th October 2011 at the Sai Mandir, Wimbledon, London and the planning for the National SSE Conference is well underway. We are delighted to have eminent guest speakers, Mr and Mrs Nimish and Kamala Pandya from India to address our SSE teachers, SSE helpers and supporters of SSE on 29th October 2011 at the Sai Mandir, Wimbledon, London. Participants may register by logging on to www.srisathyasai.org.uk/nationalsseconference

Swami reminds us that The Bal Vikas chores are bound to elevate and sublimate the thoughts and emotions of the gurus far better than any other sadhana (spiritual discipline) can. Remember that as gurus, you too have a guru guiding you and overseeing your seva (service). So you too are pupils, and you too learn the lessons of equality, equanimity and selfless love while acting as gurus.

Vidyulatha Narayan
National SSE Coordinator

Happy Sankranti: Inwards and Godwards

Excerpts from Bhagawan Baba’s Divine Discourses

The Sun appears cool
The day gets shortened
And is made pleasant by chill wind
On the fields lit by moonlight
The crows caw over the grain heaps
While the farmers sing in joy
Over the golden harvest
The flowers express their joy
By putting forth their petals
While in every home, filled with grain,
The people welcome the advent of Sankranthi
(Telugu Poem)

Sankranti means 'sacred change'! It is an ancient festival indeed, observed with gaiety to celebrate the glory of the Sun God and the joys of reaping a golden harvest. But religious festivals all over the world are observed for the purpose of raising humanity to a 'higher’ level of consciousness and conduct. And so it is with Sankranti too. This is the period for cherishing sacred thoughts and performing holy deeds. It is the time when the inward journey toward a pure and unsullied heart is made. It is the day on which the intellect is turned firmly toward the Atma for Self-realization.

Sankranti heralds the entry of the Sun into the house of Capricorn, and thus the beginning of the Sun’s northward journey (Uttharaayana). The Vedas declare that the period when the Sun takes its northward path is sacred. The scriptures have declared also that those who pass on during the Uttharaayana have no rebirth. Capricorn is a sign of peace and contentment; this period thus conferring a kind of mental and physical peace. The sages and seers of ancient times used to wait for the arrival of the Uttharaayana to embark on their sacred tasks. The great warrior Bhishma, lying on a bed of arrows, waited for 56 days for the advent of Uttharaayana so as to pass on during this auspicious time!

The Sun symbolises the vision of man, and the northward movement of the Sun is a call to human beings to turn their vision towards that which is cool, peaceful and unchanging. The north is represented by Himaachala. Hima means snow. It is pure, untainted and extremely cool. All these endow it with the quality of Prashaanthi (perfect peace). Achala means that which is steady and unshakeable. Himaachala does not refer to the physical Himaalayan region. It represents that which is cool, peaceful and steady. From today the Sun is said to move towards such a state.

This means that human beings should direct their vision inwards. This is the lesson taught by the Sun. Uttharaayana is an occasion to develop inward vision
Man's vision should not be confined solely to the external objects and worldly things which are transient and perishable. Man has been given this vision so that he may see the pure, sacred Divine consciousness abiding in his heart. The northward motion of the Sun is the appropriate occasion for developing this inward vision.

The Sun shines in every human body illuminating the six chakras (spiritual centres in the body). Of these chakras, two are most important: the heart (hridaya) chakra and the crown chakra (sahasrara chakra). The heart chakra has eight petals. God is the Lord of the eight-petaled heart chakra. These eight petals are regarded as eight consorts of the Lord. In this context, the Lord is adored in the form of the Sun. The world cannot survive without the Sun. The solar system is derived from the Sun. Hence, the Sun is worshipped as divine. The ancient sages adored the eight-petaled divine centre in the heart and thereby reached the crown chakra and enjoyed supreme bliss.

Sankranti enables human beings to discover that enduring bliss cannot be secured through physical pleasures. It has to be discovered that the source of this bliss is within! Like a man who, carrying his spectacles on his forehead, searches everywhere for them and discovers to his joy that they have been with him all along. The Divine is not anywhere else. It is enshrined in one's heart. Hence, the individual who seeks the Divine within his/her heart is redeemed. He/she then attains liberation.

All external spiritual exercises are of temporary value. They should be internalized to experience lasting bliss. All mental exercises also leave the heart unaffected. In the nine paths of devotion, beginning with listening to sacred things and ending with total surrender of the self (Atma-nivedanam), the last is the most important. After total surrender (Atma-nivedanam), there is no need for any other effort. Sankranti gives this call for total surrender.

Sankranthi promotes mental transformation. It illumines the minds of people. It induces the unfoldment of inner feelings. It brings about the manifestation of the invisible Atma within everyone. Sankranthi is pregnant with such immense significance. It influences not only the mind but also the powers of nature. Nature is a projection of the mind. The world is rooted in the mind (Manomoolam idam jagath). When the mind is turned toward the heart and the heart is filled with the Divine, the mind will cease to be a source of trouble. The mind is the master of the senses. When the senses are controlled, the mind is under control. Only the master of the mind can attain Madhava (the Divine, another name for Krishna). This is the royal road for the spiritual aspirant to realise the Supreme.

It is not enough, therefore, merely to recognise the northward movement of the Sun in this period. Every effort should be made to direct the vision inwards towards the pure, sacred Indwelling Self. For mankind, the Sun is the most important entity in creation. When the Sun himself is proceeding northwards, why should not humanity direct its vision Godward? Human beings today are a prey to many troubles because their vision is diverted towards ungodly objects.

This month, known as Pushyamaasa (according to the Hindu almanac) is noted for the peacefulness, prosperity and joy which it brings with it. Hence it is regarded with special distinction. Unless men give up their bad thoughts and actions, the month, however great in itself, will be of no avail. The observance of Uttharaayana should be marked by spiritual transformation of the people and not by lavish feasting and revelry. Sankranti is a kind of family festival. Yes. This is so. But the whole world is one family (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam). The festival relates to the entire world. It is not confined to one's kith and kin. Sankranti is related to the entire mankind. This auspicious day heralds the conferment of many worldly and spiritual blessings on humanity. Whether people realize it or not, Sankranti promotes a feeling of happiness in one and all.

Has God Really Gone?

Dearest Sai has now gone, it was quite a shock, He won't be there physically, when to Prasanthi we flock. To witness his mission, at this time to be alive, We are so very lucky, from this we must thrive.

He's transformed all our lives, our hearts he has touched, Through miracles and discourses, he's taught us so much. His life was his message, his smile was so wide, Just seeing his photo, our hearts melt inside.

From before we were born, before the very start, He's looked after us all, he lives in our hearts. His work and his message, will live on forever, Do you think he will leave us? No, not ever!

Why do you think, he chose Easter Sunday, He's reborn in our hearts, he's not gone away. The flame of his love, brighter it does glow, Sit quietly and feel it, and go with its flow.

The journey for us, is to tune our inner ear, And to feel him within us, always so near. For he's there with us all, he lives on inside, From our hearts he'll console, advise and guide.

He told us many times, that his darshan will flow, Out through our hearts, and to all whom we know. To love all and serve all, his message still lives on, Keep working keep striving, till our bad traits have gone. For we are all Gods, and we should spread love, I can see Swami up there, smiling from above. Everything is perfect, everything is divine, Don't worry, don't fear, just be you and just shine.

Sanjay Vaja

In the Footprints of the Lord - Ukraine 2011

Once again, this year an International service camp was held by the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (SSSSO) of the Russian speaking countries. This year, it was conducted from 5 to 13 August 2011, in the Ukraine where three years ago, in 2008, a previous camp was held. Both these camps were held in the town of Bogodukhov in Ukraine, in the region of Kharkov.

Over 250 volunteers, youth and adults, from 10 countries united to support the programme with three elements - medicare, sociocare and educare. The socio and educare camp was made up of volunteers from the Russian speaking countries whilst Dr Surendra Upadhyay from UK supported the medical camp, accompanied by enthusiastic healthcare professionals from SSSSO UK, USA as well as Russian speaking countries.

The dedicated volunteers lived and breathed Sathya Sai Baba’s message, performing every deed in His name throughout the nine days: forgoing sleep, food and their comforts.

A great deal of preparation is required on these occasions and the work began, in earnest, much earlier in the year. During April representatives of SSSSO Ukraine visited the location to meet the administrative board and mayor of the town along with his deputy. This is an essential process to gain the necessary permission in order to hold the service activities in the region. During this visit the planning team visited various kindergartens and schools as well as hospitals. Various needs were identified during the initial visits, not only for the local population themselves, but also for areas in the community which had been neglected or in need of repair due to shortage of funds, enabling the restoration to take place. It took time to obtain the official permission but once granted, a detailed work plan was agreed within the SSSSO Ukraine and a formal announcement of the camp was made, essentially for the following:

- Medical activities
- Social activities such as construction and repair works
- Educational activities such as working with children on human values

Medical activities

63 healthcare professionals and support team members from several countries attended the camp, hailing from UK,Europe, USA, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Azerbaijan. They saw over 4,000 patients and dispensed several free medicine and glasses to patients. The long tiring hours were no dampeners as the team found innate energy to care so compassionately and thoroughly for each and every patient that arrived. The medical team covered a comprehensive list of specialisms: General Practioners, Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Psychologists / Psychotherapists, Psychiatrists, Pharmacists, Nurses along with a Gynaecologist, a Paediatrician, an Immunologist, an Endocrinologist, a Dermatologist, a Pain Management specialist. Without support staff, a medical camp cannot run smoothly and we were blessed with so many willing volunteers. The reception desk (for registering patients) was manned by 9 volunteers, including senior registrar. The host team took charge of the reception/patient registration due to language issues. Paramedic staff also played their role incredibly well. The translators served diligently throughout the camp.

Each morning, a briefing report and action plan for the day are summarised by the Central Co-ordinator of Russian Speaking Countries, Valery Voschinin, to well over 250 volunteers. In the evening, a feedback session was held whenever possible. Valery and Dr Upadhyay have worked together during every medical camp in Russian speaking countries since the first one in 1998 and share mutual respect and love.

Dr Upadhyay, member of International Medical Committee, Prashanti Council and Consultant Ophthalmologist, London, UK stated: “Three teams worked at different sites. Despite not having enough Optometrists in the team, the Eye team managed to serve lots of patients. Over 600 new glasses were dispensed during the week, to children, adults and elderly. Many members walked away with joy in their eyes, for “restoration of the eye sight”!

The eye department requires a range of equipment and hence requires careful planning with the eye team and the host team on the availability of equipment at the local hospital/ clinic. Just less than 48 hours before the team UK & USA teams were to travel to Ukraine, Urvi received a phone call from one of the Optometrists from Russia and said that they were not allowed by Customs to bring any of their Eye equipment into Ukraine and had to travel for 24 hours to return the items back to Russia. They only managed to get permission for one trial set! This changed all our planning. Immediately we had to co-ordinate and arrange for a portable slit lamp, an extra trial set and other necessary equipment that we initially thought we would not carry given that the Russian Optometrist had them (these were left by the UK team from previous camps in order to save carrying these items each year to Russia). All this was arranged with Bhagawan’s Grace within a day – Bhagawan reminded us to Love His uncertainty! Eventually He arranged and executed in the best possible way! GOD is the doer; we are but the instrument!” Apart from patient diagnosis and advice, medical health awareness presentations were also shared with local doctors. However the medical team felt that there were a lot of patients and not enough time to do more of the awareness sessions which they felt were important.

The medical team from UK & USA felt that the local doctors needed to talk to patients more, about diet and other important issues.

The base site for the medical camp was at a local hospital (Polyclinic), but daily visits by healthcare professionals to various villages and homes were also arranged. Home visits are arranged for members who are severely disabled. One can well imagine the challenge the host team had, in order to research and identify which patients should be visited at home! The planning, co-ordination and logistics is no doubt extremely challenging but Bhagawan led the way. This way, each day, medical teams would organise themselves to establish who would be placed at the Polyclinic and who would be travelling to villages / for home visits in the villages. The transport team would help transport the healthcare professionals to various medical locations. Bhagawan has left us the tools, to look beyond his physical, Bhagawan’s presence is ever there for the taking: Be of service to others, for that is giving yourself to Me. For whatever you give, I will repay you thrice; nay I shall repay you ten-fold. Try Me and you will see. I say to those who know the joy of giving, look back! Yes, look back and see how each time you felt that nothing but a miracle could save you, keep you alive, fill your larder, save your son, stop a disaster - has not that miracle happened? Divine guidance is always at the side of the giver. Yes, I will give to those who give of themselves, untold Joy and Bliss; and what is more, I will lead them by the hand along those petal strewn paths of eternal joy. ~Sathya Sai Baba.

At the village visits, any complicated cases identified were referred to the Polyclinic. Patients from all age groups were examined – from infants to those who were 90+. In the eye department, the main eye problems identified were: Glaucoma, Cataract, Inflammation, Squint, Refractive errors (we had sufficient new readers sourced locally). Any complex prescriptions were arranged through the local team. A list of selected cases for Cataract surgery was handed over to Geraskina Tatjana, the host administrator of the medical camp who would arrange a suitable date for the patients to be operated. The majority of women came for general check-up (shows the health awareness of the population in general) and reassurance. They were mainly healthy from gynaecology perspective, except for obesity. Many needed simple reassurance for which they were very grateful and they went away very happy knowing all was well with them. Health education in terms of dietary advice may be very helpful as an additional component with the camp, involving a nutritionist. This may raise their awareness re carbohydrates etc, and alternative healthier options they could use from local produce. In the psychiatry faculty the team saw twice the number of patients than what they would see in UK.

Most of the conditions were those that would be seen by GPs/primary care workers in the UK, such as mild anxiety, mild depression, marital disharmony and alcohol misuse/dependence. Many people just wanted to have a chat and get things off their chest. The psychiatry specialists prescribed minimum amounts and there was more use of the knowledge of psychological interventions. We are sharing some brief experiences and observations of the medical members from UK & USA:

Dr Uma Gordon, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecology from Bristol, UK stated: “I can truly say that this was a very memorable and rewarding camp. Dr Upadhyay had also mentioned often that I should join the Russian camps, as it is a different experience altogether – the love and warmth you feel is similar to being in Prashanti. I could not identify with this until I was actually there to really experience the love and devotion of the Russian and Ukranian devotees. They seem to live the values and teachings of Swami effortlessly and in an unquestioning manner that, speaking for myself, I can say that I was truly humbled. They seem to breathe and live Swami in their day to day lives, at a different level altogether. I would encourage anyone who has not been to a Russian camp to please do so just as an eye opener and to bathe in the warmth of this love. A very big thank you for this wonderful experience and opportunity (especially involving my daughter Serena) and hope we will be blessed to join and serve in many future camps.”

Dr Rajeshwari Atkuri from USA (MD, Ophthalmology, USA) suggested that for future camps, perhaps patients should be seen for half a day and the rest of the day should be spent in training local doctors and providing health care awareness sessions to local doctors and patients. This way basic awareness and standard of care can improve in the long term. However, this would be possible if we had a bigger medical team as patients travel long distances to be diagnosed.

Nuleen Panday, an Optometrist from UK said that this was her first international medical camp and is already inspired to join the next one in less than 4 months at Alike in India.

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

Dr L Nilan Sasikethan, a General Practioner in UK stated “The medical camp in Ukraine was both a rewarding and interesting experience. We saw locals from all ages with a variety of ailments. Their healthcare system was completely different to what we were used to in the UK. Primary care was almost non-existent and hence patients lacked holistic healthcare. Our most popular cases were centred around hypertension, which appeared to be over diagnosed with the procurement of home BP machines. However, although over diagnosed, it was astoundingly undertreated. Patients would only take medication to lower their BP if they had symptoms. Symptoms of hypertension only manifest when the BP is extremely high, high enough to cause a stroke! This non-compliance in taking medications daily was secondary to poverty and skewed health beliefs. In addition, we saw many patients post stroke or heart attack on no preventative medications. Simple, cheap drugs such as aspirin can prolong their survival. Health promotion and education forums at the villages would help locals to grasp the basics of primary prevention with regards to cardiovascular disease.” Dr Mani Sairam, a Psychiatry Registrar from UK shared: “Personally & professionally, it was both wonderful & distressing. The reasons for the camp being wonderful & lovely, but the distress was mainly due to lack of psychological therapies available for the Ukrainian villagers & the increased difficulties they face in life. Future important topics for health awareness to benefit this faculty should be alcohol misuse/dependence.” Dr Shanthy Parameshwaran, a Consultant Psychiatrist in UK observed that in the villages people marry young in their early twenties and alcohol abuse and work stressors were contributory factors. Most of the female adults were widows who lived alone as their children had to leave the villages to find work. Loneliness too was a significant factor.

Dr Nadisha, a Paediatric Consultant in UK imparted: “The paediatric section was reasonably busy. Children were seen in different locations which include village clinics, region polyclinic, and summer holiday camp, home for children with disability, nurseries and orphanages. The Paediatricians took holistic approach mainly looking at children’s physical health and emotional well-being. The Paediatricians’ work was mainly directed on health education and health promotion.”

Dr Lakshmi Atkuri, a MD in Paediatrics from USA thoroughly enjoyed her participation in the medical camp and also enjoyed the preventative health advice sessions with most patients.

Serena Gordon, a youth from UK who is considering choosing the medical field for her further studies stated: “The Ukraine Medical Camp has been one of my favourite weeks this year. Although the journey there was rough, the welcoming people and the wonderful place made the initial trip well worthwhile. On day one all of us younger volunteers got involved with the construction work which is something that none of us expected. We worked really well as a team preparing lights for installation and peeling layers of wallpaper off the walls, something I can now do confidently in my sleep! We were all paired up with a doctor for the rest of the trip. Overall, the Ukraine Medical Camp was meant to be mere work experience for me, but it ended up being a real and meaningful experience.”

Educare

Bhagawan says: Good education is not merely reading several books; it is so called secular education. By acquiring bookish knowledge, you may perhaps become a book yourself! Real education is that which promotes unity, equality and peaceful co-existence with fellow human beings. Real education flows from the heart and is termed as 'Educare'. Educare is the basis and foundation for all types of education. Educare is the adhara (support) and education is the adheya (supported). All the texts we read teach only education to us. But, this is totally inadequate. We must pursue educare along with education. ~Adapted from Sathya Sai Discourse, October 10th, 2005.

The international service camps in the Russian speaking countries have been held annually since 1998 but 2011 is the first year in which educational activities were included in the project’s framework. Therefore, careful and detailed planning was carried out by various members of the SSSSO of Russian speaking countries.

Several meetings and discussions were led by Ruslan Tarasov (SSSSO Co-ordinator in Ukraine) and other members of SSSSO Ukraine and held with the Deputy Head of Administration (Bogodukhov) of Social Issues in Ukraine, Lubov Raginskaya. The educational activities were targeted to involve children, parents and teachers. The efforts involved were rewarded with a lot of positive feedback.

During the camp, educare was covered by:
- Human Value activities in five age groups (children aged 1 to 13)
- Creative workshops with orphans and children from musical school. Classes were conducted to give the youngsters guitar and piano lessons, to teach them the basic of dance along with drawing, embroidery and knitting. All participants had great fun during quiz and games sessions!
- Educational activities generated much interest and the children were also given guidance as to how to improve eye sight

There was joyous atmosphere during the daytime programme as the children watched cartoons or films and delighted in the opportunity to be able to do so. The interaction between the children was wonderful and many new friendships were formed.

More than 825 children participated in the educational camp, with over 108 classes! Several activities were carried out at the local palace of culture.

A “Clean Town Day” project was implemented, involving clearing litter in the town, to make surroundings environmentally clean and more livable. There were many willing participants and encouragement was given to maintain and standard of cleanliness and tidiness. Certainly enthusiasm was shown by the locals when the difference in the aesthetics of the town became apparent following the cleanup operations.

In parallel a series of events were held for parents as well as kindergarten and school personnel, on topics such as “Raising children on Human Values basis”. One to one tailor made child-parent sessions were also arranged for specific children and parents.

All in all, all participants thoroughly enjoyed the activities. Many felt at peace and many felt sad when the camp was over. In fact no one wanted the teaching team to leave and the children even asked the team whether they could stay behind at Bogodukhov forever and keep doing those classes! Participants were amazed that such qualitative activities were arranged at no cost at all! What more can we say about Bhagawan’s Love? We could see that everyone was touched by the love surrounding the activities – the ambience radiated joy and positivity. Here is some feedback from the children at the end of their camp: They learnt:

- How to live in love
- How to experience immense joy from classes
- That they are capable of changing everything for the better
- The power of gratitude

Even during the few days, parents noticed positive changes in their children: They became calmer, wanted to go to classes for the first time and were willing to learn.

Parents also learnt that they needed to devote more time towards their child and that the parents should be good role models and first look to improving themselves. Local teachers who joined the SSSSO volunteers also took away lessons from the classes (on the job training!). For instance, they experienced new methods of teaching children, they saw that the teachers in the SSSSO group did not demand of children, but instead acted as loving role models and encouraged children to make their own choices.

Being the first time the educational activities were included in the international medical camp structure – it was very fulfilling, beneficial and transformational.

Social activities

A building and construction brigade was set up in order to regenerate worn out areas. Due to lack of financial support, a lot of buildings, rooms and sanitary systems were left unattended over the years. The aim of these repairs was in order to create a more pleasant and functioning environment. Sathya Sai Baba’s teaching of ‘Prevention is Better than Cure’ was to the forefront of the minds of all volunteers. One instance is the possible adverse effects of inadequate sanitation facilities.

The construction team worked tirelessly and carried out several major repairs in the kindergartens, as detailed below:

- Kindergarten N3 - Dismantling of the wooden floor in the headmaster’s office and replacing it with a new one. An insulating foam plastic was pasted onto walls as preparation for wallpaper hanging. Laying of linoleum gave a new, fresh look to the kindergarten… An old pipeline was replaced and a fence which looked as if it would tumble down in the autumn gales was dismantled and a new one constructed.
- Kindergarten N5 – Removal of old window frames and then brick laying for the replacement plastic vinyl coated metal windows, which were then mounted. The aged, worn wooden doors were also replaced with pvc metal ones, creating a brighter, up to date, appearance.
- Kindergarten N7 – Replacement of the sewage pipeline. New toilet bowls were installed. A new entrance canopy was erected.
- Kindergarten N8 – The walls, which were in dire need of a fresh coat of paint were given just that and more! Murals featuring folk fairy tales were painted onto the walls in the pavilion which transformed it giving an ambient atmosphere.
- Kindergarten N9 - The creaking old floor was pulled up and a new one was made then covered with new linoleum which will be safer and more comfortable.
- Vocational school N 3 (This is where camp members from Russian speaking countries slept during their stay) – A total of 62 lamps were replaced in the assembly hall and in specula on the first and second floor. The old electric wiring was replaced or repaired, as it was in the dining room. New toilet bowls in the boys’ restroom were installed and the water taps were replaced. The dining room was graced with a refrigerator as it had been difficult for them to manage without one.
- In the nearby village of Semenov Yar, the entrance door to the school was badly in need of replacement and the brigade team members were able to do that, installing a new pvc metal door which will help to keep in the heat during the winter months.
- A fence was mounted around the house of pensioners as they had no hope of being able to do this for themselves…… Repairs were undertaken in the home of a family with many children.
- Three pvc metal doors and a window were mounted in the town’s out-patient hospital.

In addition, nutritional packets of food and essential items (more than 80 items) such as clothes and footwear were distributed. The SSSSO team from UK brought new clothes which were distributed to villages and orphanages. The team from USA brought 6 laptops which were distributed in schools.

A “sustenance” programme was also undertaken whereby gaps were filled for those that needed financial support in order for the recipient to be self-sufficient after receiving the support – a few examples are shared below (there were several more activities):
- Tool kit purchased for a welder
- Hoisting jack bought for a polyclinic garage
- Financial support provided for a child who needed advanced medical investigations
- Overdue electricity bills settled for a single mother family, who were living without electricity for a few years (imagine how one can live in the bitter cold without adequate electricity facilities!!)
- Electric cooker and boiler repaired in the gymnasium kitchen, giving way to hot water facilities!
- Fridge bought for the gymnasium kitchen
- Facilities for proper sanitation supplied to a local college
- Needed items bought for two blind elderly people

Throughout the days, the team in the kitchen worked tirelessly too! Their job was to provide a variety of food for more than 250 volunteers each day in addition to the food for the children in the education camp. During the camp, various national dishes were prepared from fresh ingredients in a happy, positive environment.

One need not say anything further – it is evident that one can only complete all the above activities in less than 2 weeks by Bhagawan’s Grace, without which it would take months to complete such feats!

The Mayor of Bogodukhov, Vladimir Belyy thanked the Organisation for its selfless activities and breadth of free services offered, at no cost to the recipient. The Mayor welcomed the team once again!

The icing on the cake were the concerts by Dana Gillespie! Dana was in Ukraine and performed concerts that enveloped the public and volunteers in ecstasy.

One was transported back to the days of Meera singing to Krishna – the love, the feeling and the sweetness, echoing the feelings of the whole camp………..

There is nothing quite like working alongside members of the SSSSO. Their enthusiasm and selfless service is contagious. Love, Peace, Truth, Right Action predominated throughout each day of the camp reflecting the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, known as Swami. Participants felt the Presence of Swami throughout. It is a spiritually and physically uplifting experience to participate in service activities and one gains far more than one gives. The joy one feels is far greater than having spent one’s holiday indulging oneself! Would you not wish to join us for the next medical camp? I can assure you, you would not regret it and it could possibly be one of the greatest experiences in your life!

All in all, the most important element that was present during the camp was the endless and boundless love and mutual understanding that our beloved Swami taught all participants. There was no doubt that Swami worked through all volunteers!

This was first international mega camp after Bhagawan’s physical departure but a profound sense of overwhelming love was experienced by all - they were transmuted as it were. Youth and adults showed great understanding, love and respect for one another. In every field one could feel Bhagawan’s divine hand. Thank you Bhagawan for your grace and blessings for this united and LOVING VENTURE!

Of all the wondrous things Sri Sathya Sai Baba has created over the years, this transformation of hearts the world over remains his greatest miracle.

Bhagawan’s physical body is no longer with us but yet His love and grace are the driving force behind this programme and all our lives. It is now up to us to sustain this by following in His Footsteps, in the blazing trail that He has left for us.

"Every deed performed, do it in My Name. Every person who passes near your path give them the sweetness of your smile. Give freely of the nectar of your cup of happiness, of kindness, of Blissfulness. Give the warmth of your love. Extend your hand as I extend Mine to you."

~ Sathya Sai Baba.

Alifia Babich, educational coordinator of Russia,
Elena Belik, spiritual coordinator of Ukraine
Urvi Widhani, UK

Maha Samadhi Day

The Divine Cosmic Consciousness, from time to time, crystallises into a human form with a name in response to the heartfelt prayers of human beings all over the world. For it is only in this way that human beings with their limitations can establish kinship with the limitless divine; can derive joy from the divine interaction; can be counselled to tread the right path; and can be transformed into divine themselves.

Such crystallisation is called an Avathaar, and our beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was a Poorna Avathaar- a unique divine incarnation in totality! And we are the fortunate human beings to have seen and interacted with the Divine: Those fortunate few who have been touched, counselled, inspired and transformed by the Infinite Divine Cosmic Consciousness. And because of these experiences, for many in the Sai family, the Divine Cosmic Consciousness is no more a far-removed esoteric concept, but a live, dear and joyful, day to day experience. Jesus Christ has become real for us indeed! So also Lord Buddha, Lord Krishna and Rama and all other divine personalities that have incarnated on this planet over the ages.

Swami has explained Samadhi as ‘Sama-Buddhi’- an illumined Intellect that establishes steady-mindedness. Having used our senses thus far to experience the Divine, and having thus purified them, we should now remind ourselves on this Maha Samadhi Day to turn them inwards so as to get established firmly in this Illumination. The past year since He transcended from the Form to the Formless, seems to have passed very quickly; in fact, even the 85 years of our beloved Bhagawan’s sojourn on earth seem now to have passed by very quickly! Whilst we are filled with emotions, even the divine form was shown to us to be ephemeral! It is perhaps to remind us not to waste any more time in intensifying our Sadhana (spiritual effort) in prayers and loving service, for this is the royal path to Illumination that our Divine Master has shown us.

His Mission was to establish ‘Brotherhood of Man’. Let this become our Mission too on this day. Its practise however can only be accomplished through divine Love, by loving God intensely, by filling our hearts with His Love, and thereby expanding our hearts to reach out to our fellow beings in love and service. Devotees all over the globe are engaged in prayers in gratitude for His Love that He has so compassionately poured into our hearts in abundance. Let us rejoice for having been the recipients of this Great Benediction and this rare privilege. Let us fill ourselves with His Light, and spread this all around us joyfully. Let us not fritter away this golden opportunity bestowed on us. Let us truly become His Channels, His Instruments, and live our lives as a reflection of His Message.

Lovingly, In Sai Service

Dr Kiran Patel
National Chair

Central Council of United Kingdom
Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation

Surrender

I have been very fortunate from a small age to have experienced Swami in my life. Due to Swami's Grace and the fact that my parents felt that Swami was their only aim in life they made Swami the centre of our life.

Throughout my life from around the age of 5, I feel that Swami has always been with me. When I was in my earlier years I was lucky to have a number of interviews with Swami, where Swami showered His Love and Grace. I truly did not understand why I believed in Swami because I had the faith that my parents had, but it was when I came to my teenage years and Swami's presence became so real and understood His Love so much more.

My parents religiously took me to Prasanthi Nilayam every year and also said this was my holiday. Sometimes I was really bitter as wanted to see the rest of the world. But today I am so grateful for what they did for me! One experience that showed Swami's omnipresence was when my mother and myself had an interview with Swami. I was a teenager that was a bit spoilt and my mother complained to Swami (as they do) and she said to Swami, "Swami he never listens to me”. Swami with His Loving eyes looked into my eyes and said, "Yes he does not listen sometimes, he slams the door when you tell him something, goes upstairs puts his headphones on and ignores you, but you also need to stop spoiling him by giving him too much money”. Only Swami would know what I would do and how my mother spoilt me. This humbled me, and taught me that He knows everything even though we think He may not know our actions.

As I carried on my studies through the years Swami continued to direct my life. During the year of my GCSEs we again had an interview with Swami and being a cheeky teenager I asked Swami what grades will I get. Swami said to my mother and me the grades and also directed me as to what degree to pursue in the coming years. His Love and Grace were amazing, Swami would always ask me not what I could do for Him but always said to me "what would you like?” Never did He ask of me anything but always portrayed selfless love.

Swami's omnipresence and love, I feel, are all connected to sacrificing our lives to Him, through every thought and deed. One of my more recent experiences, as my family has grown, has been the stage of life where my wife was pregnant to have a child. We were really happy and joyous until one early Sunday morning we got an unexpected visit from the midwife to advise us that our child was at risk of having Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder which cannot be cured and reduces the lifespan of the child. My wife and myself didn't know what to do, whether to abort the child or to bring it in to this world. My parents who were in Prasanthi Nilayam at the time called on the Sunday as they did normally and for some reason we told them our situation even though we usually would not want to burden them when they were far away from us. My father took it on himself to write a letter to Swami, and by His Grace Swami read the letter in the Mandir. Swami said to my father that the child shall not have Down Syndrome, she shall be fine and healthy. The Lord said to my father for me to bring the child to Prasanthi Nilayam after four weeks of her birth and with His Love named my daughter. Today we have no words to express our gratitude to our Lord and we always know He is with us.

Personally, I feel that Swami is always with us as recently, my business and stress of work meant that I would worry. I would get up early in the morning and pace the room worrying and talking to myself about the tasks ahead for the following day. On our recent interview, Swami said to me, "why do you worry, I know you wake up and pace in the room thinking how to solve problems”. His next words melted me as He went to say "I am beside you, behind you, above you, I am always with you, don't worry".

Sandip Patel
Greater Manchester Sai Centre, Region 5

Region 2 - Orientation & Office Bearers Welcome Day 2012

The Region 2 Orientation and Office Bearers Welcome Day was held on Saturday 17th March 2012. It was well planned, informative and a very enjoyable day. It was great to have the opportunity for the two sessions of interactive ‘Heart to Heart’ workshops - thus ensuring active participation by all present. An excellent opportunity to learn and share from each other.

The SSSSO UK Central Council Members, ardent Devotees from other Regions, Region 2 Centre Chairs, Office Bearers, Devotees and the Region 2 Team were all warmly welcomed by the Region 2 Chair.

The day started with the UKCC Vice-Chair, Brother Jamie Raju inspiring all with a motivating speech and reminding us all to be ‘ever-ready’ to do Swami’s work!

The highlight of the day for many was the enlightening talk given by our National Spiritual Coordinator, Brother Veeru Mudigonda which left many of us speechless!

The Region 2 Team who are there to serve and support the Region 2 Sai Family were introduced, namely:-

Vice-Chair – Brother Senthil Kumarathevan
Information Officer – Sister Kuldeep Lakhmana
Service Coordinator – Brother Siva Thyraiyappah
SSE Coordinator – Brother Bhupendra Solanki
Youth Coordinator – Brother Suresh Sajnani

Region 2 Achievements in 2011

All the previous Office Bearers were thanked for all their dedicated and committed seva all throughout the year and the new Office Bearers were also welcomed.

All were updated of all the activities and celebrations that took place in the year 2011 namely:-

1. R2 Orientation and Welcome Day
2. Regional Maha Shivaratri
3. Prayers for our Beloved BABA’s Prayers when He left His mortal coil. Much needed by Devotees.
4. Regional Gayatri chanting workshop
5. Regional Guru Purnima
6. Regional Akhanda Bhajans - which is the favourite event of the year for many of us as all the 13 Region 2 Sai Centres and Groups come together and pray together!
7. Regional New Years Eve Prayers
8. SSEHV Summer Holiday campsRegion 2 Youth retreat in Wales
5. SEVA – which all Centres and Groups carry out within their surrounding communities.
6. National SEVA day – where all R2 Centres served in various activities in their local communities.
7. Many Devotees also provide dedicated Seva in the Sai Bookshop which also comes within R2
8. SSE Training for all the SSE Teachers, Parents and helpers was carried out within the Region
9. BABA’s Birthday was celebrated in all 13 Sai Centres and Groups. The R2 Team visited all the celebrations and really appreciated all the love from the R2 Sai Family at grass root level.
10. All the R2 Sai Centres and Groups also celebrate all the major festivals that are celebrated in Prashanti Nilayam too
11. The R2 Team also visited all the Sai Centres and Groups throughout the year at various times.
17. To provide a support structure, the whole R2 Team have a monthly Regional Meeting

Region 2 supported all 9 National Celebrations held all throughout the United Kingdom and were pleased that we were able to hosted two of the National Events namely:-

1. National Orientation and Welcome Day and
2. Victor Kanu’s Memorial Day - which many really enjoyed as there was a lot of ‘togetherness amongst the Devotees’ and it was very nice to see so many of the older Devotees too.

Finally and equally important, was that all the Region 2 Centres and Groups served the Sai devotees not only at Centre grass root level, but also at all the R2 events, the 9 National Events and also continued with all their normal activities all though the year too! This is certainly applaudable!

Regional Wing Reports were presented as follows-

R2 Seva Presentaion by R2 Service Coordinator – Brother Siva Thyraiyappah

With Swami’s Grace we have been very fortunate to take part in various regional service activities in 2011. All our regional activities are audited to ensure it reached the wider community and served the purpose.

As a region, within our capacity we made every effort to assist National and International projects and some of the National projects are:
• Leicester Sri Sathya Sai School: The scheme to help maintenance and specialist works in the school building and the premises, the volunteers who took part in this seva thoroughly enjoyed it.
• National Seva day: The devotees from Region2 participated in various service activities on this day and some of the activities are: Prepared and served food in Mother Theresa Home, Serving elderly and vulnerable, Giving joy and entertaining senior citizens.
• Hara Krishna organic Farm. This is to help in the organic farm from seeding to harvesting. It is a fantastic scheme where you working together with other volunteer groups. Most of the Region 2 Sai Centres jointly took part in this seva last year on the National Seva day. They included children, their SSE Teachers, parents, youths and adults.
Our goals for this year: To encourage more devotees to take part in various service activities, to Organise First Aid training to active Volunteers/Members, also to extend our Seva to Mother Theresa Home in Southall and to identified other local initiatives.

R2 Youth Presentaion by Brother Suresh Sajnani

The Youth wing Last year held the R2 Youth Retreat- i am I, from Ego Self to DIVINE SELF! The Youth retreat gave Youth the opportunity and try to understand where each one feels they are on their own path, and to also try and understand their own Inherent Divine Nature! Youth also held the Regional Youth Sathsang - Love In Action is Right Action, whereby we tried to understand what should be the fundamental basis and Motive for all our Actions. The Youth also lead the beautiful Maha-Shivaratri program held in our Region, as well as supported the National Christmas Celebrations.

At a Centre level our Youth Co-ordinators continue to hold regular activities such as Teaching Vedam, Teaching SSE and much more, in addition too supporting the Service wing, with all Centre level Service activity.

This Year the focus for the Youth wing is to enhance our Unity and give all a platform to come forward and present their ideas, which will be facilitated by our newly formed Regional Young-Adult (YAP) Program in our Region.

The Youth will also focus on consolidating a Youth Skills Database which can be used in planning and formulating events held in our Organisation but also to develop Youth skills in the area(s) they would wish too. We also plan to empower the Youth by giving them even more roles and responsibilities in Regional and National Event planning.

The Youth wing will also continue to support the dedicated work of the Service wing, as well as think of new initiatives for where we can Serve our fellow brothers and sisters.

R2 SSE Presentation by Brother Bhupendra Solanki
SSE Wing achivements for 2011:
• The introduction of Pre Nursery classes (under 4 years) since the merger of Harrow East and Pinner SSE has gone from strength to strength. We have been very blessed by Swami who has provided us with experienced teachers and He continues to bring new children and parents on a regular basis to a point where around 24 children and parents attend on a weekly basis. Each week Swami’s teachings are brought to life through activities ranging from colouring to story telling and Lessons are further enhanced when we use Yoga sessions to teach the 5 human values on alternative weeks.
• R2 have 6 Centres with SSE Classes (Greenford, Harrow West, Heston, Pinner, Slough & Southall) with over 41 Teachers, over 9 Parent Helpers and over 200 Children registered since Sept 2011.
• Majority of the Teachers have been CRB checked recently and new joiners will be checked at the next surgery
• Majority of the SSE students participated in local centre celebration of different faiths.
• R2 SSE Children participated in the annual Akhand Bhajans
• Last year for the first time SSE partook in the’ National SEWA day’. Services provided varied from harvesting potatoes to posting leaflets through the door.
• SSE participated or are participating in the National events such as Memorial Day, Birthday & National Sai Remembrance Day.

SSE Wing forward planning for 2012:
• Support Teachers to inspire Children to be exemplary citizens by practising Swami’s Teachings in their every day lives.
• Continue to build on Teachers skills to deliver lessons in a loving environment with innovative techniques.
• R2 are actively supporting National Eashwarama Day celebrations
• Looking forward to Sports Day & Picnic event at the end of the SSE term time
• Preparing to ensure SSE students are well prepared for end of year quiz / test / exams due in July.
• Looking at introducing SSE News Letter at centre level as well as Quarterly Regional one.
• Developing Regional Support & Networking for SSE Teachers
• Looking at opportunities to start Teachers & Parents Study Circles.
• Ensuring SSE is at the forefront of the Centre activities.
• Continue to get SSE involved in ‘National SEWA Day’ as part of an annual event.

Region 2 Sai Centre Chairs presented the the following Reports:-

SRI SATHYA SAI BABA CENTRES are Spiritual Powerhouses and is the very lifeline of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation where the Office Bearers are the Pillars, Devotees are the very foundation as we wouldn’t be here without them, and our Beloved Bhagavan Sri Sathya SAI BABA’s hand is like the roof – Blessing each and every one equally.

1. Sai Centre Alperton - Chair Person is Sister Anita Ruparelia

On 28th February 1983 a small group of five Devotees inspired by Swami’s teachings started devotional singing every Saturday at the Local Hindu Mandir in Alperton.
In the Millennium year 2000 on 1st January Swami Graced the Group to get affiliated to SSSSO UK.
With Swami’s immense Grace the Centre’s has flourished with regular attendance of 81 devotees starting from age 6 to 80 years.
Our Prime activities beside normal & regular activities are all themed on “Manav Seva is Madhav Seva” (SERVICE TO MANKIND IS SERVICE TO GOD). Our Love, Devotion and Commitment remains firm and we cherish these projects since all the members of the Centre are able to participate with Unity and Divinity.
1. Annual visits from France: Over 30 French Devotees visit the Centre every year since 2000. We share our experiences and offer Devotional Bhajans to our Lord. Interactions with UK devotees. This year the most wonderful experience was that a family of French speaking Devotees chanted Vedas and Rudram for over an hour exactly the way it is being chanted at Prashanti Nilyam. Indeed a joy to witness Swami’s Leela.
2. Annual Seva Day: Entertaining and Giving Joy to the Senior Citizens in the London Borough of Brent. This wonderful community project was very much needed. On our research it came to our notice that many elderly people in the local community were house bound and they did not have anywhere to go or to go with. The concept of the Seva Day came from our children and Young Adults who attended the centre.
3. Free Walk In Health Awareness Day: Working with local Community Organisations. Since the year 2000 every year we have been giving the services of free Health Checks, Eye Checks, Dental checks, BP and BVMI checks and advice on various Health Matters by Medical Professionals, Presentations for Awareness and prevention. Every year the occasions has been Graced by MPs & local Mayors. The very first Walk in Health clinic was held in the year 2000 in Brent Town Hall. Over 2500 people were screened. The comments from Paul Boateng then MP “even NHS cannot provide these kind of services” Comment from The Mayor of LB of Brent “The Medical Professionals and volunteers serving with LOVE and with humility can only be witnessed here.” Love in Action” can be witness at these clinics and seminars.
"All started in the year 2000---Coincident or Sai Incident"

2. Sai Centre Greenford - Chair Person is Brother Chitranjan Pathak

For over 25 years, Sathya Sai Centre Greenford has been doing its bit for the spiritual advancement of humanity through the practice of selfless love and service. In line with principles laid down by our Beloved Master, this is done without any distinction of religion, nationality, race, and socio-economic status, either for those who volunteer or for those who are served. Over the years, through love and dedication, our Centre has grown from a small handful of individuals to about a hundred regular Devotees every week.

Balvikas children regularly perform and contribute to celebrations focusing on world religions. In addition to this, many are now learning to play the harmonium and tabla thanks to the extra time our musicians give them in weekly classes.

The youth support our Centre through all wings in addition to engaging in their own personal spiritual activities away from the Centre. Apart from helping with the alter set-up, bhajan singing and vedam chanting every Sunday, they also help with the usual monthly seva such as the delivery of sandwiches to the homeless shelter, helping with the soup kitchen and assisting Age link with dropping off and picking up elderly guests. Some members visit a small group of lonely diners in a church and cook hot meals for them, spending time with them. Others visit care homes with treats and entertainment. Every few months, care home residents are invited to our homes for tea and a chat. Once every year, around the time of Pitru Paksha, about 50 elderly guests are invited to our centre, entertained with games and given gifts as they leave.

Parcels of food and basic resources are regularly put together and handed to charities such as The Food Bank who hand these out to families who are unable to obtain basic necessities to look after themselves due to the ailing economy. Swami inspired some of the youth to visit Him as a small group in 2010 through a series of coincidental dreams and acknowledged their presence while they were in Prashanti Nilyam.

The Centre now aims to grow, continue its activities and inspire others. Our activities are undertaken for their own sake, without the need for any recognition or the expectation of any reward. The sheer joy of working together and serving in unison is a rewarding and fulfilling experience itself.

3. Sai Centre Harrow East - Chair Person is Brother Haresh Trivedi

The centre was inaugurated in September 1996 at Whitchurch School Stanmore with bhajan singing when some 100 people attended. Gradually the attendance has increased and is currently around 250-300 people every Sunday morning and on special occasions we have attendance of over 500 people. With Swami‘s Grace the centre has commenced the usual seva related activities like Narayan seva, bhajan singing at elderly homes, attending Mother Teresa homes etc.
However the most highlighted activity, which was inspired by Swami, was the establishment of the ‘Ashiana’ project which is now functioning in its own right. ‘Ashiana’ is a charitable organisation that supports and encourages children and young adults with learning disabilities and has provided and continues to provide platform for all centre volunteers seva opportunities to practice Baba’s teaching of ‘Manav Seva is Madhav Seva’.

One other activity which we are very pleased to highlight is that our very own Uncle Vadgama, who is 78 years old, has been an instrumental in continuing the programme of ‘Laksharachran’, which was established by late Dr. Ghadhia at local as well as at many international destinations worldwide.

Uncle Vadgama has performed Laksharachran in around 12 countries and has performed 172 just in last 5 years!

4. Sai Centre Harrow West - Chair Person is Brother Jay Jeyaseelan

With our beloved Swami's grace, Harrow West Sai Centre has been a loving and divine place for all Sai devotees. Over the past 10 years, the centre has flourished from a small Labour party hall in Harrow, to our current venue, Oxhey Wood Primary school, South Oxhey, Watford.

Every Sunday from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, the venue is filled with Sai devotion and love.
The SSE classes run from 3:15 PM to 4:30 PM. The children are taught by experienced teachers including youth, who are following our Lord's teachings from a very young age. While the children are in class, parents are encouraged to learn Sri Rudram or take part in a group study circle. The bhajans start at 4:35PM and end with mangala arathi at 5:50PM. We encourage and give opportunity to all SSE children to lead in bhajans.

Bhajan practice takes place at the end of the evening for the following week.

With our Lord's blessings, the centre is very active in SSE, Spiritual, Service/Ladies and Youth wings. Every Friday evening from 8:15PM to 9:15PM, devotees including children chant Sri Rudram and Chamakam, followed by light meditation. There after a group study circle is conducted from 9:15PM to 10:15PM. The children take part in a separate study circle conducted by youth. “Good Teachers + Good Students = Good Nation.” - Baba

When service opportunities arise, our centre devotees take part in the activities with love and affection. One example is going to Hare Krishana organic farm, Watford, every third Sunday of the month.

May Swami bless us and guide us, as we continue his mission now and forever….

5. Sai Centre Heston - Chair Person is Brother Ramesh Lingampalli

Heston Sai centre has been conducting regularly devotional bhajans every Sunday from 6PM - 7PM for over 15 years. We as one united Sai family do the following:
Spiritual:
• Whilst practising Ceiling on Desires, we decided to curb our spending on flowers and Prashadam at our Centre and instead use the money for the poor and needy. During this time there was a famine in Croatia and our ex-Centre Chair, Sister Aileen La’Porte, utilised this money to make clothes for the orphans and dressed over a 1,000 babies with the money saved!
• We have regular devotional bhajans.
• We do light meditation to have a peaceful mind, good thoughts and share light to all beings.
• Follow the 9 Point Code of Conduct.
• We chant 108 Gayatri mantras every last Sunday of the month.
• We have regular Study Circles.
Service:
• We visit every 1st Saturday of the month to Roshini day care centre Old age home and sing devotional bhajans and provide our immense joy and love to all the elderly.
• We regularly visit and support Mother Teresa Soup Kitchen home in London and provide our Loving Service by cooking meals to many of the homeless.
• All the devotees volunteer their loving service in the National and Regional Sai Events.
• Last year we visited Norwood Green care home as part of NATIONAL SEVA DAY activity and presented gift packs of toiletries and fruits to all the elderly followed by devotional bhajans and a small dance program by the SSE Children.
SSE
• We conduct SSE to all the children who attend the Sai Centre.
• Children are involved in reading the ‘Thought of the day’ and also story telling.
• They learn and chant many devotional prayers and actively participate in cultural activities.
Youth
• We are proud that for the 1st World Youth Conference in Prashanti Nilayam, in 1997, eleven Youth from our Centre attended this Conference.
• We are equally proud that Sister Bhadra Patel did a workshop in Prashanti Nilayam at the 1st World Youth Conference on the 9 Point Code of Conduct.

We pray to Swami to guide us constantly, showering His Divine Blessings on us all with every little step we make and help us all to practice His Spiritual Teachings and also to fill us with His Pure Unconditional Love and Divine Light so we can continue to share this with all whom we meet.

6. Sai Centre London West - Chair Person is Brother Anand Paul

A lot of people ask “Where is the centre?” as the title is a little vague as to where we are located. We are based in South-West London in Hounslow. Which is towards Heathrow. The centre was started in January 1994 by Pramodbhai. We have approximately 30 to 50 devotees attending every week.

• Service - We conduct quarterly blood pressure clinics. Check devotees blood pressure. Track blood pressure readings over time. Monthly bhajans at Heston House home for the elderly. Every first Saturday of the month. Done in co-ordination with Heston Sai Centre. Mother Teresa Soup Kitchen Service – Quarterly (Performed in co-ordination with Heston Sai Centre). Clothes donation to local hospital. Serving at the Health Awareness Clinics. Sugar, oil, pasta & flour donation for Eastern European relief. Leicester Sathya Sai School support.

• Spiritual - Monthly Study Circles (Conducted every last Sunday of the month). Conduct special bhajan programmes on celebrations dates. Workshops conducted and guest speakers invited.

• Youth - Support regional and national functions. Support annual trips to Skanda Vale Temple, Wales. Centre setup every Sunday morning.

• Please feel free to visit our website on http://www.londonwestsaicentre.org.uk

7. Sai Centre Pinner - Chair Person is Brother Shashi Bhagalia

On 27th March 1969, Sri Rama Navami Day, the very first ‘Bhajan Centre’ was inaugurated in the UK at the ‘Om Sai’ Pinner, the then residence of Mr and Mrs Sitaram. In 1971, as the number of devotees increased and following advice received from India, ‘Pinner Sai Centre’ was started in Rayners Lane.

Sri Rama Navami in 2012 marks 41st/43rd birthday of Pinner Sai Centre. Our current address is Whitmore High School in Harrow where we hold bhajans every Sunday morning from 9am-10.30am.

During school term, SSE classes are also held and there is a strong presence of parents and children.

Currently there are 150+ devotees including teachers and children. Service activities include blood pressure/sugar clinic at the centre, Narayan Seva for homeless in Holborn and Age-Link tea party for elders. Spiritual activities include veda chanting, meditation, bhajans, study circle, and work at Sancroft and Shakti Nursing homes.

With Swami’s grace, many centre devotees came to Prashanthi in 2010 for the UK National pilgrimage. Pinner Sai Centre continues to build on Swami’s message of ‘Love All, Serve All’ with spiritual transformation through education, nama-smarana and service in the community.

Please visit our website, the address is: www.pinnersaicentre.org.uk

8. Sai Centre Slough - Chair Person is Sister Usha Venkatraman

The Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Slough was officially launched in 1996 and was brought into the Region and made part of the UK Sai Organisation. This was a major step towards being recognised as a Centre and was a proud moment for us all at Slough.

Over the years, we have not only contributed in all the Regional activities, but also set the standard in Centre based activities. Some of the key achievements at the Centre are:-

• The Health Awareness Clinics were started by Slough Sai Centre in conjunction with the local PCT’s. Little did we know that this would eventually lead to an annual event that is now part of the Regional calendar..
• The SSE children in Slough led the way on composing poems which were turned into a book that was presented to Swami. This book is still available at the Prashanti Nilayam Bookshop and it makes us proud to feel that Slough Centre was instrumental in this.
• As part of the 10th Annivasary Celebrations, we at Slough planted 2 trees in the park adjoining the hall where we meet every Sunday. The two trees continue to grow along with the Centre since then.
• We have an active Ladies Wing involving in the spiritual growth of women and also engaging in service activities.

Finally, we believe in equality and that is why since we started the centre we have had 7 Centre Chairs who have all been elected with full support.

Yes… we are all different and we have our differences at the Centre, but we believe that happens in all families. I say families because that is what we call ourselves – the Slough Sai family.

Next time you are in Slough on a Sunday afternoon then do drop by our beautiful centre and feel the love of our family and allow us to share that warmth of Love with you.

9. Sai Centre Southall West - Chair Person is Brother Tarlok Bhamra

“Southall West Sai Centre was started in late 1983. The make up of the centre is mainly the elderly with a handful of youth. The main activities feature around Bhajans, Study Circle, participating fully in Regional celebrations and also house bhajans. Our congregation takes great pride in helping to support various projects in an around the world eg. Collections for the Tsunami, stitching clothes for the needy and sending them to India, etc.

Although the congregation is not able to physically help with some projects, they are always willing to help in other ways and have done so wholeheartedly on so many occasions eg. hosting Regional Akhanda Bhajans, Regional Shivaratri event at our Centre, contributing generously towards the project for distribution blankets and food to the homeless.

All in all, Southall West Sai Centre provides a platform for our elderly to sit together in one place at a regular time/place and sing the glory of God. It motivates us all to participate in this united front irrespective of colour, caste or creed. It also gives the feel of one big happy family.”

10. Sai Centre Wembley - Chair Person is Sister Chetna Mistry

The Wembley Sai Centre was formed in the summer of 1977 and received the first recorded certificate from brother Indulal Shah in 1978.

The Youth of Wembley Sai Group continues to do all the normal activities yet a key signature activity which we are very proud of is that every year we organise an SSEHV Holiday School within Region 2.

These schools would be impossible to run if it were not for the SSEHV team which is made up of Sai Youth, trained SSEHV teachers and volunteers across the regions.

As mentioned in the March issue of Love and Light, these SSEHV Holiday Schools are run for the children of the local community who may not know of our Divine Master but can surely benefit from his teachings on the 5 Universal Human Values.

At the Region 2 Orientation Day a short PowerPoint presentation was given to show what activities take place at an SSEHV Holiday School and to inform everyone that with the grace of our dear Lord Sathya Sai Baba the SSEHV Holiday School team are organising another Holiday School in July 2012.

If you would like to be a volunteer for this year’s Holiday School please contact Mr Keith Banfield: keithbanfield@btinternet.com

Conclusion

We would like to Thank a million fold our Beloved BABA for being our director, motivator and inspiration.

The Region 2 Team appreciates all the efforts and loving seva that the Sai Centre and Group Chairs, Office Bearers and Devotees lovingly do all throughout the year.

Our Vision for the Region is that we all together work to bring Spirituality in all the Centres and Wings thus uniting the whole Region as One Sai Family

Article submitted by Region 2 Chair – Bhadra Patel on behalf of the whole of R2.

Region 3 - Manor Park Sai Centre: Christmas Day Seva

Every Christmas Day, Manor Park Sai Centre provides Christmas Lunch and entertainment to the needy and homebound, in partnership with the Froud Community Centre. For the past 18 years, we have all spent the day serving those in need, providing a wholesome meal, entertainment and company to the less fortunate in the East London area.

This year, we had 33 people attending. Drivers were given 2-3 passengers each to go and pick up, which they then brought back to the venue in readiness for the Christmas Lunch. Once the drivers returned with their eager passengers, we had warm cups of tea at the readyA full Christmas Lunch (with all the trimmings!) was served to everyone and there was a lot of merriment as we all went around and interacted with the different people who had come along. Young or old – there was a smile on everyone’s face that day.

Once lunch was finished and Christmas pudding had been finished off, everyone got together to watch the Queen’s Speech. Focusing on team values, togetherness and harmony, the queen’s words rang true with everyone that day.Following that, all the children and youth of the centre got together to sing some carols. Definitely this is a time where we can say “Music Be the Food Of Love – Play On!!”Everyone enjoyed the carols and they were all encouraged to sing along.

Following a rousing game of Bingo and mince pies, all the people attending were shown a wonderful time and they left the venue happy and content, to be driven home personally by our “Sai Chauffeurs”! Everyone is always so thankful for our services and we were very touched to here from one elderly lady “They’re always so genuine”.

Region 3 - Multi-Faith Akhanda Bhajan in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

For the seventh consecutive year, the Sai Centres of Milton Keynes and Luton, held a Multi-Faith Akhanda Bhajan. Over a period of 24 hours, singers from the major faith groups of the world , as well as devotees from other Sai Centres, sang devotional songs. The venue this year was the enchanting wooden Nipponzan Myohoji Japanese Buddhist Temple, near the picturesque and tranquil Willen Lake. The temple has alongside it a Peace Pagoda, the first of its kind in Europe. The monks at the temple were very accommodating, letting the Sai devotees have free run of the establishment. Brother Francis said “Never have I seen such unity and joy in an organisation such as the SSSSO”. An exhibition of Swami’s work was put up, and the Deputy Mayor of the city attended, and praised the organisers, saying that “events such as these play an important role in encouraging multiculturalism”. Everyone, especially the Sai Spiritual Education children, performed beautifully. The sense of peace and harmony prevailing was felt by everyone who attended the event. The Sai devotees ensured that all visitors (more than 200) were well cared for, with meals being provided for everyone. The weather held out, and all the visitors said they looked forward to coming back in 2011 !

Region 3 - SSE School Sports day

Our Region 3 SSE school sports day started with great flare and enthusiasm as our Olympic themed teams cheered and carried their patriotic banners, starting the day with a torch procession toward Swami’s altar.

After pranams (salutation), the teams (each in their representative colours; yellow for Africa, green for Americas, black for Asia, red for Europe and blue for Oceania) made their way back to their gazebos, proudly and loudly chanting their respective slogans in wait for the races to begin.

Within minutes the races began, including the 100m, long jump, obstacle race and relay, in which all the children participated with brilliant teamwork and determination. Of course the parents and teachers also joined in with equal gusto and sporting spirit, some of which were just as or even more so competitive than the children themselves!

The team spirit could be heard miles off, through loud cheering and chants, which incorporated Swami’s values and teaching of teamwork and friendship.

After a relaxing lunch in the sun, there was free time with something for everyone! From participating in friendly matches of cricket, rounders or football to playing on the bouncy castle, getting pretty henna designs done and face painting fun. Shortly after, it all came down to the much-anticipated ‘tug of love’.
With much energy, strength and after many rope burns each team was tested to the limit, particularly in the continents vs continents, in which the winning team’s power of unity and perseverance led them to victory!

After all the fun and competition, it was time for ice-cream and we all settled down as the winners were announced. The day drew to a close with Arthi to Bhagawan where we offered our heartfelt thanks to our beloved Swami for making such an exciting and energising day possible.

Region 3 - Waltham Forest Friendship Pilgrimage

The 30th of July marked the inaugural Waltham Forest Friendship Pilgrimage – a walk organised by the Women’s Inter-Faith with support from Walthamstow Sai Centre to celebrate and promote understanding between the many faith groups active in the borough.
By 9am that morning, a band of hardy pilgrims from all faiths and backgrounds, including a contingent of Sai devotees had begun to gather outside the Ganesha Temple in Walthamstow where the walk was pencilled to start. There was no percussion however. Nor even the customary placards one may expect to accompany events of this sort – only a quiet chatter that gave away an air of excitement new to these parts.
Inside the temple, we were greeted by blessings from the priests with vibuthi and dollops of Kumkum and sandalwood paste, as well as an impassioned speech by a young lad who recounted his own faith journey as a Hindu. And on his stirring, concluding note, “Ambe Sivam, Sivane Ambe” – God is love, love is God – we marched on, united in spirit.

Before long, lunch had arrived, by which time we had already visited a Catholic Church, a Buddhist Temple and a mosque, all within a mile. The mayor too paid a brief visit, showing his support for the event, and with us, listened to the remarkable faith stories that were shared; each revealing a different road towards that same ultimate end, and each a snippet of that One Glory.
After a light lunch, courtesy of the local mosque, we plodded onwards in the heat of the afternoon, like wanderers in some sacred land. But this of course was not Mecca, or the Vatican or Tirupathi for that matter. And yet here in this little known pocket of East London were Muslims, Hindus, Christians and birds of all feathers flocking together. One could only wonder. Perhaps at no point in history could so many places of worship have been concentrated in so small a space. Indeed the world was at our doorstep, and so too the words of all the scriptures and prophets of all the ages. These were blessed times.
A few more stops and by dusk we had reached the final call in our pilgrimage – the local Gurdwara in Leyton, in time for the closing worship when the Guru Granth – the holy book and living Guru was carried away for its nightly repose. But deep down we knew this was not the end. The walk, after all was symbolic.

The real pilgrimage would go on in our hearts, throughout our life and perhaps over lifetimes in each of our contacts with other beings. And consciously or not, we like all beings – believers and sceptics, man and beast were all pilgrims in the search of complete fulfilment.

Region 5 - Summer Retreat

Sai Always Inside: Form to Formless
22nd – 24th July 2011

As the hazy early morning sun smiled down through the trees, gently warming the devotees gathered, the purifying sound of 21 Omkars filled the Lake District, resounding off the surrounding hilltops, and penetrating down into the nearby waters… We were all ready and

Purpose of the retreat

Following on from the success of last year’s regional retreat, Region 5 were keen to continue holding its annual summer retreat in the Lake District. Back in November, we had decided to hold Swami’s 85th Region 5 Birthday Celebrations on the theme ‘Form and Formless’. At that time it was decided that this would be an ideal theme to continue developing for the 2011 summer retreat. Little were we to know what was to unfold over the coming months. It was clear however to us all that now, more than ever, how fitting and important this topic was.
After months of planning, the various centres and groups of the region came together for a truly memorable, charged and uplifting weekend. Worries about the forecasted heavy rains were quickly dispelled as Swami had once again provided us with sunny blue skies throughout the weekend! 120 devotees attended – not only from region 5 but also from London, Leicester, Norwich, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
A set of six workshops spread across the weekend took us all on a journey that started with the ‘Form of God’ exploring the importance and symbolism behind God’s many incarnations. Participants were then encouraged to think about the ‘Form of Man’ this time exploring our own physical and spiritual attributes. Leading from this, our focus turned to allow us to see the divinity in the Lord’s beautiful creation of nature that surrounded us all in the breathtaking and serene location of Langdale. On Sunday we started to concentrate on moving towards the Formless – initially exploring how we can see Sai within ourselves, then seeing Sai in everyone and everything and ultimately moving beyond that to truly formless worship through the techniques of light meditation and maypole meditation. Throughout the weekend, inspiring bhajan sessions enhanced and heightened the vibrations, creating a spiritually charged atmosphere. We were also honoured to have as our guest speaker Patrick Kettle from Glasgow Sai Centre who shared with us in his humorous style his personal experiences of how he came to know Swami.
We have provided below a brief summary of our workshops so that you too can share in our journey from ‘Form to Formless’…

Form

Why is the Form important? What can we LEARN from the FORM OF GOD? The form of God is there to guide us and be an example to us. Greater Manchester Sai Centre organised this workshop that explored images showing the Form of Ganesh, Shiva, Vishnu, Laxmi, Durga, Saraswati, Jesus and Krishna. We discussed what we can learn from the images of these Forms and the attributes it symbolizes.
Swami says, ‘Images illustrate, amplify and make clear. Joy comes to man, not through the form itself, but through the relationship established with the form. The best way to improve in spiritual practise is to acquire Knowledge. While doing form worship, enquire about the form and its significance. Why that form? What does it teach? Then use the Knowledge to enhance Bhakthi and contemplate on God more’.
We went deeper to discuss how the LIVES of the Forms we discussed are an EXAMPLE to us on how to conduct ourselves on our life journey. Importantly, many of us have had the unique and golden opportunity of having the Darshan, Sparshan and Sambhashan (vision, touch and discourse) of a LIVING God – Sathya Sai Baba. So this aspect of the Retreat on the Form was important to share these special and personal experiences with one another and also to understand what we have learnt from this privileged opportunity that has had an impact on our lives which we can pass on to future generations.
The Formless God assumes ALL forms…use the Form to realise the Formless.
- Sathya Sai Baba

Form of Man

To the common man, the Form of Man is limited by his physical, spiritual and intellectual vision, and the emotional experiences which formulate his judgement of the Human Form. However, in many of Swami’s teachings we are guided by His infinite wisdom, and He tells us that we are much more than that.
Isle of Man Sai Group delivered a thought provoking workshop that highlighted that there are greater more subtle and stronger aspects to the Form that for most remains hidden and unseen. Although most will travel through this life, in this human form, we will very rarely have the opportunity to enquire into the true aspect of this being.
It is well recognised that the Living “entity” is NOT the body itself, but that which is beyond the body, yet within. This knowledge has been given to us by Swami. This entity is the true Self, the SOUL, the SPIRIT, a Reflection of GOD or The ATMA. It is the one that transcends birth and death.
The FORM exists on THREE major planes: Physical, Subtle and Causal. These levels are revealed as spiritual awareness matures, through practise and time. As each layer is peeled away, a more pure, stronger and subtle inner is revealed. Removal of all the Veils of Maya associated with this physical and material world, reveals the beautiful and peaceful truth, of the ATMA.
We are truly fortunate to be able to think and enquire beyond our mundane existence and research into the truth of our heritage. The taking of Human Birth is but one step of many before, that leads us to this stage of enquiry. It is a sacred mission, one open to everyone, without exception.
Through personal one pointed Sadhana (spiritual practices), this search for the Truth of the FORM is confirmed to be achieved, Swami has given His word. Through the practise of the various Forms of Yoga, Self-realisation (knowing the Self) or even a glimpse, is possible.

God in Nature and Creation

In the most beautiful setting at Langdale, a very apt location for the Region 5 retreat, Newcastle Sai Centre took the opportunity to take everybody outdoors but at the same time enjoy Swami’s teachings in the greenery around the youth hostel. We called it “the nature walk” and it turned out to be the most natural workshop as it was very informal and interactive. Moving from “Form to Formless” is not very easy but with Swami’s guidance anything is possible. Integrating the forms of bhakthi with Nature, which is pregnant with the Divine all around, was the purpose of the workshop. It began with a very entertaining role-play by the youth (Mukunda and Vijay) during which they introduced the forms of devotion to everyone. We set out in four groups and the facilitators led the groups to their respective stations to experience the forms of devotion. They talked about the significance, a few stories and examples from everyday life related to each form of bhakthi. It was a very enjoyable experience for everyone as we could experience the glory of His creation and His teachings.
The nine forms of bhakthi are 1. Sravanam – Listening to the glories of the Lord 2. Kirthanam – Singing His glories 3. Vishnusmaranam – Chanting His name and remembering Him 4. Padasevanam – Serving His lotus feet 5. Archanam – Worshipping Him 6. Vandanam – Paying obeisance to Him 7. Dasyam – Considering oneself His servant 8. Sakhyam – Considering Him as the best friend 9. Atmanivedanam – Total Surrender. During the Sravanam exercise we decided to listen to the creation of God by shutting all other senses which enabled us to appreciate subtle things like rustling of leaves, chirping of birds etc. Kirtanam was really enjoyable as we could experience Nagarsankeertan in the woods. For Vishnusmaranam, Padasevanam, and Archanam, we set up a little altar under a tree and practised each of them. For Vandanam we placed a cross on a nearby hill and paid obeisance to it by prostrating from the garden. By doing this we realised the importance of cutting the ego (as the cross signifies). For the last three forms of bhakthi, we thought of examples of revered devotees such as Meerabai, and we shared our own spiritual experiences. The best thing about this workshop was the interest and enthusiasm of the members in the groups, demonstrated by their active participation and contribution.

Formless

On Sunday the focus was on the Formless aspect of Swami. Workshop organisers from Lidget Green, Leeds and Halifax Sai Centres/ Groups created an inspiring session that allowed us to visualise Swami inside us through concentration and contemplation.
Why visualise Swami's Form when we are trying to achieve the Formless? Swami has said that it is difficult to visualise the Formless without visualising the Form first. There are four stages to achieving the Formless: i) see Sai inside ourselves, ii) see Sai in everyone (living beings), iii) see Sai in everything (non-living beings), and finally iv) see Sai as light, love, energy i.e as something formless and omnipresent. This session was trying to achieve the first stage: seeing Sai inside ourselves.
A visualisation exercise was conducted using different pictures and videos of Swami to focus and feel Swami, not just to see His form. Everyone was asked to focus and concentrate on a photo of Swami for a minute, then close their eyes and contemplate the image in their minds. Video clips were also used and comparisons were made between the pictures and videos as to which medium helped the individuals to really 'feel' Swami. This exercise was further facilitated by the use of darkness, music, incense, Swami's perfume, and candles.
The purpose of this workshop was to ensure that the devotees always had a way of feeling Swami inside them, as at a time where Swami is no longer with us physically we need to feel Him more than ever within us as a source of constant divine support. All we needed to do was look within our hearts and there Swami was!
Sanjay Vaja from Manchester organized the next workshop on Samadrishti (seeing Swami in everyone and everything). Through an open discussion, he took us through exercises to see Swami in everyone else in the marquee. He then discussed ways to see Swami in everything else as well like the chair etc. This was followed by an interactive discussion about the challenges we face while trying to see Sai in everyone and everything. The workshop developed themes and ideas that had been generated at last year`s retreat that had specifically been themed on Samadrishti.
Lastly the retreat ended with concurrent workshops – participants were given the option of experiencing the formless Divine as light through light meditation led by Patrick Kettle from Glasgow Sai Centre or as higher consciousness using techniques from Phyllis Krystal workshops such as maypole meditation led by Neil Bisarya from Ormskirk Sai Group.
We truly thank our beloved Swami for all that we learned throughout the weekend and for working through us as His instruments in creating a weekend that proved invaluable for all present. We pray that He continues to guide each of us on our spiritual journeys until we meet again at the Region 5 Retreat 2012!

Region 5 Retreat Planning Team

Region 5 - Youth Sathsang – 3rd April 2011

“To be, to do, to tell” was put into practise by the Regional youths at the Second Region 5 Youth Satsang on the 03/04/2011 in Manchester. The topic was ‘Ceiling on Desires’ and the youths chose one or two components of COD and put it into practise for two months from January 2011. This helped them understand the topic and the challenges in putting it into practise even before coming to the satsang. The satsang was aimed at providing insights about how the practise of COD helps us in our inward journey (spiritual aspect) towards our Real Self (Bhagawan).

The day started with inspirational Vedam and Sai Gayatri dedicated to our Beloved Sai for His speedy recovery, followed by bhajans.

“What” component of COD have we been practicing?
For the past two months, all the youth in the region have been practicing a Ceiling on Desire focussing on saving money, time, food and/or energy. There was a lively discussion on WHAT the youth had given up during the past few months, and the challenges and successes that we each faced. The important topic of what the spiritual benefits we had each experienced during the period was also shared with one another.

"Where" should the COD start?
The main workshop session was led by our respected guest speaker, Yashwantbhai Patel from Region 4. He addressed the youth regarding the origin of our desires. An interesting question and answer session helped the youth come to understand the root of their desires. He encouraged us to love ourselves first, and then we will not desire anything external, but in turn will be more able to give love.

"Why" should we practice COD?
The final session explored WHY we should practice COD and the spiritual significance of sense control. This started with understanding the relationship between the Atma, intellect, mind, body and senses. We learned what Swami teaches us about the consequences of allowing our senses to empower our lives, instead of allowing our Intellect to shine and lead us on the Godward path.

We learned that material, worldly and physical desires are temporary and therefore we should not be attached to such things. We also discussed how an aspiration is still a desire if we are attached to the result. It is only a true and good aspiration if we become detached and surrender the results of our actions to God. By doing so we are becoming aware of the Divine power within us and diminishing our ego.

There was always the question of ‘what is a good desire and a bad desire and ‘how to live in this world without buying or wanting anything?!’ This led us onto Swami’s teachings on discrimination. Swami’s words helped us to come to a conclusion about how to know what is right to pursue in the world and what is a wrong desire.

"If it is good and will harm no one, go ahead. If it is not good, put it aside. If you are not sure, do nothing until you are sure" – Sri Sathya Sai (SSS v.13, ch. 9)

"How" can we utilise what we have saved?
The final aspect of the satsang placed emphasis on HOW we can continue to sustain our endeavours to practice Ceiling on Desires and HOW we can utilise the time, money, food and energy that we have saved. The Youth in the region will do service activities. The importance of helping the Sathya Sai School in Leicester was also discussed. We pray to Swami that the service activities will utilise our time, money, food and energy in positive ways. We also pray that with His Grace, this service will provide us with good company, and will keep the mind, body and senses occupied and focussed with wholesome and Godly activities.

The satsang ended with vibrant and energising bhajans and Aarthi.

We truly thank our beloved Swami for all that we learned and pray that He continues to guide us to becoming Ideal Sai Youth.

Written by Kailash Venkat (R5 Youth Coordinator) & Nishal Govindji (Youth Coordinator, Greater Manchester Sai Centre)

Region 6 - Animal Devotees of the Lord
Sai Baba and the Animal Kingdom

"Foster the tiny seed of Love that clings to ‘me' and ‘mine', let it sprout into Love for the group around you and grow into Love for all mankind, and spread out its branches over animals, birds and those that creep and crawl, and let the Love enfold all things and all beings in all the worlds. Proceed from less Love to more Love, narrow Love to expanded Love”. (Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 8, ch.16)

All great souls have felt tenderness for the whole of God's creation. As we grow in Love and expand in Love, our hearts become sensitive to and open to all forms - in the words of Ibn El Arabi, a Sufi mystic of the 12th century: " My heart has opened to every form. It is a pasture for gazelles, a cloister for Christians, a temple for idols, the Ka'ba of the pilgrims, the tablet of the Torah and the Book of the Koran. I practice the religion of Love; in whichever directions its caravans advance, the religion of Love will be my religion and my faith”.

We all know how much Sai Baba loved animals (as did Shirdi Sai) and that he kept many over his lifetime. In the early days, he would talk to and pet each cow in the Gokulum regularly. According to "The Embodiment of Love”, he used to keep pairs of dogs (14 pairs up to the date of writing the book in 1982), Several dogs also seem to number amongst his devotees and stories are told of those which have come to die at his feet, including one about Kuttan, a ‘pure atma' as Baba called him.

In Sathyam, Shivam, Sundarum, 1, we are told that as a small child, he would run up to and embrace to his heart and pet any chicken whom he knew was about to be slaughtered, in an attempt to shield it from its coming demise. He kept away from places where animals were slaughtered or tortured or where fish were trapped and caught. Because of his great love and consideration for all of creation, his neighbours called him "Brahmajnani”. Once in the early days, Kasturi tells us he was found privately taking leave of a buffalo who had carried water for him and his party on a trip away. He was heard to say, "You have done me good service, Bangaru (Golden One)………”, while patting the buffalo very affectionately. The tale of his enormous love for Sai Gita and hers for him are legendary. Her adoration and devotion to him had no equal. She lived only for him and from the day that he rescued her from her orphaned state in which she was heard to be crying pitifully, he showed her the love of a thousand mothers. Just as he knew what was in his human devotees' hearts and minds, so too did he know what was in Sai Gita's heart and mind, especially it seems, when she came to complain to him about her various mahouts!

The animals he kept over so many decades must have adored him for as he says, "Love is present not only in human beings but in all creatures, birds and beasts……….” When one little deer in his sanctuary was about to die and gazed longingly up at his window, Baba appeared with an apple and a banana to feed it. On seeing him, it ran up to him with a heartbreaking expression of sorrow in its eyes (according to the Seva Dal who was present). As the small deer ate from Baba's hand, two clear tears trickled down its face. Very soon afterwards, the little deer passed away. According to students present at the time, Baba told someone, "these are my two-legged ‘dear'(the students) and those are my four-legged deer. All are dear to me”.

Another animal which had cause to be grateful at least was the cat called Minkie. Minkie's mistress's sister had beaten Minkie for stealing some fish from the supper table. As she beat Minkie with a big stick, Minkie must have screamed out and all the 16 pictures of Baba in the house swayed violently and some fell down with a big bang, terrifying those present. As Minkie started to recover from her punishment, big puffs of fragrant vibhuti came out of her fur and fell thickly on the table, leaving the room smelling divinely fragrant and showing Baba's omnipresence! The Divine Healer had got to work on her straightaway and from a distance. Six months later, in November 1972, when Minkie's owner visited the ashram, Baba gave her some packets of vibhuti, then threw her two more, saying "these are for the cat”. All these and more stories are well known to many devotees.

However, how many more animal devotees of the Lord are there that we do not know of? An article included in the March 1987 Hatfield Magazine written by a certain Paulette talks of a cat named Fluffy. To summarise, Fluffy became seriously interested in Sai Baba from the minute she was first given some vibhuti. She purred ecstatically while licking this vibhuti. Three days later, her fur exuded a lovely smell of vibhuti. Every morning after that, she sat with her mistress facing Baba's photograph and started the day with a little vibhuti. Whenever a book about Baba arrived in the post, she would try and get inside the parcel, sometimes lie on it and once it was unwrapped, monopolise it for half an hour or so, not allowing her mistress to have access to it. She seemed to know when a parcel arriving in the post was a book about Sai Baba even when none else knew and got excited even before it was opened. Three years after having been introduced to Baba, she had a heart attack, aged almost 28 years old and died with his photograph, vibhuti and sand that he walked on, beside her. Her owner found the vibhuti container unexpectedly open and how Fluffy opened this remains a mystery because, apparently, it would have been impossible for a cat to open it.

At the risk of sounding a little way-out, I would like to share the following about one of my own cats, now deceased, who had been present (unintentionally, of course!) at Sai Baba meetings in my home for most of her life . She ‘communicated' very strongly around the time of her passing to a psychic animal communicator that she wanted to be buried in a brightly coloured scarf, with vibhuti rubbed into her fur and of course, this was done. According to the communication received, due to the influence of Baba around her, she wanted to come back as a guide dog in order to serve. Perhaps she too had become a secret and undeclared devotee! Who knows? One can only ponder on it. Certainly her level of consciousness had increased greatly during her lifetime and she had also become very sweet-natured in her old age.

As a parting shot, please note that activities of a spiritual nature also benefit the animal souls around us for Sai Baba has said:
"Spirits of animals and birds can only hear but they cannot speak. When they listen to bhajans, they will also be spiritually elevated. This is the reason why I keep on telling you to sing bhajans loudly”. Sathya Sai Baba (Nectarine Drops in Anandadayi Karunamba – Journey to Sai).

Mercini Elizabeth
Region 6 Spiritual Coordinator

Region 6 - Christmas Sathsang

December 15th 2012

This was held at Park Barn Community Centre in Guildford. About 25 devotees attended in all. 8 Carols were sung, interspersed with 9 readings. Most of the readings were taken from Swami’s Christmas discourses with quotes on the nature of Jesus and his mission. There was also one from St. Luke’s Gospel and one from the Humane Essene Gospel of Jesus, depicting the very compassionate nature of Jesus. As donkeys are so significant in the Bible Story, before singing the carol, “Little Donkey”, we spent a few minutes thinking about all those sad and overworked little donkeys worldwide whose painful and miserable lives are sacrified to help humankind live, remembering Swami’s words about having earned our human vehicles through deeds of merit in past lives in the animal kingdom. As turkeys also feature strongly at Christmas, we also spent a little time learning more about the wonderful turkey kingdom, We thought about the billions of turkeys who lead miserable lives in factory farms only to be slaughtered, then eaten at Christmas. A film “You haven’t lived until you have hugged a turkey” was shown, demonstrating how truly amazing turkeys are if left to live naturally, how immensely intelligent and feeling they are! This was followed by a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah “Be nice to yu turkeys dis Christmas”, read by Pauline McNamara in a Jamaican accent.

Valerie Allen also gave a short but very interesting and informative talk about Jesus and Christmas. To end the morning session, we then did a Jyoti meditation. After Lunch, a film was shown in which Dr Sandweiss, at Swami’s last birthday celebration in Prashanti, gave a moving and inspiring talk, in which he expanded on and clarified an important point he made on his visit to Region 6 last November. A quiet period followed in which we listened to "Pie Jesus" sung by Sarah Brightman and some Taize chanting. Two inspiring stories, recounted by Japanese devotees, were then read from the Prashanti Reporter, an online publication from the Sathya Sai Publications Trust, so far unheard of by a lot of devotees. More carols and more readings were then followed by 30 minutes of bhajan singing at the end. Feedback from the day was very positive with some members reporting that it was a most moving, thought-provoking and inspiring day.

Region 6 - Health Awareness Clinic: Farnborough

Region 6 were fortunate enough to serve the local community of Farnborough by setting up a valuable Health Awareness Clinic on the 21st of August. Volunteers and medical professionals from across the region united in offering their humble and loving service to the community.

On the day of the event, a great sense of oneness was felt amongst the volunteers and everything seemed to fall into place smoothly. The morning witnessed a thorough and organised set up. Although a calm tone filled the air, subtle vibes of apprehension was also felt. This was in part due to the floating thoughts of curiosity. How many people would turn up? Will this event really benefit the community?

Unsurprisingly, in an effortlessly clever Bhagavan way, groups of people came flocking in – even before the event had officially commenced. As these individuals walked around the various medical stalls, from the GP and Dentistry section to the Optometry room to the Healthy Diet and Eating area, the value of the clinic was becoming ever more apparent.

Dr Nanjoyt Ladher, an advising GP on the day said: “making an active effort to reach out to the most vulnerable sections of society has been really worthwhile. With many of these patients not registered with their local GPs or dentists, they have not been able to get medical advice – and therefore have been suffering silently. Today however, they were able to voice their concerns, with the help of the wonderful translators.”

This event was predominantly attended by the Nepalese community, with the average age of attendees reaching the 60 mark. The gratitude they felt was captured in their eyes whilst they waited patiently and eagerly to be seen by the medical professionals. Amongst other heart-warming comments, one attendee remarked that they wanted to attend another clinic in six months time. These patients had previously struggled to communicate their problems as most of them have very little fluency of the English language. Breaking the language barrier ensured that they were no longer deprived from the much needed medical support. The medical volunteers were able to write referrals and attentively listen to their problems. With the many services offered to them, there really was something for everyone. Services on offer included Blood Pressure checks, Blood Sugar checks, Eye Screening, Dental Screening, Oral Hygiene, BMI, Healthy Eating and Diet, GP Advice, Exercise and Smoking Cessation (PTC) stalls.

Another wonderful feature of the day was the inspirational talk delivered by Dr Sabby Kant; a beautifully simple, clear and informative talk. With the help of an animated translator all eyes were on the presentation as they carefully listened to the talk which focused on Heart Attacks. The event was truly successful, firstly demonstrated by the level of attendance (approximately 200) and in the quality of the service offered by the hardworking volunteers and medical professionals. At least 45 referrals were made - mainly in connection with high blood pressure.

Moreover, the persistence and loving attitude of the volunteers ensured that this event was successful operationally and in terms of supporting a worthwhile cause –a cause that will continue to inspire Region 6 to work on similar projects again.

Region 6 - Multi-faith Event

A Regional Multifaith Chanting Day was held at Park Barn Community Centre in Guildford on Saturday, 25th of June 2011. Although we only had a few links with other spiritual and religious groups in this area, we were delighted that representatives of the Jewish, Bahai, Muslim, Sufi, and Buddhist traditions attended and participated enthusiastically on the day.

All the participants sang beautifully from their own tradition and at times, we were all invited to join in. Three of them also answered questions on their beliefs and practices which deepened the understanding of those present. The highlight of the afternoon, was when one of the Sufis (from the Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi Order), in full regalia, performed the whirling ceremony. She was accompanied by her companion who played hauntingly on his flute. They explained afterwards that this whirling ceremony is a powerful way of connecting with one’s inner divinity. Maurice Allen, a long-time devotee of Sai Baba, summarised the day by reminding us to carry the spirit of love and unity that we all felt during this event out into the world and act in accordance with it in our daily lives. This can be difficult, particularly when irritations with others who are different can make themselves felt.

All in all, it was a most joyful event for everyone, and a warm and lovely atmosphere reigned throughout. All of us came away a little wiser, with more understanding of the truth that, inspite of external differences, we are all One in God’s Love. The pleasing thing also was that the guests who attended very much enjoyed the event and would like to come again. Even those who could not come on this occasion, expressed great enthusiasm about such an event, and the principle underlying it, and would very much like to be invited next time.

Region 6 - Serving another Mother this Mothers Day

This Mothers’ Day, a few Youth from Region 6 didn’t spend the morning making their mother breakfast in bed as normal, but spent the time serving another Mother. Working with their local council and part of a National project, ‘The Big Tidy Up,’ they spent a couple of hours picking up litter from two of their local parks. This was not only satisfying but also rewarding having helped a Mother that is sometimes forgotten. The group of 4 youth managed to fill 8 rubbish bags which was a mix of normal and recyclable rubbish.

The enthusiasm, dedication and positive attitude demonstrated by the youth helped make this a fun yet meaningful activity. It was unbelievable to see the difference just a couple of hours work made to the areas cleaned. We came across anything and everything imaginable, but nevertheless, everyone was in high spirits after the session with the youth even talking about doing this again sometime!

One youth said, “Just a few people going out made a huge difference to our local environment and it feels good to go to the park and see the difference the litter made to the environment.” Another said, “It actually made me stop and think about my own mother while picking up the litter and not to take her for granted.”

Mother earth has always provided for our needs physically but also has done so spiritually:

Man means he who marches from the status of self to the All-inclusive Self, from Atma to Paramatma. Towards the success of that march, all Nature can provide is advice and guidance to the very end. The real Guru one must rely upon is Nature, saturated with God. God does not teach us directly; He teaches us through Nature, which surrounds us. When we teach OM to children, we pronounce it loudly and at the same time write the letter OM on a slate. God has written OM on every speck of nature; that is the slate from which we have to learn of Him.

Sathya Sai Speaks XI, Chapter 20, 116-122.

Region 7 - Swami's Birthday/Ladies Day Celebrations in Cheltenham

19th November 2011

The SSE children of Region 7 performed a play entitled "The Miracle Boy" and enthralled the audiance with their wonderfull performance. The children also through observing "ceiling on desires" collected pocket money for Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Appeal for under-privledged children around the world.

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