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Queensland Christmas Activities
Regional Nursing Home Concerts were held at Berlasco Court and MS QLD – a fun and upbeat concert prepared for the nursing homes where the audience was taken on a journey to experience Christmas around the world. The final destination of the North Pole featured a surprise visit from Santa who danced onto the stage bring laughter, smiles and chocolate gifts for the audience.
Toowoomba Christmas donations were made to Mission Australia (where groceries were lovingly distributed to the local Refugee community) and to the Toowoomba Youth Service (where food and Christmas goodies are given to the homeless youth). Grocery donations were also made to ‘Vital Connections,’ based in Brisbane, which used the groceries to prepare delicious meals for the homeless.
ACT Region’s Christmas Service
ACT Region marked the Christmas season with a Christmas Service on Saturday, 15 December 2018 at the Erindale Neighbourhood Centre, a charming venue owned by the ACT Government and managed by the Tuggeranong Uniting Church.
The altar had a Christmas theme featuring the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to signify ‘Divine Love’. Love has always been associated with the heart; so it was only natural that God’s Love was represented by a heart, the heart of his son Jesus. In him, God the Father revealed his infinite love for all of us. The altar had also other symbolism including the colour red which symbolises the first Christmas and the sacrifice made by the saviour for all, the Christmas tree (an evergreen fir) symbolising everlasting life with the needles pointing heavenward, the star on the Christmas tree representing the heavenly sign of a prophesy fulfilled long ages ago, the candle reflecting our thanks to the star of Bethlehem, the wreath symbolising the eternal nature of love, having no beginning or ending and the nativity scene, a very special exhibition of objects representing the birth of Jesus.
In addition, this year for the very first time, Sai followers attending the celebration brought gifts in response to Barnardos Australia’s Christmas gift appeal titled ‘Gifts for Kids’. These gifts were left near the altar for delivery to Barnardos to be distributed to disadvantaged children in Australia. A handmade Christmas card by the Ladies Wing was also left near the altar. This card was later signed by all those who attended the event and was taken to Puttaparthi and presented at Sathya Sai Baba’s Mahasamadhi (the conscious departure from the physical body of a realized soul and also the shrine where the physical body is buried). Artwork by the SSE children presenting the history of Christmas traditions as gift giving, Santa Claus, the Christmas tree and Christmas Meals adorned the walls of the hall.
The program began with Krishna, the Master of Ceremonies (MC), welcoming 40 guests to the Christmas Service. The first item was an Opening Prayer, a Christmas Prayer by Pope John Paul XXIII, recited by all those who had congregated that day. Next was a drama offering by Group 3 Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) children titled “Christmas in All the Lands”, and in this offering the children showed how Christmas is celebrated in unique ways in different parts of the world. They came to the understanding that while Christmas traditions in each country can differ the underlying theme was one of faith, love, joy and compassion towards the less fortunate.
The third item on the program was the singing of Christmas carols, which included The Little Drummer Boy, Away in the Manger, Silent Night, Joy to the world, Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. The beautiful carols with excellent musical accompaniment gladdened the hearts of all present.
Next, Krishna introduced the Guest Speaker, Gabriel Joseph, a Catholic with deep knowledge of Christian values and Civil Engineer by trade and working as a Senior Manager at ACT Transport to deliver a talk titled the ‘Significance of Christmas and the Message of Christ’. Key highlights from his talk are given below:
- Two sides to Christmas, i.e. the Commercial side with Christmas trees, decorations, presents and Santa and the spiritual side. He was here to talk about the commercial side of Christmas
- Christmas means “Christ’s Mass” and so a Mass or get together without Christ is meaningless.
- Jesus is a gift from God wrapped in swaddling clothes and sent to a manger.
- Why did God send this gift? It was because Adam and Eve did not live up his standards. God sent his only son to redeeming the humanity.
- Worldly celebration should be replaced with God-centred activities.
- Why is Christmas celebrated? It is celebrated because Lord did come to redeem us and we look upon Jesus as our Saviour and Redeemer
- What did he do for us? He preached love and joy for all with the focus on all who needed help.
- Do we understand his teachings? His teachings are: ‘We are to Love God’ and ‘Love our neighbour as ourselves’ and ‘Love one other’.
- He healed not only the physically sick but also the spiritually sick.
- If Jesus was to reach the lost, He must have some contact with them and so he mingled not only with sinners but also He mingled with the orphans and widows who were neglected in the Jewish culture at the time. Jesus didn’t let social status or cultural norms dictate his relationships with people. As the Good Shepherd, he sought the lost sheep wherever they had strayed.
- God loves us irrespective of what we do. Where is God in our lives?
- Our Life should revolve around God and we should not have God in the outer circle with the rest of our family and friends.
- Surrender is getting one’s freedom by giving yourself to God and this freedom forces to love thy neighbour.
- If I speak in the tongues of angels, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. Love does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking. Love never fails and is unconditional.
- A man was walking along a narrow path, not paying much attention to where he was going. Suddenly he slipped over the edge of a cliff. As he fell, he grabbed a branch growing from the side of the cliff. Realizing that he couldn’t hang on for long, he called for help.Man: Is anybody up there? Voice: Yes, I’m here! Man: Who’s that? Voice: The Lord. Man: Lord, help me! Voice: Do you trust me? Man: I trust you completely, Lord. Voice: Good. Let go of the branch. Man: What???Voice: I said, let go of the branch. Man: [After a long pause]. Is anybody else up there? It got a pretty good laugh, but the essence of the story was to Learning to really trust God in the way that He wants you to fully trust Him is an all-or-nothing principle.
Following the very insightful talk was some devotional singing, and then a video on Sathya Sai Baba’s discourse in which HE stresses that it is not Merry or Happy Christmas and that Christmas celebrations be sanctified by referring to it as Holy Christmas.
The last two items on the program were the Christian Prayer and vote of thanks by the ACT Region’s President, Mayavan. Mayavan reminded all of the significance of the Christmas, and marvelled at the coincidence or Sai-incidence of the guest speaker giving a very universal message with a number of commonalities between his talk and that of Sathya Baba’s divine discourse that all had listened to that day. He thanked the Young Adults for setting up the altar and for bringing to his attention the Barnardos Australia’s Christmas gift appeal which resulted in all bringing a gift for a disadvantaged child. He also thanked the SSE children for the play and the singers and instrumentalists for their unwavering commitment. Mayavan encouraged all to sign the Christmas Card made by the Ladies Wing and wished everyone a Holy Christmas and New Year as the last regional activity for the year came to an end. The Christmas Service not only touched the hearts and souls of everyone present but also brought forth the message of universality of love and divinity.
Queen Victoria Markets Christmas Celebration
We had a wonderful time on the night of Thursday 20th December at the Queen Victoria Market.
By Sai Baba`s grace, everyone who joined us on the streets were so happy & enjoyed the Christmas Celebration organised by VIC Regions East and West. Our Sai devotees who were behind the scene worked very hard to prepare a variety of yummy food, packing Christmas gifts & goodies for the homeless and our carol singers sang beautifully, making this service event very special.
Christmas Events in VIC East
Dandenong Market Christmas Celebration
On Tuesday 18th December about 220 people attended a Christmas function at the Dandenong Market specially held for the homeless people who regularly attend the weekly feeding at this venue. The attendees were guests, devotees, children, young adults and adults who had a joyous and enjoyable time. The young adults entertained everyone with Christmas Carols and English songs. The food was sumptuous and plentiful, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the celebration. The day ended with Father Christmas giving presents and children giving special hand-made Christmas cards with messages of love to all the guests.
3C’s Christmas Celebration
Christmas Celebrations continued on to 20th December hosted by the Sai centres of Clayton, Clarinda and Cheltenham. The program was well planned with Q&A, a drama by SSE children, Christmas Carols thoughtfully spread throughout the program, English devotional songs and Father Christmas giving presents and lollies to all devotees and children. At the end of the program, the devotees were asked to write messages of love on Christmas cards to be given to nursing home residents at the Nursing Home Service later in the week.
The day started with bright sunshine and a message was sent to everyone that the picnic was going ahead. The previous day it was pouring rain as there was so much uncertainty about the weather. But Sai Baba would not let us down and our prayers were answered. The weather turned out to be just perfect, with about forty children, young adults and adults attending the picnic at Lysterfield Lake Park, a beautiful setting along the lake amongst the luscious greens. There was plenty of food, beverages and good company. It was most enjoyable was to see the young adults and children fully occupied in playing outdoor games, while some adults enjoyed the walk along the lake and the park.
Nursing Home Service
The final Community Engagement program for the month was a visit to two nursing homes.
On 23rd December, young adults, SSE children and adults visited two nursing homes and entertained the residents by singing carols, and kept them engaged with questions and answers. Two young adults dressed as elves entertained everyone with lots of humour and fun.
The elderly always value and cherish handwritten messages, so the messages of greetings written by devotees at 3C’s celebrations were distributed to all the nursing home residents at the end of the visit. Father Christmas also gave small hand-made mementos to all the elderly residents who were very grateful and joyful on this special day.
SA Christmas Celebrations and Christmas Choir
WA Christmas Celebrations
The WA Region celebrated Christmas on the 16th of December, with the children’s choir and Band of Love singing Christmas Carols, inspiring talks and a play performance by the adults. The festive season has become a wasteful, consumer driven and stressful time. This play highlighted a few ways to have a green, sustainable and environmentally friendly Christmas! The event was topped off with a visit by Santa and sharing of a meal.
Seniors Multicultural Christmas Celebration by NSW Region West
The highly anticipated Seniors Multicultural Christmas celebrations was an enthralling, enrapturing and exhilarating experience, a program that seniors all around western Sydney had been waiting for! For the 6th year in a row, this event has brought joy to the lives of 300 over seniors and lit up the hearts of both the SAI Sevadals and all those lovely grand senior ladies and men.
Simply incredible to see each and every member so lovingly and beautifully carrying out Bhagawan’s most important teaching of “LOVE ALL SERVE ALL” in many different ways, to the community at large.
This function was an irreplaceable gift to the seniors, not only showering them with happiness and love but also giving them an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, whilst mingling with new friends. The program was filled with music which lifted the roof and got everyone of their seats. The Chinese, Serbian, Iranian, Spanish, Bhutanese, Turkish and Indian-Fijian seniors gave others a taste of their culture by singing and dancing to songs close to their respective cultures. Special performances by both the Sydwest Organization and Team Expansion, made everyone really feel the spirit of Christmas around them.
It is always a very special day of service to the aged, frail, sick and the lonely. This occasion gave The Sathya Sai International Organization of Australia, the privilege to serve the elderly in many different ways, promoting the Christmas spirit of giving throughout the day. The Organization was awarded a certificate of appreciation for all effort put into making this program complete and spectacular. Overall, the program brought a sudden energy and feeling to the seniors giving them the best Christmas present anyone could ask for – the company of a united family.
NSW Region East
On Sunday 9 December the Sai Unity Christmas was held at St Brigids Church Marrickvile. There were quite a number of people assembled in the sacred environment of the beautiful Catholic Church.
What they were rewarded with was a wonderful program; starting with group of children of all ages being led down the centre aisle by Teresa Cossa bearing a light which she placed on a Christmas shrine that was set up on the altar. Acknowledgement of the traditional owners started the proceedings.
Following on were some inspiring readings which were well chosen for the occasion taken from the Christian scriptures. Then the guest speaker Mr Kingsley Prabhar related his early life in Sri Lanka, where he was born into a Christian family and received a similar education. But his deepest prayer and earnest wish was for God to somehow get him out of the strife-torn country. Sai Baba was unknown to him at that time but a quite remarkable experience in the Australian High Commission which occurred just when he had been unceremoniously rejected from the building, had him wondering who it was that was looking after him. It culminated in his surprising immigration acceptance to come to Australia over 40 years ago.
Once in Australia he wasted no time tapping into the excitement that this new land offered, but before long had prolonged mental conversations with a voice informing him that such a way of life was to put it mildly not in his best interests. In due course he realised who Sai Baba was and who had been guiding him and also became associated with the Uniting Church in Sydney. He began engaging in a range of service activities which continue and expand to the present day. Overall an excellent personal story featuring the gift of giving of ‘time and talent’….. so appropriate for the Christmas season.
Then the Sai Youth Choir took centre stage singing a line-up of traditional Carols with all the participants joining in. The group consisted of pre-schoolers to late teenagers and some young adults with excellent musicians supporting the group. Finally several readers presented a series of excerpts from some of Sai Baba’s Christmas discourses through the years. These clarified and emphasised what a spiritually momentous and historic event the coming of Jesus and his teachings was to the people back then and so relevant in today’s context.
Finally the Region President Mrs Selvi Ramanan gave a vote of thanks which was followed by refreshments. This was a good introduction to what the true underlying theme of Christmas is about. It was a very uplifting program indeed.
With love, reverence and gratitude I offer my prayerful Pranams at the divine lotus feet of our dearest, loving and omnipresent Lord, Sathya Sai Baba.
A loving Sai Ram to all of you. I wish all of you a happy and holy holiday season and New Year 2019 filled with love, joy and peace. This is a time of celebration. Many of us share our love and gratitude with our family and friends during this season. Let us remember the most precious gift we all have received – that is, being the contemporaries of the Avatar of the age, Sathya Sai Baba. He is the incarnation of love. He is love walking on two legs. He is our eternal companion, protecting us, guarding us and guiding us wherever we are, at all times. That is His unconditional love. All names and forms attributed by man to God are manifest in His human form.
At this time, let us remember and reflect on two profound revelations Sai Baba made during two of His divine discourses during Christmas. The first revelation was on 24th December 1972. Sai Baba said that Jesus was the embodiment of love, sacrifice and forgiveness. Jesus said in a simple statement, “the One who has sent me will come again” and pointed to a lamb. The lamb is a symbol and sign of love. The lamb also makes the sound “baa-baa” which is announcing the advent of Baba. Jesus said, “His name will be Truth” – which is Sathya, and “He will be short with a crown of hair and wearing a red robe.” Sai Baba said, “that Baa-Baa is this Baba – Sai”. What a joyous revelation and a blessing to all of us!
And the second revelation was in the Christmas discourse given on 25th December 1998. Sai Baba said: when anybody asks you about Sathya Sai Baba, sing this song which conveys the whole message, which is “Love is my form, Truth is my breath, Bliss is my food. My life is my message, expansion is my life. No reason for love, no season for love, no birth, no death.” So, Sai Baba’s form is love.
When we have received this precious gift, how do we express our gratitude to Sai Baba? it is done by implicitly following His teachings. I know that the New Year is coming, and many people want to make many resolutions. At this time, I would like to share some of the simple, yet practical and powerful messages Sai Baba gave – which all of us can practise in our daily lives.
Number 1: Sai Baba said always have a positive attitude. He advised us, “Think good, think no evil. See good, see no evil. Hear good, hear no evil. Speak good, speak no evil. Do good, do no evil. This is the way to God.” This is the way we can develop purity of heart. Purity is enlightenment.
2: The second profound and practical message is the power of Love. Sai Baba said, “God is Love, Love is God. Live in Love.” So, He exhorts, “Start the day with love, Fill the day with love, Spend the day with love and End the day with love. This is the way to God.”
Sai Baba’s infinite love transcends the barriers of space, time, race and religion. Now, we see Sai Baba touching the lives of millions of people around the world and we see more and more new devotees coming through the portals of Prasanthi Nilayam and many Sathya Sai centres around the world. During the recent 93rd Birthday celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam, the Sai Kulwant Hall was not only full, but it was overflowing – and the devotees had to be seated in nearby Poornachandra auditorium. Devotees all over the world gloriously celebrated His Birthday, sharing His love, His message, and His works.
And the highlights of these various, beautiful works done by the Sathya Sai devotees is summarised in the 2017–2018 SSIO Annual Report which was offered at the Mahasamadhi of Sai Baba during the 93rd Birthday celebration in Prasanthi Nilayam.
One of the blessings we received was the manifestation of vibhuti on many pages of the Annual Report, thus showering His love on all the members of the organisation and the selfless service done. People expressed gratitude to Sai Baba for the love they have received.
Sai Baba visited East Africa in 1968, visiting the countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. During this time, in July of 1968, Sai Baba spent about ten days in these countries, showering His love, His blessings and His nectarine message on not only the devotees, but also the local tribal people. He extended His love to animals, plants, forests, and waterfalls and the whole of nature, the whole of creation. Our brothers and sisters in East Africa held a golden jubilee celebration of this visit in a glorious manner.
Sai Baba says, “Nature is the vesture of God. Nature is the manifestation of God.” So, we need to revere nature. But man, in his ignorance and because of his selfishness, greed and excessive desire, is abusing nature. The price we pay for this is Climate Change, Global Warming, loss of biodiversity and environmental pollution which is causing many health problems. How to address this issue?
To serve the planet and protect the planet, we arranged the first “Go-Green Conference” in Prasanthi Nilayam in July of this year. More than 1,000 delegates from 78 countries participated. Many resolutions were passed after extensive deliberations by environmental scientists, subject matter experts and policy makers on how to address this problem. Now, these resolutions are being implemented by members of the Organisation all over the world to have a better planet and a better future.
Sai Baba says the best way to spread His message is by being exemplars of His teachings. Taking this to heart, the young adults started a leadership programme in 2015. The programme started in 2015 is based on Sai Baba’s life, His message and His 3 works. Now, more than 1,000 graduates from 60 countries have come out of this programme and are taking an active role in the Sathya Sai International Organisation, serving in the Divine Mission.
Sai Baba says there is only one religion – the religion of love and emphasized the unity of faiths and harmony of religions. The 125th Anniversary of the Parliament of World Religions was held in Toronto, Canada on November 1-7 of this year, and the theme was, “The Power of Love and Inclusion.” There were more than 8,000 delegates who participated from 80 countries and about 220 faiths were represented. The Sathya Sai International Organisation hosted a panel discussion, exhibition booth, Young Adults choir, and also a children’s play sharing Sai Baba’s message, His love, and humanitarian works which were very well received.
While doing all these good works, let us constantly remember that the goal and purpose of human life and the Sathya Sai Organisation is to make us realise our innate divinity. That is: we are the embodiments of the divine Atma. We are embodiments of divine love.
So, keeping this in mind, we have various national and regional retreats. We have started a new initiative – an annual Summer Spiritual Retreat in Prasanthi Nilayam starting July 2019. We’ll be having talks, workshops and various spiritual practices focusing on the inward journey and how to intensify our effort to reach this goal.
In addition, we have started plans and preparations for the 11th World Conference to be held during Sai Baba’s 95th Birthday celebrations, followed by the Young Adults Festival to be held in July of 2021.
Another important offering we want to make during Sai Baba’s 95th birthday celebrations is the adoption of 95 communities, globally. I am very happy to share with you that by this 93rd Birthday celebration itself, we have already adopted 93 communities. It is very wonderful to see the enthusiasm of our Sai brothers and sisters to serve their communities.
In conclusion, let us rejoice in our Lord Sai, let us march forward with intensity and one-pointedness and with unity and love. I pray to Sai Baba to shower on every one of us His love and bless us with a long, healthy, happy, peaceful and divine life.
Jai Sai Ram
Years come and go, so also pleasure and pain. Nothing confers permanent bliss except the experience of the Atma (Self).
Man cannot attain peace and happiness from his actions unless he has sacred feelings within.
Many people expect the New Year to confer happiness and prosperity on them.
But in fact, New Year only confers on you the results of your past actions.
In order to atone for your past sins, you have to cultivate sacred qualities and involve yourself in sacred activities more and more in the New Year.
In fact, Bliss is within you, it originates from your sacred feelings.
So, you have to manifest bliss from within – it cannot be bestowed on you by others.
None can take away the bliss from you and you cannot obtain it from outside.
Divine Discourse: 1st January 2001
Groups from Victoria East Region of the Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia & PNG combined to celebrate Christmas for 2018 in its true spirit of love, peace and goodwill to all. They observed it with special service activities, traditional Christmas Carolling and community get togethers.
Sathya Sai Centre of Hurstville invites all interested in participating in a program that explores the spiritual value and application of the key values that are enshrined in all the faiths; Love, Peace, Truth, Righteousness and Non-violence.
They meet every 1st Thursday of the month at Hurstville South Public School Hall, Cnr King Georges Rd., & Maher St., Hurstville. NSW. The next meeting takes place from 7.45 pm until 9.10 pm, Thursday, 3 January 2019.
The different regions and individual groups of the SSIO observe Christmas by a variety of ways that focus on the spiritual aspects of this special holy period. These include many service activities that spread the joy and the message of love and sharing. All are welcome and encouraged to join with us in any of the activities.
Many a time we feel that our prayers have not been answered. In my understanding there are two ways of looking at it. First, the prayer might not have been intense as it ought to be i.e. they are half-hearted. Second, the thing we have asked God may not be suitable or right for us. We do not know it, but God knows it and thus he denies it. But I have always believed that, if you have sincere a longing to be in good company and a desire to do good for others, God always listens. You have to have faith and take your steps. I will narrate a small incident from my life to demonstrate this.
The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning holds its annual Convocation on 22nd November every year. As a student of the Institute, this day has always been very dear to me for two special reasons. One, I always loved to take oath (usually taken by the outgoing students) in front of Baba, who is not only the Chancellor of the University but also of the Universe, with the belief that He will grant me the strength to always abide by it. Two, the drama presented in the evening by the students of the university – these dramas are always of highest quality both in content and presentation, as they are directed by Baba himself. And they always have strong message to take home.
Even after coming out of the portal of the hallowed Institute, I always made an effort to be at Prashanthi to be part of this great event every year. In 2002, I was working in Bangalore. It’s November and time to go home (Parthi) for Convocation and Baba’s birthday celebration. As usual, I had planned to attend Convocation ceremony, which in those days used to start at 3pm. Due to my work which required me to stay back until late in the evening, I could only catch the bus to Parthi from Bangalore on the morning of the 22nd. I used to stay near Baba’s ashram at Whitefield, which is a fair distance from the Central Bus Terminal at Majestic. I was praying and hoping that I could at least catch the bus at 11am , so that I would be on time for the afternoon program. Even though I started early, by the time I reached the station it was late and the 11am bus had left.
The first thought in my mind was, “Lord, why did you do this? You know very well how dear convocation is to me and I haven’t missed it for many years.” The next bus would be around 1:30pm, that would reach Parthi too late for the convocation and possibly just in time for the drama. I felt sad and helpless. But I kept on praying that I should somehow make it to Convocation. With prayers in my heart, I went and sat on a corner bench of the waiting lounge. After 15minutes, I heard someone shouting “Parthi”. I ran to that person, not knowing what he was up to. He again shouted in the local language (Kannada), “Is anyone going to Puttaparthi?” In all excitement I screamed , “ Yes, Yes I am going!”
As he showed me the bus, I ran towards it thinking I might at least get the last seat. As I boarded the bus, to my surprise, there was not even a single passenger in the bus and all the seats were unoccupied. As the driver was following me, I asked him why it was empty. He said, “This is not a scheduled trip. I am going to Puttaparthi to pick up a group of devotees who have chartered the bus to come to Bangalore.” I thanked him and with tears of joy in my eyes, walked inside and took seat number nine.
This driver was neither dutybound nor obliged to come to the terminal to pick up any passenger. But God knows when and whom to make an instrument. And the bus was here, just to pick me up. It was the driver, myself and of course Baba in the big bus (a 50 seater). The bus did not even stop for a break and we reached Parthi well ahead of time for the Convocation program.
Mysterious are his ways, uncertain at times, but always filled with unconditional and boundless Love. If we have unflinching trust and faith in Him, we will certainly be the recipient of his unconditional love.
I recall a very fond memory related to Sai Baba and Dr. CJM, illustrated through a beautiful incident that has a great lesson embedded in it.
One evening, Sai Baba was going out from darshan when He suddenly stopped and asked if Dr. CJM had brought any letter for Him. There was no letter given by Dr. CJM, hence my response to Sathya Sai Baba was negative.
After the devotional singing was complete, Sai Baba returned to Poornachandra Auditorium (His residence). Through the evening, Sai Baba kept asking me nearly 5 to 7 times if there was any letter from Dr. CJM and my response was negative. Even prior to retiring to His room, Sathya Sai Baba asked one final time, if Dr. CJM had sent any letter to Him. When I said “No”, I could see an expression on Sathya Sai Baba’s face I could not quite understand or fathom the meaning of. Sai Baba retired to Hsi room saying, “Manchidi…” (Good).
The next day, I met Dr. CJM and asked if he wanted to send any letter to Sathya Sai Baba (without letting him know that Sathya Sai Baba was waiting/asking for his letter). Dr. CJM then narrated to me without any remorse the events that had taken place the previous day, and that’s when all the puzzle pieces fell into perfect place.
At that time, Dr. CJM was appointed as warden of the Sri Sathya Sai Senior Boy’s hostel. The previous day, there was an uncomfortable situation of disagreement between him and the the senior office bearer of the university, which resulted in Dr. CJM’s stepping down from the wardenship (including his teaching assignment) from the college.
When I asked Dr. CJM why did he not inform Sai Baba about this, Dr. CJM told me “What can I tell or write to the all-knowing Lord? He knows it all and does whatever is best for me. His will Be Done.”
I was hearing these great words coming from a devotee of the Lord who practiced Sai’s teachings to the letter. Dr. CJM spoke very few words, but his actions were louder.
Apparently, as informed to me by a few others the previous evening, while giving darshan Sai Baba went multiple number of times where Dr. CJM was sitting and stood in front of him, giving him enough opportunity to get up and talk to Sai Baba. But Dr. CJM neither stood up to say anything to Sai Baba nor did he give any letter explaining the incident.
It was then that I realized the expression on Sathya Sai Baba’s face. It was of great pride and satisfaction as Dr. CJM had accepted His decision without defending, seeking clarification or questioning it. He had accepted what came his way as Sai Baba’s will. Many a time in our lives we are faced with decisions that are delivered to us that go beyond comprehension of logical understanding. Sai Baba was teaching me the great lesson to accept it all as His will with a complete sense of surrender.
I am grateful to our Lord for giving us such great teachers who set an example of following our Lord’s teachings to the letter, always both in the happier and most demanding of times.
May Dr. CJM’s soul Rest in Sai.
Amitabh Das Gupta
NSW Region East celebrated the 93rd year of the advent of Sathya Sai Baba on Sunday 25 November at Pennant Hills High School, Pennant Hills.
The theme of the program was Divinity in Diversity. It started off with a play by the young adults where a group of them were meeting up for a study circle. None of them turned up on time except for the moderator, and when the next young adult turned up the moderator suggested she share her journey into spirituality; this followed on with the other participants who turned up. The play was well written and the theme of seeing unity in diversity and true spirituality was indeed very well executed.
Following on from this was a continuation of the play with different characters. This time there were three dads with their baby daughters, and their topic of discussion was how Sai Baba played a role in their lives. This was a value based play and the fathers wanted to raise their children the way they were brought up with values and spirituality. It was indeed good to see these young fathers had the foresight to oversee that their children grew up with such values and also the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba.
After the play, there was an update on the Sai School and also the Service activity update from around Australia.
Finally, we had the National President Mr Indrapalan address the gathering. He spoke about the Sai National Conference scheduled for next Easter long week-end and released the names of the guest speakers. It was very received by all. This was followed by a short video message by Sathya Sai Baba.
The program concluded with devotional singing. There were approximately 300 people in attendance on the day.
On Friday the 23rd of November, devotees from across Western Australia gathered to reflect and celebrate the life and message of our Lord, Sathya Sai Baba. The programme this year was a chance for us to recognise the multifaith message that Baba teaches – and with several guests from other organisations, we were blessedly given the chance to do that.
Our evening started off with a welcome to country and a talk by Tjalaminu (TJ) Mia of the Sister Kates Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation, who reflected on her spirituality and how it had helped her and her family get through some very dark times. The Sai Organisation has been invited along to a number of Community Engagement events with the Sister Kates group. This was followed by a beautiful musical rendition by Charles Snelleksz-Mathelot on the didgeridoo and traditional flute. The rhythms and melodies were a fantastic reminder of our good fortune to share this land with its traditional owners.
Next up, our very own SSE students performed a song called “Together we can change the world”. It was inspiring to see the confidence that all the children had as they matched the words with relevant hand gestures. We look forward to seeing them continue their devotional singing over many years to come!
Dr Samina Yasmeen from the University of Western Australia was next, and she spoke about faith and belonging from an Islamic point of view. It was refreshing to get a perspective on this important contemporary issue from someone so passionate and knowledgeable.
After this we heard from Pride Kalonga from a local church who sang a beautiful song called “My Reason” for us. Pride’s voice was just like “milk chocolate” as was said in his introduction, and all present vibed to his dulcet tones. His faith and dedication came through really strongly, and we were blessed to have him at our event.
After this we heard an update from all the work that has been done by devotees at the Sathya Sai College in Murwillumbah. It was inspiring to see the effort put in by everyone and a very good reminder of our capacity to contribute to this project – our National service project.
We then were blessed by the young adults who sang three songs for us, some of which will also form part of their upcoming pilgrimage offering. The first song, We Are Australian, notably was sung with Noongar lyrics for the chorus as provided to the Organisation by our friends at the Sister Kates Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation. The latter two songs, Path to You and Ninnuganni, were also rendered with spirit by the young adults which was inspiring to listen to.
Our final interfaith item followed, which was a qawwali (devotional song) from the Sant Nirankari Mission. Their spirit-raising songs blew the audience away and will be remembered for a long time to come. We rounded off the pre-singing programme with video presentations about the national conference and examples of service that had been carried out around Australia.
The devotional singing that followed were as blissful as always and were enjoyed by many of our invited multifaith guests. We concluded with a vote of thanks and handing out of SSE certificates by our Regional President, Raj Nagpal, and Education Coordinator Rouvin Mahadeva. After this, all enjoyed a delicious vegetarian dinner served with love and care by many volunteers. The event was also very conscious of being environmentally friendly with Eco-Bins sourced by our Enviro-care representative, that enabled attendees to separate recyclables, organic waste and landfill.
Numerous people sacrificed time and effort to allow this event to be a great success, so thank you to all. With Baba’s blessings and grace, we look forward to another year of love and service here in WA.
Queensland Region held a birthday party in celebration of Sathya Sai Baba’s 93 years of advent. Devotees and children were welcomed by a friendly clown, who handed out balloons and sweets. Quawalli songs and melodious devotional singing filled the celebrations with joy and love for Sathya Sai Baba. The SSE children performed a beautiful play with the message that if you call God with all your heart, He will come. The young adults engaged devotees in an interactive and fun game of Snakes and Ladders but with a twist. The game included Prasanthi stories about ‘ladders of sadhana’ and ‘snakes of the senses’ while the dice of ‘dharma or karma’ was rolled and devotes were asked to solve puzzles with Sathya Sai Baba’s messages. It was joyous occasion enjoyed by all.
VIC East and West
We all enjoyed our region’s birthday program, and put our best effort into everything for our beloved Lord. It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit – that is real team work and we all enjoyed that together on this occasion. The real credit and gratitude is only to our beloved Sathya Sai Baba.
The beautiful shrine, the excellent musical play, the vibrant devotional singing, the delicious food and the wise words from our guest speaker went very well. We have received overwhelming positive feedback on each of the aspect of the night. The teamwork represents true value and a sense of achievement.