Sai Australia

Sathya Sai International Organisation, Zone 3, Region 31

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“We Love You Moyia!” – One Year Memorial of Moyia O’Brien

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The program entitled ‘We Love You Moyia,’was held to celebrate the life and memory of the beautiful and youthful pink soul, Moyia O’Brian. Dorothy and Moyia O’Brien have inspired and continue to inspire so many with their legacy of unconditional love for all. Moyia’s one-year memorial anniversary was fittingly held at SWARA, a centre lovingly established by the twins to assist adults with disabilities to reach their full potential. The celebration started with a Gayathri Havan where all Sai devotes participated in the prayer. A pink altar was set up including photos of the twins with Sathya Sai Baba and other items that were dear to Moyia. Reflections and experiences with Moyia were shared, bring back memories and smiles of joy. This was followed by the singing of Moyia’s favourite devotional songs and afternoon tea.


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Toowoomba Winter Collection Drive

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The Toowoomba Winter Collection Service project was inspired by Mother Easwaramma. The service activity followed the SSE Lesson on Compassion. The donations were to The Toowoomba Youth Service and Lifeline.


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Canberra Interfaith Forum

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On the 29th of April, the ACT Young Adults were able contribute to the annual Canberra Interfaith Forum, held at the Environment, Meditation and Healing Garden. Planting trees in the healing garden gave us the opportunity to engage with young adults of different faiths and religious backgrounds. Overall, it was a unique and uplifting experience to celebrate the core similarities in our expressions of faith.

The Canberra Interfaith Forum was established to support interfaith activities in Canberra, and to promote spiritual and multicultural harmony in the nation’s capital.


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Birthing Kit Assembly Day in ACT – 2018

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The ACT Region undertook a Service Activity of assembling birthing kits on Saturday, 26 May 2018. The Birthing Kit Assembly Day activity was organised jointly by the Service and the Young Adults Wings in ACT. This service has been undertaken for the past five years and this year marks the sixth for this activity. Since 2016, this activity has been ACT Region’s service offering to mark Guru Poornima.

The idea for the birthing kit project in Australia began in 1995 with Dr Joy O’Hazy, doctor and a member of the Adelaide Hills’ Zonta Club. In that year Dr O’Hazy attended the 5th World Conference on Women’s Health in Beijing where she heard a speech from actor Sally Field about how a birthing kit, costing less than $1, can save a life. Four years later in 1999 Dr Joy O’Hazy, devised the simple birthing kit which is still in use today and the first 100 birthing kits were sent to Papua New Guinea, receiving very positive feedback. Since then the project has gone from strength to strength in Australia, so much so that the decision to incorporate the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia was made in September 2006.

On a very gloomy and cold Saturday morning, the activity of assembling birthing kits commenced at 9 am at the Griffin Centre in ACT with 18 Sai followers. More than 50% of the participants were Sai Young Adults and children. 400 kits were assembled by this very dedicated group. These kits are intended to promote hygiene in childbirth and thus prevent the most common causes of related infections. Each kit contains items for the birth itself (e.g. plastic sheeting, soap & disposable gloves), for the baby (clamps and a blade to attend to the umbilical cord) and to prevent common post-natal infections (e.g. gauze to clean the baby’s eyes).

Over the past 5 years the ACT Region has assembled over 2000 kits and has thus assisted the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia in giving women a better chance of survival during pregnancy and childbirth in poor and remote communities.

This clearly demonstrated that activities such as these are a great way to bring our community together to make a difference. It also helps us to translate Sathya Sai Baba’s message of “Love in Action” into practice by working together in harmony and camaraderie whilst creating a resound in our communities.


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Gold Coast and Tweed Heads Unity Meeting

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Our first Unity Meeting for 2018, held at the Sathya Sai College at Dungay, was celebrated on 29th April in honour of Aradhana Mahotsavam which was on the 24th of April. We decided on a service project that was a wonderful activity to mark this auspicious day.

Every year around 300,000 women and 3 million newborns die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. The Birthing Kit Foundation Australia (BKFA) helps to address these concern by distributing Birthing Kits to women in vulnerable settings to help enable a clean and safer birthing environment. We registered with BKFA to conduct our service project for this Unity Day.

Although we are a very small region, consisting of one centre and one group, we decided to assemble 200 birthing kits, which is the minimum number required by the foundation. At a cost of $3.00 per kit, we needed to raise $600.00 within a month. With two weeks to go to the deadline of 29th April, we hadn’t raised even half the amount that was required, and were considering postponing the service activity to a later date. However Sathya Sai Baba, being Omniscient, and through His constant reminder to His devotees that “If you take one step towards Me I’ll take 100 steps towards you”, inspired His devotees to act and within two weeks we raised $1200.00 and were able to increase our commitment to 400 kits. It was real proof of how much Sai continues to guide and inspire us at every moment.

Due to the huge demand for the kits in many parts of the world, we received a request from the BKFA asking if it was possible for us to assemble more kits without any extra cost to us. We agreed to take on a further 600 kits, making it a total of 1000 assembled Birthing Kits ready for delivery to women in vulnerable situations. Through Gods’ Grace, all the kits were ready on the 29th of April as we had initially hoped.

We thank Sathya Sai Baba for giving us this opportunity to take part in a life-saving project and to bring some joy to the recipients, which in turn is a blessing to all the volunteers.

In Sai Service.
Love All Serve All, Help Ever Hurt Never.

Nathan Pellai.
Regional Service Co-ordinator.
Gold Coast/Tweed Region.


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A Reflection on Buddha Poornima – 2018

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It was the day of Buddha Poornima ten years ago. Sathya Sai Baba was then not in Prasanthi Nilayam or in Bangalore but in the tranquil hill station of Kodai Kanal – the serene spot amidst dark forests, tucked away in the Upper Palani Hills in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Baba being in Kodai Kanal in 2003 was of course nothing new as many a summer of the Divine had been spent in this green valley; right from 1986 Baba often came here with a group of students and elders to the delight of the inhabitants of this hilly little town.

But the 2003 Kodai Kanal experience was exceptional for reasons more than one. First, it was a most unexpected trip; generally Baba would visit Kodai Kanal in April and return by the first week of May or on rare occasions the week after. But that year Baba started His journey to Sai Shruti, His abode in Kodai Kanal, in the middle of May.

And second, it was an extremely short trip – just a week or so, while all Kodai visits were for at least a fortnight or so.

However, the most unique thing about this trip was that the celebration of Buddha Poornima happened that year in this most pristine and peaceful locale, that on one side has this beautiful lake covered with sparkling white lotuses, and on the other side huge, majestic silver oak trees as if always straight, firm and forward in their journey to greater heights, while in the third corner your eyes are filled with the kaleidoscopic beauty of a motley colour of blossoms – purple, magenta, maroon, yellow and so on, perhaps covering all hues of human emotions.

So it is in this lovely setting that the Lord decided to celebrate Buddha Poornima that year. And the most exquisite part of this festival that year that only a few privileged were fortunate to witness is this:

That morning as Baba was speaking to the boys inside Sai Shruti, He started elaborating on the pure nature of The Buddha, how He attained enlightenment and how He exemplified so many sterling virtues. Even as Baba was talking thus His palm suddenly moved in the air, caught that empty space, and immediately closed. And the next instant when the closed divine fist opened, all the boys could only gasp in awe!

What Baba was holding in His hand now was such a marvellously done miniature Buddha, red and resplendent.

Baba then asked, “Tell me, what is this made of?”

“Baba, plaster of Paris”
“Baba, sand”
“Baba, clay”

Baba dismissed all answers and then revealed, “This is made up of the Lumbini mud – the sacred soil where The Buddha was born.”

And then Baba went on to narrate the various austerities that Buddha engaged in, the rigorous spiritual disciplines that this holy one pursued on His path towards Nirvana (enlightenment), and as Baba was explaining thus at one point He paused and with a sudden firmness He said, “Anyone who contemplates on The Buddha, can attain Moksha (or liberation).”

Well, this is what happened a decade ago and Baba left us with something to ponder over for lifetimes. So who truly is The Buddha? And what is Moksha?

Baba in one discourse explained:

“Buddha is not a personal name. A Buddha is one who is spiritually enlightened, mentally awakened and who has realised the Supreme Truth. He is one who practises unity of thought, word and action. His heart is ever full of compassion and love. He is unaffected by the vicissitudes of life. Sakhyamuni, The Buddha, was a muni (sage) in the Sakya clan.”

And in the Buddha Poornima Discourse of 2000 Baba clearly clarified all doubts about liberation. He said:

“People have strange ideas about liberation, imagining that it involves going to heaven and having eternal existence there. That is not the meaning of liberation; it truly means achieving selfless love that is constant, unabating, and total. This is the state that one must seek to attain; it is only when this state is reached that one is truly liberated. In the name of liberation, seekers are trying out all sorts of spiritual paths. All such exercises can at best confer temporary satisfaction. The path of Pure Love alone can truly get you there and confer permanent Bliss.”

On every occasion of Buddha Poornima, Baba stressed on how this festival should be celebrated and what should be our focus as we gleefully participate in this festival.

In 2006 Baba said:

“The same divine principle of love is present in all of you. When you take to the path of love, you will become Buddha yourself.”


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Easter Sunday Mass in NSW Region West – 2018

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Approximately 45 members from the Region including SSE Children attended the Easter Sunday Mass at the Uniting Church Parramatta Mission on Sunday 1st April 2018. The members participated in the offerings and our SSE children also participated in the value lessons. The experience was serene!


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A session with Ladd Bogdonoff in QLD

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Queensland was blessed to have Ladd Bogdonoff, guest speaker and song writer from California, USA present a talk and a music session on Sunday 21 January 2018. The theme of the session was ‘Living with Sai’ as Ladd shared inspiring personal and heartfelt experiences about his spiritual journey getting to know Sathya Sai Baba. This included stories from his experiences in Prashanti helping with many international children’s choirs during Christmas. Ladd additionally engaged the devotees in song with the beautiful sound of his guitar, English devotional songs and original spiritual song compositions. The music session was interactive as members from the audience played instruments and sang along. Overall the session was uplifting and left devotees wanting more.


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‘Be the ONE You Are’: Spiritual Retreat in Tasmania – 2018

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Tasmania is a small region having only two groups with about 25 devotees. Nevertheless, it has been holding annual spiritual retreats for the last 30 years. Normally these are held over a 3-day weekend and have proven to be a wonderfully uplifting occasion that has been instrumental in keeping the groups connected and establishing a close-knit Sai family.
This year the retreat was held over the weekend 9 – 12 March at a scout camp beside the beautiful Tamar River. The theme chosen was ‘Be the ONE You Are’ with Doug Saunders, the Australian Deputy Central Coordinator as our guest speaker.

Twenty-nine devotees attended the retreat including 10 from interstate, several of whom had attended previous retreats with us.

The program included several sessions devoted to exploring the theme. These included, amongst other items, an interactive session devoted to the Legacy of Love left by our dear Sathya Sai Baba; a workshop on Recognising the Self through Self-love and Forgiveness and discussion groups on the retreat theme and on the devotional song ‘Love is My Form’. Whilst this song was composed about Sai Baba, He later pointed out that the song was also about us. As such it was an excellent topic for exploring the retreat theme. One of the devotees, Peter Morgan, provided a nice aside for this item by recounting the actual circumstances of the composition of the song. Peter was one of the group of Westerners who was present when it was composed and first sung for Sai. Sharing of Doug and his wife, Seiglinde’s experiences and journeys was another delightful session. A Sunday evening concert, come amateur-hour was also a fun-filled and informal item that all enjoyed.

Early morning meditation and devotions, devotional singing sessions, Light Meditation and other sessions complemented the program and ensured there was a variety of approaches and experiences that catered for the different aspects of spirituality and the spiritual path that appealed to the different concerns of the devotees.

To make the most of the weekend, each year we encourage the participants to consider something that is apparently a hindrance on their spiritual journey and ask Sai to help them leave this behind, and in its place take something away that can be seen as a positive step in the journey. We have a closing ceremony to make this undertaking more concrete and significant.

Once again, the retreat was blessed by Sai in the way in which all interacted with love and happiness, experiencing an inspiring, memorable and fruitful weekend. Despite all the uncertainties of conducting such a weekend, especially considering our small numbers and the depth of the program, we have always noticed Sai Baba’s hand in all stages of planning and its fruition.

We find that despite all the effort needed to run such a retreat, it is all worthwhile with all chipping in to help and smiles aplenty. The retreats are the high-light of our year and we always get a tremendous charge of love, connection and inspiration from them. Small groups may have their challenges, but where there is a will, Sai steps in and helps along the way.


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Life is a Game, Play It: Spiritual Retreat in ACT – 2018

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The members of the ACT Region’s Sai community came together for the Spiritual Retreat titled “Life is a Game, Play It” from 3 pm on 7 April 2018 to 3 pm on 8 April 2018 at Warrambui Conference Centre in Murrambateman, which is part of the Yass Valley Shire of New South Wales. This venue is in the midst of a very quiet and serene environment with trees and hills, and is secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city life, enabling the participants to experience the depth of lines in the devotional song, “I am one with the sky, the flower and the trees, I am one with the beauty of all that I see”.

The objective of this Spiritual Retreat was to come together as a Sai family and delve deeper into Sai consciousness to experience the divine bliss. The participants began arriving at the venue from 3 p.m. onwards on 7 April 2018 in time for the commencement of the first day’s activities. The retreat participants assembled in the main hall of the Warrambui Conference Centre for devotional singing after completing their registration and settling in to their respective rooms. It should be noted that a special room was set aside for Sathya Sai Baba to reinforce the message that HE was indeed an integral part of this retreat and was residing at the Conference centre along with rest of the participants. The altar in the main hall was beautifully set up by the ladies and the Spiritual Retreat began with devotional singing which helped all to quieten their minds and focus on activities arranged as part of this Retreat.

The devotional singing was followed by introductory talks, including a most anticipated talk by the guest speaker, Amithabh Das Gupta, a well-known student of Sathya Sai Baba who spent a precious 23 years at His educational institutions, with numerous opportunities to interact directly with Sathya Sai himself. Amitabh reminisced over beautiful personal experiences that he had with Sathya Sai with a touch of love and humour. On close observation, incidents in His physical presence turned out to be priceless gems, providing deep spiritual insights that either needed to be assimilated or practised.

The next fun-filled item was ‘Mokshopoly’, a game organised by the Young Sai Adults of ACT. Five teams participated in this game and had to move towards the end goal of Moksha (liberation) on the board by correctly responding to the spiritual questions. The game simulated the game of life that we play with the goal of reaching liberation.

The next day, 8 April 2018, dawned with a spiritually awakening offering of the Omkaram (recitation of Om or Aum), Suprabatham (refers to the morning prayers that are chanted in praise of the Lord to awaken the divinity present within each individual) and Nagara Sankeerthanam (The term refers to the procession through the town singing devotional songs. The concept of a Nagar Sankeerthanam is to bring the message of the Divine to the doorstep of the community).

Following this dawn spiritual activity, participants split into two groups according to their choice and took part in a yoga session and a ‘mindfulness walk’ through the nature park surrounding the Warrambui Conference Centre. The Yoga session was conducted by a Sai follower who has experience in aspects of yoga and this was well received by all participants. The ‘mindfulness walk’ was a new experience for many participants who in this activity had to walk slowly observing consciously everything around them while focussing on their breath.

After the walk, the second part of Amithabh Das Gupta’s talk took place, filling the hearts of all participants with Sai consciousness. Following Amithabh’s talk the three workshops on ‘playing the family game’, ‘playing the work game’ and ‘communication’ left the participants with a thirst to have more of these workshops. The retreated concluded at 3 pm on 8 April 2018 with devotional singing.

Sathya Sai’s presence was felt by all and the participants were ecstatic when the garland on Sathya Sai Baba’s photo snapped with a thud on the first day of the retreat during Amithabh’s talk. Those who attended this retreat were pleased with the opportunity to participate and soak up on His presence, reflect on His messages as a community and re-dedicate themselves to His mission. Many participants felt that retreats of this nature should be a yearly activity in the ACT Region.


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