Sai Australia

Sathya Sai International Organisation, Zone 3, Region 31

Category: Snapshot (Page 1 of 4)

Gratitude to our Teachers – A Community Engagement event

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Homebush Sai Centre held a community engagement event on the 12th of August. Themed Gratitude to our Teachers it was our centre’s celebration of Guru Poornima, and we were joined by one of the Directors from Woodbury Autism Education and Research. Karyn from Woodbury came to our Centre and joined in on our devotional singing, and really enjoyed the presentation by our SSE children and parents.

The junior SSE children spoke about their experiences at SSE and how they find their classes and teachers, while the senior SSE students shared poems on teachers from a spiritual perspective. Parents of SSE children spoke about their journey and the positive impacts they that SSE has on their family. And finally, Karyn gave a very inspiring talk on her experiences and reflection on the theme from a practical perspective through her work at Woodbury, and personally supporting her child who has severe autism. Members of Homebush Centre also generously donated many stationery items to give to Woodbury, and Karyn left with her car seats full of green bags and boxes containing these items.

Woodbury has recognised the Sai Organisation and Homebush Centre (Newington) on Facebook – . We are very excited about the relationship we are building with Woodbury, and find great compatibility between their values and our five human values. It was very exciting and humbling that a Director from another organisation took out the time and effort to come to our Centre.

Of course this activity would not have been possible without the hardwork of many people. All the wings came together to make this happen, facilitated by the Centre President. The SSE coordinator and teachers worked with the children and parents to present a program, while the Service Coordinator organised the stationery drive. The Ladies Wing coordinator organised morning tea and the Bhajan Coordinator planned the Devotional part of the program, ensuring we had a good mix of English songs. They had a centre representative for the Community Engagement perspective to plan the program and liaise with Woodbury, and it is rewarding to see the success of different wings coming together in this initiative. With effective teamwork, I am positive that Woodbury and Homebush Centre together can continue spreading positive messages and values into the wider community to Love all and Serve all.


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SSE Music Camp, QLD

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The SSE Music Camp was a spectacular weekend held in the Sathya Sai High College in Murwillumbah, QLD from the 3rd to 5th August. Bright and early on Saturday morning, over 20 SSE students, along with numerous Sai young adult volunteers and parents arose, eager to start the weekend’s activities. Many of the guest speakers travelled from interstate and even overseas for the camp, including Sai Vigneshwar, Gopi Iyer, and Divya Ravinthiran from Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne respectively. The children were taught the importance of morning prayer, the meaning behind Aumkar and how to connect to bhajans (or devotional songs) in a fun and interactive lesson involving music, game and acting. They were given a wonderful opportunity to sing and learn new bhajans and instruments including the piano, harmonium, naal and guitar, lovingly taught by the guest speakers themselves.

The SSE children were also joined by students from the Sathya Sai School for the much anticipated Amazing Race, which involved the children completing various competitive activities around the campus. This was followed by the evening showcase performance. The SSE children were given a chance to showcase their skills during the twilight concert, also featuring a performance from the Beetroot Band (from the Sathya Sai College) and the guest speakers.

The highlight for many of the children was Saturday night’s ‘Sai Kitchen Rules’ session, where the children were excited to be working in teams to make their dinner. On concluding the SSE Music Camp, the children were reluctant to go but were so grateful to be given the opportunity to connect with God on deeper level through music.


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My first interaction with Sathya Sai Baba – A story from Sridhar Subramonian

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I was blessed with an interaction with Sai Baba during my first year of MBA studying at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher learning in Prashanti Nilayam. Sai Baba was interacting with a few MBA students who were asking him various questions and when my turn came up to ask a question, I asked, “Baba, how can one pray using the Vedanta dictum ‘So Aham’?” (So Aham means I am that indicating that the individual soul and the universal soul are the same. Sai Baba in various discourses has elucidated this principle of So Aham).

To this question, Sai Baba very lovingly said “serve everyone unconditionally. This is the best way to internalise the phrase ‘So Aham’ and is the best prayer”. That was it. There was no further explanation. Sai Baba has often commented on the importance of the three-step process of listening, meditating and constant reflection, so I started to meditate on this message.

As I reflected on this message, my first impression was that you normally serve someone who is either better than you or is in a position better than you. Sai Baba has said so many times that ‘Service to man is Service to God’. So, when I serve a fellow being, I serve God in that being. The normal extension to that argument is that when I serve I get something in return. When I serve someone who is in need, I may get nothing from that individual except his blessings and gratitude; however would get some spiritual merit from God.

As I reflected further, Sai Baba had said serve everyone unconditionally; if I am expecting spiritual merit as a product of my service, it becomes conditional. Then my second impression of His message was that Service must be performed with the spirit that you are serving yourself. When I satiate my hunger, I have no thought of serving myself. The action is performed without any effort on the mind. Likewise, when I feed the ‘needy’, it must be done without ego and without a feeling of ‘otherness’. It must come as easily as something you do for yourself. I now understand the message as Service should not be performed with a feeling that I am a giver and the person receiving my service is a beneficiary. Sai Baba wanted my service to be effortless on the mind. So Aham in service is understood as ‘that I am’ who I am serving.

Once a student asked Sai Baba if his father could settle down in Puttaparthi. Sai Baba asked why and the student responded that his father wanted to Serve the Master. Baba said all are Masters and the student persisted, saying “but Baba, my father wants to serve God!” Sai Baba replied that all are God. Another simple conversation emphasising the divine self in all.
Spirituality shouldn’t be in the realm of mental gymnastics but must be an expression of our daily experience. Sai Baba in his inimitable way gave me a mantra and a message reflecting how important a simple act of service is to an individual’s spiritual progress. I continue to reflect on this message and pray to Sai Baba for his constant guidance.


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Education Week – NSW Region West

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Education week was observed in all centres and SSE hubs in Region West from Sunday 12 August to 25 August. The theme for this year was “The Divine Blueprint for a Harmony Home of Human Values.” This year the focus was not just on SSE children but also parents, young adults and adults, on how we can all be better equipped to enhance the spiritual development of our children through enriching study circle material that was shared with centres.

The centralised SSE of Bonnyrigg made an exhibition which was well received by the members. The exhibits brought out the theme well and a lot of hard work has been put in too. Individual parent – teacher meetings were also held where the parents had an opportunity to individually meet their child’s teacher and give feedback on things that were working well and those that needed to be improved. A report of all the feedback will be collated and distributed to teachers.

The centralised SSE of Wentworthville had an open day and parents were invited to visit their child’s classrooms. The teachers designed activities in line with the theme. Before the parents went to the classes the administration team had a meeting with the parents listing out their expectations from parents and during that meeting a former SSE student spoke about her SSE journey. A parent also spoke about his experience bringing his two children to SSE and how it has impacted their lives.

The SSE of Blacktown went away on a retreat organised by the Sathya Sai Centre of Blacktown and explored the theme at the retreat.

A unity meeting was held on Saturday 25 August 2018 to conclude Education Week where the devotional singing was led by SSE children and we had three SSE students talking on the theme. A wonderful way to conclude bringing members together in a harmonious environment.


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“My Sai and I” – Session 9

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The ninth session of the “My Sai and I” series in Canberra and the third session for 2018 took place between 4.30 pm and 6.00 pm on 11 August 2018 at the Griffin Centre in Canberra City.

The event commenced with three Aums and a Ganesha song after which Dristy welcomed the devotees who had gathered that day. Dristy recapped the reason for holding the “My Sai I” series –to offer an opportunity for all to listen to the glorious stories of Sathya Sai from the dearest and nearest of his followers. It is hoped that by listening to these stories we all could, contemplate on Sathya Sai’s love and learn from His Divine messages and transform our lives.

Dristy then introduced Dr Pal Dhall going through his illustrious career both outside and within the Sathya Sai Organisation. Dr Pal Dhall is a Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of the UK and the Australasian Royal College of Surgeons. Dr Pal Dhall was Professor of Surgery in the University of Nairobi, Kenya in the 70’s. After moving to Australia in 1975 he was Senior Consultant Surgeon, Director of the Vascular and Thrombosis Research Unit and a Visiting Fellow of the John Curtin School of Medical Research of the Australian National University. He was Academic Advisor to the University of Central Queensland for the Master’s program in Learning Management with Human Values and Adjunct Professor of the University of Canberra in Bio-ethics. Last year he was honoured by Ricardo Palma University in Peru with a University medal as a Distinguished Academic and given the title of Honorary Professor of Ricardo Palma University. In Ecuador he and his wife, Dr Tehseen Dhall, were honoured by the City of Guayaquil as Honoured guests of the City. Dr Pal Dhall has published over 200 scientific papers and articles in the field of vascular and thrombosis research and general surgery.

In the Sathya Sai Organisation, Dr Pal Dhall served as the National Education and Devotion Coordinator in the 90’s. In 2004 he was appointed as the Zone Chair for Zones 3, 4 and 5, and was the Chair of the Education Committee of Prashanti Council and the SSS World Foundation. He has published 19 books some jointly with Dr Tehseen Dhall on Human Values and on the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba and some of these books have been translated into several languages. In addition, Dr Pal Dhall served as the Director of Institute of Sathya Sai Education in Australia.

Presently, Dr Pal Dhall is the co-chair of the Education Committee of the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation and Prashanti Council and looks after 43 Sathya Sai Schools and 31 Institutes of Sathya Sai Education in Human Values around the world. Along with his wife, he is an International trainer for a variety of programs they have developed on Human Values and ethics with a focus on Human Values in Education, Parenting, and Human Development. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Canberra Interfaith Forum of Canberra.

Hence it is without surprise that through all these experiences Dr Pal Dhall has had the good fortune of closely interacting with Sathya Sai Baba, both physically and in the cosmic sense.

Dr Pal Dhall noted that the majority of the speakers at the ‘My Sai and I’ sessions were students of Institutions established by Sathya Sai such as the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. However, he noted that all of us are students in our own way. Dr Pal Dhall also added that his talk would centre on the collective experience of his family rather his experience alone and as such the topic of the day would be ‘Our Sai and I’ instead of ‘My Sai and I.’

Dr Pal Dhall said that early in life he had an orientation to spiritual life having been born and raised in Kenya where people from different faiths co-existed. He grew up with the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads and his mother, an ardent Krishna devotee, treated Lord Krishna more like a family member. In the 1950s while attending medical school in the UK, Dr Pal Dhall found that there was a lot of focus on Christian missionaries, and conversion of people from other faiths to Christianity was the norm. During this time Dr Pal Dhall became familiar with writings of the Christian mystics and Guru Nanak, and delved further into the Gita and Upanishads to firm up his own understanding of his own religion in order to mainly enter into informed debate with those who propagated Christianity as the exclusive religion.

Dr Pal Dhall became a professor at the age of 34 years and had a life of comfort and, like many, lost touch with spirituality in the chase for a career. Dr Pal Dhall said that many of us are pre-occupied with various activities and live in a pressure cooker environment. These pressures have increased today particularly with the increased use of social media. He found secular success lacking a deep meaning and he then turned to spirituality. Spirituality offers an alternate way of life. Questions like “Who are we?” “Where do we come from?” “Where we are going?” led Dr Dhall to turn to Mahayana Buddhism. It should be noted in Sanskrit the word “Mahayana” means great vehicle and this form of Buddhism is prominent in North Asia, including China, Mongolia, Tibet, Korea, and Japan.

Dr Dhall came to know about Sathya Sai in an aircraft on his way back from England via Pakistan. An Englishman sitting next to him on the plane noticed that Dr Dhall was a vegetarian and a teetotaller. He started a conversation with Dr Dhall and he told him about Sai Baba and his miracles of healing people by touch, and gave Dr Dhall an account of Sathya Sai reviving someone after he had died. Dr Dhall was convinced in no uncertain terms that this was not possible. He stated that he should know better since he was a surgeon and a scientist however the Englishman continued to talk about an Avatar on Earth. Dr Dhall remained unconvinced and in fact doubted the Englishman’s sanity and credibility, though he had spoken for many hours. As Dr Dhall was getting off in Karachi the Englishman took a plastic packet of powdery material and pressed it on to Dr Dhall saying, “You owe it to yourself to go and see Baba in India’. Dr Dhall remembered saying to himself “How crazy is this guy! He expects me to go chasing after some strange Guru in India. He is probably taking some hallucinogenic drugs and the packet of the powdery material is probably that. He decided out of politeness to take the packet, determined to throw it away before being caught in the Customs in Karachi and put into prison for possessing drugs.

In Karachi he forgot to throw away the packet of vibuthi as there was a lot of commotion at the airport from a bomb blast. He shared his experience with the Englishman with his brother-in-law who seemed fascinated with all the miracles, and declared that he would like to visit India and meet Sai Baba. He found, much to his surprise, the same reaction in his wife, Tehseen when he returned home. Within weeks of his return, Dr Dhall and his wife embarked on a journey of discovery of Sathya Sai. Many ‘coincidences’ and surprising experiences led both Dr Dhall and his wife to make many trips to Puttaparthi, sometimes alone and sometimes with their children. Gradually, their life became more and more focused on Sai Baba. It should be noted that until then Dr Dhall had led two parallel lives – an inner spiritual life and an external worldly life, and his approach to spirituality had been to bring God within the realm of his understanding; now he has learnt that God is neither measurable nor understandable with the human mind.

Dr Pal Dhall shared numerous experiences including the collective experience of his family with Sathya Sai; a selection of these experiences are shared below in order to enable the readers to get the essence of the learnings.

Divine Coincidence
During one of Dr Dhall’s early trips to Puttaparthi he found that he was going to be sharing the house he had rented with three people – a drug addict, a butcher and one who had no faith in medical practitioners or their treatment. Dr Pal Dhall had to overcome his prejudices and learn to share a month of experiences by living with the three, understanding them and going beyond merely getting along with these three individuals. He is now convinced that nothing is a meaningless coincidence or a matter of chance.

Divine Teaching
Dr Pal Dhall used to have an outer house at his residence which he used for meditation practices based on Mahayana Buddhism. In an interview Sathya Sai advised that such meditating in isolation is selfish and that in fact, “Work is worship.”

Understanding Divine Miracles
Dr Pal Dhall’s greatest challenge was to bring Sathya Sai within the realm of his understanding as a scientist. However, Sathya Sai seemed to arrange events in such a way that Dr Pal Dhall had to repeatedly confront the rigid programming of his own rational and scientific mind. During an interview, Dr Dhall saw Sathya Sai create Vibuthi, or holy ash. On another occasion, he filled the cupped palms of a student with fresh, hot laddu, an Indian sweet, which poured out from His fingers. Dr Dhall was intrigued at how all this was happening. On another occasion, Sathya Sai materialised a gold ring with an image of Buddha. Sathya Sai handed this ring to Dr Dhall and asked him pass the ring around to others after inspection. When the ring had done the full circle, Sathya Sai held it in full view of Dr Pal Dhall and blew on it. In an instant the image of Buddha changed to the symbol of Om. Sathya Sai looked at Dr Pal Dhall with a smile and said “See, My workers are very fast!”. As a scientist Dr Pal Dhall had the greatest difficulty comprehending what he had just witnessed. Gradually he began to understand that miracles happen every moment of our life but we begin to take these miracles for granted. The whole of creation is full of magic and miracles, and Sai Baba show us the way to connect with these miracles in which we are immersed.

Divine Manifestations
Dr Pal Dhall said that Sathya Sai’s omnipresence is most forcefully felt through His manifestations which occur in homes thousands of miles away from Puttaparthi. Dr Pal Dhall cited several examples of these manifestations. For example, a drop of Amrit manifested on a picture of Baba when Dr Pal Dhall was ill and unable to go to devotional singing during Diwali; Vibuthi in the shape of a smiling face manifested on the roller skates given to their daughter, Shammah, on her birthday; and in an unopened a packet of potato chips. He also narrated how vibuthi manifested on Diploma Certificates which were neatly laid in front the Sathya Sai altar at a residence in Perth prior to the graduation ceremony of students of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education in Australia.

Divine Protector
On many occasions Sathya Sai became a divine protector for Dr Dhall’s family. When Dr Dhall’s daughter, Shammah went skiing for the first time, he had an intuition she might hurt herself. That night Dr Pal Dhall saw Sathya Sai in a dream and in this dream Sathya Sai conveyed to him that Shammah may have a mishap. In the dream Dr Pal Dhall had pleaded with Sathya Sai until He agreed that He would do something about this. On the ski slopes on the first day Shammah kept falling and calling on Sathya Sai for help. When that night Shammah saw Sathya Sai she complained to Him that He had not been helping her. Sathya Sai said to her, “If you want help, Shammah, you have to call Me from your heart. Remember this tomorrow.” The next day when Shammah went skiing she was going downhill and lost control. She did not know how to steer or to stop. She was hurtling towards a tree at a steadily accelerating speed and called on Sathya Sai in desperation from her heart. Suddenly, from nowhere appeared another skier who came towards her at great speed and knocked her over away from the tree. She rolled in the snow uninjured and avoided hitting into the tree. Later, Shammah could not find the skier – he had disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared.

Dristy thanked Dr Pal Dhall for sharing his and his family’s beautiful memories of Sathya Sai. The 11th series of the ‘My Sai and I’ event concluded with a devotional song and Aarathi and distribution of Vibuthi and light refreshment


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Human Values Day – Sai Lifestyle

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Eighty Sathya Sai devotees gathered at the Ermington Community Centre Hall in Sydney on the wintry morning of 18 August 2018. The devotees had come to delve deep into our beloved Sathya Sai Baba’s message on the Five Human Values. The program began with devotional singing to signify our offering of the program at His Lotus Feet. Srinivasan Iyer spoke first on the nuances of Sai Lifestyle and explained the topics that are currently in focus in the Sai Lifestyle Program.

Three young adults from Carlingford Sai Centre then took to the podium, starting a debate on Truth. They deliberated on whether a human point of view can be regarded as Truth, as this is very much transient and bound to change with time. Only that which does not change with time can be deemed as Truth. The young adults introduced Neville Fredericks to shed some light on the topic ‘What is Truth’. Neville beautifully related to the inner conscience and God as where Truth truly prevails. He also explained that our soul is also that same Truth, which is no different to God.

Veena then presented on the next value – Right Conduct (Dharma) or Righteousness. She drew upon a profound statement from the Bhagavad Gita which states that Dharma shall always prevail and when there is decay in the Dharmic ways, He returns to uphold Dharma. Her presentation focused on two questions – why this path, and why/how we should follow it. The audience was divided into small groups to analyse various scenarios with moral dilemma we face in everyday life. The groups delved deep into each scenario, coming up with eye-opening insights for themselves and the group.

Dushy and Kalpana then presented their analysis of the next value of Peace. They spoke about how the world is in a state of flux with prosperity on one side and unrest, violence, drought and poverty on the other, and the question was raised on what Peace is in all these situations.

The presentation delved in to the absence of inner peace and its causes. The participants were divided into groups to analyse and understand Sathya Sai Baba’s various quotes on Peace. Participants happily engaged in the discussion and provided various interpretations to define Peace. When there is individual peace, it will lead to harmony in the home. This will then lead to order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there will be Peace in the world.

Next, Sharanya took on the task of presenting the value of Love. Sharanya’s presentation was deeply touching, as she shared many personal experiences of God’s Love. She touched on her experiences in every step of her spiritual quest. Sharanya took some inspiration from Sai Baba’s discourse at the 2007 World Youth Conference on what true Love is, drawing attention to the following quotes:

  • True love originates only from GOD. GOD is the embodiment of love. Love is God. Live in Love.
  • Love is not your individual property. It is universal and belongs to all. Love is in everyone. Love is there in you, Me and everyone.
  • It is very easy to experience love. Love is very powerful. There is nothing in this world which can surpass it. When you look at it, love appears to be very small. But it is as deep as an ocean and as high as a mountain. It is inexhaustible and infinite. You should realise this principle of love.
  • Venkat Reddy then delivered his presentation on Non-Violence. Venkat started with Sai Baba’s quote “We should interpret Non-Violence as not causing any harm to any individual by any means.” He then went on to explain the Help-Hurt process. Here Venkat took the participants along a path of intent in an action that leads to Thought, Word and Deed that ends in Sai Baba’s notion of “Help Ever, Hurt Never”.

    Venkat delved in to his personal experiences , and said that Love at Work helped to develop non-violent speech that lead to him feeling lighter, happier, connected and self-confident. Venkat then opened to the floor with some interesting questions that we face in daily life relating to Non-Violence. While taking a different approach from the rest of the presenters, at the end he arrived at Sai Love- just “think of God, think of God.”

    Feedback from participants:

    What a wonderful, wonderful event. It was remarkable in every single way. The excitement, the beliefs and the passion of the speakers for Sai was palpable. I felt so blessed, not only for the opportunity to participate, but also because the day was so filled with love and faith that I felt invigorated. The food was delicious as indeed were all the little touches that the organisers put in place to make it such a glorious Sai Day.
    Sincerely and with an Infinity of Blessings,
    Margaret Kelly.

    Thank you for the very thoughtful and engaging script and for giving us the opportunity. It was lovely experience, and the sessions were very thought-provoking.
    Our regards,
    Alokita

    Happy to have been part of the HV Day. Thank you for the opportunity. It was good as each presentation had a different approach.
    Kind regards
    Dushy

    Thanks for a wonderful day
    Kind regards,
    Sharanya Naidoo

    Thank you dear all for the inspiring efforts – from the tech team, food team, organisers and presenters! It was a wonderful offering.
    Until next time,
    Veena

    It was a day filled with insight and inspiration and the heart-warming presence of Sathya Sai Baba. What a day! Worth a weekend, a week, a month.
    Venkat


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    Beyond 2020 Zone 3 Young Adults Festival

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    The Zone 3 Young Adults Festival, ‘Beyond 2020’, was held over the Easter weekend from Friday 30 March to Monday 2 April 2018 in Hamilton, New Zealand. The very first Festival of its kind to be held in the Zone, saw over 200 Sai Young Adults from Australia, Fiji and New Zealand unite to reflect on how far we have come and how we can carry Sathya Sai Baba’s mission further, beyond geographical boundaries and beyond 2020.

    The overarching theme throughout the Festival was IGNITE, as young adults aimed to IGNITE the flame within their hearts and journey forward as one family, to serve together with the common purpose of love. To IGNITE is to unify, inspire action, and to grow brighter as Sathya Sai Baba’s sparks in society. The Festival was centred around three key pillars: Morality ‘Change begins in us’, Spirituality ‘You and I are one’ and Humanity ‘Service to man is service to God’.

    Day One
    The Festival commenced with the Ember Games Phase 1, an ‘Amazing Race’ style game, where delegates were divided into four houses, (each named appropriately, based on qualities needed to IGNITE: Illumino (Illumination), Dedicatio (Dedication), Energio (Energy) and Amore (Love)), and completed a range of challenges. Delegates were shown that being present and available for Sathya Sai Baba, was the first step on this beautiful journey to IGNITE.

    The IGNITE Sparkzone area consisting of exhibitions about major Zone 3 and International Projects was available for delegates to browse throughout the duration of the Festival. Some of the featured projects were: Serve the Planet (STP), the Sathya Sai International Youth Leadership Programme (SSIYLP), Love All Serve All (LASA) and Sathya Sai Schools. The creatively crafted exhibitions were both informative and interactive and added a touch of humour via the use of a fun photo booth.

    The uplifting Opening Ceremony set the scene for the Festival going forward and included inspiring messages from the Zone 3 Chair Neville Fredericks, Central Coordinator Krishnan Nair, Zone 3 Young Adults Coordinator Shiva Karan and the National President of New Zealand, Murali Kruthiventy. A traditional New Zealand cultural welcome was offered by the Indigenous Maori Elders of the local Tainui Tribe. They shared the heartfelt message that, ‘together we recognize the common divine heritage that unites us all as one family’ and the Maori saying, ‘Aroha mai, aroha atu’: ‘love received is love returned’. Australian Indigenous, Native Fijian and Maori spirituality was acknowledged by narrations of creation stories from each culture.

    Highly anticipated and dynamic guest speakers, Aparna Murali from Los Angeles and Amey Deshpande from Puttaparthi, graced the evening as they shared their experiences with Sathya Sai Baba and imparted beautiful messages.

    The soul stirring Beyond 2020 theme song, ‘Lovelight’, echoed in the hearts of all as the first day came to an end and the flame within everyone was well and truly sparked.

    “Burning brighter brighter
    Burning ever brighter
    Take me higher
    Take me always higher”

    Day Two
    An early morning programme of heart-warming devotional songs started day two of the festival. Amey and Aparna shared more uplifting talks on the theme of Morality. Participants then delved deeper in the ‘Ignition Sessions’; workshops facilitated by fellow young adults. Topics included ‘The Sai-tightrope of life’ and ‘Deep C Divinity: Diving deeper into your consciousness’.
    As the day progressed, Phase 2 of the ‘Ember Games’ commenced with outdoor activities. ‘The Battle of SoSAIties’, a game show based on Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings and various religions, engaged all, demonstrating our oneness in a fun and exciting way. The day also included delegates from New Zealand sharing service activities they were involved with, through a comic skit.

    Day Three
    The third day of B2020 was centred on Spirituality. Being April fool’s day, Amey shared a story about an April fool’s prank Sathya Sai Baba played on His students. He reminded all that Sai is not only our Guide and Teacher, but also our friend. Aparna highlighted that Sathya Sai Baba has so much love for us; we need only see things from His perspective and ask for His guidance. The delegates later engaged in various workshops including ‘Sacred Indigenous Spirituality’, ‘The Spiral of Life’ and ‘Golden Age Technology’.

    In the afternoon the participants brainstormed service activities that could be implemented across the Zone in the IGNITE Forum. The National President of Fiji, Dr. Rajat Gyaneshwar, expressed his gratitude towards the young adults of Fiji and shared examples of Fiji service activities in a creative presentation entitled, Sai Talanoa.

    The festival was joined by local leaders from New Zealand’s Maori, Islamic and Christian communities for the session ‘IGNITEing the Spirit: Sai Easter’. They shared stories and insights on the Easter message of Love. An Easter themed Ember Games Phase 3 followed with a Scavenger Hunt and Obstacle course.

    In the evening a powerful and uplifting ‘Sai Symphony’ performance showcased Zone 3 talent, as young adults united to share their love for Sathya Sai Baba through music. As the day came to an end, Amey’s devotional singing workshop left all feeling inspired with the flame within everyone burning even brighter.

    Day Four
    Zone 3 Chair, Neville Fredericks, gave his closing address early in the day, sharing in the energy and love fostered over the course of the festival. The Australia delegates then shared activities in their country through a creative multimedia presentation: Channel Sai News. The National President of Australia Singanayagam Indrapalan, made an address in which he shared his appreciation of the leadership young adults have shown in Australia and noted their unity across the zone.

    The closing day events were centred on Humanity; putting Morality and Spirituality into practice. SaiX was a series of inspiring TedX style talks, delivered by fellow young adults including Dr. Shivendra Kumar, former International Young Adults Coordinator. A Q&A panel discussion with Aparna and Amey encouraged participants to seek and be good company and to never forget who they truly are – God.

    During the memorable closing ceremony, Central Coordinator Krishnan Nair and the National President of New Zealand, Murali Kruthiventy, shared their sincere thanks and aspirations for the young adults of Zone 3. Shiva Karan, Zone 3 Young Adults Coordinator, then rounded off the closing remarks with an inspired speech focusing on the resolutions arising from Beyond 2020. He explained that in the coming years, the goal of Zone 3 young adults collectively would be to: ENRICH-EXPRESS-EXPAND. That is, to enrich young adults with the skills and spiritual energy required to drive the organisation forward, to express these skills through teams and projects, and to expand their love and service further into the community and all of creation. Ideas brainstormed in the IGNITE Forum contributed to these resolutions. One of the main resolutions addresses current global environmental issues. In 2020, Zone 3 will host a ‘Serve the Planet’ Environmental Forum with global communities, targeting change at the individual level. The forum will be unique in that Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings and messages will drive the forum. Fiji is highly vulnerable to climate change, and for this reason the conference will be held there.

    As the final day concluded and delegates prepared to return to their everyday lives, they left enriched and ready to carry the flame forward burning ever brighter…

    “May the spark of love-light reach you
    Ignite the torch within me
    Let it go everywhere
    And bring everyone
    Bathe everything in love”


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    Working Bee at the Sai School – Murwillumbah

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    The energy that I felt as soon as I entered the Sai School area was just amazing. It was the same feeling I felt when I visited Dr Jhum Sai’s Sai School in Thailand! The place is so serene and beautiful amidst mountains. The activities we did included cleaning the garden, raking leaves, mulching, removing weeds, painting, vegetable gardening, and cleaning windows and classrooms at the primary school and high school. Even though a large group of us hadn’t slept much the previous night as we drove from Sydney overnight, time just flew by and we worked hard until 5pm. We weren’t tired at all – some volunteers were even playing football! That was the energy we felt, being there and just doing service wholeheartedly! An important thing I’ve resolved to bring home is to spread word about the Sai School at Murwillumbah and get other people involved in it as much as possible so that they too benefit from visiting as much as I did.


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    Tree Planting and National Tree Day

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    Members across Australia participated in local tree planting activities as part of National Tree Day 2018. Below are some images of tree planting and showing love towards Mother Earth in action!

    Victoria Region

    The Victorians braved the cold and took part in our regional service activity – Tree Planting at Belgrave. We were blessed to have the sun shining brightly and basking us in its warmth as we all got our hands dirty and immersed ourselves in Mother Nature. We had a turnout of around 60 members. Within a few hours, we managed to plant 600 trees. The planting was followed by a tour of the grounds where we were shown the trees planted by ‘Sathya Sai’ a few years back. It was truly a lovely day spent with Mother Nature.

    WA Regional Tree Planting with SERCUL

    On Saturday 21st of July 2018 WA region volunteered for the 6th year with “Men of Trees” and South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL) to help undertake tree planting activities. This year the wet weather did not deter over 35 volunteers, who planted 1600 trees! The purpose of this tree planting location is to rehabilitate the wetlands and the Canning River region.

    NSW Region

    About 190 members across NSW came together on Sunday 29 July 2018 to take part in what was an energetic National Tree Day. Adults, Young Adults and SSE children came together to carry out service and further appreciate our beautiful environment, spread out across six locations in NSW. A total of approximately 15,000 trees were planted across the sites. Along with tree planting, there were bush care activities, educational sessions for children, and delicious vegetarian BBQs and refreshments. The activity provided a valuable opportunity to carry out Sathya Sai Baba’s work alongside various councils and the wider public.

    In performing this service, participants truly understood the part they played in preserving Mother Nature; as one of our young adults shared, it was a “beautiful day in the sun amidst Sai Baba’s creation that filled me with gratitude for the playground Sai Baba has given me.” One of our SSE children also felt gratitude to the trees that “give us oxygen!”

    No doubt, opportunities such as this to spend time with Mother Nature, share with Her our love, and learn from the love She showers on us will continue to help us practice expansion of our love. As Sathya Sai Baba has said, “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 beings in the world. Proceed from less Love to more Love, narrow Love to expanded Love.”


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    Guru Purnima Celebrations in Australia

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    Centres and Regions across Australia chose to celebrate the occasion of Guru Purnima in a variety of ways this year. Below are a few glimpses into some of the offerings and celebrations.

    Toowoomba Service Activity

    The Toowoomba Sai Centre organised a service opportunity as part of their Guru Purnima Celebrations. A total of 24 grocery packs were donated by Toowoomba Sai Centre to Mission Australia. The packs were warmly received with great joy and appreciation. The donation packs were distributed to the local Toowoomba refugee community, largely consisting of families from Afghanistan.

    QLD Regional Celebrations

    VIC East Nursing Home Visits

    The Guru Purnima service offerings kicked off in Victoria East last weekend on the 1st July with the nursing home singing activity being the first. This service activity included energetic renditions of old time classics, interactive games and lots of dancing performed by the young adults, which the residents thoroughly enjoyed. The majority of the service attendees were young adults.

    Trillion Trees Challenge – SYA of WA

    “There is not greater example of Selfless Love, than Nature” – Sathya Sai Baba

    As part of their Guru Purnima offering, the SYA of WA have undertaken a series of service activities. One of these was attending a local Trillion Trees Challenge planting site. As they were planting the young adults lovingly dedicated each tree to a person to encourage the heart to heart connection with their task.

    NSW Nursing Home Visits

    On Saturday 4 August 2018, 90 members across NSW came together to offer the final service for Guru Purnima. Members visited 6 nursing homes across metropolitan NSW. The nursing homes were located in Quakers Hill, Greystanes, Merrylands, Baulkham Hills, Carlingford and Ryde. These visits incorporated the positive and refreshing energy of the Young Adults, Adults and SSE children collectively, which allowed us to spread Sathya Sai Baba’s love and joy with the residents.

    Nursing home visits gave us the opportunity to come together and promote the message of love and peace that our beloved Sai Baba emphasises. Through music and games, we were able to interact and bond with individual residents. Members were also inspired by the enriching life experiences shared by the residents. We were blessed to come across couples who have been married for 50 years and are continuing to venture through this journey of life together. It is always challenging to walk into a foreign environment and trying to engage with strangers, but through Sai’s grace, we were able to interact with the residents through games, music and dancing. In one instance, the music and atmosphere was so lively that a resident believed that Christmas had come early. We left each nursing home with a promise to return very soon, eagerly embracing our theme for GP 2018: Endless Service, Timeless Love.

    Let us all continue our journey of service with our beloved Sathya Sai’s words in mind – “Service gives widespread pleasure and happiness for all mankind. In fact, service is the first step along the spiritual path, for service to man is service to God.”

    NSW – Devotional Offering

    The Guru Purnima devotional offering was held on Saturday 28 July 2018 at Marsden High School, West Ryde. The theme for the month long activities was ‘Endless Service, Timeless Love’. The service part of the Guru Purnima activities included a simple spiritual discipline plan which incorporated the Body, Mind and Soul, blood donation, clothes donations, nursing home visits and tree planting and bush care activities which coincided with National Tree Day on 29 July 2018.

    The devotional offering commenced with devotional singing followed by a drama by some of the young adults from both Region East and West. The drama depicted the Body, Mind and Soul aspects in a family environment comprising a mother and her daughters. The daughters (named Mindy and Soul) lovingly called their mother Bodyma. The sisters were completely different from each other; the older sister Sou was very calm, spiritually minded and eager to teach Mindy about spirituality and the benefits derived from reading Sai literature and doing daily meditation. The mother was constantly exercising and encouraging her daughters to lead a healthy lifestyle which included a healthy body, sound mind and a peaceful soul. The play was well written and the young adults certainly made every effort to drive home the message of caring for your body, mind and soul equally.

    The play was followed by a presentation on the service activities that were undertaken by the young adults as part of Guru Purnima, and the event concluded with more devotional singing. It was a very well executed program and the take home message was clear to all who attended.

    WA Region

    The WA Region celebrated Guru Poornima with its members on the 29th of July, a Sunday morning. This year’s inspirational theme was “Service to Man, is Service to God”.
    In line with the theme, the members began the event by packing dental items for the homeless of Perth. Children, youth and adults worked together in an assembly line, packing toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss into a dental kit.

    Following the service activity, the Sai Youth Adult presented their service offerings for Guru Poornima, including Liquid Love, Trillion Tree planting challenge, Sai Youth Mentoring service and cooking for the homeless. There was also a launch of a new service initiative program called SOS (Service our Sai families) and sharing of inspirational stories and the Nepal SSIO service Service Video and the National Conference 2019 video.

    ACT Region

    Guru Poorinma in the ACT Region was commemorated on Sunday, 29 July 2018 between 9.30 am to 11.30 am.

    The program began with Ragavan, Master of Ceremonies (MC) welcoming approximately 100 Sai followers who had gathered at the Senior Citizen’s Centre hall in Turner on a very crisp cold Canberra morning to commemorate Gurua Poorinma. The altar was simple but aptly decorated with a combination of candles on two iron candle stands, pine corns and green leaves and fresh flowers that was not only inviting but provided a warm and rustic feel that wintery morning.

    Ragavan briefly noted the significance of the Guru Poornima and that the best form of worship of the Guru is to follow his teachings, shine as the very embodiment of his teachings and propagate his glory and his message. Ragvan steered the program by announcing each of the segments.

    The first item in the program was the recitation of Guru Stotram and Sai Satguru Stotram by the Sai Young Adults of the ACT Region. Next, in the program was an offering in the form of a play by the Sai Young Adults of the ACT Region titled “Pure Love”.

    The play was woven around a queen from ancient times whose kingdom was plagued by drought with peasants folk in the kingdom undergoing a lot of hardships. However, the queen despite the advice of her Minister continues to raise the taxes and burdens the farmers further with severe hardships. The queen’s trusted advisor, the magical mirror, shows the queen how the peasants were coping under her callous rule. The magical mirror also shows how one peasant despite all the hardships was supporting his fellow peasants by sharing whatever little produce he had. The queen was not impressed with the peasants who helped others and felt that they were squirreling away their wealth and were not contributing to her kingdom. The queen smashes the magical mirror into two when the mirror continues take her on a tour of her kingdom. As soon as the mirror is shattered, the queen is transported to the dark forests with none of her finery. The queen lies all alone in the forest hungry and tired when a passing robber steals from her a few gold coins she had in her possession. The queen continues to roam looking for food and shelter and when a kind women gives her only scarf as covering for the night. The queen asks food from an elderly peasant in return of the gold coin she has in her possession. The elderly peasant says that gold is of no use to her and that in their world one needs able bodies to do work and bring in the daily produce. The elderly peasant indicates shows cow dung and asks the queen if she can assist her to build her hearth as the parched and arid land has not provided them with the required food. The queen initially was reluctant to soil her hands but relents does the household chores for the elderly peasant in return for food and continues her journey. The queen meets the robber who stole the gold coins from her looking hungry and offers whatever food she had been given by the elderly peasant. The robber is surprised and the queen says that she now understands that Love is the essence of life and love seeks nothing in return. Immediately the curse is broken and the queen is transported back to her kingdom and the queen immediately instructs to remove any taxes that burden the people in her kingdom and rules her kingdom with love being the focal point.

    The second item was a talk by Peter Fenner, the latest addition to the Canberra Sai Community. Peter, for over a period of 40 years has distilled the essence of traditions like Zen and the Buddhist Middle Way, and adapted them to suit our post-modern culture. In addition Peter also has served as the Senior Lecturer in Asian Philosophy at Deakin University, Australia and visiting lecturer at the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.

    Peter said that though he had been a Sai follower for about 20 years he had not publicly spoken about Sathya Sai Baba and that it was he was only speaking because of Sathya Sai’s divine play or leela. Peter said that Guru Worship is an important element in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions where the Guru, the spiritual guide and teacher is remembered with love and gratitude. Peter had good fortune to meet his first Guru, Tibetan lama Thubten Yeshe, founder of The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition in 1974. He met Sathya Sai in 1998. Peter said that during his visit to Puttaparthi he did not leave as intended and stayed longer and felt that this was again Sathya Sai’s divine play. Peter also says that the ways of the guru cannot be discerned by the mind and that the guru is the one who, through his own direct experience may teach and lead a spiritual aspirant along the path to right living and enlightenment and the spiritual spirant should willingly surrender to the Guru.

    The third item was a very uplifting devotional singing. Some of the devotional songs sung on this day included the following: Prema Sai Parthi Sai, ‘Guru Mahima Gao, Shirdi Sai Parthi Sai, I am God, Guru Nanak Ji Ki Jai Kaar with musical instruments tastefully selected to accompany the devotional songs and thus accentuating the singing.

    The fourth item was a discourse by Sathya Sai Baba delivered during the Guru Poornima celebrations of 1988. The heart of this discourse was that it is time to put into practice all the spiritual learnings and that essence of all teachings is love. The discourse ends with Sathya Sai singing the devotional song “Prema Muditha” and all the Sai followers congregating that day sang along with him. This devotional song not only energised all but was a fitting end to the program.

    The final item in the day’s program was the vote of thanks by Mayavan, President, ACT Region’s Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia and PNG. Mayavan thanked all for their presence and reminded the reason for congregating that day at the Turner Senior Citizens’ hall was to contemplate and practice the teachings of Sathya Sai in our daily life. This was why in October 1940, when Sathya Sai Baba declared His mission and the first message as the Avatar of the age was to teach the devotional song, “Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam, Dusthara Bhava Sagara Taranam…” which means ‘O Mind, take refuge at the feet of the Guru; He will guide you across this ocean called life’. Mayavan thanked Peter for his insightful talk, the Ladies’ Wing for their efforts in setting up the altar, Young Adults for their offering in the form of a play and all lead singers and musicians for their dedication. Mayavan used the vote of thanks as an opportunity to update all on following upcoming National and Regional Sai activities by showing either a short promotional video or the flyer:

  • National Sai Conference during the Easter weekend of 2019;
  • My Sai and I on 11 August 2018; and
  • Mind your health, a health awareness workshop on 1 September 2018
  • The program concluded with Aarti, distribution of vibuthi and serving of light lunch which was organised by the Ladies’ Wing and comprised of rice, dhal curry, mixed vegetable curry, potato curry and fruit platters,

    The focal point of any Guru Purnima celebration is to turn back and review and how much one has progressed in life. This year it appears that we in the ACT region through our Guru Poornima commemorations focused on how to advance on our spiritual journey by making Love the focal point, the human heart visible and letting Sathya Sai be our personal coach in our spiritual journey.


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