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Ladies Day Celebrations Across Australia

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QLD

QLD Region held a service-orientated program to celebrate Ladies Day. The function began with devotional singing, a Ladies Day message and was shortly followed by service activities. These activities included assembling 200 birthing kits (Birthing Kit Foundation Australia), making dog and cat toys for the animals at the RSPCA, sewing animal pouches and making Christmas gift packs for the Blue Care clients which included a handwritten card, homemade Christmas cake and other Christmas goodies. The event concluded with lunch lovingly prepared by the ladies, and as part of the Serve The Planet initiative, reusable cups and plates were used.

VIC West

The ladies of VIC Region West celebrated Ladies Day by actively participating in and performing a musical medley, a drama, a quiz, and devotional singing. The highlight was the delicious food lovingly prepared by the brothers!

ACT

VIC East

Victoria East Region Ladies Day was celebrated on 19th November at the Glen Waverley Community Hall. It was attended by about 140 devotees and the theme was “Holding on to Him”.

The program commenced at 7pm with Veda Chanting – this was the first time Veda Chanting was included in a regional Ladies Day celebration in VIC East. The chanting was done by a vibrant group of ladies, a few young adults and SSE children.

This was followed by an inspiring speech by Vasumathi Ravindran on the topic “Holding on to Sathya Sai Baba.” She discussed the tools Sai Baba has given us to continue to hold on to His values, and simple ways to practice His teachings in our daily lives.

A humorous Play titled “Sharanam Sharanam” was next on the program. The actors included ladies and young adults. The play explored the concept of surrender – leaving everything to His will, Holding on to Him with complete faith, and Letting Go and Letting God in.

The program concluded with devotional singing. There were 9 devotional songs, with a singer representing each of the 8 centres in the region for the first 8. The final song was the English song “I will Love You more and more each day” sung by the group.

Packed food and sweets were distributed at the end of the program. With Sathya Sai Baba’s Grace it was an enjoyable and spiritually elevating evening program.

NSW East

The Ladies Day celebration for NSW Region East was held on Sunday 18 November at the Dundas Community Hall, Telopea. The event comprised a number wonderful items, all of which had messages of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The program commenced with veda chanting by the ladies and some young adults; this was indeed a very great start to an uplifting cultural program that was in store for the remainder of the afternoon. This was followed by a few devotional songs.

We then had a drama depicting the life of Sharada Devi who was an ardent devotee of Shridi Sai Baba. She was the one to whom Shirdi Sai Baba had prophesied that he would reincarnate as another avatar and that he would draw her to himself. Indeed at the age of fourteen when Sathya Sai Baba declared he was Shirdi Sai Baba, Sharada Devi, who was also affectionately called Pedda Bottu visited him in Andhra Pradesh. This was a very well orchestrated play and the message was conveyed very well.

The Ladies Coordinator for the Region, Mrs Vathana Sivabalan, then gave a welcoming address and shared some of the insights of her spiritual journey over the years. Following this was the guest speaker for the day – Miss Kashveera Chanderjith. Miss Chanderjith is a chartered accountant by profession and is the first deaf chartered accountant in the world. She is originally from South Africa and currently resides in Sydney working for Qantas. She is a long-time ardent devotee of Sathya Sai Baba. Kashveera was born deaf and mute, and when she was very young she visited Prashanthi Nilayam with her parents. Sathya Sai Baba told her parents at the time that when she went back to South Africa she would start to talk. She did indeed started speaking by saying her very first word – ‘flower’. Although she is still deaf, Kashveera speaks very eloquently. She had the audience enthralled by relating her life’s journey. She was very inspirational and everyone thoroughly enjoyed listening to her melodious voice.

This was followed by a short video message and the program ended with more devotional singing. Overall the program was uplifting and very insightful with lots of take-home messages.

NSW Region West

Compilation on Ladies Day:
On Monday 19 November 2018, we have had a beautiful offering by the ladies of NSW Region West on the Ladies Day.
Inspiring and practical messages were shared by the ladies through music, drama and a talk back show. We share below details of the program that ensued.

It has been said that “a home without a woman is like a forest”. I extend this to our Region where the aunties and sisters are the back bone and powerhouse of all that we do in our Centres and Region. On this day we acknowledge and salute their contributions.

Compilation on Ladies Day

Program
The 2018 Ladies Day celebrations started with chanting of 108 names of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, followed by a devotional musical presentation, a drama and a talk show. The program concluded with devotional bhajans and Aarati.

Drama
A drama entitled Sai – Our Life is your message is presented beautifully by SAI family ladies. The drama consisted mainly of two parts.

In first part: The Master – Lives in our hearts and will guide us at every step of life. It was presented how HE guides a working woman to take a right decision to teach at SSE. She not only motivates her colleague who is stressed but also consoles her boss at critical time. When they both were happy they suggest her to teach and showed interest in sending their kids to SSE if she teaches. That reminded her of Baba’s instruction in her dream, helped her to understand HIS instructions for her to teach. All are instruments of GOD.

In the later part: The Messengers – True messengers live the message and lead by example.
The main character in this part is a young woman, who is an ardent devotee of Baba and follows HIS messages in her life. She gets married and sacrifices her career to look after in-laws. Mother-in-law believes Lord Krishna is the only GOD. When a situation arises, where the daughter-in-law has to choose between serving her mother-in-law and participating in birthday celebrations at the centre, she decides to stay at home and serve her mother-in-law. Then all of a sudden, her husband who was on a business trip comes home unexpectedly He assures her that he will take care of his mother and convinces her to go to centre to participate in celebrations. When she returns home with her friends afterwards, to her astonishment, she does not find her husband. When asked, her mother-in-law, who tells that he has not yet come back from the trip and why she asks the question. The daughter-in-law tells her that she went to participate in celebrations only after her husband assured to take care of mother-in-law. But mother-in-law informs that daughter-in-law never left the house and made her comfortable. Daughter in law phones her husband who confirmed that he is still in overseas. Then they all realise that it is Baba who has come in as husband and then became daughter-in-law to look after mother-in-law. Finally, mother-in-law acknowledges that they are being the true messengers of Sai; they not only preach Love all Serve all but live his message.

The drama ended with reiterating HIS message that the best way to love God is to Love all and Serve all. It was a wonderful drama presentation. The messages were clearly presented to the audience.

Talk Show

A talk show was conducted where in it was discussed how to live with SAI and HIS message in daily life. Especially being woman in family, she caters to the needs of every family member including herself and balance between work and home. Many tips were shared such as having dedicated no-screen time where entire family comes together every day in the evening 6-8 PM to spend time together in doing house chores such as help in cooking and discussing with each other instead of watching mobile or TV.


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Global Akhanda Bhajans

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ACT

ACT Region joined in the Global Akhanda Bhajans (24 hours of devotional singing) along with the rest of Australia from 6pm to 12am on 10 November 2018 and again from 6am to 6pm on 11 November 2018. The event was held at the Vedanta Hall of the Shiva Vishnu Mandir in Mawson. The Akhanda Bhajan program was scheduled to enable Sai followers from various faiths, age groups and the Sai centres in Canberra to contribute towards the devotional singing.

“Each year one of the events in the Sai Calendar that I look forward to is the Akhanda Bhajan. It signals the culmination of another year of life in the Divine Grace. One session that I always look forward to is the children’s devotional singing. Witnessing another year of their growth in devotional singing fills me with hope of the furtherance of Sathya Sai’ mission. The 2018 event had an added aspect, as the 11th of November coincided with the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day, 11/11/1918, which marked the end of the World War 1 (WW1). It is widely understood that if the Allies did not win WW1 the world we live in would be a very different place. I pondered on whether collectively the world had learnt anything from the various wars. It with this backdrop, I resolved to stay and support the singers and prayed to our beloved Sathya Sai Baba to thank Him for the peace and love that we shared, and continue to share for that peace and love to be felt in the hearts of people all over the world.” – Reflection from ACT Sai devotee Giri Selvadurai

“You must pass your days in song. Let your whole life be a bhajan. Believe that God is everywhere at all times, and derive strength, comfort and joy by singing His Glory in His Presence. Let melody and harmony surge up from your hearts and let all take delight in the Love that you express through that song,” said Sai Baba in an exclusive Divine Discourse delivered on 14th Nov 1976 on the occasion of Global Akhanda Bhajan. This was indeed the essence of the program in the ACT Region with Sai followers singing from the heart to please their lord.


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Community Engagement Report – November

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On the 20 th October 2018 we, as an organisation was invited to a Symposium on Human Values. Our host , the Sant Nirankari Mission, had requested that all the different faiths present a talk that shares the oneness with other faiths in the community. This included Muslims, Indians, Temple of Fine Arts, Sikhs, Hari Krishna Devotees, Buddhists and our host the Sant Nirankari Group.

Jenny Monson was invited to talk on behalf of our Organisation. Jenny focussed on the fact that the SSIO inspires the cultivation of oneness with others , family, community, nation and the world. The talk also mentioned how the 5 values, which are the cornerstone of our Organisation, are incorporated into our lives and our education.

The goal of the organisation, to help us realise the inherent divinity in ourselves was noted as being of prime importance. This and the oneness principle help us render the kind of service to others which is transformative to ourselves.

Our Organisation was also invited to perform a song. Seven Members of our Group sang the song,” I am One My Lord, I am One With Thee.

It was inspiring that one of the common threads that most of the faiths shared was the importance of practicing what we preach. Not just Words.!!

In order to place more effort in the Seva we offer, our group accepted an offer, from the Nutrition Team at Edith Cowan University (ECU), to hold a workshop. The Event was highly interactive and members who were directly involved in providing food to our homeless and to our Children living on the Street were especially invited to the event. The ECU team provided some insights into how we could provide a nutritious meal whilst aligning with our vegetarian ethos and beliefs. The extra effort we placed in our Seva projects was important
as it emphasised the importance of Swami’s guidance on this topic. Quality over Quantity!

The feedback we received from our members was very positive. As always we thank Swami for guiding us through His Community Engagement Work. We are very grateful to be included in his work.


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ECU (Edith Cowen University) Nutrition and Food Handling

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This is our journey to a fantastic, informative morning by the ECU Students on nutrition. We were fortunate to participate in a community engagement activity with the young enthusiastic ECU students ready to give us all the information we needed when we handle and provide food, including the sandwich seva and weekly stir fry vegetable service for the less fortunate children, young adults and adult homeless that many Sai members in Perth assist with.

Our Sai brothers, sisters and aunties were excited and charged with energy to listen. Swami as usually always has his plan for us.

We started with our three Aums. The students found this very relaxing and commented on how it calmed them to start. The tone was set to listen and learn.

We first introduced ourselves with our name and favourite vegetables. The air was charged with love and enthusiasm to learn more on how we can help to better or improve our nutritional knowledge on cooking food and serving food.

We continued the session with a few hands on lessons for us. We first grouped foods into different categories according to the Australian Guide to Healthy eating. The food groups they belonged to example the dairy, protein, grain, fruit, vegetables and sometimes food. The sometimes food were eg. our chocolate, ice cream, chips etc. We also discussed the portion sizes needed for each age group and gender. We were all looked surprised and we had a good laugh on how much we had especially rice.

The first team of students got us to look at salt, sugar and fats in our morning breakfast cereals. Nutri-grain was the worst. I was glad weet-bix came out ok but cooked oats with added fruits were the best. We then moved on to grains and fillings and what we all had for lunch. Some said salads, sandwiches and many said leftovers from the night before. I was glad to hear that because I usually make a sandwich with leftovers from the night before.

We then moved on to the sandwich making. There were a variety of breads and fillings to choose from. This was very exciting and by then I was ready to have a snack. The food was simple, delicious and nutritious. We had a choice of spreads, salad fillings tomato, cucumber, spinach, red onion and cheeses sliced. The fruits sliced were pears and apples. I was intrigued by this when added to my sandwich it was delicious and added a hint of sweetness to the sandwich. I loved it because I have a sweet tooth and I loved the mixture of sweet and salty. The spreads were easily made with a can of chickpeas added to each vegetable. They was beetroot, pumpkin and chickpeas. They were all blended to make different spreads. It tasted like salt and pepper were added to make it taste delicious. They demonstrated to us that we can make yummy sandwiches with simple ingredients which are nutritious to nourish our bodies and souls. We were all excited and ready to eat our delicious sandwiches.

The students then demonstrated to us how to make a delicious stir fry. This was quick, easy and nutritious. It had all the colour foods a stir should have and it was delicious. The protein added to this stir fry was canned chickpeas. The students told us that before using chickpeas from the can it must be washed out thoroughly. We also spoke about storage and how long after cooking we should refrigerate food especially rice which grows bacteria very quickly. We ended that session by tasting the stir fry. All the meals we had were delicious, nutritious and vegetarian. For vegetarians adding the vegetarian protein is very important. This keeps you fuller and makes the meal more balanced.

We finished with filled tummies and knowledgeable minds about making our nutritious food with love and mindfulness. This was made so easy to understand since the ECU students did a magnificent job helping us learn about all foods and nutrition. They gave us booklets to take home with recipes to share with our family and friends. These booklets were the LIVELIGHTER booklets. We all thanked them. I said to the students that we are so proud of them and thanked them for there sharing of knowledge and time with us.

Thank you Swami for giving us this opportunity to serve you.

With Divine Love and Blessings

Danashni Naidu


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Ladies Wellness – WA Region

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On the 20th of October, the ladies of the WA region were invited to participate in a Wellness Day program at the Perth Human Values Centre. The idea of a Ladies Wellness Day came from a group of ladies who wanted to provide a session where they could invigorate their mind, body and spirit and provide a snapshots for ladies into a range of concepts.

As part of the multi-faceted program, the presenters gave snapshots of the important aspects of self compassion, information on the purposes of spices, physical wellbeing (body), mindfulness (spirit), mental well-being, relationship building and self-love (mind). With all these skills and by nurturing our inner child, we also provide ourselves with armour to withstand the up and down challenges of this mortal life.

A new concept for many ladies was Self Compassion which encourages us to speak with our inner voice with kindness, without judgement, being mindful of our thoughts and realising common humanity when faced with difficulties. Without self compassion, we may become self pitying, self indulgent, identifying with the body and attaching ourselves too much with our egocentric qualities, and ultimately, not accepting who we really are – Divinity.

“In order to elevate oneself to the Pushthi (the full-filled or complete) category, one must learn Self-confidence and Self-satisfaction, to be content with one’s Self, to derive joy from the Atma (divine Self), which one is. One should not be tempted by what appear to be sources of joy in the external world. Sathya Sai Baba, SSS 14.59: 24 November 1980.

The chair yoga was a widely appreciated movement break, highlighting the importance of maintaining synchronicity with body and mind, and providing simple tips to connect with the inner voice and breath.

A personal highlight was the ‘mindful eating’ of a raisin. We were guided through mindfully examining, exploring and appreciating the sweetness of a single raisin, after which one senior lady of the group commented “This is the best raisin I have had in my life!”. What a wonderful example of how mindfulness enriches our lives and the importance of living in the present.

The afternoon was thoroughly enjoyed by Young Adults, adults and seniors, full of insights, laughter and personal stories.


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Updates on the Sai National Conference 2019

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The Sai National Conference will be held in Sydney, NSW during the Easter long weekend of 2019 (19 – 21 April). If you haven’t been keeping up to date with the latest posts on social media about the upcoming Sai National Conference, scroll down below to see some quotes, and some photos of a fun team building activity at the first kick-off meeting!


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QLD Ladies Wing Service Activity

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Devotees from the Ladies Wing of Brisbane, QLD, served a sumptuous lunch to approximately 60 clients from the Sunshine Welfare & Remedial Association (SWARA) on the 18/10/18 to observe Sathya Sai Baba’s Avatar Declaration Day, and also to celebrate Navaratri. A healthy lunch of pasta, rice, dhal, chickpea curry, salad and papadams was prepared with great love, and served to all the clients, support workers and volunteers. It was so nice to see everyone enjoying their meal and they were all treated to ice cream afterwards for dessert. The SSIO observes 20th October every year, to remember, reflect, and assimilate the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba, which in essence is to “Love All, Serve All.”


 

 

 

 


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Parenting Workshop

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On Sunday 28 October we were fortunate to have Mr Erik Robertson from The Netherlands facilitate a workshop on parenting at Darcy Road Public School in Wentworthville.
Approximately 60 participants from both regions East and West were in attendance.
The program commenced with the beautiful reminder that Sathya Sai Baba is our ultimate mother and father. He is the most compassionate and loving of all mothers and yet the most stern, fatherly disciplinarian when required.

The workshop explored the concept of ‘Love and Law’ in parenting. Underpinning Love in parenting were sentiments of unconditional love, compassion, empathy and understanding; Law was centred upon notions of rules and regulations. We discussed the ways in which parents can gravitate towards one or both of these concepts depending on contextual factors like the child’s age and individual circumstances.

Erik also shared a model for self-evaluation which feeds into our parenting style. In essence it can be conceptualised as two separate ‘buckets’ of positive and negative feedback which are each linked to both the Atma (our ultimate reality – i.e that we are God) and our subconscious. Through our continuous self-evaluation we are either consciously or subconsciously filling these proverbial buckets, and often, we tend to fill the negative bucket to the point that it overflows and manifests outwardly as us ‘snapping’ at those around us.

The workshop at this stage broke into small groups, each of which had fruitful discussions about how we all view our own ‘buckets’ and the dynamics in our parenting partnerships in light of Love and Law.

These buckets are fertile grounds through the child-rearing process, for they significantly influence our own behaviour as well as our children’s buckets. To this end, we learned how parents reinforce the behaviour exhibited by their children, and their behaviour is ultimately a product of what we pass on to them. With this in mind, we were reminded that children regard their parents as God – as their moral mirrors.

Ultimately, Erik reinforced the need to parent with unconditional love. We must love them unconditionally as they are (and notably, this is separate to loving them for their behaviour).

As we go about raising our children we must always be guided by our inner conscious or intuition, as this is ultimately Sathya Sai Baba Himself guiding us. By living the 5 human values and centering our parenting upon these, with the firm foundation of unconditional love, we can navigate the complex and dynamic journey of parenting.


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His student’s space with inspiring short articles

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Experiencing Vedas and Vedanta

On the morning of 27 October 2018, SSIO members of Sydney participated in the first session of Experiencing Vedas and Vedanta, a session prepared under the National Devotion Wing of SSIO. The presenters were Nick Goritsas, Sridhar and Ram Naresh. Nick was a student of the late Professor Sundaram who taught in Sydney. Sridhar and Ram Naresh are former students of the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSIHL), and currently teach Veda chanting and Vedanta in Sydney. The day started with chanting of the Rudram and devotional singing.

Nick Goritsas was welcomed to the dais to speak on the topic “Vedas and Vedanta in our daily lives”. Nick took the audience on a journey by explaining step-by-step how a spiritual aspirant progresses towards finding the answer to that salient question “Who Am I?” by making references from the Vedas and Vedanta. He compared this journey to building a structure brick by brick. It was an eye-opener to many that Vedas are the purest form of instructions and they are in fact scientific in nature rather than religious as many people had perceived.

After a short break, we were separated in to two groups for an interactive workshop. The facilitators were Sridhar and Ram Naresh. Participants were asked to chant Omkar eleven times in very slow, long breaths. After the chanting, devotees were asked to share their inner experiences when they chanted Omkar. After listening to the feedback, the facilitators gradually embarked on the inward journey. We discussed about the Five Sheaths of our being that we need to travel through to see the real “I”

After the workshop, devotees assembled back in the main hall to join the facilitators on the next demonstration of an important journey – a journey that takes the aspirant to find ‘Who am I?’ Sridhar and Ram Naresh chanted the lines “aum saha navavatu . saha nau bhunaktu . saha viryam karavavahai . tejasvi navadhitamastu ma vidvishavahai . aum shantih shantih shantih” which in English translates to May Brahman protect us both! May Brahman bestow upon us both the fruit of Knowledge! May we both obtain the energy to acquire Knowledge! May what we both study reveal the Truth! May we cherish no ill—feeling toward each other! Om Peace! Peace! Peace!


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Serve Our Sai Family Initiative (SOS) Family Initiative: SAI SENIORS DAY Lunch & Entertainment

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The Serve Our Sai Family (SOS) service initiative was introduced in April 2018 and launched during the regional Guru Poornima Celebrations in July 2018. It was readily embraced by all Sai Centres in the Perth Region.

Its objective is to serve the disadvantaged members from our Sai community who may suffer from illness, loneliness or isolation and make them feel loved and respected and realise that they are not “the forgotten generation” of our organisation.

The Seniors Day function held on the 13th October 2018, was the first event offered as part of the SOS initiative and was dedicated to Avatar Day Service. The event allowed the Senior Sai members to connect to different age groups in the Sai Organisation i.e. children, young adults and young Seniors. The purpose was to make the Seniors feel happy, wanted and very much respected.

The entertainment program included interactive multicultural presentations. The Seniors were invited to participate in all activities including playing music, singing and folklore dancing originating from the Indian State of Gujarat in India. Many Seniors happily participated and contributed towards the success of this event.
Some of the highlight performances included:

  • SSE students showing unique musical talents in playing the cello and guitar, and singing and dancing.
  • ”Seniors Got Talents”- showcasing the amazing talents that our Seniors possess
  • Young Adults accompanying the Seniors in Singing Swahili devotional songs, old Tamil movie songs and Chinese Love songs.
  • A space drum musical composition by Young Adult & Seniors.
  • Guitar playing accompanied by English songs sung by the Seniors.
  • Creating music using everyday recycled household material.
  • A new phrase coined based on the word recycled – “Re Sai Called” – meaning our Seniors have been re-called to the Sai Organisation to show their passion and share experiences of the past.
  • IN SAI LOVE AND SERVICE

    Khusmati Lal
    Regional Service Coordinator
    SSIO Australia & PNG WA Region


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