Sai Australia

Sathya Sai International Organisation, Zone 3, Region 31

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.


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Service Initiatives of the Sathya Sai Centre of Carlingford

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We are very fortunate to be a part of wonderful service activities that are run by our centre. It is amazing to see the participation of each member of our Sai Centre.

Sathya Sai Baba says that “Service is the highest spiritual discipline. Prayer and meditation or knowledge of scripture and Vedanda (holy scriptures of India), cannot help you reach the goal as quickly as service can. Service has a double effect, it extinguishes the ego and gives bliss.”

Blanket Drive:

Our centre recently participated in a blanket drive. All the blankets that were collected were donated to LifeLinks in Parramatta. This organisation supports the local community including new migrants and school outreach programs. More information can be found in the following link – http://www.lifelinks.org.au/ . LifeLinks was very overwhelmed with our support with the blanket donations and also of the supply of non-perishable food items. We received the following message from their organisation:

“God is always moving in people’s hearts and lives. Thank you again and yes they will be given to people in great need and some that have lost so much in life.”

Bushcare:

We also participate in the monthly Bushcare activity with our local council. During the last few months we have been attending the local Bidjiwong Community nursery and also Bellamy Farm Reserve. In the Bidjiwong Community Nursery, we were able to create a community vegetable garden. This activity was mainly carried out by our SSE students and parents. They were very grateful for our continuous commitment, ongoing support towards their community nursery and in general looking after mother nature. Thank you all for your wonderful support to our service projects.


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SSE Teacher Enrichment Day

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With our beloved Sathya Sai Baba’s Divine Blessings the 2018 Victorian SSE Teacher Enrichment Day was held on Saturday 7 July at the East Burwood Reserve Hall. It was jointly organised by the Education Wings of Region East and West of Victoria.

The program started with 3 Oms, 3 Gayathri mantras, and a brief welcome from the Region East Education Coordinator. The presentations that followed included topics such as ‘The Purpose of Sai Spiritual Education (SSE’)’, ‘Communication’, ‘Challenges and Needs of Sai Teens’, ‘Expectations and Priorities of SSE’, ‘Gender Segregation’, ‘Help with Preparing Lesson Plans’, ‘Behavioural Issues’, ‘Bridging the Gap Between SSE and Young Adults’ and ‘National Plans’. There was a good line up of presenters, consisting of very experienced SSE teachers and young adults. The Q & A session invited quite a few challenging questions which were well handled by the panel. The program concluded with a vote of thanks by the Victoria Region West Education Coordinator followed by Arathi, the Sai Gayathri mantra and the Vibuthi Prayer.

There were approximately 50 participants, who included current and past SSE teachers and SSE trainers, as well as aspiring Young Adults and parents. There was an atmosphere of collegiality and good fellowship and Sathya Sai’s love was almost palpable. It was inspiring and quite heart-warming to have the Regional Education Coordinator from South Australia drive down specifically to attend this Enrichment Day program.

We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to all those who helped in various ways: in organising the presenters, hall, shrine and sound set up, audio-visuals, the presenters who gave their valuable time, the MCs who did a wonderful job in keeping the program lively and all those who helped with catering. The sessions were very informative and the Refresher Course was well received.


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Ladies High Tea

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The Ladies Wing of NSW Region East organised a High Tea on Sunday 8 July 2018 in Lidcombe. The invitation was extended to all women in the region which included adults, young adults and also group 4 SSE children. The theme for the event was, floral.

The event was well organised by the young adults and about 45 women attended. The session commenced with a few devotional songs followed by a Q & A session where all participants were paired, forming an inner and outer circle. The participants in the inner circle kept rotating, as the intent was to get to know the person in the outer circle on a personal and spiritual level. The partners were changed three times so each participant got to know at least three other people during the Q & A. The questions were fun, inspirational and very insightful.

This certainly paved the way for further diverse activities planned for the remainder of the afternoon, which was followed by delicious food and drinks, where everyone had the opportunity to mingle and share their joy-filled experiences.

Soon after tea was served, participants were divided into five groups for a skit session with props provided. The joint effort of the adult & young adult contribution to this session was indeed exceptional. The moral behind each group’s skit was value-based, and it was interesting to note that each member had a particular role to play, and that each inspired and supported the rest of their team. Some of the topics covered in the skit sessions were teamwork from a football team named Sai United Team (yes, very impressive indeed!), being more conscious of taking care of the environment, and lastly, ladies nurturing and bringing up responsible children.

There was so much to learn and the take home messages were aplenty.

After the skits, everyone was again divided into the same five groups for a study circle/interactive workshop. It was indeed a very insightful session as participants shared the challenges they each faced in their daily spiritual quest. This was the final activity and it brought the wonderful afternoon gathering to a close.

Overall, it was a tremendous effort by the young adults, and all the ladies agreed they want more of the same, so we are sure to expect another few of these events later in the year.


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SSIO Participation in Australian National Tree Day – 29 July 2018

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Different Regions and groups of the Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia & PNG will have groups participating in the National Tree Day event, an event carried out nationally to plant trees and other vegetation for environmental and social benefits to our country. The event this year is close to our celebrations of Guru Poornima and consequently, some tree planting activities will not be scheduled on the same date. All are welcome to join our groups in their individual projects.

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VICTORIA REGION EAST: Sai Ladies Session

Victoria Region East Ladies wing is kick starting it’s first Sai Ladies Session on July 15 this year with an enlightening and engaging opportunity to come together and share their experiences in a relaxed setting. The session will feature fun and practical tips to help day-to-day life as well as progress on the spiritual journey back to the source.

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Victoria Region Bulletin, July-August 2018

Victoria Region East and West issue a monthly Unity Bulletin listing service events, celebrations, home devotional singing and a full listing of Sai Centres and Groups.

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