The ACT Region were fortunate to be able to celebrate the significant ocassion of the 95th Advent Day of Sathya Sai Baba by holding an in-person program where a limited amount of people could attend. With strict compliance to government requirements for holding functions during the current pandemic, the celebration proved to be a highly positive and uplifting event in the current circumstances. Despite the many restrictions in place, the devotees who were able to attend the event were grateful to be able to undertake a regional celebration after many months of not being able to do so.
The celebration of Swami’s birthday was held on Saturday 21 November from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Merici College Hall in Canberra. Attendance was limited to 120 people due to COVID restrictions and attendees were required to RSVP their place in advance in order to be able to attend. Attendees had their temperature checked upon entry, were required to sit 1.5 meters apart and hand sanitisers were made available in plenty as required in the current times.
The theme of the event was “Happiness is Union with God” in line with the Sathya Sai International Organiation’s (SSIO) theme for Swami’s 95th Birthday. The two hour event commenced with a “lighting of the lamp” by Dr. Pal Dhall, the co-chair of the Education Committee of the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation and Prashanti Council, and Mrs. Tehseen Dhall. Dr. Pal Dhall then gave a short introduction on the topic of happiness, quoting Swami’s teachings on the importance of being happy and stressing that humans often seek happiness through the senses but true happiness lies beyond the senses.
The program included a lively drama by the Sai Young Adults which explored the topic of happiness by depicting the conflict between the body mind and intellect in the search for happiness. This was followed by an insightful panel discussion on the theme of happiness by Dr. Prema Rajendra, Mr. Peter Fenner and Mr. Thiru Vallal which was facilitated by Mr. Ratna Manivannan. The pannellists shared their own experience and knowledge on the theme of happiness and unanimously agreed that spirituality was a vital component of life for achieving happiness. In addition, breaking free of the cycle of endless desires was discussed as an equally important facet for achieiving true happiness.
The panel discussion was followed by a brief vote of thanks from the ACT Regional President then followed by devotional singing by the singers and instrumentallists. The event came to a close with Mangala Aarati and the attendees were requested to silently vacate the hall without mingling or interacting with other attendees.