SSE Bhajan Workshop – Adelaide

A trio of Bhajan enthusiast from the Melbourne came to us with the Grace of Mother Sai – the eternally compassionate one.

Sister Vasumathi, Brother Ravi, Brother Vicknesh spent Saturday the 6th of July 2019 with SSE children of all groups running a day long Bhajan Workshop from 10 am to 3 pm. This was held at Sister Abhilasha and Brother Deepak’s residence which they kindly allowed us to use.

The workshop was well structured, starting from basic elements which form the backbone of leading and following bhajans. For eg: Clapping in the appropriate rhythm, sitting upright, singing at the right pitch etc.

There were games and interactive and educative fun intermittently. The presenters made sure the children stayed engaged and enjoyed the workshop besides absorbing the essence of bhajan singing. Discipline came easy since the children were absorbed in the information and the entertaining way of presentation.

Feedback from the children was that they had a lot of fun while learning and Uncle Ravi got special mention for a constant addition of the fun quotient. They were mesmerised with Uncle Vicknesh’s harmonium skills. Aunty Vasumathi added to the charm and all the three presenters sang and spoke beautifully according to them.

Nourishment at midday was arranged by parents and teachers and was quite a feast which was enjoyed by all.

The children made a thank you card, on with they had written their own messages prior to the workshop and presented it at the end of the session. The 20 children who attended the workshop also received goody bags gifted to them by the facilitators.

Hope to see more such workshops to help us all learn and grow.

Om Sri Sai Ram

Teachers Training – South Australia

South Australia held its second Teachers Training Program in June which attracted 12 participants from the 3 different centres. By Swami’s grace, the training was held at the Vale Primary School, OSHC faculity, without any charge to us. 21 sessions were covered over the first 3 Saturdays, from 8.30 to 4.30pm. We were greatly supported by facilitators from interstate, Uncle Cugan, who presentented 3 modules and Bro Ravi and Sis Vasumathi, who did 2 sessions each. They were all truly amazing. There was a lot of information shared and the sessions were very interesting and interactive.

The last weekend saw 8 participants deliver their mock lessons. It was obvious from their lessons that they had put in a lot of effort. With all the learning, they also enjoyed themselves as they deepened their friendships and created new bonds. Some of them also acknowledged the work that teachers had to put in to carry out a class.

An event is not complete without the tea and lunch breaks. For this, we have to thank the teachers and other devotees who so willingly prepared delicious food for all the days. The participants too could not resist but bring more fruit and snacks for all to enjoy.

A Child Safe Environment Training was also organised 2 weeks later so that the trainees could begin with the Mentoring Program in Term 3.

‘Sai Inspirations’ – an offering by the SSE of Carlingford Sai Centre

Earlier this year, the SSE students of the Sathya Sai Centre of Carlingford produced an album as an offering to Sathya Sai Baba for Easwaramma Day. The songs include some original compositions written and performed by the children. A link to the music can be found here:

The lyrics to the songs are also available below:

Download the lyrics to the songs in PDF

Guru Poornima Celebrations – 2019

NSW

Guru Poornima Launch: Sunday 23 June 2019
To kick off Guru Poornima 2019, the Young Adults of NSW hosted a special Unity Meeting with devotional singing, an outline of the theme this year– ‘The Path to You’ and two service activities – the assembly of care packs by the Young Adults and Adults, and arts and crafts to create Christmas cards by the SSE. Around 300 devotees attended, and with everyone’s helping hands and Sai Baba’s grace we managed to procure and assemble items to make 1000 care packs and 50 Christmas cards. The care packs were delivered to Homeless Connect, Anglicare Australia and the NSW Country Women’s Association; the packs will be provided to people who find themselves in emergency situations without basic necessities such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner etc . The Christmas cards made by the SSE were given to families at Sydwest Multicultural Services as part of the ‘Christmas in July’ program.

Jammin’ with Sai – Sunday, 7th July 2019
“Jammin’ with Sai” was a musical opportunity for NSW SSE Groups 3 and 4 to bond with the Young Adults over their shared love for music. The day was split into three sessions. Two sessions were dedicated to exploring an instrument of choice or practising vocals. Young adults trained in tambourine, tabla, box drum, dholak, manjira, harmonium and singing facilitated these sessions in groups of approximately five to eight SSE each. The third session saw the entire group of 35 come together for a musical extravaganza, singing two devotional songs accompanied by our future musical stars on the instruments they had practised over the day.

Christmas in July – Saturday, 13th July 2019
“Christmas in July” was an event held in collaboration with SydWest Multicultural Services and was an opportunity for the Sai Organisation to spend some quality time with young families. SydWest is a not-for-profit organisation working with refugees and migrant families to support the self-determination and empowerment of our diverse communities. The day started with approximately 25 young adults performing an interactive musical program with the children of Sydwest dancing and singing to well-known Christmas songs. A short break for lunch followed so we could all re-energise ourselves with some fresh, homely and healthy food. Then the families split into an hour-long activities session for children and an introductory parenting workshop for the parents. Activities included drawing, Santa limbo, and Snowman and Christmas tree making. The day ended with the attendees taking home a small Christmas gift from the Sai Organisation – activity books or novels along with the personalised Christmas card made by the SSE at launch.

Study Circle – Sunday, 14th July 2019
To delve into the theme this year – ‘The Path to You’- a study circle was organised for the young adults to explore the Sai literature around the meaning of the three paths to Sai Baba – Devotion, Service and Wisdom. The discussion centred on each individual’s relationship with God, the affinity of these paths to each, the importance of fostering these paths and recognising the interaction between each path and the role it plays in our daily lives.

Guru Poornima Devotional Offering – Tuesday, 16 July 2019
Our formal Devotional Offering program was held on the full moon night of Guru Poornima itself and built on the theme ’the Path to You.’ The night began with a devotional singing medley – a 15 minute rendition to our Guru. We then relished in Sai Baba’s words with a discourse exploring the meaning of Guru Poornima and the importance of unity in thought, word and deed. The GP coordinators were up next and shared their experience as a conduit to execute what could have only been Sai Baba’s vision. This was followed by two other young adult reflections sharing their experience from their unique perspectives. Next were two examples of the energy, love and devotion unity can bring. The young adult brothers offered an acapella-inspired performance and rendered a poignant version of ‘Narayana Hari Narayana’ with varying harmonies. The young adult sisters offered the song ‘Yaatra’ featuring an ensemble of instrumentalists on violins, keyboards, octopads, kazoos and of course their voices.

Donation Drives
The month of Guru Poornima presented an opportunity for our devotees to get involved in two donation drives.
The Liquid Love Campaign is a well-known national initiative inspiring people to practice their inherent love for all by making blood, plasma and platelet donations. The campaign will continue to run until 23 November 2019.
The second was a book donation drive to share the gift of reading by helping primary school children in Sri Lanka experience and imagine new worlds through fiction novels. Around 30 boxes of books were shipped to Sri Lanka and will be stocked at 40 primary schools for their English reading program.

Guru Poornima Journal
Central to Guru Poornima spiritual discipline (‘Sadhana’) practise this year was the journal. A team of young adults put together an interactive journal with places to record daily reflections, inspiration for Sadhana ideas, tracking Sadhana goals for the month, activities, and messages from Sathya Sai Baba. The idea was to create a personal companion for each devotee as they journeyed through Guru Poornima 2019 through the three paths to our dearest Lord.

VIC

Our Guru Poornima celebration was held on the 16th of July at Box Hill Town Hall, celebrated by our Young Adults. With Sai Baba’s Grace the celebration was a success. We had a beautiful play called “The Legend of the Monkey Soldier” – the ultimate battle between Good & Evil. The play was shown through the values in Sai Baba’s teachings and the actors played their parts very well. We had a beautiful musical program, lovely devotional singing with good lead singers and the instrument players; it was fantastic and it showed how much their tireless practise paid off. The Shrine setting was very elegant, and the night finished with a lovely served dinner.

A link to the full offering can be found here.

Tree Planting – 2019

WA Region

On the 13th of July, more than 50 volunteers from the WA Region joined SERCUL to plant 2000 saplings to restore native vegetation around the Canning River Regional park and wetlands.

The volunteers were also treated to a special opening of a fully compostable toilet block, which was officially opened by the local member for Cannington.

Members from the WA region have volunteered annually since 2012 with the “Trillion Trees Organisation” and the South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL). SERCUL brings together the community, businesses and government in improving the health of local waterways and ecosystems. It is a humbling experience to see the growth of native trees from the previous years.

ACT

VIC Region West

With Sai Baba’s grace, on Sunday 28th of July we had a wonderful tree planting session in Victoria West Region. A total of 650 plants were planted across two sites. The weather was favourable for this service on that day and there were approximately 70 members that took part, including our SSE children. This was also a wonderful opportunity to engage with our children about the natural world and the importance of valuing and protecting our environment. It was a beautiful service activity that ended with a lovely lunch provided for everyone.

NSW

National Tree Planting Day was held on the 28th of July 2019, where 200 adults, young adults and SSE of NSW came together to give back to their community. The volunteers enjoyed a fun family day connecting with nature while also helping to rehabilitate the bushland reserves. Alongside the planting activities a range of nature-themed entertainment, such as face-painting, plant-care and animal-care education stations were also present at some of the locations. An approximate total of 3,140 trees were planted.

Craft Service Session – WA

Over the weekend, the Ladies Wing of Willetton Sai Centre invited children, young adults and adults to share their creative skills, work together to produce items for the needy and upskill members who were interested in learning.

There were more than 10 stations set up, including quilting, crocheting, knitting, card making, origami and even some stations manned by SSE students to assist the younger children. Many of the items created and skills learnt will be used as part of future service activities.

For the past 12 months members of the Ladies Wing have started quilting and crocheting groups, making blankets and clothing items for the Perth Children’s Hospital and hoping to create items for a local orphanage.

The afternoon was spent in loving company, all working together to learn how to help others. It was a great family event to start the school holidays.

Winter Working Bee – Sathya Sai College – Primary & Secondary Campus -2019

The Winter Working Bee is now one of two working bees per year in the SSIO Australia calendar of events. Whilst the Sathya Sai School, (now College because of the primary & secondary campuses), has been functioning for more than 20 years, there are still new SSIO Australia members at each working bee.

The working bee serves for a few reasons:

  • creates opportunities for SSIO Australia members to go to OUR SAI school
  • spread the working bee opportunity across multiple regions
  • the school grounds need to be kept clean, creating a heathy learning environment for the students
  • The working bee is typically organised just before the school term reopens, eliminating the need for another clean up. This creates a clean environment to welcome the students back to.

    At last year’s Winter Working Bee, we had 50 volunteers from SSIO. This year, with Sai Baba’s blessings, we had 75 volunteers in total, of which 35 were Young Adults from NSW, QLD and VIC.

    There was plenty of work to keep the Adults and Young Adults buzzing. To name a few, the Primary Campus hall was entirely repainted. A partition wall was put up in the science classroom so that students won’t get distracted when people walk in and out of the common area. Plenty of new plants were planted across both campuses.

    At the secondary campus, the garden beds were given a new lease on life. New timber support for the garden beds were installed, and lots of new mulch was laid. The chairs which were in storage were taken out from the shed and given a complete wipe down, and they now look as good as new. The main storage was given a clean-up, creating more storage space. A team was dedicated to clearing the bush along the perimeter fence, creating a very neat and clean outlook of the school grounds for anyone driving by.

    Needless to say, a lot of energy was required, and this was only made possible by meals prepared lovingly by the adults from NSW & QLD – a dedicated team preparing sumptuous meals throughout the day. We also had soup prepared by some of the parents for the volunteers.

    The wind down activities on Saturday evening after dinner was a perfect end to a busy day. We had a bonfire, sang songs and shared reflections.

    Please encourage members to attend the next working bee, especially if they haven’t been to OUR SAI school. It’ll be a nice winter getaway to warm & sunny Murwillumbah & Dungay.