The National Guru Poornima celebrations for 2020 was held online this year on 5 July 2020 from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. The program for this year was delivered by the Sai Young Adults of Australia and it proved to be yet another dynamic and creative offering.
Guru Poornima is a festival celebrated in the lunar month of Ashad in the Hindu calendar on the full moon day (Poornima) as a day dedicated to the Guru. For Sai devotees, Swami Himself is taken to be the guru and the day is marked by offering our gratitude to Him and reflecting and putting into practice His teachings.
The theme of the Guru Poornima program for this year was “See God. Do God, Be God” which encouraged us all to explore and realise our inner divinity. The program commenced with the chanting of the Sai Gayatri and swiftly moved into devotional singing which were rendered beautifully by highly talented singers and musicians from around the country. After approximately thirty minutes of melodious devotional singing that uplifted the soul, a short video excerpt of Swami’s discourse was played on the significance of the Guru Poornima. In the discourse Swami delves into the depths of who a true guru is, stating that the only true guru is God and that this guru is present within each and every one of us in the form of divinity.
The next component of the offering was a dialogue between two young adults on Swami’s teaching that God resides in each and every one of us. The dialogue explored how to practically put into place this teaching of Swami in our daily lives and explores some of the challenges that we face in practicing this teaching. The negative influences of the media on our lives was identified in particular as a major challenge in the realisation of our inner divinity. The physical isolation and solitude as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was identified to have provided some beneficial opportunities to focus our mind inwards and undertake activities for our spiritual development such as reading Sai literature.
This was followed by a short video presentation on the recently launched The Lions Roar podcast which delves into the inner significance of Swami’s teachings, in particular one of the fundamental questions in spirituality “Who am I”?.
A video offering titled “Gratitude in Soulitude” followed which interspersed melodious songs with personal reflections of gratitude towards Swami. This offering included short video reflections from Sai Young Adults across Australia on how they have utilised the current period of physical isolation to advance their own spiritual journey. Reading of spiritual literature, participation in online study circles and programs, conscious practicing of gratitude, a reduction on reliance on external things, an appreciation of the bigger picture in life, and understanding the beauty of the simple things in life were common themes that were expressed by young adults as their key learning during the shut down period.
An around the country tour of what all the Regional Young Adults have been doing during the physical isolation period followed with each region showcasing that they are undertaking a diverse range of activities to provide everyone an opportunity to follow the spiritual path. The launch of the Liquid Love blood donation campaign was also integrated into the offering with particularly useful information provided surrounding how this service activity can be undertaken in this current COVID-19 environment.
The program was brought to a close with the divine discourse of Swami, where He expounded on the presence of the god everywhere, and ended with Mangala Aarathi.