Category: November 2019
Global Akhanda Bhajan sessions across Australia
Sathya Sai College Sustainability Award
The Sathya Sai College of Murwillumbah NSW is Australia’s Sai School, supported by the SSIO in Australia. It has recently won a local council sustainability award. Tweed Council is taking a proactive role in encouraging sustainability in their area by recognising the importance of management of the environment for social and economic wellbeing, as well as for preservation for the future. On 15 November 2019, they conducted the inaugural ceremony, presenting awards to Sustainability Champions. The Sathya Sai College at Murwillumbah was the recipient of the People’s Choice Award for Schools.
The slogan for the College’s submission was – ‘Learning about litter, living life cleaner and making it greener.’
The practices implemented at the school that were highlighted were: Red bin-free school grounds –avoiding rubbish for landfill, creating healthy habits by eating nude food – reducing packaging, connecting with nature during activities such as outdoor classroom day, weekly gardening activities, developing edible gardens by growing a “Juicy Fruit Patch” and using the 3 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Recycle.
This comprehensive round of initiatives adopted by students, staff and parents, has gradually changed the waste management processes and culture of the school community. It likely has flow-on effects to the homes and the community, as well as installing positive sustainability awareness in the students. The success of the program has also been achieved thanks to the support of organisations supporting sustainability including Eco-Schools, North East Waste and Tweed Shire Council.
Dedication of a sculpture encapsulating ‘Oneness’ and the ‘Human Values’
On 7 November 2019 Dr Naren Chellappah OAM, a longstanding member of the Australian Sathya Sai community, and a recipient of the Sai Lion award at the recent SNC 2019, donated a sculpture titled ‘ONE’ to the University of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.
The sculpture was officially unveiled by the university’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Deep Saini, during a dedication ceremony on the lawns of the main university concourse and in front of an audience of approximately 80 people, including Zone 3 Chairperson, Neville Fredericks and Australia’s National President, Singanayagam Indrapalan from the SSIO, university faculty members and members of the public from various faiths.
Dr Chellappah, arising from his love for his adopted city, Canberra, wanted to donate an inspiring work that reflected the inherent human values he holds dear and which were promoted by Sathya Sai Baba; Love, Truth, Right Conduct, Peace and Non-violence. He envisaged this as a gift from the whole “Sai Community” who are engaged in living lives that reflect these values along with practicing selfless service to their communities.
Dr Chellappah delivered a heartfelt speech on the vision behind the sculpture. Amongst other things he said, ‘The structure, “One,” is on a base which has the human values for life that I was taught – Truth, Right Conduct, Love, Peace and Non-violence – written over a background of Aboriginal motifs. This is to acknowledge and respect the timeless Aboriginal presence here. Upon that foundation…Australia, was established, as ONE harmonious entity made up of people of differing countries of origin, race, colour, religion and political beliefs and so on, living together in peace.’
Installed adjacent to the main concourse of the University, the artwork has transformed the area into a space for reflection and contemplation. The large sculpture stands 5 metres tall, made out of stainless steel. Its mirrored exterior reflects the viewer, encouraging them to feel that they are part of the structure, evoking the sense of Oneness. The inside of the structure is a deep red to signify that under the surface, all beings are the same, whilst also reflecting the rich red earth of much of the Australian landscape.
Dr Chellappah expressed his warm feelings for his adoptive home and country and emphasised Sai Baba’s teaching of the unity of all beings and his hopes that this piece of public art will serve as a reminder of the underlying oneness of all humanity.
‘I feel this is my and (my family’s) home and it is a sense of oneness we feel with everyone and everything else in this city, in this country, our home.’
Dr Chellappah noted that university students have enquiring minds. It is his hope that exposure to the structure and what it represents will inspire them to attain their life goals with positive principles based on the values. It is also his intention that the space will provide an area for quiet contemplation where students and others can think about transcending the egotistic concepts of I and mine, towards a broader vision of ‘We’ and the undeniable oneness of all creation as taught by Sathya Sai Baba.
Lining the pathway to the sculpture stand two concrete walls upon which the 5 human values and the words “Seek Aspire Inspire” are inscribed. Dr Chellappah explained the rationale for the inclusion of these words as he addressed those present.
‘“S” – Seek one’s goal in life whether of a spiritual or secular nature. “A” – Aspire with principles such as truth, love, peace, non-violence and right conduct. And ‘‘I” – Inspire others thereby.’
‘So, Think, “SAI” – Seek, Aspire, Inspire.’ Dr Chellappah concluded, to a resounding applause.
Dr Chellappah’s donation is a wonderful promptor of Sai Baba’s teachings, and serve as an excellent example of how His universal messages of Unity and Love can be shared with and appreciated by the wider community.
NSW Region East
The Ladies Day celebration for NSW Region East was held on Sunday 17 November 2019 at Ermington Community Centre, Ermington.
The event was full of wonderful surprises.
The function commenced with a few devotional songs and was followed by a brief description of why Ladies Day is celebrated.
This was followed soon after by the guest speaker Deependra. Deependra is originally from Colombo in Sri Lanka and considers herself very fortunate to have been born into a Sai family as her parents and grandparents were already following the path of Sai Baba. She took up her first office bearer’s role as a young adult female lead in Colombo at the age of 18. Her talk was very inspiring and she shared intimate details of her family’s journey with Sai Baba. Her family was always very involved in serving the community and she learnt very early on that leading is actually learning from others and that service is super satisfying. There were lots of take-home messages in her presentation and I feel the attendees would certainly have taken heed to these.
This was followed by Selvi Ramanan’s brief outline of NSW Region East Ladies Program activities, which included the recent collaboration with Zonta International in sewing of breast cushions for women who have had breast surgery. This is a recent initiative and the first of the cushions were offered for blessing at the shrine. She also highlighted the association of Sai Ladies with the Country Women’s association in preparing care packs which are donated to hospitals for use in emergency.
Soon after this was a musical offering by the ladies and female young adults of Region East. The songs took everyone on a journey of nostalgia, reminiscing on the days of Sai Baba’s physical form when everyone basked in his divine miracles. Ultimately, the journey is from Mother Sai to finding the Sai residing within us, reminding us that He will always be our beacon of light.
The program ended with more devotional songs.
Attendance was approximately 250-300. The program was very inspirational with lots of take-home messages.
NSW Region West
Images from Ladies Day Event in WA as well as a donation made to Mission Australia of non-perishable food items.
94th Anniversary of the Advent of Sathya Sai Baba
The ACT Region celebrated the 94th anniversary of the advent of Sathya Sai Baba this year at Merici College, located in Braddon, Canberra on 23 November 2019 from 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm. The theme for the celebrations was ‘Service, Illumination and Adoration’ and over 300 guests including those from non-Sai backgrounds attended the event.
The altar decorations, though simple, were aesthetically pleasing in a warm, comfortable and restorative way, and it set the tone for the events to follow. The first item was a video that celebrated Sathya Sai Baba’s birth. This was followed by an offering by children undertaking Sai Spiritual Education (SSE). This offering explored the concept of ‘self-service’ according to Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings through a play titled “Merici Hills’ Year 8 Prize for Community Service”. Through the play the SSE children skilfully conveyed the message that selfless service is done with no expectation of any return including recognition, appreciation or prize. Similarly, the young adults performed a play which conveyed the meaning of Service, Illumination and Adoration. This play depicted someone who has a near death experience, and whether they are ready to merge with higher consciousness or god is investigated by checking whether this person has satisfied the components of Service, Adoration and Illumination. The key message stemming from the play were:
- it is not enough to just do the right things; right things done with the wrong motive are wrong in the sight of our Master.
- Neither is it enough to act even with a right motive, if we are acting simply on our own initiative and doing what seems right in our own eyes.
- Worship is not hearing sermons, nor is it praying, or singing devotional songs but it is that up-flow of adoration which rises from a soul to his Master and the illumination that follows.
Our guest speaker, Saraswathy Bhaskar, Advisor for the Young Adults of the SSIO Australia & PNG delivered a talk on the theme of day’s celebration. Sarawathy, who is the epitome of simplicity said that SSE children had beautifully covered a portion of her talk. She said that Sathya Sai Baba, through HIS name SAI (standing for ‘Service, Adoration and Illumination’) conveyed HIS message and that SA and I exemplified HIS message through our journey to the self. Sarawathy also said that service should be done with love, leaving behind all forms of personal expectations. Mayavan Manivannan, the regional president, then highlighted the offerings available from the ACT Region to those seeking fulfillment through various forms of spiritual activities, presenting the activities undertaken by the Region under the categories of “Service” “Adoration,’’ and “Illumination, and acknowledged all those who contributed to the event in various ways. This was followed by scintillating devotional songs. The event concluded with Sanjay, the Master of Ceremonies wrapping up the event with concluding remarks on the take home messages conveyed throughout celebrations. Light refreshments were served to all including the cake offered at the altar.
Despite the small number of members of the two groups in Tasmania, 24 people came to Ross to celebrate Sai Baba’s Birthday. Ross is situated approximately mid-way between Hobart and Launceston, the two major cities in Tasmania and about 1.5 hours away from each. Devotees came from the two cities, and several from points much more distant, the north-east coast, south of Hobart and 3 hours’ away to the west of the state to share their love for Sai Baba and to enjoy the good company of fellow spiritual aspirants.
The day’s proceedings commenced with a beautiful devotional singing session. Our Region’s president then recounted her gratitude to Sai Baba for His presence in her life, sharing several incidents that occurred to her that confirmed to her who He was. A delicious shared lunch was enjoyed during which a lovely video of Sai Baba was shown. This was followed by a number of musical items and a reading interspersed with video presentations of the Australian Organisation’s activities and our SSE programs. Members were also encouraged to adopt a proactive role in supporting Mother Earth by reducing waste and tackling pollution by rejecting plastic wrapping and bags, recycling and having regard for our Mother Earth, an entity that Sai Baba reminded us gave so much and should have our gratitude and respect.
Our region celebrated Sai Baba’s Birthday in a grand scale with nearly 850 people attending. Our Teamwork was very well demonstrated on the day of the celebration.
The Theme of the celebration was – “Unity is Divinity, Purity is Enlightenment”. Our SSE children performed a choir, singing a song “Footsteps Walking With Me, So Devotees Can Follow”. Our adults performed a beautiful play titled “From There To Here” – a play about the pathways to peace and the steps Man would need to take to reach the destination of all destinations.
Our gratitude is only to our beloved Sai Baba
NSW Region East
NSW Region West
Sathya Sai Centre of Blacktown – 7 Days Special Prayer dedicated for Mother Earth
Australia is facing one of its worst droughts in recent memory. The members of the Centre dedicated the week after the 94th Year of the Advent Celebration, (from 24th Nov to 1st Dec 2019) in offering to make conscious effort to cleanse the atmosphere with bountiful rains and alleviate the sufferings of all across the country affected by bushfires and drought.
The Sathya Sai Centre of Blacktown chanted Gayatri and Rudram each day from Sunday, 24 Nov to Saturday, 30 Nov and on the Sunday, 1 Dec members chanted the Gayatri mantra 108 times.
These mantras when chanted with a pure heart creates positive vibrations that have the potential to grant us our desires, which was the evidence around this period of cool temperature and plenty of rain fall. We will continue to pray in our own times and urge all SSIO members to carry on prayers with intensity for plentiful rains across this beautiful country of ours, especially in all areas that is in most need.
Samstha Loka Sukino Bavanthu.
Westmead Sai Centre
Westmead Sai Centre celebrated the 94th anniversary of the advent of Sathya Sai Baba in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Westmead Sai Centre.
WA celebrated the 94th anniversary of the advent of Sathya Sai Baba with a variety of items including Rudram chanting during the day, and guest speakers – the Sister Kate group who did welcome to country, and Sargent Don Emanuel-Smith from the local police, who spoke on multiculturalism
Sai Medicare Camp – 2020
Registration for the 2020 Sai Medicare Camp (8-16 August, 2020), to be held in Vanua Levu, Fiji, is now open. For more information, please click HERE.