Winter Showers in Shirdi.

The greatest strength for a devotee is his Master's Love and the greatest strength for the Master is his devotee's faith! This beautiful relationship of Love and Faith was amply visible at the State Level Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation (SSSSO), Maharashtra & Goa, held in the holy land of Shirdi on January 11th & 12th 2014. While the Master - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba showered His Divine Love on all the 2000 delegates, the faith of the people who attended the conference came across strongly as each person resolved silently to take the Sathya Sai Mission ahead in full throttle.

Stage Set for Transformation

On 11th January 2014, Vitthal Lawns at Shirdi saw an outpour of love like never before! Everyone was geared up to witness the conference with the theme 'Transformation through Organisation'. Amidst the resounding Vedas followed by Bhajans, the lamp was lit by esteemed guests. Shri. Ramesh Sawant, State President of Sri Sathya Seva Organisation (Maharashtra & Goa) welcomed the large gathering and explained the need for this conference. He expressed his happiness that though about 1,500 delegates were expected, all expectations were surpassed with more than 2,000 people turning up! Shri. Sawant said that this conference was special in many ways - especially as it was based on the feedback received from over 200 samithis. The responses given by the samithis would drive the conference and thereby the way ahead for the entire organization. Shri. Sawant emphasized that the best gift we can give to Bhagawan Baba was a transformed heart!

Shri. Ramesh Sawant, State President, SSSSO - (Mah & Goa)

Shri. Nimish Pandya, All India Vice President of SSSSO, exhorted the audience not to underestimate the 'power of a devotee' and that the biggest service we could do was to carry on the message of Human Values as subscribed by Bhagwan Baba for generations to come. In his power packed address to the audience, Shri. Pandya motivated each and every one to inscribe 'SAI' incessantly in to their everyday life and experience the miracles of transformation of the heart.

Shri. Nimish Pandya, All India Vice President, SSSSO

Shri. Pandya's talk was followed by yet another electric talk delivered by Shri. Hari Ranjan Rao, IAS, Secretary to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Shri. Hari Ranjan Rao has had the good fortune of being a Balvikas alumni and hails from a family of Sai Devotees. In his 90 minute talk, Shri. Rao dwelled upon very serious issues of life that could be easily tackled if one had the right values planted in them - especially through Balvikas. He paid glowing tributes to the Balvikas movement and the way it has transformed millions of children all across the world. The mesmerized audiences were in raptures hearing the various experiences of Shri. Rao which he conveyed in his inimitable style interspersed with regular dozes of humorous anecdotes!

Shri. Hariranjan Rao

The conference soon took a new shape with a panel of experts from the Education wing of the organization taking centre stage. Shri. Anoop Saxena, District President of SSSSO, Mumbai explained to the audience that based on the feedback received from the samithi survey, some questions were shortlisted and would be asked to the assembled gathering. The panel of experts would then answer the questions to the best of their understanding and experience. Balvikas, being the foundation of the organization formed the basis of the interesting discussions between the panel and audience. The panel consisted of Shri.Nimish Pandya, Smt. Shanta Ramachandran, Smt. Padma Diwakar, Smt. Manorama Sathe & Smt.Padmaja Bhonsale - all of them doyens in their own right in the field of Education wing of the organization.

Education wing panel

The post lunch session began with Shri. Chandrashekhar from Mumbai explaining the success of the rain water harvesting projects executed in few villages. He also introduced the concept of 'One Rupee Seva' for corporate wherein a employee has to contribute Re.1 per day and at the end of the year the company would also contribute a matching donation making an impressive amount that could be used for many of our projects.

Shri. Vivekanada Sahoo, alumni from Sri Sathya Sai University, Puttaparthi and currently Assistant Vice President, Yes Bank, Mumbai then addressed the august gathering. He dwelled upon the spiritual essence of the SSSSO and how working in the organization helps each one to progress spiritually. By narrating plenty of experiences with Bhagwan Baba and insights he kept all the delegates engaged deeply in his hour long talk. Shri. Sahoo put across interesting ways of tackling with inter- organizational conflicts and the right perspective of looking at them.

Shri. Vivekananda Sahoo

Soon it was time for the panel discussion on the Spiritual wing of the organization, for which the talk by Shri. Sahoo had already laid a strong foundation. The discussions were interestingly ordered according to the spiritual growth of a person. With many humorous incidents and stories, the entire session of the Spiritual wing was regaled by one and all. The panel consisted of Shri. Murali Jaju, Smt. Shailaja Dharvatker, Smt. Prema Nagarkatti, Smt. Neela Bhatia and Smt. K. Sucharitha. Involvement from the delegates and apt reply from the panelists made the session an engrossing one.

Spiritual Wing Panel

The first day of the conference in Shirdi ended with a hearty dinner in the open Vitthal Lawns. Though the weather was cold the love of being woven in ONE BIG Sai family kept the delegates warm. The crisp winter air of Shirdi lost its sting when hearts were rekindled with the Lord's name so powerful, even mountains of sins could be reduced to ashes.

DAY 2 - Tanuary 12th 2014

On January 12th, 2014 - day 2 of the state level conference began with energizing bhajans. The delegates were geared up to listen to Shri. Ajit Popat a prolific speaker from London, UK who graced the conference along with his wife. Shri. Popat has been fortunate to be blessed by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on innumerous occasions. He is well known all over the world for his gripping and powerful talks consisting of his experiences and messages from Bhagawan Baba. Shri. Popat did not fail the expectations of the gathering - rather surpassed all of them! For over 1.5 hours he enthralled the audience with his exhilarating talk that kept everyone glued to the chairs!

Shri. Ajit Popat

Soon it was time for discussions and deliberations of the largest wing of the organization - the Service wing. Shri. Anoop Saxena recalled an apt song describing the aim of the service wing and introduced the panel consisting of Shri B.K Vasudev, Shri. Mukesh Patel, Shri. Prakash Dharvatker, Shri. Manu Bharwani, Shri S.K Satpute, Smt. Subhashini Rao and Smt. Priya Rajwade. Various service projects were discussed at length and the solutions / suggestions were given by the panelists. The bliss of service would be carried forth through various projects like Prashanthi Seva, Narayan Seva,

Mother & Child care, Mobile Medical Projects and many more was the conclusion of the interesting discussion.

Service Wing Panel

At the end of the discussions of the service wing - it was time to see some IT related service in action! The website of SSSSO, Maharashtra and Goa was inaugurated by the State President and other seniors. Smt. K. Sucharitha from the IT team explained that the website was being re-launched after a brief period of closure in which it was reengineered, www.srisathvasai.in was originally inaugurated by the Divine hands of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Though the two day conference was laced by prolific speakers - the delegates were hungry for more and waited with anxiety and enthusiasm to hear Shri. Satyajit Salian who had the rare privilege of working and living with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for a long time. Shri. Satyjaijit Salian won the hearts of everyone with his humility and he connected to one and all with his simple style of relating to big truths of life! He gave the audience and especially the office bearers the lessons that the learnt from Baba - to be in control, yet remain available and connected to all members of our samithi's / districts. Shri. Satyajit gave the simple formula of DUA - Dhairyam, Utsaham and Anandam (in Telugu) translating to Courage, Enthusiasm and Happiness that is the key to being a successful member of SSSSO. The 90 minute talk by Shri. Satyajit was the perfect icing on the cake for all those present and it was no wonder, everyone lapped up each bit of his talk!

Shri. Satyajit Salian

Shri. Ramesh Sawant, then concluded the 1.5 day conference by giving out pearls of wisdom on the way ahead. An oath was taken by all the delegates reaffirming that the mission of Sai was indeed of prime importance in each office bearer's life! The Olympic flame of Sai mission was re- charged from the ancient fires of the dhuni lit by none other than Shirdi Baba himself and to be carried forth by GenNext from Puttaparthi! Thus ended Winter Showers in Shirdi - the bliss of which shall be transmitted for years to come with memories etched in hearts of all those present - forever!

Jai Sai Ram!

For more photos click here

Photos - SSSSO Maharashtra & Goa Conference at Shirdi

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