Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007 (Tuesday 23rd October)

Morning Darshan

Morning bhajans started at the usual time of 9am. The Sai Kulwant hall was unusually busy as a large group has recently come from the Prakasam district of Andra Pradesh to receive Swami’s darshan and blessings. Swami came to give darshan at 9.20 in the car. It appeared as if Swami was pre-occupied as He stayed for just one bhajan before calling for aarti and going back to His residence.

Afternoon Darshan

In the afternoon, Swami came to give darshan at 4.40pm. He did a full round of the Sai Kulwant hall in His car. He then came in the chair to the portico where he spent a few minutes interacting with his younger students. In particular, he called one 10-year-old Iranian student and requested him to chant Vedam along with the senior students. Bhajans began at 5.14pm and Swami stayed till 5.45pm before accepting aarti and retiring to his residence.

The UK group on leaving offered their deepest gratitude to Swami for allowing them to participate in this year's Grama Seva.

Courtesy: Arvind Tank - via Saibabanews 25.10.2007


Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007 (Monday 22nd October)

Morning Darshan

Prasanthi appears to be settling back into the normal routine as the crowd has reduced significantly after the majestic Navratri and Vijayadasami celebrations.

Swami came for darshan today in his car at 9.40am, whilst bhajans were going on. After speaking to a few lucky devotees on the verandah, Swami proceeded towards the mandir where he blessed the priests who had performed the Veda Purusha Sapta Maha Yagna. He then accepted aarti at 10.45am and headed back to His residence.

Afternoon Darshan

Swami came for darshan in his car a little earlier than normal, much to the delight of the devotees assembled there. Swami kindly accepted a thank you card from the UK group leader (puppet) and further enquired as to how they boys were doing. Bhajans started at 5pm as normal and finished at 5.40 as Swami accepted the aarti and retired to his residence for the evening.

In the evening, the UK Grama Seva boys were privileged to have a spiritual satsang with the warden of the Brindavan Campus, Sri B Narasimhamurthy. One of the boys asked for further clarification on Swami’s Vijayadasami discourse on Truth and Righteousness. Sri Narasimhamurthy explained what Swami had meant yesterday in more detail. He said that God is Truth, God is everywhere and this is the real truth. Dharma is what you have to do and this is a choice between Shreyas and Preyas. Whatever you do, do it with love not hatred.

Sri Narasimhamurthy then detailed out a 9-point plan which he has devised to help man further his spiritual progress:

1. Early to bed, early to rise.

2. Simple living and high thinking – reduce material needs and desires. Unity in thought, word and deed.

3. 30 minutes of satsang everyday – company of good people. As Swami says, “tell me your company, I’ll tell you what you are.” For those of you unable to have satsang daily, you can do Swadhyay (study of spiritual literature).

4. 30 minutes of solitude – spent on your own and contemplate.

5. Constant namasmarana – constant repetition of the Lord’s name.

6. Hands in the society and heads in the forest.

7. Do Seva all the time – this can be broken down into 3 types of Seva:
a. Mental - pray for the wellbeing of others
b. By word – always speak kindly and lovingly
c. Action – use every opportunity available, regardless of size, to help others. "If you can do one act a day for 10 days, you’ll experience spiritual bliss."
8. Dedicate all activities unto God – e.g. People do activities because they have to or because they derive happiness from it. However, it should be done because of your love for God.

9. God is everywhere so see God in everything and see everything in God.

Sri Narasimhamurthy also gave a means to monitor your spiritual progress in daily life, in the form of simple ABCD:

- Awareness of Inner Bliss
- Balance of mind – equanimity
- Ceiling on desires
- Dedication to welfare of others

Courtesy: Arvind Tank via Saibabanews


Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007 (21st October)

Morning Darshan 
 
On this auspicious day of the Dusshera function, Prasanthi Nilayam was reverbrating with extra vigour. Also on this day, Shirdi Sai Baba chose to take Maha Samadhi in 1918. He told one of his close devotees the day before that he would leave his mortal coil on the day of Dusshera.
 
In the Threta yuga, Lord Sri Rama was victorious in his battle with the demon king, Ravana. He then returned to Ayodha where he was crowned king. In the kali yuga our dear Swami, the Veda Purusha himself, came to the poornachandra hall to carry out the poornahuti of the yagna. This ceremony took place at 10am this morning. Swami then watched over the rituals for over 45 minutes. This included the yagna ceremony and he blessed all the priests who were fortunate to take part. The Poornachandra hall was completely full as everyone was keen to get a glimpse of Swami performing the yagna Himself. The scene before our eyes took our imagination back to the Threta yuga yagnas.
 
For the first time the grama seva was performed for the full 9 days of the navratri function. Usually on dusshera the sisters of the Anantapur campus would do grama seva within the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram. However in addition to this, Swami instructed the students and the UK group to continue with the service activities in the villages. Some of these villages that were fortunate to receive Swami’s prasadam on Vijayadasami day were Tarakarama Nagar, Djp(Deenajanoddhara na) and Cheya. These villages are located behind the ashram. In total over 200 homes received Swami’s prasadam including 58 students in the Deenajanoddharana orphanage.
 
The UK grama seva group expresses their deepest gratitude towards Swami for allowing them to take part in this grand event covering 145 villages in 8 days. Service of this magnitude is only possible with the Divine blessing.  

Uk Grama Seva group
 
Afternoon Darshan 

Swami came for darshan at 4.15pm in his chair today, just before the rahulkalam started at 4.30pm. He then spoke to the UK grama sevagroup leader puppet and instructed him to give a talk. Swami then spent over 20 minutes with his students looking fondly at the various models and presentations of dushhera craft works.
 
Sri Sanjay Sahani then introduced the 2 speakers for the evening. These were Ajit Poppat (puppet) and Sri S.V.Giri (previous vice chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai University ).
 
Sri Ajit Poppat (puppet) spoke in his usual charismatic and energetic manner. He spoke on leading a Heartificial instead of an artificial life and elaborated on this by quoting the 5 “L’s” given by Swami. These are:


- Listening – to “Avatar Vahni” i.e. the teachings of the living master.
- Learning – learning to put into practice the above teachings
- Lifting – lifting oneself above the physical plane to mental, intellectual, psychic and eventually to the spiritual plane.
- Living – live what you have learnt
- Loving – to love selflessly.
 
Sri Ajit Poppat spoke of how one of the boy joined the UK Grama Seva group faced with a very difficult choice. Few days before the departure of the group the boy’s Mother who was suffering from Cancer, became very serious. The Father informed the Group leader that the boy will not be able to come.
 
However, the Mother insisted that her son should go for Grama Seva and serve our Lord Sai, despite the fact that she was in a very critical situation. During Grama Seva, the boy received a phone call from the Father explaining that his Mother’s situation is getting worse and Doctors have given her only couple of days. The father wanted the boy to come back home. The boy wrote a letter with a picture of his Mother and gave to Swami. Swami immediately read the letter on the Veranda. Soon after that the boy received a call from his family who explained that his Mother wanted him to stay with Swami and complete the Grama Seva activities in the villages.
 
She was very proud that her son is serving our Lord Sai at her last moments. The sacrifice made by the mother and son, touched the heart of our dear Lord Sai. Swami, looked at the boy with a motherly smile many times during darshan. Sri Ajit Poppat ended his talk with a prayer to Baba. 
 
Sri S.V. Giri then spoke eloquently on his recent experiences during Grama Seva. He narrated an incident in a village where a family shared their prasadam with their pet dog as they considered it to be an equal member of the household. Sri Giri then compared this to a similar experience in the life of Shirdi Sai Baba. In another village, Sri Giri noticed a marked improvement in the self confidence of the inhabitants as a direct result of the love showered on them during Grama Seva over the years.
 
After Sri Giri had finished his talk, Swami gifted us all wih His divine discourse on this auspicious day of Vijayadasami. To the great delight and joy of the audience, Swami then stood up for the first part of the discourse and spoke whilst standing. Swami started off saying that this auspicious day gives great joy to many people, however this day was also a day of grief to many people in the past as this was the day Shirdi Baba left his physical body and took maha Samadhi. Swami then explained the importance of following Sathya, Truth and Dharma, Righteousness. He then quoted the story of Lakshmi Bhai who was given two gold coins by Shirdi Baba symbolising Sathya and Dharma and to the amazement of the audience he materialized these two coins.
 
The rest of Swami’s discourse elaborated the principle of Sathya and dharma. Swami said that following the above basic principles is superior to any form of worship or prayer and everything done should be based on truth.
 
Swami concluded saying that all of us are a reflection of “Sathya Sai” and that God is one, whether we call him Rama, Krishna , Jesus or Allah.
 
Swami ended his talk singing the famous song “Bhaja Govindam”. 

Courtesy: Arvind Tank via Saibabanews - 22.10.2007


Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007 (Saturday 20th October)

Morning Darshan

On this very day, Swami declared his avatarhood. At the age of 14, Swami left his parents' home to fulfill His divine mission. Today being the 9th day of navratri the crowd continues to grow in anticipation of the Dusshera celebrations. Today's rahulkalam (the inauspicious period of the day) was between 9 – 10.30am, therefore Swami's students left in the early hours of the morning for Grama Seva.

As usual many villages received Swami's prasadam. One particular village that was served was called, Janakampalli, in the Bukkhapatnam mandal. The village consisted of approximately 1150 houses with an approximate population of 4500. In total there were 7 sub groups made up of 12-14 Sai students each. This also included a group of the UK Grama Seva group. With Swami's grace, the activities which included nagarsankirtan, distribution of prasadam, bhajans and aarti were completed quickly and efficiently.

The group returned to Prasanthi Nilayam at 10.15am and went straight to the Yagna at the Poornachandra Hall. Our dear Swami entered the Poornachandra hall just after the rahulkalam ended, to reside over the Yagna. Swami blessed all the priests taking part during the mantra pushpam aarti. He then headed towards the Sai Kulwant hall where thousands of devotees were waiting eagerly since the early hours of the morning. Swami did a full round of darshan in his chair giving love and joy to all, and then headed to the interview room to bless the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. After a short interview Swami headed back to Yajur Mandiram.

Afternoon Darshan

Swami came for darshan at 5.40pm, taking a full round in his chair. He then went onto the portico to bless an eminent Indian classical music clarinet player. The musician with his accompanying artists started playing a few select Bhajans, songs and ragas. The ragas played included Hamsadhwani, 2 bhajans of which one was Prema Mudhita Manase Kaho and finished with raga bhairavi. Out of His infinite grace Swami materialised a gold chain for the clarinet player and gave new clothes to each of the musicians. Whilst the music was being played, prasadam was issued to all devotees present in the Sai Kulwant hall. Swami called for aarti at 6.40pm and then retired to his residence for the evening.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007 (Friday 19th October)

Morning Darshan

On this auspicious day of Durga Ashtami the 8th day of the Navratri function, various activities have taken place. On this holy day, the instruments (Astras & Vehicles) are worshipped. Today is the day Swami, Himself performs the worship of the vehicles. This tradition has been followed since the ancient times of Bharat (India). On this day, the Pandavas completed their time in exile and the 13th year of hiding. On this day, the weapons that were hidden away were reclaimed.

In the usual manner, Grama Seva commenced with Pradikshana around the Sanctum Sanctorum.

One of the villages covered today was Locherla. This village is located in the Kotachero Mandal, and consisted of over 800 houses with approximately 3350 residents. The community spirit was noticeable as one of the teams arrived and the villagers were waiting for us eagerly. As the supply vehicles drove into the village, they were cheerfully welcomed by the local children who were all shouting “Sai Ram Sai Ram!!” whilst the parents and grandparents welcomed us quietly with a heartfelt smile and twinkle in their eyes.

With the Army of Swami’s students, Swami’s prasadam was distributed very rapidly before lunchtime as per Swami’s instructions.

Courtesy: Arvind Tank - via Saibabanews - 21.10.2007


Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007 (Thursday 18th October)

Morning Darshan

The chanting from the Veda Purusha Sapta Jyana Yagna could be clearly heard from the Poornachandra hall, as the devotees sat in the Sai Kulwant hall. The Nadaswaram was being played which added the festive mood of the Navaratri function.

As the Yagna was being performed throughout the day, to generate uplifting vibrations for world peace, at the same time Swami's students and faculty members were spreading His message of love in the Kotacharu Mandal. One of the villages that received Swami's prasadam was Talamarya and Avulkutla (which consisted of 15 houses in a very remote farmland).

The group reached all the villages and houses in and around the area, regardless of the remoteness and inaccessibility of the houses. This was only made possible by Swami's love and grace on the villagers.

Afternoon Darshan

At 4.40 the Vedam singing started, signalling the arrival of our dear Lord Sai. Swami arrived in the silver car for darshan and headed towards the portico, where he spoke to UK Gama Seva group Leader Puppet for a very brief moment.

Sanjay Sahani, got up to introduce the speakers for the day, which included 1) Sir Narashimamurthi, The Warden for the Brindawan campus. 2) Krishna Kumar, Student.

Warden Sir, spoke for almost for an hour on various topics including the life and mission of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the super speciality hospital. He mentioned that there are 36 slokas describing the life and mission of the Avatar. He mentioned and described the various stages of the Avatar, 1st comes the Leela, the pastime of Sai Baba. 2nd Mahimaha, 3rd Updesa, 4th Vidha, establishing the educational institutes, 5th Vaidy, the establishments of the hospitals and 6th Establishment of Sanatana Drama.

Sir Narashimamurthi also explained how to win Swami's grace so that Swami would come to you. All you have to do is call him to your heart with tears in your eye "Lord I belong to you". The only condition required to win His grace is Faith.

The second speaker Krishna Kumar, spoke from his heart about the Glory of Sai Mother. Krishna Kumar spoke with examples of all the attributes of Swami that make him a Mother.

Whilst the talk was going on Swami was in a very delightful mood as He would be playing with handkerchief, like a little boy and when He looked up and found that everyone was looking and smiling at Him, he gave the amazing smile (like Krishna did when He was caught doing something).

Our dear Lord Sai is so kind that He materialised a gold chain for Krishna Kumar and just like a mother Swami put the chain around the boy's neck Himself. It was a very beautiful sight to observe.

Swami listened to few bhajans before taking the Aarti and headed towards the divine residence at 6.30.

Courtesy: Arvind Tank via Saibabanews - 20.10.2007


Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007 (17th October)

Morning Darshan

The Grama Seva activities commenced in the early hours of the morning at 7.45am.The UK Grama Seva Group were originally allocated Dhupampalli and neighbouring villages. Unfortunately due to that fact these villages were inaccessible by the Sumo vehicles, the planning committee then changed the villages to Chedrayaipalli and Kottalapalli.

Before Grama Seva commenced, the UK boys went around the village chanting Vedam and singing Bhajans. Swami has mentioned that doing this will spiritually cleanse the village. It also serves as announcement to the villagers regarding the seva activities.

Chedrayaipalli consisted of approximately 145 houses with an additional 20 houses in the neighbouring village, Kottalapalli, which was served by Sai Students.

After successfully completing the distribution of Swami’s prasadam, the UK boys and Swami’s students performed the Aarti together in the village Mandir.

Afternoon Darshan

The UK Grama Seva boys were given a uplifting and inspirational talk by the group leader Sri Ajit Poppat (puppet), prior to going for Swami’s darshan.

He spoke on the importance of regular spiritual practices which will lead to many benefits. He spoke about:

- Devotees never make mistakes…. Because a true devotee never does anything, everything is done by GOD

- Devotees never waste time…Every act is dedicated to GOD

- Through spiritual practices devotees are awakened to intuitive knowledge. This knowledge comes from within automatically.

Ajit Poppat also mentioned the importance of surrendering everything to GOD so that GOD can work though you to achieve all of the above. Therefore you will be successful in all aspect of life. Ajit Poppat illustrated the above with very comical examples in his usual manner.

With mind focused and heart full of love for Swami, all the UK Grama Seva boys headed towards Sai Kulwant hall to receive the darshan of Bhagawan. Our Beloved Swami’s heart is as soft as butter that melts immediately whenever there is a call from a pure heart. Today, Swami displayed this yet again by coming for Darshan at 4.45 on his Chair in order that everyone could get a very close darshan.

Swami kindly continued His darshan from the portico as his gave Sanjay Sahani instructions to announce the speakers for the Prashanthi Maha Vidhvan Sabha.

The first speaker was Sri Srinivas Rangarajan. He spoke eloquently on Karma Yagna. Rangarajan, mentioned some of the points of Karma Yagna as follows: -

1. Offer to God within
2. Perfection
3. Equanimity
4. Intention (feeling)
5. Offer every act to GOD

For instance, when he gave blood in the hospital Swami enquired whether he had given blood. However, it seemed that Swami was not happy with the response, even though it was “Yes”. Swami then said “You did not give me blood, you gave blood to the patient.” Therefore, one must strive to see God in everyone. An example of perfection was that during grama seva a few houses were located in a remote, inaccessible area of the Dhupampalli. However the student insisted on going to these houses even if it meant going by himself.

The second speaker was a university student, Natesh Shankar Shetty. He spoke from the heart about the mother aspect of God. He elaborated on this by singing the bhajan, Janani Maa Sai Janani Maa. He then went on to explain how the bhajan emphasises Divine knowledge and bliss. He spoke for 20 minutes and ended by emotionally declaring to all how his deep gratitude towards Swami for granting him this immense opportunity on his birthday. Swami then out of his infinite divine love materialised a ring for him.

Swami then instructed for the Bhajans to begin and within 10 minutes called for Aarti. As Swami was getting back into the car, he called for the UK grama seva group leader, Sri Ajit Poppat (puppet). Swami then inquired if the group was regularly taking part in the grama seva and if they were happy. Sri Poppat replied Anand-Paramanand (Bliss-absolute bliss).

Courtesy: Arvind Tank via Saibabanews 19.10.2007


Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007 (15th October)

Morning Darshan

On this auspicious day of Veda Purusha Sapta Jyana Yagna, the Nadaswaram started just before 9.00am to commence the first day of the Yagna.

The Sai Kulwant Hall is fully decorated which enhanced to the festive mood. Many of Swami’s students were also dressed in traditional Peethamber, as part of the Vedam Procession. The group of priest who will be conducting the Yagna through out the Navratri festival, were led in to the Sanctum Sanctorium.

Our Lord Sai, heard the prayers of all the devotees gathered and responded by giving darshan to one and all. Swami blessed the priests and the Vedam boys inside Mandir and instructed them to proceed to the Poornachandra Hall, where the Yagna will take place. They were followed by the other devotees, who all gathered in the Poornachandra Hall.

All were gathered waiting for the Purusha himself, who arrived shortly thereafter to inaugurate the Yagna. At 10am the Priests created the holy fire in the age-old traditional manner, by churning the woods together.

Swami blessed the creation of the fire whilst various Mantras and Vedam were chanted simultaneously. Shortly after this, Swami instructed the Grama Seva boys to carry out the daily service activities in the villages.

Today’s Grama Seva took place in Puttaparthi village itself. The UK Grama Seva group was privileged and honoured to follow Swami’s direct instructions to distribute his parcels of love at the super speciality hospital rather than go to the village. The residents of the hospital warmly welcomed the group as they received Swami’s love, in the form of Prasad am. Most of the residents in the hospital quarters consisted of doctors, nurses and their families.

Afternoon Darshan

To the pleasant surprise of all the devotees gathered in Sai Kulwant hall, our dear Lord gave chair darshan at 5.15pm by taking a full round of the Sai Kulwant hall. The UK Grama Seva group were blessed as Swami gave them direct eye contact. On entering the veranda, Swami enquired about the welfare of the UK group from Sri Ajit Poppat (Puppet).

Swami then instructed the vice chancellor to introduce the speakers for then Prasanthi Maha Vidhvan Sabha. The first speaker was Professor Venkataraman, who spoke for more than 20 minutes on the inner spiritual significance of Navratri, stating we should meditate on the Divine mother principal to destroy our inner demons. The next speaker was Professor Veerbudhraya, who spoke in Telugu. Swami then instructed the Sai students to commence Bhajans. Swami took aarti at 6.30pm and retired to His residence.

The evening session continued for the UK Grama Seva boys with a satang with Dr. Choudhry, the director of the Cardiology department at both super speciality hospitals. He spoke about his personal experiences and how Swami helped him to develop an understanding about working with the living master.

Courtesy: Arvind Tank - via Saibabanews


 

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2007 (16th October) 

Morning Darshan
 
Today was the auspicious day of Mangala Vaar (Tuesday), a day dedicated to the worship of the divine mother. The name itself, as described by Swami, was declared to Hanuman by mother Sita on the day Hanuman reached Sita with Lord Rama’s message and ring.
 
Swami had given special instructions yesterday for the Grama Seva students to depart early at 7am. As usual, the Pradakshina of the Mandir took place with Vedam and Bhajans and made its way towards the vehicles.
 
A special village had been selected for today’s distribution of Love. The village itself was located 35km from Prashanthi Nilayam and consisted of 1400 houses. The village was noticeably poor and deprived yet the villagers received all the students with a hearty smile and welcome.
 
Throughout the service the UK group were joined by a band of joyous children who joined in the chanting of this year’s Grama Seva mantra. This mantra  “Aum Satchitanandaya Namah” was given to all students by Swami himself the day before Grama Seva started. 


 
Afternoon Darshan
 
For the first time since the beginning of Navratri, Swami came out early at 4.30pm to bless us all with His divine chair darshan. All the grama seva boys were overjoyed, as they had missed the morning darshan and were now able to get close to Swami in physical proximity. 

Swami then proceeded towards the veranda where He blessed the UK Grama Seva group leader, Sri Ajit Poppat (Puppet) on his birthday. Swami then spent the remainder of the evening session on the portico, where He interacted with numerous Sai students and blessed 2 boys with a chain and a ring. He then requested for Bhajans to begin that lasted for 10 minutes.
 
As part of the Prashanthi Maha Vidhvan Sabha Swami blessed Professor Anil Kumar to give a talk. Professor Anil Kumar spoke for over 45 minutes in Telugu in his usual witty and jovial manner. He gave examples of how Swami is the Embodiment of Divines Skatis, Maha Lakshmi, Drug and Saraswati. Professional Anil Kumar quoted a number of Telegu Poems written by great Telegu Scholars, in front of Swami.  After the talk Swami accepted aarti at 6pm and retired to Yajur Mandiram. 

 Courtesy: Arvind Tank - via Saibabanews

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