My Experience of The Sri Sathya Sai Organisation of the UK

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My Experience of The Sri Sathya Sai Organisation of the UK:

This is my memoir of my experience of being in the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation of the UK.
The Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of the UK and the Sri Sathya Sai International Organisation was formed in the 1960s by an Indian Spiritual teacher called Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Also his devotees call him Bhagavan or Swami (which means lord). The purposes of these Sai Organisations was meant to be a training ground for devotees to make themselves deserve divine grace through love and service to all and to spread Bhagavan’s message of the religion of love and the five human values. Truth (Sathya), righteousness (Dharma), peace (Shanti), love (Prema), and non-violence (Ahimsa).  There are one hundred and twenty Sai organisations and two hundred Sai centres around the world. Every Sai organisation around the world had to follow Bhagavan’s nine point code of conduct which is as follows:

  1. Everyday meditation.

  2. Bhajans (devotional singing) with all members of the family once a week.

  3. Participation of Balvikas (classes based on Bhagavan’s teachings), programme by the children of the family.

  4. Participation in community work and other programmes of the organisation.

  5. Attend at least once a month bhajan (devotional singing) or Nagar Sankirtan (congregational singing bhajans which is the best form of bhajan which is organised by the organisation.

  6. Regular study of Sai Literature.

  7. To speak softly to everyone.

  8. Not to indulge in talking ill of others especially in their absence.

  9. Narayana Seva- Some food to be kept separate every day to feed the needy and to form a habbit of not wasting food.

Also Bhagavan set out a twenty seven point code for bhajans and how they should and shouldn’t be run. (These twenty seven rules can be found at the front of every bhajan book).
The place of worship for sai devotees are Sai centres. In these Sai centres there are committees consisting of a Centre Chair, Vice Chair along with the following convenors. Sai ladies, Seva (service), spiritual, SSE (Sathya Sai Education), youth, and a secretary to look after the admin and public relations side fir the centre. Every member of the committee has specific roles to play. For example, the spiritual convenor would organise the monthly or weekly bhajan practices and study circles. (This would depend on the size of the centre/group. Every Sai organisation around the world has a centre, regional, and national committee. However, each member of the committee whether centre, regional, or national they have a maximum of four years then they have to step down and allow another person to take over. Bhagavan has told this to all of the one hundred and twenty Sai organisations and two hundred Sai centres around the globe this is because as the committee member who is still in the role may feel that they’re the best candidate for role, and the person who is replacing them may not be good at the role that they’ll be doing. As a result of this the devotee becomes egoistic and gets attached to the committee member role that they’ve been doing for the past four years!
in the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation of the UK there are eight regions which are as follows:
Region One: South East and South West London
Region Two: North and West London
Region Three: East and Central London
Region Four: Midlands
Region Five: Northern England and Northern Ireland
Region Six: South London
Region Seven: South West counties of England and Wales
Region Eight: Scotland
The programme of every centre would consist of silent sitting/meditation before the bhajans starts. Afterwards there would be three aumkars, chanting of Vedic mantras and multi-faith prayers. Then there would be bhajans. (Every first week of the month would be children’s bhajans and the rest of the month would be youth and adult bhajan). This would then be followed by silent sitting/meditation and aarthi. This is a Hindu worship, a part of a puja (prayer). Also aarthis refer to the songs in praise of the deity when lamps are lit and are being offered. Next is the distribution of vibhuti. Vibhuti is holy ash that represents what will happen to us when we die. Then there is a thought and talk read out by a member of the congregation. The session is then completed by the centre announcements of the goings on at the centre i.e. the venue for the next bhajan practice and what time it’ll take place. Some centres have their own website where the members of that Sai Centre can find information such as who the committee members are. However, some centres/groups email the devotees the announcements which are usually done by the centre chair or vice chair of the centre.
Also the centres try to celebrate festivals of other faiths. For example, Buddha Purnima (Buddhism), Easter (Christianity), Navarati (Hinduism), Eid (Islam), Mahavira Jayanti (birthday) (Jainism), Yom Kippur (Judaism), Gurupurbs (Sikhism), and Khordad Sal (Zoroastrianism). The reason all centres do this is because on the 22nd November 1975 Bhagavan inaugurated the Sarva Dharma Stupa (a pillar in the shape of a lotus bud, on which the symbols of the major religions of the world have been inscribed). Bhagavan has explained the significance of these sacred symbols so that everyone can understand the truth the leads man on the path of god.
“Listen to the primeval Prana ‘Aum’ resounding in your heart as well in the heart of the universe.”
“Remember the wheel of cause and consequence of deed and the wheel of Dharma (righteousness) that guides them all.”

“Cut the ‘I’ feeling clean and across and let your ego die on the cross to endow on you eternity.”
“Be like the star which never wavers from the crescent, but is fixed in steady faith.”
“Offer all bitterness in the sacred fire and emerge grand, great, and godly.”
Also all religions give immense help in fostering the integral development of the human personality. It underlines the unity in diversity. True religion is the attainment of the purity of the heart and mind. Every religion has its own precepts and principles. But no religion preaches hatred, unrighteousness, or untruth. ‘Speak the truth.’ ‘Practice righteousness enjoy the Upanishads (Indian ancient scriptures).’ Similar sacred injunctions to be found in all other religions.
There are some sacred quotes from world religions about love for god and humanity, which also backs up Swami’s teachings about the unitary faith and the religion of love and many other of his teachings.
Jesus Christ:
“Honour your mother and father and love your neighbour as yourself.”
Prophet Muhammad:
“You will not enter paradise until you have faith, and you will not complete your faith till you love one another.”
Guru Nanak:
“Those people who love and sow in their hearts the seed of his name, are liberated from birth again and again, and get salvation forever without pain.”
Swami Vivekananda:
“Where should you go to seek god? Are not the poor, miserable, the weak gods? Why not worship them first? Let these people be your god, think of them, and work for them incessantly. The Lord will show you the way.”
All the religions around the world emphasize the human values and serve as beacons for the uplift of mankind. They all facilitate the manifestation of the divinity, inherent in man.
Bhagavan has said:
“The truth proclaimed all religions is one and the same. All have a common ultimate goal. All religions aim at promoting righteous conduct by transforming the attitude of man, thereby bringing about harmony. The foundation of all religions is morality. Morality is equated with selfless love. Religions were thus instituted to foster the welfare of society through the promotion of love for all beings.”
From time to time the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation conducts public meetings by inviting guest speakers from all local churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship. The Sri Sathya Sai Organisation listens and actively fosters harmony, love, and peace between the different faiths. An example of one of these is at the global akhanda bhajan. This meeting takes places on the week closest to Remembrance Sunday in November. This meeting happens globally. The programme begins on Saturday at 6pm and concludes on Sunday at 6pm. There are bhajans, speeches from important members of different faiths such as Hindu priest, Buddhist monk, church reverend, and an imam from a mosque. Multi-faith prayers are said. This programme happens every year to try and promote world peace.
I have been part of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation for nearly seventeen years now. (I joined the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation as from November 2001 at the age of eight). I absolutely love being part of the organisation as I believe I have a huge Sai family. I was so fortunate to go and see Swami in 2004 and perform in front of him. Sadly, on Sunday 24th of April 2011 on my eighteen birthday. Swami passed away. It was also Easter Sunday and I believed that he had passed away on that day to take away his devotees’ sins. However, from then on I’m so pleased as even though I’m not the greatest Sai devotee I still have a lot to learn but at the end of the day we are all students and children of Bhagavan whether people believe they are not but I do! Also we are all on our separate spiritual/learning journey and to one day merge with Swami and we can do this by following his teachings and spreading his message to others. I’m so grateful that I’m part of the Sai Organisation as if I wasn’t I would probably be mixing with wrong people and as a result of this committing bad deeds.

Submitted: March 31, 2018

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