Monday, 1 November 2010

Thursday 21/10/2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Thursday 21/10/2010

With the Divine grace and blessing the UK Grama Seva Group arrived safely in London by 12:30. The Group consisted of boys from various parts of the UK. By 16:30 everyone had reached their homes safely. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Bhagawan Baba for this incredible 15 days of spiritual Sadhana through Seva. We have experienced and learnt so much from this Seva activity.
The essential message is that the body is given to us for the service of others (Paropkraya Idam Sariram) and that we should feel grateful for being given the opportunity to serve. When we serve others, it is in reality our own self that we are serving. We should not serve for the sake of show or ego but rather out of compassion to alleviate the suffering of others. The Lord could relieve the suffering of all in an instant but He with His precious grace has given us the opportunity to make our lives worthwhile and to realise the purpose of our lives by doing Seva. Most importantly sacrifice is central to Seva. Jai Sai Ram!

Wednesday 20/10/2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Wednesday 20/10/2010: Morning

Today is 20-10-2010, A very special day for the Avataric mission, as it marks the 70th Anniversary of the Divine Decoration Day. On this day 70 years ago, when Bhagawan Baba was only 14 years old, know to the village of Puttaparthi as Satyanarayan Raju, declared to His family and humanity that He was “Sai Baba”. Swami left this home as “His devotees” were calling him.
Swami did not give Darsan in the morning, a more regular occurrence these days, giving the devotees an opportunity to introspect by going within and celebrating the declaration of Avatarhood.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Wednesday 20/10/2010: Afternoon

Sai Kulwant Hall once again witnesses a very large crowd who had gathered to get a glimpse of the Divine Personality who declared His Divinity in 1940. For the UK Grama Seva group, this day brings another important celebration as it was the 5th Anniversary of Heart Valve Bank Charity blessed by Swami on this day. Today was also the day when the UK Grama Seva Group was departing from Prashanti Nilyam to return back to the UK.
Swami glided in His chair at 18:20, to the delight of all present to bless and share His Love to one and all. Swami kindly went past were the UK Grama Seva Boys were sitting, and gave eye contact to all the boys, blessing for their departure. Swami also loving accepted a rose from one of the brothers.
After Swami completed the full round of Darsan, He approached the Veranda, where the UK Grama Seva Group Leader Sri Ajit Popat was blessed with a conversation with Baba. Swami spoke to “Puppet” for some time and gave him hand full of Vibhuti packets for the Boys as Swami’s blessings!
Swami listed to 2-3 Bhajans whilst interacting with a few bhajans boys. During this time, Swami demonstrated his tender Care and Love by asking the students to distribute Laddu Prasadam to all the devotees seated in Sai Kulwant Hall. Swami took Aarti and blessed everyone with both hands raised before headed towards Yajur Mandir just after 19:00.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tuesday 19/10/2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Tuesday 19/10/2010: Morning

The dawn broke in Prasanthi Nilayam with the chanting of Aumkaar both in Sai Kulwant Hall and in the Mandir room of the UK group. Swami’s Presence was invoked with Suprabhaatham. In Prasanthi Nilayam, every day is auspicious and every moment is sacred because of the Blessings of Bhagavan Baba. Today is Tuesday, or Mangalavar, dedicated to the worship of the Divine Mother. Incidentally, Swami has explained the origins for the name of this day. When Lord Rama was searching for Mother Sita, He sent His chosen devotee Hanuman to go south of India in search of Her. Hanuman, blessed by Lord Rama, assumed a mighty form and leaped across the ocean to Lanka. Upon arriving at Ashokavana, where Mother Sita was being held captive by Ravana, Hanuman gave Lord Rama’s ring to Mother Sita as proof of him being sent by Rama. Mother Sita was extremely happy to know of this auspicious news, and declared that henceforth, this day of the week would be known as Mangalavar.

In Sai Kulwant Hall, devotees of Bhagavan Baba were waiting for Darshan as usual. However, Swami did not come out for darshan in His physical form. Of course, in His Omnipresent form, Swami is everywhere, always blessing His devotees and answering their prayers the very moment that they set foot in Prasanthi Nilayam.

In the afternoon, the UK group were invited to the IT Centre for a meeting with Sri K. Chakravarthi Garu , Secretary of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. To their surprise, the group was also able to interact with Sri. V. Srinivasan, the All-India president of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation. The discussion was based on the experiences UK group members had during Grama Seva, following which inspirational talks and advice were given by both officials.
We would like to take this opportunity to convey our thanks to Sri K. Chakravarthi Garu for all the love and support he has extended.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Tuesday 19/10/2010: Afternoon

Swami did not come out for darshan in the afternoon. The UK group had planned to leave Prasanthi Nilayam the next day at 11:00 am for the airport. However, considering that Swami did not give Darshan in the morning or afternoon today, the group departure has been rescheduled to now leave after evening Darshan.

Later in the evening some of the UK boys heard of Swami’s travel outside the Ashram whilst they were having their evening dinner at 7:45 pm. Some of the boys were told that Swami had returned, so they ran towards the line of devotees to get a special evening glimpse of Bhagavan. Swami was looking extremely radiant in His car.
Thank you Baba for this special darshan.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Monday 18/10/2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Monday 18/10/2010: Morning

Today is Somavar (Monday), the day dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva, and also Ekadashi. The morning session for the UK group started with the usual prayers – Aumkaar and Suprabhaatham – and hymns in praise of Lord Shiva.
The morning session was centred around an inspirational story of how a spiritual disciple demonstrated the Grace of his Master by the forbearance and equanimity he showed in a difficult situation. Whilst taking a walk, the disciple was approached by a number of ruffians. The disciple was first harassed with words, but remained unmoved and continued to walk with a smile. This instigated the ruffians, making them push and beat him. The disciple fell on the floor with blood on his knees and elbows and a cut to his face. The ruffians then left the scene but a passer-by then approached the disciple and asked him why his master, whom the disciple praised greatly, did not save him in this situation. The disciple gave a wonderful answer, saying that if the man could not see the Presence of his Master in the qualities which the disciple showed throughout this incident, then the witness would never be able to win a deep understanding of the Master.
With the conclusion of Dassera yesterday, the numbers now congregated in Sai Kulwant Hall this morning had dropped by more than half. The priests who performed the Yajna were waiting in the Mandir for Swami’s arrival, to receive His Blessings before their departure. However, Swami did not come out for Darshan this morning. There was Vedam chanting and bhajans as usual and Aarthi was taken at around 9:30 am. This brought the morning session to a close.
The UK group were invited for a talk in the RadioSai studios with Prof. G. Venkataraman. The session consisted of two parts. In the first, Prof. Venkataraman outlined the current problems facing humanity and the social responsibilities of all people, drawing from Swami’s maxim that ‘the proper study of mankind is man’. As an example, the human body consists of many cells and organ systems working in harmony together even though they can exist independently without each other. Following this, there was a short Q&A session. The group were then shown a preview of the first episode of a series called ‘The Message of the Lord’, with a new episode being broadcasted online daily for a month, starting from Avatarhood Day (20 October) right up to Swami’s 85th Birthday. We received the good news that there are plans to broadcast the 85th Birthday celebrations. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof. G. Venkataraman and RadioSai for inviting us to their studios for this enlightening session.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Monday 18/10/2010: Afternoon

Swami came for Darshan at 5:15 pm, conferring joy to all present. Swami approached the portico and spoke to the UK group leader Puppet (Sri Ajit Popat), blessing various offerings. Swami then blessed one of the group members with vibhuti packets. Swami then gave Puppet sir a handful of vibhuti packets. Puppet sir then asked Swami if there were packets for the group boys, to which Swami replied that they would receive their Prasadam tomorrow.
Swami also went into the Mandir and blessed all the priests who had been conducting the Yajna for the past seven days. To the pleasant surprise of other devotees seated on the verandah, Swami instructed His students to take Him amongst those seated on the verandah so that He could give them vibhuti Prasadam. After listening to a bhajan, Swami instructed for Aarthi to be taken. Finally, Swami blessed the Ashram priest with a vibhuti packet and spoke to Him. Swami left for Yajur Mandir soon after at around 6:15 pm.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Dassera - Sunday 17/10/2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Sunday 17/10/2010: Morning

On this very auspicious day of Vijayadasami, the day broke at 5:20 am for the UK group with Aumkaar, Suprabhaatham and universal Vedic prayers, followed by a special talk on the Vijayadashami festival. Vijayadasami is a special festival which combines the following sacred events:

1 - Culmination of Navaratri festival, with Devi Puja. In various parts of India, different forms of the Divine Mother – Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati – are worshipped (e.g. Maha Kali in Calcutta).

2 - Victory of Lord Sri Rama over Ravana in the Dvapara Yuga took place on this day.

3 - Shirdi Sai Baba took Mahasamadhi on this day. Shirdi Baba foretold of His departure to a few devotees a few days before ‘crossing the border’. He said to those around Him that the time was approaching for ‘Seema Ulungan’.

4 - Culmination of Grama Seva. Today, the Anantapur sisters carried out the Grama Seva activity in the Ashram itself, distributing Swami’s Love in the form of His Prasadam to all devotees and residents of Prasanthi Nilayam.

5 - Culmination of Vidvan Mahasabha. In the previous years, various talks were given by scholars and students. Our Beloved Swami also has given numerous Divine Discourses during the Dassera festival. Although there were no official talks in the Sai Kulwant Hall this year, the chanting carried out by the priests, who are themselves scholars in the scriptures, will come to an end today.

6 - Culmination of Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna with the final Poornahuthi to be offered to the Veda Purusha.

In the early hours of the morning, devotees queued to enter Poornachandra Hall for the Poornahuthi. Students and Vedam boys commenced the usual chanting in Sai Kulwant Hall with hope that Swami would come for Darshan. Back in the Poornachandra Hall, the priests were preparing the final ceremony in anticipation of Swami’s arrival for the Poornahuthi. However, a historical event took place: Swami did not come down for the completion of the Poornahuthi in the morning. All assembled devotees and priests were instructed to return in the afternoon to witness the event. We hope and pray that Bhagavan Baba gives Darshan in the afternoon and gives the opportunity for all those gathered to witness the culmination of the Yajna.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Sunday 17/10/2010: Afternoon

Swami always says ‘Love my uncertainty’ and today, the events unfolded in such a way that all those present were left wondering how the day would conclude. Prasanthi Nilayam was brimming with thousands of devotees, who have travelled from far to witness the final ceremony of the Yajna and, of course, to receive the Divine Darshan of Bhagavan.

Saturday 16/10/2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Saturday 16/10/2010: Morning

The auspicious day of Saturday, the day devoted to Lord Rama, began at 5:10 am for the UK Grama Seva group. Following their normal routine, the group received an inspiring talk on righteousness and Dharma. The group leader discussed Swami’s revelation that Lord Rama had three main attributes: (1) ‘Ekam Vacaniya’ (one word), (2) ‘Ekam Pathaniya’ (one wife), and (3) ‘Ekam Lakshiya’ (one aim). Lord Rama lived His life by these three attributes. One must follow His example in order to follow the righteous path. Swami has said that it is our righteousness that will protect us. It will serve as our armour.
The UK grouped completed their morning sadhana before heading to Sai Kulwant Hall for Pradakshina and preparation for the commencement of Grama Seva. The UK group joined the students for the final day of Grama Seva and were privileged to serve Vengalammacheruvu village. The village consists of approximately 1000 houses. It was a wonderful experience to work with the students closely as the UK group was divided amongst six teams. Swami’s students are extremely efficient and hard-working and served as an example to us all.
On our return from Grama Seva, the UK group made their way to Poornachandra Hall in the hope that Swami would give Darshan during the Yajna. As always, Swami heard our prayers and fulfilled our desire by appearing on stage to oversee the Yajna. As well as the usual Vedic chanting, there was recitation of hymns from the Sama Veda by one of the priests as he sat in front of Swami. This was uplifting for all gathered and received loud applause.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the faculty members and students for the love and kindness that they have shared with use of the nine days of Grama Seva. We are extremely grateful to our Beloved Baba for granting us this wonderful opportunity to be bart of His mission and making us part of His Message.
Jai Sai Ram

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Saturday 16/10/2010: Afternoon

As Swami came out for Darshan, all the devotees adjusted their seats in anticipation of receiving a glimpse of our beloved Bhagavan. Swami occasionally stopped to bless a few female devotees and took a card from a young girl, spending some time to read it. Swami also blessed all the birthday boys. One of the UK group members offered Swami a flower. As Swami stood for a short while, he also thanked Swami for allowing the group to take part in Grama Seva. Swami went up to the upper portico as usual, whilst listening to bhajans and reading letters. Swami then called one of His students who offered Swami a beautiful heart-shaped card. Swami was extremely happy to see this and spoke to the student for a long time, telling him to sit down and come back several times. Finally, Swami called him once more and materialised a golden chain for him, which He then put around his neck. Swami asked him to sit down once more, but called him again once more. This time, He materialised a ring for the student. We learnt later that the ring was for the student’s father, who was himself a former student of the Sri Sathya Sai University. Swami took Aarthi just before 7:00 pm, and in His usual blissful manner, blessed all the devotees gathered with Abhayahastha. There were many Jaikaars shouted by the gathered devotees which made Swami smile and laugh a number of times, which brought further joy to everyone gathered. Swami then, with both of His hands, asked for the crowds to settle down. It was an entertaining evening darshan, full of joy and laughter.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday 15/10/2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Friday 15/10/2010: Morning

On this very auspicious day of Durgaashtami, the eighth day of the Navaratri festival, throughout India people perform Vaahana Puja and Ayudha Puja (worship of vehicles and instruments/weaponry). This tradition is also observed in Prasanthi Nilayam. Upon arrival at Sai Kulwant Hall, we could see that new decorations had been put up and all nine of Swami’s vehicles had been washed in preparation for Swami to perform the pujas. In previous years, Swami would also sit in the golden chariot and bless it – an amazing sight, all devotees would agree.
Swami did not come out for Darshan in the morning and carry out the Puja. This may well be because Swami wanted to teach us to observe the Raahukaalam (inauspicious time of the day). Today, this happened to be between 10:30 am and 12 noon, so leaving for Grama Seva after the Puja would have meant that the distribution would commence during the Raahukaalam.
However, there was no stopping Grama Seva, and the students and UK group prepared themselves for Grama Seva. The students and UK group served the villages of Jagragpalli (approx. 870 houses) and Bathalapalli (approx. 550 houses), about 20 km away from Prasanthi Nilayam.
While the group were travelling to the villages, they noticed that all the vehicles on the road were beautifully decorated for Durgaashtami. With Swami’s Grace, every house in the village, no matter how remote, receives His Prasadam. The UK group was sent to cover an additional 9 houses remotely situated on the outskirts of Bathalapalli village, much to the delight of the villagers.
We pray and hope that Swami gives Darshan in the afternoon and performs the Vaahana Puja, especially for those who have not seen the spectacle before.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Friday 15/10/2010: Afternoon

The all-knowing and all-hearing God listens to our every prayer. This was evident as we entered Sai Kulwant Hall – all of Swami’s vehicles were still there, including the golden chariot. Swami Graced Sai Kulwant Hall during Vedam at 5:20 pm and immediately headed towards the vehicles. Swami blessed all the vehicles and carried out the Vaahana Puja by breaking the coconuts. This was done amidst Vedam, bhajans and traditional nadaswaram.
Swami blessed the birthday boys and a few members of the UK group as He approached the portico, where He briefly spoke to the UK group leader Puppet (Sri Ajit Popat), inquiring about the group. Swami was in a wonderful mood, smiling as He listened to the bhajans on the portico. Swami lovingly read all of the letters He received from the devotees very carefully, to further the joy of those gathered. Swami was in a jubilant mood, throwing packets of vibhuthi occasionally to some of the students. Soon, Swami blessed laddus and instructed some of the students to start distributing them as Prasadam. As the Prasadam was being distributed, Swami looked around eagerly to ensure that all devotees had received His Prasadam.
Swami signalled for Aarthi at 6:15 pm, giving everyone 50 minutes of Aanandam (Bliss). The crowds were extremely fortunate to receive Swami’s full Blessings with both of His hands twice as Samastha Lokaah was being chanted. We humbly pray and thank Swami for the opportunity He has bestowed upon the UK group and further pray to Baba to share His Divine Love with all the worlds.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

more pictures from 14/10/10

Thursday 14/10/2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Thursday 14/10/2010: Morning

On the seventh day of Navaratri and Grama Seva, the day devoted to Guru (in whichever form you worship) began at 5:20 am with silent sitting, Aumkaar, Suprabhaatham and an inspiring Thought for the Day.
Today was a busy day for the Grama Seva teams. The UK group with Swami’s students covered three villages, which consisted of Satharallapalli (approx. 250 houses), Diguchurvapalli (approx. 200 houses) and E. Gingareddypalli Tanda (approx. 530 houses).
The route to these villages, which were situated about 45 kilometres from the Ashram, was potholed and rough, but passed through the mountains, lush fields and crossed the Chitravati river. The furthest village was 45 km away, but because of the road conditions, took over an hour to reach.
At each of the villages, the Grama Seva began with Vedam chanting or bhajans (Nagarasankirtan) and concluded with Mangala Aarathi at the village Mandir. The common theme was the warm welcome we received as well as the eagerness with which the villagers accepted Swami’s Prasadam.
On returning from the villages, the Grama Seva groups distributed Swami’s Prasadam to labourers working at various road construction sites en-route to the Ashram. There was never a shortage of smiling children wanting by the roadside for a laddu or photo of Swami. However, with the Dassera holidays, there seemed to be more children than laddus!

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Thursday 14/10/2010: Afternoon

In the afternoon, the crowds had gathered to receive the Darshan and Blessings of our Lord, Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The Vedam commenced at 4:30 pm with Sri Rudram (Namakam and Chamakam) and Purusha Suktam. Swami’s students then took over with heartfelt devotional singing to invite our Lord to Sai Kulwant Hall. As always, our Dear Lord responded immediately. However, Swami always says: “Love my uncertainty”. Today, Swami displayed this by arriving for Darshan in His car. Swami has not entered Sai Kulwant Hall for Darshan in His car in a long time, so it may be that Swami wishes to bless His car and driver in anticipation of Vahana Puja, which is to happen tomorrow.
Swami was in a wonderful and cheerful mood. As He approached the portico, He came out of His vehicle and sat in front of the gathered assembly. Swami listened to the bhajans as He read a few letters from devotees. He then signalled to the birthday boys to come to Him.
Watching Swami bless the birthday boys was a reminder to all gathered of how Loving and Caring our Dear Mother Sai is. Swami then continued listening to the bhajans, calling a further three boys to the portico to bless them with rice and vibhuti. Swami also blessed CDs prepared by these boys. Swami occasionally threw vibhuthi packets to boys sitting at the front, smiling and giving them paadanamaskaar.
Swami then called for Aarthi to be taken at 7:05 pm and whilst the Shanthi recitation was being sung, Swami raised both of His Hands in Abhayahasta three times, once each for the men, ladies and students, with a lovely smile playing on His face. Again, Swami wanted to bless the assembled audience again: as Samastha Lokaah was being chanted, Swami again raised His hands twice to bless all the people in all the worlds.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

More pictures for 13/10/10

Wednesday 13/10/2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Wednesday 13/10/2010: Morning

On this auspicious day of Wednesday, the day dedicated to Lord Krishna, the UK Grama Seva Group began their day in earnest at 5:10 am with silent sitting, Aumkaar and Suprabhaatham. The group practised Thraatakam, a spiritual exercise in which one focuses on a fixed point of their chosen deity, such as the eye, forehead, lips, etc. for a period of 3-5 minutes initially. The key to this exercise is that the eyes must remain open and not blink. One of the benefits of this exercise is an increase in concentration and memory. Thereafter followed a talk about prayer and various methods of praying. The highlight of the talk was practical suggestions such as prayers should be short, simple and in your native language. Prayers should also be offered with intensity, persistency and consistency.

At 8:00 am the UK group along with Swami’s students set off for the sixth day of Grama Seva. The UK group’s responsibility was to cover a total of five villages. These were Obuladevarapalli (150 houses) and Virupapuram (40 houses), Appalavallapalli (250 houses), Narayanpuram (125 houses) and Honnurapalli (125 houses).
This was a challenging task as the nineteen group members were divided amongst the villages. However, working with Swami’s students was a great eye-opening experience for most the UK group. The humility, simplicity and honesty displayed by them was inspirational. One surprising incident is that at Apallavallapalli, we found that the villagers spoke a number of languages including Gujarati and Hindu as well as their native Telugu.
As usual, upon completion of the Grama Seva activity, at 12:30 pm, the students and the UK group partook of Swami’s Prasadam and were grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Wednesday 13/10/2010: Afternoon

Sai Kulwant Hall was looking very beautiful with all the new decorations put up for Navaratri. There was a cool breeze coming from the direction of Swami’s divine residence as Vedam started promptly at 4:30 pm. As the Vedam was being chanted, the Veda Purusha Himself entered the Darshan hall at 5:18 pm.
Swami did a full darshan round and ensured that all those who travelled to see Him got His Divine Darshan. Swami blessed all the birthday boys who were sat at the front with various sweets for Swami to bless. One of the birthday boy was from the UK Grama Seva Group who received loving blessings from our dear sweet lord. Swami spoke to a number of devotees on the veranda after which He sat in His usual place at the centre of the upper portico. Swami was looking very happy and gave the occasional smile to the boys as they sang bhajans. Some students then brought sweets for Swami to bless as prasadam. Swami blessed these and signalled for them to be distributed to all those gathered in Sai Kulwant Hall. Everyone could see Swami enjoying the bhajans, as He kept moving His hands and tapping his fingers to keep beat with the bhajans.
Swami took Aarti at 6:45 pm and then headed towards His Divine Abode.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tuesday 12/10/2010

In celebration of the fifth day of Navaratri, the day began with prayers offered to the Sakthi aspect of Bhagavan.
Being Tuesday, which is the day dedicated to Mother Durga, the UK Grama Seva group leader gave an inspirational and thought-provoking talk centred on Ma Sharada, the wife of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Following the morning session of prayers, spiritual experiences and yoga, the group moved to Sai Kulwant Hall for darshan. At 8:00 am, instructions were received to commence the Grama Seva activity after completing the Pradikshana of the Mandir. The group set off for the village of Meerjapuram just beyond Talamara district. The road to the village was rough and pot-holed but the scenery was beautiful, with rows of mountains, fields rich in crops and a calm lake. The village was also very different to previous villages served by the Grama Seva group. The village was tranquil and most houses were brightly decorated and displayed intricate rangoli patterns.
The villagers were, at first, reluctant to come out of their houses, but when we explained that Swami had sent Prasadam for them (in Telugu), they eagerly came forward and gratefully received Swami’s Love. After completing the service in the village, the UK group would sit together, back in the Ashram, to have the same Prasadam that had been distributed during the day. Whilst the group was having the Prasadam, they heard a commotion outside as one of the group members noticed that Swami had just driven past. Some of the boys rushed outside to receive Swami’s unexpected Darshan. Swami returned from His visit outside the Ashram at 12:30 pm and, again, all the devotees were grateful to receive a second unexpected Darshan.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Tuesday 12/10/2010: Afternoon

In the afternoon, Vedam and Bhajans started at 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm respectively, as normal. As the devotional songs were being sung, our Dear Lord entered the Sai Kulwant Hall in His Chair at 6:05 pm.
One and all received Swami’s Divine Darshan as Swami did the usual round from the ladies’ side to the gents’ side and finally came and sat in the front portico. Swami sat on the raised platform for almost an hour listening to the beautiful bhajans sung by the students, whilst reading the letters He accepted from those fortunate from the darshan line. Swami called the priest and briefly spoke to him before getting ready to do Aarthi. Swami also spoke to the UK Grama Seva group leader Puppet (Sri Ajit Popat). Swami said to Him: “How are the boys?”, to which Puppet responded, “They are all fine and extremely grateful to be at Your Lotus Feet.” Swami also blessed Sri Ajit Popat to mark his birthday. Soon after, Swami headed towards Yajur Mandir at 7:15 pm.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010 - Monday 11/10/2010: Morning

Prasanthi Nilayam and Sai Kulwant Hall were beautifully decorated and buzzing with vibrations. The morning proceedings began with the usual Vedam chanting together with nadaswaram and thavil adding to the excitement felt by all present.

Swami arrived during bhajans and gave beautiful Darshan which only heightened the sense of joy felt by everyone. Swami acknowledged the UK Grama Seva boys in the darshan line and also inquired from the group leader Puppet (Sri Ajit Popat) on the portico whether the boys were enjoying the Grama Seva and where they were located for the Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna, which was commencing immediately. The group was touched by Swami’s inquiry.

The Veda Purusha Saptaha Jnana Yajna began with the priests proceeding from the Mandir to the Poornachandra hall, after having been blessed by Swami to commence the Pranapratishta. Soon, all the students, including the UK group, followed the priests to the Poornachandra hall. The atmosphere in the hall was a combination of excitement and holy vibrations that is associated with all Yajnas; but this one in particular, as the Veda Purusha, our Beloved Swami, was watching over the proceedings.

This is done by rubbing a piece of wood with a string against another fixed piece until sufficient heat is generated to ignite the wood, creating fire for the Yajna. Swami blessed the fire creating by the priests and soon after, to the wonderful surprise of all present, Swami came down from the stage to give Darshan to the assembled crowds. Swami then took Aarthi by the priests and gave instructions for Grama Seva to commence, departing at 12:00 pm for the Divine Abode.

The UK group, along with Swami’s students, travelled the short distance to Puttaparthi and surrounding villages for the distribution of Swami’s Prasadam. One of the fortunate locations was Gokulam, a five minute drive from the Ashram. Gokulam consisted of both spacious well-built apartments and huts housing more than ten people in a small room. Swami’s Love and Blessings are for one and all, and the situation in Gokulam was evidence of this. We are extremely grateful to Swami for this noble service project.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Monday 11/10/2010: Afternoon

Sai Kulwant Hall was swelling with an influx of people who have gathered for the Navaratri festival, to worship the Divine Mother for nine nights. This, the fourth day of Navaratri, has already witnessed the inauguration of the Veda Purusha Jnana Yajna. Our Beloved Sai did not come out to give Darshan to those present, something we are experiencing more often. By doing this, Swami is moving us from the physical form to the formless Sai, and from external worship to internal communion. We are extremely grateful to Bhagavan Baba for His Love, in all the aspects that we have seen today.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010 Sunday 10/10/2010: Morning

Sunday 10/10/2010: Morning

On this auspicious day of Sunday, the day devoted to Sarva Dharma, the UK group began with their Sadhana at 4:45 am with 21 Aumkaars and Suprabhatham. Following this, they received a thought-provoking talk inspired by Swami’s Thought for the Day. The 18 members of the group did their Yoga asanas to prepare for the demanding physical activities that lay ahead.

On this Sunday, 10th October, the Pradikshana took place at 8 am around the Mandir. Soon after, the trucks carrying the food and clothing left the Ashram with various groups of students to cover the dense areas of Bukkapatnam Mandal.

The UK group headed to a village called Buchiagarapalli, where Swami had instructed them to spread His Love and Grace to over 1100 homes. Of the UK group of 18 boys, 10 were on their first Grama Seva trip and were overwhelmed at the love and gratitude of the villagers receiving Swami’s Prasadam, but were also struck by the deprivation faced by the residents in some parts of the village.

Swami’s Prasadam forged a bond of love between the giver and recipient and all were humbled by the experience. While this was going on, the team received the news that Swami gave Darshan at 10:00 am in Sai Kulwant Hall. Although they were not there, they felt Swami’s Presence and Grace in the village.

The UK group is grateful and thankful to Bhagavan Baba for bestowing this opportunity upon them and for creating the Grama Seva project in order for humanity to receive His Love.

Sai Kingdom (UK) Grama Seva Group 2010

Sunday 10/10/2010: Afternoon

This afternoon, Sai Kulwant Hall was brimming with expectation and excitement as we awaited the Divine Darshan of Bhagavan. The Vedam boys began chanting at 16:30 as usual, with Rudram and Purusha Suktam. Soon after, Sai Kulwant Hall was alive with devotional bhajans led by Swami’s students. The bhajans continued until 19:05, when Swami arrived to give Darshan. Our Dear, Sweet Lord fulfilled the wishes of His children by stopping to accept letters, give paadanamaskaar and interact with them.

Swami blessed the group from Himachal Pradesh by allowing them to perform a programme centred on Dasaavatara. The programme was an enactment of the ten main incarnations of Lord Vishnu in the form of music, dance and singing. The assembled crowds were thrilled with the performance given by the group. Swami also enjoyed the performance and was extremely pleased with the group – He distributed gifts to them and allowed numerous photographs to be taken of Him with the performers.

Even though it was almost 9:00 pm, Swami stayed on the portico blessing the group, before moving to the Mandir to bless the awaiting priests, who would be leading the procession for the Pranapratishta ceremony for the Yajna. Swami took Aarthi at 21:30 and shortly afterwards returned to His Divine Abode.