With the blessings and guidance of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Sai Vrinda Volunteers Meet was held on Saturday, August 19 at Hridaya Mandiram, Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli. The objective was to bring together all the volunteers, and share updates from the seva activities across their respective states, while understanding the spirit of Seva, vividly seen on the scarfs of the volunteers: ‘Paropakaaraartham Idam Shareeram’, which means ‘This body has been given to serve others’.
The morning session started with Vedic invocation, followed by a Welcome and Introductory talk by Sri Anand Kadali. Anand began with the history of how Sai Vrinda began with Bhagawan providing detailed guidance on the concept of Yuva and Seva Vrindas (in Dec 2014), the creation and development of logos, Bhagawan’s vision for Seva, and also narrated his own personal experiences with Swami. Anand felt that each person’s goal should be to see Swami in everybody, and serve accordingly with Love. He further went on to describe about the humble beginning and growth of the Annapoorna programme, starting with breakfast Seva for school-going children, as part of the goal of rural uplift and transformation.
Sri Sivarakamkrishna then took the stage to describe about the forthcoming Maharudra Homa and Durga Puja during the Dussehra Celebrations (Sep 21 to 30), and the Seva opportunities for volunteers during this period. He also shared several personal past experiences with Swami as part of conducting of these celebrations at Muddenahalli, including instances of how Swami intervened in a timely manner to address various challenges faced during the mega event.
Ms Bhuvana Santhanam addressed the gathering next. She narrated her experiences with Swami as part of accompanying Him to various places in India and abroad, and how Swami exhorted devotees to plunge into Seva with Love. During the course of her talk, she narrated several touching instances where Swami spoke about how Seva can elevate person in the spiritual path. She also spoke about the upcoming 92nd Birthday Celebrations which will be held between November 19 and 23, 2017.
The volunteers had a treat as Brother Madhusudan Naidu took to the podium, and delivered an electrifying speech describing how Swami taught him and trained him in Seva and sacrifice. He also quoted several important teachings of Bhagawan such as “think less and less of self, and become selfless”, how Swami introduced Himself as the “Servant of all servants”, and the concept of “Daasanudaasa”, learning to serve with Love, not to rule. This talk was followed by Mangala Aarthi, ending the morning session, followed by lunch.
The afternoon session began with a talk by Dr. Raghupathy, Medical Director at Sathya Sai Grama, and Sri Savya Saachi from Sai Healing Trust. They discussed at length about the Healthcare support programmes undertaken at the schools in Chikkaballapur districts. They also shared Bhagawan’s announcement of the Asia Pacific Health initiatives which will be held between Sep 1- 3, 2017 in many countries, including India.
Thereafter, coordinators from each area of service came forward to speak about their respective service experiences, starting with Sri Madhusudan Nayak (Head of the Seva Vrinda) followed by Smt Praveena on Educare programme, Sri Mudhusudan Sivakoti on Seva at Vishakapatnam, and Sri Sathyanarayana on the activities being conducted in Tamil Nadu.
Sri Grirish Suryanarayana then shared with everyone about a new programme of mentoring students, that has been blessed by Swami. Annapoorna Trust has partnered with Nagarjuna College of Engineering at Chikkaballapur to offer a course in INTEGRATED RURAL DEVELOPMENT, for about 600 students of the semesters 3 and 4. These engineering students will be exposed to the rural living conditions, and understand the issues in the villages. They will also undertake projects under the mentorship of Annapoorna team, wherein projects will be taken up in areas such as Nutrition, Healthcare, Educare and Sanitation. The Engineering course will carry a credit of 3 hours of theory and 25 hours of practicals, which will be in the form of visits to villages. The course will be launched on August 31st at the college premises, and will begin with theory session for all the 600 students. The first batch will be for 300 students from 11.00 AM to 12.30 PM, while the second batch will be from 2.00 PM to 3.30 PM.
At the end, Sri Anand Kadali took the group through the guidelines to conduct Seva at Muddenahalli, and other places visited by Bhagawan. These guidelines included suggestions on attire, discipline, punctuality, attendance and overall attitude of doing Seva with love and humility. This marked the end of the afternoon session, and the group dispersed for a short break, to get ready for the evening session with Beloved Sai.
In the evening, all the volunteers were seated at Sai Anandam. The session began with Bhajans, followed by a summary reading of the day’s proceedings by Sri Sai Prasad, who also spoke about the fortune of all the volunteers to be part of Bhagawan’s continuing mission. Sri B N Narasimha Murthy then addressed the gathering to reiterate Bhagawan’s promise of taking care of the Sevak’s life here and hereafter, once they surrender at Swami’s Lotus feet and take part in the Seva. Swami then delivered His benedictory discourse with beautiful words and similes. When it started raining outside, He asked some of the volunteers who were outside to come inside. He said that this was a special rain, as it brought the people “nearer” to Him! Swami’s Discourse gave great joy to all the volunteers who basked in the warmth of Bhagawan’s Grace. The Lord went around and lovingly gave His guidance to many. The blissful session ended with Mangala Arati.
Thus ended a most memorable and fortunate day for all the volunteers who were fortunate to enjoy the Volunteers Meet, which is verily a gift from Bhagawan. The volunteers resolved to do Seva with renewed enthusiasm and vigor.