Issue 213- January 25, 2021
Editor's Note
“Service to others is not a favour. It is not a charity. It is not doing something to someone out of pity or mercy. But service to others is something that makes you closer to your true selves, which is your Divine self, and this is the truth”, said Swami, while speaking to a group of devotees who were engaged in various service activities. A great fortune has landed on our laps - to be guided by a Master, who is patiently teaching us how to inch ourselves closer to Him, so that one day we will become Him. That we are beneficiaries of this blessed opportunity, is because we prayed for it; in this lifetime or in another. Every time our hand stretches to serve a needy person, we have all begun to experience a oneness, and this has been the heart tugging moment in the lives of many Sai youth who share their stories of inner transformation.

In this issue, we bring you many such moments from Region 4, which are truly inspiring. A little support, a little help, a little kindness goes a long way for the one who is being served, and definitely for the one who is serving.

Bhuvana Santhanam
ātmano mokshārtam
(Emancipation of one’s self)
Excerpt From the Book by
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy
Sanātana Dharma for The Universal Welfare - (page 3-4)

According to the Oxford dictionary, dharma means, ‘Truth or law that affects the whole universe’. It is interesting and important to note that ‘religion’ is not the meaning given to dharma! dharma has much deeper and more profound meaning than ‘religion’. In this context Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba proclaims, “There is no word in English language which can effectively convey the depth and the word dharma."

In Sanskrit language, the definition of dharma is, ‘dharayati iti dharma’ – dharma is which ‘holds together’ or ‘preserves’ or ‘sustains’ everything that exists. sanātana dharma is the realisation of Divinity and Unity of all existence; it is a experience. All the religions have emerged from this experience.

sanātana means eternal. Therefore, sanātana dharma is ‘The Supreme Eternal Law’. This Eternal Law is inherent in the Divine or God, the source of all the creation.

Therefore, sanātana dharma is eternal and has neither birth or death.
My Story
How Serving the Homeless Helped Transform Me
By Nisha Patel
United Kingdom

Being part of the homeless feeding initiative ‘Grace Kitchen’ has helped transform me in ways that I never thought it could.

When I first started engaging in this service activity, there were times when I would have to force myself to get ready to go out and serve those in need. The thought of people commending me for doing seva, and how this would make me look good in the eyes of others, was the only motivation for me. This only fed the ego in my mind. There were also occasions when I would see my friends in town whilst serving and I would try to hide my face so that they would not notice me.

But slowly my outlook began to change. Thanks to Swami’s discourses. The joy of ensuring that those in need get at least one decent meal a week is beyond comparison, and I have also been fortunate to work with and learn from a great team of volunteers. The whole experience is so rewarding now, whether it is cooking the food, seeing the faces of the needy light up as they receive the food packets or engaging with them at a level where they trust us enough to share their stories of how they ended up on the streets.

Through these experiences, I have learnt that we should not judge a person until we have walked a mile in their shoes. When going into town with friends, I would previously ignore homeless people sitting around asking for food or money. Now, I understand that the causes of homelessness are complex and so hence they should to be looked down upon. I have heard some incredibly moving stories that made me grateful for everything around me, whether it is having a supportive family, a place to call home or fresh food on my plate every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Seeing the situation deteriorate during the recent lockdown have put matters into perspective for me. Through the lockdowns, we have been able to partner with charities to continue serving the homeless and bring our community together. It was really rewarding to hear from the recipients themselves of how our support of hot food and toiletries were being put to good use, even though Grace Kitchen was no longer serving on the streets directly.

Working with the Society of St. James, a local charity in Portsmouth, we have served food hampers with sandwiches and snacks to the less fortunate. At first, decorating the bags felt like a chore. However, once we heard for ourselves how much the different designs and messages meant to those who received them, we began to appreciate the significance of even this seemingly small gesture. As a result, we even started to take an interest in the design and decoration of the bags from then on. Seeing the smiles on their faces as they waited in anticipation for the hampers we had prepared, truly touched our hearts.

Through this crisis, we can now see how the universal message of love and service alone can transform people and bring them closer together to serve those in need within our society.
Self Development
To help reach Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s human values-based education to the world, and to resuscitate the humanness of humanity, the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence launched a unique, first-of-its-kind Institute of Human Values, to offer tailor-made courses totally free of any charges, curated by experts from around the world. The Vision of the Institute is to make better humans in their personal and professional spheres, by making them more sensitive towards society’s needs and exploring ways of their contribution to society in a meaningful and selfless manner, thereby creating a sense of global citizenship and responsibility.

The courses will help an individual balance the inside and outside, while progressively being a better human being, that will ultimately help him or her unravel the true meaning and purpose in life.

Learning from the heart is spiritual awakening, Baba would say. The Institute of Human Values is the first step to help lead the world into the beautiful awareness of its heart – a heart that operates from the universal human values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa.

Log on to today!
Kathopanishad is a legendary story of a brave little boy, Nachiketa, son of Sage Vajasravasa, who meets Yama (the Hindu deity of death), and seeks spiritual wisdom from him. Their conversation evolves to a discussion of the nature of man, knowledge, ātman (Soul, Self) and mokṣā (liberation).

There are three gunas, and in the same way there are three types of buddhi (intellect)- satva, rajas and tamas.

Satva buddhi - is a person who can discriminate correctly.

Rajasic buddhi - misunderstands everything, as it is under mohā or illusion. Hence, a person with this kind of buddhi cannot understand between the dualities which life puts us through.

Tamasic buddhi - which completely takes wrong decision, exactly in the opposite way, because a person with this kind of buddhi is clouded with total ignorance.

Only a satva buddhiman – one who has a satva buddhi can discriminate between śreyas (good) and preyas (pleasant).

In episode #8 featured this week, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai explains four verses - three, four, five and six from the second Valli (canto) of Chapter One of Kathopanishad, wherein Yama explains to young Nachiketa about how to choose śreyas (good) over preyas (pleasant).
 "In a conflict between the heart and the brain, follow your heart." - Swami Vivekananda
jagat hitāya
(Welfare of the World)
Argentine Youth Activities
During the month of December 2020, the youth from three different parts of Argentina namely Córdoba, La Plata and Iguazú, distributed food to almost 1,500 needy individuals. Due to the current pandemic situation, severe restrictions were followed across the country and some groups had to stall the service activities temporarily. However, the groups which were able to sustain the service activities, continued to provide food to the destitute.
Sai Youth Seva Activities in
Rio De Janeiro
Around over 100 hot meals were served which included rice, beans, vegetables and soy with tomatoes along with sweet panettone and sauce as dessert, and a water bottle. Observing the current pandemic and required safety measures, hygiene kits were distributed which consisted of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, absorbents and disposable masks. Toys were also distributed to children.
Casa Sai Amor Infinito
Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai says, “Service or Seva is the preparation to develop the ability and deservedness to receive the highest from a Master, who descends to bestow this gift upon humanity.” In the month of December 2020, close to 450 meals, and in the month of January 2021, close to 250 meals were served to those in need.
Youth Activities in São Paulo
During the months of December 2020 and January 2021, the Sai youth of São Paulo distributed close to 125 hot vegetarian meals to the needy, in partnership with an NGO and like-minded individuals who came forward to support the cause of serving the destitute. Personal hygiene items were also given, along with chocolate powder for the Sunday breakfast programme in the downtown area.
Seva Update From Canada
Service activities were carried out in collaboration with various NGOs at the provinces of Alberta, Montreal, and Toronto by following the restrictions and safety precautions of COVID 19. Food distribution is being on a daily basis in Greater Toronto Area. Dinner is served from Monday to Friday, consisting of sandwiches, cookies and water. Weekend meals consisting of lunch and dinner packs are also being distributed. The Sai Youth in distribute groceries for needy families (rice, lentils, pasta, pasta sauce, coffee powder, frozen vegetables, sugar among other items), hot and fresh vegetarian meals, and other necessities.
Foundation for the Development of
Human Excellence
Food distribution was carried out with much fervor by the youth of Mexico. In December 2020, around 100 basic food kits were distributed to the disadvantaged. The kit included ingredients for making traditional Christmas dishes of Mexico like tamales, champurrado and buñuelos. 120 bags of candy were also handed out to children.
Youth Activities in Kansas
A few young adults at Kansas had been working with formerly displaced youth for more than two years now, helping them with rental assistance, career and education advancement, providing mental and physical health, helping with transportation and other miscellaneous requirements. The one thing that the young adults (YAs) have learnt is to be patient and allow the youth to learn and develop along their own path.
Youth Activities in Arizona
The homeless population continues to grow substantially during these difficult times. A small group of volunteers from churches have initiated a local warming centre for the homeless. The Sai youth took the opportunity to feed them. Just in the last three months, large quantities of stews/meals enough to feed around 75 people at a time, breads and desserts were provided. This has been a very fulfilling experience for the youth.