SEVA INITIATIVES IN SINGAPORE FOR MONTH DEC’16- JAN’17
1) BALI GRAMA SEVA (DECEMBER 30,2016 – JANUARY 1, 2017)
Bali. A popular destination for travelers around the world. Known for its beautiful beaches, rice paddies and volcanic mountains, the island is also regularly sought after for its yoga and meditation retreats.
This mystical island was also the site for the Asia Pacific Youth Meet held in August 2016, where the idea for Bali Grama Seva was conceived to be presented as an offering to our beloved Mother Sai.
The Village of Tengulak, near Sidhaarthani Ashram (Swami’s abode in Ubud, Bali) was chosen with the sole purpose of serving to improve the quality of life for the villagers and pleasing Swami in the process. A recce trip was done during the weekend of 21st - 23rd October 2016 to assess ground conditions and the type of Seva required. Out of the many opportunities , 3 projects were selected which involved a local primary school – classroom and reading corner, refurbishment of the home of an elderly lady and the room of a young girl with special needs. The youth were very enthusiastic with these initiatives.
With Swami’s blessings, youths from Singapore, Malaysia and Bali came together to participate in the Grama Seva during the Bali Youth Retreat, held in Ubud, Bali from 30th December 2016 – 1st January 2017.
Given the nature of the ground conditions, most of the construction work was completed before the commencement of the Grama Seva (tiling, plastering of walls and installation of fans). Upon arriving on-site, the team helped to clean, paint and decorate the classroom, reading corner, home and rooms.
Swami blessed each project by providing stationery supplies for all the students and mattresses and household provision supplies for the other 2 missions.
Along with the Seva project, an EHV Guru programme was conducted on the 31st December 2016 for the primary school teachers. It was mainly focused on integrating Educare Principles into existing curriculum of the school and to introduce light meditation to the students. A light meditation was conducted with the students and teachers and the experience of conducting this for them was beyond amazing!
The youths ushered in 2017 with blissful bhajans at Sai Pooja Ashram. With gratitude and love for Swami, the youths look forward to the next Seva project which is to be held in Malaysia.
2) MEALS ON WHEELS ( JANUARY 2- JANUARY 15, 2017)
Fully recharged from the Asia Pacific Sai Youth Meet 2016 in Bali, the youth of Singapore wasted no time and decisively moved to put Swami’s teachings to work. During the meet, Swami urged all youth to follow the Sanjeevini Nine Point Sadhana plan, which included a mandate to do Seva fortnightly. The plan aims to help one on their path to spiritual growth.
1. Daily Meditation
2. Daily Prayers & Pranayam
3. Daily Reading of spiritual text
4. Once a week bhajan with family
5. Fortnightly Seva
6. One selfless act a day
7. Involve yourself in major country project – ashram, hospital, etc (once a month)
8. Ceiling on Desires
9. Control of Internal and External senses and developing faith that Swami is the resident of our heart
As a starting base, the Singapore youth decided to start a Meals on Wheels initiative. The programme run jointly with Swami Home, an elder care facility, distributes cooked meals to approximately 180 needy elderly residents in the area every alternate Sunday. Besides delivering food, the youth are also encouraged to interact with the elderly recipients and lend them a listening hear.
Nanidni Pillay, a youth volunteer, says that while many of these elderly residents may be staying with their families, they don’t have anyone to talk to. “The Seva is not so much about the food but about the way you talk to them and love you give them.”
“There is sense of a bond and closeness, and we are actually able to talk to them like we talk to our family.” echoed Vanessa Phua, another youth volunteer.
The hope is that the interaction will create an atmosphere where long lasting bonds can be formed. More importantly, the Seva acts as a means to teach the younger generation about self-less service and how to serve with the correct attitude.
“It reminds me of what Swami Says” Kaamini Pillay, said in an interview. “The person benefiting from this is actually not the person you’re helping but it’s you and you really feel it when you come for Seva like this.
3) YOUTH SATSANG ( JANUARY 22, 2017)
"The youth of Singapore met for a Youth Satsang on a beautiful Sunday morning at Sai Anandam to plan and prepare for Swami’s upcoming Divine Satsang with the youths on 3rd February 2017. Swami had indicated that He wanted the focus of our session with Him to be on the Q&A segment, for the youths to ask Him anything that would clarify any uncertainties they had.
Swami has often told us that He is our “professor of spirituality”, and the youths wanted to make the most of this special session to ask Him questions that would not only benefit us personally, but also the group and youths all over the world. During the Satsang, we discussed some of the questions we had on our minds, and worked to define some similar problems that most youths face today and areas we would like more specific guidance from Swami . We also had a brainstorming session to see if any of our questions had already been answered by Swami before in the many sources of Sai literature available to us (the Uvacha series, Divine Discourse Transcripts etc.). This short session we have ahead with Swami is most precious, and the youths wanted to avoid asking Him questions that He has already patiently answered before.
One of the items we hope to introduce for every Youth Satsang is to invite a senior who is working on an international project as part of Swami’s mission to share his/her thoughts and experiences with the youths. Dr Roshni Kesavan was our first guest speaker and she very beautifully shared her experiences from Swami’s healthcare mission in Nigeria. She had prayed to Swami back in 2008 when He was still in the physical body for the blessings to open a medical facility in a foreign country one day with the earnings from her General Practice clinic in Singapore. Swami has since lovingly answered that deep yearning passion of hers and Auntie Roshni has been actively involved in the creation and opening of Swami’s first hospital in Enugu, Nigeria. The youths were extremely inspired by her sharing and we certainly hope to contribute to Swami’s Mission beyond our shores in the future as well.