Wednesday 5th October 2011

Prasanthi Nilayam is now very busy with thousands of devotees having arrived for the Dusshera festival. Each day there are more and more devotees coming.

Today was the last day for Grama Seva. On this special day of Navmi the UK Group continued to work in the 7 different teams the have been split into throughout this years Grama Seva. One village covered to day was the large one of Yenumulapalli. This village had over 1000 houses.

Today was the final day of the Vidhwan Maha Sabha. There were two talks by a student and faculty member from the Anantapur Campus. Both sisters spoke on the subjects of the Divine Shakti and the love of God. This was followed a wonderful musical offering to Swami by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus.

Tuesday 4th October 2011

Today is Durga Ashtami, the 8th day of Navratri. This day is marked as very special during the Navratri festival. This was obvious in Sai Kulwant Hall as the atmosphere was charged. On this auspicious day, Vahan (Vehicle) Puja is carried out in the Sai Kulwant Hall. This is done to show gratitude to the instruments we use to help us carry out our daily tasks. This tradition has been followed since the ancient times of Bharat (India). On this day, the Pandavas completed their time in exile and the 13th year of hiding. On this day, the weapons that were hidden away were reclaimed.

Swami’s Golden Chariot together with Swami’s cars were parked on the east side of Sai Kulwant Hall and members of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust carried out the puja with the breaking of coconuts in front of the cars.

A special village had been selected for today’s distribution of Swami’s prasadam. The village of Karmatamagepalli is the birthplace of mother Easwaramma. The village itself was located only 5 minutes drive from Prasanthi Nilayam and consisted of 700 houses. The village was noticeably poor and deprived yet the villagers received all the students with a hearty smile and welcome.

The afternoon Maha- Samadhi darshan was also the fourth day of the Vidhwan Maha Sabha. The audience were addressed by 2 speakers. Firstly we had brother Shivam Chopra, a student from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Brindavan Campus, who spoke on “Gratitude.” He was followed by brother Amit Deshpande, a Gold medallist student in management studies. He further elaborated on the meaning of “Love is my form, truth is my breath, bliss if my food.” After both speakers, we heard an audio clip of Swami’s discourse during Navratri in the previous years.

Today was also the 56th Anniversary of the beginning of the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital. The hospital opened to serve the areas in 1954. To celebrate this, the staff of the hospital performed a drama followed by a musical offering. The drama was entitled “Journey to Sai...with Sai.” This was based on real life experiences of two doctors who had worked at the hospital, Dr Seetaramaiah and Dr Narottam Alreja

Monday 3rd October 2011

The Grama Seva teams all gathered in their respective transports to head for various villages. Villages served today were within the Bukkapatnam and Puttaparthi Mandal. One of the villages visited today was called Subbarayanapalli. This was a medium sized village with over 300 houses.

The afternoon Maha Samadhi darshan also had 2 excellent speakers to celebrate the third day of the Vidhwan Maha Sabha. The first was Brother Rushabh, a 2nd year MBA student of Prasanthi campus, who spoke very well on the topic of Surrender. He was followed by Professor Anantaraman, a visiting professor for Harvard University, who spoke on “Our life, his message.”
Afterwards, everybody gathered in the Sai Kulwant Hall were treated to a musical extravaganza by the boys from Swami’s Mirpuri College of Music. This was followed by 3 bhajans and aarti offered to our beloved Lord, just after 6.40pm.

Sunday 2nd October 2011

One of the UK Grama Seva Groups was allocated the village of Dhupampalli and neighbouring villages. Before Grama Seva commenced, the UK boys, along with Swami’s students and faculty members went around the village chanting Vedam and singing Bhajans. Swami has mentioned that doing this will spiritually cleanse the village. It also serves as announcement to the villagers regarding the seva activities.

Dhupampalli consisted of approximately 350 houses, with an additional 20 houses in the neighbouring village, Kottalapalli, which was served by Swami's Students.

The afternoon Maha Samadhi darshan was also the third day of the Vidhwan Maha Sabha. Today we had 2 talks given by Swami’s students. The first one was Sister Kumari Lalita who spoke on Learning at the lotus feet of Bhagwan.  This was followed by Sai Giridhar, a PhD student in Clinical Chemistry, who spoke on the 4 S’s. A profound and meaningful statement he made in the speech was, “Whatever situation you find yourself in. Be it good or bad; accept whatever comes to you with firm conviction that Swami has given this to you for your own good.”
This was followed by a short extract from Swami’s discourse and then a musical concert by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus.

Saturday 1st October 2011

Today, a village called Pamadurthi was one amongst many to receive Swami’s blessings in the form of prasadam. The village is situated over 40 km from Puttaparthi, populated with more than 1,000 houses. Part of the UK Group worked alongside Swami’s students and faculty members to serve the village. The UK Group was heading back when, en route, they were asked to help at another village. Other members of the UK Group served Swami’s prasadam at various villages within the Bukkapatnam Mandal. The distribution was carried out very quickly and the teams headed back to Prasanthi Nilayam.

During the afternoon darshan, 2 speakers were given the opportunity to address the Vidhwan Maha Sabha gathering in the Sai Kulwant Hall. The first was Brother Soham who spoke on the 9 types of devotion. He was followed by Sister Rani who also spoke eloquently on Satyam Shivam Sundaram and the different types of yoga's. We then heard a small part of Swami’s divine discourse on Navratri from 2001.

This was followed by a heartfelt musical concert by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Brindavan Campus. The beautiful songs were sung with such love and devotion; it left some members of the UK Group shedding tears of joy.
Friday 30th September 2011

There was an air of excitement in the ashram today as the Veda Purusha Saptah Jnana Yagna was to commence in the Poornachandra hall. Everyone first sat in the Poornachandra hall to witness the Yagna and the UK Group was extremely privileged to sit close to the front when the Yagna started. The holy fire was started by one of the priests using the traditional method of using wood and friction. They immediately took the flame to Swami’s chair to be blessed before starting the yagna.

Then the UK Grama Seva group was privileged and honoured to distribute Swami’s prasadam at the Super Speciality Hospital staff quarters.  The residents of the hospital warmly welcomed the group as they received Swami’s love, in the form of Prasadam. Most of the residents in the hospital quarters consisted of doctors, nurses and their families.

The afternoon Maha-Samadhi darshan celebrated the first day of the Vidhwan Maha Sabha and so there were 2 speeches given by students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. This was followed by a music concert by an artist who was fortunate enough to also play from Swami many years ago, on his 50th birthday celebrations.

In the evening, Professor Nanjundaia kindly spoke to the UK Group on experiences and teachings of Swami he has learned from over the last 40 years. And late at night, the UK group were once again extremely fortunate to be able to visit the Grama Seva Kitchen where Swami’s Grama Seva prasadam are made in their tens of thousands over night, every night, to be distributed the following morning.

Thursday 29th September 2011

The Grama Seva teams all gathered in their respective transports to head for various villages. Villages served today were within the Kota Cervvu Mandal and Puttaparthi Mandal. One of the villages visited today was called Marakuntlapalli. This is a large village with over 2,000 habitants. The welcome received by us seems to be very similar to all the other villages, which is become very familiar for all.  The needs of the villagers are simple, that someone should know their plight. They are therefore very grateful to Bhagawan Baba for listening to their heartfelt prayers and sending love to them in form of food and clothing.

The Maha-Samadhi darshan was given today at 4.30pm and was started with the chanting of Rudram by Swami’s Veda boys. At 5pm, Sri Ajit Poppat was asked to give a “puppet” show. He spoke on the importance of having 100% faith in Swami and how it is the most amazing fortune of a man to be a contemporary of the living master, but it is the greatest challenge to live for that master when he has cast aside his body.
This was followed by a beautiful musical concert by a famous international Carnatic musician. Aarti was then offered to Swami at 6.10pm.
Wednesday 28th September 2011

Today is the first day of Navratri and the commencement of the Grama Seva Project 2011. The UK Grama Seva Group was privileged to follow behind the Veda group in doing “pradakshina” around Swami’s Maha-Samadhi and the Mandir before proceeding to the Tata Sumo Vehicles allocated for them to travel in, as per Swami’s Divine instructions.

Transport for the Students consisted of over 35 trucks which were also loaded with supplies. Supplies included sarees, dhotis and food (consisting of Pulihora Rice and Ladoo). As the vehicles left the Prasanthi gates, all participants shouted “Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba ki Jai!”

The UK group had been split into 7 teams of up to 6 people each and each group was allocated different villages where they were to serve alongside Swami’s students and faculty members. All the villages covered today were in the Kota Cervvu Mandal. This district is made up of many smaller villages, each of different sizes with the largest being Kodapaganipalli which consists of over 500 houses.

Swami’s message and love can be seen to be reaching out to the world, as the villagers were waiting with broad smiles for the arrival of the Grama Seva workers. The villagers had washed the front of their houses and painted rangoli to welcome Swami’s students.

The Grama Seva began with bhajans sung whilst walking through the main streets of the village (Nagar Sankeertan) to sanctify and purify the environment with God’s name.

The Service was conducted with true Sai Spirit by adhering to the maxim “Service to Man is Service to God.” This was carried out from 9am o’clock till all houses within the district were covered. Everyone returned to the ashram by 1pm.

Tuesday 27th September 2011

With the immense grace of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the UK Grama Seva Group had an opportunity to offer a small token of our love to Swami’s Samadhi this afternoon in darshan. The Group’s offering included the chanting of Purusha Suktam and Narayana Suktam and this was followed by bhajans and a bhajan medley.

After the aarti, Professor Anil Kumar announced the start of Grama Seva from tomorrow onwards for 9 days and culminating on the auspicious day of Dasara. During his address he also thanked the UK group for the continuous participation in the Grama Seva Activity alongside Swami’s students and faculty members for the last 8 years. He also made a special mention and thank for the continuing leadership and guidance the group have received under Sri Ajit Poppat, also known as Swami’s “Puppet.”

Monday 26th September 2011

After morning darshan, the Grama Seva boys had been invited to attend the meeting in the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning Auditorium on “Grama Seva 2011. An offering at Thy Divine Lotus feet.”

Here they had the fortune to listen to many distinguished faculty speakers such as the Vice-Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Sri B.N. Narasimhamurthy, Sri Sanjay Sahni and Professor A Sudhir Bhaskar. They all spoke on the history of Grama Seva, the importance and significance of it and the feelings one should have when offering Swami’s prasadam. Videos and photos of the planning and logistics work that goes on behind the scenes were shown. This included the preparation of Swami’s prasadam, packaging and uploading it onto the vehicles.

Sunday 25th September 2011

With the Grace and direct instruction of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Sai Kingdom (United Kingdom) Grama Seva Group stepped onto the hallowed ground of Prashanti Nilayam to follow the command of Bhagawan Baba and carry out Grama Seva together with Bhagawan’s own Students. The group consists of 46 brothers and 24 sisters all eager to participate in Grama Seva as instructed by Swami. The group has been brought to the Lotus Feet by Sri Ajit Poppat, affectionately known as Swami’s “puppet.”

After arriving early in the morning, the group attended their first Maha Samadhi Darshan in the Sai Kulwant hall at 4pm. A group from Andra Pradesh had also come to Prasanthi Nilayam and their youth performed a beautiful play, followed by Bal-vikas bhajans.