“Take one step toward Me, and I will take a hundred steps toward you” –Baba

On April 24, 2023, coinciding with the Sathya Sai Aradhana Mahotsavam, the Sri Sathya Sai International Organization (SSSIO) of Australia & PNG embarked on a sadhana ‘journey’ toward Swami’s 100th Birthday, undertaking various service and devotional activities. Since then, dialysis patients have been supported, flood victims have been cared for, and a homeless community has been assisted–across Australia. What is this unique sadhana that has ‘moved’ Sai devotees across the country, inspiring it ‘moving’?

The inspiration behind the sadhana came from an intense yearning for Bhagawan based on the thought, “If we take a step toward Swami, He takes a hundred toward us. So, why not take a million steps toward Him?” Thus, ‘1 Million Steps To Swami’ (1MSTS) was born, a sadhana dedicated to walking a million (1,000,000) conscious steps by every individual. Yes, by every individual! Let us be clear because 1,000,000 steps per person might sound overwhelming!

A ‘New’ Sadhana Based on the Eternal Concepts of Love and Service

From Swami’s teachings, we understand that spirituality is not about doing different things. It is doing things differently–with the right attitude! On April 24, 2023, we did the calculations:

  • 944 days to Swami’s 100th Birthday on November 23, 2025
  • 1060 ‘conscious’ steps per day to offer a million to Swami

What is meant by a ‘conscious’ step? It is simply a step taken with awareness of Swami or divinity during a walk or a run. It is spirituality in a practical form. While walking, jogging, or running, an individual can either listen to Swami’s discourse or satsang, do Namasmarana, chant mantras, or do bhajans–anything that helps the individual feel connected to Swami. This initiative allows everyone to participate, from a young child to a senior citizen, as an individual, a couple, a family unit, a Sai Centre, a state/regional Sai organization, and also as an entire nation!

The individual tracks the steps using a smartwatch, phone, or pedometer. If one doesn’t have a digital device, there is no need to worry because an average 10-minute walk per day comprises 1,000 steps! The step count is then logged on the website, dedicating the conscious steps of this sadhana to Bhagawan. Once this is done, the beautiful service project gets triggered!

A Sadhana at Different Levels

The challenge in front of SSSIO in Australia was to seek new service opportunities, increase awareness of existing service activities coast-to-coast, strengthen engagement with the community, and encompass the SAI-100 initiative. With Swami at the helm, leading the journey, the core team accepted the challenge!

The 1MSTS sadhana allows us to spiritually explore the country we call home, Australia. The accumulated steps fuel the journey of the SSSIO, which serves as the vehicle to travel all around Australia, including remote parts and the countryside, in search of service opportunities and devotional activities.

We decided to begin the journey at the heart of Australia, its spiritual center–Uluru. Uluru and its neighbor, Kata Tjuta, aren’t just rocks. They are living, cultural landscapes that are very sacred, being the resting place for the ancient spirits of the aborigines of the region. From here, we began our journey to Alice Springs, the destination for our first service project.

Indigenous people in remote central Australia are up to 30 times more likely to suffer from kidney disease compared to other Australians. Operating from its base in Alice Springs, Purple House is a home away from home for many Indigenous dialysis patients and their families. It offers remote dialysis, social support, and primary and geriatric services. We decided to undertake a service project with Purple House. The distance between Alice Springs and Uluru is 455 kilometers. This journey required taking 681,000 ‘conscious’ steps.

The service project involved contributing beanies (head caps) based on a needs assessment. The patients undergoing dialysis feel cold as their blood drains from the body during the dialysis treatment. The beanies help to keep them warm. The SSSIO pledged 1,008 beanies and is well on target to achieve it. Purple House was very happy to receive the beanies and gave the following feedback:

“The beanies have arrived!! Thank you so much for sending through all the generous donations. We have been a bit short on beanies this season, so the patients were so excited to see them. I have attached a photo of me and two colleagues with them.

Kind regards, Katie Merriman,
Administration & Events Assistant”

From here, we resumed our journey to the second destination, Kalkarindji. This journey of 985 kilometers took us 1,477,500 steps. The town of Kalkarindji and neighboring communities were impacted by the floods in early 2023. Here, we organized a devotional offering of nationwide chanting of sacred Gayatri, offering prayers for their recovery and well-being.

Next, we reached the town of Darwin, 776 kilometers from the Kalkarindji. This journey took us traversing another 1,165,050 steps. One in every twenty people in the Northern Territory is homeless and does not have a good night’s sleep. This is almost 12 times worse than the national average. Here, we embarked on a service project along with the ‘Sunset Soup Kitchen,’ an organization that serves the homeless.

The homeless community constantly needs blankets to battle weather conditions and to stay protected against bugs and insects that pester them as they sleep in the streets every night. We pledged 1,008 blankets for the homeless community.

Along every step of the way, Swami was present, guiding and showering His boundless love. This has allowed us to commit to the service needed and meet the perceived challenges confidently. Here is a comment by one of the team members:

In recent weeks, the core team has been extensively researching the cost of blankets and where/how to source them, i.e., KMart, Target, BigW, etc. I came across a contact who pointed me to a source that launders and repurposes blankets from airlines, including blankets used by business-class and first-class passengers. Yesterday, a few of us went to pick up blankets from this place. Prior to going, I asked her two questions:

  • What is the cost of each blanket?
  • How many are available for pickup?

Her reply was:

  • No cost, $0!
  • Just bring a van.

Swami showed that when we have selfless intent and readiness to work, He does the rest! We collected about 250 blankets, and we now have access to a seemingly unlimited supply of blankets at no cost! This incident shows His reassurance that when we commit to His mission, we can leave the end result to Him.

In addition to this, we were very fortunate to receive 108 blankets, also at zero cost, from the Tzu Chi Foundation. They were keen to contribute upon hearing the cause SSSIO is supporting.

This nationwide sadhana of One Million Steps To Swami’s 100th Birthday has just begun. As members of SSSIO in Australia, we are excited, very touched, and inspired by this divine journey and our ultimate goal and destination.