New Year Greetings and Message
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Loving Sai Ram to all of you.
We are amidst the holiday season, a wonderful time of the year when we celebrate holy days such as Christmas, Hanukkah or Sankranti with our family and friends and share our joy and love with everyone. This is also the time when we recount with gratitude the blessings bestowed upon us by the Lord at the personal, family, and organisation levels. It has been a truly magnificent year for the Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) due to the bountiful grace of our loving Lord, and the hard work of the Sathya Sai volunteers. We are humbled by the fact that it has been an incredibly blessed year with wonderful accomplishments and positive changes.
I would like to touch on some major highlights of 2015, which started with the 16 pre-world conferences held in 16 countries around the world in preparation for the 10th World Conference, with the theme: Love is the Source; Love is the Path; Love is the Goal. The pre-world conferences, held from January to September 2015, drew thousands of Sathya Sai devotees from 11 zones of the SSIO, covering 123 countries. It was a humbling experience for me to see and experience the exemplary and selfless work being done by SSIO members around the world, their adoration for Lord Sai, and their depth of understanding of His teachings.
The SSIO continued its ongoing humanitarian relief efforts worldwide. In April, a devastating earthquake struck Nepal affecting about 8 million people. The SSIO responded immediately with loving, selfless service to the victims by providing food, shelter, clothing and medical care. The Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of India also joined the relief efforts with enthusiasm. The disaster relief efforts in Nepal continue into 2016 for restoration of normalcy in many communities. Similarly, the SSIO supported the humanitarian relief efforts in Tamil Nadu after the recent heavy rains and floods in October and November 2015.
During Guru Poornima, the Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) Conference was held in Prasanthi Nilayam. Educators and administrators from 48 countries came together to dive deep into various aspects of Sathya Sai education programmes, and discuss future goals, objectives and activities. The conference delegates left confident that the information received would enhance the innovative SSE programs and the practice of human values.
A new Public Outreach Committee was formed in 2015 to look for ways to share Bhagawan’s message, love, and works with the community at large. The greatest service we can perform is to spread His sacred and nectarine teachings for the benefit of mankind.
We made humble offerings in November, at the divine lotus feet of Bhagawan, with the publications Divine Nectar and the 2014–2015 SSIO Annual Report. The first publication consists of Swami’s landmark discourses on various topics and the second publication showcases the wonderful and uplifting services being performed by dedicated SSIO volunteers around the globe. The new SSIO website (www.sathyasai.org) was released on the occasion of Bhagawan’s 90th Birthday. This website is mobile device friendly, dynamic, and will be the central information hub – serving SSIO members worldwide. The Grand Finale of 2015 was the glorious celebrations of the 90th
Birthday of Bhagawan, the 10th World Conference, the International Exhibition and the Sathya Sai International Youth Leadership Programme held in November in Prasanthi Nilayam. In addition to colourful and inspiring cultural programmes from various parts of the world, the world-class Sai Symphony orchestra, representing a synthesis of western and eastern music, gave an entertaining and heart-warming performance in Sai Kulwant Hall.
There were several challenges along the way – as Swami says, “Test is My Taste.” I am happy to report that members and officers of the SSIO met the challenges with dignity, equanimity and love – the hallmarks of spiritual seekers.
On the whole, we had a glorious year. Your contributions and hard work made 2015 an exciting and enjoyable year. Much progress was made in the divine mission. We are who we are because of you, and our work reflects what you bring to the organisation every day. Your relentless pursuit of excellence has made a difference, clearly showing improvements in all aspects of our organisation. Thank you for all that you do, and I look forward to working together in 2016.
At this time, let us make resolutions for the upcoming year 2016:
- Let us rededicate ourselves, focusing only on Swami, contemplating on Him as the universal Guru and God, and repeating His name as our Sadhana.
- Let us one-pointedly follow our Master, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and may we not be distracted from the spiritual path.
- Let us dive deep into His teachings, and most importantly, practice His teachings in our daily lives.
- Lastly, let us plunge ourselves with our heart, soul, mind and strength to do His work and take the divine mission forward.
- Swami has said that many are called, but few are chosen. We are the ones chosen to serve Him. Our lives will be sanctified and redeemed by loving Him, doing His work and practicing His teachings.
I wish you and your family a happy and holy holiday season and an uplifting New Year, saturated with love, peace and joy. Thank you.
Jai Sai Ram.
Lovingly in the Service of Sai,
Narendranath Reddy, M.D.
Chairman, Prasanthi Council.