Sri Sathya Sai Young Adults (YAs) are an integral part of the SSSIO and actively participate in various devotional, educational, community service, and humanitarian relief projects worldwide. Through numerous service projects and humanitarian relief activities, YAs worldwide continued to serve humanity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The YAs also organized many online programs at local, national, and international levels. Eleven International YA subcommittees provide opportunities to participate in exciting projects designed to cater to a wide range of needs and interests while nurturing the spiritual growth of its members.
Serve the Planet (STP)
The STP subcommittee continued its theme of Building a Sustainable Values-based CommUNITY. YAs turned their journey inwards with online study circles on ‘Nature’, focusing on physical and mental energy. The subcommittee conducted two online study circle series – ‘Human Values in Nature’, by incorporating love and nonviolence in the study guides. Major environmental events (Earth Hour and Earth Day) were celebrated with online campaigns encouraging devotees to reinvigorate their connection with nature and God.
Sri Sathya Sai International Leadership Programme (SSSILP) for Young Adults
The SSSILP continues to successfully share leadership knowledge and practical skills based on Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings. Around 200 YAs registered and participated in the program from 30 countries in 2021. The leadership program is offered in nine online modules and three languages: English, Russian and Spanish.
An online graduation program was conducted in September 2021, combining graduating classes of 2020 and 2021, and bringing the total to 2,100 graduates, since its inception in 2015. The graduates are serving in various leadership roles within the SSSIO.
InSAIghts (formerly Young Adults Talent Development)
InSAIghts provides innovative content through masterclasses and workshops where YAs learn about the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba to implement them in their daily lives. The subcommittee conducted an online webinar in 2021 on disseminating the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. InSAIghts also offers technical support to the Sri Sathya Sai International Young Adults Veda Program and hosts the International YA online meetings every quarter.
Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana of Love (SSSSOL)
In March 2021, the SSSSOL subcommittee registered over 200 participants for the Sadhana of Love program, which expounded on Sri Sathya Sai Baba's four steps to realizing one’s Divinity – Self-Confidence, Self-Satisfaction, Self-Sacrifice, and Self-Realization. The last two modules featured guest speakers, panel discussions, and a meditation session. Two interactive workshops were held to create opportunities for sharing practical suggestions.
A new initiative of monthly study circles focused on excerpts from the Prasanthi Vahini with supporting material from Dhyana Vahini, to complement the course material and interact with the participants from the 2019 and 2020 sessions, was well received.
YAs have been regularly sharing remarkable testimonials of their experiences and gratitude to Sri Sathya Sai Baba through short articles called Reflections of Sai, published on social media platforms every week. This has helped strengthen faith in Sri Sathya Sai Baba and reflect on His Omnipresence.
Pathways (formerly Group 4 to YA Transition)
The International YA Pathways subcommittee, in collaboration with the STP subcommittee, held a 30-day sadhana challenge in July 2021 for YAs aged 18-22. This Sadhana Quest sought to uncover, explore, and strengthen the connection between YAs, God, and nature through the practice of eco-friendly, spiritual disciplines. Participants implemented nine eco-spiritual disciplines related to the “ceiling on desires.” They practiced the five universal human values of truth, right conduct, peace, love, and nonviolence in nature to strengthen the water, food, as well as physical, mental, and spiritual energy nexus. As part of the challenge, YAs not only tracked their go-green practices during this time but also participated in various fun, creative, and engaging eco-friendly workshops weekly.
Ocean of Music (OoM) (formerly 'Love All Serve All')
The Ocean of Music subcommittee supported all major worldwide SSSIO Online Events in 2021. More than 600 YAs recorded bhajans and devotional songs for Maha Shivaratri, Aradhana Mahotsavam, Easwaramma Day, Guru Poornima, SSSILP Online Graduation, Worldwide Akhanda Bhajans, Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 96th Birthday, and Christmas. Music in multiple genres and languages was presented – many bhajans and songs were original compositions of the YAs. In 2021, the Ocean of Music album series comprising bhajans, devotional songs, and value-based songs was launched with the release of Volume 1 on the 96th Birthday of Baba.
Information Management and Analytics Subcommittee (IMAS)
The IMAS supports the International YAs Program in making better-informed decisions about the future direction by acquiring accurate and timely data and insights from various sources. IMAS is presently reviewing the strategy of the International YA programs through focus groups and surveys to support its growth and evolution.
Sri Sathya Sai Young Adults International Engagement (YAIE)
In 2021, the YAIE subcommittee represented the SSSIO at the virtual 3rd World Conference on Children and Youth in Sri Lanka. The YAIE team empowered and prepared the delegation to represent the SSSIO. The delegation made presentations and shared ideas rooted in Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV). The subcommittee also finalized the compendium based on the worldwide YA survey. YAIE continued to assess conferences, plan webinars, and host an open forum: a space for YAs to come together to discuss their spiritual journeys.
Sri Sathya Sai International Young Adults Veda Program
The subcommittee provides an excellent opportunity for YAs to learn and practice the teachings of the Vedas. Stemming from the 2020 Veda training program, about 1,400 YAs worldwide continued learning the Vedas with fortnightly lesson plans and bi-monthly webinars. These webinars were pivotal in reinforcing Vedic principles and the inherent benefits to all humanity. In 2021, the subcommittee organized various online webinars:
- Nearness and dearness through the Vedas - February 2021
- Overview of Vedas and their benefits for humanity - April 2021
- Vedic principles and the concept of oneness - June 2021
- Vedas: A bridge between spirituality and modern life - August 2021
- Attain bliss through the Vedas - October 2021
- Progress in a spiritual journey through the Vedas - December 2021
Sri Sathya Sai International Young Adults Wellbeing Program
The well-being initiative started during the COVID-19 pandemic focuses on the importance of a sound body, mind, and spirit for a happy and peaceful life as taught by Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Together with physicians, this subcommittee initiated a ‘Healthy Living’ web page to provide helpful information on stress, anxiety, depression, and mental health, and ways to manage them. The program also supports Sai Young Adults with tools and techniques to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle. In 2021, spirituality, mental health, and healthy eating were the main themes discussed.
Sai Young Adults Media Team
The International YA Media team is the focal point for all Young Adults initiatives through graphics and videos published on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, and WhatsApp. The YA Media Team also creates and promotes weekly initiatives to promote the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba to YAs worldwide. In 2021, the YA Media team was an integral part of all SSSIO online programs, which benefited devotees worldwide.
Sai Young Adults Editorial Team
The International YA Editorial team edits, proofreads, and transcribes various materials such as the SSSIO Annual Report, International YA announcements, Veda webinar videos, graphics, landing pages for the website, and videos for worldwide dissemination. In addition, the subcommittee assists all YA subcommittees with proposals, scriptwriting, and caption write-ups for various YA initiatives. The subcommittee also publishes a weekly ‘Letter to Students’ column and assists with the SSSIO YA Online initiatives.
YAs in the USA supported and participated in virtual programs and conducted various study circles and workshops on topics such as time management, ‘less luggage – more comfort’, ‘gratitude to grace’, go-green, and other topics.
YAs had an opportunity to attend a water blessing - a spiritual practice led by native American women to pray for the healing of water resources. YAs joined the “Native Women's Care Circle” of St. Louis at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, where they sang prayers to the water that meant, "water, we love you; water, we thank you; and water, we respect you."
The “InSaider Lens”, a new video series in collaboration with the SSSIO USA's devotion, education, service, and YA teams, was published to celebrate the beautiful, loving relationships between Sai devotees across the USA and Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
YAs in the West Indies participated in a series of virtual events organized by the National Young Adult Coordinators of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. These events included study circles, game nights, and an opportunity to connect with fellow YAs during the pandemic. YAs in Trinidad & Tobago also initiated a quarterly National Young Adults project to distribute food hampers to those in need. This initiative has been carried out throughout the year, focusing on various areas and family needs. As a token of appreciation to healthcare and frontline workers during the pandemic, YAs in Barbados and a couple of SSE students prepared packages of snacks.
Meanwhile, the YAs in Canada initiated a blissful bhajan series where 26 YAs recorded bhajans over 6 months to sing the glory of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and stay connected. YAs also conducted a winter service initiative, creating 300 care packages for the needy.
The YAs in Zone 2A organized activities based on integration and unity after a challenging beginning to the year due to the pandemic. Among these integration activities, the YAs in Mexico organized online meetings, study circles, speeches, and online panels on themes related to spiritual, intellectual, and character development. The devotional activities included managing online national events, weekly sessions chanting Aumkar and Suprabatham, and musical offerings for Guru Poornima.
The YAs in El Salvador organized study circles and held online meetings. They cleaned the El Espino park, organized a vegetarian cooking workshop, and participated in various celebrations like Sri Sathya Sai Baba's 96th Birthday and Christmas, singing bhajans, and helping behind the scenes.
More than 200 children received toys from the YAs in the Dominican Republic as part of their “give me a toy” program. They also helped with reforestation by planting more than 250 trees, organizing a National YA retreat, and conducting online programs.
The YAs from Zone 2B held two virtual meetings for Easter and Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Birthday celebrations. Service initiatives were undertaken in Brazil to provide support to the COVID-19 patients by phone. Both meetings were broadcast live on YouTube, with over 250 people joining the program.
YAs from Argentina and Bolivia organized a YA online meeting titled, "Self-Confidence and Self-Satisfaction," with 14 participants. The meeting was based on the two pillars of Sadhana of Love: Self-Confidence and Self-Satisfaction and was led by the National YA Coordinators of Argentina and Bolivia. Additionally, YAs from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile organized national events, sadhana programs, satsangs, and devotional singing throughout the year.
In 2021, events were held to foster unity amongst the YAs in Zone 3. Some of the zonal events included a fun and inspirational trivia night based on the life and teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, an online satsang titled “Finding the Calm within the Chaos” to help YAs maintain their sense of calm and spiritual awareness in an ever-changing world, as well as the roll-out of an online team-based sadhana challenge titled, ‘My Divine Conquest’ as an offering to Sri Sathya Sai Baba on His 96th birthday. YAs also participated enthusiastically in various service activities, such as blood drives, tree planting, volunteering at community events at local schools, and providing food parcels for families in need during the pandemic.
Regular study circles also continued, including mental health sessions to help provide further guidance and support during testing times. YAs also played a vital role in supporting the center, regional, and national devotional programs by taking active roles in the online and in-person programs and working closely with senior SSSIO members. YAs also worked with the Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) wing on events to tutor children about the conservation of resources via role-playing and various games, and the Parent Appreciation Day to take time out to connect, bond, and show gratitude to their parents.
Eighty-one YAs from six countries participated in a virtual Chinese New Year gathering of YAs on February 28, 2021, to get acquainted with the other YAs in the zone. The virtual celebration was held with the theme, “Let’s Get Incredi-Bull,” as the year 2021 was the year of the cow or bull according to the Chinese Zodiac.
The gathering began with opening prayers, followed by an opening speech by the Zone 4 Young Adults Coordinator. Soon after, an ice-breaking session was held to get all the participants to introduce themselves, followed by an activity called “Escape the Incredi-Bull Room,” in which a series of challenges were presented to participants to solve before moving on to the next stage of the game. After each challenge, a spiritual takeaway connecting to Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s discourse was shared with the participants. The event concluded with a speech by the Zone 4 Chair and closing prayers.
In addition, YAs made an exciting presentation on the celebrations and customs of Chinese New Year. Thereafter, Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s spiritual teachings were shared in connection with the Chinese New Year, and the culture, significance, and traditions of celebrating the Chinese New Year were discussed amongst the participants coming from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.
In August 2021, the YAs of Indonesia helped a senior citizen renovate her home, which was significantly damaged and almost collapsed, making her house unfit for habitation. The YAs were directly involved with the various components such as costs, direct labor in the field, communication and coordination.
The YAs of Malaysia participate in a bimonthly dog feeding activity. In order to reduce the number of stray dogs in the city, the city council traps the dogs and leave them at a dumpsite. The Young Adults take turns to feed about 150 dogs in that area. In addition, volunteers also clean up the temporary constructed shelters and medicate injured and sick puppies and dogs.
The YAs of Sri Lanka carried out daily Narayana seva by distributing cooked meals and dry rations to support the needy during the COVID Lockdown period. In addition, they also participated in various blood donation drives across the country.
The YAs of Hong Kong organized three nature clean-up activities in 2021 as part of the Serve The planet (STP) initiative. In May 2021, the YAs took a ferry ride to Lamma Island and hiked while cleaning up the trails. The beach was filled with substantial amounts of rubbish that had floated ashore. The next clean-up activity was held in July as an offering for Guru Poornima. The YAs also traversed ‘Dragon's Back’, which is the most popular hiking trail in Hong Kong, while collecting trash. The largest clean-up for the year 2021 was in October to commemorate the Avatar Declaration Day and reflect on His divine teachings. The YAs visited a popular rocky spot called Tap Mun Grass Island, located close to the shore, where they removed hazardous materials and rubbish polluting the area. The day ended with the YAs lovingly feeding a herd of cows on the island.
YAs in Japan held a training workshop for their members to lead effective online workshops and incorporated Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings on the topics that they shared. Every month, members shared their learning in a workshop.
YAs from Zone 6 conducted various online activities during the pandemic, and once again, the European Retreat 2021 was held online, bringing YAs from Zone 6, 7, and 8 together. More than 60 YAs enthusiastically attended the event organized by a cross-zonal leadership team comprising members from all three zones. The title of the 2021 retreat was “The key to the heart is SAI: See Always Inside.” In addition, the YAs of Switzerland organized an online sharing of personal reflections by inviting senior guest speakers.
YAs from Zone 7 took an active part in the Online European Retreat 2021, a collaborative effort with the Zone 6 and 8 YAs. Meanwhile, the YAs from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany worked with the local community to assist in local projects. In Hungary, YAs explored spirituality with outdoor and online activities, including a summer camp, yoga demonstrations, a sports festival, service at shelters for dogs, and online quizzes.
YAs from Poland enthusiastically participated in online study circles, workshops, and service activities in 2021. As an ongoing project, the YAs continued to translate Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses into the Polish language. Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, YAs participated in weekly study circles on Prasanthi Vahini and continued regular study circles and prayer meetings.
YAs organized the Annual Zonal YA festival in April 2021 with the theme "Pure Hearts,” and the motto "Your heart is My Temple". The event included satsangs, workshops, sharing of personal spiritual experiences, and speeches by the Zone 8 Chairman and the International YA coordinator. Before the event, the participants adopted new practices for helping nature and sent photos and videos of their activities, which were shown at the festival.
In May 2021, YAs prepared an interactive module where advice was given on right living, good health, and self-management for the Annual Zone Conference.
During the summer of 2021, YAs organized two Zonal Sai Olympics. Teams from cities from all countries of Zone 8 participated online in various competitions and contests, which included spiritual topics. YAs also took part in the organization of two zonal hikes and panel games attended by SSSIO members and their families. They also organized hiking and other outdoor activities.
In November 2021, YAs hosted the Online European Retreat, which brought together YAs from Zones 6, 7, and 8, in a spirit of joy and a sense of unity.
Meanwhile, in December 2021, YAs prepared a YA module for the Zonal Ecological Conference, during which main characters in the form of animals talked about various environmental problems, gave advice on how to lead a more conscious lifestyle, and take better care of natural resources, and presented environmental quizzes.
In addition, YAs continued to participate in all online and in-person activities of SSSIO in Zone 8, including feeding the needy, preparation of regional and national conferences, and preparations for international programs for celebrations, including the Zone 8 presentations for Guru Poornima.
With the advent of the New Year 2021, Sai YAs from across the zone shared their personal commitment to a value or teaching of Sri Sathya Sai Baba that they would adopt in the New Year. On the most auspicious occasion of Maha Shivaratri, Sai YAs, from Zone 9 chanted the Lingashtakam. For the occasion of Sri Sathya Sai Aradhana Mahotsavam, they offered a special song titled “Marachitivemo Madilo Mammu Sainatha Prabhuva.”
In January 2021, YAs of Kenya collaborated with the Nairobi National Park (FONNAP) and the Kenya Wildlife Services in an environmental clean-up initiative in the Nairobi National Park. This exercise included the removal of Parthenium weeds that are highly harmful to the environment; the team weeded around 1.5 acres of land. In March 2021, they provided textbooks, stationery, and food to the students of the Sri Sathya Sai School in Uthiru.
YAs in Mauritius planted over 2,000 trees as an offering of love and gratitude for Aradhana Mahotsavam, while YAs in Zimbabwe provided hot meals to the children of Kudakwashe Children's Home, a home for children with disabilities.
YAs from Ghana donated fifteen wheelchairs to the community at Aflao Ketu District in the Volta Region of Ghana’s border in March 2021. As part of Easwaramma Day, they visited orphans, elders, widows, young girls in need of support, and blind and grief-stricken individuals to provide them with means of livelihood and essentials, including ten sewing machines, and a wheelchair, clothes, scarfs, and toiletries. These items were distributed to more than 20 women and girls.
In commemoration of National Youth Day and World Environment Day in June 2021, the YAs of South Africa provided more than 2,400 kilograms of food, 265 blankets, 80 accessories, and treats for the animals to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and local animal shelters. In July 2021, the YAs from the zone hosted an inspirational satsang with Mr. Aravind Balasubramanya, titled “It’s LIFE – Learning to Intensify our Faith Everyday.”
In conjunction with Avatar Declaration Day, the YAs of South Africa embarked on a service for the visually impaired. One hundred white canes were donated to the South African Mobility for the Blind Trust, which provides orientation and mobility training to the visually impaired across the country.
On October 24, 2021, Mauritius celebrated its Annual National Day of Persons with Disabilities. YAs of Mauritius marked the occasion by distributing gift packs, tokens of appreciation, hygiene supplies, and food hampers to the families living in the northern part of the island.
In December 2021, The YAs of Uganda embarked on a monthly initiative serving hot meals to more than 300 needy children. The YAs of Zone 9 participated in the SSSIO Christmas program presenting a drama titled, “The Final Journey.”