The ISSE of South Europe and the SSIO of Greece jointly held a series of seminars to introduce SSEHV to the general public. The free events were organised every Sunday in Sai Prema, near Athens, for a six-month period from November 2015 through May 2016. Consistent with the theme of the global SSIO Serve the Planet project for 2015, “Human Values in Nation Building,” these events included presentations, study circles, musical interludes, and lunch. The programme covered all five human values and concluded by extending the application of these values by focusing on selfless service. The events were attended by more than 200 people, half of whom were newly introduced to human values. In view of the success of these seminars, the programme is planned to be continued and expanded, this time over a nine-month period, from September 2016 to May 2017.
Israel’s two Sathya Sai Centres adopted different approaches in observing this year’s Mahasamadhi Day. The Sathya Sai Centre of Tel Aviv added a half hour of chanting the Gayatri mantra before its weekly meeting. The Sathya Sai Centre of Ein Hod met four times per month instead of its usual bimonthly meetings, to recite the Sai Gayatri and share personal experiences. Some of the members worked on gaining a deeper integration of the practice of the Ceiling on Desires programme by focusing on getting rid of negative habits and seeking unity. Due to the positive feedback received, the Sathya Sai Centre of Ein Hod resolved to continue meeting weekly.
In commemoration of Sathya Sai Aradhana Mahotsavam, a Sadhana Programme was launched on 3rd April 2016 at the Curepipe Sathya Sai Centre in Wooton. More than 700 participants from all parts of the island of Mauritius gathered to imbibe the nectarine sweetness of the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba. As part of the opening ceremonies, 108 children presented 108 roses in a beautiful choreography, followed by devotional singing by the Prasanthi Devotional Group of Mauritius. The President of the SSIO National Council captivated the audience with enchanting and inspiring anecdotes from the life of Sathya Sai Baba, and the National Youth Advisor spoke about developing greater intimacy in one’s relationship with God. Sathya Sai Youth staged a drama illustrating how Swami’s teachings can be put into practice simply by greater awareness of the power of love, and the programme came to a close with melodious bhajans, rendered with love and devotion.
Serbian Sathya Sai followers came together in grateful observance of Mahasamadhi Day – reciting the Sai Gayatri and the prayer, “Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavanthu (May all the worlds be happy),” followed by meditation. On Mahasamadhi Day, an ISSE seminar was held in Belgrade. After the seminar, approximately 40 devotees gathered to sing, pray, and read excerpts from Sathya Sai Baba’s sacred life and teachings. They were reminded of the meaning of the name Sai Baba – Divine Mother and Father – and Sathya Sai’s teachings on the brotherhood of man, founded on love, peace, and compassion. The meeting concluded with a prayer, “Let our gratefulness merge with His blessings that are endlessly pouring on us; let the blessings water the soil of our spirituality so that our hearts can shine in unity. Let all of us be blessed on this holy day.”
The Stockholm Centre held bhajans on 23rd April 2016. Afterwards, eight SSIO members prepared vegetarian meals for the homeless. On 24th April, six volunteers served lunch to homeless people at the non-profit association, Ny Gemenskap. The simple meal of salad and pasta was enjoyed by many guests who returned for seconds and asked for food to be packed for taking with them.