The Sathya Sai Centres of Buffalo, Ithaca, Syracuse, and Rochester in New York came together to celebrate two annual events, global Akhanda Bhajans and Sathya Sai Baba’s 91st Birthday. The Akhanda Bhajans were organised during 12th–13th November 2016 for promoting global peace. As a service project in conjunction with the Akhanda Bhajans, Sathya Sai Centres donated non-perishable food and clothing to Bethany House, a homeless shelter for women and children in downtown Rochester.
A Birthday programme held on 19th November 2016 included skits with powerful messages by the SSE students and a musical offering of devotional songs. In addition, the group chanted the Gayatri mantra 91 times, charging the entire hall with divine vibrations.
In New Jersey, the Sathya Sai Centre of Bridgewater held celebrations on two Sundays, 6th and 20th November 2016, at Temple Beth-El in Hillsborough. The two events featured inspiring speakers, a drama by the children, and a devotional programme.
The Sathya Sai Centres of St. Louis, Missouri, and Southern Illinois observed Bhagawan’s 91st Birthday with an uplifting programme that included a beautifully choreographed play written by the SSE children on the topic of bullying, with emphasis on Baba’s teachings. The centre members delivered 50 large grocery bags full of non-perishable vegetarian food to senior citizens. Volunteers also delivered 122 boxes of pizza along with soft drinks, fruit, granola bars, juice, and brownies to homeless brethren at a shelter, with dignity, love, and compassion.
As part of the Birthday observations, the SSE students of the Sathya Sai Centre of Memphis, Tennessee, presented two skits on facing challenges with right conduct through following the message of Bhagawan.
On 19th November 2016, the Sathya Sai Centres of Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky collectively celebrated Bhagawan’s 91st Birthday at the Louisville Centre. The SSE children regaled the attendees with a skit on Sai humour, sang a Birthday song, and presented a dance performance. Members of the Louisville Sathya Sai Center served students of the La Grange Elementary School in Oldham County, located in an impoverished area. Volunteers delivered 200 bags of food and packaged drinks to the school, which were distributed to students just before the Thanksgiving holiday break, as well as to 25 needy parents.
The Sathya Sai Centre of Seattle Eastside, Washington state, celebrated Baba’s 91st Birthday by packing 91 shoeboxes with gifts and school supplies for girls ages two to five. Each box contained a doll, play material, T–shirt, toothbrush and toothpaste, colouring books and crayons, pencils, hairband, sunglasses, jump-rope, and a little bag. The volunteers placed personal notes in the gift boxes, which then were handed over to Samaritan Purse International Relief, a charity that brings hope and joy to needy children around the world.
In Oregon, about 70 people, including members of the Beaverton Sathya Sai Centre, organised a programme at the Southminster Presbyterian Church of Beaverton, which included devotional singing and a play by SSE children. The Young Adults also presented a play highlighting how service starts at home, illustrating how selfless service can be an integral part of our day-to-day lives.
The Austin Sathya Sai Centre in Texas held study circles focused on the life and message of Bhagawan for several weeks. More than 300 people attended a Birthday programme on 23rd November 2016, which began with a musical programme that included multifaith prayers, Qawwali songs, and other devotional songs. SSIO members presented a play, “Know Thyself,” based on the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba, followed by an uplifting talk.