Celebration of Divine Love in the Abode of Divine Love: Riverside, CA
Sometimes, good things come in twos. On November 19 2022, the Pacific South Region received the gift of two celebrations on one day – Ladies Day and our beloved Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 97th birthday. The fact that it was the first Birthday celebration at Sai Prema Nilayam, multiplied the love.
As devotees entered the hall festooned with flowers, lights, and the love of tireless volunteers, the mood was both reverent and celebratory. A choir of women opened the Ladies Day celebrations with the chanting of Gayatri Mantra and melodious devotional singing. A female emcee welcomed everyone and introduced the first speaker for the day - Dr. Hyma Reddy.
Dr. Reddy has had the privilege of learning from the Divine Lord Himself and we had the privilege of learning from her. She shared how Sri Sathya Sai Baba had taught her that life’s pursuit is the accumulation of divine love whereas physical material like food, money and blood should be circulated not accumulated. Sathya Sai Baba had this brilliant way of giving symbolism to everyday tasks that elevated their meaning. For example, He would describe the simple act of chopping vegetables as cutting one’s ego.
Ms. Usha Narayanan followed Dr. Reddy with her own personal journey to divine love. She learned that God will always do more for her than she could for Him, but she did have to take the first step. It takes an infinitely generous God to give us the freedom to choose Him, and shower us with unconditional love even if we don’t. Ms. Narayanan’s generosity, in sharing her experiences, was not lost on anyone.
After lunch, Mr. Harish Naidu, President of Sri Sathya Sai International Organization (SSSIO) - USA, spoke about the importance of embracing adversity. In fact, he shared he is grateful for the hard moments in his own life. Those moments taught him the most important life lessons, including maintaining equanimity. Practicing equanimity, he knew, would make him near and dear to Sathya Sai Baba. Like the other speakers, what made Mr. Naidu’s talk so impactful were the personal lessons and interactions with Sathya Sai.
Just when we thought our cup of love runneth over, the SSE students took us on a journey of world religions. As we took the flight with them from Hinduism all the way to Christianity, we experienced the diversity of each religion and singularity of their teachings: Love. It was the perfect crescendo to Swami’s birthday celebration.
All things, even the good ones, must come to an end. After listening to stories of divine love, in divine company, in the abode of divine love, it didn’t feel like an end but a reminder that the only endless thing in this world is Divine Love.