Spring Fest for Sai Young Adults: North Central Region
“What does Aaraadhana (Divine Adoration) mean? It is not mere offering of worship with the paraphernalia of rituals. Aaraadhana is unification of the Hearts. To attain Oneness through Unity is Aaraadhana. To experience the Bliss of the Self is Aaraadhana. Recognizing Unity in Diversity is Aaraadhana.” -Sathya Sai Baba, Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1993, Chapter 04.
More than 50 Young Adults (YAs) came together to celebrate Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s message of Unity during this year’s Aaraadhana Mahotsavam on April 25, 2021, by hosting a virtual “Spring Fest” program. The festival began at 9 am with global Akhanda (continuous) Gayatri chanting, opening prayers and bhajans. The opening session concluded with YAs sharing their experiences with the Kindness Challenge which they had undertaken - to perform at least one act of kindness each day to inspire and spread kindness. Their reflections were indeed touching and captivating.
The theme of “Kindness” continued in interactive workshops where participants explored kindness through the path of Bhakthi (Devotion), Jnana (Wisdom) or Karma (Action). In the workshop on Bhakthi Marga (the path of devotion), the YAs experienced “soulful” singing with Bhavam (emotion), Ragam (melody) and Talam (rhythm). They learned that every bhajan has a story, and an emotion that connects one to God, and how Ragam and Talam enhances Bhavam. One participant described the workshop as being “soul-filled” and made him look at bhajans in a very different way.
In the workshop on Jnana Marga (the path of wisdom), participants took the “Hogwarts Express to Prashanthi” and examined Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s message by using a framework based on the Harry Potter series, which emphasized love and the Oneness in all. Participants described the workshop as nostalgic, as they heard speakers reminisce their experiences in Puttaparthi, and also insightful, providing many spiritual lessons. Moreover, the use of the Harry Potter series to creatively present Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s messages encouraged participants think outside the box.
The Karma Marga (the path of action) participants in the Planet Protectors workshop learned the myriad ways they could show kindness towards Mother Earth by adopting environmentally conscious practices and by being more restrained in their consumption practices.
After the breakout sessions, there was an exciting and inspiring panel discussion titled “When You Said Yes to Me" – Our Journey with Sai. Three Young Adults currently serving in National and SSSIO subcommittees reflected on how their involvement in Sai work had led to spiritual transformation in their outlook and impacted their day-to-day life activities. The panelists also talked about balancing time between spiritual activities and career demands, and how to get even more deeply involved in Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s mission. Participants described the panelists as “inspiring and relatable”.
The festival ended with a segment on “Bridge to Sai” videos, showcasing reflections by YAs on how they use their Sai centers as a spiritual anchor to connect with Sai. YAs from various centers highlighted their involvement in service, devotional and special projects and reflected on how being involved in the YA world motivates and energizes them.
As Sri Sathya Sai Baba said at the World Youth Conference on July 18, 1997, “When you keep a flower here, bees are attracted from afar. They are drawn to the flower because of the sweet honey in it. Not a single bee will be attracted by a plastic flower. The sweetness that attracts people is Love (Prema).” The theme of this year’s Spring Fest aimed to remind young adults that even in uncertain world conditions, they must remain genuinely kind, like sweet honey, and that kindness would eventually attract others and spread love: that is truly the best way to be messengers of Sai.