Online Inspirational Series: Unite and Uplift

Love all beings—that is enough. Love with no expectation of return. Love for the sake of love. Love because your very nature is love. Love because that is the form of worship you know and like. When others are happy, be happy likewise. When others are in misery, try to alleviate their lot to the best of your ability. Practice love through selfless service (seva). By this means, you will realize unity and get rid of the ego that harms.

Sathya Sai Speaks Vol.12/Ch.4: March 1973

Online Inspirational Series - Unite and Uplift

Below episodes are the speaker sessions on Unite and Uplift series. 

Episode 15: Seeking the Guru within

Speaker: Mr. Sanjay Sahni

Date and Time: Jul 3rd 2020 (Friday) 9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Sanjay Sahni joined the Sri Sathya Sai University in 1983 for his Bachelors in Commerce. He received academic excellence gold medals for both his Undergraduate and Masters degree. Subsequently, he joined the Prasanthi Nilayam campus as a lecturer and in 1992, became the warden of the Sri Sathya Sai Boys’ Hostel in the same campus. Later, he moved to the Brindavan campus and served as the Principal of this campus of His University. Currently he is the Controller of Examinations for Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL). He is reputed for his excellent oratory skills and spoken in Bhagawan's presence a number of times.


Episode 14: Opening our Hearts to divine melodies

Guest speakers​: A conversation with accomplished musicians and alumni of Sathya Sai University - Kumar Sundaram, Dhurjati Mudigonda and Aditya Kalavagunta

Date and Time: Jun 26th 2020 (Friday) ​9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Kumar Sundaram was born in a Sai family who were devotees since 1960s. Kumar was into Carnatic classical training during his Balavikas days at Neyveli. His music guru was Sri Chembai Anandamani. Kumar got the opportunity to join the Sundaram Bhajan group in early 80s where he got the opportunity to sing in the divine presence for the first time. He joined Swami's college for Masters in 1984, went onto complete his PhD and was a faculty member in Department of Math & Computer Science. Kumar's job brought him to the US in 2000. Since then, Kumar has been actively involved in many SAI retreats giving talks, Bhajan workshops and music programs. He currently lives and works in the Washington DC area.

Dhurjati  Mudigonda learned to play the Veena under the tutelage of his father, Prof. Veerabhadraiah Mudigonda. Later, while studying at Prashanthi Nilayam, he was blessed with the opportunity to play Bhajans on the Veena in the divine presence of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Dhurjati was also part of the Orchestra, Sai Symphony, that accompanied various professional musicians visiting Prasanthi Nilayam. Dhurjati graduated with a masters degree in Chemistry from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and currently manages an R&D group at a paper manufacturing company in Ohio. He has served in various roles at Columbus Sai center and also as Regional Devotional Coordinator for Region 5 SSIO-USA. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his family.

Aditya Kalavagunta joined the Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School in 1993, Swami blessed him with the opportunity to sing in the Prasanthi Bhajan group in 1995 and he led Student Bhajans in the Mandir till the year 2000, when he graduated with an MS in Physics. He came to the U.S. in 2001 and got his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Physics from Vanderbilt University in Nashville TN. He has served as Devotion Coordinator in Sai Centers in Torrance, CA and Boston, MA. He lives with his family in the Greater Boston area.


Episode 13: Reduce desires, Rethink habits, Repeat HIS name and Realize the divinity in all

Speakers: Maneesha Munshi and Sai Prabhu Prem Kumar

Date and Time: Jun 19th 2020 (Friday) ​9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Maneesha Munshi was born in Kashmir, India. She currently resides in San Jose, California. She works as a Speech and Language Pathologist in the Bay Area. Swami entered her life in 2010 and she believes that it gave her life a renewed purpose. Swami has since blessed her with many opportunities to be actively involved at various levels of the Organization. She is currently serving as a Center YA Rep of Sathya Sai Baba Center of Central San Jose and Regional Media Rep for Region 7, and National YA Envirocare Rep. Over the last 9 years, she has been involved with several go green initiatives in her Region and she believes that with every initiative her connection with and gratitude towards Mother Earth grows deeper. She has felt the presence of divinity while walking the shores of the bay, hiking the trials of Shasta and gazing at the mighty redwoods.

Sai Prabhu Prem Kumar feels extremely blessed and eternally grateful for Swami's love. Swami's divine teachings and unconditional love are his lifelines. He also feels blessed for the various opportunities that Swami has provided him in the SSIO to learn and grow. He is currently serving Swami as USA National YA Envirocare Rep, Chair of the Sathya Sai International Leadership Programme and teaches SSE and conducts study circles at Sai Center of Ann Arbor. He learns every day about himself based on Swami's teachings, reflects on them and works on his transformation to be a better person and get closer to Swami. He enjoys being in nature, acting and writing plays.


Episode 12: Taking heart and finding strength in difficult times

Speaker: Dr. Hymon Johnson

Date and Time: Jun 12th 2020 (Friday) ​9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Dr. Hymon Johnson has had teaching and administrative experience spanning five universities including the University of Nairobi, Kenya, UC Santa Barbara, and Antioch University. He has held a number of leadership roles including President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Society for Experiential Education. He has received citations from the California State Legislature for his service to education, and a range of other awards and recognitions.

Dr. Johnson’s association with Sathya Sai Baba began in the early 1980s after having been a follower of Paramahamsa Yogananda’s teachings.  He has held number of positions in SSIO including Sai Center president, regional YA advisor, member of the SSIO Education Committee and Founding Director of Institute of Sathya Sai Education (ISSE) and has published several articles in Sanathana Sarathi, Sathya Sai Newsletter USA, and other publications.


Episode 11: A conversation with alumni of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning on their experiences with Sathya Sai Baba

Panelists: Sainath Manikonda, Ravi Mariwalla, H.S.D Srinivas, Murali Kotikalapoodi​

Date and Time: Jun 5th 2020 (Friday) ​9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Sainath Manikonda is an alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) and hails from Hyderabad. He joined SSSIHL for his graduate degree and after his doctoral studies, served as a faculty in the Physics department of the Institute for several years. Sainath is an outstanding speaker who has given many talks in Bhagavan's presence. He was blessed with a unique opportunity to stay & serve Bhagawan at His residence. After stints at various Universities, both in Teaching and Leadership roles, Sainath currently works as Dean for the ICFAI group (India) and recently was appointed as the Advisor for Startups and Innovation for Telengana IT Association.

Ravi Mariwalla was blessed to be part of Bal Vikas and Pre Seva Dal and spoke in Baba's presence in 1979 in Mumbai and again at Parthi in the same year. From then on, he had a strong desire to study at Baba's college. Bhagawan gave him this opportunity in 1982 and he studied there for nine years. At Swami's college, he was part of the Speakers group, the Brass Band and participated actively in various Service activities. Through these nine years he had many opportunities to interact with Bhagawan. He also accompanied Swami to Kodaikanal and Chennai. He was also the blessed recipient of three Gold Medals for distinction in MSc, MBA and the All Rounder's Gold Medal- from Bhagawan’ s own Hands! The highlight of his time with Swami came, when after completing the MBA program, Bhagawan asked him to work as one of the first employees of the Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital, at Prasanthi Nilayam. Ravi served at the Hospital for 14 years in the Cardiac Surgery departments, playing multiple roles including serving as a full time Clinical Perfusionist. Ravi considers it a blessing to share with the community, the memories, learnings and insights he has gained. He lives in Cary, North Carolina with his wife Jagruti and two boys, Krishna and Siddharth. His parents and sister who teaches in the Primary School, continue to live at Prasanthi Nilayam.

H.S.D Srinivas did his BE from Osmania University (1985-1989)  and MBA from Sri Sathya Sai University (1989-1991) and has done executive education programs from IIM Calcutta (International Business) and Harvard Business School (in Healthcare Strategy / CSR in India). He started his career with Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Puttaparthi (1991-2005)  He was part of Emergency and management Institute Hyderabad (2005-2011). Subsequently he joined L.V.Prasad Eye Institute Hyderabad (2011-2012) and his most recent stint was with Reliance Foundation Mumbai (2012-2016). With over 28 years of experience across Tertiary care, Emergency Care and Primary Care management and leadership experience in innovative start ups Srinivas is currently working as Project Director Health Systems at Tata Trusts (Mumbai, India) and leads the Trusts Healthcare initiatives in Primary care space. 

Murali Kotikalapoodi comes from a family of god loving and sin fearing culture. After completing Engineering joined SSSIHL, Prashanti Nilayam campus in 1988 for MBA. He has been in the US since 1998 and currently lives with his family in Dallas, TX. Murali currently serves as the Regional Devotion Coordinator for Region 10 SSIO-USA.


Episode 10: Happy Hour: Music for the Soul​​

Musicians: Madhavan Rajagopalan, Gauri Potdar, Neil Potdar, Radhika Sonde, Ashish Sonde, Sachin Potdar and Shivani Solanki

Date and Time: May 29th 2020 (Friday) ​9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Please welcome our lineup of devotees from Texas who will be offering us “Happy Hour: Music from the Soul”.

Performing first will be Madhavan Rajagopalan from Dallas. He is an SSE graduate and has served as a local YA rep. Madhavan recently graduated with his masters in biomedical engineering. He loves all things music and is happy to be here and to spend this evening with you all.

Next, we have Gauri and Neil Potdar, Radhika Sonde and Ashish Sonde, from Houston. Gauri and Neil have served as Region X and local YA reps. Gauri co-founded a water midstream company in Houston, TX and is a Hindustani Classical-trained singer. Neil is an SSE graduate and works as a Software Developer for NTTA in Houston, TX.  Radhika and Ashish are SSE graduates. Radhika is an incoming freshman at University of Houston and is planning to major in computer science. She has been singing Hindustani classical music for 12 years. Ashish is currently a sophomore studying mechanical engineering at University of Houston. He has been playing tabla for 12 years.  

Last, we have Sachin Potdar and Shivani Solanki, both from Dallas. Sachin is an SSE graduate and has served as a local YA rep. He co-founded a band called DYA whose mission is to perform local events in the spirit of community service. Sachin works in Financial Systems for Keurig Dr. Pepper in Plano, TX.  Shivani is an SSE graduate and is a member of the National Sai Organization, Love All Serve All music team. She also manages social media for the Zone 1 Young Adults. She is studying music therapy at Texas Woman’s University Musical Therapy program and plans to graduate this December.

These individuals have performed in various retreats, service events, and Parthi group trips over the years. They hope that you enjoy this “virtual” medley of melodies.


Episode 9: The Essence of Islam:  From the Teachings of Sathya Sai Baba

Panel Members: Marie Ndao, Akhtar Z Sattar, Rasheed Mohamed, Alekhya Rao (Moderator)​

Date and Time: May 22nd 2020 (Friday) ​9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Marie Ndao was born in Senegal,  West Africa into a Muslim family.  She moved to France in 1991 to complete her studies,  escaping the social unrest in her country. She pursued her dream career in modelling and worked for all the big reputable designers and afterwards started a career in Cinema. In 2010 she became actively involved in the Sai activities in France, singing, teaching, and organizing devotional meetings from her home. She learned the Vedas and was leading it during Shivaratri and Akhanda Bhajan. From 2013 to 2016 she served as president and was involved with projects in Paris and Sri Lanka. Today the group still serves food twice a week to approximately 250 to 300 children. She moved to USA in May 2017 and has been active in the Sathya Sai Metropolitan Center of NY where Spanish bhajans and the Spanish Sai family have created her new home away from home.​

Akhtar Z Sattar was born in Larkana, Pakistan where the beautiful  Indus river flows.  He has been a member of the Sathya Sai Baba Center of Tallahassee for many years, serving as President, Vice President and currently as Devotional Coordinator.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and is currently working as Occupational Financial Advisor at Lincoln investment.

Rasheed Mohamed was born in San Fernando, Trinidad, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. He was educated in Trinidad up to the General Certificate Standard of Education, then went on to teach Religious Education and Cathechism.  He then did Law at LSE in London, moved on to Silverlands School of Therapy, in Surrey, England and later worked in Trinidad as a Claims manager of an insurance company.  He is currently the Clinician/Patient Representative/Owner of RM Homecare Services. He has been involved in the Sathya Sai Organization since 1974,  and was the past Vice President of the South Miami Sai Center.

Alekhya Rao came to know of Swami in 2001, when her family began attending the Anderson Sai Center and she started SSE as a middle schooler. She has been blessed to visit Swami at Prashanti Nilayam on a yearly basis until His Mahasamadhi, including participating in pilgrimages in 2007 and 2010.  Visiting Swami’s General Hospital in Puttaparthi inspired Alekhya to become a dentist.  Swami allowed Alekhya’s dream to come true by giving her opportunities to serve at His hospital and on dental mission trips around the world.  She has served as the center YA rep, SSE teacher, and SSE coordinator. As a 2018 SSILP graduate, Alekhya learned about leadership and service in Swami’s organization. She is currently serving Swami as the Region 3 female YA rep.

 


Episode 8: Ever Present Sai - A conversation with SSSIHL Anantapur Alumnae

Panel Members: Sarala Thapa, Rukmani Sivarajan, Anu Venkateswaran

Date and Time: May 15th 2020 (Friday) 9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Sarala Thapa graduated from the SSSIHL, Anantapur Campus, with Bachelors and Masters degree in English Language and Literature, in 2005. She was blessed to be a member and conductor of the Anantapur Brass Band. She feels grateful to have served as the Principal of the Sri Sathya Sai School in Sikkim, India, before coming to the United States. She served as the SSE Teacher and Education Coordinator at the Manhattan Sai center, NY, and is currently a member of the Sathya Sai Center of Cherry Hill, NJ, in Region 2.

Rukmani Sivarajan graduated from SSSIHL, Anantapur campus with a Bachelors degree in Physics, and later pursued an Engineering degree in Instrumentation Technology. Rukmani was part of the Anantapur music group and the brass band. She currently lives with her family in the Boston area and works as an IT solution architect in the P&C insurance industry. She served as a devotional coordinator, Bhajan trainer, SSE teacher, and an SSE coordinator in the Sai organization and an active member of the Northborough Sai Center, in Region 1.

Anu Venkateswaran was born into a family that has been blessed to be in the Sai fold since the early 1960s. She graduated from SSSIHL Anantapur campus, with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, in 1995. For the last 22 years, Anu has been an SSE Group 3 and 4 teacher and active member of Sai Centers in Kansas City and Atlanta. She is currently serving as the President of the Sathya Sai Center of Northeast Atlanta in Region 3. 


Episode 7: Mental Health: A Discussion Among Professionals, for the Sai Community

Panel Members: Suzanne Slyman, Dr. Jack Feely, Dr. Phil Gosselin, Ravi Yegya-Raman (Moderator)

Date and Time: May 8th 2020 (Friday) 9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Suzanne Slyman has been active in the Sai Organization since 1989, having served as an SSE teacher, center president, women's Regional YA Advisor, Regional VP, and Regional President for Region 7. Suzanne holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She has had a private practice as a psychotherapist since 1974 specializing in working with adults, young adults, and groups.

Dr. Jack Feely is currently the Central Coordinator of the Sathya Sai International Organization – USA. Dr. Feely is a psychologist with a clinical practice in St. Louis, and an organizational development consulting practice working with corporations around the USA. He has previously been director of a substance abuse outpatient treatment program for adolescents and young adults.

Dr. Phil Gosselin is currently the Chairperson for Zone 1 of the Sathya Sai International Organisation. Dr. Gosselin resides in Amherst, Massachusetts where he is a clinical psychologist in private practice. He has previously been a Professor of Psychology at Union Institute and has been director of the Behavioral Medicine Department at Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, MA.

Ravi Yegya-Raman lives in Boston, where he currently serves as the Region 1 male YA rep. He has facilitated regional YA retreats, center study circles, SSE classes, and sessions for SSE parents on mental health. His interest in mental health stems from personally knowing many individuals, both inside and outside the SSIO, who silently struggle with their mental health today.


Episode 6: Talk by Balan Ayyar

Date and Time: May 1st 2020 (Friday) ​9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Balan Ayyar is a long time devotee of Swami, growing up in California and Kansas. His family home was in the Pacific Northwest, near Seattle, where his parents settled for 35 years. His mother Bavani was the President of the Renton Sai Center there for many years. He is a retired US Air Force General Officer, in his last assignment was the Commanding General of a Task Force in Afghanistan on Rule of Law. He is currently the CEO of Percipient.ai, a National Security-focused Artificial Intelligence firm in Silicon Valley.


Episode 5 Aradhana Day Edition: A conversation with Dr. Narendranath Reddy

Date and Time: April 24th 2020 (Friday) 9pm EDT | 8pm CDT | 6PM PDT

Dr. Narendranath Reddy is the Chairman of the Sathya Sai International Organization (SSIO); in addition to serving as the Chairman of the Sathya Sai International Medical Committee.

Dr. Reddy graduated in medicine from S.V. Medical College, Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh. He specialized in internal medicine at the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry, USA. Later, he did his sub-specialization in endocrinology and metabolism at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. He has been a consultant and a practicing internist-endocrinologist in Southern California for 40 years. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a fellow of American College of Endocrinologists, he served on the teaching faculty at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Four generations of Dr. Reddy's family have been followers of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, with Dr. Reddy himself having come to Bhagawan Baba at the age of five. Dr. Reddy and his family have been hosting a Sathya Sai Center in their home for more than 30 years.


Episode 4: Intensifying the Inner Journey: An interactive conversation with Young Adults

Panel Members: Gayatri Kuppili, Harsha Khemlani, Ritesh Reddy, Bharat Sanders, Saikrishna Kuga (Moderator)

Date and Time: April 17th 2020 (Friday) 9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Bharat Sanders is a 2nd-year student at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA (Region 3). He was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Atlanta with his parents who have been SSE teachers for over 20 years. He is an avid musician and loves to engage in all kinds of music and performance projects in the service of Sai.

Gayatri Kuppili feels extremely grateful to be in Swami's Loving fold. She went through the SSE program in Michigan and has been actively involved in the SSIO in different capacities - YA rep in Michigan, Philly/NJ, SSE coordinator, and President at Sathya Sai Center of Cherry Hill in Region 2. She has been teaching SSE group 2 for over 10 years and is currently trying her luck with Group 4!

Harsha Khemlani is a cosmetologist currently residing in Austin, TX (Region 10). She feels blessed to have been born into Swami’s fold and had the opportunity to attend SSE from age 6. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she served as the female YA rep for the Sathya Sai Baba Center of Beaverton, followed by Region 6 YA rep. Harsha loves to sing Bhajans, and in her spare time, loves to paint; canvases with paint, and faces with makeup.

Ritesh Reddy is a software engineer working for Google in the San Francisco, Bay Area. He has known Sathya Sai Baba since birth, but actively got involved with the SSIO only in the last 5 years. Ritesh currently serves as the YA rep at the Sathya Sai Center of Fremont in Region 7.

Saikrishna Kugabalasooriar grew up outside of Boston in the Boston Sai Center community. He served as YA Rep in Sathya Sai Center of Boston (Region 1) for four years. He is currently a resident, training in Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center. Krishna enjoys education, creating activity-based, experiential workshops, and finding the intersection of Swami's teachings and pertinent, controversial questions of our day. In his personal time, he enjoys cooking, singing, meditating, Netflixing, and traveling.


Episode 3: Talk by Mr. Sai Surendranath (Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi)

Date and Time: April 10th 2020 (Friday) 9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00 pm PDT

Sai Surendranath’s family has been associated with Sai Baba since 1948. He became a student at the Sathya Sai Junior College in 1977 and attended the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed University in 1979 completing a Bachelor of Commerce and then a Master of Commerce in 1984. He is now a post graduate teacher in the SSSHSS in the Department of Commerce. His teaching has been recognized by the Ministry of Human Resources Department, Government of India. He is an excellent tabla (Indian Drum) player and has been a long time member of the Prasanthi Bhajan Group.


Episode 2: Loving Service - A Panel Discussion

Panel members: Dr. Geetha Kamath, Dr. Hari Conjeevaram, Dr. Joe Phaneuf, Dr. Axay Kalathia (Moderator)

Date and Time: April 3rd 2020 (Friday) ​9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00pm PDT

Dr. Axay Kalathia first heard of Sathya Sai Baba while a skeptical university science student in 1985. With Sai's Grace, he was drawn into His fold, prompting his first visit to Prasanthi Nilayam in 1988. He is a practicing ENT physician. He has been active in the Sai organization, serving as an officer in various roles at the center and regional level. Currently, he serves as the National Service Coordinator.

Dr. Geetha Kamath is a practicing hematologist and oncologist in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has participated in yearly medical camps in Prasanthi Nilayam, since 1975. She has received several community awards, including "The Community Hero Award" by the Tampa Bay Lightning in December 2015, in recognition of her medical service.

Dr. Hari Conjeevaram is the Vice-Chairman of the USA Medical Committee and Zone 1 (USA, Canada, West Indies) Medical Director, Sathya Sai International Organization (SSIO). He is also a member of the International Medical Committee and the International Disaster Relief Committee of the SSIO. Professionally, Dr. Hari Conjeevaram is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Dr. Joe Phaneuf serves as the Chairman, USA Medical Committee, Advisor for the Sathya Sai International Leadership Program for Young Adults, and as Medical Director for the Ashland Free Medical Clinic, which started in 2005 and was the first SSIO free medical clinic in the USA. Dr. Joe Phaneuf has been a practicing dermatologist since 1982. He also served as Chief of Medical Staff Education, San Leandro Hospital, CA, and as a Communication Consultant for Kaiser Permanente.


Episode 1: Talk by Dr, Sunder Iyer

Date and Time: March 27th 2020 (Friday) ​9.00 pm EDT | 8.00 pm CDT | 6.00pm PDT

Sunder Iyer is a student of Bhagavan Baba's academic Institutions from 1979 and stayed there until 1994. During these years while pursuing an academic education, Sunder had the privilege of learning powerful lessons in spirituality, yoga, and meditation. He earned a Ph.D. in Banking and Finance from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.