- Please Read – All Attendees
- Speaker Profiles
- Detailed Agenda
- Payment Details
- Service Project
- Pre SSE
- Food Menu
- Important Links
Loving Sairams to all.
With Swami’s grace, we had a very blissful Regional Retreat in Jacksonville, Florida. It is your enthusiastic participation that makes these events possible and successful. On behalf of the Retreat Planning Committee, let me please extend our sincere appreciation for your service and participation at the retreat.
In order to help enhance the spiritual experience in future regional events, your feedback on the recently concluded retreat is very important. We request you to take a few minutes to complete the survey form by following the instructions on the link (https://forms.gle/y1CkzWLqCzeJ4Ddi7) as soon as possible. Please feel free to add additional comments as needed on the survey form.
The video recordings and the photos of the retreat will be made available on the regional website in a few weeks time. Meanwhile, if you have taken any pictures or video clips at the event that would like to share, please contact us via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Bhagavan’s grace and blessings we are happy to announce the SSIO Region 3 Retreat 2019. The retreat will be held at the Hyatt Regency, Jacksonville, Florida. The retreat will be held during the Memorial Day weekend, May 24th – 27th, 2019.
The theme of the retreat is “Our Life is His Message”.
As always, we’ll have elevating Morning Prayer sessions, exciting YA programs, fun filled activities for SSE children, inspirational talks by guest speakers, uplifting bhajan sessions and useful Workshops by experts. In addition we’ll also have group discussions for center officers, cultural programs, etc.
Over all, it will be a spiritual weekend with activities for the entire family and is a great opportunity for all of us to connect and collectively offer our gratitude to Lord Sai.
|Dates||Friday, May 24th 2019, 8:00 PM – Monday, May 27th 2019, 11:00 AM|
|Venue||Hyatt Regency Riverfront, Jacksonville Downtown|
|Address||225 E Coastline Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32202|
|Facility Phone #||+1-205-929-1000|
Dr. Surendra Upadhyay is a Honorary Professor and Consultant Ophthalmologist, UCL, London. Dr. Upadhyay has organized and led free eye treatment camps in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Russia, Bosnia, Zambia, and Kenya and in South America. He had the honor and privilege of working closely with our beloved Sathya Sai Baba and with Mother Theresa. In his volunteer medical service, Dr. Upadhyay says that he experiences that “service to man is service to God.” He has elaborated on the meaning of sacrifice as described by Sathya Sai Baba, is to love and serve those in need, without any personal reservations or expectations, to the best of one’s capacity. At the 2017 SSIO International Medical Conference, he was one of fourteen healthcare professionals and two volunteers, recognized by Dr. Narendranath Reddy, Chairman, Prasanthi Council, for their outstanding contributions and long-term dedication to Sathya Sai Global Health Mission and the practice of Sathya Sai Ideal Healthcare.
S.Kumar was born in a Sai Family and his parents were devotees since the early 1960s. Kumar attended Balavikas program at Neyveli, Tamilndau, India during his school days. He feels blessed to have gotten the opportunity to learn the Carnatic classical at Neyveli under the tutelage of Sri CHEMBAI ANANDAN and performed his first classical launch (Arangetram) at Neyveli in the year 1981.
Kumar moved to Chennai for his higher studies where he got the opportunity to join the SUNDARAM Temple, Swami’s abode at Chennai, and sing in the divine presence for the first time. Later he was inspired to join Swami’s college for Masters in 1984, went onto complete his PhD in Artificial Intelligence and became a faculty member in Department of Math & Comp.Sc. Kumar’s job brought him to the US in 2000.
During his stay at the lotus feet, Kumar was blessed with the opportunity to lead Bhajans every day and sing songs in front of swami for almost a period of 10 years. Also Kumar has participated in many dramas/plays during his stay with the Institute, one of which titled was “Radha Krishna” – written and directed by Swami himself and staged during Swami’s 60th Birthday celebrations in 1985. Kumar played the female role of Mother Radha in this play. Swami had spent almost 3 months on this drama reviewing the rehearsals during which Bhagwan taught him what it meant to be really Radha and coached him on the songs written and composed by Swami Himself along with giving acting tips.
In 1993, Kumar received the divine opportunity to compose the Telugu portion of the soulful song composed by the students and staff of the Sai University – ‘Humko Tumse Pyar Kithna’.
In the US, Kumar has been actively involved in many SAI retreats giving talks, Bhajan workshops and music programs. He currently is a member of Bethesda Sai Center located at Washington, DC metro area. He currently works for Parsons Corporation on an IT contract with the Federal Government at Washington, DC.
On site hotel rooms are recommended for most participants. Each room comes furnished with 2 queen beds, table, chairs, bath supplies, and comes with daily service.
If you have special requests regarding the room, please indicate that in the registration form, or send an email to email@example.com indicating your registration number, name, Sai Center / Group, and contact phone number.
- Jacksonville city will be hosting multiple other events on the memorial day weekend. It is recommended to register as soon as possible in order for the registration team to make the room reservations.
- If you prefer to make your own accommodation arrangements, please indicate that in the registration form. Please make sure to make your own arrangements to commute to and from the venue, to be on time for all the programs.
The cost per night for the rooms are as follows (inclusive of taxes):
- There’s no cost for Pre SSE (ages 0 – 5) and SSE children (ages 6 – 17) to attend the retreat.
- Food charges for the entire retreat are: $92 for adults and young adults (ages 18 – 40).
- All prices are inclusive of taxes.
- Friday night dinner and Monday breakfast and lunch are prepared by local center devotees at no additional cost.
- Please click the Accommodation tab for details.
- Please note parking is available on site for a small charge ($15 / night). If you plan to drive and will be parking your vehicle in the hotel parking lots, please make this payment directly to the hotel at the time of checking in.
Please use the cost calculator at the bottom of this page to determine the accommodation cost and food cost for your group and make the payment per details provided here.
How to make the payment?
- Login to your online banking account and navigate to the “Pay with Zelle” page.
- Enter the amount listed on your registration confirmation, and make payable to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Include your registration number, and center on the check memo line.
1. Address check to “Hands Serving All, Inc”.
2. Specify on the Memo: “2019 Retreat – <Your Registration Number>”. Registration Number will be emailed once you complete the registration. Please note that checks received without the Registration Number will increase reconciliation time for the planning team, and hence you are requested to ensure the registration number is specified on the check.
3. Hand over check to your Center President, or Group Lead. Please do so within 7 days of completing your registration.
4. If you do not have a center / group nearby, please mail the check to:
Hands Serving All, Inc
2242 NW 78th Ave
Margate, FL 33063
5. Once you hand over the check, please reply to the registration confirmation email you received, or, drop an email to email@example.com with the check details so we can look out for it.
6. Center Presidents, Group Leaders: Please collect the checks from your center members and mail them to the above address every two weeks.
|Food cost – Enter # of Adults and YAs ($92)||
|Food cost – Enter # of YA Full Time Students (18 Years and older) ($92)||
|Food cost – Enter # of other YAs (18 Years and older) ($92)||
Room rent – Choose Room Type
Room rent – Enter # of Nights you need accommodation
|Sl #||Title||Led by|
|1||Hide and Seek with God||Faranak Khandadia|
|2||Yoga – For Body and Mind||Dr. Shri Gupta|
|3||How to Accomplish Sai Spiritual Transformation||Dr. Jose Gomez|
|4||English Nectar for Devotional Bees||Arthy Gobinathan|
|5||Guilt Free Snacking||Michele Hammerton|
|6||Selfless Service||Dr. Ravindra Goyal|
|7||Practicing Meditation||Darshana Patel|
|8||Linked Within||Girish Jandhyala, Sanjeev Muralidharan, Satyam Metha|
Through a series of fun and lively activities, the workshop, Hide and Seek with God, will help us contemplate on our relationship with God. It will delve on connecting with God and reveal our role in ushering the Golden Age. It is a small group interacting setting for maximum effectiveness.
Faranak Khandadia grew up in a Sai family knowing Swami as God. Trained as a Clinical Psychologist, Faranak has been a professor and Head of Psychology Department for almost two decades in Bombay, before moving to USA. With Swami’s Grace, she has served at His Feet as an ‘active worker’ for many years. For forty years Faranak has been a Bal Vikas guru as well as a BV gurus’ trainer in Bombay and USA. Currently she is the SSIO Online SSE Coordinator. Faranak was blessed by Swami to be a trainer in the First EHV team in Mumbai, when the program was initiated by Swami. She was the Mahila Coordinator and lead psychologist for the Vocational Guidance service wing in Mumbai. She worked in serving the visually handicapped children in Mumbai as their reader, mentor and educator. She has led counseling programs for the under privileged children and adult education in Mumbai slums through the Sathya Sai Organization.
Recently, with Swami’s blessings, Faranak completed the First All India psychological research to test the efficacy of Bal Vikas education in character development. It was offered at Swami’s Feet in Puttaparthi during the 2017 BV graduation ceremony.
Swami reminds us all the time that we are all Gods and have all His powers inherent in us. We just have to open our minds to absorb His energy and redirect it to heal ourselves by surrendering to Him. Once His energy flows in us, it strengthens us spiritually and becomes the foundation of healing both the mind and the body. In this interactive workshop, we will have a brief look at Yoga that complements Swami’s teachings on the subject.
Shri came to Swami’s fold back in 1993 when his employer moved him and his family to Scotland. In an amazing coincidence (Surely it was Swami’s will) that the first Indian family he met in Scotland was the family of president of Sai Organization in Scotland. Soon after, this further led to a meeting with Brother Victor Kanu of Zambia. The whole experience was so overwhelming for him that he decided to visit Prashanti the very next year in 1994. Since then, he and his family have participated in many Sai activities including setting up of a Sai Center in Swindon, England where he held the position of president in the Center for one term. He has been living in Florida since 2000 and is a regular participant in seva and meditation activities. Meditation and Yoga have been his passion for last 30 years. Professionally, he is a six sigma consultant.
“If there is no spiritual transformation in your way of life over the years, you would be guilty of having wasted all your energies, time and opportunities.”- Sathya Sai Baba.
This workshop will cover what kind of spiritual transformation Swami is expecting from us. What do we need to do to successfully achieve this spiritual transformation? The three-fold transformation: (SAI) Spiritual changes, Association changes, Individual changes.
Jose Gomez, M.D. has been a former professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Medical School at the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, his native country. He is a Founding Fellow of the Institute for Coaching at Harvard University, Medical School. Dr. Gomez is a dynamic motivational speaker and he has written or co-authored four best-selling books. He has been featured in Newsweek magazine, Forbes, and TV stations affiliated with CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX, and also in in over 350 American newspapers including The Boston Globe and The Miami Herald.
Dr. Jose Gomez is a physician and practicing psychiatrist in Jacksonville, Florida and has served the Sathya Sai Baba Organization as a Regional Vice-President, Regional Service Coordinator for the Southeast Region, USA; Region 3; as well as Center President at the Sathya Sai Baba Center in Jacksonville. He has also served as a consultant psychiatrist at the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital in Puttaparthi, India.
Group songs have a lot more power when sung in unison. During the 2007 pilgrimage, many of us witnessed how the group singing pleased the Lord because it signifies love and unity. This workshop on English unison songs will be particularly powerful in a multicultural setting such as ours. When it’s easier to understand the meaning of devotional songs we offer at the Sai Centers, it will also project well when we sing. Fortunately, there are a variety of English songs available to choose from, including those composed by devotes from the US and UK, translations of Native Indian Chants, and translations of well-known Sai Bhajans in Indian languages. You will walk away with one or two English Songs to incorporate into your devotional meetings from attending this workshop.
Suganya Gobinathan, better known as Arthy, has been aware of Swami and has accepted him as her Lord from childhood, as far as memory could carry her. She grew up through the SSE system in Nigeria, West Africa, where her entire childhood into adulthood was spent. She is a Clinical Nurse Educator for Obstetrics. She has been actively involved in the Sai Organization activities, most notably in the group songs preparation and practices for the 2007 Pilgrimage to Prashanthi. She has been a resident of Coral Springs, FL for the past 28 years. A mother of 3 boys, she is currently the devotional coordinator of West Palm Beach Sai Center.
This workshop will demonstrate ways to making plant based choices for foods we regularly consume. Participants will learn ways to incorporate healthy alternatives into the diet while having fun experimenting and helping the planet. By incorporating Swami’s quotes on diet, we will learn how to make delicious and nutritious beverages, snacks, and desserts quickly and easily. Workshop attendees will have an opportunity to learn new recipes to try at home and enjoy tasty treats with their families. By slowly incorporating small changes at a time, your entire family will benefit from a healthier lifestyle. Workshop attendees will get to try their hands at making delicious foods and sample them as well.
Michele has been a Florida resident for 61 years. She has recently relocated from Orlando to Clearwater to be closer to her family. Michele is a raw food enthusiast and became a certified Raw Food Instructor through the Living Light Culinary Institute in Fort Bragg CA in 2009. She is passionate about her work, and loves to share her knowledge about healthy food preparations. She is currently an online student of herbology. This year, Michele was amongst the first group of students to become a certified Breatharian Healer.
This workshop will cover different facets of Selfless Service such as, “What is Selfless Service? What are the forms of Selfless Service? How do we perform Selfless Service and whom do we Serve?” Most importantly all the material presented are direct quotes of Bhagwan Shri Sathya Sai Baba from His Vahinis which form the Compendium.
Ravi Goyal MD was chairman and Medical Director Neurosciences at BRMC, Michigan and faculty at Michigan State University and Henry Ford Hospital Detroit. Prior to retirement in 2011 and even after, Dr. Goyal has been actively involved in teaching both resident doctors and nurses in USA. As an honorary visiting Consultant at SSSIHMS, he has visited the Institute regularly. During these visits he has prepared residents for their exam and workshops for neuro nurses certification. In addition he has conducted many Surgical Workshops using implants donated by USA companies. Besides, he has recently certified 108 neuro nurses from critical care on Skype. These certificates were blessed by Swami by showering Vibhuti on them.
Dr. Goyal now lives in Ponte Vedra, Florida. His wife is Psychiatrist and also serves as a Honorary consultant @ SSSIHMS and teaches Communication Skills to the nurses. They have two sons who are both physicians practicing in Florida.
The journey within is not about attaining a goal that we don’t know, it’s rather about going back to what we know better than anything else. Meditation has an elusive and intimidating persona at the same time for many people. Swami has already given us everything we need to know on meditation. Let’s collectively understand what Swami simply and lovingly has prescribed for us. In this interactive workshop, we will explore meditation from a practical perspective and also go through a few guided meditation exercises. We will cover the basics & the different types of meditation techniques and most importantly, we will concentrate on the importance of establishing a practice.
Darshana Patel has been a member of the Atlanta Sai Center for over 20 years. Her love for Swami is expressed through participation in the altar decoration as well as leading the meditation session at the center on a weekly basis. With Swami’s grace she has been offering Swami a uniquely themed birthday cake every year with a team of dedicated devotees. In her professional life, Darshana is a Product Management leader for a technology company focused on digital marketing. In all areas of life, Darshana enjoys bringing people together, helping people realize their value and collectively achieving the best for everyone’s benefit.
This workshop by the young adults for the young adults, will be focusing on Personal / Career Development. The workshop will be covering different aspects of career development stages that YAs go through: those who are in college, those just starting their first job, those who are in manager / leadership positions.
Blessed to be born into a Sai family, Girish Jandhyala had the opportunity to study in Swami’s school under His guidance; he is influenced by Sai’s teachings on values and value based education from a very young age. Girish has his bachelors in International Business, masters in Economics, and an MBA from Sri Sathya Sai University, Prashanthi Nilayam. He is currently working for Volvo Group North America as a Global Business Manager, Sales & Marketing, prior to this role, he worked for TVS Motor Company in India. Him and his wife, Divya, were blessed with twins, Rio Sai & Akshaya Sai, in 2012. The Jandhyala family currently live in Greensboro, NC.
Sanjeev Muralidharan graduated in 2014 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a dual degree in Industrial Engineering and Business. Following graduation, he joined Delta Air Lines and has held roles of increasing responsibility including his current role as Specialist of Network Planning – Latin America. Between 2016-2018 Sanjeev completed a part time masters degree in Transportation Engineering at Georgia Tech. He also served as the YA representative for Atlanta Sai Center. Sanjeev is active in the Indian classical music community including as President of Aarohi @ Georgia Tech and Youth Chair for SRGMPDN DC Metro. Sanjeev currently lives in Atlanta, GA.
Satyam Metha graduated in 2015 from the University at Buffalo, with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and Applied Sciences. After graduation, he did research in Bioinformatics. Currently Satyam works at Lockheed Martin as a Software Engineer in the Aerospace Industry in Fort Worth, Texas. He has been the YA representative in the Buffalo Sai Center while also teaching SSE online and in Sai centers to group 3 and 4 students. He has been designing and maintaining web pages, producing movies, and editing bhajans for Sai centers.
We are collecting old electronics (cell phones, batteries, laptops, cables, tablets) as a regional service project. Volunteers will collect the e-waste and send them to the appropriate recycling facilities. If you are interested in donating these items, please bring them to the retreat registration desk.
Back to School supplies service project is being organized for 3 schools in and around Jacksonville. If you interested in participating, please read the below instructions.
There are two ways to participate:
- You can contribute to the purchase of the supplies as part of the registration process. The supplies will be procured by the regional service team and provided to the Jacksonville service team. Please indicate the dollar amount you’d like to contribute towards this initiative. The amount will be added to your retreat registration fee, so no separate payment needs to be made.
- Alternatively, you can bring the listed supplies (brand new, unused) to the retreat venue. There are no minimum or maximum quantities, you can contribute any of the listed items. The items will be provided to the schools by the Jacksonville Sai Center members after the retreat.
List of Supplies:
- Backpacks (NO Rolling backpacks)
- 24 count Crayola crayons
- Crayola markers
- Colored pencils
- Box of tissues
- Bottle of hand sanitizer with pump
- Wide ruled notebook paper
- Pack of Glue sticks
- Expo dry erase markers (Expo only)
- Pack of Ticonderoga pencils
- Pink Eraser or Pack of cap erasers
- Packs of copy paper
- Spiral notebooks
- Folders (red, yellow, blue or green)
- Packs of index cards (4 x 6)
- Zippered Pencil Pouch
- Composition Books
- New or Lightly used Fiction and Non Fiction Books
1. Contact Information:
Questions about Retreat Registration, Venue, Payment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about Devotional Singing: email@example.com
Questions about SSE Program: firstname.lastname@example.org
A wonderful bouquet of activities are being organized for the SSE children attending the retreat. Here are a few highlights:
Morning Prayers: Children will begin the day with Suprabhatham chanting and Nagar Sankirtan in the morning breeze as the sun rises.
Yoga For Healthy Living: Children will then enjoy a nice yoga session outdoors. Kids – Please pack your yoga pants.
God Is One, Live in Love: A play written by the children, and offered with love to Swami, by the children.
Walk With Values: Children will participate in a Walk With Values event on Sunday. They would be practicing a sadhana for a month leading up to the walk, thereby learning unity in thought, word, and deed. Kids – Check with your teachers on the Sadhana Planner!
Share & Inspire: Children from the various centers will be sharing what they learned this year in the SSE classes. This will be a hands-on exhibit you don’t want to miss. Come, listen to the children, and get inspired. Kids & Teachers – Remember to pack your creativity along with your bags for the retreat.
Plus, Tons of Games and Fun: Lots of outdoor and indoor games are being planned by the teachers. The kids are sure to enjoy and learn in the process.
Care has been taken to provide a simple, balanced menu from diverse cuisines, with nut-free options available in each session. If you have any particular needs, please specify that on your registration form, or send an email to email@example.com.
|Lunch (For Volunteers)||Dinner|
|Coffee / Tea / Chivda (Bombay Mix)||Coffee / Tea|
|Pasta, Salad, Rolls||Chappathi, Rajma, Veg Fried rice, Curd rice, Wafers, Small Apple|
|Breakfast||AM Break (SSE Only)||Lunch – Indian & Spanish Cuisines||PM Break||Dinner – Indian Cuisine|
|Coffee / Tea||Coffee / Tea||Coffee / Tea||Coffee / Tea|
|Pongal, Vada or Kunukku||Cereal Bar||Salad – Shredded Lettuce, Cheese||Mixed Nuts||Salad – Shredded Lettuce, Cheese|
|Cereal, Milk||Crackers||Chole (Garbanzo Beans), Veg Chile, Salsa||Cereal Bar||Sag Paneer / Aloo Sag (Spinach with Cottage Cheese or Potatoes), Bhindi Masala (Okra)|
Jelly, Butter, Cottage Cheese
|Fruit Juice||Batura (Fried Dough), Tortilla||Fruit Juice||Naan Bread, Samba Rice, Curd Rice|
|Assorted Cut Fruits||Veg Briyani / Spanish Rice||Hummus, Croutons, Papad, Pickles,
Cucumber Raita, Hot Sauce, Tahini Sauce
|Fruits (Cantaloupe, Honey Due, Watermelon, Grapes, Banana)||Kesari|
|Breakfast||AM Break (SSE Only)||Lunch – Indian & Italian Cuisine||PM Break||Dinner – Indian & Chinese Cuisine|
|Coffee / Masala Tea||Coffee / Tea||Coffee / Tea||Coffee / Tea||Coffee / Tea|
|Poha, Dokla with Tomato & Coriander Chutneys||Cereal Bar||Salad Mix, Crouton||Cereal Bars||Salad, Cauliflower / Corn Manchurian|
|Crackers||Dal Makhani, Veg Navrathna Kurma or Undhiyo, Baked Ziti Pasta||Mixed Nuts||Pav Bhaji|
Jelly, Butter, Cottage Cheese
|Fruit Juice||Chapati, Veg Briyani,||Fruit Juice||Veg Hakka Noodle,
Chinese Fried Rice
|Assorted Cut Fruits||French Bread, Butter||Curd Rice|
|Coffee, Masala Tea|
|Idli, Sambar, Cereal, Milk, Toast, Banana||Mixed Veg, Tamarind Rice, Curd Rice, Chapati, Wafers|