9619 82 Avenue NW, Edmonton
Very rarely have men of special holiness & wisdom inspired millions in our time. Sri Sathya Sai Baba (1926-2011) was one of them. His teachings centered around universal love, selfless service and a constant devotion to the truth. Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s exemplary life inspired many, beginning in India with his birth in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh. Nominally a Hindu guru, he embraced all faiths: ”All religions are facets of the same truth.” His teachings centered around 5 Human Values: Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Right Conduct), Shanti (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence).
Starting in 1982, his followers created the Sathya Sai Baba Centre of Edmonton and met in churches & schools before consecrating an old movie theatre on 82nd avenue near the Mill Creek ravine in 1995.
Education is a key component of Sai Baba’s teachings and reflected in the centre’s activities. Classes are taught in both the Sathya Sai Spiritual Education & Education in Human Values curricula for youth on Sunday mornings. The Edmonton centre is one of many spiritual and service centres under the umbrella of the International Sathya Sai Organization whose impact has been global and far-reaching. For example, the Superintendent from the Edmonton Public School system attended the International Sathya Sai Education in Human Values conference held in Puttaparthi in 2000 to promote character education in school curricula. For this purpose, a Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education was established in 2010 with involvement from the Edmonton centre.
Each week, devotees come to sing devotional songs or Bhajans. This includes 24 hours of continuous singing to mark Sai Baba’s birthday on November 23rd and during the Akhanda Bhajan, a global Bhajan for Peace
Since 2004, the Centre has held the Walk for Values through Old Strathcona, where each participant is asked to adopt a particular value they wish to observe, practise and perfect. The Centre also regularly contributes food and clothing to Edmonton charities including the Food Bank, Operation Friendship, Mustard Seed and Youth Empowerment & Support Services.
- Research courtesy of Sam Singh (@SinghingSam)