Posted by Bharadhwaaj Ramaswamy on
SWAMI’s Love and Blessings flows on each
and every one of us every moment. Who ever it is wherever we are, HIS
Love and Blessings never come to an end. One of such fortunate incident
happened on the Christmas Day to our family at the Christmas Bhajan at
our Sai centre.
The first half of the programme was
bhajans and the second half was the Birth of Christ enacted by Balavikas
students. One among the programme was Santa Claus walking into the
scene and distributing gifts to the devotees sitting there. Santa Claus
had a cane bag from which he was throwing coloured papers. One of the
papers that fell on the lap of my mother turned into chocolate.
We spoke to the Head of the Centre about
the same and it has been confirmed by him that there were no chocolates
kept inside the bag. It was absolutely the Prasadam from SWAMI and as
usual one of the miracles played by HIM.
We felt blessed.
At HIS LOTUS FEET
December 25, 2003
Christmas Day in Prashanti.
Swami came out at about 7:05 a.m. He came in the red car, wearing the
orange robe, not the white robe, which He has worn during Christmas’ past.
He was welcomed with the sound of Christmas songs over the loudspeakers
and vedic chanting. It was quite an unusual mix to hear. Both sounds
persisted, but the carols won out when the volume was turned up and nearly
drowned out the unaided chanters. Swami took His time to come to the
veranda, stopping a while in the ladies section. On the veranda He got out
of the car in the usual spot on the left side. From there He walked
forward and slowly made His way across the front holding onto the
guardrail. He stopped on the right side in front of a group of young
students wearing red sweaters and red caps. The students stood up; one of
them walked towards to the left and remained there alone.
They were to perform for Swami on stringed instruments. The lone boy on
the left, I believe, is one of two boys from America (Colorado) who are
studying in Swami’s school. He is in the fifth standard, while his older
brother is in the eight standard. In the past several weeks Swami has
given both boys a lot of attention. The older brother has joined the group
of chanters and just a couple of days ago was selected by Swami to stand
on the veranda steps and chant with another boy as they faced the
audience. The younger boy of this morning performed for Swami on a cello,
while the other boys played on violins and violas. They performed mainly
Christmas carols, and the boy was allowed to play some solo parts. His
mother, I understand, is a violin teacher.
After the boys’ performance an older student came up to where Swami was
standing and showed Him their musical program. Swami blessed him on the
top of his head. He returned to the main floor and the band of older
students stood. Clarinets, trumpets, trombones, tuba, snare and bass
drums. It seemed to me also that the father of the boys mentioned above
was playing the upright bass guitar. They performed several selections for
Baba as well.
A third group of performers followed, accompanied by an electric keyboard
and percussion instruments. This group performed songs of original
composition with Christmas themes about Jesus and Baba. The songs were
very upbeat and lively. My Dutch companion noted that this was the most
merry Christmas he’s experienced in his 80 years of life.
At about 8:06 the singing concluded and Swami signaled for the
distribution of prasad. As with yesterday, the distribution was very
organized through the section of foreigners. Some of the prasad made its
way to the Indians behind; it was only then that chaos began to emerge,
but it soon died down as the prasad ran out. In about 15 minutes arati was
sung and Swami departed. Afterwards Prof. Anil Kumar announced that Swami
consented to give a Christmas discourse this afternoon.
For afternoon darshan there were six speakers who preceded Swami’s
discourse: one American lady, the Australian man Hillcoat, a student of
Swami’s (for whom Swami afterwards materialized a golden necklace, which
He personally placed on the boy’s neck and into his shirt), Narendra
Reddy, Dr. Micheal Goldstein, and Dr. Venkataraman. Swami’s Christmas
message, which you will shortly be able to read in full, was clear: I AM
I. This is what we should all realize about ourselves. We should not look
outside in search of our true nature. The truth of our nature lies within.
Sai Ram Everyone and Have a Happy New Year.
Lovingly shared by a Sai Devotee
Posted on 26/12/2003
December 24, 2003
Merry Christmas greetings from Prashanti!
We just returned from afternoon darshan Christmas eve. This is the time
for the foreign devotees. The program was put on by the foreigners.
Darshan began at 3:17 p.m. Swami came in the red car as usual. But instead
of vedic chanting He was welcomed by orchestral Christmas music played
over the loudspeakers. Swami came onto the veranda directly and got out on
the left side. Before getting out of the car He called the tall Australian
gentleman with the white hair and white beard. The man went to the car and
spoke with Swami briefly before returning to his seat. Swami then came out
and walked to the front of the veranda. The hall is decorated with the
usual festival decorations of red lanterns, various colored Indian-style
garlands hanging from above, and different colored triangular “flags”
strung across the driveway section.. In addition there were Christmans
theme decorations: long red cloths hung from the columns, silver “stars”
hung from the ceiling, two Christmas trees (one on each side of Ganesh), and more.
This morning Swami had given two-handed blessings, one for the gents and
one for the ladies. We did not get the same blessings this afternoon, but
the program was still very special. There were participants from 24
different countries. Foreign sevadals “managed” the foreign devotees in
their reserved seating area along the driveway and closer to the front. We
were able to go inside immediately without having to line-up outside with
the chit lines; there was a separate line for foreigners. The sevadals
were very organized and nice.
As soon as Swami came to the front of the veranda He walked to the center.
A small boy and a smaller girl came up to Him and gave a rose and the
program. He returned the rose and the red ribbon to them and He opened the
program and read it. He then touched the little girl on her cheek. They
returned to their seats in front. The Australian gentleman then came to
Baba with a candle, which He lit. The man then guided Swami to light two
candles on stands on either side of Ganesh. We clapped at this official
beginning of the program. Swami then tried to extinguish the candle in His
hand by shaking it, but He did not succeed. The man by His side blew it
out for Him.
Swami then took His seat at front and center. The western choir began by
chanting in unison the usual vedic chants that welcome Swami into the
hall. That was a very nice touch, unexpected for westerners. What followed
was a short re-enactment of what took place on Christmas eve over two
thousand years ago. A boy and girl playing the roles of Mary and Joseph
went from inn to inn asking for lodging. They were turned down by the
three inns they approached and were finally told to go to the stable where
the child Jesus was born. The children did singing along with live music
accompaniment at each inn. Finally they walked upstage towards Baba
carrying the infant in their arms and placed him in a “manger” set up in
front of the veranda where Swami normally sits. Baba blessed them before
they returned to sit.
The children’s choir, directed by a Dutch lady, then began. They sang to
the accompaniment of various instruments: flute, trumpet, snare drum,
guitar, electric keyboards, tabla. Their songs were lively and upbeat, and
some were even done with harmonizing. They sang for 45 minutes.
The adult choir, conducted by an American lady, followed the children’s
choir. They performed familiar and new compositions. There were three
sections: men, soprano ladies, and alto ladies, each section singing in
unison. They sang a few songs in round. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed it,
clapping after each song. The one who enjoyed the singing the most was
Baba Himself. Many times He sat there with His head tilted back and
looking “heavenward” with eyes closed. His left hand would be upturned and
“raise the energy”, or just be still in mid-air.
At about 5 p.m. He called the conductor and spoke with her; He wanted her
to continue with the music as He directed the students to distribute
prasad. The foreigners were directed by the foreign sevadals to remain
seated during distribution: they listened and followed. The students were
able to go through the devotees unharassed and everyone, or mostly
everyone (most of the ladies missed out) was able to get prasad (one candy
and one Indian baked sweetie). Then at 5:12 p.m. Baba lit the arati lamp
and arati was begun. Swami then walked towards the interview room and went
inside. The foreigners were asked to remain seated; they complied while
the bulk of the locals got up and left. When Swami came out again to
depart in the red car, the foreigners remained seated until Swami was
almost at the gate.
What a very different and pleasant experience from the other festival days
here. Merry Christmas to all.
Lovingly shared by a Sai Devotee
Posted on 25/12/2003