Christmas Eve 24/12/03
Devotees from various parts of the world thronged Prasanthi Nilayam to
celebrate Christmas. Befitting the occasion, Sai Kulwant Hall wore a
festive look with colourful decorations. Idols of Father Joseph and
Mother Mary with child Jesus in the crib and the three wise men
adorned the stage. Bhagawan came to the Hall at 3.20 p.m. Soon the
ambience was surcharged with melodious carols by children and elders
from overseas. Interestingly, the programme commenced with a Vedic
invocation to Lord Ganesha. The day's proceedings came to a close with
distribution of Prasadam and Bhagawan left for His abode at 5.25 p.m.
On the Christmas day, the entire Hall was filled with devotees as
early as five in the morning. Devotees from the overseas sang carols.
At 7.00 a.m., Bhagawan came to the Hall and showered His benediction
on the devotees. A group of Primary School students played beautiful
tunes on their violins. Their tunes captivated the audience and kept
them spellbound. Then it was the turn of the brass band from the Sri
Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. They played a few carols and
enlivened the atmosphere with their sonorous tunes. Suddenly, all eyes
were drawn to a boy dressed as Santa Claus. He danced his way through
the hall distributing toffees to the devotees and students. As the
devotees were settling from this excitement, the students started
carols wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Two
students gave a brief introduction to each carol. The carols were also
supported with suitable musical accompaniments. In the end, Bhagawan
lovingly cut the cakes prepared by the students and overseas devotees.
Prasadam was distributed to all the devotees and Arati was offered to
In the evening, Bhagawan came to the Hall at 3.30 p.m. Six speakers
made inspiring presentations bringing alive the spirit of Christmas.
The first speaker spoke on the motherly aspect of Swami. She went on
to speak about how Swami solved her family problems and brought about
peace and happiness to everyone in her family. She ended her speech by
drawing parallels between Swami's life and that of Joseph, Mary and
The second speaker spoke on the boundless joy he was experiencing all
along this Christmas festival as he was celebrating it in the Divine
presence. He reiterated Swami's message that we are all one. He
further said that we should have firm faith that God exists and that
we should love everybody we come in contact with.
The third speaker was a student from the MBA class of the institute.
He narrated an interesting incident that happened in Kodaikanal. Swami
posed a question to those seated round Him, "Who am I?" Those present
gave various answers, but Swami was not satisfied. Swami then declared
in simple, yet profound words, "I am I." The student concluded his
speech with an important statement that one should let go off all
one's temptations and cling on to God.
The fourth speaker spoke about the implicit obedience and complete
faith that one has to develop towards Bhagawan. He said that to enter
the Kingdom of God, one has to follow Swami's command in letter and
The penultimate speaker recalled an experience he had had in a plane
journey wherein Swami saved him from the jaws of death. He said that
this adequately demonstrates the omniscience, omnipotence and
omnipresence of Swami. He concluded by saying that there is no limit
to what Swami has done, can do and will do.
The last speaker said that Jesus Christ stood for two things, namely,
Love and Sacrifice. He then explained that love and sacrifice always
go together, and that one cannot exist without the other. He then
quoted the title of a book by Horward Murphet, a well known devotee
and author of many books on Swami - "Where The Road Ends", and said
that our physical journey towards God may end at Prasanthi Nilayam,
but thereafter begins our spiritual journey inwards.
At 4.50, Swami showered His grace by delivering His Christmas Message.
Bhagawan concluded His speech with the song, "Bhajagovindam …"
In the end, Arati was offered and Bhagawan left for His abode.
New Year Day Celebrations:
1st of January saw the former men students of the Sri Sathya Sai
educational institutions, gather at the Lotus Feet of their Lord for
an emotional celebration. They presented a music programme in the Sai
Kulwant Hall in the afternoon, and later led the Bhajans too. The
blissful moments spent in the immediate presence of Bhagawan would
have brought to their minds memories of the happy days spent as
students, basking in the Love of Bhagawan.
The students had earlier conducted a medical and veterinary camp at
Maarala village about 30 kms. from Prasanthi Nilayam. Around 2500
patients were screened at the camp and some were identified for
follow-up treatment at the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital. Narayan
Seva (Community feeding) was also organised at the village and the
camp concluded with Pallaki Seva (Bhajans with a palanquin
bearing Swami's photo being taken in a procession). On the morning of
31st December, the students prayed to Bhagawan to distribute clothes
to around 300 underprivileged children from villages in the
Puttaparthi mandal. Bhagawan graciously agreed, and the children were
fortunate to receive the clothes from His Hands.
A music programme and a rendition by the brass band of the Sri Sathya
Sai Institute of Higher Learning were among the other highlights of
the New Year Celebrations.
Bhagawan in His Divine Discourse stressed on the importance of making
every moment of our life sacred by using the body in the service of
one's fellowmen. He declared, "The best way to Love God, is to Love
All and Serve All".
The evening programme concluded with arati being offered to