Christmas at Prasanthi Nilayam - December 2003
birth of Christ brings with it great joy and happiness to the
whole world. And all celebrate it with all earnestness.
But when it comes to Christmas at Prasanthi Nilayam, Christmas
gains an all new flavour. Christmas with Sai is among the best
celebrated festivals at Prasanthi Nilayam. Coming a month after
the Birthday Celebrations, Christmas is eagerly looked forward to.
Heart to Heart brings to you a description of this great festival
as it is generally celebrated in Prasanthi Nilayam.
The evening of 24th of December is the starting point of the
Christmas celebrations. That evening, the overseas devotees
conduct a carol programme in the presence of Bhagawan in the Sai
Kulwant Hall. The songs in praise of the Lord and His Divine Son
bring the warmth of Christmas to each and every heart.
hen comes the much anticipated morning of the 25th of December.
Much before the cock crows, the devotees
assemble in the Sai Kulwant Hall. Following the regular
Suprabhatham the overseas devotees join the special
Nagar-Sankeertan singing Carols while holding candles in their
hands. As they walk into the Hall humming 'Joy to the World' or
'Silent Night', it charges the entire atmosphere with a solemnity,
which is one of the reasons that make Christmas at Prasanthi
Nilayam so special. As all the students slowly light up their
candles, the Hall is filled with the soft glow and warmth of the
candle lights. It is quite an experience to be present there in
the soft glow of the hundreds of candles flickering merrily to the
soft humming of
carols in the background.
Soon the ornate silver doors open on the first floor of the
Prasanthi Mandir and the audience revel in silent joy. There is
hushed excitement as people try to catch the first glimpse of the
Lord dressed in a Divine white robe. Bhagawan walks slowly and
stands right at the edge of the balcony blessing every body
present with a beautiful smile and often raising His hands in
blessing. He then walks around the balcony and stands at different
places facing all the devotees in turn and sways gently to the
tunes of the carols being hummed. Then the Aarthi is lit and all
join in singing the Aarthi in unison. Bhagawan retires after this
to His residence.
Later in the morning Bhagawan comes for the regular darshan at
around 7:00 AM. After He finishes His darshan round, He sits on
His chair kept on the stage. After taking His blessings the
students of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School present a violin
concert with several small children playing beautiful tunes on
their stringed instruments.
This is followed by the Institute Brass Band presenting an
instrumental orchestra. The lilting tunes played by the band lifts
the spirits of those present there. The foot-tapping presentation
by the Brass band is followed by the carol programme by the
students of the Institute and the Higher Secondary School. The
students sing several traditional carols as well as newly composed
songs in the praise of their Lord. The carols end with the famous
song "Dashing Through The Snow" during which a student dressed as
the Santa Claus takes Bhagawan's blessings, goes around throwing
chocolates to all.
morning festivities come to an end with prasadam distribution and
The 25th of December also happens to the anniversary of the
Kingdom of Mother Sai, an alumni association of the students of
the Anantapur Campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher
Learning. The afternoon programme starts with the presentation of
the service activities carried out by the organisation and talks
by members of the organisation. This is followed by talks by some
elderly devotees. The icing on the cake is Bhagawan's discourse,
which follows the talks.
Over the years Bhagawan has given a lot of insight into the
teachings of Christ. He has also spoken about the life of Christ
and what Christ stood for. One memorable Christmas evening, during
the course of His discourse, Bhagawan materialised a small Bible,
which He said was compiled in Britain around 1530 A.D., containing
all the information about Jesus gathered during the preceding
centuries. The Russians condensed all this material in a small
book which they preserved in a place on the Black Sea coast. Swami
produced the little book by a circular wave of His hand and held
it before the audience, He said: "This is the book. You can see
the cross on the cover page. The book was designed to demonstrate
the common features of all religions. What is contained in this
book is not to be found even in the Bible. It contains an entirely
new account of the life of Jesus." After the discourse Bhagawan accepts
the Aarthi and retires.
But the Christmas celebrations are not over yet. The evening is
the time for the Christmas pageant presented in the Poornachandra
Auditorium. Bal-Vikas Students from overseas present the colourful
drama much to the joy of Bhagawan and all the gathered devotees.
This beautiful presentation marks the end of the Christmas in
Prasanthi Nilayam and marks the beginning of the anticipation of
the next Christmas to be celebrated here. Christmas leaves behind
pleasant memories and that feeling of joy and happiness, which is
only to be experienced.
hat makes Christmas at Prasanthi Nilayam so special? People from
all over the globe travel here to celebrate the birth of Christ,
in the presence of His Father. We hear very often speakers
mentioning that they prefer to celebrate Christmas with Bhagawan
than in their own hometowns. It is like one really huge family
gathering that celebrates Christmas at Prasanthi Nilayam and
shares and thus multiplies its joy.
TO THE WORLD, THE LORD HAS COME!
Radio Sai E-Magazine, December 15, 2003