Christmas Day in Prashanti
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
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
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
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
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
choir. They performed familiar and new compositions. There were
sections: men, soprano ladies, and alto ladies, each section
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