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Reports of events from the Sai Baba Ashrams

 

Prashanthi Bullettin - December 25th, 2005

December 25th, 2005

It has been a long time since we have brought you an update from Parthi. Since Birthday, Swami has been spending most of His Mandir Time inside the interview room. Every evening, He is out for Darshan by 3.15 p.m. and goes straight inside the interview room calling a few lucky devotees into the room. However, the students eagerly await the clock to strike 4.00 when they rush into the Bhajan Hall, each one trying to reach first and capture a vantage point near the throne, where Swami sits for the Bhajans. Very often, Swami comes into the Bhajan Hall a few minutes or sometimes even half an hour before the Bhajans commence at 5.00 p.m. This time slot is exclusively for the students and it has been a source of great joy and thrill for everybody inside the Bhajan Hall.

Swami speaks to the boys seated in the front, at times calls for some students or staff members and speaks to them. Of late, He has been enquiring a lot about the Sports Meet activities that have already begun with full force. Incidentally, this Annual Sports and Cultural Meet in Jan 2006 will be the first major event marking the 25th Year - the Silver Jubilee Year - of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (1981 to 2006). A number of events are being planned out by all the three campuses of the Institute to celebrate this Meet. However, adhering to explicit command from Bhagawan, this time, no adventurous items like motor bike stunts or aero sports are being presented for the Sports Meet. Most of the events are display of physical prowess and cultural items.

Some interesting events occurred in the last few days. We bring you a brief on these. One evening, very soon after the Birthday celebrations, Swami called all the students and staff inside the Poornachandra Auditorium, in the evening after Bhajans. There was a video presentation of the series made by Smt. Anjali Devi, a famous actress of the yester years and a devotee - well known for her TV series "Shirdi Sai Parthi Sai Divya Katha". This time she has produced a film on the Chinna Kathas - short stories written by Bhagawan. Three three episodes were shown, projected on a large screen in the presence of Swami. It was well appreciated by all. Incidentally, all the scenes have been shot in the premises of the Chaitanya Jyoti Museum and other spots in and around Parthi.

Again, on December 15th, a similar thing happens. Out of the blue, one evening all students and staff are called inside the Poornachandra Hall. This time, they all watch a very poignant movie along with Swami. This is a recent Hindi movie titled "Iqbal" and is about a deaf and dumb young man who is a great cricket fan. His cherished desire is to join the Indian cricket team. The movie beautifully tracks his relentless pursuit in achieving his goal. Swami sits for half the movie and then retires. The others continue to see the rest of it.

And then just three days back, Swami distributed T-shirts to all the students and staff of the School and Institute. The young school children are given different coloured T-shirts while the Institute students get pink coloured half sleeve T-shirts. This has become the standard uniform now for all the Sports event practice sessions.

Another event was the visit of the devotees from the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. On December 5th, the last day of ther stay, Bhagawan called all of them into the Poornachandra Auditorium. There, He witnessed a short cultural programme by them, heard their bhajans and also spoke to them.

Well, let us now come to the present. We wish all of you a very happy and holy Christmas. However, the weather in Parthi, in no way indicates the oncoming of Christmas. Surprisingly, the chilly winter seems to be past now and even the nights are quite warm. Many Christmas trees decorate the shops and hotels on the streets.

Bhagawan always keeps us on our toes and we never know when He would take us by surprise. Bhagawan comes out this morning by seven o'clock! The Sai Kulwant Hall is decorated beautifully with stars hanging all around. Silver stars, bells and other decorative items make the hall look majestic. Two Christmas trees adorn the stage on either side of Ganesha. They are sparkling with cottony snow, colourful boxes of gifts and stars. The pillars on the dais and in the front half of the Kulwant Hall are wrapped with shining gold covering. In front of the dais, across the railings, on one side, are figures of Joseph and Mother Mary at the Manger, watching with awe their Child and our Saviour! At the other end are statues of the three wise men following the holy star. The Portico in the first floor of the Mandir is decorated with white cloud shaped sets giving a feel of snow all over. On the balcony behind the three domes are two angels blessing all seated below.

After His Darshan round, Swami comes out of His car and cuts the cake kept next to the interview room. A number of overseas devotees are standing all around, watching the Lord Blessing their offering. Soon, all the students rush in and take their places. The devotees are also seated, waiting eagerly to catch a glimpse of their Lord. Swami comes out onto the dais and sits in the centre. There is loud applause from all as this has become a very rare sight these days. When He comes out, everybody tries to grab a glimpse for we never know when we would get it again.

It is 7.15 a.m. and Swami stops the Vedam chanting. The young primary school boys march in with their violins for making a presentation. The next five minutes is their offering of sweet music to the Lord. After this, the Institute Brass Band takes over. The band leader comes forward with a colourful card holding a huge Christmas Candle. Swami keenly watches the card and asks him something. The band leader takes Namaskar and Swami Blesses him. The band commences its presentation, filling the Hall with scintillating beats and notes. They play for around 20 minutes, carrying the audience along with lovely Carol music.

It is 7.45 a.m. and time for the students to sing Carols which they have been rehearsing for the past one week. The drums and keyboards are all in place. The commentary begins. Two students, one a very young boy from the School and another from the College, compere the show taking us 2000 years back to the times of Jesus, His Birth and His sacred life. Moving down memory lane, we come to the recent times and herald the advent of the Holy Father - our beloved Bhagawan. A number of popular carols keep all clapping and swaying to the beat. "All night long I shall burn my Christmas candle...", "Rudolf the red nosed reindeer..." and so on.

8.20 a.m. and the music programme comes to a close. Bhagawan watches all the instrumentalists sitting down and after a while asks for the Vedam to begin again. Meanwhile Prasadam distribution starts. Dairy milk chocolates for all students and sugar candies for all devotees. As the distribution is in progress, Swami decides to go inside. The chair is turned and moved towards the interview room, but to our delight, He speaks to somebody over there and returns to the dais and continues sitting. A few more minutes pass by and then suddenly there is loud applause. We see Swami standing up from His chair, holding the railings. We are filled with joy and thrill to see His full Form after so many days!

Even as our hearts are full of joy, they burst open further as we see Bhagawan walking towards the staff block away from the interview room. The two students hold Him on either side and Swami walks quite swiftly taking a turn to go inside the Portico. He climbs up the slope and enters the Portico and walks right into the interview room. The Hall is full of claps and the heart is full of joy. The Vedam team joins in the celebration by chanting Mantra Pushpam at a very high pitch. As Swami emerges on the interview room side, the Primary School children also join the Vedam chanting.

Bhagawan enters the interview room. After a while He comes out of the room, walking again. He moves forward so that all of us can have His Darshan! Then He sits down on the chair. It is 8.50 a.m. The car moves into position to receive the chair. Aarti is offered and Swami retires for the morning. An announcement is made that in the evening at 4.00 p.m. there would be a programme by the overseas devotees entitled "Spirit of Christmas".

In the evening, at 3.40 p.m., the car arrives near the PC entrance. The front part of the Hall opposite to the dais is filled with all overseas devotees ready to make their presentation. The Hall is packed to its brim. Swami takes a full round and then reaches the interview room. There, He alights from the car and then asks to be assisted to stand up. The moment Swami stands up, there is loud applause in the Hall. To add to our delight, He starts walking slowly towards the centre of the dais. He stands over there holding the railings for some time, before He sits down on the chair.

At 3.55 p.m., He Blesses the Vedam group to conclude the chanting. Two young children offer the programme card to Swami. This is followed by Carol singing by the young children from overseas. The conductor comes forward and seeks Bhagawan's Blessings. They start with a Ganesha song and then a Telugu song succeeded by other carols. This goes on till 4.30 p.m. Then comes the much awaited Carol singing by the adults from overseas. The conductor for this choir also seeks Bhagawan's Blessings. Swami speaks to her for a while.

For the next half an hour, the Hall is filled with soothing music and singing, carrying us away to a world of peace and happiness. The melodious Carols, the beautiful form of Bhagawan seated in front of our eyes with a lovely smile on His face, transports us into a totally different dimension! After a few songs, the conductor prays to Swami asking whether they should continue or not. Each time, Swami smiles and gives His consent to continue. Finally at 5.05 p.m. Bhagawan asks them to sing Bhajans.

As the Bhajans are going on, Swami asks the students to distribute Prasadam to all the overseas devotees. They are showered with a number of chocolates and wafers. The little children start munching away to glory! As all this goes on, Swami calls one of the adults, a young man, and speaks to him for quite some time. After a very lively conversation between them, Swami materializes a pendant for him. The man is overjoyed! Bhajans go on. Again after a while, Swami calls another gentleman, speaks to him for a while. The man is ecstatic! He too gets a chain at the end of the dialogue. Swami calls him inside the railings, next to His chair and ties the chain around his neck. The Hall is filled with applause.

A few more Bhajans by the overseas adults and then once again a third gentleman is summoned. All clap and start singing loudly. This devotee too gets immense Blessings and a ring to top it all. When God gives, He gives in bountiful measure! Finally it is 5.45 p.m. when Swami again stands amidst loud clapping. He starts walking towards the portico on the side opposite to the interview room. Taking few steps at a time, He converses with a number of devotees adjacent to Him. Meanwhile, Aarti is offered by the Pujari and a number of overseas coordinators. Bhagawan sits down on the chair and receives the full Aarti.

Subsequently, He moves once again onto the dais and towards the interview room. On the other side, He stops near a devotee and speaks to him for a long time. The conversation concludes with the creation of a ring for him! As He moves across the dais, He looks at the overseas devotees assembled in front of Him and says, "I am Happy". He says this twice. Then Swami asks them, "Are you happy?" Some of them who are able to hear say, "Yes!" Swami again asks, "Are you all happy?" By then everybody understands what Swami is asking and there is a loud roar - "Yes Swami!!" All of them start clapping and the drummer starts playing the drums to indicate their joy and thrill!

It is twilight. The chandeliers shine brightly in the Hall reflecting their light in the stars and the other decorations all around. All hearts are full and the Porte car glides along the path to the Lord's abode. Christmas 2005 draws the curtain down on yet another unforgettable celebration!

November 25th, 2005

Even after the completion of the Birthday there were still so many countries that had cultural programmes prepared that Swami on November 25th permitted two programmes to be held in Sai Kulwant Hall - a Russian Language Choir and a Balvikas drama by children from Singapore.

About 280 devotees (out of a total group strength of 1300) from the Russian speaking countries of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine gave a concert in the Russian language entitled "Sathya Sai Baba, Our Hearts are singing for you."

The group of men and women, who were all dressed alike for their opportunity of a lifetime to sing in His Divine presence, sang the following songs in Russian: "Glory to God", "Our souls are full of luminous light", "God is your best friend, God is love", "There is nothing better than Swami coming to us", "Our dearest Sai", "In the luminous light", "Sounds of flute", "Evening Bells", "Sathya Sai Baba, our hearts are singing for you" and finally "Kalinka".

Their palpable devotion and singing from the heart had everybody clapping their hands and keeping tune. Though the songs were in an unknown tongue, still it found resonance with everyone through the language of the heart. Swami was happy with their performance and also acceded to their prayer for a group photograph with Him.

Following the Russian language choir, the Bal Vikas students from Singapore presented an offering to Bhagavan entitled "Atma Nivedanam" based on the story of Bhaktha Pothana, a great poet and devotee of Lord Rama whose life is exemplary of total surrender to God.

The programme began with a musical performance known as Dikir Barat, a time-honoured Malay art form in which a group of performers sit and sing with synchronized body and hand movements.

The play itself was performed in many parts. The first scene highlights Pothana's attitude of selfless love and service when he gives his own food away to a hungry man. In the next scene Lord Rama entrusts Pothana with the sacred task of composing the Bhagavatham in Telugu. This scene also shows the Gajendra moksham episode.

The third scene shows the stark contrast between the divine Pothana and his worldly brother-in-law Srinatha. It also depicts Prahlada's great devotion and surrender to the Lord. In the next scene, Mother Sita showers grace on Pothana and Srinatha's pride is humbled.

After this scene, Arati was offered and thus officially the Birthday celebration had come to an end.
 


Source: http://radiosai.org/pages/PB.htm

 

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