Sat, Dec 25, 2010: In Parthi every event and every festivity is defined with Bhagawan being the centre-point. ‘His Presence’ is the big thing and every festivity gets its due importance only when He makes Himself available for the occasion.
View Flash Photos Slideshow: http://www.sssbpt.org/images/christmas20101.swf Following the Christmas Eve when the Christmas day dawned the focus of attention was unto Him and His presence. In the evening there was high expectation in the air and Sai Kulwant was ready with festive exuberance to receive the Lord! Apart from the official Christmas 2010 schedule by SSSSO, Overseas, an Italian Orchestra was also scheduled for the eventful evening. In the Sai Kulwant Hall, every inch of available space was packed with devotees. Leading to the schedule, bhajans played soulful tunes clocking to the "Divine Hour". At 650 hrs. the Divine Carrier, Toyota Porte AP02N9000 appeared at the entrance, carrying The Lord clad in yellow. First round of darshan was followed by another ‘bonus’ round and the surge of devotees was ecstatic. Many who missed His ‘catchy’ glance in the first round ensured one in the second round. Primary School children were up on their feet, holding aloft their Christmas Greetings, trying to win Divine attention. Coming on to the Verandah through the western slope at the gents’ side, Bhagawan, upon alighting, went for a round of upper verandah and was seen blessing many, tossing Vibhuti packets. Soon Bhagawan blessed an array of Christmas cakes before coming on to the dais at 1920 hrs. Evening proceedings began with International Christmas Committee Chairman John Behner addressing the assembly. Thanking Bhagawan for His bounteous love, offering Christmas greetings to one and all, Behner introduced the two speakers for the evening. The speakers were Kirsten Pruzan, a Danish Journalist and Cass Smith, a musician and spiritual healer from the US. Ms. Pruznan spoke gracefully, sharing her personal experience of the ‘Divine Pull’ that brought her to Parthi for the first time. Elaborating on the omnipresence shown by Swami at her Danish home, she narrated a wonderful experience wherein her husband, Prof. Pruznan, was saved by Bhagawan, from being taken as a hostage after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, while returning from Parthi. Cass Smith spoke of His Love quoting Samuel Sandweiss from his famous book, Sai Baba, The Holy Man and Psychiatrist. A musician by himself, Smith strummed his guitar to produce three gems of musical pieces, concluding with the popular song, "I keep feeling your love…". He also narrated a wonderful experience, that happened at Brindavan, sharing how Bhagawan miraculously cured him of an ‘ear-mishap’. A "Christmas in Sai Love" was the theme for the concert by a group of Italians led by Sonja Venturi along with Sergio Vigagni, Evige Fontana, Dalliah Gutman, Bruno Pratico etc. and a set of musical scorers. As they took over after receiving Divine Blessings, music flowed with bhajans tuned in western style echoing the Sai Kulwant Hall. Beginning with thee Omkars, salutations to Lord Ganesha and Twameva Matha, Sonja Venturi produced a scintillating Mukunda Murari, styled in west, to the amusement of Bhagawan and the capacity audience. Audience clapped after every song as the Italians went on singing for the next fifty minutes. A beethoven medley, a couple of italian numbers, White Christmas etc. were followed by a combined song, Happy X Mas as grand finale. The whole programme was organised by senior Italian devotees Luigi Ferrante and Anna Bruno. Post the musical session, Bhagawan called the singers and musicians one after one on stage, showering blessings. A second round of blessing ensued when the four ladies in the group were again called on stage, one after one, to receive prasadam from the Divine Hands. A group of tiny tots also came on stage receiving prasadam from the Divine Hands. In the meanwhile, Prasadam went for distribution to the audience. As Bhagawan sat through, one of the ashram photographers went up to Bhagawan showing Him Christmas decorations in print. Being the Senior Hostel Anniversary, a group of students from the Senior Hostel also went up to Bhagawan showing Him images of the ‘decorated hostel’. Mangala Arathi was offered at 2120 hrs. and Bhagawan retired to Yajur Mandiram at 2130 hrs. Fri, Dec 24, 2010: Today is Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas, the night that heralds the Advent of Jesus Christ. For those seekers of Jesus, those seekers of Truth who knows "Sathya", this is the occasion to rejoice ‘the advent’; for them who are missing the action, physically in Prasanthi, it will be difficult to fill the void of not being in Prasanthi and it is time for sheer nostalgia! View Video file: http://vimeo.com/18163457
Christmas Eve in Prasanthi Nilayam is distinctive over the years with a unique choir comprising representation of ‘United Nations’ singing His glory in presence of The One Who could be called the ‘Creator’ or ‘Originator’ of Christmas. The Overseas Choir has been a part of the Christmas celebrations for over a decade ever since Bhagawan given the mantle to a former US School Teacher by name Sylvia Alden to conduct the show. Dressed up in pristine white, over 750 choristers, 216 gents and 556 ladies, with over fifty musicians among them, had occupied the centre-block of the Mandir well in advance of the commencement of the proceedings in the scheduled evening. An early entry and Bhagawan was in the midst at 1800 hrs., arrived in His car. Moving on, blessing the concourse, Bhagawan was seen tossing Vibhuti packets to devotees at random. Coming on to the dais Bhagawan blessed some of the seniors from the Christmas group, including John Behner, with Vibhuti prasadam. Bhajans continued until 1830 hrs. when Bhagawan blessed John Behner before lighting the lamp officially inaugurating the programme. The Choir Conductor Sylvia Alden turned up on stage and after a few minutes of interaction, Bhagawan ‘green-signalled’ the Conductor to commence the Choir. Three perfect Omkars from over 750 western choristers followed by Ganesha invocation, "Ganaanaam Twa…" and the Choir was on! Bhagawan sat through listening to the choristers singing the glory of the Lord and after forty minutes, with the 12th hymn completed, Bhagawan asked for Mangala Arathi. Blessed Prasadam was distributed in between and post Arathi, in a most unexpected move, Bhagawan moved down the aisle posing for photographs with the group. The Choristers were ecstatic as Bhagawan allowed them to converge in a semi-circle around Him, being the centre-point, and hundreds of faces were beaming the joy of being in close proximity. At 1920 hrs. Bhagawan got into His car retiring to Yajur Mandiram.