Christmas at Prasanthi Nilayam
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
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
Then 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
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
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.
What 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! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!