Prasanthi Diary
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Prashanti Diary

Christmas 2003………

Christmas is always a well-loved and eagerly anticipated festival in Prashanti Nilayam. From early December the ashram gets transformed with devotees converging from various parts of the world. They come, eager to participate, sing Christmas carols and bask in His Divine presence. The sight of the multi coloured scarves, the myriad babel of tongues, blending together in one harmonious note is a fitting testimony of the catholicity of Swami's teachings and a tribute to His akarshana shakthi or Divine magnetic power that compellingly draws people to Him from all corners of the globe, through the endearing appeal of His all encompassing Love.

Christmas 2003 too was no different! The festivities were set rolling on the afternoon of the 24th of December, but in reality had started much earlier. For 2 weeks prior, 75 men and women from many countries had been working hard and long, painting angels, decorating Christmas trees and so on, and putting up the decorations incrementally in Sai Kulwant Hall. This set the tone and the Christmas spirit was generated in the hearts of all devotees, no matter what their cultural and religious back-ground. Outstanding nativity scenes were also installed on both sides of the steps of the verandah of Sai Kulwant Hall, one depicting Mary and Joseph and the other showing the three wise men.

The afternoon of the 24th of December, the Christmas eve program was the singing of Christmas carols by all our overseas brothers and sisters. This program involved about 400 ladies and 250 men in the adult choir, and about 100 children in the childrens' choir, well assisted by 75 people serving as Seva Dals. All these people were from 25 countries around the world.

After Swami entered Sai Kulwant Hall, He slowly walked up to the front of the verandah, looking and appreciating all the decorations. Walking up to the nativity scene of Mary and Joseph, He asked, "Where is baby Jesus?" Swami also lit the Christmas candles to signify the start of the celebrations.

As if in answer to Swami's question, the program started with a short skit with children dressed as inn-keepers; Mary and Joseph went around knocking on numerous doors and being told repeatedly, "There is no room in the inn".. …..This story was brought out in song by the children, and culminated with Baby Jesus being brought forward in a crib by both Mary and Joseph and placed at Sai's Lotus Feet! The children then sang for Swami for about 25 minutes.

This was followed by the adult choir that entertained with songs of praise and worship to Swami for about 45 minutes. The songs were well rendered, with full feeling and straight from the heart. After arathi, prasadam was distributed to all.

The evening saw a special Christmas dinner being served to all devotees in the Western canteen.

Christmas morning saw all the overseas devotees seated in Sai Kulwant Hall bright and early. Several thousand devotees present in Sai Kulwant Hall sang Christmas carols in one voice, for the Christmas morning Nagarsankirtan.

After the carols had set the tone, all the devotees eagerly awaited Swami's arrival. Swami arrived into Sai Kulwant Hall in the Red Maruti car to the sound of Vedic chants by the students of the Institute. After getting down from the car, He walked to the right side of the verandah and watched the primary school kids dressed in bright red sweaters and caps, perform a violin concert for Him. One could see that He was visibly moved and happy at their bhakti and hard work in their endeavour to please Him.

Still standing, He signaled to the Band leader of the Institute Brass band. The band then played their hearts out for their beloved Swami.

Swami then walked and sat down in His chair. And it was time for a little interlude. Santa came bounding in, and went up to Swami. After being blessed by Swami, the primary school boy dressed as Santa went around all the seated devotees and threw chocolates and candies to them.

The morning came to a close with the singing of carols by the students of the Institute. While prasadam was being distributed, Swami graciously cut the cakes that the Institute boys had prepared for Him.

Christmas afternoon saw speeches by the overseas devotees - Mrs. Rita Bruce, and Mr. Arthur Hillcoat. Swami then surprised three devotees by asking them to speak - one was a Institute student, Mr. Mahalingam. Swami also asked Mr Narendra Reddy and Dr. Michael Goldstein, both from the US, to speak. After this Dr. G. Venkataraman also addressed the gathering. Finally, Swami gave His Christmas message. He repeated and stressed that the same Divinity is latent in all beings in the form of "I". The breath signifies this as "So Hum" or "I am that". He also spoke of the incident when Jesus, as a child, gets lost in Jerusalem, only to be found inside the temple. Swami gave an excellent interpretation of this incident saying that one has to search "inside" to find Divinty. (Full text of Discourse available at )

Thus the Christmas festivities came to a close. There might still not be PEACE ON EARTH yet in these troubled times, but everyone in Prashanti Nilayam experienced a profound peace in their hearts, that only the Lord can give.

Welcoming the New Year………..

January 1st New Year day dawned bright and early for the eager devotees waiting in Sai Kulwant Hall, to ring in the New Year in the Presence of the Lord.

After Swami entered the Sai Kulwant Hall, He stood and listened to the Institute Brass Band regale Him with rousing tunes. Visibly moved, He got down the steps of the verandah and walked closer to the band. He stood close to them and listened through their program. On completion, He expressed His pleasure by posing for group photographs with the members of the band.

Swami then walked back and sat down in His chair. This was a signal for the Institute Boys to sing carols to Him. After the carol singing was over, Swami went to the back of the verandah and cut the cakes prepared by the Institute boys.

Then, to the pleasant surprise of everyone, He walked back out onto the verandah and blessed the crowd again, before taking arathi and leaving for the Poornachandra auditorium.

The New Year evening saw a gathering of the alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai Institutions at the Sai Kulwant Hall. Feeling the thrill of homecoming, they decided to express their joy in song, and give a concert for the enjoyment of the Lord. An alumnus writes of his memorable experience that day………..

Another year was ready to pass by in Parthi, making some happier, some wiser, and some older. But in the last 2 days of the year gone by, time seemed to slow in its tracks, and glance at this beautiful Abode of the Divine, aglow with the perennial grace of our beloved Sai.

The former students of the Sai Institutions felt the familiar thrill of a homecoming, as we eagerly arrived in Parthi, elated, and eager to have a glimpse of Swami.

A bird that desires to soar the skies of enduring freedom from everything, does so from the most majestic tree, from which it draws its own nourishment. With a gentle push from the breeze of its swaying leaves, and the firm support of its strong branches, the tree sets the bird towards greater heights. We are the birds….and our support and strength : Mother Sai.

The last day of the year was a truly memorable one. On December 31st , 2003,We, the alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, as part of our ongoing seva activities, distributed clothing to 124 boys and 135 girls, from the Government Hostel, in Puttaparthi and a nearby village. Swami in His infinite Grace and Mercy, handed over the clothing to the children. We felt gratified by Swami's love for us, and we were further delighted when He let us lead the bhajans in the morning. This seemed to be an assurance of the blessing to come.

The first day of January. D-day. We welcomed a beautiful day with our hearts full, and beating to an expectant rhythm. As we all sat drinking in the Divinity before us, He beckoned us to sit on the beautifully decorated stage, … beside Him.

All of us were too thrilled to speak, so we chose to sing instead ! A carefully rehearsed rendering of songs was underway. With Swami - the Lord, the inspiration beside us, every song was simply the opening of every heart.

With our brother V. Kumar at the outset, there couldn't have been a better beginning. The song conveyed the essence of what any child of Sai Maa would sing to his mother. V.Kumar sang "Kahin Tum Badal Na Jaana". Beginning with mischief the indulgent mother would lovingly excuse, the song happily flowed, praising the Lord.

Paradise is at the feet of Bhagawan. Give yourself to Him, for He has already embraced you. Kota Sivakumar sang "Nee charanamalu …"

Just as Lord Krishna lead Arjuna through his dharma as a charioteer, so is Sai Krishna leading us all on the path of righteousness, as our Sarathi. "Sarathi Tu Baba" was soulful rendering by twins :Vikram and Anand, with masterpieces as interludes from Balasubramaniam on the violin, Muthu and Saunil Narang on the tabla.

Bhakti is "Attachment to the Unknown". The highest emotion. It was tangible as Hariharan sang "Chilanga katti", beckoning a little Krishna to dance his way into our hearts. Shrivastava and Ramesh struck the right chords with their guitars, and Rajagopal enthralled us all on the tabla.
Just as a river flows through wonderful paths, leaving beauty on its trail, so did this rendering. Santosh Pai made ripples with "Prabal Prem ke", quoting instances in song when the Lord chose to protect the reputation of His bhaktas rather than His own.
Prasanna Venkatesh provided solid support with fluid movements on the tabla.
Sudhakar Parth assured the dejected hearts of many a devotee with his song "Ramji Karenge Beda Paar" After all, with Him beside, above and within us, what need we fear?

Subbarao and Jaydev formed a fitting conclusion, full of melody. The very dust on His feet are worth all the riches in the world, said Subbarao in "Padamle chalu".

Thamasoma Jyotirgamaya, in the Lord's Abode, there is only effulgence, no darkness. Jaydev sang "Bhagavan ke ghar Dher hai".

All the students ended the music program with a group song to our Sai Maa.

To the delight of everyone of us present there, Swami then gave His new year message. He said that every moment should be considered holy and new. He emphasised that there is no greater sadhana than service. It is better to serve the fellow human being you see than to worship a God whom you cannot see. He also advised us students not hanker after money and directed us to cultivate Tyaga, sacrifice. .(Full text of Discourse available at

And so concluded the evening, which was nothing short of an unparalleled expression of Swami's Love for us children, the Sri Sathya Sai Students.


Volume - 2 Issue -2 Radiosai Journal - PSN 2004