August 7, 2010 – “We Are One” Musical Offering by Devotees from North Europe

In Prasanthi Nilayam, it is difficult to compare one day with another because every single morning is so fresh and unique, and filled with so much sanctity, surprise and Love. How any day is going to unfold is something nobody can ever guess; no statistician can ever do ‘trend analysis’ of the events happening in the Divine Presence and then predict the future; it is simply impossible! That is one of the reasons why being in this holy hamlet of Prasanthi is so thrilling for anyone whether one is present for a couple of days or for several months.

Even the people, who have stayed in this sacred ashram for over four or five decades, still find it exciting to go to Mandir every single day. And this happens because there is a Presence in this spot of Mother Earth which is absolutely Pure. Devotees are in thousands and the way each one relates to their Lord and pours out their heartfelt feelings is innumerable, similarly, the manner in which Swami responds to these multifarious strands of unalloyed devotion is infinite and absolutely fascinating and mystifying.    

In our Prasanthi Diary of August 2, 2010 we offered the story of how devotees from South European nations were blessed with the beautiful opportunity of making a musical offering to Bhagavan, and five days later it was the turn of the devotees from the North European region. On the afternoon of August 7, three hundred thirty five devotees from 12 countries were seated in the marble block in front of the dais awaiting Swami’s arrival, their faces glowing with happiness. That they were present right in front of the stage was itself such a heartening feeling for them and when Swami started moving into the hall at 4.50 p.m. the joy on their beings was obvious.

Bhagavan too, reciprocating their love, stopped for a while when He came near them and spoke to quite a few of them asking them the countries they came from, taking their letters and just showering smiles on them. After this, Bhagavan went further into the gents’ side as He normally does during every darshan, and as He completed this round, on the way He blessed the birthday boys and now He was again in the midst of the Europeans. He looked at them again keenly, a small smile dancing on His lips.

Soon Bhagavan was on the dais, His face resplendent as ever. The vedam chanting continued and Swami too joined in the chanting of the hymn Narayanasuktam. That was indeed a lesson for humanity. His life is His message and by this act, in no unclear terms, Bhagavan was demonstrating how important these sacred hymns are in our lives.

As the chanting went on, the European devotees blissfully savoured every moment of this special privilege of sitting so close to the Lord. Swami kept looking at them off and on and many a times a gentle smile would simply blossom on His lovely face. The next moment He would get busy reading a few more letters.

After a while, the Vedam group chanted Shivopasana mantram “Nidhanapataye Namaha…” and suddenly there was an upsurge in volume. This caught Swami’s attention and He looked to His left where tiny tots sitting there chanted this hymn vociferously. When the boy sitting next to Swami mentioned to Him that those kids were from the newly commenced English medium Easwaramma High School Bhagavan was very pleased, and again He Himself started chanting the hymns.

As this was going on, Swami beckoned one of the ladies sitting in the front row and asked her if she knew to chant Vedam. She did not seem to understand Bhagavan’s question. Swami repeated; still she was not very clear. As this interaction was on, suddenly Swami waved His hand and out came a sparkling golden chain with a beautiful pendant which looked like the image of a goddess. Swami lovingly placed it around her neck as the audience burst out in applause. It seemed as if Swami’s questions to her were only an excuse to enable her to come near Him so that He could confer on her this special blessing.

Just before this, Swami also called another young boy who was sitting with a guitar in the front row on the gents’ side. He was probably the youngest in the group and Swami seemed to be very interested in Him; He asked him his name, age, class and so on, and in the end sweetly patted his cheek; all the Europeans immediately went “awww” in wonder and joy. It was truly a thrilling sight. It was obvious that there was something special about this group which had captivated the Lord so much that even before they had started performing Swami was just eager to shower His copious Love and blessings.

After about half an hour of such precious moments when the Lord was interacting with this privileged group in so many ways, Swami asked the Vedam chanting to stop and indicated that the programme could begin.

The coordinator of the North European region Mr. Harmen Reerink then went up to Swami and offered a rose and the booklet of the songs they were going to present. As Bhagavan accepted this, He also expressed His wish that an announcement be made about the performance, and so immediately mike was placed and Mr. Reerink offered his gratitude to Swami on behalf of all the North European pilgrims who had come from Zone 7 of Sathya Sai Organisation which consisted of the following countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia.

[Click here to read Sai Movement in Germany from H2H Archives]

Even as he spoke a senior member of the group from the ladies side too offered to Swami a rose. Soon after this the lady conductor took her place in the front and the musical presentation began.

First was the common introductory Vedic hymn “Gananam Tva…” wherein obeisance is offered to Lord Ganesha and Mother Saraswati. Even as the group chanted this in unison to the accompaniment of light music, Bhagavan too so sweetly joined them. Needless to say, all the members of the group were so filled with ecstasy; their programme could not have had a better start.

Then the group moved on to another Sanskrit hymn, this time from the celestial song Bhagavad Gita. “Tvam Adidevah Purusha Purana, Tvam Asya Visvasya Param Nidhanam…” and so on it went taken from the XI chapter of the Gita. This hymn adored the Lord as the One who is the Primordial Being, the Supreme Refuge, the One who is the Knower and the knowing and the highest goal. “O Lord! This entire universe is permeated by You – You are the wind, the fire, the seas, the moon and the original Father of everything. Praise to You, O Lord, a thousand times!” is what this verse conveyed and the Europeans sang these lines melodiously.   

Next was again in Sanskrit and this one was a serene hymn from the Vedas. As the group started singing “Om Bhumi Mangalam Udaka Mangalam Agni Mangalam…” in a simple tune set to a lively pace, Swami was completely involved. He looked at them keenly and enjoyed the rendering swaying His head gently while His feet kept the beat. The meaning of this verse is profound. “May there be peace and tranquility on earth, in the water, in the fire, in the wind, in the heaven, in the sun, on the moon, on our planet, in all living beings, in the body, in the mind and in the soul. May this unique peace be everywhere and in everyone.” No wonder, Bhagavan, who always insists that we pray for the welfare of everyone everywhere and at all times, liked this rendering so much.

After three verses in the most ancient language of the world, came an English song. “We come to Your Presence to sing a song to You, a song of praise and honour for all the things You have helped us through…” and so on went its moving lyrics and truly the devotees sang it with all their heart. As the refrain “Our dear Sathya Sai Baba, dear Mother of us all, You are the omnipresent Lord the world waited for…” was sung Swami was visibly touched.

Next to come was a song in German “Wir sind Quellen” which meant “We are fountains of love, full of bliss and happiness, let our life be a stream of divine love which grows and expands such that one day it merges into the ocean of love and becomes one with Divine Love.”

It was back to English after German and this time it was again another heart-rending song. “A teardrop of Love, my Lord… an overwhelming love for You. A fountain of love, my Lord… an ocean Halleluja” was the first line, and as the refrain it had the line ‘Om Sai Ram’. The Europeans sang this slow and stirring tune with devotion and emotion. Swami eyes were constantly on them as if accepting their heart-felt feelings.

The next to follow was another English song. As the North Europeans sang with open hearts and full throats “Sathya Sai Baba, You are God Incarnate, Kali Yuga Avathar, You give us Your Love and Grace…” Baba was moved; His eyes in fact overflowed with emotion. The refrain of this song was “O Lord, You fill the world with Your Grace and Love” and actually it was the Lord Himself who was filled with Love overwhelmed by the pure devotion of these North Europeans.

The eighth song in that musical evening was in the language Lithuanian. It was a soothing tune which flowed nicely and through this rendering the devotees offered salutations to the deity of Fire, then to Earth, followed by obeisance to the God of happiness, and finally they sang the Glory of their Lord, Sai Baba. Consisting of five short stanzas, this song by the virtue of its lilting tune captured the attention of everyone even though none in the audience understood the lyrics. Music, after all, belongs to the realm of the heart, not the mind.

Next was a French song “Baba Tu es” and this was a lively tune sung with a lot of vigour and feeling. The first line meant “Baba, You are my life, You are my Source”. The best part of this offering was at the end when the whole choir suddenly ended the song by shouting “ooye” on a high note. Swami too was amused; He looked at all the participants and smiled.

The tenth song was in English and German. It started with the entire group singing “Joy Baba Joy Baba” and then in the tune of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy they sang “Dear Lord Sai, we all adore thee, God of Glory, Lord of Love, Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, Opening to Your Love Divine.” As the song flowed in this matchless melody, the Lord enjoyed every syllable and sound that emanated from the lips of the Europeans. Follwong the English rendition were two more stanzas in German, the country where Beethoven was born. It was Beethoven music for Baba woven with Love and devotion.

The next was another classic from a great composer again born in Germany. Handel’s Halleluja reverberated in Sai Kulwant Hall as the devotees praised the Glory of the Lord. “King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Halleluja” they sang with joy and gaiety.

After the vibrant Halleluja came a slow song the lyrics of which were profound and powerful. “In this time of darkness we are given light, Hope for all the people, They will all know, That Baba loves them and He is here to save them.” This was the first stanza and then came the refrain “Carry the Light” beseeching all to spread the fragrance of Sai Love. “Go ye into the world and carry the Light….in the name of Sathya Sai, carry the Light”. As the devotees sang these lines with sincere fervour and devotion, Swami was really touched. One could see His eyes becoming watery. The Lord is always moved by Purity and Sincerity.

This was followed by another moving song again in English wherein the devotees sing “When I am down and Oh my soul so weary, When my troubles come and my heart burdened, Then I am still and wait here in the silence, Until You come and be a while with me.” Even more interesting was the refrain of this song. “You raise me up so that I can stand on mountains, You raise me up to walk on stormy seas, I am strong when You my Sai are with me, You raise me up to all that I can be.” Truly, with the Lord we can do anything and that evening with the Lord amidst them the Europeans were filling the heart of everyone with ecstasy including that of God!

The next was a powerful message of Swami fashioned into a rhythmic tune. “Start the day with Love, Spend the Day with Love, Fill the Day with Love and End the day with love – this is the way to God.” After singing this in English, the devotees moved over to Polish and sang two more stanzas which reflected the universality of Swami’s teachings proclaiming that there is only one language that of the heart and only one religion, the religion of Love.

It was back to English again in the next song which was their fifteen offering and in a simple tune they sang “We are here to praise You Lord, we are here to show You our Love…” And their Love indeed showed not in their faces but in the face of the Lord, for Swami is the most perfect mirror of this Universe. They continued to sing “We are here to ask You Swami, stay forever in our hearts…We Love You Swami every moment in our life.” The Lord just watched them lovingly as these devotees coming from thousands of miles away from Puttaparthi poured their heart out at His lotus feet.

The penultimate song for the evening was entitled “We believe”. And with confidence the devotees sang “We Believe in Almighty Father, We believe in His only Son…We believe we all are One, Here we are together in the universe.”

In the final rendering the North Europeans took the opportunity to wish all happiness and blessings and thanked the Lord profusely for His Love and grace. And then slowly the tune morphed into the famous Christmas carol “O when the Saints go marching in” but this was sung with a difference. It was not “How we long to be in that number”, instead joyfully they sang “O yes, we all can be in that number when the saints go marching in.” Indeed, their music had marched into every heart and they had conquered the heart of their beloved Lord. Swami was all smiles as their presentation concluded and asked the conductor if they had finished.

After this, Bhagavan called the young boy again who was sitting in front playing the guitar all along during the programme. He asked his name and the country he came from. The boy answered that he was David from Germany. Swami just looked at him lovingly for a while and then sent him back to his seat. After this, the boy sitting next to Swami showed the cover of the booklet circulated by the organizers of the programme which had the list and the flags of various countries which comprise Zone 7 of Sathya Sai Organisation; Swami looked at the flags and heard him with lot of interest.

As they had sung all that they had prepared, the coordinator then asked Bhagavan if they could start bhajans and Swami readily agreed. They began with “Jai Jai Jai Jai Ganapathi Deva” which was followed by four other bhajans. The Lord enjoyed their bhajans as much as He liked their songs. In fact as this was on, often He just closed His eyes and His left hand gently rotated in the air; it seemed as if He was lost in bliss. During this time, Bhagavan also blessed prasadam to be distributed. At about 6.45 Swami asked for arathi to be performed and everyone sang this final song joyously, the Merciful Lord raised both His hands in loving benediction with a beaming smile, once facing the gents and again for the ladies. What a grand finale it was to a most memorable evening!

But actually that was not the end. Swami now called the European devotee who performed the arathi and asked, “Will you be performing tomorrow too?” And then there was a small conversation between that devotee, Mr. Harmen Reerink and Swami. We do not know what actually transpired but what was obvious was that the Lord was so pleased with these Sai lovers from North Europe that He was keen to see them again seated in front of Him and singing their melodies of love and devotion. After this, Swami sat for a short while in silence as everyone drank in the bliss of His divine form, and then with a lovely smile on His lips retired into Yajur Mandir. The sun had set on another glorious day in Prasanthi Nilayam yet the light of its beautiful memories will ever shine in the minds of everyone privileged to witness this play of divine Love between the Lord and His devotees. 

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