July 12, 2010 – Lovely and Lively Singing by Devotees from Russian Speaking Countries

The people from Russia have always occupied a special niche in Swami’s heart. Whenever they have come to Puttaparthi, they have done so in sizeable numbers and have sung in His presence with all their hearts and throats. And every time without fail, they have captured the heart of their Lord along with those of all the devotees who have gathered in the hall.

It is no surprise that during His Shivarathri discourse on 16th of February 2007, Swami declared, “Several devotees are coming here from Africa and Russia. The devotion of the Russians is indescribable. There are several Russian devotees sitting in this hall. They enjoy My discourse a lot.” (Pointing toward the Russian devotees) "’Look! Those devotees with raised hands are all Russians.’ They are all very devoted.” (Pointing towards the Russian devotees again) "You are not Russians. You belong to our country only! I love you all."

And so, when it was known that the devotees from Russian speaking countries would present their programme, everyone felt that it would be a special evening.

The hall was filled with the Russian men and women in their lovely blue and white flowing dresses with the women decking their heads with white floral wreaths. It was 5:25 p.m. when Swami arrived for darshan. He crossed the ladies’ side and as He came to the centre, a glow came over His face. This was the kind of glow that appears on a devotees’ face when he/she sees the Lord. Being pure reflection, it showed on His face too! There was such an exchange of Love and Joy that one could literally feel them in the air.

Swami asked one of the ladies as to where she came from. Soon He was surrounded by women pining to touch His redeeming feet. In emotional joy, one of the women even tried to kiss His hand, but Swami drew His hand back. Bhagavan prefers Love to be treasured in the innermost recesses of one’s heart and has never encouraged such emotional outbursts. The smile quickly returned to His face and moving ahead, He interacted with the men too. The Mandir had been colourfully and beautifully decked and Swami glanced at the decorations.

When Swami came to the front too He could not seem to resist speaking to the Russian devotees. He arrived on the stage and calling one of the students said, “They are Russians! They have come in hundreds!” He was so happy and moved with that fact itself.  The Russian coordinator moved to Swami and told Him about the programme. Swami nodded and smiling beautifully at him, asked for the programme to be started.

The lady who was to conduct the music programme came out to the front and then the singing began. Right at the start, there was a small march past of sorts as men and women holding the flags of the various Russian speaking nations walked past the stage. Swami smiled and blessed them. Now the ‘singing proper’, if we may call it so, began. And it was simply awesome and oozing with love and devotion to say the least. It started with a lady making the initial offerings to Swami.

The songs were all in the Russian tongue but it was clearly sung in the language of the heart. Swami’s face simply blossomed as the singing progressed and looking at each and every Russian face around it was clear that the blossoming was mutual. Swami kept telling the coordinator seated by His side that every song was beautiful and full of feelings.

Swami was speaking softly in English and the coordinator was visibly struggling to hear what He said. But he seemed to be doing a pretty good job of understanding what He wanted! That’s the language of the heart. And so, when Swami asked for another song or a bhajan, he conveyed the instruction accordingly.

Swami kept looking at all the members involved in singing and playing the various instruments. He would almost fix His gaze on one of the instrumentalists and when he/she looked up at Him, He would reward them with a most sweet smile. Ah! How beautiful was this divine romance!

The choir was typically traditional Russian music. The lilting melodies tugged at the heartstrings and powerful feelings were evoked in ones being as they sang. Some were fast and joyous numbers and though they were in Russian, they had the whole hall clapping enthusiastically with them, participating in every moment of the rejoicing.

The songs were all so wonderfully tuned that even as they got over, one wondered, “Is it over already?”

As that apparent disappointment seemed to be sinking in, another song would begin and carry away those blues. Usually after 8-9 songs, Swami asks the performers as to how many more songs they have. That day the case was different.

The group concluded their singing and Swami simply looked at them and said, “Continue singing.” The coordinator asked Swami whether they could sing bhajans and Swami gladly consented. And so, one of the ladies began “Salaam Alaikum, Salaam Alaikum”.

Everyone joined in the singing. The next bhajan was by the gents and that also had a loud chorus. Swami was so moved at these simple people who had made special efforts to learn the Sanskrit bhajans. As these completed, Swami again prodded them to sing some more songs!

The conductor now came to her position and then started a most memorable song. It had different beats in it and beginning with a slow tempo, it would speed and build up to a crescendo after which it would fall back to the original slow! The effect was mesmerising and people suddenly found that their feet and hands were moving automatically in rhythm of the song.


Swami was all smiles. At the end of that song, He called the conductor and materialized a gold chain with His pendant for her. As He put the chain around her neck, He said, “Keep it always with you!” The woman seemed to be struck dumb with joy as she returned to her place.

Swami now told the Russians to continue with their bhajans. And they began to look at each other’s faces! This was not a prepared part of the programme. It was in devotional bravery that some members ventured and began to sing into the mike. Thus, “Vitthala Hari Vitthala” filled the air. And the singing was so beautiful.

More bhajans flowed out and Swami said, “They do not clap hard like our boys; the bhajans are so beautiful.” He called one of the students and told him something which he simply could not hear and grasp. He told Swami, “Swami, these people derive so much joy simply in seeing You!” Swami nodded and seemed to become emotional.

He then called the keyboard player and asked her to sing a bhajan. She began a slow and beautiful bhajan, “Shirdi Sai”. This was new but the feelings it embodied were as ancient as the concept of love and pining for the Lord. In the meanwhile, the photographer gave Swami the picture of the conductor being divinely “chained”!

Swami looked at the picture for a while and as He gave it to the conductor, she seemed to jump in joy, oblivious of where she was. She almost danced her way back to her seat showing the photo to all on the way and Swami seemed amused.

The coordinator now showed Swami another card for probably another programme. Swami had a look at it and then asked for aarthi. It was 7:00 p.m. when Swami blessed both the aarthi chance and rose chance students before moving back towards Yajur Mandir.

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