The Blessing Palm That Protected

The Blessing Palm That Protected

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Everything was unusually quiet; we were speeding towards the City of Kano in Nigeria, late in the night on the 22nd of December 1980. When we were just entering the City, suddenly I saw a crowd standing in the middle of the main road, about 100 metres away. Can they be armed robbers? The Nigerian driver managed to stop. He tried to reverse as fast as possible before we could be seen or trapped but it was too late. The crowd came shouting at us to stop. Then only the news headlines in the morning paper I had bought on the way flashed across my mind. There was widespread disturbance in the city and a number of people had been killed on the previous day.

I told the driver to stop, because running away may cause unpredictable damage to the car and life. I had a picture of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Baba, with the car documents and the passport. I collected them in my hands. The Blessing Palm of Bhagawan appeared to infuse some strength into me. Within seconds we were surrounded by the people who were fully armed.

Two of them, with two heavy iron crowbars, came and stood on either side of the car and brought their instruments to rest on either side of the bonnet making two deep dents on it. An elderly man who came shouting at me with a volley of questions both in Hausa and in English, cooled down when I told him that I had come to receive my wife and children, who were expected to arrive at the Aminu Kano International Airport on the next day. He waved his hands, indicating to the others around the car not to do any further damage.

We were driving slowly only to face another crowd at the junction 75 metres away. They also stopped us in spite of the shouting and waving of hands from those who had allowed us to proceed. This group examined the empty boot of the car thoroughly.

After this, they told us not to proceed on our journey, because they knew that the other groups waiting all along the roads will not permit any car to pass. They advised us to go to the Central Hotel or to the Daula Hotel to spend the night. Since these hotels were also far away from that place, an old man volunteered to take us to a safe place. His fete was painted white. We hesitated to give any answer. Without waiting for any reply from us, he simply pushed the driver to one side and took the wheel. Before we could realise what was happening, he turned the car from the main road and we were moving into the bush through narrow lanes and villages.

Finally the car stopped under a (Margosa/Neem) tree, in front of a Hausa pattern mud house. The man who was driving appeared to be the owner of the house. He got down from the car. Although it was midnight, the area appeared to be fully active and awake. Even children were around the car and were curious to find out more about us.

I took out the licence book with Baba’s picture and started sending an S.O.S. to Bhagawan. In this way I could shut out torturing thoughts presented by the unexpected train of events. Further, I assured my friend (who was highly upset) that Bhagawan Baba was with us and that there was nothing to worry.

The man who went inside the house, brought out two mats and requested us to relax under the tree. We thanked him for the kind gesture and told him to give a place for our driver to sleep somewhere inside.

Soon afterwards, a man came out from one side. He was commanding the respect of all the people present there. He spoke a few words with the owner of the house. Then he came straight to us and said: “You appear to be worried. Would you like to spend the rest of the night at the police station?” We gladly accepted and he offered to take us to the police station. He took the front seat and asked our driver to drive. The crowd that came with him were marching in procession in front of the car and were removing all the obstacles on the path to allow our car to pass.

This procession continued through the bush roads for about a mile and took about 30 minutes. At the police station the man introduced us to the officer in charge who was standing outside with a gun in his hand. We greeted the officer and turned round to thank the man who brought us safely up to that place. But the man was not there; we also never had any chance to meet him again.

The police officer pointed to a human body lying in the darkness at a short distance and said that he had to shoot him only a few minutes back. He was trying to run away inspite of the order to stop and surrender.

Our driver slept in the officer’s room and we managed to relax inside the car till 6.00 a.m. next day. We hurried out early in the morning and were shocked to see burnt cars and charred human bodies, some of which were still burning on the roadside.

The morning papers carried the news of a foreign reporter who was killed by a poisoned arrow on that night. The two dents on the bonnet of my car are there to this day; I treasure them as marks of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Grace that protected us all through.


Happy New Year 2010 From The SathyaSaiBaba Blog

Happy New Year 2010 From The SathyaSaiBaba Blog

Very Happy New Year 2010

Very Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year 2010

Blessed New Year 2010

Blessed New Year 2010

H ours of happy times with friends and family
A bundant time for relaxation
P rosperity
P lenty of love when you need it the most
Y outhful excitement at lifes simple pleasures

N ights of restful slumber (you know – dont’ worry be happy)
E verything you need
W ishing you love and light

Y ears and years of good health
E njoyment and mirth
A angels to watch over you
R embrances of a happy years!

~ Author Unknown ~

H elping ever, hurting never
A lways remembering the three “P’s”:
P atience, Purity &
P erseverence
Y ields a fragrant breeze.

N ever fear when Sai is here.
E verywhere are his hands and feet.
W elcome all with love and cheer

Y ajur mandiram is the heart’s retreat…
E njoy His presence, enjoy His Love
A nanda Sai’s name we repeat again and again
R emembering Sai will bestow on all a joy-filled


“Happy New Year” In Different Languages:

  • Chinese (Cantonese) – Sun nien fai lok
  • Chinese (Mandarin) – Xin nian yu kuai
  • Danish – Godt Nytår
  • Dutch – Gelukkig nieuwjaar
  • Farsi – Aide shoma mobarak
  • French – Bonne année
  • Gaelic – Aith-bhliain Fe Nhaise Dhuit
  • German – Gutes Neues Jahr
  • Hawaiian – Hauoli Makahiki Hou
  • Hebrew – Shanah tovah
  • Hindi (Indian) – Nav Varsh Ki Badhaai/ Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
  • Hmong – Nyob zoo xyoo tshiab
  • Indonesian – Elamat Tahun Baru
  • Italian – Buon Capo d’Anno
  • Japanese – Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu
  • Norwegian – Godt Nyttår
  • Pilipino (Tagalog) – Maligayang Bagong Taon
  • Polish – Szczesliwego Nowego roku
  • Portuguese – Feliz ano novo
  • Puttaparth’ian – Om Sai Ram
  • Romanian – La Multi Ani
  • Russian – S Novym Godom
  • Spanish – Feliz Año Nuevo
  • Sudanese – Wilujeng Tahun Baru
  • Swedish – Gott Nytt År
  • Turkish – Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
  • Welsh – Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Seeing Sai Baba

Seeing Sai Baba

Our columnist has a spiritual time in a remote village in India.

INTRIGUED by his teachings on human values and the fact that he has followers in 170 countries, I travelled to Puttaparthi, India, last weekend to experience Sathya Sai Baba’s darshan (blessings).

Puttaparthi is a remote village in Andhra Pradesh state in India’s south-east that has been placed on the world map as a top pilgrimage centre owing to the presence there of Baba, who is considered a living god by more than 100 million followers worldwide.

The shops, hotels, banks and other business outlets in the village all depend on the floating population of thousands who come there from all over the world throughout the year to seek Baba’s blessing and peace of mind.

My first glimpse of Sathya Sai Baba is when shopkeepers rush out of their stores to join the crowds lining the main street – Baba is passing by in a car escorted by police and volunteers, returning to his abode.

He’s returning from a visit to the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, which treats the poor for free and also handles cases related to cardiology, urology, nephrology and ophthalmology.

I later discover that to get into Baba’s Prasanthi Nilayam (Abode of Peace), one must go through airport-style security checks, including going through a metal detector and being frisked. And just like on an airplane, cameras, mobile phones, pens and sharp objects were prohibited. Men and women are separated to opposite sides of the huge hall.

The day that I’m here, Nov 7, is special because on the second Saturday of November every year, devotees in Puttaparthi and at Sai Baba centres worldwide sing bhajans (devotional chants) continuously for 24 hours to confer peace, joy, harmony and bliss to all of mankind.

Thousands of vocalists sing with full devotion and the divine vibration is said to have the power to remove negative thoughts, soothe the nerves, purify the mind and heal those within earshot.

I am overwhelmed by the vibrations of the sacred sounds the moment I step foot into the holy space.

Seated in a lotus pose in silence, I feel a sudden surge of energy rushing into my body when Satya Sai Baba arrives in a wheel chair.

Wearing a saffron coloured robe, Baba seems, to me, electrifying – so much so that I feel goose pimples, and tears well up in my eyes.

Some of his devotees tell me later that such experiences are common in the presence of a “realised master” because his mind is saturated with “God consciousness” and a great ecstasy will develop within any individual close by, without any mental or intellectual effort.

Sathya Sai Baba is pushed slowly along an aisle lined on both sides by over 10,000 devotees; he stops occasionally to receive letters and wedding invitation cards from his followers, and some cry with love and joy when he’s close.

He does not speak but gazes deeply into the eyes of everyone he comes into contact with; when he reaches the dais in front, he sweeps his eyes over all his devotees. His disciples clasp their hands in prayer and bow, while the crowd basks in the peace he is emanating.

Sathya SaiBaba was born on Nov 23, 1926, and, right from his childhood, there were consistent manifestations of his divinity. For instance, his birth was accompanied by strange phenomena – like the musical instruments in his house playing on their own and a cobra lying unthreateningly under his bed.

Even as a small child, he was against violence and refused to touch meat; by the age of four, when most children have not learnt to share yet, he began displaying compassion and generosity.

At the age of 14, he declared to his family that he did not belong only to them and set out with others who believed in him to launch his divine mission in the service of mankind.

He would enchant his followers by doing things like distributing sweets from an empty bag, plucking a variety of fruits from a tamarind tree, and creating holy ash in his hand.

One of his strongest messages then was to surrender completely to him, that he would take over his followers’ worries and fears.

According to Baba, surrender means not having expectations, not being upset if the outcome of events is different than anticipated. He says he can only help when an individual completely entrusts him or herself to him totally.

Baba says energy passes from him to devotees in his presence, and that whatever his eyes see will be vitalised.

In the meeting hall, I am five rows away from Sathya Sai Baba and cannot pass him the letter I am carrying for a Malaysian devotee – but Baba stares at me and then at the letter I am holding, and, somehow, I feel that he knows its contents.

Baba does not perform any miracles that day but some of his devotees experience visions and say they feel a sensation of relief and contentment in his presence.

I feel lighter and almost blissful after the two hour session in Sathya Sai Baba’s company.

Many who arrive there come “expecting” but return “accepting” the true purpose of life and of the power of love and compassion.

Vasthu talk
The columnist will present a talk on how to choose an auspicious property and create a happy home following Vasthu Sastra principles at 2pm on Nov 27 at The Star Property Fair at Hall 4, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Admission to the talk is free. To register, call 012-329 9713.

Senior News Editor T. Selva has spent years researching and writing about the ancient Indian science of construction, better known as ‘Indian feng shui’. He is the first disciple of 7th generation Vasthu Sastra Master Yuvaraj Sowma from Chennai, India.

The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

The Star Reference

There is never a dull moment with Sai Baba

There is never a dull moment with Sai Baba
14/11/2009 14:00:00
Venkat Raman

I have often heard some people say that they visit Sri Satya Sai Baba in Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh) or Whitefield (near Bangalore) expecting him to materialise a gold chain, a wristwatch or at least vibhuthi (sacred ash).

Baba rarely obliges them.

For, his objective is to draw people into a world of piety, chastity, righteousness and good behaviour, and not to show them ‘miracles.’

“Then why do you do it?” I used to ask him.

“One day you would be writing impressive headlines to draw the attention of people to read your stories,” he prophesied.

“Why are there rewards for achievers?” he said, hoping that I would understand the import of his thoughts.

I have had the honour and privilege of knowing Baba since I was a teenager and learnt from him about life in all its vicissitudes over countless meetings and discussions.

I have also met people who used to arrive at the ‘Prashanti Nilayam’ in Puttaparthi just to have a glimpse of their favourite Bhagawan (God).

I distinctly remember a great writer and editor of a magazine telling Sathya Sai Baba 30 years ago, “I Want Peace.”

Lofty, meaningful goals
Instant came the reply, “Remove I (ego) and Want (desire) and you will have Peace.” Then turning to me, he said, “Just like all the wealth that one has, just like what you call, ‘miracles,’ everything is illusion. What is ultimate is the truth – of who you are and what you do.”

Sathya Sai Baba also used to tell me time and again, “Do not just to strive to raise your Standard of Living. You should lift the your Standard of Life. The former is material but the latter is eternal.”

My career has taken me to many countries around the world, I have spent more years living elsewhere than in the land of my birth, but I have never lost touch with the Greatest Teacher that I have ever had in life.

I also remember many world leaders, celebrities and people who you read about in newspapers or watch on television preferring to wait along with the crowd, rather than seek a special audience (not that he would always oblige) with Baba.

“Everyone is important for Baba and everyone is equal before my eyes,” he would say and then invite the least expected person and his family for a special meeting.

“Every person aspires for happiness and peace without understanding nature. While we are all a part of nature, why should we differentiate between each other in terms of wealth, community and religion? Though there are many determined men, no one knows the goal of life,” he said, speaking on his birthday recently.

Great social worker
Sathya Sai Baba’s Birthday (November 23) has always been a special occasion for me since my formative years. I would be excited to see a few hundred people (compared to tens of thousands today) come together to sing in his praise and do voluntary work.

Sathya Sai Baba is a great social worker.

From building roads and bridges to bringing potable water to the poor people in villages, he has achieved more than what any government anywhere could claim to have done in years.

Education has always been his passion.

“Look at those innocent faces,” he would say, showing me some photographs or pointing to children in an assembly, “they are so impressionable and therefore it is important that they are shaped well. Education without character is useless. It is like chanting a mantra without either understanding its meaning or concentrating on God. We should not let our children go astray.”

The educational institutions that he has built or funded are all today citadels of understanding and appreciating the larger aspects of life, rather than rote learning of arts and science subjects. Students are taught qualitative aspects of life and emerge from these schools and colleges as fine young men and women, without being addicted to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes.

An inimitable Avatar
Those were days of intense curiosity as well. I used to hear from ‘Kasturi Kaka’ that Satya Sai Baba is an Avatar and an actual incarnation of the full power of Divinity, of the Godhead.

The birth of Sathya Sai was an auspicious event, which has not occurred for more than 5000 years. In another major Age of Mankind, Baba was Lord Krishna, he would say.

Baba says that that divine essence has come again, as the prophets have foretold, to guide and uplift Mankind at this critical time in human history.

It is a historical fact that Divinity appears amongst us in order to remind us of our divinity.

“I know who I am. I have come to help you to realise who you are. You are no less. All of us are God Incarnate,” Baba has said on many occasions.

The Bhagavan, the Supreme Being, the Social Worker, the Doctor who cures all ailments and above all, the World’s Greatest Teacher is a class to Himself, attracting people of all religious faiths, income groups and nationalities into his fold. Whether he is an Avatar or not may be a subject of debate but the former is gaining ground.

On the occasion of his Birthday on November 23, Indian Newslink offers its salutations to Sathya Sai Baba on behalf of millions of his devotees all over the world.

Celebrations in New Zealand
Indian Newslink understands that Satya Sai organisations and groupings will mark the 84th Birthday of Satya Sai Baba on November 23 with prayers and other events. The following are some of them:

  • Skiptin Hall, 53 Skipton Road, Mangere, Manukau City from 715 pm to 930 pm
  • Mahatma Gandhi Centre, 145 New North Road, Eden Terrace 7 pm to 9 pm
  • Kelston Community Centre, 126 Awaroa Road, Kelston, Waitakere 630 pm to 945 pm
  • Edgewater College, 32 Edgewater Drive, Pakuranga, Manukau 430 pm to 730 pm

Indian Newslink Reference

New Age – The Dawn Of The Golden Era

Sathya Sai Baba And The Golden Age

Sathya Sai Baba And The Golden Age

New Age – The Dawn Of The Golden Era

A few weeks ago in this space we had an article, “The Cup of life” from a current student of Sathya Sai Baba’s Institute. Many readers wrote to us expressing their desire to have more articles from the students. So here we are with another student’s article. This is actually the transcription of a small talk given by Sri Chandrasekhar of I MBA during the Morning Prayer sessions in the Institute.

There’s no end to the incarnations that God indulges in. He comes down for various purposes. Sometimes He comes with a part of His glory, sometimes with a fuller equipment of His splendor, sometimes for fulfilling a particular task, while at times, He comes to transform an entire era of time, an entire gamut of space.

‘For the protection of the good, for the destruction of evil forces and for the firm establishment of Dharma, I am born from age to age.’

This Divine assurance made by the Lord as Krishna is being fulfilled and we are all blessed to be contemporaries of Bhagawan, witnessing Him as He mends the very fabric of humanity and ushers in the ‘Golden Era’.

I would like to draw your attention to three of Satya Sai Baba’s profound declarations. Bhagawan Sri Sathya SaiBaba said, “My mission is to raise the consciousness of man to a level, at which, he neither rejoices nor mourns over anything.”

Secondly, in a revelation given to Charles Penn, Satya SaiBaba exhorts to us, “Your mission has begun. These are My words to you, My devotees. Each one of you has a unique and valuable part to play in this lifetime… You are My instruments from whom My love will pour forth. Only those whom I’ve called can serve Me. I have prepared you for this work through many incarnations…”

Finally, Bhagawan Baba in His own commanding yet simple way, said, “My mission is already accomplished. I’m only letting it unfold before your eyes.”

Now bearing these imposing declarations of Sai Baba in mind, let us look at the world around us. We still find negativity manifesting as hatred, violence, disharmony and the like, in swollen proportions. So much so that even Mother Earth is retorting to man’s actions in the form of earth quakes, volcanoes and detrimental geographical changes. Nevertheless, Bhagawan’s resolve to bring in the ‘Suvarna Yuga’, the Golden age, is His ‘Vajra Sankalpa’ (Diamond-like resolve) and at His command, the stars have to fall in place. Why this incongruity then? Or, is there an incongruity at all? Is there something happening behind the scenes which we do not readily see?

Swami says, “Mano moolam Idam Jagat”. The world, as we see it, is but a reflection of the mind. If we find so much negativity around us, it just goes to suggest the state of man’s mind. With the mind and Ego being the focus of our lives, we hurt and inflict pain on each other. Life’s reins are to a large extent held by the ego and every ego says, ‘I’m right’. This manifests even as a nation, as the collective human ego. Every country is selfish and claims to be right in doing so.

This unchecked striving for more and more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. This dysfunction is actually accelerating and intensifying. It’s the same dysfunction which the cancer cells exhibit, whose only intention is to grow, unaware of the destruction that it is bringing about to itself. The same is the fate of the ego. In its endeavor to intensify it is unconsciously burning itself. Like the forest fire which destroys the forest itself, the fury fire of ego in the form of negativity, is destroying the ego itself. Now, as the egos are drowned, the individual consciousness evolves. In science, we know of parameters like ‘Critical Mass’, and ‘Critical Pressure’, which indicate the point at which the balance shifts from one side to the other. In the same way, as the consciousness evolves at the individual level, it is raising the collective human consciousness. Once the critical point is reached, there will be a quantum jump in the collective consciousness. This is what we tend to miss, because Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is presently raising the individual consciousness of man. Nevertheless, it is quickly heading towards the critical point and thus towards an imperative collective evolution of humanity.

‘It is darkest before dawn,
A new age shall be born’

All the sufferings that humanity undergoes at large, the geographic and planetary changes, are the labor pains which Mother Earth is experiencing in the birth of a new consciousness.

Sathya Sai Baba indicated this in one of His Dassera discourses in 2005. He said, “Within a few years, rivalry, hatred, and misunderstanding between people will become a thing of the past in Bharat and in the world at large.” Describing the grandeur of the Golden Age, He said, “The time is soon approaching when all humanity will live in harmony. It is beyond all comprehension. Its beauty is beyond all dreams.” Then He went on to say, “Before it arrives be prepared to reveal to every living thing, the true purpose of existence.”

Now what is it that Bhagawan wants us to be prepared for? Do we know the true purpose? What are our roles? The answers to these questions are very subjective, for Bhagawan Himself asserts that the role which each one of us will play is going to be unique and valuable.

However, broadly speaking, to be a part of the solution, we must be aware of problem and be sensitive towards its implications. The problem here is the mind, a wonderful tool, but a deadly master. It is the nature of the mind to dwell on the disappointments of the past and the anxieties of the future, completely neglecting the present moment. While the truth remains that life is always in the present. So by saying ‘Yes’ to the mind and its chatter about the past and the future, we are saying ‘No’ to the present, that is to say, ‘No’ to life itself. What could be more insane than this!

All the problems we see in the external world are a projection of the turmoil of the mind. No solution which arises from the mind will solve this problem, for the mind itself is intrinsically a part of it. The problem is not so much the inability to think, but it is the inability to stop thinking. Bhagawan in His adeptness puts it in two words, ‘Die-mind’.

It is from this mind identified state that Bhagawan ventures to raise us to His level of consciousness. He explains, “Man has to be unmade and remade with his ego destroyed and replaced with a transcendental consciousness.” How do we play our roles in this event which takes place once in an entire Yuga?

We have guideposts which will safely take us to the destination. The first of those is the simplest and yet the most potent. It is prayer addressed to our Beloved Lord. Swami Sai Baba Himself describes the story of the elephant Gajendra. He says:

“In the thick forest of life, a wild elephant, the mind of man, will be roaming. This mind which is roaming becomes thirsty for sensuous pleasures. To quench the thirst, it begins to drink from the lake of worldly activities. The moment it does, the crocodile of attachment catches hold of its leg. In its efforts to extricate itself, the elephant (mind) finds that the grip of the crocodile (attachment) on its leg strengthens. Unable to free itself, in exasperation and exhaustion, the elephant beseeches to the Lord. In that moment, when the elephant’s vision turned towards the Lord, God’s vision also turned towards the elephant and saves it from Samsara (worldly life).

The second guidepost is ‘Namasmarana’. The human mind unconsciously seeks something lasting but unfortunately seeks it in things which are by themselves ephemeral. Only the Lord and His name last forever. Swami says, “For a bird in the mid-ocean flying over the dark blue waters, the only resting place is the mast of a sailing ship. It has the picture of the mast steady in its mind; its form fixed in its eye. Similarly, the Lord is the only refuge for the man who’s swept by storms over a restless sea. The name of the Lord is the mast for you; remember it ever.”

Thirdly and most importantly, we should never get attached to the work we are doing, to the roles which He’s instructed us to don. We should remember that even without any of us, the Lord will still achieve His mission. Recalling what Arjuna said on having the Vishwaroopa Darshan, “Oh Krishna, I can see the entire Kaurava army plunging into your fiery mouth and meeting their destruction.” Krishna replied, “I have willed both the battle and the result. What remains is the completion of formalities which shall be done with or without you.”…. “Therefore, surrendering all actions to Me, thy thoughts concentrated on Me, the absolute and supreme Self of all, free from selfishness and without any anticipation of reward, with mind perfectly calm, begin thou to fight.” These are the words that should ring in our ears as we carry out Bhagawan’s work.

As Chardin said,

“The day will come when,
After harnessing the space and the winds,
The tides and the gravitation,
We shall harness for God the energies of Love.
And on that day, for the second time
In the history of the world,
We shall have discovered fire.”

Let’s hope that day dawns soon!

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team

Mawar Presents Deepavali Goodies To The Needy

Mawar Presents Deepavali Goodies To The Needy

JOHOR BARU: Donations given to D. Mariyee put a smile on her face as she was touched for not been forgotten by society.

The 73-year-old was among 37 poor people who received Deepavali goodies from Majlis Wanita Johor (Mawar) at a ceremony in the Sathya Sai Baba Centre here on Friday.

The mother of four, who received items like festive cookies, tit-bits and cash, said, since her husband’s death 23 years ago, she had been working hard to provide for her family.

“I have been unable to work after falling and injuring myself three years ago. I rely on my daughter-in-law and donations to help me get by,” she said.

Mariyee said she was forced to stay with her daughter-in-law after floods washed away her house last year.

“I am thankful for the aid given by Mawar. I believe it will add to the festive cheer in our house,” said the single mother.

Mariyee receiving the festive goodies from Safiah while the Sathya Sai Baba Centre’s state coordinator Govindan Karuppiah (right) looks on at the event in Johor Baru recently.

In gratitude: Mariyee receiving the festive goodies from Safiah while the Sathya Sai Baba Centre’s state coordinator Govindan Karuppiah (right) looks on at the event in Johor Baru recently.

Another recipient, retiree T.S. Pakirisamy, said it was the first time he had received such help.

“My wife is a stroke victim and has been paralysed for 10 years. I hope the goodies can help lift spirits in our house,” said the 76-year-old.

Meanwhile, single mother M. Kalarani, 44, said she worked as a cleaner to support herself and six children.

“My husband passed away two years ago and I am the sole breadwinner for the family. I am grateful that Mawar is lending a helping hand as I do not earn much as cleaner and don’t have extra money for the Deepavali celebration,” she said.

Mawar Welfare Bureau chairman Datin Safiah Aris, who presented the goodies to the families, said she was pleased to see the smiles on the recipients’ faces.

She represented Sultanah of Johor Sultanah Zanariah Tunku Ahmad at the event.