Chinese New Year 2009 – The Year of the Ox

Chinese New Year Of The Ox 2009

Chinese New Year Of The Ox 2009


Chinese New Year 2009 – The Year of the Ox
by Holly Hartman

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4707 begins on Jan. 26, 2009.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

An Obstinate Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly. Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Walt Disney, and Anthony Hopkins were all born in the year of the ox.

Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

The Lantern Festival
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events.

The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend. In addition, many Chinese-American communities have added American parade elements such as marching bands and floats.

Reference
Chinese New Year Ox Symbol

Sathya Sai Baba’s 2009 New Year Discourse

Sathya Sai Baba New Year 2009

Sathya Sai Baba New Year 2009


Sathya Sai Baba’s 2009 New Year Discourse
Date: 1 Jan 2009
Occasion: New Year Day
Place: Prasanthi Nilayam
Know Thyself! Then You Will Know Everything by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

The sun appears serene and peaceful
The days have become shorter and the cool wind is blowing
The fields are ripe with golden crops
Marigold flowers are blossoming like garlands of pearls on the banks of rivers
The farmers are rejoicing and singing
The sweet festival of Sankranti has come in the Pushya month,
Filling the granaries in our homes with the freshly harvested grain.
(Telugu song)

Embodiments of Love!

This is the Sankranti festival time. Sankranti is a great festival. It is a day on which the farmers bring home the harvested crops consisting of all varieties of food grains and pulses needed for the household. The farmers, having finished a hectic schedule of harvesting the crops and becoming free from agricultural operations, enjoy good food and rest in their homes. They spend a leisure time, happily with their family and friends indulging in fun and frolic. They invite the newly married sons-in-law to their houses and present them with new clothes. The entire house abounds with joy. In this context, there is a folk song in Telugu depicting the festival atmosphere in the villages:

As Sankranti is the festival of festivals,
Oh! Newly married bridegroom, visit your in-laws house;
Come, spend your time in fun and frolic with your brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
The entire household and the neighbourhood will honour you with love and affection.

In the earlier days, the means of transportation were not much developed. The sons-in-law used to visit their in-laws’ houses by walk or on bullock carts. Hence, the entire village used to shower a lot of affection on them and respect them by attending to their needs. They used to be fed with a variety of tasty dishes.

The Sankranti festival is also an occasion when the bullocks are decorated elaborately and taken to various houses in the village. The bullocks are worshipped and fed sumptuously as an expression of gratitude for all the hard work they have done in the fields. Even the bovine members of the household are feted.

A symbolic marriage is performed between a pair of bull and cow, naming them Rama and Sita. They are taken along the streets and made to dance to the delight of every one. The cow named Sita is asked, “Rama is black. Do you like him?” Sita would swing her head in disagree-ment. Then, she is counseled, “please do not say no; Rama is great. He is handsome and respect-able!” Then Sita would nod her head in agreement.

An elder brother watching this beautiful show invites his younger brother to witness this sym-bolic marriage and offer gifts to the “couple”, thus:

Oh my dear brother, here comes the Gangireddudasu.
Come, let us go and see him. He wears a silver medallion and a waist belt.
He carries a decorated staff and wears special marks on his forehead.
He brings with him the richly caparisoned sacred cow and bull and performs their marriage.
Let us see the marriage ceremony and offer our gifts.
(Telugu folk song)

Thus, the Sankranti festival is celebrated in the villages with a lot of religious fervour and fun. Festivals like Sankranti and Sivaratri are meant to contemplate upon and realise one’s innate Divinity.

People say “Idi naa dehamu” (this is my body), very casually. But people well-versed in Sanskrit language would interpret the expression “naa dehamu” (my body) in a different way. They explain that “na” means “not” based upon the literal meaning and conclude that “naa dehamu” means “I am not the body.” Similarly the Telugu expression “naa manasu” (my mind) can be interpreted as “I am not the mind.” The same is the case with buddhi (intellect).

The sum and substance of all these expressions is, “I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am not the buddhi (intellect). etc.” In the same logic, one has to maintain a state of perfect equanimity unaffected by pain and pleasure at all time affirming, “these sorrows and difficulties as well as happiness and pleasure are not mine. I am beyond these dualities.”

“It is my body” means. “I am different from the body.” When you consider yourself as separate from your body, why should you feel the pain out of it? The situation, however, is that you are unable to bear the pain caused to the body. Hence, you remain at the level of a human being only. You are unable to come out of the delusion of body attachment. As long as you are attached to the body, these sorrows and difficulties as well as pain will haunt you. These are all your own making.

Suppose you get angry. From where did this anger come? It has come from you only. Similarly, jealously is a quality that manifested from your mind. Thus, each one of these bad qualities are the result of your own thoughts. Hence, if only you are able to control your thoughts properly, you will be able to achieve anything in life.

The mind, intellect, and chittha (subconscious mind) are the reflections of Atma. The mind has no stability. It is the repository of thoughts and desires. It is said, “Manayeva manushyanam Karanam bandha mokshyah” (the mind is the root cause of either bondage or liberation). Hence, one has to keep the mind under proper control by putting some ceiling on desires.

Both the body and mind undergo change constantly. However, there is one entity inside that is changeless, that is Atma. It has no form but it has a name: Atma. Self and Atma both mean the same.

Atma is also called Aham. One should not confuse oneself in this context that this Aham is ahamkara (ego), which is identified with the body. God has no name and form, and He is always referred to as Brahman. If God were to reveal His true nature, He would say “Aham Brahmasmi” (I am Brahman). The same Brahma Tathwa (Brahman principle) permeates all beings as Atma Tathwa (Atma principle).

We say so and so is my wife, so and so is my son. so and so is my daughter-in-law, etc. These are all illusory and bodily relationships. They are acquired by us and are not God given. Similarly God does not grant you either pleasure or pain. All are your own making only. They are due to your body attachment. As long as you are attached to the physical body, you will experience pain only. Once this physical body is consigned to flames, nothing comes along with you.

Atma, Self, I — these are the different names given to the same Atmic principle.

The identification with the body is done by the individual, thereby resulting in ahamkara (ego). That is why Jesus advised to cross the little I (ego), so that one may become God oneself.

Your own Self (Atma) directs all your activities from within. This Self has no birth and death, just as Brahman has no birth and death. It is eternal, true, and changeless. We have to attach ourselves to such an everlasting principle, not to the constantly changing and ephemeral objects.

Suppose you married a girl. You call her your wife. Prior to the marriage, who was she? Who were you? There was absolutely no relationship between you. Only by your marriage did you become husband and wife and acquire marital relationship. The relationship is acquired by you. God has nothing to do with these worldly relationships. Yet, He is the eternal witness to all that goes on in this world.

Dhyana (meditation), japa (constant repetition of God’s name), or yoga are of no help in realising the Atma Tathwa. Neither are the nine forms of devotion like sravanam (listening), kirtanam (singing), Vishnusmaranam (contemplating on Vishnu), Padasevanam (serving His Lotus Feet), vandanam (salutation), archanam (worship), dasyam (servitude), sneham (friendship), and Atmanivedanam (self-surrender) of any help. They are different forms of sadhana, which we ourselves have taken up. They are not God-given.

How many ascetics in this world do severe penance? How many people constantly do japa? Even when they are sleeping, the japamala (rosary beads) rotates in their hand. Do all these spiritual exercises confer moksha (liberation) on oneself? Never! One has therefore to constantly contemplate on the Atma Tathwa.

If someone asks who you are, you should be able to reply “I am God!” with all the faith and confidence at you command. The Atmaswarupa in all the human beings is one and the same. It is eternal and changeless.

I have told you several times about the story of Alexander the Great. Though he conquered large parts of the world, he could not take with him even an iota of property that he accumulated. He had to leave this world with empty hands. In order to demonstrate this truth to the world, he instructed his ministers to take his dead body in a procession through the streets of his capital keeping both his hands in a raised position pointing the sky.

When the ministers were curious to know the reason for this strange request from the Em-peror, Alexander replied, “I have conquered several countries and accumulated great wealth. There is a vast army under my control. Yet, none is accompanying me at the time of my leaving this mortal body. I am going with empty hands. This truth has to be demonstrated to all people.”

We may acquire a lot of wealth and deposit in the banks or lend it to others for interest. Yet, we cannot take even a handful of earth along with us at the time of leaving our body. Nothing of this world comes along with us. We are unnecessarily struggling and planning several schemes constantly thinking about them day and night. In spite of all our struggles, what has to go out of our hands will go.

“The body is like a water bubble. The mind is like a mad monkey.” If you follow this mad monkey, you will get into trouble. On the other hand, if you believe in the body, you do not know when this body, which is like a water bubble, will burst. Nothing is permanent. Only the Atma (SELF) is eternal and immortal. That is God.

“I”, “Self”, “God” are all different names by which Divinity is referred to. The Atma that is referred to as “I” is donning different names and forms.

God had incarnated as Rama, Krishna, etc. Rama underwent several difficulties and demonstrated great ideals. Krishna demonstrated several leelas (sports, plays) and attracted several people. Finally, He left His mortal coil. The physical bodies of the Avatars undergo changes, but the Divine Atma in their bodies remains the same. The Atma is omnipresent.

However, in order to attain Atma Jnana (Atmic wisdom), your resolves have to be pure. You have to constantly contemplate upon the Divine Atma.

Your thoughts and actions may change; the methods of your japa, tapa, and yoga may change, but Divinity will not undergo any change. That is why Divinity has been described as nirgunam, niranjanam, sanathana niketanam, nitya, shuddha buddha, mukta, nirmala swarupinam (attributeless, pure, final abode, eternal, unsullied, enlightened, free, and embodiment of sacredness).

People pray, “Oh! God! Grant me your Divine darshan.” Even if He grants you His divine vision, it is only momentary. It comes and goes like a flash. In fact, God is very much immanent in your own heart. He is hearing all your prayers. He is answering your prayers.

Even when your physical body ceases to exist, the Atma remains. That Atma (Self) is eternal. It assumes different forms. We witness several objects in this Universe, like the stars, the sun, the moon, etc. Though they appear to be static, even they undergo changes. Only Divinity, which is the basis of all these, remains changeless and eternal.

One should always maintain purity. In fact, this land of Bharath has earned great name and fame, for purity and character:

This land of Bharath has given birth to many noble women, like
Savitri, who brought her dead husband back to life,
Chandramati, who extinguished wild fire with the power of truth;
Sita, who proved her chastity by coming out of blazing fire unscathed, and
Damayanti, who reduced an evil-minded hunter to ashes with the power of her chastity.
This land of piety and nobility attained plenty and prosperity and
Became the teacher of all the nations for the world because of such women of chastity.
(Telugu Poem)

Good character is very essential not only for ladies but for gents too! If only one has character, you can call them a man or a chaste woman. Today, we find boys and girls moving very close and behaving as though they are husband and wife. But for how long? Only for a short period. Thereafter, the situation changes. Once they are married, the boy will be somewhere and the girl will go somewhere else. However, there will be no change at all in the divine nature.

It is customary to exchange diamond rings between a boy and girl when they marry. The diamond ring, which is an impermanent object, is symbolic of Divinity, which is changeless and is available to people at all times. We should safeguard our character like a diamond. It is the custom of even overseas people to exchange diamond rings at the time of marriage. Thus, there is a meaning in every custom and tradition not only in India but also in all countries.

As I have already mentioned above, you say that this is “my body” (naa dehamu). Here “naa” refers to self in Telugu language. But, in Sanskrit, “naa” refers to “no”. Hence, it means, “I am not the body.” Thus, there is a lot of meaning in every expression.

God is described as “Sahasra seersha Purushah sahasraksha sahasra paad.” (The Cosmic Being has thousands of heads, eyes and feet). You have only one head, whereas God has thousands of heads. What does it mean? All heads in the entire creation are His!

Likewise, it is not correct to say that Swami has seen a thousand full moons (Sahasra chandra darshan). I have seen not just one thousand full moons but crores and crores of full moons. As the Veda declares, “Chandrama manaso jathah,” (moon is the presiding deity of our mind.) You each have a mind. I have been seeing all your minds. I have been seeing the minds of crores of people all over the world. Thus, it amounts to seeing not merely one thousand moons but crores and crores of moons.

The boys sang a song, “Neeku maaku unnadi oke bandhamu, ade prema bandhamu” (It is the bond of love that unites us with you), a few minutes ago. You should ensure that this bond of love lasts forever.

Outwardly, we may display several qualities, but the inner thoughts or values are only five: sathya (truth), dharma (righteousness), santhi (peace), prema (love), and ahimsa (nonviolence). These are innate qualities, not superimposed from outside. Neither they can be purchased from any shop. They are very much ingrained in the core of our personality. Our duty is to manifest those qualities and reflect them in our daily life. That is “Educare”. On the other hand, education refers to acquiring knowledge relating to the physical and secular world.

Truth is eternal. It has to manifest from within. Same is the case with dharma. It is said, “Dharmamoolam idam jagath.” In fact, it is, “Sathyamoolam idam jagath.” Truth is righteousness. All other values are contained in and originate from Truth.

Love is another quality that is innate in human beings. It should be manifested and shared with one and all. Where there is love, there cannot be hatred. Love transforms itself into nonviolence. A person is suffused with love cannot indulge in any kind of violence. Where there is no love, people cause harm to one another.

From truth emerges righteousness. When these two qualities go together, peace is the result. Peace manifests as calm and serene behaviour. A person in that state says, “I am peaceful.” Several people, when asked about the purpose of their sadhana, reply, “for attaining peace of mind”. But, where is peace? There are only pieces in the outside world.

A mother loves her child. She will not forsake her child under any circumstances, even when provoked to get angry. Love drives it away. If nonviolence is to reign supreme in the world, the quality of love must be cultivated by all.

It is not enough if you love yourself. You should love your neighbours too. You must develop the feeling that everyone belongs to you and the same Atma resides as the indweller in all people.

For example, there is only one moon in the sky. The same moon is reflected in a thousand pots. You will see the moon reflected in each of the thousand pots separately. Can you therefore say there are thousand moons. No! Similarly, there are no suns separately in different countries like India, USA, and Japan. Only one sun illuminates the entire world.

However, the time at which the sun rises in different parts of the world differs. Now it is 6 o’clock in the evening for us, whereas it is 6 o’clock in the morning in America. In Japan, it is 12 noon. On the basis of this difference in time, you cannot say that there is more than one sun in the sky. Only one sun illuminates the entire world.

Similarly, only one God resides as the indweller in different people. Each one worships Him in their own way, ascribing a particular name and form to Divinity.

Several people are trying to ascertain from Me the birth place of Lord Rama. During the past several years, a number of people approached Me and pleaded with Me, “Swami! Please tell us where exactly Rama was born.” I told them, “Rama was born in the womb of mother Kausalya.”

In fact, do you search for yourself in the outside world? No! Your true nature is to be found in yourself only. You are you only. Similarly, it is futile to search for God, asking, “Where can I find God?” God is omnipresent. Sarvatah Panipadam tat sarvathokshi siromukham, sarvatah sruthimalloke sarvamavruthya tishthati. With hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth and ears pervading everything, He permeates the entire universe. Hence, there is no use asking, “Where is God?”

Try to know about yourself, in the first instance. Then you will know everything. Unfortunately today people are trying to know about everything in the outside world, without first knowing about themselves. No purpose will be served by such an exercise. “Know thyself! Then you will know everything.”

Remind yourself, “I am the Embodiment of Divine Atma; the Atma is immanent in me.”

People often say “this is my …; this is my …” But who is that “my”? To whom does it refer? The feeling of “my” is maya (illusion). However, people do not make any effort to understand this.

Since you are an individual, you say, “my….” But God is not confined to a particular name and form. He is the principle of “I”, which is all pervading. Several names and forms are ascribed to Him, but He is one and only one! “Ekam sath viprah bahudha vadanthi” (truth is one the wise say it in different ways). The different expressions like “I”, “I am God”, “I am Brahma”, “I am Vishnu”, etc. refer to only one God.

Unfortunately today people are “dividing” the “Divine”. You should treat Divinity as only one. Do not differentiate between people, saying this man is my brother, this person is my son-in-law, etc. All are brothers and sisters only. When you consider all people as your brothers and sisters, where is the feeling of difference between individuals? Spirituality teaches exactly this feeling of oneness among human beings.

People say that they could realise God by doing japa, dhyana, and such other sadhanas (spiritual exercises). But when and where? How? They will not be able to see even the person standing right in front of them when they close their eyes. How then can they see God in meditation? All these sadhanas are meant to control the mind.

The mind is very unsteady. It is always affected by bumps and jumps. How then can you control such an unsteady mind? It is not possible. The mind can be controlled in only one way: by constant contemplation on God.

We often see people changing the names and forms of God for contemplation, frequently. One day they contemplate on Rama, the next day on Krishna, and yet another day on Venkateswara, etc. Mind control is not possible by such contemplation. If you consider Rama as the God of your liking, then stick on to that name and form till your last breath. Then, surely you will have the sakshathkara (vision) of Rama.

Great painters like Ravi Varma portrayed Rama in a particular form, but Rama and Krishna are not confined to such forms only. In fact, God has no particular form. He assumes a particular form at a particular time, for the sake of devotees. Thereafter, even that form vanishes.

Several pictures and paintings of God in a particular form are sold in the market. They are done by painters like Ravi Varma. Did Ravi Varma actually see Rama or Krishna? No. He only heard stories about Rama and Krishna and painted their forms based upon his imagination. These pictures and paintings only remind you about Divinity. Neither Ravivarma or any other person did actually see God.

You are God, verily! Do not think that God is somewhere in a distant place. You yourself are God. Develop that confidence. However, when you consider yourself as God, you must develop divine qualities. Then only are you entitled to consider yourself as God.

Since no one had ever explained the nature of Divinity in this manner, people have fallen into dogmatic theories. God is immanent in every human being, nay, all living beings. There is no place where God is not present. Wherever you see, God is present there. In fact, you need not come over here to see God. He is very much present in the place where you reside. Without realising this truth, people are spending a lot of money and going on pilgrimages. That is not what you are expected to do.

Develop the quality of love in you and share it with all. Then all people can become one. All are one, be alike to everyone. No living being can ever live without love. Living is possible only with love. Hence, develop a loving nature. When you go home, close your eyes and contemplate upon God. You’re sure to find Him in your own heart. When you open your eyes to the outside world, you see all and sundry.

What do you think is the purpose for which you are endowed with eyes? It is only to see God.

If you go to a doctor complaining about some problem in your body, they will take an X-ray of your heart, liver, kidney, etc., and decide about the particular malady from which you are suffering. Spirituality is like an X-ray photo that will reveal your true nature.

Install the form of God in your Heart and contemplate on Him incessantly. Never change that form for any reason. You are sure to realise God. You need not search for Him elsewhere. If you wish to see Swami, install the form of Swami in the altar of your heart. You can surely visualise Swami there. If you develop a feeling of oneness with Him, everything will turn out to be good for you. This is what you have to realise today.

Festivals come and go. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday — days roll on like that. Saturday lapses into Sunday. But God will never change. He is eternal. Realise this truth.

Reference

Also see:
Happy New Year 2009 From The SathyaSaiBaba WordPress Blog

New Year 2009 At The Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Old And The New

Old And The New


2009 New Year Morning Darshan At Prashanti Nilayam, Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

New Year Celebrations At Prashanti, 01 Jan 2009, Pictures

Curtesty SaiEditor:
The darshan hall is quiet, the flag-bearers await Swami, the procession and band wait quietly outside Yajur Mandir. The darshan hall is chock-a-block full of waiting devotees. Primary school children enter the darshan hall, in their bright orange vests; parents wait for their children to pass and get a glimpse. Classes carrying New Year Cards and Greetings to Swami; some are quite large.

Silence; waiting for the Lord. My mind wanders and I wonder if Swami is waiting for Muhurtam, a most auspicious time for giving of grace, blessing and Love, Love, Love. At 9.45am, the procession enters the darshan hall – Flag bearers, students dressed as brahmins in ochre robes with white shawls enter next, chanting slokas, among all of that I hear the Sai Gayathri, and then Swami enters, dressed in white, in the gold throne chair, with umbrella following him.

A slow procession across the darshan hall, then across the very front of the porch, up to the veranda.

The porch cover is draped in bunting, green boughs and there is a floral arch atop with Happy New Year. Swami’s face is beaming, almost a radiant, golden face, he has a smile and moves slowly across the front of the porch to traverse the length of the veranda where cards and cakes are presented by the various classes and schools.

Swami then arrives at the front of the porch, where he lights two lamps; there is applause as Swami lights the lamps. The brahmin students continue to chant slokas. Swami turns and faces the darshan hall. Looking down the darshan hall, I can see men standing at the back, the crowd is impassable, there are men on the steps, men have climbed the iron fencing itself to obtain darshan.

Up the front, cameras flash. Students kneel in front of Swami; there is some conversation and the morning’s program is presented to Swami.

Enfin, the Brahmin students chant Shanti, Shanti Shantihi.

Silence.

First is an orchestral presentation … orchestral music, trumpets, drums, electric piano, tuba, oompha, more drums, cymbals, it is grand to listen to. There is loud applause as the Music College students finish their numbers.

One student arises, takes padnamaskar and speaks. He talks about the difference Swami makes to this world, every sunrise, every day, every breath of wind, all of creation is graced by all of His love. His integrity, his grace and above all, His love, makes our lives pristine, pure and a holy offering. On behalf of all of us present, and devotees everywhere, he greets Swami on this auspicious new year day.

The violins play a catchy tune, and there is a song, very uplifting about the glory of Sai Baba. The next song is pure magic. It is a song to Sai Maa, with western backing, it grabs the very heart and soul and lifts the emotions, all of who you are up with each refrain to Sai Maa. Swami is reading the program. A pause; more of this marvellous song:

Sai Maa,
Sai Maa,
Atma Maa,
Atmaswarupa Maa,
SAI MAA

And that last Sai Maaaaaa just about blows the roof of the darshan hall. Marvellous.
The oboe plays a solo number; serenity pervades the darshan hall.

Students then sing a composition called Sai Prema Govinda, those voices are of the quality I recall of the great singers of classical ragas. They are fabulous voices. There is a twist, a very nice song with a strong catchy drum support about “Surrender to you, Sai Prema Maa”, and I realise its the same song, Sai Maa with a catchy rock beat behind it; they sing of the glories of Shirdi, the glories of Parthi. Then Sai Govinda, beloved of the Gopees.

Students approach Swami, kneel and offer the next part of the program to Swami. One of them gives a talk and towards the end of the talk, the electric piano starts up accompanied by flute, and a lovely song, the crowd sing along and clap, “Everybody loves Sai”. A very catchy song, sung bhajan style. Crowd joins in enthusiastically. Its a mixture of blues, rock, very appealing and parts of it remind me of Frank Sinatra singing! That causes me to pause a bit and ponder the skillbase of these students — they have certainly acquired a vast repertoire of musical ability; this reminds me of what Swami told me one day, “What I look for in people is capacity”.

Swami, wearing a white robe, is seated at the front of the darshan hall on the golden throne-chair, (I don’t think this one is a car seat, somehow) (although it could well be) … and he dabs his lips often, and keeps referring to the program. A troupe of students wearing gaily coloured headbands approach the front of the porch and begin dancing and singing Nacho, Nacho, Nandalala, and they move through several different types of dance as they sing; a Radhe-Gopala bhajan, and then Govinda Krishna Jai which everybody joins in, singing and clapping. They did it really well.

Another student gets up and gives a talk; students then approach Swami with bowls of prasadam which Swami blesses. Electric piano and flute lead the bhajans as the students begin to thread their way through the darshan distributing prasadam to all present.

And that was the morning darshan for New Year Day. The Lord Sai was captured prisoner by the love and devotion and presentations of the students and assembled devotees on this New Year’s Morn.

Courtesy: http://saieditor. com/spirit/

Curtesy RadioSai
Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Sai Students – alumni of Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan – were ready to escort Bhagawan from His residence to Sai Kulwant Hall in a procession with flag marchers and Poornakumbham with Vedam. Swami arrived just before 10 am in a dazzling white robe seated on a golden chair, granting New Year darshan to the devotees who filled and surrounded Sai Kulwant Hall. When He reached the verandah, Bhagawan blessed the cakes there and came onstage to begin the programme arranged by the Sai Students. A band programme with symphonic and vocal accompaniment was followed by songs composed for the occasion by the Sai Students. The whole programme was interspersed with short speeches by the alumni, reliving their days with Sai. A bhajan medley formed the score for a short dance programme too. Swami blessed the participants who came up to Him one by one, and after prasadam was distributed, accepted Arati at 11.35 am.

Bhagawan arrived in the evening for darshan clad in a deep red robe. When He came onstage just before 5.30 pm, He blessed the brass band of the University to perform, and they played a couple of pieces with brief introductions. Songs by the students followed. Swami called up some of the alumni singers and asked them to sing, and they sang some of the group songs which used to be sung by the students in the mid-90s. After 45 minutes of music, Bhagawan delivered His Divine Message. Bhagawan’s emphasised the message of Advaita, stressing the point that there is nothing in this world which is not divine, and that we should conduct ourselves bearing this in mind. After speaking for more than 70 minutes, Bhagawan asked for Bhajans to begin at 7.25 pm. Prasadam was distributed, and Swami accepted Arati at 7.45 before returning to His residence.

Also see:
Happy New Year 2009 From The SathyaSaiBaba WordPress Blog

Festivities, Prayers As India Rings In 2009

Festivities, Prayers As India Rings In 2009
January 1st, 2009 – 6:22 pm ICT by ANI

Kolkata/ New Delhi/ Amritsar/ Varanasi, Jan 1 (ANI): People across India took part in festivities and prayers on Thursday to herald an auspicious start to the year 2009.

While it was a quiet New Year in Mumbai that witnessed attacks, festivities were muted in other parts of the country as well. But people came out in large numbers to pray for a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Residents in Kolkata offered prayers to the rising Sun on the banks of river Hoogli.
People prayed that the financial trouble that loomed over second half of 2008 should not be there in 2009.

“I hope that the New Year is prosperous for us. The losses that we have incurred this year, should not be there this year,” said Parikshit, a resident of Kolkata.
Devotees in New Delhi thronged a temple dedicated to saint Sai Baba in large numbers. Devotees said that New Year 2009 is auspicious as it begins on a Thursday, a day dedicated to him.

“I have come here to offer prayers to Sai Baba. Thursday is his day and that is the reason why there are so many devotees,” said Vikas, a devotee.

Braving the winter chill, devotees in Amritsar took a dip in the holy pond outside the famous Golden Temple.

Hira Singh, a devotee, said, “We celebrate the New Year at the footsteps of the Lord himself. We start the year from here only.”

Varanasi hosted grand prayers in the morning on the banks of River Ganges.
Thousands of Indian devotees as well as foreign tourists took part in the prayers.
“To see the people celebrate on the banks of Ganges, to see how they interact with the river, to see them binding and bringing in the New Year. It is very different from Australia,” said Mary, a tourist.

People in India believe that the blessings of the Gods should be sought before beginning anything new, more so the New Year. (ANI)

Reference

Happy New Year 2009 From The SathyaSaiBaba Wordpress Blog

Happy New Year 2009 From The SathyaSaiBaba WordPress Blog
(click on thumbnails to enlarge)

Om Sai Ram - Blessed New Year 2009

Om Sai Ram - Blessed New Year 2009

On New Year’s Day and the whole year through,
I hope the kindness you’ve given to others returns many times to you.
May hope, love, and warmth be in your heart’s possessing,
and may the New Year bring you and yours Sai Baba’s blessing.
Happy New Year 2009!!!

May love and laughter light your days and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May Sathya Sai’s grace bring the best to you and yours!
Joyous New Year 2009!!!

Om Sai Ram - Happy New Year 2009

Om Sai Ram - Happy New Year 2009


How To Say “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