The evening session started with soulful bhajan singing at 5:00 P.M. Soon after, Bhagawan entered the auditorium. The bhajans were followed by Veda chanting by a group consisting of representatives from Swami’s school in Alike and delegates from a few countries.
Veda Chanting by Students and delegates
Two delegate representatives were then called upon to share with the audience their enriching experiences with Swami. Sister Shanti Snijders spoke about how Swami had lovingly brought her from the brink of depression and burnout a year ago and turned her toward yoga. She now teaches yoga and derives joy from helping others progress on their spiritual path. Brother Jonathan Chu, the second speaker, a lawyer from Australia, spoke next, urging the youth to use this five-day congregation to the fullest to transform themselves. “Only if we transform ourselves, will we be able to transform the world,” he said.
This was followed by a launch of the book Sathya Sai Uvacha – Volume 3, a compilation of Bhagwan’s discourses in recent times. Sri Isaac Tigrett and his team presented the book to Swami.
Post the book launch, Dr. Shaun Prashant Shetty, a paediatric cardiac surgeon was invited to share his experiences with the participants. He began with the famous Latin saying ‘Carpe Diem’, meaning seize the day. He regaled the audience with his experiences of how Swami pulled him into the world of cardiac surgery and guided him to dedicate all his actions to Bhagawan. This he explained was not so that he could succeed in everything but to free him from the karma of his actions. He concluded saying that that it was up to every individual to seize seva opportunities in their choice field of work.
The next speaker, as per Bhagawan’s command, was revered Father Charles Ogada. He spoke about the moving plight of the children in Nigeria and how his seva journey began after he came across a small boy who did not have any water to drink. He spoke from his heart and concluded saying that “all it took was for us to serve one person with water, Bhagawan would ensure that he fed another 1000 through us. Such is the glory of our Lord”.
The third speaker for the day was Sri BN Narasimha Murthy, senior Trustee, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust. Quoting from the book “Imitation of Christ” he said that “There are many who are ready to share the heaven with Jesus, but none to share the burden of his cross.” He then went on to narrate the wondrous miracle of Swami he was fortunate to witness a few months back when Swami resurrected Dr. Ram Shetty of California. He ended his impactful speech by exhorting everyone to share the burden of Sai’s cross by sharing the misery of mankind. “This can be done only through developing love and compassion for everyone”.
This was followed by Divine Discourse. Read summary here.
The evening’s cultural program began with a soulful and powerful duet by Sister Sonia and Brother Sergia Vigagni of Italy. They rendered four songs that included verses of the Guru Stotram, an Italian pop song and a gratitude song. They were then joined by 25 delegates from Italy for the third song, and by the fourth the whole audience was singing along with the pair. Sister Sonia, who was given the gift of music by Swami himself had an extremely pure and powerful voice that managed to strike a chord with each and every person present in the auditorium.
The evening ended with the presentation of two plays. The first, titled “Experience God through selfless service” was hosted by the delegates of five countries. This was depicted through two stories from the Ramayana – one of Sabari, who lived in the thoughts of Lord Rama for years and was finally granted the boon of feeding the Lord with her own hands, and the second, story of Hanuman, Lord Rama’s greatest devotee and Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana. The second play titled “Apollonio Tyaneas”, was presented by the Greek delegates. Setting the story of Greece’s great Guru, Apollonio against the backdrop of the modern day Greece crisis, the play beautifully brought out the urgent need for selfless service and the need to listen and put into action all of Swami’s teachings without further delay.
The evening ended with the Sarva Dharma prayer and Aarti.
Watch the proceedings below: