A beautiful sunny day welcomed the students, as they headed to the Singapore Chinese Orchestra Hall for set up and sound check, pretty early to beat the rush hour traffic. It seemed like the students were filled with much more gratitude when they saw the world class professional concert hall, where they would perform in front of over 500 music lovers from Singapore and other near by countries. Ably led by their band teacher Mr Dimitris Lambrianos, the students diligently and passionately went about preparing for the evening Concert.
In the meanwhile, Swami proceeded to the residence of Dr Kesavan and Dr Roshni, as He was to bless their daughter for her auspicious baby shower. It was magical as Swami Himself chanted the Sri Suktam, and blessed the soul which would embrace a physical body for doing His work! Swami explained every line of the Sri Suktam, and after spending a lot of time privately with the family, He was served a special lunch, and thereafter departed to Sai Anandam for the afternoon.
Volunteers and organisers spent the afternoon and early evening preparing for the much awaited gratitude programme by the students of the brass band, Sai’s Angels. The band comprised of male students from the eighth grade to the pre-university level, aged 12 to 17. Immaculately dressed in their crisp jackets, the students reached the venue to take care of last minute arrangements. Guests started trickling in to the Hall from 6:00 p.m onwards, and the Guest of Honour Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of Health and Mrs Amrin Amin arrived to enjoy the performance. His Excellency Murat Lutem, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Singapore and Mrs Guslum Idil Lutem, His Excellency Deputy Ambassador Pierre-Louis Lempereur, Deputy Head of Mission, European Union Delegation to Singapore and Mrs Iris Manzanares were among the distinguished guests for the evening.
Although these students had little to no exposure to music growing up, they were given an amazing opportunity to be part of a band with world class instruments, and had their first concert within just three months of the band’s formation. Everyone witnessed a display of dedication, resolve, gratitude and love. The band presented a repertoire of pieces from around the globe, from different genres across different time periods. From Havana to Copacabana, Zorba the Greek to Mission Impossible, these students exhibited their remarkable talent and skill which has been developed, only out of their unsullied and selfless love for their beloved Guru and God, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Of course, the untiring efforts of their band teacher is worth mentioning, as his phenomenal music talent and understanding is being passed on to these children every day. The Concert was a huge success, and the band concluded with ‘Stand Up for Singapore’ and the National Anthem of Singapore. Mr Amrin Amin expressed his pleasant astonishment at how these young children could possibly play such world class pieces with perfection! Similar remarks were expressed by the other dignitaries. Sri Madhusudan Sai addressed the gathering and spoke about how music unites everyone, which will ultimately lead to world peace. Every single person left the Hall with a feeling of joy after having been part of such a musical treat. All through the latter part of the evening, night, and even next morning, congratulatory messages poured in. Swami was very happy with His students, for they had done Him proud, yet again!
The next morning, August 27, Swami proceeded to Sunshine Welfare Action Mission (SWAMI) Home. He was welcomed by the President and management committee in the midst of Vedic chants, and a vibrant lion dance. Swami first consecrated His own statue, lovingly installed by all the devotees. As He majestically sat on His throne by the statue, a few ladies recited the Nirvana Shatakam. Swami lovingly reminded everyone of the meaning and reiterated, “We are all God and not the mind or body or any other entities!”
Swami then proceeded to open the Training and Resource Centres, and advised the team that the training centres should be used to train healthcare staff from around the region, and provide them with certification in elder care. He updated Dr Lim Wee Keat (Member of Parliament) who was the Guest of Honour, about SWAMI Home which was initiated in Kuching earlier in the year, and also revealed that a similar Home would be established in Japan. One of devotees from Japan, Brother Toshi Ando presented the demographics of Japan’s elderly population, and Swami advised that the Home would be in the city, for ease of commute. He then explained the importance of looking after the welfare of the elders in the society as a collective gratitude, for all the work they have done over the years.
Swami then continued His tour around the Home to the Prayer Hall, and then to the Occupational Therapy (OT) room and spoke to the patients who were exercising. The Head of OT explained about the sensory room, set with features to calm patients when required. Swami then went to the Department of Physiotherapy, and lovingly interacted with the elders there too. He then proceeded to the Social Work Department, followed by the Day Rehabilitation Centre. Swami said that all the staff looked happy and cheerful, and He was immensely impressed with the services. He pointed out that the place was decorated with colourful children’s decorations and that the elders were engaged in childlike games and crafts. Swami said, ”Life is a cycle, where we are all born as a child and will eventually go back to being a child in our old age!” Thereafter, Swami visited the dementia ward, where one of the elderly lady held His hand and said in Tamil that they all are living in the Home with much joy and happiness. Swami was indeed pleased and this concluded His tour around the Home.
The gathering at the Auditorium eagerly welcomed Swami with soulful Bhajans. The staff of SWAMI Home had put together a string of beautiful performances as their gratitude to Swami, who is the Founder of their Home. Mr Tan NK, the President of SWAMI Home addressed everyone with his welcome speech, thereafter. He spoke about the history and growth of SWAMI Home, and confessed that this was possible only with the loving guidance from Swami. Regardless of all challenges faced, Swami has been with them throughout, guiding and guarding at every step. Dr Lim Wee Kiat, Member of Parliament later shared that every time he returned to SWAMI Home, he felt that he was part of a big family. He shared that in this age and time, the necessary resources and technology are available to mobilise help, wherever there is a need in this world. He praised SWAMI Home for their efforts in providing the various services, and shared that the Government too is going to build a new Home for patients with dementia. He concluded his talk by declaring that Singapore may just be a small dot, but it is certainly a dot that can shine forth brightly!
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy shared that there is no Home around the world like SWAMI Home in Singapore. “Professional excellence and human excellence has come together in this place. The highest level of human excellence is love and compassion and this is evident in all the staff. Divine grace and the dedication from all the staff has contributed to the success of SWAMI Home.” He congratulated all the residents and staff on their performance which was of high standard.
Swami then graced everyone with His divine message. He spoke about the importance of praying for happiness not just for one’s kith and kin, but for the entire world. Swami was very happy with how SWAMI Home has become a good example. He proclaimed that SWAMI Home is indeed a HOME. “A home is not just a place to stay, but it should feel like a family. The residents are very happy here. We should set an example, as it is our responsibility to ensure all our elders are happy.” Referring to Mr Lim’s eagerness to serve with so much of joy, Swami said that it must be the national culture in Singapore to be happy and to make everyone happy!
He announced that a similar home will commence in Japan and that the land is already ready. “Taking the ideals from SWAMI Home in Singapore, we will have to replicate it in every country. We are all born crying without a choice, at least we should leave the world smiling, and help others smile!” Swami concluded His discourse congratulating all the staff for the success in running SWAMI Home, and for beautifully performing for everyone. After Arati, Swami was served lunch in His room. He also spoke to a few devotees and benevolently addressed the staff of SWAMI Home, before departing to Sai Anandam for the afternoon.
In the evening, the Lord graced the residence of Sri Sivasubramanium and his wife Smt Aparna, while the students were taken around the city yet again. As Bhajans were in progress, Swami spent some private moments with the family in His room. He later joined the gathering and addressed everyone with His divine message. Swami lovingly explained the differences and similarities between material sciences and spiritual sciences and emphasised on the importance of having a balance between both. He also revealed that the ancient seers and sages were far more aware of the material sciences and its impact on life, however, they were not documented. Swami then spoke about the importance of the right timing for things to be done, and explained why only a selected few are able to experience the truth of this phase. He explained how all are on different levels of evolution and He chooses whom should work with whom, based on their similarities and differences. Within the group, there may be differences, and Swami explained that it is important to be patient with each other and help each other towards the path of GOD. “That is why it is ‘I to WE to HE’. This journey is not a race to reach GOD the fastest, instead from ‘I’ it should be ‘WE’, where, as a group, you patiently wait and encourage each other and together you reach GOD!”
Swami was served dinner, and thereafter He granted a few interviews, before Arati. Aftwr lovingly distributing Prasadam to everyone gathered, Swami returned for the night to Sai Anandam.