Russians came and conquered! In what was perceived to be one of the most extra-ordinary sessions in Prasanthi, a big group of Russians from twelve Russian speaking countries made their presence in the Mighty Presence of their Lord and God, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, rejoicing every bit of His august presence on the evening of 12 July 2010 in Prasanthi Nilayam! This musical evening by the “Russian Choir” not alone captured the heart of their Lord, but everyone present in the Sai Kulwant enjoyed every bit of the programme, and the session turned out to be a lively one, with Bhagawan infusing life into it through His ‘participation’ while responding to the pounding of the love filled hearts from erstwhile Soviet Union.
Russians and Russian devotion have come in for reference on many occasions in the past in His Divine Discourse. One instance was during the Maha Shivarathri Divine Discourse in February 2007 when Bhagawan made a special mention: “I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly. 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 a lot, My discourse. (Pointing towards 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.”
“Dear students! There are several countries in the world like Russia, America, Germany, Japan, Italy, France, etc. Though the countries are different, the people living in all those countries belong to us only! They helped a lot for the construction of the Indoor stadium in Prasanthi Nilayam. They worked hard day and night. They love Swami intensely. Wherever I go, they follow Me. They run after My car. They even came to Chennai (Madras) recently when I was there. They are coming here, unmindful of the great difficulties and expense. You have to learn a lot from their devotion to Swami.”
True to His expectations, this evening, these Russians captitalised the best of the opportunity granted by the Supreme Benevolence, singing unto Him their heart with full of love and devotion. Dressed in a blue-white combine of flowing attire, with blue ribbon ‘scarf’ of identity around their neck, with women distinguishing themselves with floral headband, they awaited their Lord with prayers in their heart occupying the ‘centre-stage’ in the Sai Kulwant Hall.
Emerging at 1720 hrs., as Bhagawan moved along on His round of darshan, there were obvious signs of His keen interest in the group, as He went on glancing at them, accepting ‘stretched hand’ prayer offerings, interacting with some in between. Towards the end of His round, He paused awhile, materializing Vibhuti for a couple of ladies, including the conductor for the evening’s choir presentation.
As Bhagawan came onstage, Veda chanting came to a halt paving way for the commencement of the programme.
A colourful parade of flag-bearers followed, representing all the twelve Russian speaking countries, who went marching past the dais, 'saluting' the Lord before dispersing on either side, men and women respectively.
A thrilling session was in the offing. With the graceful conductor waved her finger baton in the air, soulful music weaved magic in the Sai Kulwant, as hundreds of men and women in blue-white combine, went 'on air' tickling their vocal cords producing mellifluous music. Synchronizing the music to help able to render in a voice of unity, suffused with feeling, this Russian batch excelled in their attempt to appease the Lord, tuning their effort to perfection. It was an ample testimony to their yearning for Bhagawan.
Singing joyfully, typical of Russian, having lots of drifting and tilting and swaying, they sung in unison in Russian tongue, with power packed expressions reflecting on their faces making merry on the evening rejoicing the presence of the Ultimate Presence!
After twenty-five minutes of singing, the troupe switched over to bhajans, making a successful attempt to win His heart through Indianised devotional rendering. After a couple of bhajans, they again switched over to singing original Russian numbers, sung in rapturous rhapsody, lifting the spirit of the entire assembly, bringing a smile on the enchanting Divine! One song deserves a special mention which stood apart, as the graceful conductor with her finger baton synchronized various beats, to begin with a slow tempo, to speed to raise to a crescendo, to finally to fall back to the original slow beat!
It appeared as if a group of Russians arrived in Prasanthi finally winning His heart with simple exhibition of purest devotion. As Bhagawan sat through, enjoying every bit of the session, completely involved in receiving the Russian Love, one could hear murmurings from the "front bench", who were trying to respond to Bhagawan as He went on insisting for more...and more...and more...!!!
Immensely pleased with the disciplined, devoted ‘conducting’, Bhagawan materialized a golden chain for the Lady Conductor to the amusement of the twilight's assembly, and much more to the loud cheering of an excited bunch of Russians, who for a moment seemed to have lost in ecstasy, oblivious of surroundings.
Bhajans commenced yet again as Bhagawan sat through, 'demanding' more and more from the Russians.
After every bhajan Bhagawan went on demanding more and enjoying His Love, the Russians often burst into smiles and laughters, making merry of His greater magnanimity and love. As the photographer brought an 'instant photo', of the conductor receiving special benevolence, and as the conductor was called unto Him to receive the same, there were loud cheers and applauses from the assembly.
It was 1850 hrs. and Bhagawan indicated for Mangala Arathi. As the Russians led the Arathi song along with the students, Bhagawan went on blessing the beneficiaries for the session. In the meantime, Chocolate Prasadam, specially from the Russians was being distributed to the assemblage.
A lengthy pause ensued, as Bhagawan sat through glancing over, interacting with the Russian in-charge, before moving off just before seven, retiring for the day.
A mention has to be made about the colourful decorations by the Russian group. The Mandir bore a festive look with colourful decorations, typical of the Russian culture, adorning the centre-hall, the dais and the portico, with flowers of various hues, creepers, flying squads of 'birds' etc. showing up greeting one and all into the "Russian Festivity".
It was indeed a Russian exhibition of Pure Love! II Bringing a combined team from twelve Russian speaking countries, Zone – 8 of Sathya Sai Seva Organisations lived His teachings bringing greater unity in Sai’s Name!…USSR - United Sathya Sai Republic! II Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ll