Christmas & Hanukkah 2008 Celebrations

christmas2008
More photos

 Gobind Sadan has recently celebrated Christmas and then Hanukkah with great love and joy. A few days before Christmas, the ongoing spiritual class for children of the area included a lively enactment of the birth of Jesus, complete with live baby buffalos in the manger scene, angels announcing the holy birth, and a neighbor who brought his goat and thus joined the shepherds who came to adore the holy child. Neighbouring families from Europe sang “Away in a Manger,” and the son of Gobind Sadan’s imam read Jesus’s own pronouncement of his prophethood as an infant, according to the Holy Qur’an.

hanukka2008
More photos

 Thousands came on Christmas night to share in the celebration, with lights and candles throughout Jesus’ Garden. Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar told the sangat  that he has been coming to Gobind Sadan for 28 years.He said, “Since childhood I have been taught that the greatest rule is that of remembering God and loving each other. Babaji always taught us the same.”

Rev. Dr. R. R. Bhaskar, Pastor of St. Paul’s Church, told the story of the birth of Jesus according to the Holy Bible. He said, “If there is true love and devotion inside you, and you truly worship God, the true meaning of Christmas is in your heart and your thoughts. The message of Jesus is only love, and understand other’s difficulties as your own. All are ours. Who is separate?”

Gobind Sadan’s Imam Jabar Ali told the story of the birth of Jesus as revealed in the Holy Qur’an. He emphasized, “Here in Gobind Sadan, seeing these beautiful gardens and the love among us all, you can see for yourself the great effect of Baba Virsa singh. He showed us the path, but we must follow it. As my brother Rev. Bhaskar put it so well, if there is no love, there is no religion. If you truly love, no one can stop you from meeting God.” To the surprise and delight of the audience, he then led everyone in singing the Nam that Babaji has given: “Ik Onkar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru.”

Bhagat Ji sang his touching original song about Mother Mary and the holy birth of Jesus. Bhai Kirpal Singh, Head Granthi of Gobind Sadan, told about the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would give birth to a holy Son of God. Hardip Singh, who says prayers at Gobind Sadan every hour, testified about the miracles that are continually happening at Gobind Sadan, by Babaji’s grace.

The Lord’s Prayer was recited in Hindi by Ramesh Verma, caretaker of the guesthouse, in Russian by Tatiana Kirsanova, a long-term sevadar from Russia, and in English by Mary Fisher, American volunteer who carries on various management and devotional duties.  Joginder Kaur sang her original song about Jesus. Ralph Singh, first President of Gobind Sadan USA, closed the programme with a message: “Seeing all of this, can anyone doubt that Babaji is still powerfully present among us?”

As Ralph Singh concluded the programme, 10 small Santas and dhol-walas playing their drums burst into the garden and distributed candies, as many people of all castes and creeds joyfully danced in front of Jesus. A 70-kilogram cake was happily consumed by all and sundry. Everyone present commented on the magical atmosphere in the garden, thanks to the palpable presence of beloved Baba Virsa Singh.

His presence was again appreciated by the children and others who came on Saturday, December 27, as Ralph Singh led the children’s class in a celebration of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. Mary showed a map of the world, locating the origins of the 3 great religious traditions that stem from the patriarch Abraham (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), Bhai Kirpal Singh told stories about Abraham, and Ralph told the story of God’s giving the 10 Commandments to Moses and the story of Hanukkah. He explained the significance of the traditions as all the children were given dreidels— Hanukkah spinning tops, gold-foil covered chocolate gelt (coins), lovingly brought and distributed by our guests from the US, Liz and Karen. Children participated in lighting the candles on the menorah for the 8th and final day. Then the whole gathering was treated to traditional potato latkes made in Gobind Sadan’s langar.  Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and American guests of Jewish background happily joined in this special celebration, in keeping with the open spiritual atmosphere fostered by His Holiness Baba Virsa Singh.