Thanks to the efforts of the Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust, and the great blessings of Baba Virsa Singh Ji, thousands of devotees enjoyed a series of programmes on 24 and 25 December at Gobind Sadan in commemoration of Maharaj’s Second Updesh Divas, Guru Gobind Singh’s birthday, and Christmas. Gobind Sadan was resplendent with thousands of lights, and a sense of joy and harmony was everywhere evident. All devotees feel that Babaji continues to be very present and active among those who love him and wish to serve his great mission of oneness, seva, and love for God.
A total of 9 Akhand Paths were carried on in honour of Maharaj Ji and Guru Gobind Singh. A special havan was conducted on 24 December at Angeetha Sahib, followed by kirtan. On Christmas Eve, hundreds of warm socks were distributed to poor people. Two free medical camps were held, one with allopathic physicians from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and the other featuring checkups by Ayurvedic Gold Medalist from S. K. Tripathi.
From morning to evening on 25 December Sri Guru Granth Sahib resided on Maharaj’s beautiful wooden stage as kirtan and speeches were offered in memory of Guru Gobind Singh. Learned scholars spoke about Dasam Granth, the compiled writings of Guru Gobind Singh, and other speakers spoke about the continuation of Maharaj’s mission.
Thousands of people of all religions gathered in Jesus’ Place garden on Christmas night to light myriad candles, honour Jesus with flowers, and listen to a programme including a Christmas tableau and song by children from Gobind Sadan’s weekly interfaith education class, remarks by various religious leaders, and welcomes from members of the Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust. After the programme, small Santas ran around throwing candies to the children, and a large cake was served to all. Everyone was touched by the atmosphere of great happiness and love.
Beginning the Christmas programme, The Rev. Dr. R. R. Bhaskar, Priest of St. Paul’s Church, Fatehpur Beri, observed, “All prophets have brought the message of love. We must end these hatreds that divide us. This was the mission of Jesus, and this is the mission of Gobind Sadan.”
Maulana Jabar Ali of Gobind Sadan mosque said, “Gobind Sadan is a unique place where you will find Guru Granth Sahib’s Darbar, mosque, mandirs, havan, Budha’s Place, and Jesus’ Place, with prayers going on all the time. We should recite the Nam that Maharaj Ji gave us-‘Ik Onkar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru’-and always remember that our God is One.”
Hardip Singh, Trustee of Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust, who prays every hour at the havan, according to the directions of Baba Virsa Singh Ji, related the history of Jesus’ Place: “When Babaji saw Jesus in the place where we are now standing, this was a crude place behind the dairy. Jesus held out his arms and gave great blessings that will last forever here. First Babaji put a stone to mark the place where Jesus appeared, then a cross, and now this statue where people of all religions come to worship. So many miracles are happening from prayers here, and also from prayers in the havan.”
Dr. Jaywant Manchanda, Director of the Physiotherapy Department, City Hospital, described one of those miracles: “I had an emergency patient who had been run over by a train when he tried to save a child who had fallen onto the tracks. There was no hope that he would live, much less be able to lead a normal life. I asked Mary to pray for him at Jesus Place twice, and now he is walking and driving a car.”
Bhagat Ji sang his touching song, “Jesus is my life.” Children from Gobind Sadan’s interfaith education class sang and acted out the Christmas song “Away in a Manger.” Mary Fisher explained that every Sunday, approximately 50 children-Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims– from Gobind Sadan and the surrounding area come together to learn about all religions.
Rai Singh, IAS (retd.), President of Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust, introduced the Trust members who were present and also several other leaders who are helping to preserve the mission of Baba Virsa Singh. He noted that the atmosphere of the celebration was quite extraordinary, and said he felt that all the deities were showering their blessings.
Bibi Joginder Kaur led the sangat in singing her composition “Gun gavo-Sing praises of Jesus day and night,” which is sung every evening during prayers at Jesus’ Place. According to the nightly tradition established by Baba Virsa Singh Ji at Jesus’ Place, the programme ended with Jesus’ Prayer in Hindi, Russian, and English.
On January 13, Gobind Sadan celebrated Lohri, a traditional Punjabi holiday linked with the day that the earth begins to lean toward and come closer to the sun in its elliptical orbit. It is considered said to be the coldest day of the year but also the beginning of the end of winter weather. People who have had a child or a marriage during the year bring popcorn, peanuts, sesame candies, and crystal sugar to be offered into a big bonfire and also distributed for eating, in celebration of these happy events.