On December 24th and 25th, 2011, Gobind Sadan’s sangat celebrated three great occasions: the anniversary of Baba Virsa Singh’s physical departure from the world, the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, and Christmas. Many old followers of Babaji came back, as well as many new admirers of Babaji’s mission and the unique community he has built on the fringe of Delhi, where all religions are honoured together. The weather was cold, for as Babaji had prophesied 25 years ago, places which have been hot will become cold, and vice versa. In fact, there was not much difference between the temperature in Moscow and Delhi. But Babaji’s presence warmed every heart, and love and happiness were flowing freely.
The special feeling of these celebrations was poignantly captured by a special guest from Russia, Cabinet Minister Andrei Belianinov, when he spoke on Christmas. Speaking from the depths of his heart about his teacher Baba Virsa Singh, he said, “Only four years ago when Maharaj left us, I felt that Gobind Sadan had become a desert. We were all very sad that he is not among us, although we knew that he will never leave us, and even now he is near us, in our hearts, in our souls. Only a few years have gone by, and I have felt and seen here in Gobind Sadan that the life, the happiness and cheer have returned. I would like to thank Maharaj. You see how everything has changed and is changing. Thank you, Maharaj. From all over the world people come to Gobind Sadan and looking at you, they learn. Why do they come? They come here to gain spiritual peace and spiritual wisdom. Thank you, Maharaj. They may come here mostly only on festivals and forget that each festival is preceded by hard work and huge amount of labour by the sevadars. This should never be forgotten. For this, thank you, Maharaj. Maharaj himself was a very hard worker. He referred to himself as a farmer. At one time, he ploughed the land and sowed the seeds. Then he started to plough the hearts and souls of people and sowed seeds there. The fruits of his labour, his work, are blossoming in our hearts and souls. I would like for this place to be full of smiles always. There should be friendship and mutual understanding. When people meet each other, they should forget about all unpleasant things. For this, thank you Maharaj. He left this life and gifted us tears and grief and happiness, because one day follows another. Today we are celebrating Christmas. For this, thank you Maharaj. I wish that this place should never have malice, envy, greed, disrespect towards each other. People from all over the world come to you, to us, for this only. For this also, thank you Maharaj.”
December 24 was honored as Babaji’s “Updesh Divas,” the day of his message. People had been arriving for several days in advance to help prepare the Gobind Sadan campus.
Sangat prepared food and begins cooking food for the langar
An extensive display was set up of photos of Babaji, development of his farms, interfaith celebrations, everyday devotional life of Gobind Sadan, the Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion, branches of Gobind Sadan, and various activities.
Great quantities of special foods were offered into the havan by devotees from India and abroad. After Bhagat Ji led chanting of “Dhan, dhan Maharaj Ji”, the sangat kept singing Maharaj’s praises. At 2 a.m. on 25th December, people crowded into and around Darbar Sahib for Akhand Path Bhog ceremonies.
In the evening of December 25th, thousands of people thronged Jesus’ Place to join in celebrations of Christmas. They lit candles throughout the garden and at the feet of Jesus
Hardip Singh, who prays every hour at the central havan, 24 hours a day, welcomed the sangat on behalf of the Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust, explaining, “Today is a day of much happiness. As was the hukam of Maharaj Baba Virsa Singh Ji, first we celebrated the birth of Guru Gobind Singh and right now we are celebrating the birthday of Christ. Before Jesus appeared to Maharaj here, this placed was used as a dairy. Maharaj told us that Jesus gave the hukam, ‘Bless, bless.’ Maharaj stopped his car once and indicated the place where Jesus had appeared to him. We put a rock here and afterwards the statue was established in its place. At one time 20,000 candles were lit for the Tenth Guru’s birthday. For the birthday of Jesus, Guru Gobind Singh Maharaj told us to light 30,000 candles. Maharaj’s mission has flourished. We have havan, Mohammed Sahib, Krishna, everything is here. Here also, with Maharaj’s grace, patients are cured—somebody has cancer, somebody has some other disease, all are cured. People just keep doing Ardas, and with Maharaj’s blessing, people are receiving boons.”
One verse described Jesus as he stands at Gobind Sadan: “He has a beautiful dress on his body and a flower garland around his neck. His stores are full of fruits, flowers, and other things. The day of 25th December has brought spring to our Guru’s house. The arms of Jesus are spread wide and he beckons you always. If you want peace of mind, love Jesus.”
Children from Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Public School, which offers free education to poor children, acted out the birth of Jesus and recited twenty of Jesus’ main teachings, such as “The pure in heart will see God,” “Help those who are in need,” “Save riches for yourselves in heaven, for your heart will always be where your riches are,” “Everyone who asks will receive, and he who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to him who knocks,” and “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Imam Jabar Ali who leads the Namaz in Gobind Sadan’s mosque, wished everyone Merry Christmas and said, “Those who do not remember God in their lives do not live in reality. This is the court of Jesus; here, without asking, it is received. There is no need to spread your hands. This is the court of Gobind Sadan, this is the court of Baba Virsa Singh Ji. What to say about our own, even strangers do not leave empty-handed. My dear friends, these moments do not repeat themselves in life, so decorate your soul with them. On the land of Gobind Sadan, the personality, the things, the love, the ecstasy which you are receiving through the grace of Baba Virsa Singh Ji, where would you find these moments in life? Do not lose them, but in love, imbibe them in your hearts, so that the feeling of love engulfs you like an ocean.”
Reverend Bhaskar, pastor of St. Paul’s Church of North India in Fatehpurberi addressed the sangat: “It seems like the children of Christ are sitting here. Christ is not a God of Christians. He is the God of all. He came for everybody because the universe was created from the Word. Word is Brahma, Word is Waheguru, Word is Parmeshwar. The light of Waheguru shines upon people who search for it humbly, who come to His feet. I would like to thank all the members of the Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust who have come to this celebration of the birthday of Jesus Maharaj. They have united us. Gobind Sadan is such a beautiful name. ‘Gobind’ is God, Parmeshwar, Allah, Waheguru. ‘Sadan’ means His house, and the people living in this house, His children. Gobind Sadan is not an ordinary place. The people of Gobind Sadan are not ordinary. They are the children of God, and they are celebrating the birthday of Jesus Maharaj today. The birthday of Christ is meant for God to come down on earth to love humans. When we look around in the world, we find corruption everywhere. Why is it so? This corruption is the darkness, darkness in hearts, darkness in thought. Where the light of Waheguru prevails, where the people of Gobind Sadan are—at such a place the spiritual light shines. Today this light of Waheguru, Christ, and Allah is upon us. That is why we love each other sincerely. We should be loving to each other, embracing each other and lighting the light from each other, and singing His praises.”
Among the sevadars from many countries attending the programme, three women from Kazakhstan–Gulzhanar Ryskaliyeva, Tolkyn Zhandybayeva, and Marina Novikova–sang a traditional holiday song in Russian about a fir tree in the forest which was cut, brought home, and decorated to bring happiness to the children. Keher Singh from Germany accompanied them on harmonium and then sang German Christmas songs and Punjabi kirtan with his guitar.
In part, he said, “Today there is such a moment in the history of Gobind Sadan which we celebrate every year from our hearts, our souls, and our sincerity, because today is the birthday of such a prophet and incarnation who was not of Christians only—He was of Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus, too. Today, my brothers, in Gobind Sadan you saw that a priest, an imam, and a common person all came on this stage. This stage has only one aim: humanity. Maharaj has sown such seeds, the fruits of which are visible to you. I have been a witness to this for many years now, how we all leave the walls of religions behind and live like brothers and sisters. This example which we are presenting can become an example for our country, and future history will record it. My friends, do not consider this land insignificant. If I am saying these words, they are the voice of my heart.”
Young Prabh Noor from the Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Public School recited a Punjabi poem about our inability to ever properly praise God (IMG 1588). Glen Burden from England, leader of Dances of Universal Peace, sang a song in Hindi about the Eternal Guru. Joginder Kaur and girls of Gobind Sadan sang Joginder’s song about Jesus that is sung nightly at Jesus’ Place, of which the refrain is “Sing praises of Jesus day and night.” (IMG 1605) Dr. Rai Singh, President of Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust thanked all the participants and wished everyone a new year of health, happiness, and prosperity, “by the grace of Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj.”
After Ardas for all the offerings that people had brought, including cake and samosas, they were distributed to the whole audience by Andrei Belianinov and Gobind Sadan’s gardeners wearing Santa caps.
A herd of 20 small Santas and one large Santa (IMG 1629) appeared and distributed sweets all around. By Babaji’s great blessings, no one left empty-handed or empty-hearted.