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Chinese New Year Celebrations
February 23-24, 2007

Read the full report of Chinese New Year Celebrations click here

Also Read: Prasanthi wears Chinese Red…

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February 23-24, 2007

Chantings by Lamas of the Four Major Orders
February 23, 2007 Evening

Read the full report of Chinese New Year Celebrations click here


Read the full report of Chinese New Year Celebrations click here

Speeches, Songs and Chantings
February 24, 2007


Read the full report of Chinese New Year Celebrations click here

Drama Entitled, "My Parents, My Treasure"
February 24, 2007

The festivities began on the evening of 23rd. On this holy occasion, 36 Buddhist monks from the four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism namely Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug assembled in Prasanthi Nilayam to pay their obeisance to Lord Sai Buddha. After Bhagawan granted Darshan, He was seated on the dais and permitted the programme to commence. After two children offered flowers to Bhagawan, a monk from each of the sects presented ‘Kata’ to Bhagawan. The Kata is a sacred cloth and an auspicious symbol that is presented to Lord Buddha praying for His grace in successful chanting of mantras. They also presented other sacred and auspicious symbols like ‘Dharmachakra’ (symbolising the wheel of transformation wrought by Buddha Dharma), ‘Amitayu Tanka’ (a painting of a deity who bestows long life), ‘Stupa’ (a replica of the religious monument that is in the shape of Lord Buddha seated in a meditative posture) and ‘Chenrizig Mandala’ (a three-dimensional geometrical representation of the universe).

Then the monks commenced the chanting of the sacred mantra “Om Mani Padme Hung”. This six-syllable mantra is supposed to contain all aspects of the 84,000 sections of Lord Buddha’s teachings and is believed to generate love, compassion and positive feelings that will uplift the world. The second mantra that was chanted was ‘Samantabhadra’ or the ‘King of Prayers’. This mantra helps in awakening the mind and prodding it on the path of enlightenment towards Buddhahood, and also for universal peace. Following this, the monks chanted a special mantra dedicated to Bhagawan composed by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The mantra seeks to have an eternal vision of the beautiful form of Lord Sai. This was followed by Gayathri Mantra recitation. At the end of the chanting session, as is the Buddhist custom, the merits accrued by the chanting of all the mantras and all the good deeds involved in the holy activity were dedicated for the greater health and happiness of all beings in the universe.

Following this, Capt. Ong, a devotee from Singapore addressed the gathering. Elaborating on the significance of the mantra ‘Samantabhadra’, he said that it is a compilation of teachings received by a person named Sudana, as he progresses on his spiritual journey through 52 masters culminating in his finding the realized master Samantabhadra. Captain Ong said that perhaps he too would have passed under the tutelage of 52 such masters in his past lives, as a result of which he has now found refuge at the Lotus feet of his Samantabhadra, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The evening programme concluded with Bhajans and Bhagawan graciously granted photographs to all the monks and participants of the programme.

24th February, 2007 heralded the beginning of the Chinese New Year – the year of the pig as per the Chinese zodiac. At 8.30 a.m., Bhagawan was led in to Sai Kulwant Hall in a procession by grand and colourful pageantry of lion dancers and men dressed in Chinese regal attire to the accompaniment of drum beats. He then came on to the dais and lit candles kept on a table that also had a statue of Lord Buddha and other traditional Chinese items laid out like tea cups and mandarins. Then Mr. Billy Fong Goon Poy, the Organising Chairman of the Chinese New Year Celebrations 2007, addressed the gathering. He began by saying that though the people of China and India look different, there are a lot of similarities in their culture and beliefs. There are many parallels to the Hindu pantheon of gods like the Monkey-God Hanuman (who is immortal and known for his super-human strength) and Goddess Lakshmi (who bestows prosperity and welfare) in Chinese belief. But by far the most striking aspect of commonality is the emphasis both cultures place on filial piety, the love and respect that one should have for one’s parents. While Indian culture declares – “Matha, Pitha, Guru Daivam”, that one should worship one’s parents and teachers as God, the Chinese declare ‘Xiao’ or filial piety as the paramount virtue every human should possess. He concluded by praying to Bhagawan that He should bless the Chinese people that more and more come each year to Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate the Chinese New Year, so much so that not just the Sai Kulwant Hall but even the Hill-view Stadium should be filled with Chinese devotees.

After the speech, many items like tea, mandarin, a special kind of cake, etc., considered auspicious in the Chinese tradition were offered to Bhagawan. Bhagawan also blessed and released a commemorative book on this occasion. Then a group of students from the Sri Sathya Sai Education in Human Values Programme from the participating countries recited Vedic mantras and also selected stanzas from “Di Zi Gui” that lays down the code of conduct for children and students. Each of those Chinese stanzas was followed by its meaning in English and depicted through dialogues from day to day happenings in our lives. The sweet voices of the little ones and the catchy melody were a treat to everyone’s ears. This was followed by a choir presentation by the youth members. They sang traditional New Year’s Day songs and also some Bhajans in Chinese.

My Parents, My Treasure

The afternoon programme consisted of a drama titled – ‘My Parents, My Treasure’. The story revolved around a businessman Mr. Chin Keong, a widower with four young children and an aging father, and how each day he struggled to attend to their needs in addition to his professional responsibilities. One day he feels that he will no longer be able to devote his time and energy to all of them and so decides to send his aged father to the old folks’ home. Apart from the loneliness and isolation that he would have to face, Keong’s father is shocked that his son is going against the age-old Chinese practice and fundamental virtue of filial piety. Kim Leng, one of his grandsons, realises the trauma that his grandfather is going through, and the conversation between them beautifully brings out the importance of upholding filial piety through epic tales and folklores of Chinese tradition and culture. The drama concludes on an emotional yet, happy note where Kim convinces his father to keep his grandfather at home. The drama vividly captured the dilemma that every man faces in his daily life – the conflict between profound ancient culture and age-old wisdom on one hand and the modern convenient material lifestyle on the other hand. At the end of the drama, Bhagawan granted photographs to all the participants. The evening concluded with Bhajans and Arati.

Jai Sai Ram

Prasanthi wears Chinese Red…

Filial Piety in absolute quintessence...

"For the people of the West, coming to seek spirituality in India is nothing new. This has been going on for over a 100 years. But, never in the history of human civilization have we seen Africans coming to India seeking a Living God, Japanese coming to India seeking a Living God and never have thousands and thousands of Chinese flocked to India seeking a Living God. This is the first time in the history of the world that this phenomenon is taking place" was the voice heard during the first Chinese New Year celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam. The spiritual enigma of this land of peace would be known from the list of civilisations filing past with reverance, in search of peace, in search of love…

At a time when ancient values cuddled in the rich Chinese Tradition and Culture started flagging resulting in sidelining the inner significance of the traditional festivity, the Chinese New Year has had its maiden voyage to the Land of Peace, Prasanthi Nilayam in the year 1997. More than 1500 devotees of Chinese origin from different parts of the world assembled to celebrate and pray…and their prayer was to guide them to impart their rich and great cultural heritage to the younger generation and for deeper insights into Chinese Tradition…

Responding to the Chinese plea, Bhagawan, in His Divine discourse, by going to the origin and route of the word “china” gave a new meaning to the tradition and civilisation saying that “china” means “my heart is my country”. Dwelling upon various subjects touching, boosting and thus elevating the culture and civilisation of chinese origin Bhagawan ended His enlightening Divine Discouse exhorting one and all to give up the bad accepting the good.

“When you go back to your country with good qualities, people will mark the change in you after your visit to Puttaparthi. Treat Prasanthi Nilayam as a spiritual workshop. No charges are levied here. Everything is free. I am ready. Make the best use of your stay here”, said Bhagawan during the occasion.

The Chinese New Year is the longest and most significant celebration in the Chinese calendar. Following the lunar calendar, each month in a Chinese New Year is beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month with the new moon and continue until the fifteenth day, when the moon is brightest. The 15th day of the New Year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade. This New Year is supposedly the 4705th in the order starting on 18th Feb 2007.

Filial Piety

Filial Piety is the cornerstone of Chinese Civilisation and Progress…says the hangings displayed at every nook and corner of Prasanthi Nilayam in connection with the Chinese New Year 2007. The 'united' culture of human civilisation has one thing in common, notwithstanding differences in heritage, culture, language, country, race and religion etc., Thanksgiving, an offering of gratitude for all that was benevolently bestowed upon the humanity. Bhagawan has time and again touched upon the subject with greater insights, leading man to the cornerstone of his very existence. Matru Devo Bhava…Pitru Devo Bhava…Acharya Devo Bhava…Atiti Devo Bhava…(Revere Mother, Father, Preceptor and Teacher as God) exhorted Bhagawan guiding humanity to greater vistas of man’s inseperable existence with the Divine.

For the Chinese, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, an occasion to reunite and offer thanks to Heaven and Earth, the family deity and the ancestors, etc. Sacrifice to the ancestors, the most significant of all the rituals, would unite the living members with those who had passed away; departed relatives would be remembered with great respect as they were responsible for laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.

The presence of the ancestors would be acknowledged on New Year's Eve with a dinner arranged for them at the family banquet table. The spirits of the ancestors, together with the living, would celebrate the onset of the New Year as one great community. The communal feast called "surrounding the stove" or weilu. It symbolizes family unity and honours the past and present generations.

A Piggy Year

The advent of Chinese New Year has a unique link with animals. Every Chinese New Year is designated by one of the 12 animals. The twelve animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. This New Year is a Piggy Year.

Fireworks and Family Feasts

During the New Year celebrations people wear red clothes decorated with poems on red paper and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China would light bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

The Lantern Festival

The New Year celebrations end with the lantern festival on the fifteenth day of the month. The Lanterns would be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

Symbolically reminiscing the Chinese Tradition, the early hours of 13th February 1997 Prasanthi Nilayam witnessed a Lantern Nagasankirtan, “…as many of the Chinese women were dressed in traditional red satin embroidered suits which shone in the light of the many, glowing red lanterns they were carrying, as they circumambulated the Ashram. They sang Sanskrit Bhajans until at last they reached the Mandap, when they burst into Chinese. Behind them came the men, many of them wearing traditional high collared suits of cream satin or brocade. Many onlookers were impressed by the vibrancy of the singing.” Dragon dance is the highlight of the Lantern Festival in many parts of the Chinese speaking coutries. The dragon that might stretch a hundred feet long is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colourful beast through the streets. This appeasing entertainment has had its trail to Prasanthi Nilayam eversince the first Chinese New Year celebrations was held in Prasanthi Nilayam in 1997.

No tradition, no civilisation, no religion, no country…nothing that has ever been privileged by the Creator’s craftsmanship would be left wanting His touch… would ever be ignored…for, in Him lies the life of everything…The Chinese are indeed lucky to take the best out of Prasanthi Nilayam, to enhance the already rich tradition of yore, with a greater fillip. Thus they flock to Prasanthi Nilayam with gratitude to the Greater Heaven...Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba ….Filial Piety in absolute quintessence.


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