Update from Swami Shantamrita's Sydney Program
In Sydney New Years Eve is traditionally spent at parties and watching the fire works. This year Shantamrita’s visit in Sydney was on new years eve and new years day. We wondered if many people would attend as there was short notice for the tour, many people already had plans in place to be watching the fireworks and so many people are out of town at this time of year. We suggested that the tour be at another time of year when it would attract more people. Amma thought it better now so the tour went ahead. Behind the scenes we were all concerned about how we would find people to attend. Because there were not going to be so many people attending both events were held in a private house.
Over 50 attended the satsang on New Years Eve where we listed to Shantamrita’s talk about New Years Resolutions, and shared Amma’s New Year message from last year.
Hearing his experiences from his recent time in Kenya, such personal stories about the extreme poverty and circumstances of so many people, brought to life the importance of Amma’s charitable mission. We sang bhajans and shared a wonderful sumptuous supper before having a question and answer session, then chanting Lokah to bring in the New Year. Immediately after mid night we all meditated focusing on world peace and then sang rousing bhajans together. This was a far cry from the usual sense filled new years celebrations.
Click here to view more photos from Swami Shantamrita's New Year's Eve Satsang
The following day saw many of the devotees involved in preparation for the puja. The house was filled with activity, cleaning brass, making flower garlands, petalling roses, filling bags with kum kum, sandal wood powder and vibutti meticulously measuring an cutting banana leaves, decorating the garden with clay lamps, feeding the sevites, and the intense concentration of making the padman, this divine centre piece for the evening puja. Elsewhere in other homes, a celebratory dinner was being cooked and the two different payasams prepared.
At 6.30 we began serving dinner, and then people started to take their seats for the puja. A profound silence fell in the house, from 7.30 until 8pm all sat in total silence waiting for the puja to begin. I don’t remember any other time in Australia before an event where people were silent in this way.
As darkness fell outside and lamps of the puja filled the room with light, more than 100 people were blessed by being present for this glorious event. Someone commented that “it was like for a time we opened a door to another realm”.
Click here to view more photos from Swami Shantamrita's New Year's Day Satsang & Bhagavati Seva Puja in Sydney >
Shantamrita has left Sydney but the effects of his visit will be with us for a long time. It certainly seems that this was the perfect time of year for his visit.