International Sarva Dharma Choir Spreads the Message of Love and Unity
Music is a universal language that touches everyone, inspires and connects us, heart-to-heart, in love. An idea in 2009 to form a small ladies’ choir for a meeting of the Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) in Poland blossomed within a couple of years into an international choir of about 45 members from six European countries and India.
Sathya Sai Baba said on 4th July 1968: “Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish. Let the glory of God be sung in all languages and in a variety of tunes.” He has always emphasised the unity of faiths amongst mankind. Honouring different religious traditions, the Sarva Dharma Choir sings the glory of God in His many names and forms, in several languages.
The choir first performed in Sai Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of supreme peace, on 20th August 2011. In spite of many setbacks, it was only His grace that made the trip possible for the 126-large group of choristers and their family members.
Since that offering, the choir has performed in several cities in Europe and India. In addition to performances in the Polish cities of Wiezyca (2012), Sopot (2013), Warsaw and Zyrardow (2013), Lodz (2014, 2015 and 2018), Cracow (2015), Suprasi (2015), Grojec (2016), Trzemesnia (2017), Jelenia Gora (2017) and Legionowo (2018), the choir has touched many hearts in the Baltic countries (2014), in Lithuania (2016), and in India at Dharmakshetra, Mumbai (2013, 2015 and 2017) and in Brindavan, Karnataka (2017). The choir returned to present concerts in Prasanthi Nilayam in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
The following programme during a concert in Prasanthi Nilayam on 27th July 2013 typifies the songs of the choir. The theme was Unity Of All Religions and songs were offered in Polish, English, Hebrew, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian.
After a dedication to Lord Ganesha, the sweet melody of Om Tat Sat Sri Narayana Tu filled the Sai Kulwant Hall. This was followed by Abba, Father (a Polish Christian song), Shalu Shalom (a Yiddish/Muslim song), Father, I adore You (from an Evangelical Church), Sai Baba Sai Krishna (a lullaby from Lithuania), Siyahamba, (an exciting African spiritual offering in Swahili), Swejka Maria (an orthodox song on Mother Mary from Latvia), Ivdu Et hashem ba’simha (a Yiddish song), Rami…Rami (a traditional Latvian song), Emma Ma (an Estonian song on Mother Earth), Give me your hand, my brother (in English), and Life is a Challenge (a song based on Bhagawan’s teachings). The concert ended with the Shanti Mantra.
Wherever they have performed, the choir has been received with great joy and enthusiasm. The glory of the songs has even moved a divided family from Belarus to forgive each other for past hurts.
In a touching incident, once the choir inspired an elderly lady from the audience to offer her own valuable necklace of a ‘Swarovski cat’ from around her neck. When the gift was refused, the lady said: “I’m 80 years old … I have never in my life heard such beautiful lessons about spirituality and love. This is the best that I have with me. You cannot refuse!”
The journey has not always been easy but for members of the choir, their participation is their sadhana (spiritual practice). Sathya Sai Baba’s guidance and support sustains the amazing journey of the Sarva Dharma Choir in its 10th anniversary year as they promote love and unity among different faiths and nationalities around the world.