By SEETA PERSAD Thursday, November 8 2007
SISTERS Shalini and Satie Maharaj are devotees of Satya Sai Baba. They can recite the most complicated Sanskrit mantras when they perform rituals in the Hindu puja as part of their devotion to Sai Baba.
The talented siblings are daughters of Michael and Carla Maharaj, both of whom are also devotees of Sai Baba. In fact, their father has transformed the family’s home into a temple where he hosts monthly satsaangs (prayer meetings). He told Newsday he has dedicated his life to promoting Sai Baba’s teachings and his family fully support him in that endeavour.
Carla is quite proud of her daughters’ skills in singing and dancing.
“I believe children should be given the opportunity to get into the arts. It gives them freedom and the ability to have fun and this helps them to develop in an all-rounded manner,” she said.
Carla spent two hours doing hairstyle and make-up for the girls as they prepared to perform a devotional dance to Lord Shiva at the Divali Nagar on Monday night.
“When I get them dressed I spend quality time with them and we grow as a family. I know I must keep them close to me and I am happy I have this opportunity to dress them up for the stage,” she said.
Shalini, a Form One student of the Lakshmi Girls’ High School, said she loves to dance and she has chosen to perform only devotional dances.
She told Newsday “I believe the devotional dances are as exciting as the film dances or any other dances. The costumes are colourful and the movements are exciting.”
Satie, on the other hand, said that she loves to make people happy and believes by learning to dance she can make people happy. She enjoys dancing in honour of Lord Krishna.
“Lord Krishna’s songs are so enchanting,” she said, adding that two that keep her smiling all the time are: “Maiya Yashoda” and “Mere Kangana.”
Carla gave a short discourse on the life and times of Satya Sai Baba noting that he has changed the life of people everywhere while remaining in India. Recently, she said, Baba illustrated his powers by curing himself, in a few seconds and before thousands of people, of a severe stroke. “For the first time, Swami mentioned Prema Sai, his next incarnation. Swami said he would come back in a third incarnation as Prema Sai eight years after he leaves this body. This is not Swami’s illness; this is an illness that Swami has taken on in order to save someone. Swami has no illnesses, nor will he get ill at any time. You must all be happy; that alone will make Swami happy. If you grieve, Swami will not be happy,” she said.
“Imagine Baba had to suffer this dire illness, as well as the four heart attacks that accompanied it, and he would not have survived it. So, according to his duty (dharma) to protect the devotees. This was not the first time that Baba has taken on the illness of persons whom he wanted to save,” she said.