July 2, 1996: Prophet Muhammad was born today!

            Whenever qawwals come to sing for Maharaj Ji, great joyous energy spreads all around. Qawwalis are Sufi devotional songs that help to bring a feeling of closeness to God, with lots of rhythmic hand-clapping and audience involvement. But today when the qawwal from Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah in Delhi came to sing for Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, the effect was extraordinary.

            Maharaj was sitting in the little house which was his first residence in Gobind Sadan. He and his staff live in a few rooms in the back, while the small front room, of which the north wall is all glass windows facing the garden, is the place where Maharaj receives guests. In this case, the qawwals were sitting outside in the garden facing Maharaj, along with the sangat. Maharaj was wearing brilliant golden-coloured clothes for the occasion, and I took picture after picture of him as he initially talked to a few people inside the audience room and then listened to the qawwalis.

            Qawwalis can go on and on, depending on the musicians’ mood and the response of the audience. Much encouraged by the enthusiastic response of the sangat at Gobind Sadan and Maharaj’s evident ecstasy, the singers kept repeating the lines of a song about the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, especially the refrain, “Prophet Muhammad was born today!” After perhaps an hour of that qawwali, the sangat was so enthusiastically engaged that they jumped to their feet and started dancing, while loudly proclaiming, “Prophet Muhammad was born today!” What was so extraordinary is that those who were moved to joyously dance and sing were not Muslims. They were mostly Sikhs and Hindus, all caught up in fervent praise of the Prophet, who came for everyone–as prophets always do, and as Maharaj has always taught us.  

            At the end of the wildly exciting song, the lead singer, who loves Maharaj ji very much, came to bow at his feet. Maharaj gave him and his group great blessings, as he always does, because in their own special way, they had helped us all to become lost in love of God.