Alike Visit – Day One – November 28, 2015

Swami’s visit to His much loved campus at Alike between November 28-30, 2015, promises to be one of the most eventful ones of the Lord. After a long three-hour-wait at the airport due to an unusual fog that covered the whole airport finally the plane to Mangalore took off from Bangalore. The entourage reached Mangalore around noon,  where alumni and staff were waiting to greet everyone at the airport. Swami had also graciously permitted a few guests from Singapore and Malaysia to travel with Him, and everyone proceeded to Alike by car. A few Russian and German devotees had also joined, after seeking Swami’s permission.

Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions at Alike are the oldest in His mission. Inspired by the love for God and nation, Late Sri Madiyala Narayana Bhat, who hailed from the family of landlords in Alike, offered his everything at the altar of Loka Seva or the service to the world. Way back in the sixties, he formed a small group of young, dynamic and self effacing Tyaga Jeevis, who worked day and night to bring up the institutions, against much opposition and many hurdles. Their faith is goodness was such that eventually God Himself revealed to them in the form of our beloved Lord Sai. Swami’s entry into their lives reenergised them to undertake service activities with greater vigour. Sri Madiyala Narayana Bhat merged at the Lotus Feet at a young age of 49 years, leaving these institutions at Swami’s feet. It was the prayer of Sri Narayan Bhat, that every district of Karnataka should have an educational institution based on the teachings and philosophy of Swami. It is to fulfil this dream, that Swami has now taken upon Himself the herculean task of building institutions. November 30 is the birth date of Sri Madiyala Narayana Bhat, which will be celebrated with the opening of the renovated Madiyala House, a beacon of inspiration to young and old.

Swami’s residence in Alike, Swami Nivas, is set as a golden gem amidst the green valley of Alike. Home grown tender coconut water, greeted everyone at arrival at half past one in the afternoon, a great relief from the warm climate of Dakshina Kannada District. Sumptuous lunch was served to all the guests after which they were taken to their respective rooms for a brief rest.

Day One started at 4:30pm with Swami speaking to the guests in His residence, while the students and staff were seated in the newly constructed hall above the CBSE school building. All day long, the campus had been abuzz with activity to welcome the Lord. The excitement was palpable as students and staff went about ensuring everything was organised according to Swami’s satisfaction.

Swami commented, “It is the selfless love of one man, Madiyala Narayana Bhat that has resulted in so much of good, to so many. Even one selfless man is far more powerful than scores of selfish people.”

Swami was taken in a procession of Vedam and brass band to the CBSE school where all were waiting with baited breath to experience their Lord. Swami walked amidst the students, spoke to a few, while smiling at the others, receiving their letters and blessing them before He ascended the dias.

The evening program started with a talk by Sri U Gangadhar Bhat (Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, Alike) who welcomed Swami and all the accompanying guests. He expressed the collective joy of everyone in Alike to have Swami among their midst. He spoke of the special affection Swami always had for the students and staff of Alike, which was evident from the fact that Swami would always talk to the Alike group when they visited Prasanthi Nilayam, enquiring of their well being. Outlining the various new construction projects that were underway on a war footing, he spoke of how the projects had energized and enthused everyone in and around Alike.

Talks by three students was the next in order, eloquent and from the heart. This was followed by a beautiful song sung by Sri Prabhakar, a former staff member of Alike. The special song was composed by Sri Gangadhar Bhat himself, which dwelled on the beauty of the Sathya Sai Avatar. It was a moving experience to hear such pure feelings stringed together with words.

Sri B N Narasimha Murthy spoke next, introducing the esteemed guests who had accompanied Swami. He introduced Dr Ram Setty garu, and wife Smt Usha Setty as ideal examples of devotion, as they all the time think what they can do for Swami. He recollected how Swami resurrected Dr Setty after a spinal operation in San Francisco on August 24, earlier this year. The heart had stopped and the body turned blue, but as soon as Swami appeared in Muddenahalli along with Dr Ram Setty, he commanded him to go back into his body and his heart beat was restored miles away in USA!

Dr Ravi Pillay and wife Smt Shyamini Pillay have no parallels to their dedication to Swami. They established the first ever ashram abroad, Sai Anandam, in Singapore at Swami’s command by purchasing the property next door to their residence, and offering it for Swami’s ashram. Sri Narasimha Murthy did not hesitate to reveal to all that when the World Youth Meet in Muddenahalli was being planned to take place this November, the building to accommodate the youth delegates was still under construction, and a difficult task to complete the same, for want of funds. But Dr Pillay on his own, offered to mortgage his property in Singapore and raise loan in order to complete the building in time for the meet. It is such selfless and fearless devotees who are truly running the mission of Swami, he said.

Sri Narasimha Murthy then introduced another great servant of Swami – Mr Meng – a great example of obedience, from Malaysia who has selflessly donated 100 acres of land for an ashram in Kuching. He spoke of Mr Meng’s own journey so far since his first  connect with Swami way back in 1988, when he wanted to give up all worldly pursuits and take to the spiritual path. Swami had then told him to start a business, which since has grown into a large conglomerate extending to many countries, including Greenland! A Taekwondo master by profession, and the first to introduce it in India, Mr Meng, gave up his personal aspirations and simply obeyed Swami, and is now an instrument as the Lord wanted. Swami recently told Mr Ming that his time had come to take to the spiritual path.

Mr Narasimha Murthy also briefly spoke about the new hospital which will be an International Centre for Paediatric Cardiac Science & Research, in Palwal district of Haryana. This would not have happened until Sri C Sreenivas, mortgaged all his property to offer the advance to acquire the land. This was revealed by Swami during his short discourse while speaking in Delhi about the new hospital on November 26, 2015. It is only due to such selflessness that we are witnessing Swami’s glory everywhere!

Swami spoke next, mentioning that the whole world is reflection, reaction and resound. “Give love and get love. What you sow is what you reap, and therefore no point in blaming anyone for what you go through. Every action has a reaction, sometime a delayed reaction. A seed sown may become a tree after some time, but every tree is a proof of a seed sown some time ago.”

He went to great lengths to remind the students of their good fortune, as they had a chance to study in an environment and an institution, like Alike, which has loving teachers who constantly think about the wellbeing and comfort of the students, making great personal sacrifices in the process. “Children in our institutions should sow the seeds of love at this tender and fertile age. They must make the best use of this opportunity. Start early, drive slowly and reach safely.” Swami mentioned that the students elsewhere in the cities have to pay heavy fees and undertake hours of travel by bus to reach their schools. They also get to eat only stale food that packed many hours earlier. But here everything comes to them, be it fresh food at the correct time, teachers to the classes, playgrounds etc all within their reach that too absolutely free! “We owe to the society which is helping us and must give back when we grow up”, Swami reminded everyone.

Swami dwelled on the subject of the Karma theory, explaining to the children how good deeds leads to good, while bad deeds result in negative outcomes. In His own inimitable way, Swami explained the various aspects of Karma using examples and parables, which were truly thought provoking.

After Swami’s nectarine discourse, a short break was announced and light refreshments were served to the assembled guests. The second part of the evening’s program had a lineup of cultural programs, starting with the ‘Sai Symphony’ team (Alike band) presenting three numbers to Swami. The special number they had composed for the occasion of Swami’s birthday, with its peppy tune was the highlight of their presentation. This was followed by a Kuchipudi performance (a traditional dance form of South India) by Master Gurutej, a student of grade 11, who gracefully presented a story on Krishna & mother Yashoda. He even won the first prize recently in an All India competition held at Dehradun. The final program for the evening was a play by the students of Vidya Kendra and High School, based on the life of Shirdi Sai.

The evening came to a close with Arathi and prasadam distribution after which Swami retired to his residence – Swami Nivas at 9:45pm.