A Bhoomi Puja (land consecration ceremony) was held on the morning of November 22, 2016 for the future residence of senior Thyaga Jeevis (those who have selflessly dedicated the last 40-45 years of their lives in His service). The site for this proposed building was in verdant surroundings, nestled in the lap of the surrounding hills, ringed by swaying coconut trees, and located adjacent to the Centre for Human Excellence in Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli.
Swami arrived promptly for the ceremony at 10:00 o’clock, accompanied by Sri Narasimha Murthy and other guests.
Welcoming Swami and all the guests to the morning’s ceremony, Sri R K Subramanya, Muddenahalli Ashram Administration Staff, said that this proposed building was an answer to the prayers of many people over many years. He said that when Swami announced, just a mere three days ago, that He wanted to build flats for the benefit of the senior Thyaga Jeevis so that they could spend their golden years in quiet contemplation, it came as a pleasant shellshock to everyone!
Sri R K Subramanyasaid that 24 units, with all facilities including a library, were planned occupying a total area of 23,000 ft2.
Speaking next, Sri B N Narasimha Murthy said it is everyone’s birth-right to acquire eternal love, which is possible only through sacrifice (Thyaga). He further explained that sacrifice does not mean the mere relinquishment of wealth and family, but rather the giving up of the weaknesses of the heart – our animal qualities and selfishness – at the altar of divinity.
Going down memory lane, Sri Murthy outlined how the late Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat got together a band of dedicated workers in Alike and Muddenahalli, to build a missionary force to carry forward his vision of service to the country. As these young men lead a life of total sacrifice they were called Thyaga Jeevis. Sri Narasimha Murthy also opined that Swami chose Muddenahalli as the capital of His Mission just because of the presence of these Thyaga Jeevis.
Stating that service without Sadhana is bondage, and Sadhana without service is a burden, Sri Murthy further said that as these Thyaga Jeevis grew older, they could perhaps grow weaker in the body but their mind remained strong. They could then do Seva by going around the different campuses speaking about the spiritual path. “Doing all actions as a sense of devotion and as an offering to Swami is true Karma Yoga. If you don’t do Seva in this real spirit of service, then all actions are useless even if you are a Thyaga Jeevi,” said Sri Narasimha Murthy.
Stating that the site for this building next to the Centre for Human Excellence was not mere happenstance but carefully planned, he said that the students of the Centre for Human Excellence are the spiritual sons of the elderly Thyaga Jeevis. It was thus the responsibility of the students to take care of the elders and the Thyaga Jeevis should not feel even in a corner of their hearts that there is no one to take care of them.
In conclusion, Sri Narasimha Murthy said, “Swami is a true pioneer in spirituality. The Sathya Sai mission will soon spread world-wide in the next few years.”
In His divine discourse, Swami explained the inner significance of the phrase, “I Want Peace.” He explained that ‘I’ stood for Ahamkara or ego, and ‘Want’ stood for desire or attachment to the result of an action. Swami explained that only the doing of an action is in the hands of Man, the result is in the hands of God. So, if we sacrifice the ‘I’ and the ‘Want’ then we are left with Peace. Thus, sacrifice does not lie in relinquishing the home and family but rather stems from the giving up of the ego and the desire for the fruits of an action.
Giving an apt analogy of how the traffic moves faster on an empty road, Swami stated that living as a Thyaga Jeevi in the Ashram is similar to moving fast on an empty road as far as one’s spiritual progress is concerned. But He also cautioned, “We should not just be interested in our own individual progress but must take ten others also with us and help them also reach their goal.”
Swami also said that the late Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat was inspired by Ramakrishna’s teaching and interpreted them to mean if you do good to the world, you will also be redeemed. Swami said, “The Sannyasin (the renunciant) and the Samajam (the society) are intricately related. Just as the cows give milk and the rivers flow only for the benefit of others, the Sannyasin too must similarly lead his life only thinking of the ways he can do good to others.” He further advised, “Lead a life of detachment while in the world, lead a life of service to others and redeem yourself.”
Swami explained that in the days of yore, the Sannyasins used to lead a fearless life considering the whole world as their family. They would go to any household to get some food for their body. Society too revered such Sannyasins who came to remind them of their duties. This Bharatiya samskruti is unique and not found anywhere else in the world.
Swami then related the story of Adi Sankara who once reached a particular hut begging for food. The elderly lady, with tears in her eyes, begged his pardon as she had nothing else to offer him except a single overripe Amla fruit. Overcome with emotion, Sankaracharya called out in agony to the Mother, “O Mother of the Universe, why should your daughter suffer so. Please bless this old lady so she never has to go hungry again or turn anyone away from her home empty-handed.” As soon as Sankracharya had beseeched the Mother thus, there was a rain of golden Amla fruits. Swami said, “If you pray with a pure heart for the benefit of society, it will bring a rainfall of gold. One who serves a Sannyasi is never bereft of anything.”
Swami also revealed that when Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat knew his end was near, he expressed his concerns in a private moment to Swami. He told Swami, “So many young men have come, leaving everything, in response to my call. What will become of them after I am gone?” Swami blessed him and said, “I will take care.”
Thirty years have gone by. Those black-haired kids have either lost their hair or it has become white. “As these elders gradually hand over their responsibilities to the younger generation, it is our responsibility to provide them shelter,” said Swami.
All the facilities to lead a peaceful, happy, healthy life will be provided to them at ‘Prema Sadan’. Everything is offered to them free of cost. Society must repay them for what they have done for society.
One may perhaps question that what they did was only for the State of Karnataka, so how should it matter to us. Swami reminded everyone that the whole world is the body of God. Society is nothing but a part of creation, and creation itself is a part of God!
Referring to the students of the Centre for Human Excellence, Swami said that all children are like seeds – ready to sprout. It is our duty to protect these seeds. Just as a farmer preserves seeds from the harvest for tomorrow, these students should also be preserved for the future. Due to the symbiotic nature of this relationship, it is natural for both (the Centre for Excellence and the home for the senior Thyaga Jeevis) to be next to each other.
Swami expressed his happiness as this project was pending for a long time. He concluded His discourse on a jocular note by saying that when we come back here again after some time, he (pointing to Sri B N Narasimha Murthy) will also be living here.
After His discourse, Swami personally invited all the Thyaga Jeevis present there to participate in the consecration ceremony, by breaking the land and the pouring of milk into the ground, to the accompaniment of Vedic chants.
After the ceremony was over Mangala Arathi was taken and Prasadam was distributed to all.
Swami said Prema Sadana ( Home of Love) is truly for Prema Sadhana (Attaining Love through spiritual practices). This is being built to give the elderly Tyagajeevis an opportunity to achieve their spiritual goals.
He pointed at Sri Narasimha Murthy and jovially advised him to reserve his place too in this building!