Integrated Rural Development Programme – Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli – October 29, 2017

October 28, 2017 was a red letter day for the third semester students of Nagarjuna College of Engineering and Technology(NCET) for they were in Muddenhalli for a Satsang with Bhagawan. Over five hundred students were present on that eventful day, and for most of them, this was the first interaction with Swami.

All the students were seated by 10 a.m and the proceedings began with an address by Dr A R Manjunath who heads of the Institute of Human Excellence in Muddenahalli. He gave a broad introduction about Swami in both the physical and subtle forms and further went on to give an overview of the various projects that were started and that are currently in the works.

Dr Manjunath’s talk was followed by video presentations titled “The Mystery of Sookshma Sathya Sai” Another video on the importance of human values in education was played. Soulful Bhajans filled the short interval between Swami’s arrival and the video presentation.

As Swami arrived in Hrudaya Mandiram, He was greeted by the Staff and Principal of Nagarjuna College, Sri Gopala Krishna. The students of the Centre of Human Excellence chanted Vedic hymns once Swami took His seat.

Brother Girish Suryanarayana, a  Research Scientist in an MNC in Bangalore gave a presentation on Integrated Rural Development, a course in NCET which aims to expose and educate students regarding the challenges that exist in rural India. There is also a practical element to this course where the students visit villages to figure out methods of alleviating said challenges. 

Thereafter Brother Sai Manohar, a current third tear student of NCET and an Alumnus from the Muddenhalli Campus spoke about the love and transformation he felt when he was a student in Swami’s hallowed institution. 

Next Sister Chandana, a first year student from NCET and an Alumnus of Swami’s Prashantiniketanam PU College for girls gave a heart touching tale of how she managed to get a seat in Swami’s institution and also how Swami had saved her father.

Sri Gopalakrishna, Principal of NCET, spoke next. He said, “”70% of India is in rural areas. Swami has also done so much rural service. Hence we at NCET want to incorporate this in the curriculum. The Annapoorna Breakfast Seva is growing at impressive pace and covers 85000 students. Our Chairman has written 46 books on Swami. When Swami left His early sojourn curiously or Chairman stopped writing. This shows that Baba was writing till then. He personally requested Swami that only 600 students have come under IRDP; he wanted the other 1800 students to also come here. Above all he wanted Swami to come to their campus once.
He requested students to share their knowledge with rural children as it would only grow. He also requested them to participate as volunteers in the medical camps. Tomorrow I am travelling to Delhi to meet the MPs and present the IRDP program.”

Thereafter Bhagawan delivered His Divine Discourse as follows ” “Let everyone be happy, let everyone be free of disease, let everyone see what is auspicious and good, let no one have any sorrow, of any kind. 

No where in the world do we hear a prayer like this which has emanated from the sacred land of India. Sarve Bhavanthu Sukhinaha, let everyone be happy. Not just me, my family, my relations, my friends but let everyone in the whole of the world be happy. Let everyone be healthy, let no one have any disease of whatsoever kind. Let everyone see what is good and no one should suffer. Such a prayer is possible only for this ancient, divine and sacred land of India, no where else. Our scriptures say that narrow minded people say that ‘These people belong to us and those belong to somebody else’, but those with a broad heart, a broad mind, they always consider everyone as their own family. This is the principle of Vasudeva Kutumbhakam which has been propagated in our culture.

A while ago, students spoke to all of you. And before they addressed you as students of the college, they called you brothers and sisters. It was Swami Vivekananda who crossed the Indian shores for the first time, to stand in the world parliment of religions and uttered these sacred words, ‘Brothers and sisters of America’. Nowhere before, no one had ever addressed a new gathering of people in such a way. Again, this thought is possible only for an Indian who has been fortunate to be born on this sacred soil which has been sanctified by Saints, Sages, Masters and men and women of sacrifice.

Truly today, we have gathered here not to just to launch a course or begin an initiative to help our own brothers and sisters in rural areas. But this initiative is more to help ourselves become better. Before we go on to improve the lives and needs of the people in the villages, this program is only going to help you improve yourself as a human being. Before you become engineers, doctors, lawyers or whatever profession you choose to become one must become a good human being. Being born as a human does not qualify you to become or to be called a human. Only when you live according to the values of what a human being is, that is when you can truly call yourself a human.

Ahara, Nidram, Bhaya, Maithunam Cha Samanam Etat Pashubhir Naranam.

It is said, Ahara-food, Nidra-sleep, Bhaya-fear, Maithunam-Procreation, all these are common to humans and animals. So just by having those, one cannot be called human being. Because he or she is equal to an animal if only these things are followed.

Dharmo Hi Tesham Adhiko Vishesho, Dharmena Hinah Pashubhih Samanah.

Dharma is the duty or that which makes one a human being and differentiates one from the human or animal nature, and without this kind of sense of duty, sense of righteousness one is equal to animal. Is what is said in our scriptures. Having been born as a human being is a great boon. Being blessed to be the highest in the creation of God, endowed with all kinds of talents, skills and abilities which are not possible for most of the other creatures is a great blessing which one must not waste. Khana, Pina, Sona, Marna should not become, just eating drinking sleeping and ultimately dying should not become the only reason why we are born in this world.

Swami Vivekananda said, ‘Only those live, who live for others. For others are more dead than alive.’ If this life is not spent in the service of others, to help others and is just used for the gratification of one’s own senses, then it is no use. It is better to be dead than being alive in such a way. ‘

The rivers flow for the sake of others, the cows yield milk for others, for the sake of others, trees yield fruits.

Paropakarartham Idam Shareeram.

The body has been given primarily to help others. This is what our scriptures declare. Having been born in this sacred land, in the company of good people, noble people, then having the opportunity to participate, to gather and put you knowledge and skills together in order to help others is a great blessing of God that one must understand. You might be young people with limited experience of life, but all those who have lived life longer than you all will definitely say that what I say that what I tell you today is 100% true. Living for one’s own sake does not qualify you to be human being. Only when you live for others, do you lead a true human life.

You are all going to be intelligent, intellectuals, professionals in due course of time. But let all the knowledge that you gather, all the skills that you develop not be just for pursuing pleasures for one’s own individual selfishness, let there be a greater goal, a greater vision to one’s life. And that is to be of some use, some service to our fellow beings. Rural development program, in India’s context is extremely important. I have travelled to more than 35 countries and seen the life of people in those countries. I have interacted with the people, young and old, and understood what it is that they all need or they all lack. But more than any other country, the need to help the villages is highest in India. We as India, we as Indians cannot be happy if the people around are not happy. No man is an island. One cannot live by oneself, therefore samashti, or society is a combination of vyashti or individuals. If all individuals are not happy, society cannot be a society cannot be a happy society.

Our society consists of rural people, rural brothers and sisters which are majority in number, and till date all the benefits and the advancements of science and technology, medicine and education has not reached the corners of this country. It is a great privilege to do what no one has done before. Youth is about challenging oneself to things that seem impossible. To take up risks, to achieve that which no one has acheived. Reaching moon, somebody has done. Somebody else will reach Mars also. If somebody has climbed Mount Everest, somebody else will do that also. There is no great heorism in doing what others have done before. But that which no one has taken up, because it is the most challenging thing in today’s times is to help our own fellow men in these rural areas come up and lead a comfortable, happy a healthy good life is something which truly is a challenge that our youth should take up and must deliver.

While we are opening more institutions in the rural heartland of Karnataka, the more we open, the more we realise the need for it. It is never going to be sufficient with one institution trying to solve the problem of the whole society. When many come together, then definitely this problem can be solved. This initiative of the Nagarjuna College of Engineering, the founders of which I know very well, not from today, but from much before, they do have this heart to help the society. And in order to make the society better it is not enough if one person or two people or one institution works. Like 5 fingers, when all of us come together to become a hand, much can be acheived. And with two hands put together, there is nothing that cannot be done in this world. Many streams get together to become rivers and many rivers get together to become a much bigger river that finally reaches the ocean. Likewise, Sathya Sai Institutions or the Nagarjuna Institutions, and in the future, taking an example, taking a leaf out of this initiative, many more institutions around the country will participate. And when we all work together, selflessly for the common cause of uplifting our own fellow brothers and sisters of our country, definitely the Golden Age will not be too far.

You all have come, this is your Mother’s place, this is your own home. You are welcome anytime, you don’t need an invitation. Our principle is going on saying invitation, invitation. But invitation is to be given to guests who are outside. Within our own people, it is our own home. Anytime you want, you can come here, you can be here, you can learn, you can share all that you want to. Our doors are always open to all the students and staff of your college, you are most welcome to spend the time here, in the coming days and the days to come thereafter. And I hope that our people, who are your own people, your own family are looking after you well. I would not like to take much more time. My message has always been, is and will remain the same, that is to Love All and to Serve All. That is the true goal of human life. And before we become anything else in our lives, let us become good human beings who lead our lives for the sake of others. Once again, welcoming you all to this Ashram and giving you an open invitation for any time, because it is your own home, you’re always welcome. You are not different from my own children who are here. All are same to me as was told by the students and I am very very happy to have you all here, and look forward to seeing you again very soon. I really hope that all that you learnt today will be put to good use will be put to good use. For food that is undigested only creates trouble, but to practise when you digest all this knowledge, it will lead to happiness and health. Not only for yourself but for others. With these words, and with blessings and good wishes, I conclude this talk.””

Aarthi was offered to Swami post which the students were served lunch. The students were taken on a tour of the campus after their lunch.