The day commenced with Bhagawan granting the promised interview to the group of devotees from Russia and Croatia. It was indeed endearing to see them all, almost 50 in number, waiting with a lot of love and devotion for the door of the interview room to open. With the kind permission of the Lord, the group had followed Him to Alike and to Jayapura.
As Bhagawan emerged out of His room after the interview, veda chanting by the boys commenced, who were all waiting to lead Him in a procession to the venue of the morning function. All the students had gathered and waited with bated breath, to receive their beloved Lord in their campus. Sri M Sathyanarayana, Chairman of the campus, welcomed Swami and the accompanying guests, amidst much cheer. After a couple of devotional songs and dance, Sri B N Narasimha Murthy addressed the gathering of guests, students, staff and devotees. He stressed on the fact that the fundamental basis of education is devotion to God. He said that the students who have studied in Swami’s institutions, either now or in the past, are totally different and stand apart in a crowd. He said, “A Sathya Sai student can easily be spotted. The real basis of this is their love, devotion & faith in Swami. Swami would always say that seeds of devotion & faith must be instilled in the hearts of the young children. With this, they will be able to achieve anything & everything in life”, he said.
Indeed, the Sathya Sai educational institutions stand out as a crest jewel, worthy of emulation!
This was followed by the much awaited discourse of Bhagawan, who started by saying, “Secular education may make you a scholar, but it is not going to grant you complete wisdom or total knowledge. What is the use of acquiring all kinds of education, which will ultimately lead you to death. You must gain ‘that’ education, which will help you conquer death itself!”
He spoke about the Sathya Sai educational institutions, and said it is connected to the roots of our country. The roots of Indian culture is amply nurtured in our students. Bhagawan said,”We have to acquire education to build character. You are not one, but three. What others think you are; what you think you are; and what you really are! Once you learn this, you need not learn anything else. Ultimately, you have to acquire knowledge which will help you conquer death, and lead you to immortality. In the word Bharath, Bha stands Bhava, Ra is Raga and Tha stands for Thala. Whatever activities we take up, we must do it with total involvement and feeling. All that you do without feeling or Bhava, is useless. So, the first and foremost thing we have to learn is to develop this feeling of devotion.”
Swami then spoke about the interview with the Russian devotees in the morning, and said that one of the ladies in the group prayed to Him, that she should always be able to sing sweetly for Him. This was in response to Swami’s acknowledgement of her ability to sing sweetly, which gave a lot of joy to the Lord. Swami replied by saying, “When you sing for me, you will always sing sweetly. When you keep others in mind, and sing to satisfy them, then you will not sing well! Whatever you do, it must be done with devotion. Hence, is very essential to develop the feeling of devotion.”
Arathi was offered to Swami thereafter, and prasadam was distributed. After lunch, Swami bid farewell to everyone gathered and proceeded to see the proposed site of the new educational institution. Located in the Hassan district, between Belur & Halebed, about 40 acres of land has been identified, for the construction. Everyday is indeed special and festive with the Almighty!
The entourage of guests, devotees and students from the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence, followed Bhagawan to the proposed site, enveloped in the lap of mother nature. It is noteworthy that every location picked by Bhagawan for a campus, is nestled in nature’s bounty with spectacular scenic views, far away from hustle and bustle of the mundane world. Thanks to the rains, the road, or perhaps we should say, a muddy narrow path between shrubs and trees, lead the way to the site, which is surrounded by hills and patches of vegetation.
In a matter of five hours, all arrangements had been done; a covered area for the Lord and the devotees to sit, an altar, snacks, prasadam, and even a banner welcoming Him! Probably, the first-ever project initiation event to happen so late in the day! Close to 100 devotees from Hassan district had also gathered to experience their beloved Swami. He suddenly picked an elderly person from the gathering and revealed about the promise He had given his father many decades ago, when he prayed to Him for an institution to be built in the district of Hassan! Bhagawan very lovingly spoke about his father, who frequented Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan for doing seva, while he was a young lad. The omniscient Lord!
Swami declared that this was the auspicious commencement of the project. He spoke about the Satwik time period during the day, morning 4am to 8am and evening between 4pm and 8pm, when all good initiatives can be commenced. He said, “The time period when dawn meets dusk is auspicious. We have to spend this time contemplating the name of God. This moment is auspicious because of this very reason. Truth is satwik, and hence this campus will be called Sri Sathya Sai Sathya Nikethanam, and will commence in a year’s time!” After arathi and blessing all gathered profusely, Bhagawan proceeded from the venue.
The action packed five-days came to an end, as everyone headed back to Muddenahalli, hearts filled with gratitude and joy, reminiscing the days just gone by with the Lord Almighty!