The Coming together of Sai Students – Children For Sathya Sai – The 16th CFSS Alumni Meet
The relationship between Bhagawan and His students is inexplicable. It is one of unfathomable love, underscored by an emotional connect that has to be experienced to be understood. Even so, it is beyond understanding.
The morning of September 4th witnessed the celebration of this unique bond of love between the Lord and His property. It was a day earmarked as the home-coming of Sai Students across the many Sathya Sai educational institutions, and it more than delivered on the anticipated excitement that had built up in the run up to it.
The young and the old, men and the women, all having experienced the bliss of being God’s students, bound by the love for and of God had gathered in the holy precincts of Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli. As the entire Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham Hall waited with bated breath for the arrival of Bhagawan, the happiness was more than palpable.
Led by a motorcade, Bhagawan arrived at the hall around 9.30 A.M. He was then welcomed with traditional Poorna Kumbam and Vedic chants. As He was ushered in to the hall, He first went to the exhibition area, viewing each poster prepared by the old students for Sai Spoorthi function. He was then led to the dais in a regal procession by the students’ band, even as the entire hall reverberated with soulful bhajans in the background.
As soon as Bhagawan ascended the dais, the formal proceedings began with vedic chants by the students, both boys and girls of Bhagawan’s educational institutions. Many dignitaries and guests, such as Sri Anantha Kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Sri Basavaraj Rayareddy, Minister for Higher Education, State of Karnataka, Sri KH Muniyappa, former Union Cabinet Minister, Dr K Sudhakar, Member of Legislative Assembly, Chikkaballapur constituency, Professor J Shashidhara Prasad, former Vice-Chancellor, Mysore University and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Sri U Gangadhar Bhat, Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, Sri B Narayan Rao, Secretary of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, Sri B.N Narasima Murthy, Chief Mentor of Loka Seva Institutions and Sri Madhusudan Naidu, a distinguished alumnus and the chosen communicator of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in subtle form, were then formally welcomed.
Education for Transformation
The morning programme was flagged off with a video presentation that beautifully captured the transformation of hearts that the Sathya Sai system of education has been bringing about over the past many decades. The video brought to the fore how Bhagawan’s message of love all and His mission to serve all had kindled a silent revolution of transformation through the many educational institutions that He had set up, starting with the Anantapur college for women, then the men’s campus in Brindavan and later in Puttaparthi. It also showcased the history of the schools set up by Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat, inspired by the message of Bhagawan.
The video presentation was followed by a talk by Sri G V Praveen, an alumnus of the Alike and Puttaparthi campuses. In his capacity as the Global Coordinator for the Sathya Sai alumni, he spoke about various initiatives undertaken by Children for Sathya Sai in the year gone by. He spoke eloquently about Each One, Educate One – the flagship alumni programme that aims to support all the educational institutions that have been set up under the continued guidance of Bhagawan. He also dwelt on other alumni initiatives such as Campus Connect, monthly satsangs, setting up of alumni cells in the campuses, Sai Arogya Programme, an annual health screening of all the students and staff at the start of the academic year, digitisation of alumni data base and streamlining communications through projects such as mobile application and re-design of alumni portal.
A journey of life from I to WE to HE
A short video presentation depicting the transformational journey of all the students who step in to portals of Sri Sathya Sai institutions was then played. It was an inspirational video that captured the coming of age of Sai students, from being a student, learning and receiving life lessons from God to living His message of giving back to the society. It ended on a powerful note, reflecting the essence of life’s journey from ‘Children OF Sathya Sai, to Children FOR Sathya Sai, to finally Sathya Sai’.
Sri B.N Narasimha Murthy addressed the gathering next. Speaking in both Kannada and English, his speech centred on the importance of education in character development and transformation. “The education of the soul is the soul of the education,” he said. “The spiritual foundation should become the basis for the educational systems across the world.” Recalling Bhagawan’s quote of ‘Daiva Preeti, Papa Beethi and Sanga Neethi’, he spoke about the pitfalls in the current educational systems. He then announced that any student, who has finished his or her education up to 5th class in Government schools would be given first priority for admission in all Bhagawan’s institutions. He also announced that in June 2017, Bhagawan will start the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Excellence for girls. He ended his speech, reminding the alumni and alumnae audience that the future responsibility of taking care of these institutions lay in their hands.
Sri Anantha Kumar spoke next, commending the selfless effort of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust in providing free education and boarding to the children from economically-weaker sections. Declaring that it was a model worth emulating by others, he said that the Government would extend its support for the programmes undertaken by the Loka Seva Trust.
With Bhagawan’s permission a prayer by Sri Basavaraj Rayareddy to consider opening an educational campus in the backward district of Koppal in Karnataka was then submitted.
This was followed by a video presentation on how Bhagawan’s gift of education had touched the life of Kumari Preeti Bharadwaj, a second year Pre-University student at the Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthi Niketanam, Chikkaballapur. Subsequently, she gave an inspiring talk in English, though she came from a Kannada education background, sharing her journey as a Sai student, overcoming financial difficulties and language problems. Chi Shivaprasad Bhat, student of Sri Sathya Sai Human Excellence, addressed the gathering next. He stressed on the magnanimous role that students had to play in the mission of Bhagawan. Expressing their gratitude to Swami, both the students dedicated their lives in the service of their Lord.
Offering of gratitude to teachers – Guru Vandana
The occasion was also taken as an opportunity to celebrate the lives and service of the many teachers, who had silently moulded the countless students who passed through the portals of the Sathya Sai educational institutions. Sri Venkatesh Pastay, an alumnus of both the Muddenahalli and Brindavan campuses conducted the proceedings of honouring the eight illustrious teachers chosen across various institutions.
They included Kum. Devaki Bhat (sister of Late Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat) who served in the Alike campus since its inception, Dr KP Sai Leela, former Professor of English at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur campus and current Chairperson of all the girls campuses under the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, Kum. Venkatalakshmi, a dedicated Hindi teacher and former Headmistress at Sri Sathya Sai Sharda Vihar- Alike, Sri Shivanand, who has taught for 38 eventful years at the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva School, Muddenahalli, Sri K Madhusudhan Bhat, a humble Science and Math teacher in the Alike campus, Sri Venkateshwarulu, former lecturer in Mathematics at the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School in Prashanthi Nilayam and currently serving in the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva PU College, Muddenahalli, Sri KR Surendra, former teacher and Principal at Muddenahalli and currently serving as the Chairman of the Jayapura campus, Sri K Narayana Bhat, renowned Yoga guru who served at Alike for several decades.
Following the felicitation, the audience was requested to rise and maintain silence for ten seconds in honour of these teachers who led exemplary lives of dedication and sincerity.
Sri Basavaraj Rayareddy addressed the gathering next. “Baba always propagated ‘Janaseve Janardhana Seve’, he said, before lauding Bhagawan’s contributions in education and healthcare. He added that it is enough if one simply abides by the dictum of ‘Love All, Serve All’. “The Sathya Sai educational institutions doing a great job in providing free education to the needy,” he ended.
Speeches by Sri KH Muniyappa, Sri B Muniyappa and Dr K Sudhakar followed next. All the guests were then presented with tokens of love and appreciation for their presence that morning.
Spiritual education is the highest of all the education – Divine Discourse
This was followed by the much-awaited discourse by Bhagawan. Emphasizing the importance of truth, righteousness, peace and love, Bhagawan said that if these prevailed, Mother earth would be very blissful and happy and in that happiness she will shower the same on all mankind. “Spiritual education is the highest of all the education. Without good teachers a nation cannot prosper.”
After the divine discourse, ‘ONE S’, the mobile application aimed to bring together and connect all the former students of Sathya Sai educational institutions was officially launched. Atma Nivedanam, a prayer of surrender was then offered by the alumni and alumnae to Bhagawan, beseeching His grace in order to remain His chosen instruments and serve in His mission forever. It was a fit finale to the morning session, leaving the hall reverberating with the prayerful lines as everyone repeated it with much devotion and fervor.
The morning programme ended with the offering of Arati to Bhagawan.