It was yet another morning filled with excitement and cheer. All the guests were ready as early as 7:30 a.m. and after a hearty breakfast, everyone eagerly waited for the Lord’s arrival at the new High School building, an occasion to celebrate with Swami yet another milestone in the history of the Mandya campus. It was a wonderful opportunity for the alumni and alumnae of the Sathya Sai Institutions to help in organising the mega event. The Sri Sathya Sai Saraswati Composite High School and the Sai Hridayam Prayer Hall were decked up to receive Swami. The moment arrived! Swami arrived at the inauguration venue, flanked on either sides by eager devotees who had arrived from many countries around the world. Swami invited Dr Grish Malhotra, Chairman of the Anugraham Trust from the United Kingdom, along with his devout wife Smt Seema to cut the ribbon. The Sri Sathya Sai Saraswati Composite High School is a result of the labour of love and service, lovingly offered at Bhagawan’s Lotus feet by devotees from the UK.
A collage of pictures from the various activities was displayed, and a mini exhibition in the spacious lobby area as one entered the new building was organised by the alumni and alumnae, which showcased the various projects they were involved in. As Bhagawan walked inside the magnificent edifice with His guests, before proceeding to unveil the ceremonial plaque, He blessed the display which was a walk-through of the story of the Mandya Campus and the various milestones, the nicely decorated campus notice board, and the collage of the various campus connect initiatives including the progress on Each One Educate One (e1e1), an initiative where it is the responsibility of every alumni and alumnae to look after education of the current students. As He walked past the displays, He explained the contents to the senior devotees who were following Him. At the notice board, the alumni explained how the notice board was planned to encourage children to write articles and contribute artwork and develop these skills. When asked to give the notice board a name, Swami said looking at the poems and other contributions by the children. “It is from the heart, so let it be Sai Hridayam.” Next the ‘science 4 fun’ alumni team which had recently done a pilot session in Mandya of self made kits, to teach science and make learning fun, presented Swami a card explaining the concept and how the team would like to introduce this in all the campuses. Swami said “Yes, yes, after all you are all doing this for your own brothers!” When Swami came up to the last exhibit which had collage of all the Campus Connect initiatives, before the alumni could explain it, Swami Himself started explaining to the devotees following Him. “Mana Pillalu (my children) are doing e1e1 – Each One Educate One – through this each of them takes care of the education of one or more of their younger brothers and sisters. What you have gotten, you must give to a few others. What you breathe in you must breathe out!” The pride in Swami’s voice really filled all alumni gathered there with much encouragement.
Swami then proceeded to unveil the plaque, officially inaugurating the Sri Sathya Sai Saraswati Composite High School. He then proceeded to unveil the plaque of the Sai Hridayam Prayer Hall, lovingly offered by the Patmanabhan and Pillay family from Singapore. He took the guests to His room showed them around and declared that He would be staying there from that day onwards.
Therafter, Swami along with His guests proceeded to the venue of the function, where over 1000 devotees, guests, staff, students and residents from the surrounding villages had gathered. Sri H K Patil, Honourable Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, along with Sri K S Puttannaih, Honourable Member, Legislative Assembly, Sri C S Puttaraju, Honourable Member, Loka Sabha, and Sri Puttaswamy, Head of the Village Council graced the occasion.
Sri G M Ananta Murthy, Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai Sharadaniketanam, welcomed everyone and delivered the Introductory Address, where he shared the history and details of the campus. “Among the 30 schools that Bhagawan planned to establish, this place was chosen for the second campus. It was the desire of Late Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat, an ardent devotee of Bhagawan and the founder of the Alike campus to establish one school in every district of Karnataka, which would offer free and value based education to all. It was his dream to ensure these students after completing their education to make a difference to the society. In 2013, we started the High School, in 2014 the staff quarters were built, in 2015 the temple for the village deity Maramma devi was built by our trust and was inaugurated. In March 2016, the Gavi Sidheshwara temple – the place of penance of sadhakas was built. It was the desire of this Saint to install a Shiva Linga and build a temple here.”
This was followed by Sri H K Patil’s speech, who spoke about how children and parents these days are behind marks day and night, but not values. He said, “The running does not stop behind marks, it continues to higher education, job, earning settling abroad etc. But here, in this institution it’s not like this. It is only about quality of values and it only preaches about higher self in human values and sacrificing for others. We all should strive for that value based education.
We should remember the words by Swami Vivekananda who said, “Shiva doesn’t listen to prayers inside a temple, but the one who respects the creation of Shiva, He blesses them.” Likewise, Bhagawan says serve humanity by giving values-based education to the children, and for that He has given such noble institutions, and is creating opportunities to serve all these children.”
This was followed by two student speakers, who spoke from the heart. Rohil K began by saying that it is a unique occasion in the history of mankind when the Lord of the Universe has incarnated as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on this earth! He said, “This extraordinary phenomenon is leading us towards the ultimate goal of our life by helping us to do selfless service. He is establishing educational institutions where we get value-based free education. Ours is not merely marks-oriented education, but it is a morality-oriented education. Even after leaving His physical body, Swami has not stopped His mission. He is establishing values-based education in the rural areas of Karnataka and also hospitals, Ashrams and schools all over the world.”
Rohil spoke about his previous school in Bangalore, where academic achievement was the only goal. He thanked Swami as in this Institution he was acquiring service mindedness. He said, “Spiritual, physical and moral developments are also given equal importance here. I realise that I am in God’s institution now!
The next student who spoke was Balaji from grade 10. Hailing from an agricultural background, he has been deeply influenced by Indian culture and values since childhood. He extolled about the values-based education, the spiritual environment and all the lessons that he has learnt at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan. He extended his gratitude on behalf of all the students, and said, “Swami yours is the Divine Vajra Sankalpa. Your mission will never cease. You have given us everything. We will wholeheartedly participate in your glorious mission and as Rev Anna said, we will utilise this body to participate and achieve Loka Kalyana through Atma Kalyana. Merely securing marks is not the goal of education, but to emerge with a blemishless character. Swami we will excel in obtaining secular knowledge, spiritual knowledge as well as people of good character. We will bring about the future peace and happiness of this world.”
Dr Grish Malhotra from the United Kingdom was the next speaker. His speech will dotted with emotions, and he broke down several time during his talk out of deep love and gratitude for Bhagawan. He geban by saying, “My heart is filled with emotion at the love that has been shown to all of us by Swami, by His students, by tyagajeevis, by this whole place. When I speak today, I don’t just speak for myself. I speak for, on behalf of all the people that have contributed, that have supported, that have prayed, that have willed this project to get to this stage so far. I am indeed humbled to be amongst such honorable people on the dais, all the dignitaries and indeed to be amongst the company of my Sai family.
It is said that, not a blade of grass can move without His grace. And it is by His grace alone that each and every one of us are here today. This is no doubt. This is no doubt a historic occasion. Momentous. And in time to come, this whole hallowed ground will be of global importance. Just that word, ‘grace’, again, this is Anugraham. Swami Himself has done everything. In fact, when Swami said, the Mandya project will be undertaken by the UK devotees, we wondered how to do everything? Swami re-assured very lovingly. He said, ‘You have not seen the end of the book. I have already seen the result!’ This shows us that He wanted us to show faith in everything, in every instruction that He gives. The main benefit of this is the transformation that we all have undertaken. As was said before, this project could have been given just to one person or two people. Swami has given us most lovingly the opportunities. He has given the devotees the opportunity to participate and be part of His mission.”
Sri K S Puttanniah, political leader from Melukote and also leader of farmers addressed the gathering next, and spoke about the transformation that is required in today’s day and age. He said, “Spirituality is nothing but a constant travel towards transformation. For that constancy of mind, we always pray to Bhagawan, keeping Him as our goal. Swami is in our hearts guiding us for our good, thus good deeds are happening. I wish that this Institution built by Sri Sathya Sai Baba be a centre for knowledge, transformation and development for the society.”
This was followed by Loka Sabha Member of Mandya constituency, Sri Puttaraju. In his short but powerful speech he thanked Bhagawan, and said that he would render his best service for the all-round development of the region, and undertake the responsibility of its development.
Sri Narayan Rao, Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust addressed the gathering. He said, “There was nothing previously in this place. If we say that a 60-crore educational project has come up here, what can anyone say? Similarly, there are many projects to come up here. By God’s grace let this get accomplished successfully.” He offered a prayer to the mothers’ present saying, “It is not sufficient if the children get education merely to get a job in their lives, they have to love themselves and also God. They have to strive to get that knowledge. Let this mission continue to elevate students to higher purposes.”
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy is his talk said that all the problems that mankind faces today are rooted in the moral downfall of men and women. He said, “There is no morality in the society. There is no morality in the world. What is the reason for this? Bhagawan has clearly mentioned the reason for this crisis. When there is no fear of sin, no love for God then how can there be morality in the society? That is the reason why Bhagawan has been providing a solid foundation based on love for God and fear of sin and for morality in society.”
He reminisced how the first time when he same along with Brother Madhusudan to Mandya four years ago, it was an absolutely barren land and there was no life. “The place was ridden with thorny bushes, but today, if you see so much is happening, more importantly it is not buildings. The most important thing is, it has become a centre of inspiration. For the moral rejuvenation, Bhagawan has established this educational institution. The devotees of England have made it possible to convert this barren land into an education and a spiritual centre only because of their devotion to Swamy. They have offered everything at the lotus feet of their Beloved Lord. They have been very much grateful to Him for giving them this opportunity.
In the past four years in the state of Karnataka, ten new educational institutions have come up. I have been witnessing the students who are studying here though they are unable to see Baba. and their firm faith and devotion towards Swami in their hearts.”
Swami blessed everyone with His divine message.
In the evening, Swami and His guests gathered at the new building, and the students of the Mandya Campus staged a play on the child devotee Dhruva. Swami blessed the children profusely thereafter.