A hot and humid morning welcomed everyone, as they all got ready to pack and depart on their long drive to Batticaloa. After breakfast, Swami and His entourage proceeded to the old city of Anuradhapura to the Mahamewna Gardens to see the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, a Sacred Bodhi tree. It is a sapling taken from the right branch of the very same Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya in India, under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment. Looking at the sacred tree Swami said, ” There are so many trees around but this one tree associated with Buddha has gained so much respect. So, if you associate with God, you will get everything.”
After taking a round of the sacred tree, Swami and the entourage walked up to Ruwanweliseya, a Stupa, considered a marvel for its architectural qualities, and sacred to many Buddhists all over the world. Buddhists believe that the largest collection of Lord Buddha’s Dhathu (mortal remains) in the entire world is enshrined here. The walk to and fro to the Stupa with Swami was a treat for the ears as He went on answering a lot of spiritual questions as He walked. After taking a group photograph with the students, staff and guests, everyone departed to Batticaloa, which was almost a three-drive.
Batticaloa, in the eastern side of the island, is still recovering from a civil war that lasted for 30 years, until 2009. Thereafter, it created a vacuum in people placement, and life returned very slowly to normalcy. Even today, there are over 30,000 war widows with little or no means to support themselves. When Swami had performed the Bhoomi Puja in December 2015, He had declared that a day clinic, day school, an Ashram and a skill development would be constructed. In January 2017, Swami had inaugurated the Sarva Dharma Stupa and blessed the commencement of construction of the Medical Centre. In a span of six months, the Medical Centre is ready, truly a miracle of God! Swami and His entourage, reached the Ashram land around 6 p.m. after a brief afternoon rest.
Swami was welcomed lovingly with the traditional Purna Kumbham. The Lord was extremely happy to see the completed Medical Centre, Sri Sathya Sai Karunalayam Medical Centre, as He walked around wide-eyes appreciating the traditional Ashram like architecture and expressed His satisfaction to Smt Penny Jayewardene and her team, who have been tirelessly working round the clock, despite umpteen challenges. Sri Channa Daswatte, one of Sri Lanka’s top architects, and a protege of the very famous Geoffrey Bawa, is the architect of the Medical Centre, and Swami blessed him profusely. Swami also walked to the Doctors quarters, and then came back to the main building where a small function was arranged.
After lighting the ceremonial lamp, Swami commanded Smt Penny Jayewardene to address everyone. She reminisced how Swami told the devotees to start the day clinic, which would also include a facility for educating mothers and children. She said Swami had only one desire for the village of Kirankulam, a building which would serve the people, who had suffered 30 years of war. Smt Penny Jayewardene expressed her gratitude to everyone who have supported the Sri Sathya Sai Karuna Nilayam Foundation.
Swami then commanded Sri C Sreenivas to speak to all gathered. He spoke about the blessed fortune of Sri Sutharshanom from Singapore, who had lovingly offered the land to Swami in 2015. He said, “Swami has touched this land, which was ravaged by war. As Swami places His foot, this has become a holy shrine, which will love and serve each other. There is a world of difference between building hospitals and Ashrams. This place will heal people in body, mind and soul, which the direction all medicine is now taking, now termed as Meta Medicine. Swami transforms everyone through healing”.
Swami began His divine discourse by saying, “To attain the four goals of human life – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha – the first pre-requisite is good health. Therefore, it is said ‘health is real wealth’. In a strong body, which is free of diseases, a strong mind resides. Hence, a healthy body is required to attain a healthy mind in this world and beyond. A healthy mind is also required to have a healthy body. They are inter connected. The field of medicine is only addressing the health of the body. But very little attention is being paid to the health of the mind. A peaceful and content mind is required for a healthy body.
On one side, this Hospital will cater to the physical health of people, and on the other side, values which will make the mind happy, will be taught. Only if you add love to medicine, this will be possible. Values cannot be preached by mere words, they have to be demonstrated. Love should be practised as the primary Seva in this place! This tangible building is seen, but the foundation which is not visible is the basis. Similarly, for this Hospital, pure and selfless love is the basis.”
Swami advised everyone that all must be treated as their own, as all belong to one family, to one caste of humanity. Swami said, “Let us set this ideal, ‘That all are our own and there are no differences between us.’ We will also start a skill development programme for the war widows, so that they have a means of sustenance for their families. Sri Rajasingam from the United Kingdom will take the lead for this project. You all should focus your energy and mind on Seva, and then you will be able to tread the path. Service is a means of self-realisation in this Ashram!”
Swami then called upon the little children who were recently operated at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital at Raipur, and blessed them profusely. One of the mothers also spoke and offered her gratitude to everyone for saving the life of her precious little child. It was an emotional moment for everyone.
Mangala Arati was offered, and after distributing Prasadam, Swami departed to the Hotel. On the way, the merciful Lord also blessed a Mandir which has been built for Him.
The next morning, after breakfast Swami departed with His entourage back to Columbo, a long nine-hour drive. On the way back, students, staff and guests visited the historical site of Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress near Dambulla in the Central Province which is believed to be Ravana’s fortress. This enigmatic rock is one of Sri Lanka’s most dramatic sight. Everyone stopped for lunch, and returned to Piliyandala to the Jayewardene residence for the night.