It was the last day of yet another short but sweet trip to Rama’s Lanka. The previous night all the staff and students were accommodated at Sarvodaya, a Foundation established by Dr A T Ariyaratne. He is the Founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadhana Movement, which is based on the principles of non-violence, rural development and self-sacrifice. The original Sanskrit definition of Sarvodaya is “The welfare of all,” but Dr Ariyaratne has redefined the term to reflect a Buddhist ideal, “The awakening of all.” Fondly called as ‘Mahatma Gandhi of Sri Lanka’ this octogenarian and his family have been ardent devotees of Bhagawan for many decades. Dr Ariyaratne was also awarded the Sri Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence, which Swami instituted during His 91st Birthday in November 2016, for the category ‘Unity of Religions’.
During His last visit, the Lord graciously visited Sarvodaya, and had wanted His students to see and learn from Dr Ariyaratne and team. In fact, during this current trip, all the students and staff stayed at Sarvodaya both at Batticaloa and Columbo.
After breakfast and a couple of interviews, Swami proceeded to Vishwa Niketan, very close to the residence of Dr Ariyaratne. A few devotees had also gathered to bask in Swami’s love. The Lord commanded Dr Ariyaratne to address the gathering, and he expressed his gratitude to Swami. Thereafter, Sri B N Narasimha Murthy addressed the students and devotees, and spoke about Lord Buddha who taught compassion to the whole of mankind. Sri Narasimha Murthy said that the absence of compassion has led to the current horrific state in the world. He said, “Throughout Buddha’s life, both subtle and physical, his taught only compassion, which can elevate human to divine. Dr Ariyaratne and family are living examples of compassion.”
Sri Narasimha Murthy also spoke about the Sai Ashraya programme in San Jose, which was initiated by Swami for the homeless youth, and said only compassion can save all.
Swami in His divine discourse started by saying that it is very rare to find three things – to be born as a human being, to develop the desire to know the highest truth and finally the company of the wise and noble one. If one finds all these three, then it should be considered as the grace of God. Swami said, “One may get lucky to be born as a human, and may develop a desire to rise beyond the mundane. But both of these will not find fulfilment, unless you are blessed to be in the company of the wise.”
Swami spoke about Dr Ariyaratne and explained how he derived inspiration from his mother, and dedicated his life to humanity. Swami advised the students to take inspiration from him and imbibe in their lives, teaching from living examples like Dr Ariyaratne. Swami spoke about the struggles he went through to follow the path of Dharma, and said “One should not give up the path, even at the cost of one’s life, in spite of all the difficulties that may come on the way.”
Swami then commanded Dr Ariyaratne to speak to the students later in the day. After Mangala Arati, Swami and His guests proceeded to the residence of Sri Karu Jayasurya, the Hon Speaker of Sri Lanka. Swami chaired the Board meeting of the Sri Sathya Sai Karuna Nilayam Foundation, and advised all the members about the next phase of construction of the Medical Centre and Ashram. Swami and His guests proceeded for lunch thereafter. After a couple of interviews post lunch, and blessing the Hon Speaker and his wife profusely, Swami proceeded to ‘Sai Malar’, residence of a long time devotee Sri Rajeswaran, who recently merged in the Lord. Many miracles and manifestations have been taking place in his house for the last three decades. Sri Rajeswaran’s wife, daughter and son-in-law welcomed Swami with much love and gratitude. After a couple of Bhajans, Swami spoke to all gathered and revealed that His presence is always there at ‘ Sai Malar’. Mangala Arati was offered, and Swami departed from ‘Sai Malar’ to the residence of Brother Nishanta for a short afternoon rest. The entourage proceeded to the Airport in the evening to board their flight back to Bangalore, drawing curtains on a glorious trip with Sai Rama to His Lanka!