SRI SATHYA SAI SATHYA NIKETANAM, HASSAN – SEPTEMBER 24 – MORNING :
On Saturday, September 24, Bhagawan along with few guests started from Muddenahalli to visit three of His institutions. First, being the newly built and functional residential campus for boys in Hassan, very aptly named by Bhagawan as Sri Sathya Sai Sathyaniketanam. Thereafter, Bhagawan was to proceed to Jayapura in Chickmagalur district, to visit two campuses – Sri Sathya Sai Divyaniketanam for boys, and Sri Sathya Sai Sriniketanam for girls.
Bhagawan’s convoy started soon after an early breakfast at 7.30am and proceeded towards Hassan. The campus miraculously came up in a short span of four months, from the acquisition of land to the construction of the buildings, in order to commence the residential campus in the month of June 2016, for the new academic year. Presently there are around 73 students in Grade Six, ably looked after by 10 teachers. Two of them have been handpicked by Bhagawan Himself. Sri Dwarkanath who has been serving Bhagawan for over four decades at Sri Sathya Sai Grama, and thereafter was instrumental in developing the first campus at Gulbarga in Bhagawan’s continuing mission, the Bagalkot campus thereafter, followed by Vijaypura, and now in his own home town, Hassan. The other person Swami had handpicked and sent to the Hassan campus is Brother Ravi Kasturi who is also alumnus of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in Prasanti Nilayam. He thereafter served as Trustee at Sri Sathya Sai Saraswathi Trust and now has also been given the additional responsibility to look after the Lord’s children in Hassan campus.
Swami arrived at the Hassan campus past noon, and approached the new building set amidst the beautiful green hills that lie between the famous ancient towns of Halebidu and Belur. All the children lined up on either side of the carpet with folded hands and it was a joy to see such innocent little faces brimming with happiness on the arrival of Bhagawan amidst them. Sri Dwaranath welcomed Bhagawan and took Him towards His room in the small campus. Swami vividly commanded that all the students deserve lunch as it was past their lunch time, and He would speak to the children after lunch.
Even though Bhagawan’s dining table and chair was organised in His room for Him to eat in privacy, He commanded the staff to place the chair and table in the dining hall so that He could have His lunch along with the students. Bhagawan proceeded towards the dining hall, took His place at the centre of the hall, and after lunch He walked around the students distributing sweets and asking them about their welfare. Advising them to have their lunch slowly, and then come to the room of Bhagawan, and He went back to His room. After finishing lunch, teachers, staff and guests assembled in Bhagawan’s room. Swami was spontaneous in His conversation with the students as He asked them about what they had learnt in the last two and half months of their stay at the campus. Generally, one would expect that such young children might shy away from speaking in front of so many people, but it was the other way. Many hands went up as they wanted to tell Bhagawan about that all they had learnt after having becoming students of Bhagawan. The Lord gave the opportunity to a few tiny tots, as they excitedly spoke about the good habits they had learnt here, which they did not have earlier. They had learnt about cleanliness, healthy habits, hygiene, speaking truth always, working hard, devotion to God and many other good things, which they were deprived off while they were studying elsewhere. Swami was very pleased to see that all the students could chant RUDRAM without looking at the book. They had learnt four Anyvaakas of Rudram already in barely two months of their stay, and chanted on top of their voice which pleased Bhagawan a lot! The Lord appreciated the efforts of the Veda teacher, Brother Avinash, for having taught them so well. He commanded him to procure the auspicious garments for the students, like the priests who would be performing the Yagas during Navaratri, and asked them to give the children of Hassan a special opportunity to chant Vedam in front of Bhagawan during the Homas. The children were overjoyed as it would be their first visit to Muddenahalli, and the very first opportunity to participate in ten day long Yagna and also get an opportunity to chant Vedam, was a triple bonus!
Swami spoke to the students about the importance of our education system, about the good habits that one must develop, about keeping good company, and keeping one’s thoughts words and actions pure. He said children of that age are malleable and can be moulded into any shape, as the teachers decide. Therefore, it is important for teachers to do their duty well by practicing what they are teaching only then the children would follow. He urged teachers to develop love for the students of divine kind, ‘Love without Duty’ as its not enough if they just did their duty with love. He spoke to many students and asked them about their background, about their towns from which they hailed and about the various things they were doing. After a brief conversation, Bhagawan praised the efforts of Sri Dwarakanath and other teachers who had taken upon themselves, to bring up the Campus in such hard circumstances in a remote place. He called all the teachers blessed them with namaskars and gifts, distributed chocolates and other gifts to students, and only after He had blessed all of them to their heart’s content, the Lord proceeded to Jayapura.
SRI SATHYA SAI DIVYANIKETANAM, JAYAPURA – SEPTEMBER 24 – EVENING :
Nestled in the lap of Mother Nature, surrounded by the vast spread of coffee estates on the green hills of Chikmangalur, there lies the little village of Jayapura that houses the twin campuses of Swami’s Educational Institutions- Sri Sathya Sai Divyaniketanam, a residential school for boys and Sri Sathya Sai Sriniketanam, a residential school for girls, which were blessed to be visited by the Lord and His entourage on 24th and 25th of September. The Lord granted the wish of the newly appointed Principal Sri Surendra, who had served for more than three decades at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli in the past year as Principal for the Pre University College for boys, and was also instrumental in setting up the Pre University College for girls in Chikballapur.
Now, for a little bit of history of the Jayapura Campus. It was in the year 2004, when Sri Jayawant Bhat, a local businessman from Jayapura went to Prasanthi Nilayam and offered to start a campus at his native town, based on the principles of Bhagawan’s value based education system. Bhagawan granted his wish and thereafter the campus construction begun. He and couple of his friends and devotees of the Lord put together their resources to build this campus – Divyaniketanam, which was earlier called Sri Sathya Sai Divya Jyothi Vidya Kendra.
In the year 2011, he again visited Prasanthi Nilayam expressing his inabilities to continue to run the campus all by himself, and he prayed for Divine intervention. As Swami was coming in His car, during darshan, Sri Jayawant Bhat offered the photo of the campus to Bhagawan. The laminated photograph of Divya Jyothi Kendra was blessed by the compassionate glances of our Lord, and Bhagawan reached out to accept it. He took it with Him, and kept it on His lap through out darshan. Symbolically, Sri Jayawant Bhat felt that he has now offered the campus back to Bhagawan and now since the Lord had accepted it in the most gracious manner, it was Bhagawan’s responsibility to look after the welfare of children, and the running of the campus!
Within a year of Bhagawan’s Mahasamadhi, he heard of the continuing mission in the subtle body. He also learnt that the Lord had commanded Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, an ardent servant of Bhagawan for four decades to build new educational institutions all over Karnataka, under direct Divine guidance. His heart yearned for Bhagawan and He immediately reached out to Sri Narasimha Murthy, and discussed with him about the Jayapura campus which he had offered to Bhagawan.
Symbolically during darshan, Bhagawan had accepted the campus on the last day of darshan in His physical body, and the Lord did not forget the prayer of Sri Jayawant Bhat. So when Sri B N Narasimha Murthy visited this campus on the request of Sri Jayawant Bhat, he immediately reported to Bhagawan about the desire and prayer of Sri Jayawant Bhat and all other Trustees of the Jayapura Trust to offer this to Bhagawan. Swami who was in Raipur at that time said, “Presently, this school is running on the principles of co-education- boys and girls are studying together. How can I accept this school where both boys and girls study together? I would rather like to have it done separately.” Though there was a hostel only for boys, the day school was run for both boys and girls together. This fact was not told to Bhagawan and so when this thought of Bhagawan was presented to the Trustees of Divya Jyothi, they immediately committed to Bhagawan that they will be more than happy to segregate the boys and girls sections, probably in another new campus, which will be offered to Bhagawan. Swami was pleased with their immediate acceptance of His wish, and blessed that He himself would build another campus for girls in the same town, but it will be far from the boys campus.
As days rolled by, during one of the visits to Jayapura in His subtle form, Bhagawan guided the Sri Jayawant Bhat’s family on how to build the new campus. Soon all preparations were made for the newly formed Sri Sathya Sai Saraswati Educational Trust, which was instrumental in building more campuses in Karnataka, to take over Divya Jyothi Trust, and thereafter, Bhagawan rechristened the institution as Sri Sathya Sai Divyaniketanam, keeping in the tradition of naming of all these campuses as ‘Niketanam’ or homes. He also instructed them to look at purchasing a piece of land on the other side of the village of Jayapura for girls, and He announced a date for the Bhoomi Puja of the new campus too. The date was fast approaching but there was no Bhoomi/land to do the Bhoomi puja! Sri Jayawant Bhat was very worried that he might fail in serving the Lord, by not being able to acquire the land in time for the Bhoomi puja.
He immediately informed Sri Narasimha Murthy that they might have to postpone the Bhoomi puja, rather cancel it, because there was no land available. There was no one selling the land, especially the kind that was required to build the campus. Soon Sri Narasimha Murthy informed Swami about the predicament of Sri Jayawant Bhat and the people of Jayapura. Swami simply smiled and said “It will happen on the date I have decided.” That very moment while Sri Bhat was in his shop in Jayapura worrying about the Bhoomi puja which was to happen barely a week later, a lady walked in, owner of an estate in that area and asked him whether he was looking for some land to build a school, as she had heard from someone. Immediately Sri Jayawant Bhat answered in the affirmative and the deal was struck! Soon, seven acres of land was purchased for the girls campus, and the Bhoomi puja did happen a week later on the Bhoomi that was being bought from this owner lady. Swami graciously visited and blessed the Bhoomi puja. He also looked around and pointed towards one side of the land and said that “On the highest point a temple of Mother Annapoorneshwari will be built, and she will be the warden and also the presiding deity who will look after the girls in this campus!” In the mean time, the girls’ campus was separated and one of the devotees, Sri Suryanarayana offered his farm house located in his coffee estate to be the hostel for the girls, and 30 girls were enrolled in residential hostel. Temporarily another building was hired to be the school.
Though there were many difficulties, all the girls were very happy to be students of Swami, and therefore they did not mind the difficulties and inconvenience. Bhagawan visited the campus, blessed and encouraged them to use the opportunity well and learn all the various aspects of the holistic education. The teachers, the elders and devotees supported the mission and soon the construction of the girls campus commenced. The architect was also appointed by Bhagawan and guided him to build the Annapoorneshwari temple and school building with the Bhajan Mandir or prayer hall right at the centre modelled around the sacred geometry of Sri chakra. The plans were drawn and devotees came to support the project. Bhagawan visited again to inaugurate the Annapoorneshwari temple in the girls’ campus, Sri Niketanam as He had named it and during the inauguration of Annapoorneshwari temple, Mother Goddess Annapoorneshwari appeared there and received Bhagawan’s blessings as described by Brother Madhusudan Naidu later. The Boys’ Campus Divyaniketanam and girls campus Sri Niketanam both started functioning completely within a year, under the auspicious Sri Sathya Sai Saraswati Education Trust. Soon Bhagawan sent more of His people to take care and look after these institutions and today, after three years these institutions are growing well with children developing not only knowledge of the world, but beyond that.
The devotion, enthusiasm and excitement of students was palpable, when they learnt Bhagawan was visiting them soon after His visit abroad. They made arrangements to receive their beloved Mother Sai with various cultural programmes, prayers, veda chanting and other performances. Bhagawan reached the boys campus in the evening of Sept 25th in the midst of Veda chanting. The boys led Him all the way from the gate to the newly renovated bungalow for Bhagawan named, Sai Sadana. Beautifully decorated and aesthetically furnished, the bungalow truly deserved to be the house of the Lord. After inaugurating the bungalow, Bhagawan asked the guests to refresh themselves, have their dinner and be ready to witness a play by name Jagadodhara, depicting the various incarnations of the Lord. After a quick supper, all gathered under a make shift auditorium roof to witness the drama. Despite rains, the arrangements were made appropriately for all to be seated without being affected by the showers. After the drama, Swami blessed all the students with clothes, photographs and plenty of encouragement, after which the guests and Bhagawan retired for the day at around 10 pm.