October 6, 2018 – Morning Session
Many alumni and alumnae of various Sathya Sai Institutions gathered at Sathya Sai Grama, on the morning of October 6, 2018 – the first day of the two-day event. At 11:00 a.m. everyone assembled at Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham Auditorium for a brainstorming session on the flagship initiative of the Alumni ‘Each One Educate One’.
The session started with a welcome address by Brother Prasad. He introduced the Each One Educate One programme to everyone gathered. Thereafter, a talk delivered by Sister Bhuvana Santhanam set the theme for the entire alumni meet. She elaborated on the global impact that Swami’s Mission is having today, and narrated many incidents and anecdotes from Swami’s international visits wherein Swami had expressed the trust and faith He reposes on the alumni and alumnae of His Institutions. She mentioned incidents where people, ask questions about the sustainability of Swami’s education projects and His model of free values-based education, and Swami would reply saying, “My Children will look after the schools” referring to the alumni and alumnae of His Institutions. She also stressed upon the fact that the alumni are extremely fortunate for this opportunity, and how recently Swami had remarked to some students, “You are Sai Students and the very name defines the qualities that you must have. S-A-I stands for Service – Adoration- Illumination (Karma- Bhakti- Jnana). Therefore, the way of a Sai student is to serve with love and attain enlightenment!” Thus, she motivated the alumni and alumnae to be a part of Swami’s Divine Mission.
Next, Sister Prashanti Goswami introduced the audience to all the e1e1 core committee members and the alumni and alumnae coordinators. Thereafter, the session consisted of sharing experiences and stories of transformation, and e1e1 achievements by a few active contributors of the e1e1 programme.
Brother Praveen G V, the International Alumni Coordinations narrated the story of an active alumnus Somanna who had contributed greatly towards e1e1 at the Hassan Campus, and how 100% e1e1s were achieved there in a short span of time.
Thereafter, Brother Sarath Kumar shared his experience on e1e1 collaboration with corporates through CSR and Matching Contribution initiatives. Sister Srividya, Dr Sai Lakshmi B M and Brother Vaibhav shared their experiences next, wherein they stressed on Swami’s students getting out of their personal and professional comfort zones, to come forward and join hands with the Institution, which would be a great support in providing free education to the truly deserving children.
Next, Brother Praveen shared the story of how the idea of e1e1 was constituted, and how it has now been established as a Foundation. He also explained the structure of e1e1 Foundation and introduced all the regional coordinators and core Trustees. He also threw light on the importance of Campus connect, and building of a local alumni community around each of the Campuses, who will support the Campus in various ways.
This was followed by an interactive session where many alumni and recent pass outs came forward to put forth their thoughts and perspectives on their involvement with the ongoing mission of Bhagawan Baba.
Sri Ramamurthy spoke next on the importance of inner transformation and inspired the audience to take up spiritual activities and have regular satsangs to keep themselves motivated. The session concluded at 1:30 p.m. with Brother Prasad highlighting the speciality of this year’s alumni meet as it was organised by the One Nation Youth team.
October 6, 2018 – Evening Session
The evening session began at 5:30 p.m. in Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham with Brother Venu Madhav welcoming everyone and offering collective Pranams to Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet. This was an exclusive session for the alumni and current students of the Institutions.
Thereafter, a report of the morning session was presented by Brother Akhilesh. This was followed by two talks. The first speaker was Sister Hrudaya Harikesh, who is currently pursing her first year medicine. She narrated her journey of how it was her innermost desire to be a Sai student, and how her yearning to be with Swami had been fulfilled. Next, Brother Anirud C, an alumnus of the Brindavan Campus spoke about his experiences with Bhagawan as a student, and now as an alumnus. This was followed by a soulful rendition of songs by all the alumni and alumnae.
After the musical offering, Sri B N Narasimha Murthy addressed the gathering, and very beautifully elaborated the relationship Swami has with His Students and how each student has a personal and intimate way to connect with Bhagawan. He also narrated few anecdotes from his days as the Warden at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, wherein Swami would express His immense love for the students in myriad ways. He concluded by saying that everyone needs to develop an intimate inner relation and bond of love with Swami within, without which any amount of education or spiritual knowledge would be in vain.
Swami, in His Discourse, spoke about the love between Him and His Students, and said that it is Swami’s Love alone that is being reflected back to Him by the students like the waterbodies reflecting the light from the sun. “The clearer the water in the lake, the reflection of sunlight is better. Similarly, purer the students become within, they will reflect more and more of Swami’s Love.” He stressed that, if one wishes to experience Swami’s Love, then one has to purify oneself at the heart and only those who have experienced this kind of Love of Swami can truly be called Sai Students. Swami also revealed that it was not out of mere coincidence that the alumni and alumnae had gathered that day, but it was because of merits earned in previous lives that all were in Swami’s presence and hence all were very fortunate! He told the alumni and alumnae to strengthen the bond they have with Swami by purifying themselves and sharing His Love with others. Swami also declared that a time would come when his alumni would not just run the Institutions but also build institutions. And thus, expressing His Love and reminding the alumni of their responsibilities, Swami concluded His Discourse with words of blessings and benediction.
After a short interval, there was a scintillating band performance by the Alumni Brass Band, which consisted of alumni, alumnae and even the current students of Bhagawan. They played popular tracks and also Bhajans with perfection, despite having had less time to practice, under the able guidance of Mr Dimitris Lambrianos and the help of the current students. Swami was very happy with the performance and blessed all the participants.
This was followed by the Grand Finale of the day’s programme, the Alumni Drama titled – ‘I to We to He – the Sequel’ which was a continuation to the alumni drama presented in 2017. The drama showed flashbacks from the prequel showing the characters unhappy with the materialistic lives they were leading. What followed was a story of their transformation as they participated in Swami’s projects throughout the year, as they discussed and contemplated on the satisfaction, and sense of fulfillment they had found in their lives. The drama concluded with the presentation of a specially composed Qawwali song which touched the hearts of everyone present. Swami then came up to the stage for a group photo with the drama participants and also blessed them with gifts. The session concluded with Arati.
October 7, 2018 – Morning Session
The second day of Sai Spoorthi Alumni Meet 2018, was a formal function. Close to 500 alumni and alumnae of the Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions had convened to celebrate the joy of togetherness, to remind and reaffirm themselves of their commitment to Bhagawan’s Mission and to bask in the loving presence of their beloved Mother Sai.
The programme began at 10:00 a.m. with Swami’s arrival into the Premamrutham hall with the Chief Guest Sri R Shankar, Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment, Govt. of Karnataka and the Guest of Honour Sri Muralidhar Halappa, Chairman, Skill Development Board, Govt. of Karnataka.
Swami inaugurated the exhibition stalls which presented glimpses of the various service initiatives being ably led by the alumni and alumnae.
Once Bhagawan and the dignitaries were seated on the dais, the proceedings began with the Vedic invocation by the alumnae. The opening remarks were made by Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, Chief Mentor, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Group of Institutions. He underscored that Sai Institutions provide both, high quality and values-based education for those who are direly in need.
The next speaker was Brother Praveen G V, the International Alumni Coordinator, who spoke about what it is to be construed to be a Sai Student. He said that the Sai Student would be defined by each one of us being able to translate the spiritual core that is developed, into Seva. He outlined the various activities that one can participate in and he urged each one to enrol and be part of these activities.
A short talk by the day’s Chief Guest Sri R Shankar was next. He was visibly moved by the short video that was presented on Bhagawan’s education mission. He commended on the wonderful work being done by the Institution.
This was followed by a unique programme – ‘Guru Vandana’ that is followed every year to honour the contribution and the exemplary service of all the teachers and staff who have served for many years, and those who continue to serve in the institution. This year particularly, three senior teachers were awarded the citation as a mark of respect for their service. The first was Madam Dharmavati Thirunavukarasu, who has had the honour of starting the Department of Philosophy at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus. Two other lecturerers who were awarded the citation were Sri K N Sundara Bhat and Sri H Ramanand, who continue to serve in Swami’s Divine education mission.
This year, the Alumni Excellence Awards were instituted to reward alumni who continue to work selflessly for the betterment of others. Two alumni who have done exemplary work to educate children from the underprivileged sections of the society were picked this year. Sri. G B Rajashekar, a former student of Muddenahalli campus, who had served in various capacities and is currently the Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai Sharadaniketanam campus in Mandya was one recepient. The other recipient of the Award was Smt Aruna Pradeep Reddy from Hyderabad, a former student of the Sri Sathya Sai College for Arts and Science at the Anantapur Campus, who for the last 25 years has been serving tirelessly to educate children from impoverished and slum backgrounds, totally free of cost. Swami blessed her earlier this year with the opportunity of engaging with the new girls Campus, Sri Sathya Sai Prashantiniketanam (Hyderabad) that was recently inaugurated in June 2018.
Four speakers addressed the gathering next. The first of them was Brother Rajath, who spoke about the One Nation youth forum and its journey till date. The next speaker was Brother Sarath Kumar, former student of the Prashanti Nilayam campus who shared his experiences of what it took to be engaged in the various activities. He is part of the Annapoorna Breakfast Seva Programme and also engages with various schools, particularly the government schools in his area in Bengaluru. He spends his weekends coaching children from underprivileged background.
The next two speakers were two current students. The first was Chi. Sugunesh M studying in the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva High School (Muddenahalli) and the second was Ms. Prabhakari Biswal who is now a student of Sri Sathya Sai Prashantiniketanam (Nallakadirenahalli). Both of them spoke about their lives before coming to the campus and how they have been transformed and touched by Bhagawan’s Love. A video on Women’s Empowerment and the story of three girl students from the Gadag Campus was shown before the talk of Ms. Prabhakari Biswal, which reduced everyone present to tears.
The morning programme concluded with Bhagawan’s Divine Discourse, where He exhorted everyone to be part of this Divine Mission through Service, Adoration and Illumination. He said, being part of His Mission alone will grant everyone the realisation of human birth.
The morning’s proceedings concluded with Arati. Prasadam was distributed to all, and the two day Sai Spoorthi Annual Alumni Meet for the year 2018 came to a glorious end!