Even before we start our update for this week, let us share with you a very, very good news. 14 students from the II PG Courses who had applied for the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering – an examination taken by Engineers and Post Graduate Students of Science for pursuing their further studies like M.Tech.) examinations this February, have secured All India Ranks and have a percentile above 90%.
The greatest honour to our Institute is done by Sri E. Naresh Kumar from the II M.Sc.(Physics) class who has secured (hold your heart!!) the All India First Rank!!! This is a matter of great pride for all of us and we must congratulate all these budding intellectual masters who have brought pride to our entire Sai Student fraternity!!
Another point to be noted is that, whereas their counterparts elsewhere would have gone through elaborate coaching and 24 hours of mugging, these heroes have followed the rigorous routine of our Hostel, participated in all extra curricular activities and still reached the top! Once again, hats off to all of them!!
More interesting is the events that followed this evening at the Mandir. But for that, you’ll have to read further on to know about it in the 15th March update at the end.
On the evening of 10th, Bhagawan came out for Darshan at 3.35 p.m. He sat on the sofa outside until 4.25 p.m. and then went into the interview room. Bhajans were held as usual.
11th of March was a dry day for Prasanthinilayam as there was no Darshan full day. 12th morning too went past without His Darshan. However 12th evening Bhagawan came out for Darshan; spent some time in the interview room and retired at 4.45 p.m.
March 13th, 2005
Being a Sunday, we all had gone for morning Darshan. The clock ticked by and it was 9.00 a.m. Bhajans started. We almost lost hope of having His Darshan and then suddenly at 9.05 a.m., Swami gave us a pleasant surprise by emerging out of PC. He took a full round and then to our delight, He came and sat down on the sofa placed at the centre of the dais. Bhajans went on till 9.50 a.m. and we had a fantastic 45 minutes Blissful Darshan of the Lord!!
In the evening, He came out at 3.25 p.m. He sat down on the sofa and started interacting with the Warden. The III UG students were ready with their Gratitude Programme this evening. In fact, they had been trying on so many occasions to present their programme. Swami had even Blessed their card but they had not been able to manage a slot. This evening, finally, their prayers were answered.
Their presentation was titled “Nuvvu Unte Chalu” – “It’s Enough if You are There”. The introductory song based on this theme was catchy and the lyrics were very meaningful. The first scene was a skit showing a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. The skit shows Lord Krishna blessing Duryodhana with all wealth and prosperity inspite of him accusing and insulting Krishna. On the other hand, a Brahmin devotee who sincerely prays to Krishna is blessed with the death of his only cow, which was the main source of income for him.
Arjuna is totally confused. Then Lord Krishna explains that He had given Duryodhana all the wealth and had thus moved him even farther away from Him, whereas by putting an end to the cow, He had enabled the Brahmin to get over his attachment to the cow and come closer to Himself! For the Brahmin, it was enough if Krishna was there. Nuvvu Unte Chalu….
In the next module, several students expressed their gratitude in words and poems, in different languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Hindi, Kannada, Nepali…
This was followed by the song – Love is so wonderful – so wonderful Love.
It’s so high, we can’t get over it…
It’s so deep, we can’t get under it….
It’s so wide, we can’t get around it…
With each song, two students would go to Swami with a Card and Bhagawan would read through each of those letters and cards and Bless them profusely! The presentation concluded at 4.35 p.m. with group photographs. Bhagawan was so compassionate that He stood up and posed for the group photos. He then called each character of the skit and spoke to them individually. Prasadam was distributed to all and Bhajans began at 4.45 p.m. At 5.10 p.m. Swami took Aarti and retired for the day.
March 14th, 2005
The Golf Cart moved out with Swami at 3.20 p.m. He got down at the centre of the dais and walked up the steps to the sofa. Today was to be a great day for several students. He called a number of students one by one and spoke to them. At 3.40 p.m., He stopped the Vedam Chanting. This evening was to be a student speeches day. Six lucky boys got a chance to express their thoughts in the Divine Presence.
The first one to speak was Sri Amrit Thapa a student of the II M.A. class. He gave a 20 minute talk expressing very thoughtful and noble ideas. The main theme was the Grace of the Lord. He said that the Grace of the Lord was like the sun and it was our clouds of ignorance that covered the same. Grace of God is like water and anybody can collect it so long as we keep our vessels upright.
Divine Grace, he said, could come in any manner – in most unexpected ways. Brother Amrit narrated the story of the drowning man who ignored the help offered by the boatman and even by the pilot of the helicopter. For in his opinion, God would come directly to save him. Later, during his interaction with God in heaven, He realizes his folly for not having perceived God in the boatman and the pilot.
Talking about the functional aspects of Grace, he said that God’s Grace works just like the morphine injection which makes you numb to the pain and you do not feel it though it is there. Grace of God postpones the Karmic effect to a point beyond which the pain is not felt, just like a tablet which is consumed after the expiry date. God also cancels the Karmic consequences by experiences in the dream state. Thus His Grace could flow in a variety of ways, concluded the spaeker!
The next speaker was brother Jagannadan from the II M.Tech. class. He spoke in Sanskrit – impromptu and delighted all of us with his lucid style and rendering of classical songs. The third speaker was Sri Anshuman Das, a I Year M.Sc.(Physics) student. It happened to be his birthday and Bhagawan gave him the gift of talking in His Presence! It was his first experience and he spoke about Mother’s Love.
He began his talk saying that one promise that everything in this world makes is that ‘it will come to an end’. The only exception is Love, for Love is eternal, ever to stay! He spoke about the Grama Seva and how it all began by a mother’s heart touching the Divine Mother’s heart!
He also quoted a fascinating experience that he had in Brindavan during his school days. When they had visited Brindavan as a class, few years back, they had prepared some group songs. Among them were the songs O Sai Maa and Mother of Mine. To make the song shorter, brother Anshuman, a musician himself, had fused the two songs together, cutting one stanza – Maa Bachon Ki Jaan Hoti Hai…from the first song.
When they sang this fusion song in front of Swami, as they reached the point where the first song gets truncated and the second comes in, Swami asked them as to why they had skipped the next stanza. The boys did not know what to say. Then Bhagawan repeated the lines - Maa Bachon Ki Jaan Hoti Hai…Wo Hote Hai Kismatwale… Bhagawan said, “Without this stanza the song has no meaning”. This is the importance that Swami gives to Mother’s Love!
The fourth speaker was brother Ganesh from the Diploma in Indian Culture and Philosophy class. He is the one who dances very often in many programmes in the Kulwant Hall. He spoke for around 10 minutes followed by Sri Karthik Prashant of the II M.Tech class. Brother Karthik again spoke of the Love of Bhagawan and gave an example of how when a team of children on hearing Swami say that their hairstyle was not good, had tonsured their heads, Bhagawan was so happy with their prompt response that He gave them an interview everyday for the rest of their stay in Prasanthinilayam!
The final speaker was Sri Vijay Subramanyam Prasad from the II M.Sc.(Mathematics) class. Very scholarly in his English language and adept in his poetic skills, the speaker captured our attention for the next twenty minutes with his fascinating talk. He spoke about Bhagawan saying that test is His taste. He said that every test is a pretext for God to confer on the devotee the taste of His Love!
Bhagawan calls us Bangaroos (golden ones) but our mind jumps like the kangaroos! Life is a canvas that can induce many an emotional stroke. We must love the Lord’s uncertainty because Love is His certainty – were some of his poetic and thought provoking statements!
He concluded with a beautiful experience of how Bhagawan clarified a doubt that he had in his mind. When Swami in one of His Discourses said that we should always look at the positive side of things, brother Vijay wondered what positive aspect could he see in the recent disaster of the Tsunami. As this doubt nagged him, from within came a clear voice that asked him to focus his attention on the second Tsunami and not just the first one! There were two Tsunamis that occurred one after the other! One without and one within!!
The first Tsunami brought out the fury of Nature whereas the second Tsunami brought out the best in Human Nature. The first one caused huge tidal waves across 2 continents whereas the second one bound all the continents with its love and compassion for the victims. The first one occurred due to shift of tectonic plates under the sea while the second one occurred due to movement of the hearts within millions of people. The first one led people to believe that God is Nowhere but the second one helped people to believe that God is Now Here!!
He concluded his talk amidst loud applause. Bhagawan Blessed each speaker at the end of his talk and also clapped for all of them. Bhajans began at 5.10 p.m. and at 5.15 p.m. Swami took Aarti and proceeded towards the Poornachandra Auditorium leaving us spell bound with the noble and loving thoughts shared by all our dear brothers.
March 15th, 2005
This evening, Swami came out for Darshan and went away into the interview room. The I PG boys who had secured the top ranks in the GATE exam were seated in front to seek Swami’s Blessings. After 4.00 p.m., they went into the Bhajan Hall and sat in the front. Around 4.45 p.m. when Swami entered the Bhajan Hall, He started asking for Naresh Kumar. Brother Naresh went forward. He was the one who secured the All India first rank in the GATE exam for M.Sc.(Physics).
Swami was beaming with joy looking at all His bright children. He spoke to brother Naresh for some time. Then Bhagawan called the Primary School Headmistress and asked her if there were any erstwhile Primary School Children among them. Indeed there were a few. One of the boys got up and mentioned to Swami that there were quite a few who had studied from our Primary School!!
Subsequently, Bhagawan was enquiring from Sri Sai Surendranath – School Teacher and Tabla Maestro, as to what the Government would give them. Would they receive any cash award or any other prize? Bhagawan was told that all that they would get was a certificate. Swami was very concerned. He said that if the Government would not reward them, He Himself would honour and award them!
After the Aarti, as Swami sat in the Golf Cart, He called for Sai Sir and gave him some instructions. Accordingly, the former Vice Chancellor, Sri S.V. Giri made an announcement. He shared the good news about our boys securing top All India Ranks in the Gate exam. He said that these students would be honoured and rewarded by Bhagawan in a special ceremony to be held in Sai Kulwant Hall tomorrow evening at 3.30 p.m!!
So we’re eagerly waiting to witness this unique – first of its kind – ceremony in the Divine Presence.
March 16th, 2005
It was 3.40 p.m. when the Prius car parked in front of PC. Swami got into the car and brother Satyajit drove the vehicle into Sai Kulwant Hall. He took a turn on the Ladies side and proceeded straight towards the interview room. Bhagawan got down from the car and walked towards the dais. The Vice Chancellor, Sri Anil Gokak received Swami on the stage. Swami sat down on the sofa and by 3.45 p.m. the Vedam chanting stopped.
A Podium was already arranged for the speaker. All our heroes were seated on the marble block to the right of Swami, where the faculty members sit regularly. Brother Naresh obviously occupied the front seat. The Vice Chancellor, Sri Anil Gokak offered a rose to Bhagawan and moved forward towards the podium.
He began his talk saying that yet another milestone had been crossed in the history of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. He shared the joy he experienced yesterday afternoon when he received this good news. Above all, he was wonderstruck to witness the delight expressed by Bhagawan!
Sri Anil Gokak gave some factual details of the GATE examination. It is called ‘Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering’, an all India test, held in 8 zones across India and conducted by 7 Institutes of Technology and IISc., on behalf of the Department of Education, Ministry of Human Resources and Development. This year, the exam was conducted by IIT Mumbai and over 1,00,000 students appeared for the exam all over India. It is a matter of great joy that 20 out of 48 students who appeared for the exam from our Institute passed with high ranks. 8 of these 20, securing above 98 percentile!
Sri Gokak said that whereas students elsewhere have total access to Internet for accessing information, our students have in addition to this, access to Swami, who provides the means for transformation. Elsewhere in the world one perceives the revolution in Science and Technology while students here are witness to yet another revolution – that of a spiritual nature. Our students are on the threshold of this great revolution.
The VC then called upon each student, one by one, asking them to come over to the dais, seek Swami’s Blessings and receive the honour. Brother Naresh came first. As soon as he reached Swami and bowed down, Bhagawan’s Hand waved in circles and there came a gold bracelet that was to adorn Naresh’s wrist! Swami personally tied it around his wrist. All the while, there was thunderous applause from the audience. This went on for quite some time as the bracelet was being fastened!!
Just behind Swami, there were a set of boys standing with silver trays filled with shining watches and royal shawls. Each student received a watch from Bhagawan and then the icing on the cake – Swami with His own Hands opened each shawl and spread it around the neck of each and every student. All 20 of them!! It was sight to see. As each student approached Swami, he would receive a loving smile from Bhagawan. He would offer the rose to Swami, take Padnamaskar, receive the watch, get the Blessings of the shawl and then a wonderful photo!! What more can one ask for in life!
Bhagawan spoke to few of them and some sought certain instructions about their future plans. The VC then invited Brother Naresh to share his thoughts with the audience. Brother Naresh, true to any Sai Student, first of all offered his gratitude to Bhagawan saying that all this was possible not due to his talents, but purely because of Swami’s Grace! He spoke very well, recalling the great lessons he had learnt throughout his stay here.
He recalled with fond memory, the contribution of his classmates, his teachers and many others at various phases of his life that finally led to this glorious moment! He spoke highly about the rich infrastructure available at the Institute, giving specific examples of the expensive, not so easily available, instruments in the Institute Labs. He appreciated the team spirit, sense of fraternity and the focus on the individual more than anything else that formed the hallmark of this Institute.
He also made an attempt to clarify the common doubt that many people have as to how students can study seriously if they were to participate in several activities like Grama Seva, Sports Meet etc. He said that, in fact, these activities resulted in increased productivity even on the academic front!
Brother Naresh was followed by brother D.V. Hemant, a student from the II M.SC.(Physics) class who began his talk saying that this is the best of times as we have God in our midst, but it is also the worst of times and that is why He is here. He spoke of the troubled times that the world is generally going through today. Since 60 years and more, Swami has been relentlessly speaking about the same Truths and passing on the same message. Why?
Brother Hemant gave the example of the Parachuters who say ‘Jump’ and then count 10 to 1 and finally open the chute. They practice this drill again and again day after day for two months. The purpose is that when they are finally dropped from a helicopter, miles above the mighty ocean, they must inadvertently perform the same drill with all accuracy.
So too, Bhagawan gives us strong doses of these spiritual messages, so that when we go through the ups and downs of our lives, we too spontaneously do our own counting – counting on His Grace! It was 4.30 p.m. It was now the turn of our former VC, Sri S.V. Giri to share his thoughts.
Sri S.V. Giri commenced his talk with the three qualities that all students must possess. Shraddha (steadfastness), Bhakti (devotion) and Vinayam (humility). He explained how the various extra curricular activities that the students go through at the Institute, enable to develop their power of concentration, which in turn helps them to perform better in academics too. An hour of concentrated effort is better than 20 hours of wavering attempt.
He praised the students and drew reference to a student J. Sai Kiran who passed out from our Institute with a M.Sc.(Chemistry), a few years back. He too had secured an All India Rank and was second in the country. He could have secured a seat in any prestigious Institution. However, he chose to stay back with Swami and serve Him in the Super Specialty Hospital at Bangalore. This is the noble feelings that our students have.
He also explained the difficulty involved in passing the GATE exam and the cut throat competition that exists, by giving the example of brother Naresh who secured the first rank with 99.97 percentile. Brother Krishnan secured 99.03. Between these two boys, there were 25 others – in that small margin. That is the rigour!
After Sri Giri’s talk, the VC prayed to Swami to Bless us with His Divine Discourse. However, Swami asked him to speak once again. Obeying Swami’s command, Sri Gokak spoke for some time advising the students to develop a sense of humour, which in the philosophical sense means an attitude of live and let live and also to develop the quality of wit which is the ability to respond spontaneously. Our students, he said, must have the resilience to handle change, face change and live up to it.
It was 4.45 p.m. Again the VC prayed to Bhagawan and Swami conceded. The table was arranged and Swami began His Discourse.
Bhagawan concluded His Discourse at 5.35 p.m. Prasadam – Laddus were served. Group songs started in the background. At 5.50 p.m. Bhagawan got up, moved towards the Prius and retired for the day. This day shall remain etched in the History of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning as a day when the acme of intellectual excellence manifested in the students and was offered with Gratitude to Goddess Sai Saraswati – the source of all knowledge and wealth!!