Sai Baba’s devotees will be celebrating the 82nd birthday of their spiritual master on the 23rd of this month. As usual, hundreds and thousands of them will be converging on Puttaparthi, his ashram, to enjoy his physical presence. Lots of water has flown under the bridge from the time of Sai Baba’s birth to date. During this time, the world has witnessed innumerable mind-boggling experiences. Some of these experiences are so amazing to ‘rational’ minds that they cannot but express their disbelief when such events are related to them. How can an ordinary person gauge the depth of the ocean? However, in spite of what a handful of unbelievers say, the number of devotees goes on increasing from year to year and the Sai Organisation has been growing from strength to strength. The ripples have touched all the oceans of the world. Australian-born Harold Murphet in his book, ”Sai Baba The Man of Miracles” writes, “as the years pass, what was at first a trickle from far-off places is increasing to a steady stream. That stream is being fed from America, Australia, Europe, Africa, the Far East and South East Asia.”
Right from the moment of His birth, those in close contact with him, have witnessed many unexplainable events like musical instruments playing mysteriously on their own at night. Many miracles are attributed to Sai Baba, there are innumerable witnesses to these miracles but as someone has said, “ To those who believe, no explanation is needed, to those who don’t, no explanation is possible.”
In 1965, Sai Baba founded the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organization that, as the name indicates, is a service-oriented Organisation. What has this Service Organization been doing during these years? Sai Baba has always been the role model, setting examples that devotees do their best to follow.
In 1968, while inaugurating a college for women in Anantapur, Sai Baba said, “The seed has been planted; it will sprout and spread, heavy with fruits, providing shade, security and sustenance to all”. Those were prophetic words. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, known today as Sri Sathya Sai University, came into being with its three beautiful campuses in the early 1980s.
“The incredible creation and functioning of the medical marvels; the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences that continues to amaze professionals and administrators, believers and sceptics alike; or the jaw-dropping mammoth Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Projects covering around 1000 villages starting from Anantapur and other neighbouring districts to the city of Chennai to the tribal regions of East and West Godavari districts to who knows where next, and which made even the UN sit up and take notice.
For every doctor who serves voluntarily in Sai Baba’s Super Specialty and General Hospitals in His physical vicinity, there are thousands in all parts of the globe who are stretching themselves to the limit to bring hope and happiness to the hapless and the diseased. Some months back, 36 eminent Sai doctors from the UK travelled to Malawi, one of the poorest countries of the world where every day 140 people die of HIV/AIDS and 95% of the adult population (between 15 to 49) is infected for a stint of service in that country. The Sai Youth of Orissa have done a marvellous job in converting a leper colony, where there lived around 300 inmates ostracized by society and whose lives were no different from that of stray animals, into a land where everybody is now smiling and every soul is shining with hope, joy and happiness.”
The Sai Organisation is marching ahead at mind-numbing speed in every continent today thanks to the Healthcare, Educare or Sociocare organisations that devotees have set up in emulation of their master’s example. What follows may help give readers an idea of the formidable task being accomplished by Sai volunteers for helping the needy and the destitute and for the inculcation of values.
California: In 2006, the Sai Organisation of America organised a medical cum Service camp in Oxnard, California where some 650 patients were examined and needy families provided with food.
Washington: Sai volunteers participated in a National Rebuilding Day in Lacey, Washington in April 2007 and renovated 2 houses for needy families besides collecting firewood for the owners.
Nigeria: The Sai Organisation runs the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Orphanage Home in Lagos, Nigeria.
Croatia: In 2006, Sai youth laid a pipeline that takes water to an elderly couple’s home.
Dominican Republic: A two-day workshop on human values was conducted in La Vega, Dominican Republic for some 70 children.
Missouri: A digital mammography for detecting breast cancer was conducted in St Louis at Our Lady of Guadeloupe Catholic Church by a medical team consisting of Sai volunteers.
Gujurat: Sai Youth in Gujurat, India have undertaken a mega tree plantation programme in adopted villages for an all-round rural development.
Bogota: The Sai Organisation has opened a Medical Clinic in Bogota, Colombia where a team of medical practitioners provide free consultation on weekends.
Malaysia: The Sai Organisation received the runner-up award for its humanitarian services from the Prime Minister of Malaysia. It was recognised for promoting human values across religious and social borders.
Sierra Leone: In war-devastated Sierra Leone, the Sai Organisation has been providing much-needed medical services and food to the people, especially children. A medical camp was inaugurated by the President of the Republic in December 2006. Despite his heavy schedule and in spite of the fact that he had to fly to Mecca on that day, Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah made it a point to attend the function along with several of his ministers and senior civil servants. Over 5 800 patients were treated and 4 000 medically treated Sai nets – mosquito nets – were distributed.
Ukraine: Several houses of elderly people in the Kiev region of Ukraine were repaired by devotees in June 2007.
Serbia: The European Sathya Sai Institute organised a seminar on human values for teachers from neighbouring countries in Serbia in May 2007.
Italy: Sports is also part of the training in values. The Mother Sai House in Divignano near the city of Milan organised a sports meeting that was attended by participants from neighbouring European countries. Besides sports, there was an exhibition on the Unity of religions.
UK: The Sathya Sai School of Leicester held its annual concert in July 2007 with plays focussing on values and based on the lives of Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other similar figures.
South Africa: The Sathya Sai School of Chatsworth in Kwazulu-Natal was selected as an example of “ Best Practice” to be emulated by other schools.
Morocco: A workshop on human values for teachers was organised by the Sathya Sai Centre of Casablanca with the collaboration of British Institute of Sathya Sai Education.
Australia: The Sathya Sai School in New South Wales, Australia has been recognised both at State and Federal levels as a “Leader in values education’ and as a school that has “ successfully integrated human values with the general school curriculum.”
Mauritius: The Sathya Sai Organisation is the NGO that helps collects the greatest number of pints of blood for the Ministry of Health every year.
Sources: Heart 2Heart (http://media.radiosai.org), Sanathana Sarathi, Sai Baba – Mauritian Experience.
The seed planted by Sai in 1968 has indeed sprouted and spread, heavy with fruits and is providing shade, security and sustenance to all. It is the alchemy of love that emanates from Sai Baba that is responsible for the enthusiasm triggered in millions of people around the globe to love all and serve all without any discrimination.