Spiritual gurus soft targets as no clear policy to secure them

Spiritual gurus soft targets as no clear policy to secure them
Team DNA
Tuesday, June 1, 2010 2:11 IST

New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore: What kind of security are spiritual leaders provided? The question has assumed significance a day after a gunman shot at the convoy of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar near Bangalore on Sunday.

Tragedy at Mangalore AirportWhile the Art of Living founder has forgiven the gunman and invited him to his ashram, and the Karnataka police are playing down the incident as not a ‘targeted attack’, the issue of protection of religious and spiritual leaders, who move around freely among thousands of devotees and thus remain soft targets for miscreants, has come across as a concern for many.

Sources in the Union home ministry said there are no guidelines or norms to provide security to religious leaders. “The security is related to developments and is provided by the state governments as and when needed,” they said, adding that such attacks are generally the fallout of internal rivalries involving followers.

Buttressing the ministry’s point of view, a Delhi police source said the force had no trend of providing personal security either to such persons or to their establishments. “We do not provide security to any religious leader. Arrangements are made if the religious heads or their sects organise functions.”

The case with the Mumbai police, who have decided to re-examine the security cover to visiting religious leaders after the Bangalore incident, is similar. Currently, they have provision for Z plus security to two religious leaders — Nirankari Baba Hardev Singh and Sathya Sai Baba. As for the others, the police examine the scheduled places of visit and assess the threat perception.

“Each time a religious leader visits the city, we examine the level of security to be provided,” said Naval Bajaj, additional commissioner of police (Protection).

“Depending on whether the leader has recently been in controversy and the number of followers, we draw up a security cover that needs to be provided,” he added.

However, post the Pune bakery blast in February, the central security agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau, have been keeping a watch over spiritual centres across India. “The intelligence input gathered after the incident has created an additional burden on the security agencies towards providing security for seers and religious and spiritual centres,” observed an officer in the agency.

However, fool-proof security to spiritual gurus is not an easy task. In Karnataka, over 500 police personnel provide security to seers. But the proliferating number of swamijis and seers from each community makes it an onerous task.

Besides, spiritual leaders like to mingle with their devotees and brook no involvement of the police in gatherings. The alleged bid on Sri Sri at his Kanakapura ashram has exposed this vulnerability. He has Z-category security, say senior police officers.

DNA India Reference

AP Gets Rs 800cr From Centre

AP Gets Rs 800cr From Centre
Express News Service
First Published : 24 Oct 2009 04:03:52 AM IST

Chief Minister K Rosaiah seeking the blessings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Prasanti Nilayam in Puttaparti on Friday

Chief Minister K Rosaiah seeking the blessings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Prasanti Nilayam in Puttaparti on Friday


PUTTAPARTHI: Chief Minister K Rosaiah today said the State had received Rs 800 crore from the Centre towards crop insurance for the last Kharif season and an order was issued for payment of Rs 386 crore to the affected farmers.

Addressing a gathering at Satyasai Airport, the Chief Minister thanked the people of Anantapur district for their help to flood victims. At a time when the government had declared 981 mandals in the State drought hit, unexpected and unprecedented floods wreaked a havoc.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi visited the flood affected areas and announced an immediate relief of Rs 1,000 crore, he said.

Rosaiah who arrived here from Bangalore, drove straight to Shanti Bhavan enroute Sai Kulwanth Hall in Prashanti Nilayam. The Chief Minister touched the feet of Sri Satya Sai Baba and sought his blessings. Sathya Sai Baba gave a private audience to the Chief Minister in the Green Room for about 30 minutes.

Earlier, he was received by Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy, former minister JC Diwakar Reddy, ZP Chairperson T Kavitha, Anantapur Mayor R Parasuram, Anantapur MP A Venkatarami Reddy, Hindupur TDP MP Nimmala Kishtappa, TDP legislators P Raghunatha Reddy, Abdul Ghani, Congress MLAs B Gurnadha Reddy, K Madhusudhan Gupta, K Venkatarami Reddy, District Collector B Janardhan Reddy, SP MK Singh, Joint Collector Anitha Ramachandran, Congress leaders T Bhaskar Reddy, Y Visweswar Reddy and others.

Later, Rosaiah left for Bangalore.

Express Buzz Reference

Chief Minister to Visit Puttaparthi Tomorrow

Chief Minister to Visit Puttaparthi Tomorrow
Express News Service
First Published : 22 Oct 2009 04:22:00 AM IST

ANANTAPUR: Chief Minister K Rosaiah will visit Puttaparthi on October 23.

According to a official press release here today, the Chief Minister will arrive at the Puttaparti airport from Bangalore by a helicopter at 3.30 p.m. From there, he will drive straight to the Ananda Nilayam at Prasanti Nilayam. He will have a meeting with officials and non-officials in the district. Later, Rosaiah will the darshan of Sathya Sai Baba and fly back to Bangalore at 5.15 p.m.

District Collector B Janardhan Reddy instructed the officials to tighten security in the area in view of Rosaiah’s first visit to Puttaparti (the “Abode Of Peace” and residence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba) after he took over as Chief Minister. He asked the officials to erect barricades and ensure proper sanitation in the area. Penukonda Sub-Collector Praveen Kumar, DSP, DM&HO and officials of R&B and Fire departments met at Penukonda today to prepare the route map and minute-to-minute programme of CM’s tour.

Express Buzz Reference

The BPOs are calling Bharat

The BPOs are calling Bharat
MINI JOSEPH TEJASWI TIMES NEWS NETWORK , TNN 10 October 2009, 05:27am IST

College and an office job was 17-year-old Abhijit’s dream. But financial problems meant he had to join his father on the farm, helping to grow paddy Steep rentals and a high attrition rate in cities are why many BPOs are moving and sugarcane, collect fodder and sell milk. That became his life in the tiny hamlet of Baburayanakoppal, near Srirangapatna in Karnataka.

Until three months ago, when an abandoned rice mill in the village was renovated and became the office for a 100-seater BPO (business process outsourcing) unit.

Word was soon out in the village that there were jobs to be had. Though he neither spoke nor understood English, Abhijit decided to give it a shot. He applied, wrote a test, was taken in and trained. Today, he’s part of the Indian BPO army, once seen as an urban opportunity accessible only to educated, English-speaking boys and girls.

Abhijit’s employer B S Venugopal, a director of Mpro Solutions, says though the training takes time, it is worth the effort. ”We did not expect to find readily employable talent in rural areas. They are raw with no language or communication skills but eager to learn.”

A few weeks into his training, Abhijit tells TOI Crest in grammatically correct English, ”It’s not that a farmer’s life was a bad one, but farming doesn’t pay enough for a comfortable living. In my case, I had no education and didn’t think I could be anything other than a farmer.” Now as part of his job, he makes calls to prospective donors from a database seeking funds for NGOs. His salary is Rs 3,500 a month.

Abhijit isn’t the only one taking advantage of BPOs going rural. Even as many outsourcing firms based in cities put a freeze on hiring, many new units are opening up in villages and towns in the south.

Karnataka’s IT/BT secretary Ashok Kumar C Manoli says the companies are bringing technology and financial empowerment to rural youth. ”The idea is to create a rural BPO cluster , which can be integrated with similar projects across the country,” he says. ” We want to promote jobs for rural youth who have some computer knowledge and belong to small towns with a one lakh population. To start with, each of these centres will have 100 seats,” he adds.

Abhijit’s colleagues at Mpro – Mahesh, Jagadish , an orphan, Soumya and a dozen others – are also taking advantage of this economic transformation. But what will they do with the extra money? Abhijit wants to help his father buy more cows. His friends, too, want to help their parents out but they also want to buy mobile phones and bicycles.

”The initiative will change the economic fabric of the countryside,” Manoli says. BPOs will make youth in the hinterland financially independent as they did in the urban areas. They will have money for marriage, to pay off debts or buy sewing machines and cows. More importantly, it will stop the mass exodus of young people from villages to cities seeking employment, he says.

It is the cost of business in big cities – exorbitant rentals, steep wages, high attrition – that has many companies looking towards the village. Mpro Solutions is the first to become operational under the Karnataka government’s ambitious rural BPO scheme. The state plans to set up a hundred such units to create one lakh jobs in the next four years. A few weeks ago another centre was opened at Gundlupet, while two centres are being readied in Salgame and Shiggaon in Karnataka. Also in the pipeline are eight more in Sirsi, Huliyur, Chikbalapur, Hosadurga, Pavagada, Mundargi and Devadurg in rural Karnataka.

The state is rolling out the red carpet for those adventurous enough to go rural. It’s offering financial incentives of up to Rs 20 lakh and a per employee training incentive of Rs 10,000. Manoli says the response from entrepreneurs has been overwhelming. Infosys and Wipro, too, have shown interest.

Bangalore-based BPO company RuralShores, which already has a centre in Bagepalli, is in the process of entering rural areas in Tamil Nadu and Bihar. Xchanging, which acquired Cambridge Solutions, and Hinduja Global Solutions too are venturing into semi-urban places like Shimoga in Karnataka and Durgapur in West Bengal.

Other southern states too are developing business models to encourage private players to venture beyond the cities. Tamil Nadu already has rural BPO units and is planning another 100 rural units in the next few years.

Kerala is looking at a hub-and-spoke model. The government aims to set up 100 rural BPOs at the panchayat and district level in 14 districts over the next three years. The first rural BPOs have already come up in Perinad and Kadakkal in Kollam district.

Sai Seva Business Solutions, a rural BPO unit, was set up in Puttaparthi (the abode of Sathya Sai Baba), a couple of years ago by management students of the Sri Sathya Sai University. HDFC Bank outsources part of its work on data capture and profiling of new accounts to them. Tata Business Support Services has set up a BPO in Mithapur in Gujarat, near the manufacturing unit of Tata Chemicals.

A country-wide rural BPO drive is expected to create employment opportunities for millions of rural Indians, allowing them a share in the country’s $12-billion BPO pie.

Times Of India Reference

STOI remembers Vinayak Krishna Gokak

STOI remembers Vinayak Krishna Gokak
Rishikesh Bahadur Desai, TNN
2 August 2009, 05:45am IST

Even as the debate rages on whether Kannada should be the medium of instruction in schools in Karnataka, the state gets ready to observe the birth centenary of the man who mooted the idea. STOI remembers Vinayak Krishna Gokak — legendary scholar, writer, teacher, and institution builder. The occasion will be celebrated in Bangalore on Aug. 3 and 4 as well as in Dharwad on Aug. 9 and 10.

In his famous report, Gokak advocated primacy to Kannada in education and administration. But, he was also a Jnanpith Award winner, distinguished academician and inspiring teacher.

He studied the status of other Indian languages in states where they were spoken. “However, the report is not just about implementing Kannada in Karnataka. Gokak felt that all Indian languages should get primacy in their states,” says his student and Hindi poet Siddalinga Pattanashetty.

Gokak was born in Savanur village, and climbed his way up through hard work. In 1938, he became the first non-white pupil to top Oxford University in its 340-year-old history.

Gokak changed the course of Kannada literature by batting for modernism as early as 1940. He won the Jnanpith Award for the modern epic Bharata Sindhu Rashmi. He was among the few modern Indian academicians who produced creative literature in more than one language. He wrote poetry in Kannada and English and spoke with authority on literature in Marathi, Gujarati and Sanskrit.

“As a writer and translator, he introduced Indian values and culture to the West. As head of academic institutions, he implemented the best practices from around the world into Indian education,” recalls his student and writer Chandrashekar Patil.

His teaching is the stuff of legend. His student Surendranath Minajigi recalls in his book on Gokak: “He was a creative influence, a cult figure on campus and students imitated him.” He was so popular in Pune that students from other colleges attended his classes.

He was the founding spirit behind several prestigious institutions like the Central Institute of English in Hyderabad and the M N College in Gujarat. CIE was to set the template for teaching and research in English in India. He introduced value-based education in the Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, as its vice-chancellor.

Gokak committee and agitation
The Gokak agitation, demanding primacy to Kannada in Karnataka, was the first high-voltage pro-Kannada agitation after the one demanding unification of Karnataka in the 1950s. It started with the R Gundu Rao government failing to implement his report.

The Rao government formed the Gokak committee in 1980, after being criticized for its policy of regarding Sanskrit as the first language in schools. Gokak submitted his report in 1981 and recommended that Kannada be taught as the first language in schools. An agitation broke out when the government did not seem enthusiastic about implementing it. Though writers and Kannada activists started the agitation, it became hugely popular and glamorous when film stars led by Rajkumar joined it. The Kannada film industry struck work and stars led rallies across the state.

Life & times

  • Born in Savanur (Haveri dt) on Aug. 09, 1909
  • Joined Karnataka College, Dharwad after elementary education in Savanur
  • Won Daxina scholarship and Ellis prize for academic achievement
  • Completed MA English literature in 1931
  • First non-white to top Oxford University in 1938
  • Published first poetry collection in English
  • Started writing in Kannada under Bendre’s influence
  • Wrote 70 books that include creative works in English and Kannada literature, education, and contemporary thought
  • Awarded the Jnanpith for `Bharat Sindhu Rashmi’, an epic work of 35,000 lines on Indian cultural history
  • Served as president of the Bharatiya Jnanpith
  • Died in Bangalore in 1992

Time Of India Reference

Dr. Vinayaka Krishna Gokak (the first vice chancellor of Sathya Sai Baba’s university The Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning) related how one day he asked Sathya Sai Baba to come to his house for a meal. Sathya Sai Baba readily accepted.

Dr. Gokak was excited, cleaned his house, and waited for Sathya Sai Baba to come. Days and weeks passed. A year went by, Dr. Gokak began to think that Satya Sai Baba had forgotten.

Then one day, while sitting in front of altar, he noticed that the most prominent pictures were of a guru he had in the past and still had a fondness towards the pictures. Off to the side and hanging on the wall was a small picture of Sathya Sai Baba. “This is not right,” thought Dr. Gokak.

Remembering that now Sathya Sai Baba was the main focus of his devotion, he quickly changed the placement of pictures so that Sai Baba’s picture was in the centre.That very day, just after this seemingly small change occurred Sathya SaiBaba came to Dr. Gokak and said warmly, “Now I will come for the meal.”

When Baba visited Dr. Gokak’s home, he saw on the wall for the first time a portrait of an Indian saint, Shri Panta Maharaja of Balekundri, and asked about its presence there.

The Vice-Chancellor replied to Baba that the saint had been his father’s guru, and that he, himself, held the holy man in great reverence.

Sathya Sai Baba: “Have you a smaller portrait of him to carry when you’re travelling?”

Dr. Gokak: “No.”

Sathya Sai Baba: “Would you like one?”

Dr. Gokak: “Yes, Swami, very much.”

Sathya Sai Baba waved his hand, for a little longer than usual, remarking, “He is coming.” Turning the palm up, he handed the doctor a small enamel pendant. It bore a miniature replica of the saint’s portrait.

At another time, Dr. Gokak was to address a large gathering of Sai Devotees in the USA. Orator that he was, the crowd was expecting a heavy downpour of his resonant voice in meaningful words, but nothing came out for a minute or two. Dr Gokak could not believe such a situation he was in for the first time in his life. Suddenly he remembered Swami and mentally prayed to Him. And to his great surprise he found Swami sitting in the front row with smiling benediction. And then there was a torrential flow from the Professor providing a treat to the audience.

Book: Gokak, Vinayak Krishna, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba : an interpretation / Vinayak Krishna Gokak Abhinav Publications, New Delhi : 1975

IIT will be established at Muddenahalli, says Moily

IIT will be established at Muddenahalli, says Moily

Chickaballapur June 2: Union Minister for Law and Justice M. Veerappa Moily on Sunday said that an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) would be established at Muddenahalli on the outskirts of Chickaballapur.

Addressing a meeting of Congress workers here, Mr. Moily, who represents Chickaballapur in the Lok Sabha, said that he had discussed the matter with Union Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal. Steps would be taken soon to set up an IIT at Muddenahalli, he said. During his election campaign, Mr. Moily had promised that he would strive to get an IIT established at Muddenahalli, the birthplace of the legendary engineer Sir M. Visvesvaraya. Muddenhalli is all set to occupy a prominent place in the country educational map. Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) has also drawn up plans to set up Visvesvaraya Institute of Advanced Technology (VIAT) at Muddenahalli.

According to Higher Education Minister Arvind Limbavali, foundation stone for the VIAT would be laid this month at the 200-acre plot identified for the project. Besides facilitating advanced research in various branches of engineering and technology, the VIAT would offer degree and post-graduate courses.

Further, the Puttaparthi-headquartered Sri Sathya Sai University is also in the process of establishing its campus at Muddenahalli. Sathya Sai Baba, the Divine Chancellor of the deemed University, laid the foundation stone for the new campus at Muddenahalli in February this year.

Mangalorean Reference

Providing Hope And Healing To Heart Patients

Providing Hope And Healing To Heart Patients
Dr Michael Nobel, chairman of the Appeal of the Peace Prize Laureats Foundation, had said, ‘I have never seen anything like this on earth. It is a wonderful feeling, far removed from the national healthcare in the West, which does not seem to work very well. The impressive thing about the hospital created by Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba is the combination of the three aspects: state-of-the-art technology, free medical treatment and the healing powers of his presence instilling in the patient the firm belief that he or she will get well.’

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences’ super-specialty hospital in Whitefield, near Bangalore, offers free heart surgeries to people from all walks of life. Till date this hospital has conducted nearly four lakh surgeries, according to hospital staffers, who point out that there is no billing counter here.

The hospital’s mission is to ‘provide high quality medical care absolutely on a no cost basis to all irrespective of caste, creed, religion, and financial status in an overall spiritual environment which recognises the patient as a human being and not as a diseased entity’.

Each and every patient receives the same treatment
The hospital is situated on a sprawling 53-acre complex. A large number of patients, young and old, rich and poor, get their heart problems treated free of cost. Some treatments would cost Rs 4 lakh in other medical facilities.

Y Arvind, manager of public relations at the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, says that the list of patients is endless. ‘We have patients throughout the day and I must tell you that we are proud of our waiting list. We meet every patient and we never promise what we cannot deliver. But we only deliver the best here. The doctors meet and evaluate each and every patient who comes here. The cases are taken up for treatment depending on their urgency,’ he added.

Every patient receives the same treatment here, free-of-cost. ‘The idea is that each patient is at the same level and if you do not pay for your treatment, then everyone is on par,’ explains Arvind proudly.

The hospital runs on donations from various philanthropists and devotees
The hospital is equipped with a fully automated information system which takes care of the patient data. The hospital also maintains a manual record of the data.

The super specialty hospital, with a built up area of 3,54,000 sq feet, houses 333 beds, eight operation theatres, six intensive care units, two cardiac cath labs and a 24-hour emergency unit. This state-of-the-art hospital, with a dedicated team of expert doctors, is also remarkable due to its Indo-Saracenic architecture and magnificent gardens.

How does the hospital dispense free medical treatment to so many patients? All the funds for the hospital come from the medical trust, which in turn receives the money in the form of donations from various philanthropists and devotees of Sathya Sai Baba. Arvind explains that on an average, the hospital authorities spend Rs 50 lakh a month on surgeries, treatment, maintenance cost and staff salary.

Not medical counseling, but patient counseling
‘We are able to manage this thanks to resource optimisation. For example, we don’t waste paper. It is compulsory for anyone using a note to use both sides of it and not throw it away after writing on only one side,’ Arvind explained.

The doctors have been instructed not to conduct medical counseling, but to conduct patient counseling for every patient. The doctors draw up an emotional profile of the patient to figure out the route of his emotional imbalance. This understanding helps the doctors in keeping their patients calm, and studies have proven that a calm mind helps heal a patient better.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘s first initiatives in the field of medical care began with the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Prasanthi Nilayam, which was inaugurated on October 4, 1956 as a 12-bed facility for serving the poor in Puttaparthi and the surrounding villages.

Free healthcare to all patients
The initiative was aimed at giving free healthcare to all the patients seeking treatment at the hospital. Soon, the hospital began to attract patients from all across Anantapur, adjoining districts and other states. Over the years, the SSSGH grew from a single room dispensary to a sizeable general hospital with 90-bed capacity, treating patients suffering from various aliments. The Out Patient Department in the hospital now handles nearly 600 patients daily on an average.

In 1976, a second hospital, Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield was inaugurated by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Bangalore. He also founded the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust in September 1991, to set up super-specialty hospitals to provide quality medical care to needy patients irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

State-of-the- art medical care
The first venture of the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust, towards providing high-tech tertiary medical care, was in the form of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi in November 1991. The institute provides state-of-the-art tertiary medical care absolutely free of cost to all those who came to its portals. This super specialty hospital treats diseases related to cardiology, urology and ophthalmology.

After the success of the super specialty venture in Andhra Pradesh, the government of Karnataka wanted Baba to start another super specialty hospital in Bangalore and offered 53 acres of land to build a super specialty hospital in its suburbs. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Bangalore was inaugurated on January 19, 2001.

Rediff News Reference

Twin Towers Of Healing

Sathya Sai Baba And The Twin Towers Of Healing

Sathya Sai Baba And The Twin Towers Of Healing


Twin Towers Of Healing
by Dr. A.N. Safaya
Sanathana Sarathi Special Edition

Desire to have knowledge about the Divine and its manifestations including the phenomenon of life in the living has been in the human mind since the beginning of human intellectual evolution. Along side it, there has been the urge for the practice of the art of healing the afflictions and injuries of the human form. The two have been together since eternity. The Vedas, which present the most ancient documentation on spirituality, amply exemplify the togetherness of thoughts on Divinity and the art of healing.

The Principles of Arogya
It is therefore but natural that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba emphasised the importance of human body and mind remaining in a state of good health to achieve the desired results when He initiated the Sai Seva Mission for the service of mankind. Advocating the importance of the awareness of Divinity and the practice of the principles of spirituality, He emphasises the need for the prevention of bad health and avoiding unhealthy personal hygiene and unhealthy lifestyle. Every now and then, Bhagavan keeps on laying stress on the observance of good and healthy principles of personal hygiene, food, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle.

Bhagavan advocates the golden principles of Arogya (absence of ill health). Seva Dal volunteers of Sri Sathya Sai Samithis all over the country are spreading the awareness of these principles effectively and diligently. Under this programme of awareness, society is going on a steady march, at grass root level, towards a state of positive health for its members. This is how Sai Health Mission took its first step towards Arogya with the message that it was the foremost duty of man to keep his body healthy.

Sri Sathya Sai General Hospitals
The second step in the direction of treatment of disease, once it had occurred, was the establishment of two Sri Sathya Sai General Hospitals, one at Prasanthi Nilayam and other at Whitefield, Bangalore. These two general hospitals look after the patients of all general ailments, conduct tests, give treatment, drugs and do surgical interventions completely free of charge. Nearly one crore patients have been benefited by the services of these two hospitals since their inception years ago.

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthi Nilayam
The third step was to establish the twin towers of Sai Health Mission in the form of two Sri Sathya Sai Institutes of Higher Medical Sciences-one in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh and the other at Whitefield, Karnataka.

On the occasion of His Birthday on 23rd November 1990, Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba made a momentous declaration of establishing a Super Speciality Hospital in Puttaparthi for highly specialised treatment of diseases of heart, kidney and eyes. As a consequence of this Divine Sankalpa of Bhagavan, Institute of Higher Medical Sciences was conceptualised, planned and built in a record time of six months. It was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Sri P.V. Narasimha Rao on 22nd November 1991 and started functioning fully from that day. It has never looked back. Established in an architecturally and aesthetically beautiful building, which sits majestically in the centre of its sprawling lush green lawns, it lodges the specialities of cardiology, cardio-thoracic surgery, urology, ophthalmology, anaesthesiology, laboratory medicine, blood bank, bio-medical and general engineering services. The staff working in these departments is hand picked, well chosen with care and dedicated to the service of ailing patients. The equipment used in diagnosis and treatment of the patients is the latest and state of the art. All the parameters of functioning of the Super Speciality Hospital in all its branches are highly satisfactory and of international standard. It is highly popular, well renowned and well known all over the world, and is open for treatment to all, irrespective of the distinction of caste, creed, colour, religion or country. All the diagnostic investigations, laboratory tests and the treatment including surgery are done completely free of cost to one and all, rich and poor!

Service with Love and Humility
All this workload is shouldered by the hospital creditably and completely free of cost to the enormous number of patients it has served so far. All the treatment is given by the dedicated staff of doctors, nurses and technicians to each and every patient with humility and love, amidst spiritual environment, with the name of God on their lips. The hospital maintains very high standard of cleanliness, purity and discipline with the help of nearly 100 Seva Dal volunteers working round the clock.

Seva Dal volunteers are the dedicated devotees of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and come by turn from every State of the country under a laid down scheduled programme. They dedicate their Seva at the Divine Feet of Bhagavan Baba and work in the hospital in honorary capacity for varied intervals of time of few days to few weeks or months. This is an excellent example of community participation in the healthcare programme. Middle level management and the care of the equipment including its preventive maintenance is done by a group of Technical Officers who are highly skilled graduates and postgraduates from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, a deemed university. Their dedication and diligence is responsible for nearly 100 per cent uptime of all the equipment of the Institute. This Institute of excellence has developed within typical rural environment and has been functioning in a purely rurai setting since its inception. Of course, now an airport and a railway station have come up in close proximity, a great boon for the patients and their attendants. Patients of concerned specialities come from all over the country and are examined fully. Urgent cases are given prompt medical attention and those who can wait are put on waiting list and are called when their turn comes. Attendants of patients have a dormitory facility with a canteen attached.

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield
Bhagavan Sri Sathya SaiBaba’s infinite love and compassion for the suffering masses concretised in the establishment of yet another Super Speciality Hospital at Whitefield, Bangalore. It is, in fact, a second Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences. The Institute was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 19th January 2001. It is functional since then. The Institute is situated in a fully developed urban-cum-industrial setting, in fact, next door neighbour being the world famous International Technology Park. The palace-like architecture of the huge hospital building is breathtakingly impressive. This white brilliant jewel of a building sits pretty in the emerald green lawns surrounding it. It lodges the super specialities of cardiac sciences and neurosciences with all of their necessary support services. It has a bed strength of 333 which is looked after by highly dedicated, well qualified and experienced staff. Like the Institute of Higher Medical Sciences at Prasanthi Nilayam, this Institute also gives international standard treatment to its patients for the diseases of heart and brain completely free of charge. Patients are served by the staff, doctors, nurses and technicians with love, understanding and sympathy in keeping with Bhagavan’s principles of loving selfless service.

The hospital is equipped with latest, state-of-the-art equipment; some of the systems for diagnosis and treatment are made available to patients for the first time in the country. A bigger team of Technical Officers keeps the equipment of the hospital in a state of perfect functioning at all times with practically no down time. They are supported by the Biomedical and General Engineering Departments. Though not connected directly with the treatment of patients, the workers of the support departments have thorough technical experience and knowledge to keep the hospital infrastructure and support services in ideal state of functioning in a manner which should serve as a model to other hospitals of the country.

The data and the indices of patient care are comparable to the data available from any other hospital at international level.

Patient Counselling Service
A unique feature in the patient care process of the two Institutes is the Patient Counselling Service. This service has been introduced as a model project in Super Speciality Hospital at Whitefietd. The consultants of the treating department of the Institute keep the patient under health surveillance after he is discharged from the hospital with the help of the volunteers of Sai Organisation.

The counselling activities cover all the three phases of the hospital-patient contact period, that is, the pre-hospital phase, the hospital phase for which the patient is admitted for surgery or treatment and the post-hospital phase after discharge of the patient from the hospital. This arrangement ensures that the counselling continues at the locality of the patient’s residence also. Counselling to every patient also includes spiritual counseling and offering suggestions on issues like faith, prayer, meditation and control of emotional stress, etc. Such a comprehensive counselling care is not only disease and person specific but is also holistic, and amounts to almost emotional adoption of the patient with a firm promise of help for his ailment. This is a distinct feature of the functioning of Sai Health Mission. The system is in operation in the State of Karnataka at present and is in the process of being extended to all other States of the country.

Twin Towers
Our country has incomparably large population and has equally huge incidence of disease and ill health. We have no illusion that these Twin Towers of Healing will treat all the patients of the diseases of heart, brain, kidney and eyes and will wipe the tears of all suffering patient population. No, it will help only a few – a drop in a big ocean! But, these Twin Towers of Healing will serve as models for establishing such Institutes all over the country and all over the world. Such centres will provide state-of-the-art medical treatment through dedicated staff with love, understanding and compassion, free of cost and without any restriction of caste, creed, colour and country, like these two Institutes provide to every patient everyday.

Happy! Happy!

Sathya Sai Baba Happy

Sathya Sai Baba Happy


Happy! Happy!

Last summer, Pete, my husband, told me of a scientific meeting in New Delhi in February. He had submitted a paper! It was accepted! Now we faced the problem of funding. We knew we would have difficulty paying two fares. Pete applied for grants from several institutions here in the U.S. No money was available. We had almost given up hope. The meetings were a month away. I was sitting meditating, one Sunday, when Sathya Sai Baba appeared to me. I was so overjoyed. He had not come to me for almost four years. Three days later we got a cable from India. Money was being sent for my husband’s fare! We had only three weeks to prepare! Many obstacles appeared and disappeared through Sathya Sai Baba’s Grace.

At last we were off! Or so we thought. Our flight out of Los Angeles was fogged in and we missed our connecting flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Luckily, we got an almost empty flight (the other flight was full) to Tokyo. After a day there we were booked on a late night flight to Hong Kong. It was the beginning of Chinese New Year and many people were going to Hong Kong. We had to wait a long time in the crowded airport. My “jet lag” was becoming extreme. I felt so tired and off balance. My stomach was in a knot. I felt worried about the children who were all ill when we left. In particular, I was worried about Jesse, our nine year old boy, who because of allergies, always gets severe croup when he gets ill. He had croup the day we left.

We continued on to Hong Kong and then on to New Delhi. As we were getting closer and closer to Delhi, I felt my heart soar. Mother India! I felt the tremendous blessings of the Rishis and Saints. Tears of joy ran down my cheeks. Soon I would see my Beloved.

When we arrived in Bangalore we telephoned our friend, who was the mother of my husband’s former secretary in N.Y., who was a Baba devotee. Yes! They had received our letter and were expecting us. In fact, they said, we were very lucky as Swami had just arrived at Whitefield the day before.

Can you imagine my extreme joy to step on the sacred earth of Brindavan? I had kissed that earth in my dreams because I know His Feet had walked on it. I look the dust on my heart and head. It was all exactly as in my dreams; the trees, the pandal, the beautiful red earth, the crowd of people. We took our places in the Darshan line. After about five minutes, some one came out of Swami’s house and mentioned for us to go in! I was so dumbfounded, my heart, I felt, would stop beating! My husband sat down in the foyer with the other men and I and my two lady companions sat opposite. We were looking toward the center door, expecting Swami to come through there. Instead, I felt a rush and turned, He had come through a side door right next to us!

He was like the sun. So radiant. Words cannot describe the sweetness of this precious moment, beholding Him for the first time. Smiling, He came straight to me and in His golden voice, softly, said, “Where is your husband?” I gave Him a garland of flowers and touched His precious feet and then pointed Pete out to Sathya Sai Baba. Swami went over to Pete, and as he touched Swami’s Feet, Swami gently patted him on the shoulder several times and said “So happy. So happy. Good man. Good man.” Then He told Pete to “sit, sit,” and that He would be back in a minute.

When He returned, He came to me and called Pete over to us. He then related very personal details about us, clearly showing He is with us every moment. He assured us about several personal matters. Then I showed Him a photo of our children. He said, “Yes. Yes. I know.” I told him how Jesse was sick often with allergies. Swami then said, “Don’t worry. I will take care.” Then He said, “I give Prasad” And with a gesture I was to see many times in the next two weeks, He materialized Vibhuti into my hands, my husband’s and the women we were with. “Eat! Eat!” He said, and we licked it off our fingers like small children lick cookie batter from their hands!

Then Sathya Sai Baba brought out a red basket filled with Vibhuti packets and filled our hands till it was overflowing! Swami then signed a book for Pete and one for me. As He was signing my book, I knelt down and kissed the Precious Foot of my Lord. Six years had passed since the moment I knew He would stand before me. My heart’s desire had been fulfilled. Swami said several times, “So happy, So happy,” to us and “Good man! Good man!” to my husband. Then He said, “be happy,” to both of us and turned and went out to give Darshan.

Pete had to see people in Bangalore the next day, who want him to work with them (Swami’s Grace again) and so he missed Darshan that day. The following day he had to return to Delhi to begin his teaching. He was planning to go to morning Darshan before he left, but found out the airlines had listed his flight time incorrectly. His flight left before morning Darshan.

So, you see, Sathya Sai Baba knew Pete only had that one chance to see Him. I stayed on for two weeks and came to Whitefield every day. Just the sight of Swami coming through the gate was enough. To have Him so near, to have Him walk right by us, to see His Precious Form; to see the Beloved Feet and Hand, to hear His sublime, sweet voice brought such joy. How grateful we are to have had this most precious experience. I pray to see Swami in every being I meet and in every thing I see. How blessed we are to have Swami’s precious teaching of Divine Love before us.

– Mrs. Pete Engel, California

Sanathana Sarathi, August 1979

Reference

Ensuring A Smooth Transition Of Leadership At Patni

Jeya Kumar

Jeya Kumar


Ensuring A Smooth Transition Of Leadership At Patni
22 May 2009, 0737 hrs IST, Dibeyendu Ganguly, ET Bureau

It was the Indian IT industry’s biggest-ever man hunt. A global search for a CEO for one of the country’s oldest software companies, who would replace the founding doyen. The hunt lasted four years and targeted the IT industry’s top executives world-wide , some of whom were pulled in, then let go.

Then the process was derailed by the possibility of a change in ownership, with a section of the owners preparing to sell their stake. But that’s all over now and Patni Computer Systems (PCS) finally has a new CEO in the 54 year-old Australian expatriate Jeya Kumar, Sathya Sai Baba devotee and former CEO of MphasiS.

For the 66 year old Narendra Patni, who is now designated non-executive chairman, the denouement comes as a relief, even if it marks the beginning of the end of his long reign in the company he founded fresh out of MIT and Sloan Business School. The long search for a CEO, mandated by the company’s board, has been fairly painful for the company’s top management, with many falling by the wayside.

Patni appointed a CEO in 2006, with the idea of grooming him for the CEO position, but things didn’t go according to plan and he resigned two years later. Then there was the CEO of Cymbal Corporation, USA, acquired by PCS in 2004, who was also in the running but failed to make the grade.

And finally there was Dutch expatriate Loek van den Boog, appointed as executive director in charge of operations as an interim measure, who has now handed over responsibilities to the new CEO and become nonexecutive director on the board.

“It’s one of our failings that we were not able to generate a successor internally,” says Patni. “But I’m delighted that the process has come to an end. We needed someone with international experience and we found the right combination in Jeya, with his 14 years at Sun. Now his mandate is to revive and rejuvenate the company.”

In Kumar, PCS has an ideal combination of a CEO with an Indian face, but very global experience . An MBA from Australia’s Curtin University, he had worked in Singapore and Japan before being promoted to Sun’s headquarters in the USA and put in charge of its $5 billion software services business.

When PCS began head-hunting him last year, Kumar had moved to India for the first time, as CEO of MphasiS in Bangalore. “I heard from friends and associates that PCS was making enquiries about me,” he says with a laugh. “By the time they approached me, they had spoken to everyone but my mother-in-law.”

Bored with MphasiS, which had become a captive unit of Hewlett Packard after its merger, Kumar was keen on the Patni offer — but had to convince his wife, Philo. “We had moved four times in six years, from one end of the globe to the other and it was hard for her,” he says. “I think it was Naren’s wife Poonam who finally convinced her over dinner that the move to Mumbai would work out fine.”

Since he joined three months ago, Patni has introduced Kumar to all major customers and to the rank and file of PCS through a series of 16 town-hall meetings. Kumar has also made it a point to attend ceremonies to facilitate employees who have spent 25 years with the company, which occur more regularly at PCS than one might imagine.

“I think our employees have accepted the change very well,” says Patni. “They understand that we need to change. Our structures have become outdated and inefficient over the years. Jeya needs to transform the company.”

So is the charismatic chairman finally ready to withdraw and leave the running of the company to his new CEO? Patni remains wonderfully ambiguous on this point. “I’m technically the non-executive chairman according to clause 49, but I intend to remain fully participative in the company,” he says breezily.

Given that one of the objectives of Kumar’s appointment is to separate ownership from management at PCS, Patni’s statement might be expected to cause the new CEO some heartburn. But Kumar is ready for a little ambiguity at this stage of the transition . “Naren loves the company, it’s in his blood, so he wants to help in any way he can. But he is the non-executive chairman and the role is clearly defined,” he says.

One role that’s not as clearly defined is that of Anirudh Patni. A graduate of MIT and Wharton, with work experience at McKinsey & Co. Narendra Patni’s 32 year-old son is a senior vice president at PCS. Is Kumar expected to groom him as a successor as Brian Tempest did with Malvinder Singh at Ranbaxy?

“I don’t know too much about Ranbaxy but I like the example of Wipro, where Premji has kept his son on the sidelines ,” says Patni. “Nobody should be anointed crown prince. It’s very discouraging for the professionals.” But then he adds: “But I’m a strong believer in owner-management . If it works out, it can be very good for the company.”

Kumar, on the other hand, is more categorical when he says, “Anirudh will be evaluated on the same performance matrix as everyone else. The process will be very transparent and available for all to see on the company web-site. It should make no difference that he’s part of the promoter family.”

Narendra Patni and his brothers Gajendra and Ashok hold an equal stake amounting to 49% in PCS, with General Atlantic holding 18% and 33% with the public. The other Patni brothers had made a move to sell their stakes two years ago, when the PCS scrip was ruling at an all time high.

This had hastened the search for a CEO who would separate management and ownership, but made the process that much more difficult since few were interested in joining a company that might soon change hands. Today, the scrip is down to a level close to the company’s cash reserves and there’s no more talk of a stake sale.

Kumar’s focus is to now on improving PCS’ valuations with a clear competitive strategy in the rapidly evolving market for IT services. “Right now, I’m building an A-team from within the company and outside,” he says. “Fortunately, people are available like never before.”

Economic Times Reference