Thoughts For A Pious Campus

Thoughts For A Pious Campus
By Mike Boylan | February 19, 2010

Sathya Sai Baba is a religious guru from India who has been sharing his spiritual guidance for over 50 years.

He claims to be the reincarnate of 19th Century miracle worker Sai Baba of Shirdi and will be reborn for the third and last time as Prema Sai Baba. His devotees accept this claim. There have been hundreds of contemporaneous eyewitness accounts of the many miracles Sai Baba has performed, including materializing rainbows and portraits of Jesus with the wave of his hand, healing the sick and many others. Even some who reject his divinity, accept the validity of these miracles.

He claims all the prayers in the world go through him, the first and only true avatar. While most Sai Baba devotees are natives of southern India and are of Hindu orientation, he has converted many non-Hindus from Europe and even the United States.

These accounts are quite compelling. If one has doubts, they can take comfort in knowing there are more than one million Sai Baba devotees. The $1,200 plane ticket is a small price to pay for the privilege of being in the presence of a true avatar.

However, it is not the man, but rather his obscurity and irrelevance to the acclaimed monotheisms of our contemporary world that is significant.

Not ever hearing of Sai Baba is not difficult to understand. This is because anytime someone espouses their devotion to Sai Baba with any conviction, something very natural occurs: people stop listening. These people are not taken seriously, nor are they respected by anyone who warrants reciprocation of these courtesies. In other words, these ideas naturally flow to the margins of our society. Nobody is in outrage over this.

But this consensus contradicts the manner in which we revere and uphold widely practiced religions. The compelling firsthand accounts of Sai Baba’s divinity is leaving members of other faiths perfectly unstirred. They are not losing sleep over whether they have wasted their lives worshipping false prophets and gods. Christians, for example, are happily content with their faith in first century miracles that were not written until decades after Jesus’ death, nor were they even firsthand accounts; two things many biblical scholars have agreed on.

The standards we hold for religious belief indicate that Sai Baba devotees are not merely as worthy, but in fact more worthy of social acceptance than those who presuppose the divinity of certain books, yet, this is not the case.

There appears to be no identifiable or intelligible criterion for qualifying religions belief or divine intervention. What follows from this is that all beliefs should be accepted equally and without prejudice in order to avoid arbitrary favoritism. The logical end to this proposition is no claim can be justifiably rejected, yet, this is not the present state of our discourse. In both casual and professional conversations, we often do not hesitate to unequivocally reject claims found to be nonsensical.

If simply being useful and charitable should suffice toleration for beliefs, our kinship with Hamas, the militant Islamic political organization in Palestine, should be more transparent, for they are as committed to terror and Jihad as they are to charitable works for the thousands of impoverished and indigent Palestinians. Both Hamas and leading monotheisms partake in similar endeavors: acquiring authority over other people’s lives guised as angelic mercy, faith and humility, all in the name of God.

A distressing reality is this enigmatic social dysfunction and hypocrisy stem from a premise – belief in possessing absolute knowledge of God’s will – that is utterly deranged. Sathaya Sai Baba isn’t afforded the time of day from just about every corner of the world, yet the sustenance of divine proclamations from the Iron and middle ages are closely supervised and protected from the heresy and apostasy that is slowly infiltrating the masses. Is there anyone who sees a problem with this?

Collegian Reference

Open Campus At Satya Sai Institute

Open Campus At Satya Sai Institute
Category » Bhopal » Posted On Tuesday, January 19, 2010
By Our Staff Reporter

Bhopal: A two-day open campus was held under the aegis of Sri Satya Sai Institute of Science and Technology from January 15 for providing employment to MBA students. The selection process was organised under the aegis of Infotel Communication Pvt Ltd (DNA Info). General Manager of the company Biju Simon and Manager, Human Resource (HR) Amit Chauhan were present in the selection process.

The training and placement advisor of Sri Satya Sai Institute of Science and Technology Anand Manjarkhede, training and placement officer Ravindra Gupta were also present. Around 162 students of MBA 3rd semester from various institutions of MBA, Indore, Bhopal and other places took part in the campus selection.

The officers of the Company informed in detailed to the students about job profile and company. After students were divided into various groups and group discussion was started. Around 51 students were selected for final interview. Total 23 students were selected finally.

Five students from Sri Satya Sai College of Science and Technology, 9 from VNS College (Bhopal), 4 from IPER (Bhopal), 1 from CRIM (Bhopal), 1 from SIRT (Bhopal), 1 from LNCT (Bhopal), 1 from Bhabha Engineering College (Bhopal), 1 from Bansal College were selected finally in the selection campus.

Central Chronicle Reference

Sathya Sai Gold Medal Winners

Sathya Sai Gold Medal Winners

Express News Service First Published : 19 Sep 2009 12:50:00 AM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: T R Aiswarya and Nisha S Das have bagged the Sri Sathya Sai gold medals for best essays in the state-level essay competition organised by the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Seva Organisation.

Aiswarya, student of the Govt. Model HSS , Chalakkudy, won the award for the best essay in the HSS category.

Nisha S Das, BSc student at University Institute of Technology, Neyyattinkara, won the award in the college category, said a release issued by Organisation district president V Bhadran.

Express Buzz Reference

Got A Minute To Spare To Listen About Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Got A Minute To Spare To Listen About Sathya Sai Baba?

Loving Sai Ram, and greetings from Prasanthi Nilayam.

This Sunday we would like you to spare a minute to read the following three quotations, all of which relate to education:

EINSTEIN:
I want to oppose the idea that school has to teach directly that special knowledge and those accomplishments, which man has to use later directly in life. The demands of life are much too manifold to let a specialized training in school appear possible. Apart from that, it seems to me, moreover, objectionable to treat the individual like a dead tool. The school always has as its aim that the young man leaves it as a harmonious personality not as a specialist…. It is not enough to teach a man a speciality. Through it, he may become a kind of useful machine, but not a harmoniously developed personality. It is essential that the student acquire an understanding of and a lively feeling for values. He must acquire a vivid sense of the beautiful and of the morally good. Otherwise, he with his specialized knowledge more closely resembles a well-trained dog than a harmoniously developed person.

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA:
Is that education, which slowly makes a man into a machine? It is more blessed in my opinion, even to go wrong impelled by one’s free will and intelligence than to be good as an automaton. ….The education that does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring about strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and courage of a lion – is it worth the name?

SISTER NIVEDITA:
Our concept of education must have a soul. It must form a unity. It must take note of the child as a whole, as heart as well as mind. Unless we train the feelings and the choice, man is not educated. He is only decked out in certain intellectual tricks that he has learnt to perform. By those tricks, he can earn bread. He cannot appeal to the heart, or give life. He is not a man at all; he is a clever ape. Learning in order to be clever or learning in order to earn a livelihood – not in order to become a man to develop one’s own manhood and manliness – means running into danger. Therefore, in every piece of information imparted to a child, we must convey an appeal to the heart. … There is one way and one way only. It is, throughout the early years of education, to remember that there is nothing so important as feelings. To feel nobly, and to choose loftily and honestly, is a thousand-fold more important to the development of faculty than any other single aspect of the educational process.

Three different quotes from three different people, but echoing very similar sentiments. We presume you must be familiar with the first two names. The third one might not be so familiar; it is the name of an English lady who came nearly a hundred years ago to India in search of spiritual enlightenment, discovered Swami Vivekananda, and settled down to become his disciple, adopting the name Nivedita. Her example recalls the names of two others, namely, Annie Besant whose name would for ever would be associated with the Theosophy movement in India and Mira Ben who became an ardent follower of Gandhi.

Getting back to the quotes, they all, each in its own way of course, convey the same message which is:

– Education should not, in the name of producing specialists, convert humans into skilled robots.
– Education must have a SOUL, meaning it must awaken noble feelings latent in the Heart.
– Education must have a moral base and fill one with moral courage to face the moral and ethical challenges of the world.
– And finally, education must train one for life rather than merely for filling the belly.

It does not take much imagination to realise that these are the very principles that Swami talks about it, and form the basis of education in His Schools and Colleges.

The question arises: “Why did Sathya Sai Baba set up His Schools and Colleges?” Mainly to act as exemplars to a Society that has lost its way. Just look around; there are tens of thousands of colleges and hundreds of universities the world over, all supposed to produce educated men and women. If indeed students are really getting educated in these educational establishments, as everyone believes they are, then how come the world is so full of problems today, indeed more problems than ever before? In fact, it would appear that today’s Society is better at creating problems than in solving them! So what has happened to these various educational establishments, including those with famous brand names? Where have they all slipped?

That is not difficult to determine, if we use the guidelines of the quotes above, which, by the way, is only a small selection of invaluable quotes available on education. From the Greek philosophers to Lincoln to Gandhi, all great men stressed the importance of moral values; and for centuries, some attempt was made to adhere to them as well as to structure education around moral and ethical values. It is only in the half century that followed the Second World War, that values have been withdrawn, rather like pulling the rug under one’s feet. Following which, the inevitable has happened everywhere without exception – politics without principles, business without scruples and all the rest of it; we all know the list, don’t we? Swami has quoted them so many times.

Is there any particular reason why we are harping on this particular theme this Sunday? There sure is, a chain of connected links in fact. First, there was a nasty article directed entirely against Swami in the Hindustan Times, published from Delhi. Quickly came after that a one-hour TV talk show on NDTV, against so-called God-men, and inevitably, there was a lot of mud slinging against Swami. Apparently, the Guardian in the UK also had something but we have not seen that. Anyway, we shall deal with all this anti-Swami stuff elsewhere, but here we would like to look deeper and ask ourselves why Society has become so sick as to see negativity all the time, often unfounded? There are of course superficial reasons as well as deeper causes, and may be we should comment on both.

Superficially, things have changed enormously since World War II, thanks to three factors. 1) Technology, 2) enormous growth in transport and communications, including TV, Internet, etc., and 3) the engine of economic growth becoming supercharged with, shall we say, hyper-activity! The net result of all this is the quest to dominate the mind. In the colonial era, those with money wanted to dominate the land so that they could have easy access to commodities and markets. Later, it was the quest for market, or market dominance, without the expenditure of maintaining armies, that colonialism involved. Now it is mind-dominance, because once the mind is dominated, humans can be manipulated in any way the powerbrokers want.

These are complex matters and maybe we shall comment on them in detail elsewhere, but the bottom line is that everyone is in a tearing hurry in pursuit of their own particular objectives. Those who “inform” wish to do it all very quickly while those “who want to be informed” also want it all very quickly. We see it here all the time working for Radio Sai and H2H. Our boys here work so hard round the clock but most people simply do not have the time to read or listen to what we offer via H2H and via Radio Sai. Most devotees stir into action only when there is a blast of negativity in the outside media.

What we are trying to say is that since everyone seems to want everything in a hurry, the media obliges by having instant opinions and instant commentators. These days, wars, whether they are fought in Afghanistan or Iraq or whatever, are played out in front of TV cameras. Everything from protests to soccer matches to war and insurgency has become subjects for TV shows, talk shows and so on. Is it any wonder that “instant experts” appear everywhere airing opinions left and right without bothering to check whether they are accurate or not? News now means negativity, sting operations and so on. Good works and good news are “boring” and not “newsworthy”. That is the mantra circulated everywhere, and is it any wonder that those who want bang for their bucks as they say, dare to project even falsehood as news, as long as they do a sort of “balancing act” making it appear that they have given “equal” time?

If you think about it deeply, all this is because we have all been brought up bereft of values. Our schools have let us down and that is because Society simply did not think that moral base is important in education. When values are drained away, understanding disappears; when understanding becomes scarce, conflict arises; when conflict erupts, there is pain and even destruction.

This is a huge topic, and we simply cannot do justice to it here. But this much we can and will say. If there is one educational institution that has steadfastly stood for and helped students to absorb values and practice them in the modern world, it Swami’s Institute . That is Swami’s greatest gift to humanity, an Institute that helps students to really understand what morality and human values are all about and how higher learning is related to all that.

So what does higher learning, morality etc., have to do with negative reporting that is appearing to drown out the good work being done by Sathya Sai Baba’s institutions? Simply the following. We must, all of us together but each in our own way, help the Divine Light to reach far and wide. Divine Light cannot be extinguished; however, it can be covered and eclipsed. And we have it in our power to remove that cover. How? Well, if our readers, old students and the like would only take a few minutes off now and then and share with us, good news they have access to, we can spread it far and wide.

The world today is actually very hungry for good news. We know it because of the mail we receive. But the sad point is that good news is not easily accessible. That is because the traditional news agencies do not regard good news as news at all. If however, Sai devotees, share with us what they know, instances where people have come out better by adhering to Dharma, then when others read it, it would give them some courage. We need to hold each other’s hands. There are so many things we can do and do so easily. However, at present we do not; that must change, and when that change occurs, there would be fewer and fewer takers for non-news, bad news and wrong news. For example, strange as it may sound, not many people in Chennai/Madras are aware how much Swami has done to bring water to that troubled city.

When there was no drinking water, everyone hollered and prayed, depending on their disposition. But once water was provided by Sai Baba, few bothered to remember Him and almost took it all for granted, as though it was the job of Sai Baba to do the fixing. Not only is this phenomenal accomplishment ignored, but instead, people ask, “If Sai Baba is God, why did He not stop the tsunami?”

If people only took time off to do some serious reading, then would they have such questions? These days, people seem to want Vedanta in five minutes, and the Gita in just two! If that is all the time we can give to God, then why should we expect God to keep on bothering about us? They ask about God hiding Himself during the tsunami. Who gave land that we so readily pollute? Who gave water that we so readily pollute? Who is killing millions in genocide, God or man? So what are the self-appointed bleeding hearts doing about it?

Let us pull all this together and wind up this seemingly random and apparently disconnected exploration, so that you can see the purpose behind. This is what we would like to say this Sunday, as our bottom line:

  1. If some people sling mud at Swami, it is in part because of the corrupted value system of today, which reflects on the tragic erosion of values, in all segments of Society.
  2. We may be feel hurt; that is but natural. However, we should not let our feelings run away too much.
  3. If criticism comes from the riff-raff, and let us remember that many who try to tarnish Swami do belong to that category, we should not engage in a direct confrontation with them.
  4. That said, it does not mean we should always remain silent. There are occasions when one has to exert for the sake of Dharma. That was Krishna’s lesson given to Arjuna. Depending on the circumstances, we must make our judgement and react as fitting and appropriate.
  5. We did that from here when we dealt with the UNESCO; that story has been told elsewhere.
  6. Similarly, on this occasion, there have been some well composed, dignified and strong response from a few devotees, especially one of Swami’s students; more about this later in H2H.
  7. Meanwhile, devotees must try and spend more time trying to absorb Swami’s teachings as well as details of the amazing missions He has executed. It is not enough to have some vague feeling about the Hospitals for example. We must be aware of the moving details so that stench can be rebutted by the fragrance of details about selfless service.

There is much more to be said on this and related themes. For the moment, please do reflect deeply on the extra-ordinary achievements of Swami’s University, and its moral authority. This year, the Institute held its 25th Convocation, and as always, it was held on 22nd November. This might appear like a routine procedure, but if you look at the record of the three hundred and odd universities in India, including those who can trace their history as far back as 150 years, there is not a single university that can boast of such regularity. Even if the Guest of Honour is the President or the Prime Minister or whatever, our Convocation has always been held on 22nd November. May seem like a small thing but compare it with the record of others and you would know what we are talking about. Is the world aware of it? You think this is a small achievement? Well, do you know that right now, a major University in UP, the land of birth of Rama and Krishna, is facing problems because the Vice Chancellor has suspended nearly a hundred students from contesting student elections? And you know why? Because all these students have criminal complaints against them, including murder, yes murder! A university with students on its rolls who have murder complaints registered against them? Amazing but true!

Is it any wonder we have invited your attention to the meaning and purpose of Education? Who in this wide world has done for so long and so consistently what Swami has done and is still doing? Why is the world silent about it? Why are we devotees so ignorant about it?

Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team

Pleased To Serve

Pleased To Serve
Originally published March 26, 2009

High school and college students are often criticized for their general attitudes about life. Charges of selfishness and self-absorbed behavior are frequently among the complaints. One image that has emerged over recent generations is that of a vacuous, self-indulgent, pleasure- and wealth-oriented bunch that is unaware of and unconcerned about what’s going on in the world around them.

For some that may be true, and, well, if the shoe fits, wear it. And, of course, they’ll always have plenty of adult company.

But many among the current crop of young people are bucking that stereotype, showing a genuine interest in politics, social justice and the fate of others that is perceived to have been missing to some extent in recent generations.

Frederick News-Post reporter Marge Neal’s March 20 story on “alternative spring break” clearly showed that you can’t paint an entire generation with one brush.

It seems that while a lot of their peers are partying out in places such as Daytona Beach, Fla., the Bahamas, Mexico and ever more exotic locales, some young people are choosing to tend to the needs of others as opposed to the desires of self.

Neal’s story recounted the spring break experiences of a number of local college students, including groups from Hood College and Mount St. Mary’s University. Rather than lying on the beach all day and partying all night for a week, these young people devoted their time and energy to their fellow man. They engaged in work such as tutoring and helping rebuilding houses. Some traveled to Florida, others to North Carolina and West Virginia.

While we have no doubt that college students who went the more traditional spring-break route had fun, we wonder how memorable a life experience their week will be. It appears from their comments that those who chose the alternative had fun, but their experience was also truly meaningful.

It’s arguable which group “enjoyed” itself more, the traditional spring-break crowd or the more altruistic ones. Ironically, it may well have been those who decided to spend their vacation in service to others. Helping other people is every bit as rewarding to those doing it as it is to those they’re helping — ask anyone who volunteers.

We hope that more college students will consider this kind of alterative next year at spring break. Otherwise, they may never discover what they’re missing.

As the Indian spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba succinctly put it: “The body has to be utilized for service to others. More bliss can be got from serving others than from merely serving oneself.”

Who doesn’t need a little more bliss in their lives?

Frederick News Post Reference

Elocution Contest On Nov 22nd 2008

Elocution Contest On Nov 22nd 2008
Express News Service
First Published : 18 Nov 2008 11:43:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 18 Nov 2008 02:57:07 PM IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An elocution competition for college students will be organised by Sri Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust at Sai Gramam, Thonnakkal, on November 22. The competition, organised as part of the 83rd birthday celebrations of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, will begin at 10 a.m. The topic of the elocution is `The role of spirituality in Indian culture’. Five students from a college can take part in the competition. There will be cash awards for winners of the first three places. For registration, contact the office of the Sri Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust at Sasthamangalam. (Phone: 0471 2721422).

Reference