USP Says Blood Drive A Success

USP Says Blood Drive A Success
Saturday, October 24, 2009

A large number of students and staff turned out for the University of the South Pacific’s blood drive at the Laucala Campus in Suva.

Organisers said they were surprised at the “strong” attendance. Sister Salaseini Boletawa of the USP medical centre said about 60 people turned up during the first four hours.

“The response from the university staff and students has been great and we expect about 20 to 30 more people to donate blood in the remaining hour,” she said.

The blood drive was held from midday till 5pm yesterday at the medical centre.

The medical centre also took advantage of the blood drive, and used video documentaries to educate donors on communicable, non-communicable and sexually transmitted diseases, and the preventative measures that could be taken.

The drive was joint effort between USP, the Fiji National Blood Service and the USP youth wing of Sathya Sai Service Organisation of Fiji.

Fiji Times 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

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
A BEACON LIGHT OF INTEGRAL EDUCATION
by Sanjay Sahni

SRI SATHYA SAI INSTITUTE OF Higher Learning is the visible manifestation of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘s vision of education which is not only an important means for the transformation of mankind, but also a panacea for the ills that are afflicting it today. More particularly, it is a precious gift of Bhagavan to the youth whom He is moulding to become shining examples of ethical and spiritual awareness to make them the torchbearers of moral regeneration and spiritual reawakening of the world. The Institute has evolved the integral system of education which lays as much emphasis on inculcation of values as on achieving academic excellence. Come 2006, the Institute, a deemed university, will be celebrating its silver jubilee. The birth of the university represented a significant milestone in the glorious unfolding of the Divine Mission of Bhagavan whose watchword, “the end of education is character” forms the main objective of all its activities. From a humble beginning in improvised premises to be acclaimed today ‘as the crest-jewel of higher education in India’, the Institute has come a long way. On 22nd November 1981 this deemed university was inaugurated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Y.V. Chandrachud at Prasanthi Nilayam, and Bhagavan bestowed on it a unique honour by accepting to become its Chancellor.

Divine Vision of the Revered Chancellor
The spirit behind all its achievements is the Revered Chancellor of the Institute, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who from the very beginning chartered its course by His Divine vision. While laying the foundation stone of the Sri Sathya Sai College for Women at Anantapur in 1969, Bhagavan declared:
“It is indeed deplorable that education of the spirit has been totally neglected while attention is devoted to the training of skills and for gleaning and garnering information… My Sankalpa is to provide the youth with an education which, while cultivating their intelligence, will also purify their impulses and emotions and equip them with the physical and mental disciplines needed for drawing upon the springs of calmness and joy that lie in their own hearts.”

In another Discourse to the students and staff of this college in August 1974, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba observed:

“This college has not been established just to prepare you for earning degrees. The main purpose is to help you to cultivate self-knowledge and self-confidence, so that each one of you can learn self-sacrifice and earn self-realisation. The teaching of university curricula and the preparation for presenting you for the university examinations and the award of university degrees – these are only the means employed for the end, namely, spiritual uplift, self-discovery and social service through love and detachment.”

Again, while speaking at the Brindavan College on 31st March 1974, Bhagavan revealed:

“Do not be under the impression that you and I have come together only now, since you study in this college; you have come to Me for the sake of far higher triumphs, as a consequence of merit acquired in many previous lives. You and your teachers are destined to achieve tremendous tasks under My guidance, in the execution of the Mission on which I have come.”

Another milestone was reached in the history of the Institute when on Vijaya Dasami day after the Poornahuti of the Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yajna on 8th October 1981, Bhagavan announced that from that day the colleges at Prasanthi Nilayam and Anantapur would be raised to the status of the campuses of the new university.

Evolution and Growth
It was Prof. V.K. Gokak, the first Vice Chancellor of the university, who gave a concrete shape to the vision of Bhagavan. In 1982, the Institute launched its Five Year Integrated courses and PG courses in the sciences and humanities. The same year, the Brindavan College became the third campus of the university. I recall how Prof. Gokak outlined before us, first year UG students then, the grand vision of the academic education in the Institute. To inculcate in students a wide and liberal mental outlook, education in the university was envisaged as a pyramidical structure. The pyramid has a wide base and accordingly the students in the undergraduate courses would begin with the study of languages and awareness courses along with their respective courses in core areas. At the end of the second year, the languages would drop off and the science students would start specialising in their area of interest. This would continue into the PG, after which the student would choose a narrow niche for undertaking research. In 1984, Bhagavan started the Ph.D. programme with the intention of preparing His future teachers. Many doctorates have now joined the university as faculty.

In 1986, the MBA and B.Ed. programmes were launched. Many MBA and PG alumni have gone on to man Bhagavan’s institutions in the Ashrams, hospitals, schools and colleges. Others have made their mark in the wide world. Other courses got added in subsequent years: B.Sc. (Hons.) 1992; B.Com. (Hons.), M.Tech. (1993); M.A. (Economics) (2001); M.Phil (2004).

Many academic reforms and innovations were adopted by the Institute right from its inception. It has a merit-based open admission policy enabling students from all over the country to seek
admission to various courses, irrespective of income, class, creed, religion or region, making it truly national in character. Education is provided to students free without any fees whatsoever, in sharp contrast to the rapid commercialisation of education elsewhere.

Sri Sathya Sai Integral Education
The Revered Chancellor of the Institute, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has given the Institute its philosophy of integral education and has been inspiring and guiding the administrators, teachers and students of the Institute since its inception in the practice of this philosophy. According to Bhagavan, “One should have the head of Sankara, the heart of Buddha and the hands of Janaka”. An integrated personality is a harmonious synthesis of a discerning intellect, a compassionate heart and efficient hands; it is a beautiful combination of nobility and ability. Nobility without ability is useless to society and ability without nobility is dangerous to it. Spiritual education is the basis of integral education. This is what Bhagavan calls educare. Ultimately, all education should converge into educare.

Integral education aims at the all-round development of the human personality – the physical, the intellectual, the emotional and the spiritual. Acquisition of knowledge when supported by its proper utilisation leads to skill; the harmony of knowledge and skill leads to balance of mind which is the basis for spiritual insight. The surest sign of spiritual insight is the blossoming of true love in the heart, springing out of recognition of the oneness of all existence.

The university is a modern Gurukula combining the best of the past and the present. All the campuses of the Institute are wholly residential. The students reside in the hostels along with the Warden and a band of resident teachers carefully hand-picked by Bhagavan. Character moulding is a twenty-four hour endeavour and the Institute could not be otherwise. The key to success in community living in the hostels, which represent a mini-India, is understanding and adjustment. Mutual tolerance and courtesy, sacrifice and service to fellowmen, civic sense and social sensitivity – the blessings of community living under the watchful eyes of committed teachers are immense. The daily routine in the campus is designed with the guidance of Bhagavan and has multifarious activities to foster the development of integrated personalities.

Prayers before sunrise and at bedtime, before meals and at the commencement of classes in the Institute help the students to still their minds and periodically reconnect to the Divine who is the source of all succour and energy. Spiritual talks in the college and-hostel, the value-based Awareness Course, the spiritual study circle sessions and above all exposure to the divine influence of Bhagavan strengthen the moral and spiritual fibre in the student’s personality. Since 1990, a number of summer courses in Indian Culture and Spirituality were organised for the benefit of all students.

Physical culture is encouraged through participation in jogging, games, sports and yoga in the mornings. The objective of physical culture is physical fitness, though annual competitions are organised to spot and nurture sporting talent. The Annual Sports and Cultural Meet on 11th January is an important event in the academic calendar of the Institute and represents the expression of students’ love for Bhagavan manifesting in the form of breathtaking sporting feats and aesthetically delightful programmes, charming one and all.

While co-curricular activities in literature, music, dance, drama and other fine arts along with harmonious community living foster emotional balance and self-reliance in students, social service activities instil in them self-confidence, humility, dignity of labour and helpful nature apart from nurturing their talents. Service in the kitchen and dining hall, cooperative stores, dispensary, maintenance, audiovisual department, garden and myriad other areas is undertaken by the students under the guidance of their teachers. The annual Sri Sathya Sai Grama Seva in the villages around Puttaparthi during Dasara celebrations and initiated by Bhagavan in 2000 is a great educational experience for the students and staff of the university.

The Crest-jewel of Higher Education
At the first Convocation of the Institute on 22nd November 1982, the late legal luminary Sri Nani Palkhiwala observed, “This Institute is a tribute to the great organising genius of its founder, Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Without His initiative and inspiration it would have been impossible to found an institution of this character. We are witnesses to a great event in the history of our country. This deemed university is a memorable experiment in the moral and spiritual regeneration of India. It stands for nothing less … This Institute aims at becoming a nation-builder.”

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India declared at the Institute’s Convocation in 2002, “The purpose of real education is to initiate a learning process that transforms students into good human beings with knowledge and value systems. Is value education possible? Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning has given an answer in the affirmative.”

In December 2002, the Peer Team of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), which is set up by the University Grants Commission to assess and accredit higher education institutions, visited the Institute and reported:

“The Peer Team puts on record its appreciation for providing the members of the Team the opportunity to spend time with the Institute faculty and the students so as to develop a thorough insight into the higher education process of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, particularly the integral higher education interwoven in the blueprint and design of higher education products. This made us realise that there is a way to correct our already degrading university education system in India, if we decide to do so.

The Peer Team feels that this Institute stands out as a crest-jewel among the university education system in the country and this model is worthy of emulation by the institutions of higher learning in the country and elsewhere, so that these benefits would be reaped fast and on the widest possible scale.”

NAAC granted accreditation at the A++ level to the Institute for five years in 2002-03 placing the Institute in the highest bracket of Indian universities (Ref).

I would like to conclude with the following experience of an alumnus of the Institute. He was facing a job interview and the Managing Director of the company, who was on the interview panel, enquired, “I understand that you are a student of Sai Baba’s college. I have heard that Sai Baba creates and gives rings, necklaces, etc., to his devotees. What has He given you?” Spontaneously, the boy replied, “Sir, I am a village boy. Today, this village boy is sitting and talking with so much confidence to the M.D. of one of India’s most prestigious research based companies. The confidence that you see in me is Sai Baba’s gift to me.”

Faith in oneself and faith in Divinity is truly the quintessence of education at the Lotus Feet of our Beloved Bhagavan.

sourced: Sanathana Sarathi pgs 384 to 389 November, 2005

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

Sathya Sai And Two Short Stories To Ponder

Sri Sathya Sai

Sri Sathya Sai


Sathya Sai And Two Short Stories To Ponder

Loving Sai Ram, and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam, the abode of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. For a change, this Sunday, we offer you two stories relating to the famous Stanford University in America. Each has its own lesson for us. Here is the first one:

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President’s outer office. The Secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard.

“We want to see the President,” the man said softly.

“He’ll be busy all day,” the Secretary snapped.

“We’ll wait,” the lady replied.

After many hours, Secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the President.

“Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she said to him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. The President, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, “We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.”

The President wasn’t touched…. He was shocked. “Ma’am,” he said, gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.”

“Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly. “We don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.”

The President rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, and then exclaimed, “A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.”

For a moment, the lady was silent. She turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it costs to start a University? Why don’t we just start our own?”

Her husband nodded. The President’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, travelling to Palo Alto, California, where they established the University that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing.

Here is the second story:

Many years ago two boys were working their way through Stanford University. Their funds got desperately low, and the idea came to them to engage the famous pianist Ignacy Paderewski for a piano recital. They would use the funds to help pay their board and tuition.

The great pianist’s manager asked for a guarantee of $2000. The guarantee was a lot of money in those days, but the boys agreed and proceeded to promote the concert. They worked hard, only to find that they had grossed only $1600.

After the concert, the two boys told the great artist the bad news. They gave him the entire $ 1600, along with a promissory note for $400, explaining that they would earn the amount at the earliest possible moment and send the money to him. It looked like the end of their college careers.

“No, boys,” replied Paderewski, “that won’t do”. Then, tearing the note in two, he returned the money to them as well. “Now,” he told them, “take out of this $1600 all of your expenses and keep for each of you 10 percent of the balance for your work. Let me have the rest.”

The years rolled by. World War I came and went. Paderewski, now premier of Poland, was striving to feed thousands of starving people in his native land. The only person in the world who could help him was Herbert Hoover, who was in charge of the US Food and Relief Bureau. Hoover responded and soon thousands of tons of food were sent to Poland.

After the starving people were fed, Paderewski journeyed to Paris to thank Hoover for the relief sent by him. “That’s all right, Mr Paderewski,” was Hoover’s reply. “Besides, you don’t remember it, but you helped me once when I was a student at college, when I was in trouble.”

We seldom realise that when we help others, the Good Lord will make sure that in due course we are amply rewarded.

H2H wishes to thank Mr. Tandon for the above stories.

Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team

How Much Salary Does A Man Really Need?

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


How Much Salary Does A Man Really Need?

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. The title of this week’s letter is inspired by a famous story of Tolstoy entitled, HOW MUCH LAND DOES A MAN NEED? And the motivation for the theme? Read on to find out!

This is the time of the year when our newspapers and TV channels are full of news about graduates of our Brand Business Schools, who get fabulous offers from overseas, with annual salaries touching as high as $200,000. The Public is just floored by this phenomenon – fresh graduates getting this kind of fat salaries. Understandably, these young men and women instantly become heroes and heroines and their pictures are flashed everywhere. The Directors of the Business Schools beam from ear to ear, Professors who taught these graduates are full of pride, and hundreds of young people look admiringly, hoping soon it would be their turn to reach El Dorado.

Recently, we asked some of the students of the Business School here in Swami’s University what they thought of it all. We had a long discussion, starting with the curriculum and teaching, and then went on to discuss various related factors. In this letter, we would like to share with you some of what we heard and learnt from our students. This in essence is what they said:

  • In academic terms, there is really no substantial difference between the Business School in our Institute and these so-called Brand Institutes. The syllabus is more or less the same, and we too study the same books.
  • There are differences though. For one thing, in the Brand Business Schools, the students get more exposure to many practical details of today’s business world. We on the other hand get an entirely different orientation, which has its own value.
  • Learning about some of the intricacies of today’s business world does give some tactical advantages to the graduates in terms of entry into high-profile corporations. On the other hand, we learn, especially in a very practical way, more about humans, the way they behave, their aspirations and so on. In the long run, this experience is invaluable in its own way. After all, in the ultimate analysis, business is always done with human beings and Society is the real market place. Thus, when it comes to matters like really dealing with customers, and having a good appreciation of what it is that the public wants, we are much better equipped.
  • For the students of the Brand Schools, the horizon often is the Corporation they are in. For them, the shareholders are very important. For us, Society is everything, and the stakeholders, meaning the public at large are very important.
  • In the Brand Institutes, the bulk of the training is in the classrooms. For us, however, the bulk of the training is really outside the classroom.
  • To start with, our Hostel is where we learn most of our lessons, because it is truly a microcosm of Society.
  • In the Hostel, we are about ten or twelve to a room. Compared to other colleges, this might sound horrible. On the other hand, once one gets used to this, the experience is like living in a commune and teaches many valuable lessons.
  • The Hostel authorities make sure that in every room, we have a good mix of students from different regions, speaking different languages, studying different subjects and from different strata in life. Living in the same room, sleeping on the floor, and working with our brothers all the time on all matters relating to the Hostel and the College teaches us how to be austere, how to adjust, how to co-operate instead of aggressively competing, how to help each other, and so on. It shapes our personality in a subtle but very significant manner, for the better, we believe.
  • Another important thing about our Hostel. Compared to other Hostels elsewhere, our Hostel has very few service staff and as a result, the students literally run most of the activities in the Hostel. For example, all minor electrical repairs and plumbing repairs are done by the students themselves. When a boy is sick, other boys prepare special food for the sick boy, as prescribed by the doctor.
  • In effect, all labour is shared. The boys serve in the dining hall, they take care of the Hostel library and computer centre, they take care of the intercom, the audio system, they stitch costumes needed for plays and the Institute Dramas, they have a music group which takes care of the Bhajans and special music needed so often for various occasions, they take care of decorations when required, and so on.
  • These multiple skills come to the fore during the Annual Sports and Festival Meet, when very complex structures are designed and created by the boys, entirely on their own. This calls for skills such as welding, papier-mâché work, a bit of automation and so on.
  • Indeed, our Annual Sports and Cultural Festival, offers the best commentary on the training that we receive in the Hostel. It is absolutely unique, the like of which cannot be seen in any University in India, because where else do students get such training? It is only those who have actually witnessed the event who would able to appreciate what an all-round training we receive in terms of character development, self-reliance, working in harmony with others and so on.
  • Elsewhere in the world, Business Schools operate so as to throw up some stars and a large number of ‘lesser’ mortals. In our Institute we have a unique system in operation in the Hostel. The principle is that everyone has some talent in high measure and that person must therefore be encouraged to make use of that talent for common good.
  • Thus, one boy may be very good in sports and be the Institute Sports Captain. Here he is the leader and others follow him. But this same Captain might be in the Bhajan group, which has its own leader. This happens across the board, so much so everyone learns simultaneously to lead from the front, as also to follow. This is a very unique kind of leadership training that teaches everyone to lead and also to follow by listening to others.
  • Hostel is not everything, and we must not forget Sathya Sai Baba, who is the One that really shapes us, in so many different ways too. Take, for example, our daily visits to the Mandir for Darshan. You know, it takes a lot of discipline to sit quietly on the ground for hours, without fidgeting. That is a special training in itself; it teaches patience.
  • When we are in the Mandir, what we eagerly look forward to is at least a glance from Swami, and those fleeting glances do come. Others might not notice them but we never miss. Sometimes, it is a stern glance to a boy whose monkey mind is up to no good. At other times, it is a glance of immense love and compassion, assuring the receiver that He is there to help in tiding over the looming crisis. On other occasions, the glance is wrapped up in that matchless smile of Grace that everyone yearns for. Over the years, all these things add up in a most effective and miraculous way and that cannot be lightly dismissed.
  • We must also not forget how Swami gives us so many chances, like singing Bhajans, or distributing Prasaadam or presenting skits, opportunities to speak in His Divine presence, sing songs on festival mornings and so on.
  • When Prime Ministers and Presidents come here for ceremonial occasions, who is it that is in charge of hospitality services? Students of Bhagavan, both old [now serving as teachers] and new! And how meticulously Sathya Sai Baba instructs those in charge of service! Does this happen elsewhere?
  • In every possible way, we here get trained for life in such a manner that it enables us to fit in wherever we go. An important part of the training is the Annual Grama Seva or Village Service. Where else do you see the entire faculty and students working for ten to twelve days at a stretch, cooking food, packing the food, and carrying the food, sweets and clothes to over a hundred villages, visiting every house in every village and hamlet, and distributing all this with love and compassion.This exposure gives us a deep feeling for rural India, without which urban India would be nowhere. Indeed, it has changed the outlook of many students who wanted to go abroad, inducing them to stay back and serve the country.
  • Above all, what we learn every single minute is the importance of character and integrity in life.
  • People ask: ‘Does Truth work in the dog-eat-dog business world’? It does because, increasingly, Corporations prefer transparency, and integrity in professional work. In this respect, we actually have an enormous advantage over the graduates of the Brand Institutes.
  • People ask: ‘Why does not your Institute have placement service’? The answer is simple. Firstly, placement deflects the attention of students from studies to money. Swami is very clear that students must study for leading a proper life and not for making money. Secondly, stripped of the glamour attached, placement is like an auction! We value knowledge and education, and do not think knowledge should be degraded in this manner. This is quite contrary to the noble traditions of this country.
  • People ask: ‘Look, the graduates of the Brand Institutes are grabbed by the big corporations paying huge sums. What about you fellows? Do you get jobs with such fat salaries’? Our answer is simple. First of all, it must be noted that barring half a dozen ‘top stars’, the bulk of students elsewhere get the same kind of jobs and salaries as our boys do. In fact, over the years, big companies in India have come to learn that Sai students 1) are not attracted by salaries, but by the desire to learn through experience; 2) easily adjust to the work assigned instead of bargaining for work they like; 3) are loyal to the employer and do not jump jobs simply because someone offers a slightly higher salary; 4) are very good team players instead of being temperamental prima donnas. 5) Finally, Sai students actually improve the corporation they serve by making it a better corporate citizen. Thus, Sai students have their own ‘market value’.
  • This is not all. Sathya Sai Baba says, ‘You are what you are because of Society. So, when you go out into the world, make sure you serve Society.’ Thus, for Sai Baba’s students, serving Society is the main goal in life, and this they do in many ways. Firstly, wherever they are, they work for their employer in the true sprit of Karma Yoga. Next, they use every spare moment to go out into Society and assist those in need of help. Some go the villages during weekend and do all kinds of Seva. Some run medical camps, and so on.
  • Mind you, all this goes on throughout the year, very quietly, without any prompting from anyone. Do you know, for example, one of Swami’s students who is in Nigeria, works in a Leper Camp during his free time, actually dressing the diseased limbs of lepers. Can you find one such example from students who have graduated from all the famous institutions in the world.

The above is only a small sampling of what our students told us. In quoting all this, we do not want to give the impression that our students are vain and look down upon others. Far from it; we asked a question concerning this matter, and they simply said, ‘Other Business Schools train students to play a certain role in life, whereas Swami trains us for something different.’ And to drive home the point that they do not pose as being holier than others they added:

  1. In God’s Universe, everything has a purpose, and every individual plays his or her own assigned role in the never-ending Cosmic Drama. Thus, we do not criticise or condemn the graduates who have studied elsewhere. If some of them are offered big and attractive salaries, so be it for that also is what the Good Lord has willed. For us, that same Good Lord has given other instructions, and over here, we are trained to follow those instructions when we go out into the world.
  2. We have no right to condemn others even as we have no right to praise ourselves. God has given every one a role to play; others play their roles and we play ours. In the ultimate analysis, who is to say which is better? But this much we do know: If we live with integrity and offer everything to God, there can be nothing better. This is possible for both the king and the pauper. The good thing about our Institute is that we are constantly reminded of this truth, and that is what makes us different. And we are mighty happy to be different, for this is a difference money cannot buy. So, why should we complain?!

Well, we were quite amazed to have this incisive analysis of the nature of Sathya Sai Baba’s University and the Business School of the University in particular. What do you say? Do you agree or is there something our boys have missed? Do write and tell us please; we would welcome your comments!

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart”
RadioSai’s e-Journal Team,
In Sai Service

When Age Is Not A Barrier

Chirag Parmar And Rekha Parmar

Chirag Parmar And Rekha Parmar


When Age Is Not A Barrier
By Geraldine Panapasa
Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Chirag Parmar is proud of his mother Rekha Parmar’s will power to further her education at the University of Fiji.

The best part is he gets to see his mother walk the halls of the university while making his way to his lectures at the same time.

Chirag and his mother attend the University of Fiji and while some feel uncomfortable at the thought of attending the same school with their parents, Chirag feels nothing but pride and love for his mother.

The 19-year old completed his secondary education at Natabua High in Lautoka and is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the established university in Nadi.

“It doesn’t bother me that my mother and I attend the same university or that we’re schooling together,” Chirag said.

“In fact, I have a sense of pride that my mum is making the effort to go back to school and further her education.” Rekha Parmar, 44, was born and bred in Bombay, India and completed a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Bombay.

She came to Fiji in 1990 and started a family, sacrificing her desire to continue with her education.

She said life was different back then because she had a family and her priority was providing for her children.

“I couldn’t continue with school because I had my children to take care of and I decided to work to help support the family,” Rekha said.

“I was always interested in teaching and I joined the workforce. I wanted to make use of my degree and do something.

I was bound with family commitments and I felt that teaching was one of the most satisfying professions.”

Rekha said when her children were old enough to look after themselves she decided to continue with her education.

She was involved with the Smart Kids program for primary school teaching. Her passion for teaching pushed her to enroll in an Edu-care program through the Sathya Sai organisation.

“It was a training centre. I completed a diploma in teaching. I also started taking classes in India for the education and human values program,” Rekha said.

She works at the Computer Studies Center in Lautoka and said her experience at the computer school persuaded her to enhance her qualifications.

“This place offered me the opportunity to continue with my studies and it guided me through the process of gaining higher qualifications,” she said.

“I feel good and happy that I’m able to continue with my education and even though I am in the same university as my son, I am proud of both of us.

After a lapse of so many years, I am proud that I’ve got the opportunity to go back to school.”

Rekha believes it’s never too late to go back to school or to do the things you want to do.

She has this year to complete a postgraduate diploma in teaching.

The eldest son in the family, Chirag said his mother is a good example for many people who think age is a barrier when it comes to getting a good education.

He said she has shown that age does not matter when education is involved and anyone can go back to school.

All they need is determination, hard work and sacrifice to succeed in the end.

“My mother has shown that age is no barrier when it comes to education. I am very proud of her and I’m happy that she has decided to continue with her studies,” said the former IQ Active member of Natabua.

“If you want to succeed in life, you have to get your priorities right. Education is very important and the most vital factor for young people is to listen to their parents and they can achieve success.”

Fiji Times 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

Focus On Sathya Sai Institute Of Higher Learning

Sri Sathya Sai

Sri Sathya Sai

Focus On Sathya Sai Institute Of Higher Learning
A parable often retold by Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the story of a little boy who tore up his father’s world map into bits. While the father was furious, the boy decided to make amends and starts putting the pieces back in place to stick them up. Even as he puts in all his efforts he fails to put the world together again. Then he notices that on the reverse of the human body; a nose here, an ear there, a foot here and an eye there… and then an idea strikes him. He reverses all the torn pieces and puts the parts of the human body together so that they form the complete picture of a man. Then he turns the picture to have the whole world going into pieces; the only way to make the world united is by making each human being a wholesome person. There are no other short cuts to it.

It was precisely with this aim that Sri Sathya Sai Baba, revered as a world teacher, began his educational mission in 1969 with the establishment of a women’s college at Anantapur. Over the past three decades, the mission has grown to include a deemed university (the Sri Sathya Sai University) under which come the Anantapur campus, the Brindavan campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Arts and commerce college, Whitefield and the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) at Puttaparthi itself, besides a dozen schools and colleges elsewhere in India and abroad following the Sathya Sai system of education.

The Ministry of Education in Mauritius, has adopted the Sathya Sai system of education. Likewise educationists in Zambia, U.K., Thailand, Brazil and many other countries around the world have taken up this programme entitled “Education in Human Values” (EHV).

EHV Programme
Historically the EHV programme has its roots in the Bala Vikas programme started by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in the Sixties. Women, usually housewives, were the Gurus and once a week they would interact with children sent to them by willing parents. These sessions usually included retelling stories from the puranas and bhajan singing; discussions on how to tackle anger, envy and so on; enacting plays on nature, conservation etc.

This EHV programme, with suitable modifications was made an integral part of the curriculum when the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation started educational institutions; and with the establishment of the Sri Sathya Sai University of which Baba is the Chancellor, the EHV programme has blossomed to fullness.

Two thirds of a student’s education take place outside the classroom; therefore to ensure that there is no dilution of the EHV programme, these institutions are strictly residential.

Admission to the institutions is based only on merit; and beyond the primary school stage, there is segregation of the sexes; no fee is collected; even hostel accommodation is free; the students only pay a nominal sum for food. Except during vacations when they are sent home, everyday is a working day; even festivals and holidays are converted into learning opportunities.

Academically speaking, these institutions compare with the best in the world in terms of qualified faculty and facilities; besides, classes and examinations are held very studiously. Naturally, the results are enviable and many of the alumni are scholarship students with the CSIR, Indian Institute of Science and so on.

Sports and games also get pride of place. But the main thrust of the Sathya Sai system of education is on moulding the personality of the student, for Baba says, “The end of the education is character; education is for life and not just for a living.” The watchwords in the Sathya Sai institutions are cooperation and harmony. Discipline, orderliness and patience needed for this are assiduously cultivated.

I asked an old student how this was achieved. She smiled and said; “Standing silently and waiting patiently for one’s turn—be it for a bath, breakfast, games or class and back; well, this disciplined routine itself is a great teacher!” Time management is another concept learnt by practice. There are no holidays to laze around; no whiling away over a pack of cards; no watching the idiot box; no gossiping. A key factor that ensures the success of the programme is that the teachers lead from the front.

Practical training in living together as a community is imparted by a self reliance programme. Although there are cooks, electricians, plumbers and so on at the hostels, the running of the mess, cleaning of rooms, maintenance of hygiene, electricity and water supply maintenance, keeping music equipment and sports equipment in good condition — all these activities are done by the students. A history student may thus learn how to change a fuse; a literature student may learn how to take care of overhead tanks; a physics student may learn how to cook and so on. Within one hour, five hundred students eat noiselessly in a mess and leave after all the plates and glasses are washed.

EHV is infused into the teaching of academic subjects as well. That products from trees are used in the manufacture of perfumes; this example, is converted into a fantastic EHV opportunity when the social studies teacher says:

“Look at the mango tree—you throw stones at it and yet in return it gives you delicious mangoes. And as for the sandalwood tree — it imparts fragrance even to the very axe that fells it. See their spirit of sacrifice! That is what we too should cultivate.:

The biology teacher while teaching about bacterial diseases explains how the loss of pain sensation leads to the mutilation of hands and feet in leprosy patients; as a spin off, he adds “So pain and suffering also have beneficial role on life.”

The chemistry teacher while teaching about subatomic particles says “Just as electrons exist unseen in all matter, living or nonliving, so does divinity exist unseen in all things.” Another facet of the EHV programme is the awareness module. Adolescence and youth are biologically explosive times when hormones race thorough the system and cause violent emotions and feelings. The awareness programmes help students understand themselves better. Fear, ambition, success, failure, inferiority complex, birth, marriage, death—students thrash out all these issues with teachers; often the Chancellor too participates and guides. For a practical exposition, the epics of various religions, the lives of saints and the scriptures of various faiths are also studied. In these days of communal and sectarian strife, the message clearly sent down in the Sathya Sai system is; there is only one religion—the religion of love; only one caste—the caste of humanity; and only one language. The language of heart. The students live this precept out, for the festivals of all religions are celebrated. A student of this system is equally at home singing Christmas Carols, chanting the Vedas and reciting the Suras of the Holy Koran.

An in-depth exposure to Indian culture and spirituality is another exercise that contributes to the success of the EHV programme. Be it Adi Sankara, the Sufis, Buddha, the Thirthankaras or Gandhiji, the students are exposed to everything; and to make the exercise more meaningful, the lessons are driven home through mime, theatre, plays and concerts. Fine arts are also given great importance; for it is art that uplifts and refines man. At the Puttaparthi campus, on every Tuesday, the boys have a fine arts session, aptly named “Saama,” when everything ranging form Carnatic music, Kathakali, Bachn’ Beethoven, and tribal music dance are demonstrated and discussed.

The flagship of the Sathya Sai university is the MBA course. Total quality Management and Re-engineering, the mantras of modern management schools are suitably modified here. TQM translates as “Total harmony in the quality of thought, word and deed” and RE as humility combined with co-ordination of head-heart and hand for without the former one would not accept the need for change and benchmarking; and without the latter the change would never take place. The cold, market economics usually taught at business schools acquires the warmth of compassion and human values at this institute.

Excerpted from an article by
Dr. Hemamalini Seshadri
The Hindu