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

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.