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…and the day was Golden


Published on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 01:30.00 Hrs.IST

Convocation 2008
Sri Sathya Sai University – Alma Mater for Ambassadors of Peace…

The 27th Annual Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai University was held on the 22nd November 2006, in a glittering ceremony that had its grandeur, richly deserved for the yeomen service it has been rendering in the field of education for a quarter century. This prestigious institution that is undoubtedly the one of its kind that has won attention and accolades for simple reason that it promotes value education with spiritual orientation helping in engendering students whom Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba prefers to address as future ambassadors, has thousands of such students in its alumni list who are engaged in relentless service activities in different part of the world, following the invaluable inputs that they received before leaving the portals of this great institution.

Sai Kulwant Hall, the venue of the XXVII Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai University was tastefully decorated with flowers of various hues. A beautiful arch decked with flowers bearing the letters XXVII Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai University welcomed Bhagawan into the Hall. Another arch bearing the same lettering embossed in gold was placed near the gate facing the dais. A backlit panel bearing the letters XXVII Convocation … with serial lights of various colours was placed just the dais. The dais had virtually a bower with flowers in the background in the shape of an arch. Roses arranged in the shape of a Kalasam were placed on either side of the dais. On the dais were neatly arranged chairs for Bhagawan, the Chief Guest, the Vice Chancellor, Members of the Governing Body and Members of the Institute Trust. The regal convocation procession began at 3.50 p.m. led by the students of Institute Brass Band. They were followed by two students on either side holding the scepter with the Institute insignia embossed on it. The Registrar of the University carried the ceremonial mace. Members of the Governing Body and Members of the Institute Trust followed them. Bhagawan the Chancellor of the University came to the Hall in a red robe. At the outset, Prof. Vishwanath Pandit, the Vice Chancellor of the University garlanded the Chief Guest Prof. G. Venkataraman. He also welcomed the prominent guest from the UGC, the Vice Chairman of University Grants Commission, Prof. Moolchand Sharma. The proceedings began with the customary Vedic chant which has a lofty meaning to consider the mother, father, preceptor and guest as God and hold them in high esteem. The Vice Chancellor then requested the Chancellor, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to declare the convocation open. The convocation was declared open by Bhagawan exactly at 4 p.m.

The Vice Chancellor in his speech welcomed the Chief Guest and Members of the Governing Body and Members of the Institute Trust to the XXVII Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai University. The Vice Chancellor then introduced the Chief Guest Prof. G. Venkataraman. Prof. Venkataraman, educated at the University of Madras, had an illustrious career. He has rendered yeoman service to the nation, starting his career at the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC). He also held the position of Director, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In recognition of his services, he was elected President of Indian Physicist Association. He was also conferred Padma Shri by the Government of India. Above all he has been a humble devotee of Bhagawan and was also the Vice Chancellor of the University. Prof. Pandit said that this was the 17th Birthday of Bhagawan as he had come to serve Bhagawan in the year 1992. He pointed out that this University was declared as the crest jewel of all universities by NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council). We have to be grateful to Bhagawan for giving this University to the world, he said. 

Then the Vice Chancellor announced the achievement of the students of the University:

8 students have cleared the CSIR examination.

42 students have passed the GATE examination with a student securing the top rank.  

Sri Sathya Sai Grama Seva and the spectacular sports events every year showcases the calibre of the students. He said 3 lakh residents in 150 villages were covered by students in the Grama Seva held this year. 437 students received their degrees this year, 20 students were decorated with gold medals by Bhagawan this year. 5 students had completed their doctoral dissertations from the departments of Mathematics, Physics, Finance (2 students) and Economics.

The candidates for the various degrees were then presented to the Chancellor. The principal of the Sri Sathya Sai University then administered the oath to the students: “I hereby solemnly declare and promise that if admitted to the degree for which I have been duly recommended, I will conduct myself which befits as a member of Sri Sathya Sai University …” The various gold medalists were as follows:   List of Gold Medallists

Chief Guest’s Key-note address:

The Chief Guest of the Convocation Prof. G.V. Venkataraman began his convocation address by expressing his gratitude to Bhagawan for being conferred the honour of the Chief Guest of the 27th Convocation. Prof. Venkataraman congratulated the grandaunts not for only for their degrees, but also for being the students of Bhagawan. Many years ago Prof. V.K. Gokak declared that this university has the good fortune of having Bhagawan as the Chancellor of the University who is also the Chancellor of the universe. He said, when Bhagawan established the Sri Sathya Sai Arts and Science College in 1968 for women in Anantapur, He made the first move for a Kali Yuga Gurukulam. The seed had sprouted into a sapling with the establishment of Sri Sathya Sai Arts and Science College in the year 1969 in Brindavan. He said that Bhagawan takes care of the minute details of the University right from its management to its finance to examination. While students learn from teachers how to earn a living, Bhagawan teaches the students how to live, the learned speaker said. In the early days at Brindavan, the students rose as early as 4 a.m. and took care of activities like milking the cows, even ploughing the fields, feeding cattle and whitewashing walls. Prof. Venkataraman then narrated an interesting incident of those days when this college was affiliated to Bangalore University wherein a student was awarded 7 gold medals. In the convocation function when the medals were about to be given, the student requested the chancellor of the University that he wanted the medals to be given in his hand as he wanted his Guru to confer the medals. As soon as the convocation function was over, he rushed to Brindavan and offered the medals to Bhagawan so that he could be decorated by Bhagawan for his achievement.  

He also related an incident which amply showed the love of students for Bhagawan’s physical proximity. When in 1975, the Brindavan college was growing and the hostel was relatively small for the students. So, Bhagawan wanted to build a spacious hostel near the sports ground. All preparations were being made by Col. Joga Rao. A day before the ground breaking ceremony, Bhagawan came to hostel. Then a student gave a letter to Bhagawan. After Bhagawan read the contents of the letter asked the student whether He could ask the warden to read the letter for the benefit of others. The student readily agreed. He had expressed his anguish at being separated from Bhagawan. He had written, “Why was Bhagawan so upset that He was distancing them from Him?” Bhagawan was moved by the sincere prayer of this boy and He immediately changed the plan to construct the hostel at that place. Instead the hostel was built close to His residence. After a few years Bhagawan built a college and hostel in Prasanthi Nilayam when it was considered impossible to have college in such a remote place, but Bhagawan established a University itself. He said, Bhagawan would visit the hostel and institute frequently and discoursed on Atma Vidya (education of the Self). Bhagawan even used to visit the stadium and witness the matches. Once in the course of a volleyball match, Bhagawan said to the teachers and senior students present there that once the server serves the ball, his teammates would at any cost ensure that the ball does not touch the ground on their side. In a similar way, the teachers should maintain that students do not slacken in their efforts.

Bhagawan used to take the students along with him to Kodaikanal in the summer months. On an Easwaramma Day, Prof Venkataraman said, Bhagawan had suddenly gone out in his car and came back after one and a half hour. The students thought that Bhagawan had gone for a ride, but Bhagawan revealed to His students that He had gone to distribute blankets to poor people who could not come to the Sai Sruti Ashram when the distribution was done. He said this showed Bhagawan’s care and concern for the poor and needy.  

The erudite speaker said that the current economic meltdown is due to uninhibited consumerism without any regard to moral values. He said that Bhagawan has been emphasising a lot on moral values in business to MBA students in His talks. He referred to a Bhagawan’s Discourse when Bhagawan said that Mother Yashoda had butter in one hand and a stick on another hand to catch Krishna. Similarly Bhagawan draws students with education. Like Mother Yashoda, He does not have a stick, but imparts Atma Vidya to His students. He also narrated an incident when He took upon Himself the injury the students were to suffer while doing a stunt on lorries. The learned speaker said that such is the concern of Bhagawan for His students.

Prof. Venkataraman then related what Bhagawan had told in one of His Discourses during Kodaikanal visit in 2007. “The students as long as they are here, behave well, but when they go out how they would conduct themselves is My concern. This is what worries Me. If they behave well that is enough gratitude for Me.” Does any chancellor bestow so much love? That God is here playing innumerable roles being the revered Chancellor the universe. As Sadguru, He is steering the students to the moral path in His Gurukulam, opined Prof. Venkataraman. He concluded His speech by saying that he did not speak about students because the world knows about it, but wanted to tell the secret behind it.

After Prof. Venkataraman’s speech, Bhagawan delivered His Divine Discourse, the excerpts of which follows: 

The Divine Benedictory Address

Bharat is the motherland of many noble souls who earned great reputation in all the continents of the world. This is the land of many valorous people who could vanquish the enemies in the battlefield. This is the land of many learned people who taught the Vedas and other sacred scriptures to the people of other countries. But, unfortunately, the Bharatiyas today have forgotten the principles of spirituality and are taking to wrong path.                                                  (Telugu Poem) 

Boys and Girls!
It is your responsibility to uphold the glory of this country Bharat. This country Bharat is highly reputed and is the land of plenty and prosperity. In spite of many foreign invasions, this country has prospered. The real beauty in this land is observance of forbearance. There is no greater feeling than the feeling that one has towards one’s own mother. This country Bharat is known for women of chastity. Savitri could bring her dead husband back to life. Do you find such chaste women in any other country? This is also the birthplace of Damayanti. Mother Sita came out of blazing fire unscathed to prove her chastity. Today everyone seems to succumb to silly problems. People seem to have forgotten their responsibilities. Just as a mighty elephant submits to the dictates of the mahout, the Bharatiyas are unaware of their own strength and are aping others. Truth and righteousness have been the guiding principles of Bharat. Since these twin principles are forgotten by the Bharatiyas they are suffering.  

Man should declare that I am a human being not an animal. When he declares that he is a human being, he should have human qualities and not animal qualities. Where there is love, there is no chance for hatred or enmity. The dog loves its puppies and the birds love their young ones, but modern man does not love his fellowmen. Today there is no unity in Bharat. Where there is unity, there is purity, where there is purity, there is divinity.  

Man should develop faith in the Self. But man today lacks Self-confidence. Self-confidence leads to self-satisfaction, self-satisfaction leads to self-realisation.  

Human quality is still prevalent in Bharat. In other countries there are so many problems. Today even countries like U.S.A. and Japan are envious of Bharat.  

Today the food is polluted, water is polluted, even air is polluted. Bharat faces no such pollution problems.  

Man is verily God. But man is not able to know his true nature. Education leads to only argumentation. Modern education is not conferring the knowledge of the Self. Parents spend lakhs and lakhs to send their children abroad for studies. But they return totally spoiled. There is no need to go abroad. What is available in Bharat is not available elsewhere. The greatness of Bharat is beyond estimation. The kind of fortune that you find is Bharat is not found anywhere.  

There are many people who invite Bhagavan to foreign land. They are prepared to bring aeroplanes to take Bhagawan with them. I do not want these comforts, I want only devotion.

There are no enemies of Bhagawan. Bhagawan loves everyone. But His pure divine love is often misunderstood.  

If your desires are fulfilled, you are sure to be spoiled. So, Bhagawan is training youngsters here with all limitations. Students have great love for Bhagawan. As Bhagawan leaves this place elsewhere, they bid farewell with tears. He is an intelligent man who helps those who have harmed them. That is true human quality. Whomsoever you meet, consider him as God. God is in human form. Rama, Sita, Hanuman, all were humans. All are divine. Names may be different, but the principle of Atma is the same in all.  

It is necessary to develop equal-mindedness at this young age. You may think it is difficult, but in reality it is easy. You will not experience in spite of doing Yajnas and rituals. In the outside world, there are only pieces. Peace is within you.  

You call yourself as humans and behave like an animal. Evil qualities like greed, avarice, hatred are animal qualities. Be a human with fellow human beings. Do not hate anyone. Till this moment, Swami has no hated anyone. Bhagawan is full of love. Bhagawan may be at a distant place, but divine love is drawing people like magnet. He is not angry with anybody. He is always happy. Bhagawan always smiles. Swami wants us to be blissful. Swami has not sent any invitation to anyone, but thousands have gathered here. It is only your love for Bhagawan that has drawn you here. When Bhagawan goes in the streets, shopkeepers come running out of their shops to have His Darshan. On this sacred day, one has to develop love primarily. Very soon the world will be united under one roof. Nobody would say, I am from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and so on. Everybody would call themselves a Bharatiya. We do not belong to any party. We have only the party of love. You may go anywhere, you will respected and honoured if you have the party of love. Love is selfless. A true man is one without an iota of selfishness. Every human being has love. There is no greater quality than love. Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu (May all the beings of all the worlds be happy!). This should be our prayer if we want the world to be peaceful. This is the message of Bhagawan today.  

Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, “Hari Bhajana Bina Sukha Santhi Nahin …” 

The grand convocation function concluded with the singing of National Anthem by all at 6.15 p.m.  

In the evening at 6.30 pm. students of Sri Sathya Sai University presented a play "Divya Premashrayam", in the Poornachandra Auditorium. The Drama entails the tenets of His essential teachings to serve the society in the name of the Lord. This presentation interspersed with scenes from the epics and lives of the greats bringing greater effectiveness sending out the message of service to the society. Songs set to melodious music added flavour go the glittering presentation that was watched by Bhagawan, the Chief Guest, the UGC Vice Chairman, The Vice Chancellor, scores of other dignitaries, students and staff from the university and devotees in general. A grand finale to the glittering Convocation of the unique Institution, Sri Sathya Sai University. The Story in detail