December arrived and came along with the wintry season. While passing off, the first week of the last month left vivid pictures of a vibrant Prasanthi that had enough of actions in its kitty. Topping the list comes the visit of India’s Industrial tycoon Ratan Tata.
Yes, the week that passed by had a hectic twenty-four hour schedule for India’s topmost industrialist, Ratan Tata, in Prasanthi Nilayam. The man who rose like a phoenix to become India’s ‘topbill’ in international business forums, Ratan Tata, left the holy township richer with greater insight into humanitarian services as exemplified by Sathya Sai Baba’s Mission.
In appreciation, the distinguished guest wrote in the guest book after completing his visit at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram, “One of the most impressive and unique hospital facilities I have ever seen. It performs patient care and treatment as it should be, and in a form that unfortunately is not, by and large, practised today”.
Accompanied by his colleague and close confidant Mr. R.K. Krishna Kumar, Vice Chairman, India Group of Hotels and a member in the Board of Directors for Tata Sons, Mr. Ratan Tata also visited the University Administrative Block and the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus wherein the distinguished guest was briefed in detail about Bhagawan’s Vision on Educare, His Revolutionary Educational Mission and the Holy Educational set up brought about by Bhagawan.
In a brief address to the officials and faculty members of the University, Mr. Tata expressed his thanks for the hospitality, lavishing at the holistic institution run by Bhagawan that serves as a role model.
And after watching the Water Project Video presentation, he said: "I would have loved to be part of the water project. This is a project where all the benefit has reached where it is actually needed - the poor man! I wish I was there to see Swami plan and execute the whole project!"
A drama entitled, Premaarpitham, portraying the plight of the present day confused youth, confused at choosing the right path between staying abroad aiming at greater career growth and staying back to serving the nation, was staged by the University students on the 3rd evening at the University Auditorium. The drama that was blessed by Bhagawan’s gracious presence was also attended by Mr. Ratan Tata, Mr. Krishna Kumar, Dr. Vijay Kelkar, Chairman of the Finance Commission of India and the ashram officials along with students and faculties from the University. Bringing home the message that Educare is in essence Love of God and the Love for God the forty-five minutes drama had flashback scenes from the lives of Swami Vivekananda, Adi Shankaracharya, the Pandavas and Gopikas of Vrindavan.
Excellence in performance meeting the benchmark set by Bhagawan, the crew was rewarded well with a forty minute onstage session with Bhagawan in presence of the Chief Guest. From the drama to real life, many of the aspiring students writing the final year exams got to clear their doubts about career path, capitalizing the best of the occasion.
Bhagawan Himself was seen introducing many of the boys detailing their courses undertaken. In between, Bhagwan called out Issac Tigrett of Hard Rock fame asking him, “how many hotels?” "In reply he said, “Swami more than 148 Hard Rock Cafes; but all that is nothing in front of my Master! Master is everything." Continuing with this conversation, referring to the present day plight of youth and parents, Bhagawan said emphatically, "Everything is polluted. My students will go everywhere and clean up everything. That is their service to me"
Speaking about singing, Bhagawan said that the harmony of feelings, rhythm and melody are most important. "Bhava, Raaga and Tala - these constitute Bharatha. Bhava or feeling is most important. The boys here have lot of feelings. They go to the villages and serve the poor people there." Acknowledging this Tata replied, "I have seen the glow in the eyes and faces; they have a lot of devotion for You". Swami said, "If everyone had such devotion, the world would immediately improve." Bhagawan specially introduced Warden of the Hostel followed by the lead singer. Referring to the lead singer who studied in Prasanthi Nilayam from the Primary level, Bhagawan remarked that he had been working there for sixteen years. …And before leaving Bhagawan had a mention about the good man in Tata, who serves the society most selflessly.
Upon returning from the University Auditorium, Mr. Tata and Krishna Kumar were blessed with a fifteen minute open session in the bhajan hall on the 3rd evening. The next morning after his visit to the Indoor Stadium and Chaitanya Jyothi Museum, Mr. Tata was granted an audience with Bhagawan that lasted for forty minutes which was followed by a brief audience to Mr. Krishna Kumar.
Before leaving for Hyderabad after one day stay in the Ashram the guest of honour also paid visit to the Indoor Stadium and Chaitanya Jyothi Museum.
With the passing off 84th Year of Advent, the countdown for the landmark occasion, 85th Birthday is virtually begun. …And in anticipation of the mammoth occasion, new dormitories are being constructed replacing existing ten numbers starting with shed nos. 11 and 12. The new provision would be having triple storeyed dormitories with twin units. Each single unit would be having a capacity of 504 aggregating to 5040 against the current capacity of 120 per shed. All sheds would be provided with bunk coats facilitating increased number of capacity per shed. Open shelves for keeping the belonging, liberal provision for bathroom facility etc. are some of the additional features of the new construction. Built up area for the entire construction would be 200000 sq. ft. and the project that is entrusted to L & T is expected to be commissioned by Guru Purnima 2010.
Bhumi Puja for the above construction was held on the 2nd Dec attended by senior officials from Ashram along with students and staff working in ashram institutions.
Two more Parthi Yatras, from West Bengal and Punjab, marked the end of the week with two programmes by the respective states. West Bengal that came with a force of over 550 staged a drama “Transformation – Individual to Global” that talked about the influence wielded by Sai Youth in the society in general bringing in transformation beginning at the individual level. “Vande Sai Mataram”, a colourful dance drama by Punjab Youth and Balvikas, came with a force of over 450, was a depiction of the state’s rich cultural heritage and patriotic feeling.
Come December and Prasanthi gets the taste of winter. Wintry weather hit Prasanthi as December gets going to the second week. But, the chilly climate no way stops the students from gearing up for the annual sports and cultural meet. The preparations virtually began this week with trial and practice sessions got to start braving the wintry weather.
Apart from the Tata Team and Dr. Vijay Kelkar, another dignitary who was present during the week was veteran VHP leader, Ashok Singhal who was here for two days.
December gripped by wintry climate, progresses slowly reminiscing the year that is fading off. And the bell rings with the countdown for Year 2010.