SAI NANDANA 2015 – 90th Birthday Offering



We deem it as our greatest good fortune to place at the Lotus Feet of our most beloved Bhagavan in the 90th year of His Advent, this garland of 90 articles woven lovingly by His students and teachers of the Hostels of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.

Sai Chandana, the Hostel Magazine of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, born on 23rd November, 1984, completes thirty years of its existence and expresses its deep debt of gratitude to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for preserving and sustaining it till now.

The “Dedication” in the first issue of Sai Chandana dated 23rd November, 1984 echoes the deep seated love that prompted its birth. It reads,

“Sweetest Lord,
We have obtained You in this life as the Master of our life and destiny. Having obtained You in this life, we would endeavour hard to cling to You in storm and stress, for we know that You are the Highest, for whose vision the truest of Rishis strove for eons. We know that You are beyond birth and death, but for our sake, You have taken birth; You have assumed this human guise and are playing the human role. The earth is richer and holier due to Your birth.

It has occurred to us to celebrate the grand event of Your Advent by placing at Your Lotus Feet this little magazine and the series of magazines that will follow, to You with love and reverence. You are the theme of this magazine, its source and inspiration. We look to You, O Lord, for its sustenance, for what is sustained by God is well-sustained and forever!”

Bhagavan has indeed sustained this magazine all these 30 years without a break, as a series of magazines flowed endlessly from that day, till date, bearing testimony to the truth, ‘what is sustained by God is well-sustained’. We lift our hands and hearts, in love, reverence and gratitude to Bhagavan for this gesture of immense love and compassion.

This special issue of Sai Chandana, titled ‘Sai Nandana’, brought out in the 90th year of His Advent, contains the best of the articles contributed during the period of five years, from 2010 to 2015. The contributors of the 90 articles of Sai Nandana range from eighth class students to research scholars, teachers, staff and administrators of the Hostels of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. This volume of Sai Nandana bears an eloquent testimony to the eternal bond of love, between Bhagavan and His students.

We have arranged these articles under three themes: 1. Call of the Divine, 2. Living with Divinity, and 3.The Eternal Presence. A student comes here by the call of the Divine, lives with Divinity, learns the lessons imparted by the Great Educator, goes to the world outside, fights the battle of life but feels His Eternal Presence and finds fulfilment in life. Bhagavan said, “Nobody can come to Me without My Sankalpa (Will)”. Bhagavan, the ‘Divine Magnet’ after drawing us to Him, starts educating and transforming, inspiring and elevating those whom He has drawn into His fold. Living and learning in the institutions inspires the students to live for Divinity, with Divinity and in Divinity. It is said living for Divinity is true devotion; living with Divinity is true education and living in Divinity is true spirituality. Bhagavan said, “Education is not only for a living, it is for life”. The values which a student imbibe here fortifies him the battles of life, feeling His Eternal Presence.

It has been a deeply moving experience going through the 90 articles by the students and teachers of His Institutions. It is a soul stirring experience reading the writings of the students whose hearts Bhagavan has touched in thousand and one ways. I marvel in mute enchantment, feeling the love pulsating in the printed words in which they unfolded the sweet, tender and sublime love that welled from their hearts. I wonder at the range and immensity of experiences granted to these students who nourish deep and intense love in the inner recesses of their hearts to the very embodiment of Divine Love.

It is a fascinating story how Bhagavan draws His students from far-flung corners of India and the world, irrespective of caste and creed, race and religion, climate and country. Bhagavan touched the life of His devotees before inspiring in them a deep seated desire to admit their children in Bhagavan’s institution. Sainath of Shirdi once said, “I draw My devotees to Me across seven seas as a bird catcher draws the birds tying them with a thread”. For Him distance does not matter. For example, Aditya Deshpande’s father who lived in Kenya was once kidnapped by hooligans in Nairobi. It appeared as though death was imminent at the hands of the hooligans. Deshpande’s father was sure that he would be killed and prayed to Bhagavan to take care of his wife and children. While driving the car the kidnappers crashed the vehicle in their hurry.

At that moment when the culprits were in a state of shock, he heard the voice of Bhagavan asking him to get down and run. He obeyed the Divine command and was saved. No wonder the father who escaped from the jaws of death very much wanted his son to study in Swami’s Institute. How did Bhagavan prepare the mind of his son who regarded Swami as one of the greatest saints and not as the very embodiment of Supreme Reality? The son, Aditya Deshpande, once saw in his dream Lord Shiva, shining in all splendours, bending down and taking Padanamaskar of Bhagavan.

Then he saw both of them, Swami and Shiva smiling at him. Swami said, “Do you realise at least now who Sathya Sai is?” This is how Bhagavan prepares the minds of the father and the son, the devotees and their children before drawing them to Himself and His institutions. No wonder such students turn a new leaf in their life after such mind-boggling experiences.

The experience recounted by Venkateswar Rao is very heart touching. He had not yet joined as a student but he had an opportunity to present a rose to Bhagavan on the stage after participating in a drama, performed in front of Swami. This boy had lost both his mother and father in a car accident. While he was presenting the rose, Bhagavan said to him, “Why do you cry every night thinking of your mother?”

Then Bhagavan opened His palm and said to him, “Your mother is not anywhere else; she is with Me, see”. Venkateswar Rao cried no more for his mother. Now he found the true mother in Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai. No wonder the grateful student joined eleventh class at the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary High School and received the motherly love of Bhagavan.

Having drawn His students to Himself and to His institutions, Bhagavan makes them go through the rigorous routine of the School, Institute and Hostel and moulds them.

Swami in His own way imparts secular as well as spiritual education as both are important for one’s progress. Ashutosh writes, “From being an average student in a state board school at Mumbai, despite having tuition (extra classes) in all subjects, I went on to become the topper in Central Board of Secondary Examination without attending a single tuition. From being someone who barely participated in sports and cultural activities, I started excelling in all activities. It is the magic of Bhagavan’s love and the highly conducive environment that did the trick”. He confesses that the greatest lesson that he received in this place is cultivating the spirit of surrender. Ashutosh writes, “He had taught me to surrender to Him. And with that I learned the greatest lesson of my life. When you surrender to Him, life becomes beautiful; every day becomes an adventure and every moment, life in itself”.

Many are the lessons that the students learn after coming in contact with the very embodiment of wisdom. “Swami is the Antaryami, the indweller of our hearts, the witness of all our thoughts, words and deeds,” emphasises Aswath Narayan. “Swami is the one who gives deservedness, He is the one who gives the strength to the weak and above all He is the only one who protects all living beings,” affirms Sujith Kumar. Dr. Sunil mentions, how and why Bhagavan inculcates the spirit of Seva (service) in His students. He narrates an incident which happened in Sai Kulwant Hall. He writes, “One fine day Swami asked a student to take Prasadam and distribute it. Once the distribution was over, Bhagavan asked the student, ‘Why do you think I ask you to distribute Prasadam?’ Students replied,

‘We feel that You are giving us a great blessing.’ Swami then said, ‘The important thing you should notice is the supreme value of Seva you perform. Whenever you are distress and call out to Me, I will remember your act of your service and rush to your rescue immediately’.”

Bhagavan once declared, “My greatest miracle is the miracle of transformation I bring in people”. It is a great experience watching the doubting Thomas’ transformed into ardent devotees. The Divine mechanic puts them in His workshop, shapes and moulds them into finished products. The transformation which the students under go in His institution with the blessings of Bhagavan is incredible. Anirudh states, “I was reluctant to come here, leaving all luxuries behind, to live a life of simplicity and humility. These three years of my life have lifted me to a higher and sublime plane of life. In many aspects I have been able to achieve a lot, gain a lot and learn a lot. We should remember Him always in our heart on the field. While playing cricket, I chant His name before every ball I face; after scoring a goal, I shout out His name; after scoring a basket, I chant His name in triumph.

All this because I realise that it is He who does everything and without His Grace I am nothing”.
If this is not transformation, then what is transformation?

Dr. Deepak Anand reveals in his article that Bhagavan is Bhaava Priya (loves the feeling in the heart). He illustrates this with an incident that occurred during Annual Sports and Cultural Meets in the year 1998. Once Dr. Deepak became annoyed when the jubilant sports captains vied with each other to perform Padanamaskar to Swami. Being a captain himself, Dr. Anand watched with distress the lack of discipline that marked the performance of Padanamaskar to Swami. When his turn came to perform Padanamaskar he was more annoyed with the indiscipline and performed Padanamaskar without feeling. He recollects, “As I took Padanamaskar and looked at His face, I saw dissatisfaction writ large and the Lord said, ‘No feelings, no use’.” He further substantiated the point again by referring to the different treatment given to different letters received by Bhagavan. He writes, “When I narrated this to Bhagavan’s driver, he said that he was also amazed at the phenomenon and had asked Bhagavan the reason behind the different treatment meted out to different letters”. Bhagavan had explained, “See some letters are written with a distant faith but any way Swami would not read, so I also would not read. Some others are written in a distant faith that I may read, so I will also read them from My distance; there are some other letters that are written with the faith that I would read them and I respond accordingly. But there are a few letters that a devotee writes and rewrites as a Sadhana with the faith that I will certainly read and I also read and reread those letters, keeping them on My lap”.

Many are the lessons that the students imbibe during their stay here. Bhagavan who is the supreme educator instills profound truths in the hearts and minds of His students. Natesh Shetty recalls his intimate interactions with Bhagavan when he was a part of the drama ‘Krishna Rayabaram’. Bhagavan asked him what role he was playing in the drama. Natesh replied that he was playing the role of ‘ego’. The Warden explained the significance of the role. Then Bhagavan said, “This time it is okay. Next time don’t play a negative role. You will become what you act”. Natesh writes, “Whether it is drama presentation at Sai Kulwant Hall or the drama of Life itself, I learned that every thought, feeling and emotion that I allowed to pass through me had the potential to become a part of my personality and physical reality”.

The magic of Bhagavan’s love works wonders with His students. Bhagavan the very incarnation of love goes out of the way (if God can go out of the way) to respond to the love of His children. Pragyan recollects in his article how his uncle Ravi Teja had the good fortune of receiving the unique love of Bhagavan. Ravi Teja, an able athlete tore his ligament during sports. He was confined to bed at Hostel while other students in Prasanthi Nilayam had the good fortune of enjoying Bhagavan’s Darshan.

He covered himself with a blanket and was silently weeping alone in the room for missing Bhagavan’s Darshan. Then he felt somebody lifting the blanket. To his utter shock he saw Bhagavan smiling at him and said to him, “It is not a dream, it is real”. What compassion and love the Divine mother has for Her children. Once a student said to Bhagavan, “Swami Your love is like an ocean, deep and vast”. Pat came the reply from Bhagavan, “Even Ocean has limits but My love has no limits”. That is Bhagavan, Premaswaroopa, the very embodiment of love. The story of Bhagavan’s love and His students has no parallels in the history of humanity; it is the Greatest Love Story.

Bhagavan instills in His students not only love but the spirit of adherence to Dharma, duty, principles and discipline. Mahar Nagar recounts the experience of his father who is an alumnus of the Institute. His father was appointed as a Principal at Rajkot in Gujarat. He had a tough time, ensuring discipline in the College as the situation was very bad in that institution at that time. Mass copying was rampant. The staff joined with the students in this nefarious activity. It appeared as though the situation was beyond redemption. Being a Sai student, he was determined to ensure discipline at any cost, even at the cost of his own life. He had firm faith in the assurance that Bhagavan had once given to him, “I and you are one. You are Satchitananda Swaroopa.
I am always with My students”.
Mahar Nagar writes, “To have survived a murderous assault and to carry no mental impact; to have conducted examination in a just and lawful fashion (which everyone thought was impossible); to have got the support of society – all these and many more have been possible only on account of the grace of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba”.

There is no end to the lessons of wisdom that Bhagavan bestowed on His students.

Dr. Siva Sankara Sai beautifully recounts staging the drama ‘Markandeya’. He states, “Swami was very particular that negative emotions, negative feelings, negative words and actions should be avoided or be minimal depending on the theme chosen”. “Intensity and consistency are cardinal for one’s progress,” opines Mallikeswaran; “Patience and perseverance are vital for a Sai student,” asserts Sai Rajesh; “Swami has a plan for each of His student,” declares Dr. Vamsi; “Total dependence and total surrender is great a way to Divinity,” stresses Raghuram Anumula; “We have to travel from expectation to acceptance,” exhorted Parikshit Menon; “If you are able to inculcate love for God and faith on God in children, our life will find fulfilment,” states Sri Venkateswaralu; “Bhakti is truly neither a path nor a destination, but a most spontaneous faith of being one with the supreme self,” declares Sai Giridhar; “The happiness that we receive by cultivating good qualities is immeasurable,” shares Mayur Mukhi; “Sai is everything for me: mother, father, guardian, guide and God. He is all that I have in this world, without Him I am nothing in this world,” confesses Nihal Chugh... The list is endless.

People ask now-a-days “Are the students able to feel the presence of Bhagavan even after Mahasamadhi?” Our answer is, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” One has only to go through the experiences recorded by His students to understand this. U. K. Prasanth declares in unmistakable terms, the Eternal Presence of Bhagavan. “He has left His physical form, going away from us, only to go deeper into our hearts”. Siddharth opines, “Like the fire that manifest in different forms, the bond of love which Swami Has for His student, has but different hues. The Flame continues, unabated”. “Till now, we were known to the world because of Him. From now on, let the world know Him through us,” says Sandeep Patnaik.

Reading through the feelings and the experiences of Sai students and teachers is an inspiring and elevating experience. We verily experience going through Prema Pravaham (flood of love). Dwarakanath advises us to cultivate gratitude towards the Lord. He quotes, “To speak gratitude is courteous and present; to enact gratitude is generous and noble; but to have gratitude is to touch heaven”.

Many are the noble souls who have helped us in bringing out the 90th Birthday issue:

Sai Nandana, an offering of deep loving gratitude. We fold our hands in salutation to our Divine master Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who is the inspiration and sustenance for ‘Sai Nandana’ and ‘Sai Chandana’. The magazines brought out in the Hostels on different festivals go by the name ‘Sai Chandana’ as named by Bhagavan 25 years ago. Sai Nandana is the culmination of Sai Chandanas brought in a span of five years.

We express our deep thankfulness to Dr. Naren Ramji, Registrar, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning; Dr. Pallav Kumar Baruah, Former Warden, Sri Sathya Sai Hostel for Senior Students; to Sri Janardanan, Warden, Sri Sathya Sai Junior Boys’ Hostel; Dr. Siva Sankara Sai, Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai Students and Staff Welfare Society; Sri Amey Deshpande, Coordinator, Sai Publications; the 90 contributors – administrators, faculty members, doctoral research scholars, staff, students and alumni of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, who have made their valuable contribution. In this connection, we regret that we are not able to include in this special issue Sai Nandana, hundreds of articles contributed over a period of five years from 2010 to 2015.

We express deep thankfulness to R. Vignesh, Vinay Vallabh, Ashok Pai, Chandrashekhar, Sai Rajesh, Prajapati and Hanuma who helped us in bringing out this volume. We express our deep thankfulness and appreciation to the dynamic team of Sai Publications students – Tata Ramesh, Vivek Rai, P. Sai Siva Kumar,

G. J. Subhanu, C. S. Praneeth, M. Arun Sai, P. Arun Sai, Aswin Rajagopal, Atma Swaroop, Chandrahaas, Vinay Sai, Varun, Devjeet, Dhruv Kapoor, Raghuram A. and the Chandana Department of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School for typing, formatting, proof reading and designing of this book. We also express our heartfelt gratitude to all those noble souls who have worked behind the curtain to bring out this valuable contribution to Sai literature. At this point of time we gratefully remember the magnificent work done by Dr. Deepak Anand, Dr. Shashank Shah, and

Sri Rohit Chhabra, Former Coordinators of the Sai Publications Division, and the students who worked for Sai Publications over the last many decades. We heartily congratulate the Sai Publications Department on having offered at the Divine Lotus Feet 36 books till date, an incredible achievement!

We offer this garland of 90 flowers, woven lovingly by the students and staff, in the

90th year of the Divine Advent of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on the sacred occasion of Guru Pournima 2015.

We wish to conclude the editorial with the following words of love and inspiration:

The essence lives on in me and You,
The master thought it fit and so it shall be,
To this very embodiment of truth, harmony, love and unity,
Let us bow in love and gratitude… being the Children of Eternity.


M. Rama Mohan Rao
Founding Chief Editor, Sai Chandana and Sai Nandana
Faculty Member, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School
Prasanthi Nilayam
Guru Pournima, July 31, 2015