March 2003, there was a big conference in
Japan entitled the
World Water Forum. This was a sequel
to the Earth Summit that took place earlier
in August 2002, in Johannesburg. Kyoto was
the venue of the World
Water Forum, and top world leaders
came to attend it. There were also many
satellite meetings, one of which was on
the theme Water and
Cities. This meeting was held at
Osaka. In Kyoto, there was a Panel Discussion,
to which was invited Prof Anantaraman ,
a professor in management who and CEO of
a multinational firm.
What follows is a digest of remarks made
by Prof Anantaraman about his experience
in Kyoto. This digest has been prepared
by us from an interview recorded with Prof.
Anantaraman for broadcast over Radio Sai.
Some of you might have heard that interview.
A LOVE STORY REVEALED
panel discussion was held in Kyoto, and I went there on account
of an invitation sent to me by the UN HABITAT. The Panel Discussion
was being jointly organised by UN HABITAT and the Asian Development
Bank or ADB. They wanted me to discuss the financial aspects
of the Sri Sathya Sai Anantapur Water Project. After a lot
of hesitation I finally decided to accept the invitation.
Initially I hesitated because after all, the basic strength
of Anantapur water project is not financing aspect. I felt
that to basically talk about only the financing of the water
project was a mistake. However, there was an invitation, and
I went there eventually but with a lot of trepidation.
On the first day, there was a beautiful musical ballet presentation
as a part of the inaugural ceremonies. The ballet was all
about water as a source coming through time and through space.
The ballet was presented by the children from the Sai School
in Japan. During the ballet, there were references to Truth,
Peace, Right Conduct, Non violence. My ears immediately pricked
up. When the ballet was over, the 1500 delegates present gave
a standing ovation. I basically felt right then that may be
Swami's presence is already here. This made me resolve that
I should make my presentation to the panel fairly forcefully.
The panel presentation was on the next day. I was the fourth
speaker in a panel of six speakers. Most of those who spoke
before me, talked about Financing Models, Pay-back methods,
Cost of Recovery, etc. I had prepared a Power Point presentation
but after seeing the children's ballet I realised there was
no point in making this presentation because financing was
not the important part of Sri Sathya Sai Water Project. So
in the last minute I decided not to do my Power Point presentation.
Instead I began by saying that I am no expert on water, in
fact, I don't even know why I am here. Therefore I am not
going to make a presentation on financing to you; instead
what I am going to offer you is a case study. It is not merely
a case study, it is also a Love Story. It is not only a story
of Love but also one of Compassion. It is the story of how
one compassionate individual found it necessary to bring water
to a parched land and quench the thirst of over a million
people. That is what my story of Compassion and Love is all
about. The moment I said that there was immediately a lot
of attention and after that my presentation went on very well.
Subsequently, there was a lot of interest concerning what
the project was about, and what Swami was saying.
The press was immediately after me and wanted to know many
things like what was this project about? Who is Sathya Sai
Baba? And so on. There was also an invitation from the Osaka
Students Union asking me to come and talk to them about the
water project. Not merely that. A Minister from China and
the whole delegation from China wanted to hear my presentation.
The Minister wanted to discuss with me about this compassion
that I was talking about, and about the whole project. In
short, Swami's Love Story was a real hit!