The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield - Baba’s Super Specialty Hospital in Bangalore - will celebrate the fifth year of its birth on the 19th of January this new year. During the First Anniversary Celebrations of the same hospital in 2002, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, the current President of India, at the end of his memorable talk said, “I was telling some friends of mine today that an antiballistic missile has been launched by Bhagawan Baba against poverty. How does this missile work against poverty? Through water, education and healthcare.”
In the last issue, we had our cover story on the Godavari Drinking Water Project. We have also had several cover stories on Baba’s “Temples of Learning” and other Water Projects (go to Previous Issues). In the last 15 years, Baba’s Super-Specialty Hospital at Prashanthi Nilayam has done more than seventy-five thousand cardiac, ophthalmology and urology surgeries, all free of cost to the patients apart from a host of other non-surgical and diagnostic procedures. The Hospital in Bangalore which is also following suit is the focus of this issue.
Three and a half lakh patients, six thousand cardiac surgeries, more than five thousand neuro surgeries, eleven thousand cardiac cath procedures, fifty thousand diagnostic procedures (all of which were done free of cost ) and five years later, the Hospital is as dedicated and committed as ever to reach out to the poor and forgotten. It is not as if the quality is in anyway compromised. In fact, eight British MPs of the Conservative Party who visited the Institute on the 28th of Sep 2004, said, “This Hospital is as good as any facility in the UK, it is a beacon of hope for the economically weaker sections.” Indeed, that is what it has been and is truly meant to be!
Everybody acknowledges the quantum and quality of the work that is being done by Swami’s institutions - be it free hospitals, free educational institutions or free water projects – but there are still a few ill-informed so called “intellectuals” who refuse to see what is evident and make unpleasant comments on this grand mission, and more importantly, on the glorious Personality behind it. That they have not done their homework well is palpable. It is to open the eyes of such “thinkers” and also to help devotees in understanding the mystery of the Sai Avathar, at least a good glimpse of it, that we have the feature article called “God, Avathar and the Intellectual”. Do not miss this!
Jan 19th is special for another reason too. It is the 158th death anniversary of the famous poet-saint of yesteryears, Sri Tyagaraja. Baba has on innumerable occasions lauded the devotion and the musical genius of this great devotee of the Lord who, as it is said, was a confluence and symphony of three streams – spirituality, saintliness and sangita (music). The harmony of these three facets found spontaneous self-expression in every syllable of his creations, each of which is a jeweled beauty suffused with intense intimate devotion to Sri Rama. It is to pay our tribute to such a great masterly spirit that we have a comprehensive feature on him. When you listen to the Tyagaraja kritis rendered by the legendary carnatic vocalist, Ms. M S Subbalakshmi, embedded in the article you are going to be thrilled!
Any soulful composition has always touched Swami’s heart, the divine master musician. Just a few days ago, when devotees from nearly 40 countries had gathered here in Prashanthi Nilayam to celebrate Christmas, the Lord looked so pleased listening to their beautiful carols. “Sathya Sai, Lord of light fill us with your golden light….” they sang and Swami, literally filled the hearts of each one present with love and delight. You will find a very detailed account of this (lots of pictures included), in the Prashanthi Diary of this issue.
Thousands had gathered for Christmas and many are here still celebrating New Year with Swami. But there are millions who, in the altar of their homes and in the inner recesses of their hearts, experience Swami. The Sai Phenomenon is expanding as ever and touching thousands of hearts crossing all barriers of region and race. Recently, the Mayor of the City of Little Rock, USA, hailed the mission of Swami with a beautiful proclamation, declaring Nov 23rd as Sathya Sai Baba Day. In the same section, you also have the story of a Professor from Swami’s Institute, Prof. V Pandit, who has won an UGC award for his outstanding scholarly work and important contributions to human knowledge. Read about all this in the Sai World News section.
The New Year has arrived, so quickly! We are busy again making preparations for celebrating the event and racking our brains to make resolutions that will stick and stay, through the thick and thin of the coming year. Perhaps, this is the most opportune moment to recall Swami’s New Year message that He gave a decade ago in 1996. “Stand up for your belief in God, even as you stand up for your father or mother. Render service to society, without which you cannot exist. Your welfare is bound with that of society. Develop the feeling of oneness with all, loving all as members of one Divine family.”
The emphasis, clearly, is on the feeling of oneness and Unity, so vital to realise Divinity. In this New Year, let us resolve to make our love a little more selfless, extend our hand a little more to the needy and see Sai in all, as well as Sai inside. For, SAI truly means See Always Inside.
Have a blessed New Year!
Lots of Love,
In Sai Service