SOUTH PACIFIC’S FIRST SUPER-SPECIALITY PAEDIATRIC CARDIAC HOSPITAL - SRI SATHYA SAI SANJEEVANI CHILDREN’S HEART HOSPITAL WAS INAUGURATED AT SUVA, FIJI BY THE HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER OF FIJI, MR JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA, IN THE PRESENCE OF SADGURU SRI MADHUSUDAN SAI
Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital – Transcending All Barriers of Affordability, Accessibility and Availability – A World Class Completely Free of Cost Compassionate Heart Care Facility for the Children of Fiji
Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Chain of Child Heart Care Hospitals has chosen to expand its foot print to the most-needy populations of the planet, and thus has worked hard to inaugurate the first-of-its- kind children’s heart hospital in Fiji. Under the leadership of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai, the Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals have gained experience for a decade in the field of providing expert completely free of cost child heart care to thousands of children in India. With the confidence on its capability, and with the value of compassion at its very core, the healthcare mission in Fiji started with the establishment of a Non-Governmental Charitable Organisation – Sai Prema Foundation in August 2016. A three-phased plan, commencing with the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Medical Care Centre in April 2018, followed by Sri Sathya Sai Children’s Heart Screening Centre in April 2019, and now the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital, this mission has grown steadily with the determination to do more-good.
The Hospital is a state-of-the-art 54-bedded facility spread across 21,000 sq.ft. At the centre of the Hospital is a giant red heart which perfectly describes all that the Hospital stands for—it is all about the heart, both physically and metaphorically. This is the largest project ever undertaken by a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) in Fiji's history. The Hospital will fill the void of absolutely no access to paediatric cardiac service in the Pacific belt, and will save the families needing to take their children overseas for paediatric heart care, which costs in excess of FJD$100,000.
The dignitaries present at the event were – Mr Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama – Honourable Prime Minister of Fiji; Mrs Maria Voreqe Bainimarama – the PM’s wife; Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai – Social and Spiritual Leader; Mr Robert Bozzani – Philanthropist from South California who has supported many noble initiatives of Baba for several decades; Dr Shaun P Setty – Paediatric and Adult Cardiac Surgeon, who is also the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation Endowed Chair in Paediatric Cardiovascular Surgery at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, Southern California; Mr Mahendra Tappoo – Chairman and Founding Trustee of Sai Prema Foundation; Mr Sumeet Tappoo – Director of Sai Prema Foundation and Mr C Sreenivas – Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust. Dr Arvind Thiagarajan – CEO of HD Medical and Inventor of HD Steth; Mr Tony Greubel – US Chargé d’Affaires for the US Embassy of Fiji, and many other dignitaries from over 12 countries attended the event.
Mr Ajay Jain Bhutoria – Commissioner to US President Joe Biden’s Advisory Commission for the Federal Government of the United States of America came to the event to bestow Sai Prema Foundation with an award from the California State Legislative Assembly, for its remarkable service in saving the lives of the children of Fiji. During the occasion, South Pacific Community and Sai Prema Foundation shared a joint collaboration for combined efforts on capacity building and research.
The Honourable Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi joined the inauguration of the Hospital virtually and spoke thus: “I feel extremely happy to join you all on this august occasion of the inauguration of the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children's Heart Hospital in Suva, Fiji. My heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency the Prime Minister of Fiji, and the people of Fiji on this momentous occasion. This is yet another symbol of our long-standing mutual love. This is yet another chapter in the shared journey of India and Fiji. I have been informed that this Children's Heart Hospital is the first-of-its-kind, not only in Fiji, but in the entire South Pacific region. In this region where congenital heart diseases are rampant and poses a huge challenge, this Hospital will become a medium through which thousands of children will be bestowed with a new life. I am extremely happy that this Hospital would not only provide world-class treatment but will also perform all surgeries completely free of all costs to each and every child. I hail and admire the Government of Fiji, the Sai Prema Foundation Fiji and the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Chain of Child Heart Care Hospitals in India. Most importantly, on this auspicious and notable occasion, I offer my obeisance to Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The seed of ‘Service to Humanity’ that was sown by Baba in the hearts of people has today grown into a huge banyan tree reaching out to all the people in the form of several service activities. I have stated earlier too, that Sri Sathya Sai Baba has done the incredible task of freeing spirituality from ritualistic observances and redirecting it to working for the welfare of all. Till today, Sri Sathya Sai Baba's humongous contribution in the sectors of Education, Nutrition, Healthcare, His many service activities to reach out to the needy and the underserved, continue to inspire us.
We say ‘parōpakārāya satāṃ vibhūtayaḥ’, which means ‘Charity is the property of noble men’. The only purpose of our life and all the resources we have at our disposal should be to serve mankind and work for the welfare of all living beings. The true heritage of India and Fiji was built on these values. In the past decades, India-Fiji relations have strengthened and grown in every field and with the co- operation of His Excellency the Prime Minister of Fiji, our relationship will be even stronger in the times to come. Incidentally, it is also the occasion of my dear friend, the Prime Minister of Fiji Mr Bainimarama's birthday. I wish him a very happy birthday. Once again, I convey my best wishes to all the members associated with the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children's Heart Hospital. I am confident that this Hospital will become a strong establishment of service in Fiji and the entire pacific region and will take India-Fiji relations to a new height.”
Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai delivered His message by saying: sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ। sarve santu nirāmayāḥ। sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu। mā kaścidduḥkha bhāgbhavet | – may all be happy, may all be free from illness, may all see what is auspicious, may no one suffer. This is an old Indian prayer which prays for the whole world. It is our singular privilege to pray for the entire world on this very special day. It is special for two reasons – one is that it is the birthday of the Prime Minister of Fiji and we have been fortunate to celebrate it atleast three times before, but for the time of the COVID-19 when we couldn’t come. The second reason is that it is the birthday of this Hospital, and I know the birth pangs that Sai Prema Foundation had to undergo to give birth to this beautiful Hospital. But all that labour of love was worth it for the South Pacific. My blessings and best wishes to all of them—they have pulled off this great feat of love—a miracle has manifested in front of our eyes. I want to congratulate all of them for the hard work that they have put in, and to the devotees and followers of all the nations who have supported this noble cause to help the children of this nation and the nearby nations. The statistics say that in this world approximately 1.3 million children are born with CHD. 9 out of 10 are born in poor countries. It is only a pity that 90% of them sooner or later die. In Fiji, this burden is much smaller since the population is smaller, but if we put all the pacific islands together, it is still a health burden. Human birth is the beautiful moment that everybody wants to celebrate—when a child is born in a family, it is the most auspicious moment. But it turns into a sad moment when the parents realise that the child is born with a congenital heart disease, and though it is preventable or curable, they can’t do anything but see the child die, because of the financial barrier that does not allow them to treat the child. Whichever father or mother from whichever country—the pain to see their child die, is the same. Whichever child you are, your birth is equally precious to every other child. Therefore, it is our vision to see to that education, health and nutrition are fundamental rights given to all the children of the world. I definitely don’t hope that children be born without any diseases. It may not be possible as there are natural laws governing health and child birth. But definitely, we can create a world where every child has access to healthcare and no child is denied healthcare for want of money. This is the vision of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Child Heart Care Hospitals, which is setting up paediactric heart care hospitals around the world and the first international chapter opens today in Fiji, for which we are very honoured. In another two days, surgeries will begin here with a very qualified team in place, from Middle-East, Australia, New Zealand and US. Last but not the least—this is just the beginning of a long journey. We have miles to go! Sai Prema Foundation along with the Government of Fiji and the community has weaved a beautiful collaboration. Let us work, learn, and live together! The Honourable Prime Minister of Fiji addressed the gathering by saying: “In 2016, Sai Prema Foundation asked my Government for a piece of land by presenting facts about the noble intention of their project. My Government facilitated that requirement. Back then, there was a critical need in Fiji for a specialised children’s hospital and today we have this institution. This hospital is performing life- saving procedures—the likes of which were never possible in Fiji and the entire South Pacific. 200 children are born every year with congenital heart disease in Fiji. If we consider the entire pacific region, this number skyrockets to 2,500 children. Most of these children do not reach adulthood. They live a short life of immense pain. They leave behind grief stricken parents and communities, the scars of which would last a life time.
Every child is a gift, a miracle in their own right, and a beacon of hope for their family and the country. I speak this with my own experience with six children and 19 beautiful grandchildren. Each child’s life deserves to be honoured and protected at all costs. As humans, we are all bound by an inner call to help and ease in some way, the burdens of our fellow brothers and sisters. Today we can see the awe- inspiring result of what becomes possible when we respond to that sacred call. This Hospital was born from the compassion and commitment of the Sai Global Federation of Foundations, which delivers humanitarian services the world over. Over the last three years, the Sai Prema Foundation has saved 25 million dollars—single largest undertaking by an NGO in Fiji’s history. Sai Prema Foundation has brought specialised equipment and expertise from around the world. I have been passionately interested in this project. It is infact an emotional moment for me that in three days’ time, life-saving heart surgeries will commence at this Hospital for the most vulnerable children.” From April 30, 2022 to May 08, 2022, a team of 21 medical professionals including a few local medical professionals in Fiji, will commence the life-saving procedures by performing paediatric heart defect corrections on 30 children.
Honourable Union Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Amit Shah laid the foundation stone for a completely free of cost new 400-bedded multi-speciality hospital adjoining Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli (30 mins from Bengaluru Airport), along with Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai who spearheads several humanitarian service projects in the fields of healthcare, nutrition, and education across 33 countries globally.
Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai, a spiritual leader and philanthropist, has initiated this project and the upcoming 400-bedded multi-speciality hospital under the Prashanti Balamandira Trust to provide free medical care and to establish India’s first free Medical College, to offer completely free of cost medical education to the rural poor.
This is in keeping with our Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi’s call for greater participation of Private and Social Institutions to strengthen Medical Education in the country. The Prashanthi Balamandira Trust has taken this noble initiative to create, and nurture committed and skilled doctors to serve the country’s unserved geographies and populations, particularly in the wake of the dislocation of Indian medical students from Ukraine, opting for medical education outside the country due to availability and affordability challenges.
Already a completely free of cost, 150-bedded multi-speciality hospital without a billing counter – Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital, has been rendering compassionate healthcare service to the needy sections of the society at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli and it was dedicated to the nation by Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka – Mr Basavaraj Bommai in August 2021. The new 400 bedded hospital block, which is an investment of approximately INR 300-crores by the Prashanthi Balamandira Trust, will cater to several other specialities absolutely free of cost.
Speaking at the event after laying the foundation stone, Shri Amit Shah said, “The vision of selfless service that I have seen here, speaks for itself. The strength and the futuristic vision with which selfless service activities are being carried out here, with no desire for name or fame, by only keeping the welfare of the whole nation in mind, with total surrender—makes me fall short of words. Taking inspiration from Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings, this institution at Sathya Sai Grama is carrying out a mahā yajña of sevā. Today the ground-breaking ceremony of the 400-bedded hospital took place. Running a free hospital is no easy, it could bring along a lot of challenges. However, I see that the Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital is running it all free, with upgraded facilities and technology. I am extremely happy to know that the institution is marching towards commencing a free medical college for students—this will be the first-of-its-kind in India. This effort shall definitely find success.
Women, who are the foundation of every family and society, need to be provided equal opportunities for progress and thus a new Campus for girls – Sri Sathya Sai Krishnaaniketanam at Kolar district (Karnataka) has been planned as per the omniscient will of the Divine. Sri K H Muniyappa, Former Member of Parliament, Kolar Lok Sabha Constituency along with other dignitaries in the Divine presence of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai performed the Bhumi Puja (Ground Breaking Ceremony) for the Campus on January 20, 2022. Keeping in conformity with the COVID protocols, a handful of local residents and others who had helped in the land search had also gathered.
Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai revealed that the Campus has been named ‘Krishnaaniketanam’ after Sathyabhama, the consort of Lord Krishna. The Campus shall commence operations with a small school building in June 2022 to begin with, and then will gradually grow into a large Institution.
On January 18, 2022, yet another Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Mother & Child Hospital’s commencement of outpatient services began at Yavatmal, Maharashtra in the presence of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai; Mr Om Prakash (Bachu) Kadu, Minister of State – Women and Child Development, Government of Maharashtra; along with the Chairman and Trustees of Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust. This Centre shall be dedicated to the people of Maharashtra, and shall provide the entire spectrum of mother and child care, including gynaecology consultation, ultrasonography, ante natal care services, well baby clinic, essential medicines, pathology, micronutrient supplementation, dietetics and counselling—and all these services shall be rendered Totally Free of Cost.
This Hospital is in furtherance to the various screening and diagnostic outreach services undertaken by the Satchikitsa Prasarak Mandal headed by its Secretary, Mr Prakash Nandurkar in the Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. The event also witnessed a baby shower ceremony celebrated for a few expecting women at the hospital in the divine presence of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai.
The Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Mother and Child Hospitals shall share its ‘mamatva’ to many more mother and children by commencing new centres in other parts of the country including Uttarakhand, Odisha, Haryana and West Bengal during this year.
Just after the holy beginning of ‘sankranthi’ on January 14, 2022, which marks the auspicious time for progress and prosperity, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai along with Sri C Sreenivas (Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust) and other dignitaries, laid the foundation for the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Mother & Child Hospital at Kondapaka in Siddepet District, Telangana on January 17, 2022. Mr Farooq Hussain, Member of Legislative Council, Government of Telangana; Mr Rambabu V Katragadda, Managing Director of Pulse Pharmaceuticals Private Limited; and Dr Padma S Veerapaneni, Director of KIMS Hospital, Hyderabad and Chairman of RiSE Foundation, India were present at the event. This Hospital shall be built adjacent to the Sri Sathya Sai Prasanthi Niketanam Junior College for Women, and the inauguration of the Hospital shall be celebrated along with the fifth anniversary of the college on June 01, 2022. To commemorate this happy occasion, a baby shower ceremony was celebrated for a few expecting women at the College premises and the happiness of their hearts felt like a blessing to the successful commencement of this noble endeavour.
An Outpatient Clinic was inaugurated by Mr Rambabu V Katragadda to serve its purpose of providing outpatient services until the Hospital comes into operation.
To commemorate the 96th year of the advent of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai launched a scholarship scheme, ‘BHARATH RASHTRA NIRMAN VIDYARTHI NIDHI’ on the auspicious morning of 23rd November. The objectives of this national scholarship scheme are:
1. To improve enrollment and quality of primary school education.
2. To encourage students to complete their school education up to Grade 12.
The scholarship was launched by Dr Krishna Gopal, Joint General Secretary of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh.
This scholarship scheme instituted by the Prashanthi Balamandira Trust will cover the entire State of Karnataka to begin with, where 5,000 students, both boys and girls, from Grade 1 to 5 (which is about 1000 students per Grade) will be selected for this academic year 2021-22 from various Government Schools. These students will continue to be given the scholarship until they finish their Grade 12. The only criterion for selection for scholarship is their ‘NEED’— the child’s merit, caste or religion will not be considered. A pilot project has already been instituted by the Prashanthi Balamandira Trust in collaboration with the Rashtriya Seva Bharati Organisation. Their progress will be tracked on a monthly basis.
As part of the 96th Birthday celebrations of Baba, 15 healthcare professionals consisting of surgeons, nurses and paramedical staff who operated on 23 children for their cardiac defects at the Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital in Muddenahalli, were felicitated for their dedication and commitment, by placing the child above everything else and worked around the clock to complete the surgeries within a week’s time. For the first time in the history of Chikkaballapur district, the Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital, a multi-speciality hospital fully equipped with high-end facilities, hosted a team of surgeons to perform these paediatric cardiac surgeries.
Mr C Sreenivas, Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust spoke his heart by saying, “Kabir said, God lives in our breath and hence is not to be searched anywhere else. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the very breath of humanity. Let us stay in the presence of love, mercy, human brotherhood, fatherhood, and Divinity – this is the purpose of Baba’s life and let it be our purpose too.”
Mr B N Narasimha Murthy, Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence said, “The message of sanātana dharma is the unity of all existence. sevā is love made visible. If sevā is love made visible, God is infinite love made invisible. However, Sri Sathya Sai Baba is infinite love made visible in the form of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai. He is a grand spectacle of divine love. He is the living embodiment of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.”
Dr Krishna Gopal, Joint General Secretary of Rashtriya Svayam Sevak Sangh spoke with conviction when he said, “Love and Service have taken a form in the form of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Ours is a land of spirituality. No child should be bereft of food, education, and health in this Country. Each one has to teach one, so that no child is left out. It is everyone’s responsibility to reach out to every human who is in need.”
Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai delivered the birthday discourse when he said, “Sai is the embodiment of love and service indeed! Baba exhorted us to realise ourselves by loving and serving. Selfless service purifies us and makes us capable to seeing divinity everywhere. Children are the most important facet of the society. To take care of them is our collective divine responsibility. Baba has worked all his life for children. This is what we are continuing to do. Now the glory of Sai will spread to every nook and corner of the world. It will reach the last child of the planet. This mission will go on galloping every day. It will only increase in its magnitude and intensity every passing year. The future will be glorious. The idea of ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ will be realised by us. There is only one religion, the religion of love, there is only one caste, the caste of humanity. Baba will work through all of you and bring relief and succour to the world. Each one teach 1,000! Let each one of us embrace 1,000 children. Our journey does not end till we realise our divinity.”
To add to the ‘joy of giving’ that elevated the spirit of one and all on the November 23rd morning, Mr Sumeet Tappoo’s heart-rending songs for the Lord seemed like a direct conversation with the Lord, that sang its tunes to its heart’s content and touched the hearts of all the listeners too!
Vedas are the mother of all the śāstras. It emanated from God Himself as His inhalation and exhalation. The word ‘veda’ means knowledge and is derived from the saṃskṛta root ‘vid’ which means ‘to know.’ vedas are the basis of everything one does in their daily lives and they serve as the guide post to righteous living. According to the ancient wisdom, vedas are the ‘revealed sounds’ that are self-evident and self-authoritative and was heard by the great sages by śravaṇam, thus getting its other name – śruti. ṛṣis or the ancient seers were called as mantra dṛṣṭas, as the distilled wisdom of cosmic knowledge was not composed by them, but was rather visualised and heard by them. That is why vedas are called apauruṣeya – that which is not composed by man. ṛṣis in turn handed this down from one generation to another by verbal transmission. Since time immemorial, the knowledge of the vedas was shared only with deserving students. The guru would test the disciple and thereafter, the sacred teaching would be taught at a gurukulam with the vision to contribute to the revival and proper understanding of sanātana dharma globally; and to spread the advaitic message that unequivocally states ‘All is Divine’.
With this lofty purpose of rejuvenating and enlivening sanātana dharma and taking it to all parts of the world where it truly belongs to, as the universal wisdom, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai, by acting the Divine will, has established Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Veda Gurukulam at Sathya Sai Grama in Muddenahalli. The purpose of the gurukulam is to promote learning and research in vedic studies, and disseminating its priceless wisdom to all, without any discrimination, while also relating it to the contemporary context. Students, who will be trained in the karma, upāsana and jñāna kāṇḍas of the vedas, will be encouraged to travel across the globe to spread vedantic teachings to all.
Spread across 2.5 acres of land, the veda gurukulam at Sathya Sai Grama exudes the symphony between the beauty of nature and the quaintness of the gurukulam style of living, the effect of which is going to be accentuated by the positive sounds of the vedic mantras. Āchāryas who are adept in the ṛgveda and yajurveda from the Sri Venkateshwara Veda Vijnana Peetham, Tirumala, will be imparting the wisdom of the these vedas to the students. Students will be admitted into the gurukulam after their upanayana or initiation ceremony. They will be provided with accommodation (boarding and lodging) and education – both parā vidya (spiritual knowledge) and aparā vidya (secular knowledge), completely free of all costs, right from the time they join as a student at the primary school level till their university level studies. vedic and vedantic studies will be the prime focus of the gurukulam alongside academic subjects with special attention to English speaking skills for effective communication and computer skills to cope with the modern times. Secular education through the NIOS Board will be imparted to the students to make them eligible for Grade 10 and 12 board examinations, after which university education will also be given to them in the streams of Bachelor of Arts in Vedic Studies and Master of Arts in Vedic Studies.
The holy days of dasarā were used as the most auspicious times to propitiate Gods and Goddesses through homa (fire ritual) at the veda gurukulam, and it also welcomed several dignitaries of the vedic fraternity during this time. Sri Sri Dr Siddheshwaranandagiri Maharaj, uttarādhikārī (successor) of Dattagiri Maharaj Ashram at Bardipur, Telangana in South India, who completed his doctorate in saṃskṛta at Tirupathi and offers services at the pīṭham continuing the avadhūta paramparā (lineage of avadhūta); and Sri Malladi Surya Kiran Sharma who hails from Telangana, presently working as the Deputy General Manager at IDBI Bank (Hyderabad) and also serving as the Trustee of Shankara Seva Samithi and Haridas Dharmic Seva Samithi—proficient in literature, jyotiṣa (astrology), pravacana (talks) and lalitā leela rachana, graced the veda gurukulam. Honourable Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, and Sakala of Karnataka, Mr B C Nagesh also visited the veda gurukulam.
The official inauguration of the first phase of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Veda Gurukulam took place on the auspicious vijayadaśamī day in the Divine presence of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai. vijayadaśamī is the day when Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasura; it is the day when Lord Rama executed Ravana and returned back to Ayodhya. Thus, the day marks the triumph of dharma over adharma. Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai graciously inaugurated the gurukulam by offering pūrṇāhuti (final offerings into the sacred fire) in the sacred homa (fire ritual) conducted at the gurukulam premises. The Guest of Honour for the inaugural event was Sri Bachampalli Santosh Kumar Shastry who hails from Dharmapuri, Telangana. He is a renowned Hindu priest, speaker and a writer. He is also known for his pravacana (talks), literature on jyotiṣa (astrology) and Hindu dharma.
Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai in His Divine discourse said, “We have so many projects which are going on like hospitals – super speciality and multi-speciality hospitals, schools, university, nutrition programmes, and various other rural development programmes. But of all the projects, veda pāṭhaśālā is closest to my heart and in times to come, I want to see it grow into a vedic university, that will offer various aspects of learning and teaching to the students. This is just the beginning and the initial batch of students are very fortunate to be the first ones to study here. Many batches of students will learn here and this should continue for hundreds of years from now. In the taittirīyopaniṣad, the Guru prays:
āmāyantu brahmacāriṇaḥ svāhā |
vimāyantu brahmacāriṇaḥ svāhā |
pramāyantu brahmacāriṇaḥ svāhā |
damāyantu brahmacāriṇaḥ svāhā |
śamāyantu brahmacāriṇaḥ svāhā |
yaśo jane’sāni svāhā |
‘Let this gurukulam attract brahmacharis (celibates) from all the directions, of all types who have great control over their minds and senses, have discipline and śraddhā in them. May this vedic gurukulam grow in its glory in all times to come.’ This is our prayer to mother Saraswati and Sri Adi Shankaracharya who is adorning the entrance of the veda gurukulam. It is Sri Adi Shankaracharya, who spread the idea of vedas and vedanta in this country. But for him, we would not be what we are today as a country. Our pranams and gratitude to all the great ṛṣis, pandits, mahatmas, who have continued this tradition of vedic teaching and learning for thousands of years. India is one country where vedic education is happening for thousands of years. No other country can claim this. Maybe other countries have education system which is 400-500 or 800 years old at best. But this is thousands of years old. Sri Rama, Sri Krishna—all of them went to veda gurukulam—and so also you (pointing at the students) are going to study in this veda gurukulam. That continuity is what is sanātana (for all times). This alone is permanent; all other things will change. Technology will change. Earlier we used to have trunk calls, then came phones with key pads and now we have touchscreen smart phones. We don’t know what is coming next. Everything else has changed in this world, but this remains as it is.
In this temporary world, vedic education alone is permanent. What is most important to me is you realising your true divinity within. Your education ends when you realise that you are Divine. For me, your education won’t be finished if you learn all the scriptures and graduate from the gurukulam. It will complete only when the jīvātmā and paramātmā becomes one. According to me, that is graduation, till then I would consider you only as uneducated. Therefore, all the students studying in the veda pāṭhaśālā have a great responsibility on their shoulders. Learn everything with utmost śraddhā (dedication), bhaktī (devotion) and with the feeling of ātmasamarpaṇa (self-dedication). In the coming future, this gurukulam will grow into many more such gurukulams, and it will be the responsibility of the students passing out from the portals of this veda gurukalam to look after them.”
Vidya Vardhana - the new Academic Block of the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence was inaugurated on Thursday, September 30, 2021 by the Honourable Minister of Major – Medium Irrigation and Water Resources, Government of Karnataka, Sri Govind Muktappa Karjol, in the presence of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai.
Also present at the event were, Mr Umesh Gopaldev Jadhav, MP Kalaburagi District; Dr Avinash Jadhav, MLA, Chincholi Taluk, Kalaburagi; Mr Basawaraj Mattimud, MLA Kalaburagi South – Vidhana Saba constituency; Mr B G Patil, MLC Gulbarga North; Dr S Jayarama Reddy, Chancellor, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Viswa Mahavidyalaya, Kanchipuram; Dr David Cornsweet, President, Divine Will Foundation, USA; Mr Yugumaran, Devotee from Singapore; Mr B N Narasimha Murthy, Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence; Prof Srikanta Murthy, Vice-Chancellor, Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence. All the dignitaries toured the new Academic Block and proceeded to the prayer hall at the University premises where the main event was held.
All the dignitaries shared their thoughts about the University and the Sai values-based education system, and so did four students who spoke about how they are benefitting from this free education, which is shaping them into skilled individuals with compassionate hearts, ready to serve the society. This Academic Block ‘Vidya Vardhana’ will serve the purpose of shaping wholesome personalities with all forms of knowledge, as paragons of virtues, and the ones who will work for the welfare of the entire world. Emphasis is first and foremost on a perfect balance between spiritual education and material education.
Against the background of 70% of Indians living in rural areas without access to high-end speciality care, and on an average 60% of healthcare expenses being out of pocket, thus pushing 6 million people below poverty line every year, the Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital stands tall as a beacon of hope by offering free of cost speciality care to the rural and underprivileged sections of the society. The Hospital was dedicated to the service of the nation by Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri Basavaraj Bommai, along with Dr K Sudhakar – Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education - Government of Karnataka on 27 August 2021. The Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital will be a 300-bedded medical facility and will grow in phases. In the first phase, the Hospital is being upgraded to a 150-bedded high dependency in-patient facility consisting of 125 HDU and oxygenated beds, and 25 ICU beds, with specially equipped paediatric and neonatal ICU facilities to be battle-ready, should there be a third wave of the COVID pandemic.
Construction of the Hospital commenced in 2015 under the guidance of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai. On 14 January 2018, medical services commenced at the Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital in memory of late Mrs Sarla Indulal Shah, an ardent devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba who dedicated her life for the service and upliftment of women and children.
The Hospital serves patients in various disciplines of General Medicine, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dentistry, ENT and Physiotherapy. Many voluntary caregivers extend their love and compassion by visiting the Hospital regularly to provide specialty services such as Orthopaedics, Podiatrics, Cardiology, Neurology, Dermatology, Plastic Surgery, Endocrinology, Radiology, and Community Medicine.
Through the Divine Mother and Child Health Program, the Community Medicine initiative, over 85,000 children from 600 Govt schools have been screened. As of August 2021, lives of about 16,000 expecting mothers have been touched and enhanced by improving vital parameters such as haemoglobin and calcium levels, controlling gestational diabetes and blood pressure, etc.
To reach out to a wider patient base, the Centre also conducts monthly medical camps, and takes healthcare to the villagers’ doorsteps and pays periodic visits to government schools in the vicinity. Since September 2020, the hospital has served over 17,000 children in the age group of 0 to 6 years for congenital heart disease screenings, from over 700 anganwadis across all the 6 taluks of Chikkaballapur district. During the pandemic lockdown, when patients were unable to come to the hospital for their regular check-up, medicines were systematically packed and delivered to their homes. Soon, the Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital will grow into a teaching and training hospital, which will produce paramedics, nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, who are willing to dedicate their lives in the service of the sick and impoverished citizens of the nation. Expansion plans are already underway, and the ground-breaking ceremony for a new block – Sri Sathya Sai Rajeswari Memorial Block – adjoining the current hospital building was performed by the Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri Basavaraj Bommai, along with Dr K Sudhakar – Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education - Government of Karnataka on 27 August 2021.
‘vaidya sethu’ – tele-health services offers free consultations and prescriptions through a phone call. An Advanced Foetal Medicine Centre with integrated fellowship programme will also commence in the last quarter of 2021.
“It is my firm conviction that without a divine intervention, such service-oriented minds cannot come together. Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital—Sathya Sai means ‘Truthful’, ‘Omnipresent Spiritual Power’. Sarla means ‘Simplicity.’ Wherever there is spiritual power, simplicity simply follows. There will be no flamboyance. Simplicity with Divinity is sevā. What kind of sevā? It should be a sevā that is rendered to the ones who are suffering and who are in pain. Healing can be done only by the Divine. Only God can heal the pain. Doctors are blessed because theirs is a noble profession. God has bestowed the power of healing on the doctors. Here, the Divinity has commanded the doctors to perform the noble action of healing; and therefore, I feel that the name of the Hospital is very appropriate.”
Honourable Chief Minister
State of Karnataka