Convocation Day Celebrations
Prashantinilayam,22nd November 2012
XXXI Annual Convocation of SSSIHL held at the Sai Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam today had the customary glitter.and ceremony.
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was instituted in the year 1981 to provide value based education, free of cost, and has the distinction of being one of the few institutions that impart emphasis on total value based education.
Besides education, the students are taught human values, morality and spirituality with the five cardinal human values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa being the backbone of all teachings. The Institution has three campuses, a Women’s Campus in Anantapur set up in the year 1968, Men’s Campus at Brindavan in Whitefield, Bangalore set up in 1969 and the Men’s Campus at Prasanthi Nilayam set up in 1981. This institution has the unique distinction of being accorded Double Plus Level Higher Rating (Highest Grade) certification by the National Accreditation and Assessment Council.
The Convocation ceremony commenced at 1100 hrs. with a regal procession, from the Yajur Mandir, led by the Institute Brass Band. As is customary, two students carried the Scepter on one side while the Registrar of the Institute carried the Ceremonial Mace.
The dais, the Seat Of The Chancellor, was arranged in front of the Mahasamadh. Chief Guest to the Convocation, flanked by former VCs, academicians, members of the academic council and other officials were seated on the dais.
Ceremonial Veda chanting followed. At the outset the Vice Chancellor, Prof. J. Sashidhara Prasad prayed to the Founder Chancellor to declare the convocation open. To the delight of a capacity audience, Bana's recorded voice rung in the air…”I Declare The Convocation Open…” and the assembly broke into applause.
The Vice Chancellor expressed confidence that the graduands of the year would become torch bearers of Baba's vision and mission. Mentioning about the unavailability of the current Chancellor Justice (Retd.) PN Bhagavati, owing to ill-health, the Vice Chancellor extended a cordial welcome to the entire assembly into the morning’s function, before introducing the Chief Guest for the Convocation.
Presenting the profile of the Chief Guest, the Vice Chancellor also spoke about the substantial progress made by the Institute over the past one year that include induction of the new Campus in Muddenahalli, new courses at various campuses, greater thrust given in the area of research and development, new initiatives in the area of value based education etc., to name a few.
The Chief Guest for the Convocation Dr. Anil Kakodkar is currently Homi Bhabha Chairperson at the Baba Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai and was formerly Chairman, Atmoic Energy Commission of India.
Graduates for the year were presented to the Founder Chancellor followed by the Institute Oath, administered by the Vice Chancellor. The Oath reads: “I hereby solemnly declare and promise that if admitted to the degree duly recommended I will in my thought, word and deed, support the cause of sound learning, morality and spirituality, all round welfare of my countrymen and fellowmen.”
Gold medals to various degrees were presented to the students by the Vice Chancellor. Twenty two students were presented with various gold medals for academic excellence, instituted in honour of distinguished personalities. Three students were conferred with doctoral degrees.
Chief Guest’s Convocation address followed:
The distinguished chief guest began his Convocation Address with a special comment on Bhagawan’s University, calling it a special one with unique features.
Congratulating graduands of the year, reminding them of the significance of the day, the learned speaker divulged into various areas concerning present day education, socio-economic transformation and the need for nation building in a changing paradigm.
Education is the key ingredient in character building and socio-economic transformation said Dr. Kakodkar adding that education has the positive influence in empowering human capital to convert it into a major constructive force to propel nation development. Elucidating on a new Education Paradigm shift, Dr Kakodkar echoed on the need to create and nurture a holistic learning environment. Emphasising on high quality research in Universities Dr Kakodkar commented that such developments would help to make our education more holistic and build an ecosystem nurturing the spirit of innovation.
India with a great cultural backdrop and time tested value system should take advantage of its demographic advantage of its youth should be aware of the fast embracing knowledge driven economy worldwide and the fast changing technology. We need to be conscious of the impact of these rapid transactions and prepare our societies to benefit out of it.
We are in a way passing through a critical phase in our country. Are we well prepared for this transformation? How are we to respond proactively to the emerging situation? …paused Dr Kakodkar ending his speech hoping that students will retain the spirit of trusteeship and contribute substantially to the institution that brought them up and to the society and to the nation at large.
This was followed by the Benedictory Address by the Founder Chancellor, the video of which was played on LED screens.
Discoursing on education and who is a true student Baba's recorded discourse asked the students to protect Truth and Righteousness. Welfare of humanity is ensured when Truth is protected; entire universe rests in Truth and Righteousness.
National Anthem was sung followed by Mangala Arathi at 1230 hrs. before the University Band retreated leading the procession back to Yajur Mandir.
Sai Kulwant Hall was gorgeously decorated with fresh flowers and cloth hanging. The Chief Guest for the day was Hon'ble Governor of Tripura Dr. D.Y. Patil.
Commencing the proceedings, students from SSSIHL offered a bouquet of three songs that included a carnatic classical piece "Gajavadana Karuna Sadana"</, followed by "Jai Jai Sai Ram" to conclude with "Sai We Love You."
Next to come was a classic Carnatic Concert by the famous duo, Malladi Brothers. Singing their classical, familiar to Prasanthi, "Bhagavanudu Puttina Panduga" they continued with "Nee Namame Madhuram Namostu Sathya Sai Sayine Maha Prasanthi Dayine".
Delivering his welcome address, Sri TKK Bhagawat, Member, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust said that Baba devoted His entire life to transform devotees so that we become spiritually uplifted. Today is a day of introspection for all to know how far we have progressed spiritually. Touching upon the activities of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Sri Bhagavat reiterated the Trust's resolve to go ahead with Bhagawan's mission stating that all the educational institutions, hospitals and the organisational activities are going on smoothly as before and all these institutions are run on a charitable basis without charging a single pie from the recipient.
Trust's new initiatives announced during the Birthday includes two enhancement schemes, a water project in the villages of Puttapathi and Bukkapatnam Mandals with an approximate cost of Rs. 75 Crores and an additional 300 houses for the flood affected victims of Odisha.
Subsequently, the 2nd annual report of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust .Sathya Sai Seva Organisations and the annual report of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning were released by the Hon’ble Governor of Tripura.
The next speaker to address was Mr. Phil Gosselin, Zonal Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations - North America. He is the chairman of Zone 1 of International Organisation, which comprises English-speaking countries.
Mr Gosselin recounted the Birthday celebrations during the 1970’s when Baba would Himself unfurl the Prasanthi Flag atop the Mandir. Continuing with his recountal, Gosselin remembered how Bhagawan would then accept garlands from devotees, most lovingly. Outlining the activities of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations - Overseas he made a reference to various areas being covered, like serving the disabled children in Belarus, Sathya Sai Education in Human Values Schools in Ecuador, dental camps and various other medical camps ranging from Laos to various parts of the world.
Narrating a personal interaction with Bhagawan, Mr Gosselin said, Baba shared with the audience the Oneness of humanity. Once He materialised a cross for them in the interview room and said that Baba is beyond all religions.Baba's language is the language of the heart. The erudite speaker said that Swami is not restricted by time and space. He is present everywhere and all the worldly scriptures has been reanimated by Him.
“Sathya Sambhashanam”, a book published by Shravankumar,an ex alumni of the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning that contains the messages of Bhagawan in original, in His own handwriting and the translation, was released by the Governor next.
Dr. D.Y. Patil, the Governor of Tripura then addressed the audience. Dr. Patil is a doyen in the field of education who has established various educational institutions including Dr D.Y. Patil University.
Paying his obeisance to Baba, the Governor with all modesty said that whatever he achieved in his life, the credit goes to Baba, as he was just an instrument. Death of ego is real life said the Governor declaring that Bhagawan is his Father and Guru. Commenting on the exemplary discipline being exhibited by Bhagawan's students, the Governor said, ...there are about 96 - 97 thousand students studying in his educational institutions, but he cannot find the same discipline the students exhibit in Parthi. Service to humanity is service to God said the Governor concluding his speech.
Baba's benedictory discourse followed. Every living creature aspires for happiness, peace and bliss. But only one in a million, one in a thousand continues in this pursuit. The simpletons are drowned in fleeting pleasures. They think that life is food, raiment and shelter. Sraddhavan Labhate Jnanam (one with steadfast faith attains wisdom). To accomplish any task, Sraddha is essential. Sraddha is strong, unwavering faith. There is no pure love in humans, they are full of selfishness, echoed Bhagawan. Outwardly they look and behave like good people, but their hearts are polluted with bad thoughts and desires.
Baba further said, people say that they want to come for the Birthday Celebration, but they are not able to get leave. As a result, they have to lie to their authorities and take sick lie. It is better not to come here than uttering a lie for this purpose. Follow the path of Truth. Bhagawan does not desire for this Birthday celebration, everyday is a festival for Him. Follow Sathya and Dharma, Bhagawan declared. The Divine Discourse concluded with the song, “Sathya Dharmamu Santhi Premalato.”
Final programme of the morning was a Band display by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, boys and girls followed by the students of Anantapur and Prasanthi Nilayam Campus. The singer duo Malladi Brothers were felicitated by the Chief Guest.
Cakes by the students and overseas devotees were offered to Bhagawan for blessings.