The Eventful and Action-Packed 65th Birthday Celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam (A Photo Feature)

Thursday, November 22, 1990

Bhagavan laid the foundation stone for a Super Speciality Hospital at Puttaparthi. He proclaimed that exactly one year later, on 22nd November 1991, the hospital would be inaugurated.

In January 1990, Bhagavan expressed His desire to install on a hillock at the Hill View Stadium at Puttaparthi, a 65 feet tall statue of Lord Hanuman to be inaugurated on His 65th Birthday in November 1990. He Himself visited the hill top and chose the spot for the installation of the statue. He blessed a team of two engineers, Sri Jayakumar and Sri Thillainayagam, and the sculptor Sri Subramanyam to intiate the project under the leadership of Col. Joga Rao. Bhagavan visited the site many a time, right from the preliminary stage and gave many significant insights in the designing aspect. The Bhoomi Puja on the site which took place on 20th of February 1990 was blessed by Bhagavan’s Presence. 

Sri Sathya Sai with the materialised Hanuman statue

On that occasion, He materialised a golden statue of Hanuman of 3.5 inches in height and handed it over to Sri Subramanyam as a model to construct the statue to the same perfection. Under the benign guidance of Bhagavan, the 65 feet tall statue was ready for consecration a few days ahead of the 65th Birthday of the Lord. It was inaugurated by Him on 22nd November 1990. 

Sathya Sai Sanatana Samskruti Eternal Heritage Museum at Prasanthi Nilayam

On this day, Bhagavan also inaugurated the Eternal Heritage Museum built on the hilltop adjacent to the Administrative building at Prashanti Nilayam.

Ninth Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning at the Hill View Stadium, Prasanthi Nilayam - November 22, 1990

The 9th Convocation of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was held at the Hill View Stadium on 22nd November 1990. Bhagavan chose this magnificient venue for the Convocation of the academic year. The President of India, Sri R. Venkataraman, was the Chief Guest and he delivered the Convocation address which was followed by Bhagavan’s Benedictory Address. A few excerpts are given here:

“Today the educational system, not only in India but in all countries, has taken the wrong turn. No single person is responsible for this situation. Parents have failed to bring up their children properly. The nation's leaders do not set them a good example. Even teachers have failed in their responsibilities. When we have exemplary parents, exemplary leaders and ideal teachers, students will be ideal students. Students, who are selfless, pure-hearted and innocent by nature, are being dragged into politics, their minds are getting fill with bitterness and hatred and their hearts are getting polluted. Students in no circumstance should get into politics. After completing your studies, if you take up a job or start a business, you may take to politics. In entering politics you must do so to serve the nation and promote its welfare and integrity…

Sri Sathya Sai with President of India, R. Venkataraman at the Convocation

Only when education is treated as an autonomous and independent undertaking can the problem of standards be properly dealt with. Educational policies are changed with every change in the Education Ministry at the Centre or in the States. Frequent changes in educational policy are responsible for the fall in educational standards. Changes in the Ministry or the personnel at the top should not affect the core of education. It is essential to separate education and place it under the control of experienced and dedicated educationists. Without this basic change, whatever may be done to increase educational institutions is a waste of money.

What is the progress that has been achieved in education? Crores are being spent on education. What is the return for all this expenditure? There is a general decline in character and students have no respect for teachers; gratitude is at a discount. This is the"progress" that is witnessed today.

How can the nation progress? Everything depends on the young students of today. Education is not confined to school or college. It is a process that goes on all through one's life. Students! Develop pure thoughts and see that you do not cause any difficulties to your fellow-students. Strive to please your parents. Gratitude is the foremost quality in a student. Show your gratitude to your parents to whom you owe everything in your life…

Dear students! I wish that you should go out into the world as ideal students and serve the nation well. Securing degrees is not enough. You have to make your knowledge available to others. This is the purpose of education. Remember God, love the nation and experience bliss. This should be your aim.”

The function concluded with the National Anthem played by the Institute band.

Friday, November 23, 1990

Bhagavan’s 65th Birthday Celebrations

Sri Sathya Sai arriving in the Hill View Stadium on the morn of the 65th Birthday - November 23, 1990

Bhagavan’s 65th Birthday (23rd November 1990) was celebrated in the Hill View Stadium at Prashanti Nilayam. Lakhs of devotees congregated at the Lotus Feet to offer their homage. Bhagavan arrived at the Stadium in His gleaming motorized chariot on 23rd morning amidst Vedic chants and band music. His arrival was heralded by gun shots. Swami Karunyananda, the centenarian devotee, offered a rose to Bhagavan as a mark of homage. Sri R. Prasad, member of the Central Trust, spoke on the unique significance of the Sai advent and its impact on the society. Bhagavan then delivered His Birthday Message. A few excerpts from His Discourse:

"Bharat (India) is a naturally well-endowed country. It is the primary source of all morality, spirituality and worldly wisdom. It is Annapoorna (a land of plenty). To regard such a  sacred land as a poor country is a mental aberration. We are not a destitute nation. It is a richly endowed country. If this had not been a wealthy country, why did the Mughals, the Europeans and others invade this country? Though we have been well endowed, we have not been able to safeguard our riches. What is the reason? It is because the people have lacked unity.

Freedom has been won, but unity has not been achieved. It is because there is no unity, Bharat is subject to all kinds of calamities. Ghazni Mohammed invaded the Punjab and took away from the country 700 maunds of gold as plunder. In Nagarakota there was a hall thirty yards by fifteen yards entirely built of gold. The entire hall was taken away by the invaders. 

Inspite of being born in such a land of wealth, it is a pity that people do not take pride in their country. Wherever you turn, you see only Swaartham (rampant selfishness). Embodiments of Divine Love! Eschew selfishness. Promote unity. Enjoy the bliss of harmony. It is high time you realised what a sacred country Bharat is. In this holy land, nothing is lacking. "What cannot be found in Bharat cannot be found elsewhere" is an ancient saying. Inspite of these multifarious endowments, this country is being regarded as poor and backward. This is born of delusion. Only when we free ourselves from this delusion, we can experience Atmic bliss. We can experience Brahman only when we can get rid of Bhrama (delusion). 

When everything is available within Bharat, why go begging to other countries? Everything has originated from Bharat. Hence, having taken birth in Bharat, strive to promote the glory of Bharat. Every devotee should take a pledge to protect and promote the greatness of Bharat. Like an elephant that does not know its own strength, Bharatiyas are unaware of their power. Despite their myriad capacities, they are behaving as weaklings like an elephant before its mahout. You have to get rid of this weakness…

You all know how many students lost their lives (by self-immolation) a month ago. What. is the reason? It was a protest against the system of reservation on a communal basis. We must seek to promote a system which will make education available freely to all. Education must be for the sake of learning. When that happens, these problems will not arise among students.

Here we have today the President of India, the Chief Minister and the Governor of Andhra Pradesh and other eminent persons. In the sphere of education, if we do not  create new classifications like 'backward' and 'forward' and establish a system of free education for all, without distinctions of rich or poor, the nation will make striking progress. We are wasting crores of rupees. If we ensure the right kind of future for our children, the nation will benefit immensely. Every spiritual organization should also provide free education. 

It is well known that the Tirupati Devasthanam has plenty of funds. Why should not the authorities there offer free education? How many crores are being wasted? It is because education is not free, not one of the students in the Devasthanam educational institutions cares tovisit the temple. How can devotion grow? In the name of the Lord free education and medical relief should be provided

With this object in view, we decided yesterday to establish a big hospital here. Many persons appealed to me to set up the hospital in an urban centre. There are many medical institutions run as a business in several cities. When any educational or medical institution is established, the sole aim is to make a business of it. There are few who are ready to set up such institutions to provide free facilities for the poor. Therefore, from the start we decided to set up a hundred-crore hospital near Prashaanthi Nilayam itself. Even as higher education is free here, "Higher medicine" also will be free. People spend some lakhs to get heart surgery done in the U.S. What is the plight of the poor? Who looks after them? If they go to the cities, they will not get even coloured water (mixtures). 

Recognising this fact, we have launched this big hospital project. Whether it is heart bypass operation, or a kidney transplant, or a lung operation or brain surgery, everything will be done free. This has been decided upon from the very starting of the project. The hospital will be opened on November 22, 1991. No one can understand Sai Sankalpa (workings of the mind). Thought and action are simultaneous like the light and sound that come out when a gun is fired. Hence it is not easy for everyone to understand Sai's resolve.

Sri Sathya Sai on the Shanti Vedika during the Birthday Celebrations

Embodiments of Divine Love! Do not regard what I am going to say as an exaggeration. There is not a trace of self-interest in Me. Whatever I do is only for the sake of others. I do not regard you as others. All of you are My own people. Such an all-encompassing feeling cannot be found anywhere in the world. Have you seen anywhere else an organization which has grown so stupendously in fifty years?

In the case of earlier avatars, their fame grew only long after their passing. In the case of the present avatar, in His own life-time, a university, a big hospital, an aerodrome and many other things have been established for the benefit of the villagers and many more will follow in the years ahead. Many persons have doubts as to how all these are being accomplished. The advent (of this avatar) took place 64 years ago. All these years, this hand has not been stretched at any time to seek anything from anyone. I have not asked anyone. I will never ask anyone and there will never be an occasion for it. How then are these things happening? For any good work, there is no impediment in Bharat. When you want to do any good work wholeheartedly, money flows in torrents. The narrow-minded who undertake any work will never be satisfied. They cannot understand the actions of those who are large-hearted and broad-minded.

Embodiments of Divine Love! I do not expect anything from you. Only, develop love within you. Regard all mankind with fraternal feelings. Recognize all as the children of God. Bear no ill-will or hatred towards anyone. Do not hurt anyone's feelings. Only such a large-hearted attitude will confer on you limitless bliss. If you are celebrating Swami's birthday, this is all that I desire from you. Have unity among yourselves. Strive to revive and promote the glory of Bharat.”

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