Conversations with Sri Sathya Sai on the Gujarat Earthquake Relief and the newly constructed Super Specialty Hospital at Bangalore

Tuesday, February 6, 2001

After the evening interviews…

Swami : For Gujarat earthquake relief, we are sending 12 lorries of rice, ten lorries of wheat and sugar. 

(Editor’s Note: On January 26, 2001, India’s 52nd Republic Day, at 8.46 am, a massive earthquake occurred with its epicentre at about 9 km South-Southwest of the village of Chobari in Bhachau Taluka of Kutch District of Gujarat, and lasted for two full minutes. It reached a magnitude of between 7.6 and 7.7 on the moment magnitude scale and killed around 20,000 people, injured over 1,67,000 and destroyed nearly 4,00,000 homes.) 

The devastation after the earthquake in Kutch,Gujarat 

Prof. A. K. : Yes, Swami, we came to know. 

Swami : How? 

Prof. A. K. : It came in the newspaper. 

Swami : I told the Chief Minister not to tell it out. We are also sending 3,000 rugs. Chief Minister will flag off the lorries from Hyderabad. I told them, “You always give with the feeling that you are giving to the public. But I give with the feeling that they are Mine.” I have already sent 2 crores. We must do it for our own satisfaction and happiness. Seeing the Bangalore Hospital, the Chief Minister (Sri Chandrababu Naidu) requested Me to build one at Hyderabad also. I told him that Puttaparthi belonged to Hyderabad State only. We wanted to build an orphanage here. Therefore, we are building the orphanage on a 20 acres land in Mylapalli. If it was nearby, I could have visited it often. Now it is not possible. (The old plan was to build it near the Ashram.) The rice that I sent there is of very good quality, the same variety that I sent you. We have sent 200 tins of oil for cooking. They had come from Gujarat and are going back there itself. I am sending them enough materials. They can have it for one year. I don’t want to do it with any publicity. I am also sending 9,000 dresses for children. (Mentioning the name of a high level police officer, who was also Swami’s devotee) He said that he would also go to Gujarat along with the material. He said that he would go as a Seva Dal and not as a policeman. 

Prof. A. K. : In his speech during the Hospital inauguration (inauguration of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences at Whitefield, Bangalore on January 19, 2001 by the Prime Minister of India, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee), Karnataka Chief Minister (Sri S. M. Krishna) said that Bangalore was second home for Swami. He also said, “Swami, we own You and we claim You”. 

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield, Bangalore

Swami : Karnataka Government is giving electricity and water free for the Hospital. Many poor people, especially Mohammedans, come to the Hospital. There are many small children also. All the operations are successful. They (people running the Hospital) expressed surprise, at the tremendous cost involved. I told them, “For good work, there will not be any obstacles. Even if there is an obstacle, we will cross it and go ahead.” I told them not to bother about money. About 1,00,000 people die in Karnataka because of heart problems, every year. On the inauguration day, the Chief Minister could not see around the Hospital due to lack of time. So, he came again to see the Hospital. We went around in the Hospital car. He ate the food that is made for patients and said, “It is very tasty. After having this kind of food, patients may not feel like returning home.” For the Bangalore Hospital, water comes directly from Cauvery (river). 

Sri Sathya Sai with the Prime Minister of India, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other dignitaries during the inauguration ceremony of the hospital.
(From left: Vilasrao Deshmukh, Maharashtra Chief Minister; SM Krishna, Karnataka Chief Minister; Sri Sathya Sai; Sri Vajpayee; Smt. Rama Devi, Karnataka Governor; Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister)
Prof. A. K. : Swami, he also said that the Government had been trying to build a heart specialty Hospital in Bangalore for the past 11 years. Still the work has not begun. But our Hospital was ready within a year. 

Swami : It was built within nine months. Parthi Hospital is only 2,00,000 square feet in area. But, that is 8,00,000 square feet. (Mentioning the names of some doctors) They wanted to perform heart, kidney and brain transplants. I told them that there was no need for all those things. (Swami praised the noble attitude shown by the Former Chief Minister, Sri J. H. Patel, in giving the 100 acre land for construction of the Hospital and exempting the Hospital from paying registration and other fees.) After allocating the 100 acres land, there was a 12-acre piece left adjacent to it. Noticing that, he gave that land also.  

Prof. A. K. : Swami, he was also quite old. 

Swami : I wanted to give you all mementos. But you people came back here the same night. (Swami sent a student to get the mementos from the Poornachandra Auditorium.) 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, there was college the next day. Out of fear that Swami would scold if we stayed further, we came back.  

Swami : So, it is because of fear you came back; not otherwise. (All smiled with Swami.) I told the Prime Minister (Sri Atal Bihari Vajypayee) that because of him, people had to sit there from 12 noon to 5.00 pm. Because of security they could not go out or come in. He apologised for the inconvenience. 

Sri Sathya Sai with the Prime Minister of India, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
(The student got the memento. It was an oval-shaped silver plate on which was inscribed – ‘Inauguration of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, 19th January, 2001’. Swami passed it to Prof. Anil Kumar.) 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, it is very beautiful. 

Swami : (Seeing him appreciating and looking at it very eagerly) Take a bit of it. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, Chaala Mudduga Undi! (It is very cute!) 

Swami : (Punning with the word) Mudduga Ledu, Moudduka? (Is it cute or dud?) (Everyone laughed. Swami gave one memento to a devotee from Anantapur.) 

Prof. A. K. : Then, we can receive with more pride. (Meanwhile, Prof. Anil Kumar showed a newspaper cutting of the news item of Swami sending relief materials to Gujarat.) 

Swami : Why all this madness? We should do it for our own satisfaction. 
(Swami always expressed dislike about publicity relating to any service activity.) 

Prof. A. K. : That day, the Karnataka Chief Minister said, “Swami, we own You, we claim You”. 

Swami : Not only that, he wants to give Me a title, “Karnataka Pitamaha, Sri Sathya Sai”. I told him that such titles are not necessary. Prime Minister felt bad for coming late. I told him, “For Me no problem. But Prime Minister will lose respect if he comes late”. He agreed with My statement. (Swami said that even Sri S. B. Chavan, Former Union Minister, and Sri Shivraj Patil, Former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, have built a temple and they want Swami to inaugurate it.) I told Kulwant Rai (a senior devotee from Delhi whose magnanimous contribution was accepted by Swami for the construction of the Sai Kulwant Hall) that I will inaugurate these places in a single trip. 
(After a pause) I am not sitting on the chair because people will think that I have leg pain. (Mentioning the Karnataka Governor’s name, Smt. Rama Devi, regarding the Hospital) She said that Swami does everything in a novel way. (Swami said that the security people create unnecessary problems and inconvenience, even though the VIPs really don’t want it.) 

Later, Swami went back to the interview room. 

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