Puttaparthi was a remote, tiny village, prior to Baba's
birth, in the month of November, 1926. People had to
walk miles, to reach from one place to another, and the
only mode of transport was the bullock carts.
Long, long ago
the village was known as Gollapali or "Home of Cowherds". Later it
became infested with ant-hills, with snakes moving all around,
which gave rise to the name "Puttaparthi". (Putta in Telugu
language means snake-pit).
Raju, aged 14, threw off his bag of books one evening, saying, "My
followers are calling me; I have my work to do. I do not belong to
you any more", and walking out of his brother's home, he sat under
banyan tree and sang a song that he wanted the gathering to sing
GURU CHARANAM, DUSTARA BHAVA SAGARA TARANAM". (Those who desire
to liberate from the chain of birth, struggle, success, failure,
ease and disease, and death, come: adore the feet of the Master).
That was the announcement of the Amazing advent. With this
declaration his Advent and Mission began to work automatically,
and things started changing and taking shape.
Prasanthi Nilayam (the abode of Supreme Peace), where Baba
personally resides and gives Darshan and discourses to His
devotees. Then came the residential schools and the college, where
hundreds of students study under the personal supervision of
Bhagavan Baba. Later came the University, followed by Stadium,
Planetorium, Museum, Super-Specialities Hospital, Airport,
Drinking Water project and then the Cricket ground. All this
within a span of fifty years in a tiny remote village, which has
been turned into a modern fullfleged town with multistoreyed
buildings, shops, restaurants and eating houses. Cars and autos
freely move on the roads all around and T.V. and international
dialing buzz with full activity.
THE DEEMED UNIVERSITY
Nandan Sinha writes in his book entitled 'Sri Sathya Sai Baba,
Absolute Sole of Lord of Life and Death' as follows : "I was
living at Prasanthi Nilayam the abode of peace. After my
superannuation as Professor and Head of the English Department,
Bihar University, I was one of the few fortunate ones who were
asked to serve at the feet of the Lord. I was offered the most
prestigious assignment as Professor and Chairman of the English
faculty at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, a
Deemed University founded by Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I landed at
Prasanthi Nilayam in July, 1985 and took up my new assignment. It
was indeed the most exciting and challenging assignment of my
life. I had spent almost a life time in the constant pursuit of my
calling, the noble profession of teaching at different
Universities in Northern India and had also spent a couple of
years at an American University, but never before had I
experienced the thrill of total involvement with my work and the
unique satisfaction of working for an ideal. The educational
programme of the University shaped by the Lord Himself and
implemented by Professor Vinayak Krishna Gokak, the founder Vice
Chancellor of the Institute, seemed to me to be flawless and I
soon discovered that work here was prayer involving duty,
discipline, and devotion. The academic curriculum, the courses of
study, the standard of research , all were of the highest order.
The Institute was an elite institution rated highly by the
Government of India and by the people. The teachers and the
students were bound together by the common link that they were all
ardent devotees of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I felt radiantly happy to
be given the opportunity to serve here and to become an instrument
for the service of the Lord.
1991 , a Super-Specialities Hospital called Sri Sathya Sai
Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS), was inaugurated by
the Prime Minister of India near Prasanthi Nilayam. This
philanthropic hospital has all ultra modern facilities for
diagnosis and treatment of all the Cardiac ailments (including
open heart surgery) to all the deserving patients entirely free of
cost including post-operative treatment and care. As of June, 1998
over a thousand two hundred heart operation have been successfully
performed. Next to be introduced were Urology and Nephrology
departments with kidney transplant facility, followed by
ophthalmology and Dental wings.
DRINKING WATER PROJECT
This is what
appeared in the Times of India, Bombay, on 24th
November 1995: Sai baba gives Birthday gift to Andhra
villages by Pushpa Iyengar, the Times of India News
Service, Puttaparthi, (Anantpur District), November 23.
Sri Sathya Sai
Baba today celebrated His 70th birthday by dedicating a
project to supply drinking water to 700 villages in this
show put on by thousands of His devotees at the Shanthi Vedika
Stadium was watched by galaxy of prominent personalities led by
President Shankar Dayal Sharma, who inaugurated the Sri Sathya Sai
Sai Baba clad in
a white robe, during His hour long speech in Telugu expressed
satisfaction over the swift progress made in the Rupees 200 crore
project (for which work began in February this year), but said
that it was His desire to see Rayalaseema (land of stones)
transform back to Ratnalaseema (land of gems).
He exhorted His
devotees, who had come from 137 countries, to work towards
uplifting the lives of the people by solving basic problems like
drinking water and health care.
who came bearing garlands of gold as well as gold crown weighing a
total of 13 kg, appeared not to have pleased the God-man. The
devotees, some Italians and NRIs were asked : "what are jewels for
God?" Sai Baba then announced that the gold would be auctioned
there and then and the proceeds used for the water project. At
the end of the function it was announced that Ramanlal and
Associates, based in Kobe, had bought the gold at twice its
international market price.
The Baba also
received other lavish donations, the most prominent being a $ 30
million gift from U.S-based S.K. International and Charitable
Foundation and the S.K. Educational and Medical Foundation.
who sought Sai Baba's blessings by touching His feet on two
occasions, said, "Service to humanity represents the essence of
Baba's unifying philosophy". He said whenever individual and
organisations could pool together their intellectual and material
resources and address specific problems, they must be encouraged
to do so.
Sharma touched a silver coin kept in a silver vessel which set off
the pump set at the Chitravati balancing reservoir, 70 km away.
over the last 10 days have seen the presence of Prime Minister
P.V. Narasimha Rao, Union Ministers S.B.Chavan and Manmohan Singh,
Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj Patil, VHP Leader Ashok Singhal and BJP
Leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
In the month of
November 1997, came another glorious gift from Baba, to the
villagers of Puttaparthi, world's most wonderful stadium, with a
beautiful cricket pitch, a lush green ground, enveloped by hilly
and spiritual surroundings.
International one-day cricket match for the Sri Sathya Sai Unity
Cup took place at this Hill View stadium, on 30th
December 1997, between India XI v/s the Rest of the World XI. The
match was witnessed by thousands of devotees, in the Divine
presence of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Shri I.K. Gujaral, the
then Pime Minister of India, and many more eminent personalities.
India won the match played in a festive albeit competitive spirit
and its captain Tendulkar was presented with the Unity Cup, made
of pure gold, weighing 6 kg, by Bhagavan Baba Himself. Baba also
presented silver trophies to all the members of both the cricket
teams. It was a sight to be seen and cherished.
Nayudu, wrote a small booklet entitled 'A Sixer for the Lord, from
Padma Bhushan Col. C.K.Nayudu'. Here is reproduced the foreword
for the booklet by Sri Indulal Shah (International Chairman, Sri
Sathya Sai Organisation)
largely an urban sport and International Tournaments are played
only in a few prominent stadia in half-a-dozen cities in India.
Perhaps this scenario will now change with the inauguration of a
stadium at Prasanthi Nilayam and commencement of the Prashanthi
Gold Cup Cricket Tournament on 30th December, 1997 by
the grace and blessings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba , cricket
has now come to the countryside.
concern for people in rural India is well-known. This is
exemplified in the unique educational and medical Institutions
that He has set up in Prasanthi Nilayam. The Prasanthi Gold Cup
International tournament will provide a rare opportunity to the
rural populace. Equally, this will inspire and entertain the large
student community at Prasanthi Nilayam.
cricket and cricketers adore and worship Him. For preparing
Prasanthi stadium and inaugurating the International tournament,
He drew unto Himself a host of celebrated cricketers like Sunil
Gavaskar, Prasanna and Alvin Kallicharan. His love for the
illustrious cricketer, Padma Bhusan C.K.Nayudu, is well-known and
this love runs through the pages of this little book written by
his daughter Chandra, who takes the reader to the glorious days of
C.K. and his cricket with consummate devotion and skill.
for courage, concentration and above all great discipline which
are also the essential requisites for a true spiritual life.
Sathya Sai Organisation welcomes the visiting cricket teams to
this divine Valley of Puttaparthi.
We now place
this labour of love at His Lotus Feet.
Nayudu, daughter of C.K. Nayudu, writes in her booklet, about the
following incident, which Swami told her, in one of the recent
interviews granted to her.
SIXER FOR THE LORD
"Swami told me
about the meeting with the parents in Madras. Father had requested
Bhagavan to come and see him play and said he will hit a sixer in
Swami's direction. This incidence was related by my mother too.
The next day Baba went to see father play. He had His car parked
near the boundary line and watched the match. Baba said father was
batting at that time and noticed the arrival of Baba and did
exactly what he had told, he hit a sixer where Baba's car was
parked. While relating this incident Baba's face glowed with a
boyish excitement and His eyes sparkled with delight at the
recollection of that sixer as any genuine cricket lover's would: I
was pleasantly surprised at Bhagavan's interest and love of
cricket. And so it was 'cricket' that brought our family close to
Bhagavan. In that first meeting of my parents, Baba gave a small
pendent to my father, a photo of His to my mother, which shows a 'young' Baba, which we still have in our Pooja room.
It is impossible
and beyond any human power to have accomplished, all the above
achievements in a tiny village of Puttaparthi. Only, one who is
embodied with Divine powers, can accomplish this. Bhagavan Sri
Sathya Sai Baba has these Divine powers, and He has proved it, by
achieving all these things.