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Reports of events from the Sai Baba Ashrams

 

Report on the Alumni Meet
20th & 21st August, 2005

It was an emotional trip down the memory lane for the former students of the School of Business Management, Accounting and Finance, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam, when they gathered at the Lotus Feet of their beloved Swami on the 20th and 21st of August for their Alumni Meet aptly called 'Reconnect'. This meet was organized on the occasion of the eve of the 20th anniversary of the department coinciding with the 80th year of the Advent of Bhagawan. Ever since the School of Business Management, Accounting and Finance offering MBA (Master of Business Administration) was started on 21st August, 1986, Bhagawan took a keen interest in fostering the business leaders of the future into change agents who would spread His message of values into the corporate world. For many years after the inception of the department, Bhagawan would visit the Institute every week to deliver talks on management to the students. It was during these talks that Bhagawan succinctly summarized the science of management as 'Man Management'. This concept is only now catching on in business thought, but Bhagawan had already identified it as the key to successful management more than a decade ago. It was to offer their gratitude to Bhagawan for all the care and attention He had showered on them during their stay as students that around 500 members of the alumni gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam to bask yet again in the sunshine of His Love and thus 'reconnect' and 'recharge' themselves.

On the evening of 20th, after words of introduction by Sri A.V. Gokak, Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, two members of the alumni expressed their feeling of love and gratitude on behalf of their brothers. The alumni had arranged for distribution of comprehensive toolkits and uniforms to 80 needy youth trained as electricians, carpenters and plumbers belonging to villages surrounding Prasanthi Nilayam. These men though possessing the necessary skills continued to remain unemployed as they did not have the wherewithal to procure the necessary tools. But, now Bhagawan has gifted them not merely toolkits but also the means to live a life of dignity.

Following this, there was a panel discussion on "Man Management Relevance of Values in the Business World". Seven members of the alumni spanning various sectors of the industry and occupying senior positions in their respective organizations participated in the discussion that focused on how Bhagawan's teachings helped them to deal with the pressures and difficult situations that arise in corporate life, drawing on their own experiences and insights. One very significant point that emerged during the discussion was how one can reconcile the pursuit of corporate excellence with spirituality. Sri Karthik Shenoi, CEO, iCap Solutions Pvt. Ltd., illustrated how this reconciliation can be achieved by recalling an allegory given by Bhagawan. Bhagawan compares the pursuit of worldly goals to attempting to get at the coconuts on a coconut tree by running up the shadow of the tree on the ground and tugging at the shadow coconuts a fruitless enterprise. But, when one actually climbs up the coconut tree, one's shadow is also seen climbing the tree. What this analogy reveals to us is that according highest priority to spiritual goals is not necessarily divergent with life in the material world; in fact worldl y success gets added on to us as a matter of course on the spiritual path. Speaking about the means of dealing with stress, the panelists concluded that stress arises whenever self-interest dominates one's thinking. But, when we follow Bhagawan's teaching that the feeling of 'We' must be placed above the 'I' feeling, one is not affected by stressful situations. Another member said that one must follow the principle of 100% commitment and 0% attachment leaving the burden of victory or defeat to the Lord. Stress, they said stood for Sai To the Rescue in Every Sticky Situation. Teamwork, which is an important quality that every employer looks for, is something that students of Bhagawan do not learn merely in theory but it comes to the fore during the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet and the community service programmes, which are a regular and integral part of the education at Bhagawan's university. The discussion thus showcased how spirituality can be integrated into our daily life to make it more meaningful and enriching. At the end of the programme Bhagawan profusely blessed the participants, who enjoyed some blissful moments of interaction with Him.

On the morning of 21st, after an introductory talk by Sri Subash Subramanian, an MBA alumnus and currently a Research Scholar in the School of Business Management, Accounting and Finance, there were talks by two alumni. The first speaker, Sri Amar Vivek, is a practicing lawyer in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana and also at the Supreme Court of India. He belongs to the first batch of students who earned their MBA degree from Bhagawan's university. He has been engaged in many rural service projects most notably, the Sri Sathya Sai Grameen Jagruthi programme under which a hospital, a school, a vocational training center and a sports school are being run for the benefit of the rural poor completely free of charge. His service programmes have earned him recognition from the Government of India and he was conferred the National Youth Award. He narrated how Bhagawan had personally guided him in setting up and managing these service projects, His unseen Hand helping him ford over obstacles on the way. He also narrated two instances where by standing up to his principles he managed, by Bhagawan's grace, to turn two seemingly impossible situations in his favour.

Sri Ashok Sundaresan, who spoke next, is a Chartered Accountant by profession, and an active member of the Youth wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, Tamil Nadu. He said that being a student of Bhagawan is a privilege and opportunity and also a great responsibility. He narrated an experience of late Prof N.Kasturi to emphasize our good fortune in being contemporaries of Bhagawan. Once,
Sri Kasturi had asked Bhagawan about the mystery of creation. Bhagawan called Him one night to the balcony of the Prasanthi Mandir, held his hand and asked him to look onto the grounds below. Kasturi Garu was rendered speechless by what he saw; in place of the inky darkness he was accustomed to, he saw what seemed to be a sea of luminous beings, all waiting for Bhagawan's  command. Bhagawan seemed to be communicating to them by His eyes, and one by one after receiving their commands they left to execute them. This, Bhagawan revealed to Kasturi, was how the entire creation was being managed. And Sri Kasturi realized that at that moment, the Hand he was holding on to was the Hand of the Creator Himself. Sri Sundaresan recalled the numerous lessons he had absorbed during his days as a student at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan that had transformed his life. He narrated an incident to illustrate how we must express our gratitude, an incident that was widely reported by the print media. When the Sathya Sai Ganga project to supply potable water to the city of Chennai was underway, there was a family of eleven members all of whom were engaged in work on the canal. The eldest member was eighty years old, and the youngest all of three years. When asked, they revealed that they belonged to the Mahabubnagar District of Andhra Pradesh where Bhagawan had executed a water supply project in 2001. Before the project, the family members had to traverse miles for finding potable water and this had completely disrupted their normal life even making earning their livelihood a difficult prospect. But, now water was arriving almost at their doorstep, their suffering was now behind them. In gratitude, the entire family had decided to contribute their mite, in the form of physical labour, to the Chennai water supply project. In conclusion, Sri Sundaresan prayed to Bhagawan for strength to able to practice His teachings and to love up to His expectations of His students.

After the talks, there was a music programme entitled 'Yaadein' by the alumni. Each song was preceded by short talks by students who poured out their love and gratitude to Bhagawan, each of them recalling memories of the beautiful moments they spent with their Lord as students and also how Swami guided and guarded them several times during their lives thereafter. At the end of the programme, everyone realized that though they may have left the portals of the Institute, they can never leave Swami nor can Swami ever leave them; Swami was always with them and their bond with Him was eternal and heart to heart.

In the afternoon, the management students
of the Institute presented a drama entitled, "Karishye Vachanam Tava" meaning, "Command, and I shall obey!" The drama depicted how two young management graduates who had recently joined Navajivan Pharma Co. face many difficulties and disappointments due to the unethical behaviour of a manager, how they overcome these difficulties, and become instrumental in guiding the company to make decisions that go beyond just financial criteria and contribute to the welfare of the society. The drama addressed many issues and ethical dilemmas that face the managers of today's corporate world and how they should be dealt with discrimination and a clear conscience.

After the drama, Bhagawan granted
photos to the participants. Bhagawan also blessed and launched the website of the Institute www.sssihl.org . The programme concluded with arati and Bhagawan retired to His residence.

Jai Sai Ram!


Source: http://srisathyasai.org.in/pages/MBA_meet.htm

 

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