Sathya Sai Baba’s 95th Birth Anniversary falls today
Sathya Sai Baba
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was one of the most spiritually respected persons in the spiritual world. In an attempt to take His Legacy forward, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Seva Samithi established 53 years ago in Sri Lanka, has spearheaded this spiritual movement nationwide.
The Sri Lankan public first heard of the miracles and spiritual mission of Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, India through the visit of Hilda Charlton, an American psychic, who arrived in Colombo back in 1965. Upon hearing her stories about Sai Baba, many devotees including M. Rasanayagam decided to call their friends to join and listen to the experiences of the Divine. On hearing and viewing the video clippings shown by Hilda, a few enthusiastic devotees of Bhagavan Baba commenced conducting group bhajans at their homes mostly on Thursdays. K. Thiyagaraja’s house in Wellawatta was also frequented by devotees, who then went on to conduct Sai bhajans in Kandy, Jaffna and Batticaloa.
A delegation consisting of M. Rajanayagam C.C.S. the former Commissioner of Labour, Dr Nallinathan, C Balasingham. C.C.S and Kandiah Thiyagaraja visited Puttaparthi to invite Bhagavan Baba to visit Sri Lanka. The reply was while accepting the invitation, Bhagavan requested the delegation to “first start the regular bhajans I will come”
"The Organisation extends its gratitude to Vidiyapathy Ravi Bandu and his team, Kalasoori Vasuki Jegatheesan and Shanmugampillai Viswanathan, former Director Tamil Program Rupavahini Corporation for coordinating with the organisation annually to conduct the cultural program to be staged in the presence of the Divine"
In accordance with Swami’s Directive Sri Lanka was the first country in South East Asia to establish Bhajan Centers in Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna and Batticaloa. Over fifty-five years ago Karu Jayasuriya, who had no National titles at that time, of course, he carried Military Titles and decorated with Military Medals, Dr Bramadasan from the Eastern Zone, and Wanniyasekaram are the only surviving members of the organisation from the origin.
The national projects that were conducted by the Sathya Sai Organisation are:
Hospice; Sai School Manipay – Jaffna; Children’s Home – Vavuniya; Elders Home Hanwella – Colombo; Introduction of Sathya Sai Education in Human Values to Schools; Leadership training for all office bearers (temporally suspended, approval denied by the International Chair for the participation of overseas Resource Personnel).
One of the Public Events includes Inter-Faith Conference with former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, presiding, with two overseas guest speakers, Dato Jegatheesan a Senior Civil Servant of Malaysia and Dato Dr Ayothya Art Ong Jumsai Minister Of Education Thailand, which was held at the B.M.I.C.H. where this event was well received by the public.
Sai Mandir, Barnes Place, Colombo 7
Holy Vesak/Buddha Poornima in the Divine Presence
In 1996, few Sri Lankan devotees were at Whitefield on Vesak Poya day were holding the traditional tray with lights to signify the importance of Vesak. Swami blessed the devotees who were on the occasion of Vesak and fulfilled their request to hold Vesak celebrations at His presence annually. This was well-received by all the Buddhist countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Reoyka Hira who was the former Zone Chair for the Asia Pacific which includes Sri Lanka presently, Member of the Central Trust Puttaparthi suggested that we regularize by having a “Buddha Poornima Secretariat” covering all the Buddhist countries in South Asia and have the secretariat in Sri Lanka. It was decided to offer the Chairman’s post to Karu Jayasuriya and the post of Secretary to me.
The Organization extends its gratitude to Vidiyapathy Ravi Bandu and his team, Kalasoori Vasuki Jegatheesan and Shanmugampillai Viswanathan, former Director Tamil Program Rupavahini Corporation for coordinating with the organization annually to conduct the cultural program to be staged in the presence of the Divine.
Every year distinguished VVIPS visited either Whitefield or Puttaparthi.
Former late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike (participated many times); former President Chandrika Bandaranaike; former Speaker Late Anura Bandaranaike; Late Dr Seevali Ratwatta and his spouse; Late Mangala Moonasinghe – Diplomat; Late Varanasuriya Rasaputra – Ex-Gov Central Bank later Ambassador U.S.A.
Sathya Sai Institute for Human Values
In the year 1970 SSEHV was inaugurated by Dato Dr Auodiya Na Jum Sai former Minister of Education Thailand, Founder Director Sai School, Thailand, Dr Teerakuiat Jareonsettaisn, “Dr Judo” popularly called from the same Sai School and the Director of Medicine of the University of Thailand and Sister Lorraine Burrows Director of the Sai School Thailand.
Former President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaike came to know of the SSEHV concept that the Sathiya Sai Org: was arranging to introduce in all schools, under Swami’s Guidance H.E. requested the Chairman of this Special Commission for Educational Reforms Prof Jayathilaka and Dr (Mrs) Tara De Mel the former Secretary to the Ministry of Education and Member of the Education Reforms to study this report and incorporate what is suitable to with the Government Schools Curriculum.
Prof Sunanda Degamboda and Chandima de Silva were appointed Members of the Committee on ethics and value education in the ministry of education – Sri Lanka. This was considered as recognition of the education wing of the Sai organisation and its activities by the government of Sri Lanka based on the recommendation by Prof Jayathilaka and Dr( Mrs) Tara De Mel to H.E the President.
"Elders’ home in Hanwella with inmates of thirty-five declared opened by Karu Jayasuriya the former Speaker of Parliament. A very generous donation was made for the construction of the building. The land was donated by a Sai Devotee from Hanwella. The Home is managed by the Management Committee and the Founder Member Chaired by Mahesh Mallawaarachi, Deputy Central Coordinator"
Introduction to Education in Human Values in Schools
This concept was carried out very well in the Northern and Eastern zones. In one of the Divine discourses that Swami addressed was the introduction of the Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV). Swami requested all countries must introduce this concept universally. Accordingly, this exercise was carried out very successfully in the North and Eastern zones.
Sai School Manipay – Jaffna – Northern Zone
Sai School was launched on 28 October 2002 in Manipay – Jaffna from land donated by Vasanthasenan family. The school was inaugurated by the Director of the Education Ministry Northern Zone. The chief guest was Ms Santhiya Gokulachandran from the Indian High Commission Sri Lanka. Twenty-five pre-school students were enrolled on that day and the school was growing rapidly and generous donations were provided by the Vasanthasean family and other Sai devotees. The curriculum meets the standards of the National Educational Curriculum in addition to the Education in Human Values program.
Children‘s Home Vavunia
An initiative taken by Ragunathapillai the former Government Agent Vavunia and Chair of the North Central Zone of the Organisation undertook a National Project to take care some of the young children under fourteen years of age who lost their parents. Either one parent or both during the war to provide them Food, Shelter and Education.
A leased out Government land on a ninety-nine years lease was taken. A large hostel was constructed by generous donors locally and Sri Lankans living overseas to accommodate fifty children with all modern facilities.
Education is looked after in nearby schools. With the values learnt from the Sai Children’s Home, the children excelled in their Grade 5 scholarship performance compared to other schools.
Elders’ home in Hanwella with inmates of thirty-five declared opened by Karu Jayasuriya the former Speaker of Parliament. A very generous donation was made for the construction of the building. The land was donated by a Sai Devotee from Hanwella. The Home is managed by the Management Committee and the Founder Member Chaired by Mahesh Mallawaarachi, Deputy Central Coordinator. SSIO- Sri Lanka
Another national project of the Sri Lankan Sai Organisation was the establishment of the Sathya Sai Suwa Sevana – a home for symptom control and palliative care for cancer patients. The land 35 acres was donated by a Catholic Sai devotee who has visited Whitefield on two occasions during Buddha Poornima. With the concurrence of Ryoka Hira, Jagath Gunasekera and Wanniyasekeram with the Blessings and Approval of Swami, the Hospice was constructed with full financial assistance by Ryoko Hira. We are the two Founder Members.
Hospice was opened on 6th July 2002 by Karu Jayasuriya, in the presence of Minister Lakshman Kiriella, and many V.I.P.s. RYOKA HIRA WAS THE CHIEF GUEST.
Miracle at Sai Mandir Colombo
An unusual miracle took place a couple of years ago. A large Mural which adorns the rear wall inside the Mandir personally painted by the internationally reputed painter Senaka Senanayake, depicting the ancient epic “KRISHNA UPATHESAM” by Lord Krishna commanding Arjuna to get into the battlefield at Kurukshetra with “courage and faith to establish Dharma”. At the centre of the painting there appeared seven “Rudhrashtra Beads” in the form of a chain. Identified by the Painter himself and his spouse Jeniffer after late evening prayers at the Mandir. In a couple of days, we were able to witness the chain expanding and ending up with One Hundred and Eight Beads representing the One Hundred and Eight “Ashtotram”.
The writer is a Former Central Coordinator, Sri Lanka. Presently - Advisor Prashanthi Council (International), Governance-Sai Organisation, Former Secretary Sai organisation South East Asia, Retd: Assistant General Manager, Hatton National Bank.