Following the invocatory Vedam Chanting by students of the Muddenahalli Campus, the Summer Course in Indian Culture & Spirituality 2018 commenced at 8:30 a.m. at the Poornachandra auditorium, Prasanthi Nilayam with a welcome address by Sri Ruchir Desai, Associate Professor, Dept. of Management & Commerce, SSSIHL. He traced the evolution of the Summer Course from its inception, way back in 1972, to its current status. He also spoke about the importance and relevance of India as a country in spreading love and sharing wisdom in the world. Sri Desai expressed his hope that the Summer Course this year satiates our hunger for learning and growing.
In his inaugural address, Prof. K B R Varma, Vice-Chancellor, SSSIHL welcomed all the participants of this year’s Summer Course and highlighted the importance of education and reiterated the necessity for the right kind of education. Prof. Varma narrated how such knowledge was endowed in the earlier years in India, at educational hubs for the world, such as Nalanda. He also spoke at great length about the role of culture in benefiting both, the society and the Self.
A brief video of Bhagawan Baba’s Divine discourse (originally delivered on 14 January 1990) was then broadcasted. Baba emphasized on the nobility and glory of Indian culture and the need to remember it and imbibe it for every Indian and individual. He said that Bharatiya culture is characterized by sacred thoughts and feelings, not narrow-mindedness, and that the essence of Bharatiya culture is ‘universal happiness’. He declared that Sanskrit is the mother of all languages, and the root of Indian culture. Reminding us that real culture is that which transforms, He said that the function of culture is to remove the bad, the defects, and acquire that which is good.
This was followed by a panel discussion, titled, Daiva Preeti, Paapa Bheeti, Sangha Neeti (Love for God, Fear of Sin, Morality in Society). The panelists comprised of teachers from the university. Each panelist shared myriad experiences, personal and of students, and others drawn to Swami’s fold. They drew various conclusions and shared insights into this seemingly simple teaching of Bhagawan Baba. Also deliberated upon was a bottoms-up approach to this concept. Experiences were narrated relating to how people who were carrying out good and moral acts in the society were led to God and developed love for the Almighty.
The morning session was drawn to a close by soulful rendition of various Hindustani and Carnatic songs by the Department of Music, SSSIHL. A cascade of devotional songs interspersed with insightful commentary extolled the beauty and importance of ‘Naama Sankeertana’ and ‘Naamasmarana’, singing and recollecting the Divine name of the Lord in their programme aptly titled, ‘Naam Ratan Dhana Paayo’.
The evening session of the first day of the event commenced at the Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam with a summary of the morning session followed by three speeches by students and faculty of the university.
The first speaker, Miss Kanchan Kumar, Student, II M.B.A., Anantapur Campus, SSSIHL talked on the glory of Bharatiya culture. She reminded us that our culture has survived into the modern times, despite foreign domination. The entire edifice of Bharatiya culture is based on the interconnectedness of one with everything and everything with everything, she said. The vedas are based on an oral tradition dating back thousands of years and are based on the metaphysical truth and oneness of all. She urged everyone to reestablish the core values of our great culture.
The next speaker, Sri Suvam Gurung, Student, V Integrated M.C.A., Muddenahalli Campus spoke on the significance of prayer. Using the metaphor of admissions, he said to fellow students, that it is important not just to be ‘admitted’ to the university but to ‘submit’ ourselves to the Lord through prayer. He questioned the ‘impact’ of prayer - does it work or not? Just as a mobile call cannot connect without cellular signal or battery power, a prayer cannot be effective without love, compassion and faith. The quality of prayer is what the Lord desires, not the quantity. Prayer can move mountains, he said. At the same time, we must submit to the Divine Will and have faith that whatever happens is for our own good. In this manner, he concluded, we will not have expectations and disappointments.
Lastly, Sri Darshan Gera, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science spoke on the topic, Sai Vibhuti. His talk focused on the Divine glory of the Lord, which is beyond comprehension and understanding. Vibhuti, or holy ash signifies desirelessness and auspiciousness; provides us with protection and leads us to liberation. He narrated examples of Lord Shiva, Shirdi Sai Baba and Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and how they — through vibhuti — healed disease, taught spiritual lessons and shared their love of humanity.
Following bhajans and prasadam distribution, the first day of the event concluded at 6:45 p.m.