The First Summer Course in Indian Culture and Spirituality at Sri Sathya Sai University - 1990

May 20, 1990 to June 2, 1990

The commencement of the Course in the Brindavan Campus Auditorium
The Summer Course in Indian Culture and Spirituality was held in Brindavan for 15 days from the 20th of May to the 2nd of June 1990. Only the current and the former students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning numbering 1,100 were chosen to attend the course. The guest-speakers were a galaxy of leading personalities from different walks of life – Former Chief Justice of India, a couple of retired Generals from the Indian Army, several former and present Vice Chancellors of Indian Universities, a veteran representative of Indian Foreign Service, several specialists from the academic community, the retired Chief of Energy Department of the United Nations, a historian, and staff and students of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute. In the inaugural discourse, He mentioned:

“Dear students! Take note that you have to live for the sake of an ideal and not for mere living. To lead an exemplary life, you need love of the nation and love of the Atma (Spirit). Realise the greatness of your nation, its sacredness, its purity, its vastness, its sublime ideals and how it is overflowing with love. Belittling their own country, Indian students are going abroad. No country in the world has all that Bharat has.

Born in this land of Karma, Yoga and Tyaga, students should understand and cherish its cultural heritage. Their ignorance of this culture is due to the absence of teachers and parents who could convey the elements of this culture to the students. During the fifteen days of the summer course, you have to learn how to harmonise this ancient culture with the needs of the modern world and to lead lives governed by Truth and Righteousness. Position or power is not important. They are transient. One should not be proud about wealth, progeny or youthful vigour. All of them may go in a moment. Adolescence is a precious period in one's life. It should be rightly used.

Remember that Bharatiya culture transcends the limitations of time, space and circumstance. Endeavour to know its unique greatness. In the coming weeks I shall be speaking on the functions of the body, the senses, the mind, the Will and the Atma from the spiritual point of view, as desired by the Vice-Chancellor in his welcome address. It is essential that students should know about these matters. Of what avail is it for one to know all about the external world without knowing who he is in reality? You have to know the nature of the Brahman and the Self. Devotion is the most important requisite. Without devotion to God, nothing can be accomplished.” 
Sri Sathya Sai with the participants and guests at the Brindavan Campus Auditorium
Bhagavan gave Discourses every evening on all the 14 days of the course. These can be accessed at: 
Summer Course 1990 Discourses

Bhagavan delivered the Valedictory Address on 2nd June, in which He summed up the essential message of the Summer Course and exhorted the students not to be content with merely listening to the speeches but to strive to practise at least a few of the teachings. He said:

“Students! We began these classes on the holy Ekadashi day, eleventh day of the lunar fortnight, and we are also concluding the classes on this Ekadashi day. Hence, you should consider all these classes as Ekadashi Vratam (observance of the vows of Ekadashi). During the fortnight, you have had the valuable opportunity of listening to the lectures from highly distinguished speakers, with rich experience behind them. What they taught you with wholehearted zeal and enthusiasm you have listened carefully with much interest and faith. But what is more important than listening is to put into practice at least some of the things you have learnt and thereby to set an example for others to follow. You must always remember the five life-breaths relating to the Vedas, which I mentioned earlier. You should avoid these five things: 

(1) indifference to what the guru, parents, and other elders teach you, 
(2) disobedience to the aforesaid, 
(3) Ahamkara (ego), 
(4) jealousy or envy toward those who are better off, and 
(5) violating the social etiquette or decorum.

Students! What has been taught to you during these fifteen days is the essence of the sacred Vedanta. What has been given to you is the nectar obtained by the churning of all the holy scriptures: Shastras, Puranas, and Itihasas. You are the future leaders, pleaders, and patrons of Mother India. You should lead exemplary lives, treading the path of Satya and Dharma (truth and righteousness). Under no circumstances should you deviate from this ideal path. Let your secular education go hand in hand with spiritual education…

Every student should undertake Satkarmas (good actions) which lead to Chitta Shuddhi (purity of mind). Where there is purity, there will be Jnana Siddhi (dawn of wisdom). These are all within yourself only. You need not search for them anywhere outside. In this connection, let us consider the example of the wall-clock over there. It has three hands to indicate seconds, minutes, and hours respectively. There are sixty points, and twelve hours marked along the circumference of the clock. When the second-hand moves across all the sixty points, the minute-hand moves by only one point. When the minute hand moves over sixty points or the full circumference, the hour-hand moves by only one hour-mark or one-twelfth of the circumference. Now, the second-hand may be compared to our actions. If a large number of good actions are done, the minute-hand, which represents Chitta Shuddhi (the purity of mind), will move by one point. Chitta Shuddhi is the stage of Upasana when one engages himself in loving God and worshipping Him in various ways over a period of time, leading to Atma Vishwasam (Self-confidence), which represents the hour-hand. The perceptible movements of the second-hand and the minute hand should bring about the imperceptibly slow movement of the hour-hand. Otherwise, no purpose is served by the second-hand and minute-hand. So also, unless your good actions, worship and love of God, lead to Atma Vishwas or Self-confidence, the former two will be futile.
A Music Programme by the Students during the Summer Course
Whenever you have time, it will suffice if you take up at least one of the nine modes of Bhakti (such as Shravanam, Keertanam, etc., already explained to you in My earlier discourses). God does not consider how wealthy or how learned you are; He is concerned only with the sincerity and purity of your mind and heart and about how whole-hearted and genuine your love is. Valmiki was a hunter. Nanda was an untouchable. Kuchela was a pauper. Dhruva and Prahalada were mere lads of five years. Sabari was a tribal woman, illiterate and uncivilised. But all of them had won God’s Grace in abundance, because of their wholehearted devotion, love and surrender. Follow the example of Shabari, who always thought of Sri Rama and His happiness, and dedicated all her thoughts, words, and deeds to Him alone, so much so that every action of hers was transformed and sublimated into the highest Tapas (penance.) From her example, you must learn the lesson that meditation does not mean sitting idle in a particular posture of the body, as if you are posing for a photograph. As in her case, your entire life must become a continuous meditation wherever you may be staying and whatever you may be doing. Whatever you eat or drink must be offered to God as Naivedya or holy offering. In this manner, if you offer everything to the Lord, you will naturally be prevented from engaging yourself in bad actions or evil ways in your life. Therefore, students! I am bringing My long discourse to a close, with the hope and blessing that you will practice with your hands what you have heard here through your ears, and thereby sanctify your lives and also contribute your share to make the future of Bharat (India) bright and prosperous." 


  1. the first summer course is in 1971

    1. Sai Ram,

      Thanks for your interest in sharing facts. However, the very first Summer Course was in the year 1972. However, we wish to share that it was organised at the Sri Sathya Sai College and not the University, and was open for participation for students from across the country (based on an entrance exam).

      This post is about the first summer course organised at the University. These commenced from the year 1990. They were only for students belonging to the Sri Sathya Sai University.
      We hope this clarification helps the readers understand the post in the right perspective.

      SSwS Team

  2. Fortunate are those who get to be a part of this....sai ram

  3. The site points to June 3 valedictory. Here it is noted as June 2. Shall be grateful for a clarification. Thanks. Bhanoji Rao



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