Sunday, May 26, 1985
|Villagers welcoming Sri Sathya Sai into Ammagondapalem Village|
Bhagavan planned for a village adoption programme for the students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning as a way of celebrating International Year of Youth in 1985. On 13th May, He gave a Discourse elaborating on Guidelines on Grama Seva. This can be accessed here:
The students started work at Puttaparthi on 16th May 1985, under Bhagavan’s guidance.
Bhagavan accompanied by the staff and students of the three Campuses of the Institute, proceeded to two villages, Kammavaripalli and Ammagondapalem, in the Sri Sathya Sai Taluk on 26th morning. Bhagavan was welcomed by the villagers at Kammavaripalli. He installed the idols of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Anjaneya in the inner sanctum of the village Mandir. He presented a set of musical instruments to the Bhajan Mandali of the village. Bhagavan directed the students to give a recital of ‘Rama Katha’ with its lilting folk tunes. Sri Challa Subbarayudu gave a short speech which was followed by Bhagavan’s Discourse. He said:
“Whatever qualities a man may possess, he cannot make proper use of them if he lacks company of good people. Through the Satsangam (company of good persons) one can develop good qualities, good thoughts, good feelings and do good deeds and thereby transform his human nature into divine nature. This, in fact, is the primary duty of every individual. To develop good qualities, one has to get rid of one's bad traits. If you want to cultivate unity, you have to give up hatred. If you wish to develop a sweet temper, you have to rid yourself of bitterness. As long as hatred remains, unity cannot grow. Even if there are differences of opinion, these should not be allowed to stand in the way of united action for promoting the welfare of the village as a whole. A village is made up of an aggregation of families. Therefore every householder has an obligation to the village as a whole, just as the five fingers of the hand have to act together to carry out any work efficiently, all the villagers have to work in cooperation for the welfare of the village. Indian culture and civilisation have been built up from ancient times on rural communities. Even today this culture survives predominantly in villages. The national life is sustained by the villages. It is wrong to ignore the interests of the villages or to allow them to decay.
|Sri Sathya Sai with the Villagers|
Lack of unity prevents progress
Our ancients built temples to help the people to cultivate right feelings and act righteously. They felt that there should be no village without a temple. A school without teachers, a temple without a deity, a wire without current and a field without water are of no use. Everyone should regard his heart itself as a temple and strive to realise the divinity that is in him.
Villagers should seek to share all the amenities available in the villages. They must learn a lesson from the behaviour of the crow. When a crow sees an edible, it cries, 'kaw, kaw', to attract other crows to the place. Likewise, when ant sees a piece of jaggery, it does not start eating it alone. It brings other ants to the place. Rows and rows of ants can be seen coming towards the lump of jaggery and eating from it. Look at the unity and cooperation among the ants and crows. Such unity is not present among men. Personal differences are ruining the life in the villages. Enormous progress can be made by the villagers if there is unity among them. There will then be no need for approaching the Government for help. If the villagers are united, there is nothing which they cannot accomplish.
The first requisite is to promote the love of God. The Lord is the real and sole protector. Many powerful men are, in the ultimate reckoning, unable to protect themselves. Hence, you should put your faith in the Lord, who is the protector of everybody. Every morning and evening, and on every occasion when you have. time, you have to go to the temple, recite the name of the Lord and pray to the Lord to fill your hearts with love and enable you to lead a right life.
The mark of a true human being
You must see that every action of yours is pure and sacred. It should be based on truth and should be intelligent and purposeful. The ancient Rishis used to pray, ‘Tasmai-Namah Karmane’ (I bow to the all-powerful Karma). We tend to waste our precious life in activities devoted to worldly matters and petty pleasures. No time is devoted to the achievement of the enduing and sacred bliss that is delved from the enjoyment of the Self. Time is not anyone's exclusive property. It is common to all whether he is a multi-millionaire or a destitute. All are subject to the dictates of Time.
All must cultivate the spirit of equal-mindedness. This is the mark of a true human being. It is the spirit of serenity in which one looks upon praise or blame, honour or dishonour, pleasure or pain alike. We tend to shrivel up when somebody abuses us. The whole world looks gloomy. We swell with pride when anybody praises us. What we should cultivate is an attitude in which we remain unaffected in both the situations. Shanti (mental tranquility) is necessary for experiencing the truth of the Self. There is no greater thing on earth than peace of mind. Every effort must be made to acquire Shanti.
|Sri Sathya Sai Instructing the Elders of Ammagondapalem|
Lead a life of unity and cooperation
The villagers lack many things. But they should not think that it is enough if they have clothes to wear, houses to live in and food to eat. How many, who have all these, are really happy? For real happiness you must have a large and loving heart. If you cultivate fraternal feelings towards all the people in the village, you will not only acquire real happiness but will also help to make the village a prosperous and harmonious community. Whenever I see such villages I feel extremely happy. There is generally more peace in the villages than in the cities. There is hardly any peace in the cities, with their hustle and bustle. Rural life should not be considered lowly and contemptible. The atmosphere in the villages is pure and healthy. With proper housing and good water supply, life can be very enjoyable in the villages. This village has been visited by many political leaders but because of lack of unity in the village, it has not received any aid from the Government. If you have unity, I shall be prepared to render any amount of help for your improvement. From today you must lead a life of unity and co-operation.
The idol of Rama has been installed in your temple today. You must feel that Rama has been installed in the hearts of every one of you. When you have this feeling, you will begin to follow the path of righteousness. Righteousness protects those who act righteously. As farmers, you know the gains from sowing a bushel of seed to reap a harvest of a bag of grain. Likewise if you devote five minutes to prayer in a day, the Lord will give you 55 minutes worth of grace. You must cultivate unity, co-operation and mutual trust. Love is the basis of all other human qualities like Truth, Righteousness and Peace. If the four qualities of Satya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema are present in a person, he will manifest the divinity that is in him.
Not many of you may know that I first visited this village nearly 35 years ago. I have looked upon Ammagondapalem and Kammavaripalli as my two eyes and that is why I decided to initiate the installation of the Rama idol in the temple here. This village is at the periphery of Sathya Sai Taluka and is very backward. I shall be prepared to help you and promote your welfare in every possible way.”
Bhagavan materialised Vibhuti and a ring for the Seva Dal Convener of the village. He visited the Harijan colony and presented a set of musical instruments to the colony temple which had been constructed by Him earlier.
|Sri Sathya Sai Blessing Villagers|
The convoy then proceeded to the next village, Ammagondapalem. Bhagavan distributed sweets and saris to the villagers in the village temple and presented a set of musical instruments to the Bhajan Mandali. Some of the villagers had their children christened by Bhagavan.
While returning, He stopped at Kammavaripalli Harijan colony temple and received Arati. Bhagavan stopped at many villages enroute and distributed Prasadam to the villagers. It was a sight to see Bhagavan standing on the foot board of the car waving out to the villagers at Janakampalli. His entourage reached Prashanti Nilayam in the afternoon. It was a memorable day for the students, never to be forgotten.