Introductory Conversations at the Start of the New Academic Year - Part 1

June 10, 2002 (Monday) 

Swami had arrived at Prasanthi Nilayam from Brindavan on the previous afternoon. The new academic session had begun on June 1st after a spiritually charging Summer Course. On the very first day after His return to Prasanthi Nilayam, Swami came out to the portico and sat in the midst of the staff and students. All were overjoyed with this rare opportunity. Thus began a wonderful season of Divine interactions between Swami and His students… 

Swami came to Ganesh portico at around 3.15 pm. 

Swami : (To Prof. Anil Kumar) What happened? 

Prof. A. K. : Swami the news about Chennai Water Project came in today’s newspaper. It seems the Trust (Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust) is providing two crores. They have said the pipelines are being laid for a distance of 150 kms between Kandaleru and Poondi. 

Swami : Inta Anta Ani Lekkha Ledu (There is no such measure). What do they know about the water project? We are laying pipelines for 282 kms. They have only taken the Tamil Nadu state into account. They did not count the pipeline distance in our state. The Andhra Pradesh Government started the Telugu Ganga Project but till now it has not been completed. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami may be because of financial problems. 

Swami : It is not because of financial problem. They didn’t have orders from the Supreme Court. Also they got money from the World Bank but they used it for other purposes. 
(To Warden – Dr. Siva Sankara Sai) They have got those and kept them there. Get one packet. 
(To Prof. Anil Kumar) We have 500 nickers and pants and shirts. Whenever they (orphan students adopted by Swami under the Deena Janoddharana Pathakam project) come here, they will wear white and in school they will wear cream-coloured dresses. 
(To a student who was holding the welcome card) Mee Dramalu Koncham Aapandi Eesari (Stop your dramas this time). 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, dresses are of good quality. 

Swami : We have to do a lot for them (the orphan students). (To Prof. Anil Kumar, showing a student) He is from Hyderabad, do you know him? 
(To the student) Have you joined in M.B.A.? Did you give the exam? Have you got your marks? 

Student : Yes Swami. 

Swami : Did you get marks or remarks? 

The Warden mentioned to Swami about the Panchavadyam (literally meaning an orchestra of five instruments, it is a temple art form that has evolved in Kerala. Of the five instruments, four - Timila, Maddalam, Ilathalam and Idakka belong to the percussion category, while the fifth, Kombu, is a wind instrument) and Swami pointed it out to Prof. Anil Kumar. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami I have heard it before. 

Swami : Just yesterday our boys played Panchavadyam.
(To Prof. Anil Kumar) Who is this boy? 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, he is from Hyderabad. He is in Music College. Swami, during the holidays, he went to school and sang songs. 

Swami : Did you listen to them? 

Prof. A. K. : No Swami. He told me. 

Swami : Who is this boy? 

Prof. A. K. : Swami he is a new boy from Music College. He is from Visakhapatnam. He has joined in the foundation course. 

Swami : Who is this boy? 

Prof. A. K. : He is also from Visakhapatnam. All these three are from Visakhapatnam. 

Swami : What are you learning? 

Student : Swami, I am learning Veena. 

Swami : (To Prof. Anil Kumar) Neeku Kudaa Nerpistunnara Veena? (Are they teaching you Veena?) 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, even if they teach me I do not have the capacity to learn. 

Swami : (To Jaipreet Singh, a student whose father was working in the Army) How is your father? Has he come back? 

Jaipreet : Yes, Swami. 

Swami : (To Prof. Anil Kumar) He has gone to the Pakistan border. They are being sent back. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, has not the situation cooled down now? 

Swami : Vedi Ayyindi Ledu Challabadindi Ledu (There was no real tension or relief). What is this boy doing? Is he learning Carnatic music? 

Student : Swami, I am learning foundation in vocal. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, he joined just this year. 

Swami : Not even a month has elapsed. Who are from the previous batch? 

Some students raised their hands. 

Swami : Who are from the batch before that? 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, only two batches have entered. 

Warden : Swami, there are five Tabla experts in this year’s batch. Also many engineering students have joined the M.B.A. programme this year. 

Swami : (To Venugopal, MBA Student from Hyderabad) What had you done before coming here? 

Venugopal : Swami, Engineering in Electricals and Electronics. 

Swami : Not Mechanical? 

Venugopal : No Swami. 

Swami : How is Subramaniam? 

Venugopal : Swami, are you asking about Subramaniam Sai? 

Swami : He is fine. Chaala Santosham (Very happy). (To students) Sit straight. Don’t bend. (Swami always adviced students to sit erect with an upright spinal posture.) 

Warden : Swami, three new students spoke on their Summer Course experience. 

Swami : Manchidi (Good). (To students) How many boys are in your class? 

Student : Thirty five, Swami. 

Swami : Have they not made any sections as yet? 

Student : No, Swami. 

Swami : Which branch have you chosen? Finance or Marketing? 

Student : Swami, specialisation is in the second year. 

Swami : But which one do you want to take? 

Student : Swami, You had told me to take Marketing earlier. 

Swami : What did your parents say? 

Students : Swami, they have told the same. 

Swami : Actually what did you want? 

Student : Marketing. 

Swami : What is the meaning of Marketing? (The student could not answer. Swami asked a teacher. The teacher answered.) Marketing means Icchi Pucchukovatam (giving and taking). Full life is a process of Marketing. Every action that takes place in daily life is Marketing, including sleeping and breathing. Production is necessary for Marketing. Without production, there is no Marketing. Both are necessary. If Production is more than Marketing, the value of product decreases. There should be some export. In India imports are more than exports. 

Prof. A. K. : Because of quality, they are going for imports. 

Teacher : Fashion is increasing. 

Prof. A. K. : Is fashion the reason for this? 

Swami : It is not fashion. Abhiruchi (the taste of people) matters. Before, we used to wear cotton dresses. But now we are wearing all new types of clothes. 
It is because of our taste. 

Teacher : Swami fashion became Verri (craze). 

Swami : It’s not Verri. But Picchi. (It is not craze. It is madness.) 
(Pointing to students) Dunnapota (he-buffalo, Swami would lovingly address students with this appellation) sit straight otherwise your backbone will bend. 

Swami : (Pointing to another student) What is that? (Then the student showed welcome card. Since it was very long Swami told to roll it up) It will take a lot of time to read. Roll it properly, otherwise it will come out.
(To student) What is your name? 

Student : Ramakrishna. 

Swami : Which Ramakrishna? 

Student : Podila. 

Swami : Not Burgula? (Sri Burgula Ramakrishna Rao was the former Governor of Kerala (1956-1960) and Uttar Pradesh (1960-1962), and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (1952-1956). He was an ardent devotee of Swami and a translator of His Divine Discourses into Hindi and English.) 

Then Swami materialised Vibhuti and gave to a senior professor. 
Swami : (To Prof. Anil Kumar) Chuppanati (jealous)?
(To a student) How many years have you studied Engineering? 

Student : Four years, Swami. 

Swami : In the middle you missed one year. Didn’t you? 

Student : Yes Swami. 

Swami : How much percentage did you get? 

Student : 68% Swami. 

Swami : In which subject did you get the highest? 

Student : Swami, I do not remember. 

Warden : Ninety came for the selection test, only nine are selected. 

Swami called Amit Ahuja, a former student of the M.B.A. class who had just finished his studies at Swami’s University in March 2002, and asked him to join doctoral research in the Institute. 

Swami : (To Prof. Anil Kumar) Can you ride a bike? 

Prof. A. K. : I cannot Swami. Only once I tried and then left. (All laugh.) 

Then Swami got up and went inside the interview room. 

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