March 7, 2010 – Gratitude Programme by Final Year Students

The students from the outgoing batches of the Sri Sathya Sai University, that is, the final year students from the post graduate and the under graduate classes assembled in the marbled blocks literally wearing their hearts on their chests, waiting to sing out and express their gratitude to Swami. It is not everyone who gets an opportunity to express their gratitude to Swami.

If that were the case, would there be anything else than gratitude programmes in the physical presence? Thousands, nay millions around the globe, feel His loving guidance and derive strength from Him to face the struggles and battles of day to day life. And those millions definitely send their heartfelt gratitude in their prayers. But this special opportunity to express it in the physical Presence is a gift that may have as well be earned in many previous births.

It was 5:40 p.m. when Swami arrived for darshan and the Veda chanting restarted. Moving through the ladies' side and blessing them, Swami looked so fresh and lovely. He moved to the gents’ side and the flow of Grace continued. He moved across the rows of students and was on the stage by 6:05 p.m. As soon as He came there, He asked for the programme to begin.

The students brought a lovely and huge card shaped like the heart to Swami. They began with the song that said, "That boy of Repalle (Krishna) has today come in our midst." The sweet lilting tune was like a welcome song for Swami inviting Him to their hearts. And then the students rose, one by one, wondering as to what they were to express to Him.

Could they give Love to Love Himself, offer their talents to Wisdom Himself - what should one do to say 'Thanks’ to God? The experience under Swami's umbrella is such an enriching one and students who arrived as 'zeroes' have become so worthy of admiration and emulation. And all that is entirely due to the 'One' lending value to all the zeroes!

Listening to the multifarious ways in which Swami had touched the lives of all the students was an emotional experience. He stood as the mother for some and cared as the father for others. When all hope seemed lost, He brought light and cheer and when they reached the zeniths of achievement, He was there to keep them in touch with their humble selves.

Like a sculptor, He had chipped away all that was not true from 'rocks' and revealed the image of God that lay hidden. This was depicted as a short act and also as a series of narrations which brought tears to the eyes.

Speaking through the language of the heart which expressed itself as more than 15 languages at the tongue, students from various parts of India recounted experiences from their lives and sang out songs which spoke of His undying love for them.

It was an amazing scene. Youth in their twenties, full of energy and vitality, openly expressing their love and friendship to God! Ah! What a scene for great rejoicing! Celebrating His love, the students also danced to a multi-faith song in Telugu.

There was also a depiction of how the Pandavas have become immortalized due to their association with Lord Krishna suggesting that whatever they have was only due to their association with Sai. The students thanked Swami for the wonderful teachers, doctors, hospitals and institutions like Radio Sai and the Book Trust. Then came up a discussion as to how the Chancellor of the Sathya Sai University was different from the other chancellors.

"Our chancellor takes time everyday to bless the birthday boys."

"Our chancellor Visits our hostel to ensure our comforts"

"Our chancellor gives us new clothes for festivals like our parents"

"Our chancellor comes to the stadium to watch us play"

"Our chancellor proudly introduces His children to men and women of international repute"......and the list went on...

It was a treat for the ears and the heart. The songs were so beautiful and full of feelings. A trio of Hindi poets serenaded with such a lovely choice of words that even those who did not know Hindi could appreciate the rhythm and music. Swami too was very involved in the programme.

He had a look at every song being sung presented to Him in a card and blessed every student who moved to Him. When the programme concluded at about 7:15 p.m., there was absolute silence.

Swami asked, "Is it completed?" No answer. Words would have definitely communicated less compared to that poignant silence. A line of students moved to Swami with various objects of blessings. Swami blessed everything and moved His hands over the many vibhuti packets. After that, Swami agreed for group pictures.

Groups of ten moved up the stage and posed with Swami for the memory of a lifetime. Swami said that He was very happy and repeatedly raised His hands in blessings. He blessed prasadam for distribution. It was almost 7:40 p.m. when He retired for the day.

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