Today, the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher
Learning is known everywhere and almost taken for granted.
Do you know how it all started? Here is that story, the story
of three colleges that were started one after another, and
were later fused into a University in a small village, when
experts declared that such a thing was impossible! What a
pity these learned people did not know about Sai Sankalpa
and the fact the word IMPOSSIBLE occurs only in the dictionary
the first college that Swami started was for women. He did
this in 1968, locating the college in the neighbouring town
of Anantapur, the District Headquarters. Once Swami starts
any activity, He must just 'get on with it'; He is not the
one to sit around and mull, letting grass grow under one's
feet, as they say. As Kasturi has noted, classes were started
in rented halls and hurriedly erected sheds so as to avoid
delay, even as the regular building was coming up. Finally,
after the buildings were ready, there was a glittering formal
inauguration on Gurupoornima Day, 1971 by the President of
India, with all the speech-making. On that occasion, Baba
is being forged into Bhogabhoomi [land of
luxury], a land of skyscrapers, tinned food,
air-conditioning, and television. Indians
are being shaped into an imitative, insurgent,
ill-disciplined mass. They are being transplanted
on other soils and encouraged to grow without
roots. This is an insult to the past and
a dangerous defiance of history. It is a
sacrilege on the history of Time, on the
sole purpose of the human body. That is
the reason I have decided that this College
be inaugurated on Gurupoornima Day, as a
reminder of the highest tradition, in which
the highest ideals of life were instilled
by personal example and guidance by the
Guru, to pupils eager to imbibe.
seed has been planted; it will sprout and
spread, heavy with fruits, providing shade,
security, and sustenance to all.
on the heels of the college in Anantapur, came the college
in Brindavan, Bangalore, which was for boys. After a modest
inauguration ceremony, classes were started in improvised
locations while the main building came up slowly. Over now
to Kasturi for a brief description of the inauguration.
On the Inauguration Day, the College looked spic and span
.. On 9th June, 1969, the Chief Minister of Mysore State,
Mr. Veerendra Patil had the honour of inaugurating the College.
.. Speaking on that occasion, Dr. V.K.Gokak, Vice Chancellor
of Bangalore University to which the College is affiliated
welcomed the new addition as "a gem in the crown of the
Bangalore University." [Later, Dr. Gokak became the Vice
Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.]
College would set the pattern for College
education, not only in the academic field
but also in the ethical and spiritual fields.
This is a College conceived, chiselled,
and completed by Baba's Love, Grace, and
Wisdom. Brick by brick, plank by plank,
He attended to every detail. It is a lesson
for all those who seek to do sincere service.
Swami usually spent several months in the year in Brindavan,
it was now very convenient for Him to be with students a good
part of the time, gently moulding them the way He wanted;
Kasturi gives us a glimpse of the process:
is no activity of the College in which Baba
does not evince interest, for He knows that
it is the atmosphere in which education
is imparted and imbibed that really counts.
Since the College and the Hostel are situated
within the compound [of Brindavan], Baba
walks in during the Prayer Session, presides
over Moral Instruction Lectures, and Himself
supplements the Instructor. He writes and
directs plays for the College Dramatic Society.
Often, He pats a student on the back, pulls
up a Lecturer who saunters in late, inquires
from a sluggard the percentage of marks
he secured at the monthly test, creates
a fountain pen or a watch for some diligent,
well-behaved boy about whom the Principal
gives a report that confirms His own opinion,
advises the Librarian about classification,
and generally moves about as the Guardian
Deity of the Institution.
was time now to turn to Puttaparthi, and in 1978, Baba started
the third College. By the beginning of the eighties, there
were three colleges, in Anantapur, in Bangalore and in Puttaparthi
respectively. Soon the time was ripe to fuse all these into
a University, and that step was taken in 1981. And now, a
Music College also has been added.
Swami compares His strategy for attracting
students with what Yasoda the foster mother of Krishna once
did. Yasoda was becoming a bit tired of Krishna's pranks and
the complaints from the villagers. So one day she decided
to catch Krishna and punish Him. But Krishna went into hiding.
To draw Him out, Yasoda said in a loud voice, "Krishna,
come here and see what I have in my hand. I have something
You like very much, butter. Come and get it!" Yasoda
no doubt had butter in her outstretched hand but in her other
hand, concealed behind her back, she held a stick! Swami says
that Yasoda wanted to first attract Krishna with butter and
then apply the stick! Baba adds that He first attracts students
with the prospect of earning a University Degree. Once they
are in, He leads them by the hand on the spiritual path!