Volume 11 - Issue 03
march 2013
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Posted on: Mar 19, 2013



A Conversation with Dr. Narendranath Reddy

part 04




The Role of Sai Alumni

RS: Where do you see the role of the alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning?

NR: I clearly remember an incident that happened 15 years ago at Brindavan. Swami called the Prasanthi Council members for a small session. We were blessed to have lunch with Him. During this time He mentioned that we should include the alumni in the organisation.

I once presented a report to Swami that showed the numbers and names of alumni in the U.S. Swami said they should join the Sathya Sai organisation. I always request them to do so. They are now slowly joining the organisation. Recently, they held an alumni meet, following which they sent me a report of their activities. It was a very nice meeting. I encouraged them to take active part in the mainstream organisation. Some of them are now serving as service and devotional coordinators.

83 USA - Sathya Sai Alumni Meeting at Dallas - Alumni Sharing Vidyavahini 83 USA - Sathya Sai Alumni Meeting at Dallas - Alumni Sharing Vidyavahini 83 USA - Sathya Sai Alumni Meeting at Dallas - Alumni Sharing Vidyavahini 83 USA - Sathya Sai Alumni Meeting at Dallas - Alumni Sharing Vidyavahini 83 USA - Sathya Sai Alumni Meeting at Dallas - Alumni Sharing Vidyavahini 83 USA - Sathya Sai Alumni Meeting at Dallas - Alumni Sharing Vidyavahini 83 USA - Sathya Sai Alumni Meeting at Dallas - Alumni Sharing Vidyavahini 83 USA - Sathya Sai Alumni Meeting at Dallas - Alumni Sharing Vidyavahini
Sai NAAM - Sai North American Alumni Meeting at Dallas, USA

However, I would like them to play a much more active part in the organisation, because they had the unique opportunity to have lived with God. They were exposed directly to Swami’s teachings and Swami’s love, so they can surely contribute much more.

Many devotees look up to the Sathya Sai students! That is a big qualification! Once they say they are graduates from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, they have a lot of respect! People look forward to their example. So, I think we should encourage more alumni to take a more active part in the organisation.

The Prasanthi Council & Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation

RS: As we are talking about the organisation, certain things that confuse many people are – what is the Prasanthi Council, and what is the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation (SSSWF)? What is the difference between them?

NR: The Prasanthi Council was created by Swami in 2004 as the executive body of the International Sai Organisation, running the day-to-day work of the organisation. But subsequently, in 2006, as per Swami’s instructions, SSSWF was started, which is a legal entity that takes care mainly of the legal and financial matters of the organisation.

  Dr. Narendranath Reddy
Dr. Narendranath Reddy in the studios of Radio Sai, 26 Nov 2012

For example, during the Haiti disaster, we needed funds to support relief efforts. The Prasanthi Council was not eligible to receive the donations, whereas the World Foundation, which is a U.S. registered charitable organisation, could receive the funds, which are tax-deductible for the donor.

Similarly, it also takes care of legal matters. SSSWF provides copyright permission for publications, books and audio-visual materials. It also provides legal guidance for trusts in different countries.

SSSWF from time-to-time forms ad hoc committees, which come up with guidelines that are implemented by the Prasanthi Council.

As stated earlier, the Prasanthi Council runs the day-to-day activities of the organisation across all spheres – devotional, service, educational and youth affairs. It is the executive, management and administrative body.

Mr. Gary Belz

RS: This brief but clear explanation is very helpful! We received news recently that from 23 November 2012, Mr. Gary Belz has been appointed as Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation. He was a founding member of the Clinton Global Initiative and served on the White House Task Force for South Asia during the Clinton years.

He is an eminent personality and has served on many boards, including the Board of Regents of Columbia College in Chicago and the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Memphis. He is also on the board of several music industry associations. It is heartening for everyone in the Sai fraternity to see a person of such experience take over as chairman of the World Foundation. How do you feel?

NR: Yes, it is wonderful! Everything happens in Swami’s time.

Mr. Belz is a well-rounded personality. He is a successful businessman and has political contacts with good initiatives for humanitarian projects. He was also instrumental in publishing the book, The Miracle of Pure Love, along with Prof. G. Venkataraman, which was released recently. It is a wonderful piece of work on Swami’s glory and mission.

The book, 'The Miracle of Pure Love' , a moving biography of Bhagawan Baba, authored by Prof. G. Venkataraman, being released by His Excellency E. S. L. Narasimhan, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh (first from left), on the morning of 24 April, 2012 . Mr. Gary Belz (first from right), the head of the team that helped in producing the three-volume book was present to offer the labour of love to Bhagawan.

Mr. Belz is very straightforward and humble. I look forward to working closely with him to help take the Sai movement forward.

Always Be a Yogi!

RS: As we hear all this good news, there is so much optimism around us. This is really something that will gladden every Sai devotee! In all your years of association with Bhagawan, there must have been some instruction by Him that you can never forget. When times seem low, we look out for something to hold on to – something that Bhagawan may have said or done for us. Is there anything like that you fall back upon?

NR: Yes, there is one message Swami gave to our family many years ago, which we contemplate on during our daily prayers.

  Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation
  Mr. Gary Belz with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

He said, “Satatam Yogi Nahah (Always be a yogi).” Be calm, cool and serene, unruffled by good fortune or bad. You are a puppet making motions and contortions according to the pull He gives to the strings. Be calm in speech and manners. Don’t inflict injury or insult on others and neither be affected by any adverse comments, remarks or deeds made by others, for everyone and everything is ordained by God. It is His sport, His play. So, enjoy it and be happy!

This is the message that I and my children and grandchildren remember daily. Once, on my birthday, my daughter made a nice print of this prayer, framed it and presented it to me, which I keep in front of me on my desk.

It may sound simple, but when we practice it, it gives us so much peace and joy.

RS: You handle so many important positions in the organisation, apart from your professional life. There must have been times when you are pushed to a corner. What is your mantra in times of adversity?

NR: For me, the mantra is, “Whatever happens, happens by God’s will, and this is for my ultimate good!” I go on repeating this. I trust Swami, accept whatever happens as His will and surrender to Him.

Balancing Spiritual and Secular Work

RS: How do you balance your time, energy and resources, juggling between your Sai work and your professional work? You have been travelling so much over many years for the organisation’s work. Has that affected your professional work in your hospital? How do you manage both?

NR: First, I believe, through experience, that when we do Swami’s work, He does ours! Swami Himself has said this many times.

01 Swami and Dr. Reddy  
Dr. Narendranath Reddy with Bhagawan in the interview room  

Swami says, “As long as you think that something is secular and something is sacred, you will never have peace of mind. Everything is divine work!” So, whatever I do – taking care of my family or my patients, or organisational work or even mundane activities – I consider every work as God’s work. Then work becomes worship.

As you mentioned, I travel often. My patients complain, “Doctor, you are going off again on vacation!” But they are happy when I share with them these wonderful service projects and my participation. Then they say that I must go more often! That shows that when I do Swami’s work, He helps.

The second thing is that as a doctor, when you go out of town, some other physician has to take care of your patients. Whenever any doctor covers your practice when you are gone (and if you go out too often), they would not like to do this extra work and hence expect you to cover them when they go out.

But by Swami’s grace, He has provided me a doctor who says, “Dr. Reddy, whenever you go, tell me, and I will take care of your patients.” And he has been doing it for many years! People are puzzled. This shows that Swami is stepping in for me!

Every Thursday we have Sai centre meetings in our house, and people know that they are my highest priority. Other meetings and hospital duties also do not interfere with our Sai centre meetings as they get cancelled or postponed. It shows that if you really have a commitment for Sai work, Swami will make it happen! That is what I have seen from my personal experience. We need to give our highest priority to Swami in our lives. So, Sai first, All others next and I myself last (SAI).

Moving Moments with the Lord

RS: You are right, sir! As we conclude, can you share a few beautiful moments that you have had with Swami? You have had almost 60 years of association with Him. There must be so many moments that are indelible…

  76 Dr. N Reddy with his parents and wife - Dr. Adivi Reddygari, Mrs. Chellama, Dr Hyma Reddy
  Dr. Reddy, his parents and wife at the divine lotus feet

NR: One thing I can share is Swami’s protection, love and omnipresence. An incident happened about 10–12 years ago in Arcadia, California, where we live. My parents live with us. One morning my father started having convulsions. Fortunately, in the U.S., when you call the ambulance, the paramedics come within 5 minutes.

My mother, naturally, panicked and didn’t even want to come to the scene, but she went to the puja room and held on to Swami’s padukas tightly and prayed, “Swami! Please save my husband!”

We took my father to the hospital. The neurologists suspected a brain tumour, because usually elderly people get convulsions due to a tumour in the brain. But by Swami’s grace, he recovered in 24 hours and after two days was discharged home.

After few months, I came to Prasanthi Nilayam and expressed my gratitude to Him: “Swami, You saved my father. My mother is very grateful, and she wanted me to thank You.”

Swami said, “What can I do? Your mother was holding on to My feet so tightly. She was not leaving Me. So, I had to take care of him!” That brought tears to my eyes. When He says, “I am with you, above you, behind you...,” it is a fact that He is with us! It is a very reassuring thing to know that He takes care of us wherever we are.

RS: I would like to share an interesting feedback we received from one of our listeners some time ago, and he happens to be your father – an email from Dr. Adivi Reddy, who is 92 years old. He says, due to his advanced age and poor health, he is unable to move about; he is stuck to his bed the whole day. Thus, he is not able to move about and reach for books.

70 Dr Adivi Reddy and Dr Narendranath Reddy 70 Dr Adivi Reddy and Dr Narendranath Reddy 70 Dr Adivi Reddy and Dr Narendranath Reddy 70 Dr Adivi Reddy and Dr Narendranath Reddy 70 Dr Adivi Reddy and Dr Narendranath Reddy 70 Dr Adivi Reddy and Dr Narendranath Reddy 70 Dr Adivi Reddy and Dr Narendranath Reddy 70 Dr Adivi Reddy and Dr Narendranath Reddy
(left) Dr. Adivi Reddy listening to Radio Sai; father and son shine in His love

But six months ago a system was set up near his bed, and he is now able to hear Radio Sai, 24 hours a day. He says life has become very easy for him. He says, “I am able to enjoy all the programmes happening across the globe, while lying on my bed throughout the day.” That’s a heartening message!

70 Dr Adivi Reddy and Dr Narendranath Reddy  
Dr. Adivi Reddy at his residence in the US and (right) one of the books authored by him  

NR: Yes, my father, Dr. Adivi Reddy, is a great scholar. He wrote a series of books on Swami’s teachings, titled Sai Nava Ratna Maala, within a course of six months! To write even one book, it takes so long, but he wrote nine books within such a short time! Swami blessed and released the series during the 75th birthday celebrations of Bhagawan. He was an avid reader, but now due to his physical limitations, Radio Sai is his source of solace.

Radio Sai is doing an amazing work. It touches the lives of so many devotees around the world. Radio Sai runs continuously in our home.

I congratulate all of you for this wonderful service that you are doing!

RS: Your ideas and suggestions on how to make this service better are always welcome. We just hope that more and more people listen to this, because the whole purpose of Radio Sai is to enable people to listen to Bhagawan’s message! And if that happens, there is nothing greater and more heartening for us!

NR: I have heard about an ardent senior devotee who was dying of brain cancer. Swami had sent her a message that during her last moments she needn’t do anything – just listen to bhajans and Swami’s discourses on Radio Sai.

I used to tell my mother the same thing; she passed away in January 2012. I used to tell her just to listen to bhajans and Swami’s discourses. Now my father is listening to Radio Sai all the time. This itself is a great sadhana. Radio Sai is helping a lot of people. It is wonderful!


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