Volume 15 - Issue 07
July 2017
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Posted on: July 25, 2017

A Tribute to Mr V Srinivasan

Former Trustee, SSSCT and Former All India President, SSSSO

A few months back, the 8th of May 2017 to be precise, a member of Team Radio Sai was in the city of Chennai in his personal capacity to attend a solemn ceremony. It was the funeral of Mrs. Vidya Srinivasan, the wife of Mr. V. Srinivasan (who was referred to fondly as AIP, ‘All India President’ of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations - even after he quit that role as he had served Swami in that capacity for a number of years). She was past 75 and her husband was nearly an octogenarian. But that did not stop him from warmly expressing his gratitude to all who had come for the funeral. He shook hands with Prakash and personally ensured that he was comfortable.

“My sincerest condolences, deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers sir...”

With a contemplative smile, AIP responded, “It is all His will. After four decades of getting the opportunity to work for Him, I have realised that it is not an exaggeration when they say that not a blade of grass moves without Divine Will.”

Later, after the ceremony, Mr. Srinivasan spoke his heart out with our team member.

“I have so much to do...”

“You have done a lot for Swami sir...”

“No! People are very kind because of Bhagawan’s love and grace. But that doesn’t mean I can be lenient on myself...”


Picking up the Sutra Vahini book that was on the table beside where he was seated, Mr. Srinivasan continued,

“Lifetimes are not enough to understand Swami’s love and teachings. I am reading all the while now. See, I have even underlined important points for me to understand and put into practice. Swami has done so much for me. I hope I can do something at least for Him. But then, that too is His decision and will.”

Prakash was moved by his humility. The 70s and 80s are years when one is way past one’s prime. But it was in such an advanced age that the man who sat beside him had taken the lead in organising a unique, first-of-its-kind and highly successful Sai Symphony orchestra during the 90th Birthday celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Prasanthi Nilayam. Such was its impact that the historic Stadhalle Wuppertal organised a repeat performance of the same in May 2017 to promote ‘cross-cultural unity’ through music. The performance received a standing ovation. Prakash was there in Germany to witness this thunderous applause and that made him admire the humility and greatness of Mr. V. Srinivasan as he continued,

“Prakash, I am a firm believer in the principle of cosmic timing. I believe that each one of us has a preordained moment for coming to Bhagawan and a moment to return to Him, a moment willed and stipulated in the Divine Timetable, unknown to ourselves.”

In the early hours of the morning of 25 July 2017, the moment to return to Swami’s lotus feet arrived for Mr. V. Srinivasan. As he peacefully attained the very feet that he had served so long, he left behind the fragrance of a legacy that is sure to inspire thousands of spiritual seekers and lovers of the Lord.

He met Swami at the house of the late Mr. Tarapore, a great devotee of Bhagawan in the 1970s. With burning eagerness bordering on audacity, he asked Him several questions. The patience and love with which Swami replied to him bowled him over and he decided to pledge his heart to this lovable being in orange. In no time, Swami had influenced every aspect of his life including his business. He was the Founder Chairman of the WS Industries. For Mr. Srinivasan then, business was a domain where functioning with a scrupulous awareness of values was not regarded highly. But under Swami, he began to consider his work as his worship and duty as God. Those work ethics and morality that he practised seeped into the Indian business environment as well because Mr. Srinivasan rose rapidly up the career ladder. He served as the National President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in 1990-91 and also as a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), USA.

But Swami had much bigger roles and plans for him. It started rather innocently during Bhagawan’s visit to Ooty in 1981. Mr. Srinivasan too had accompanied Swami there. Desirous of ensuring blessings for his family, he placed a trunk call (no STD telephone was available then) to his wife in Kodaikanal, asking her to come over to Ooty. That evening, Bhagawan sprung a surprise by saying,

“We will go tomorrow to Kodaikanal.”


Little did Mr. Srinivasan know that this would be the beginning of Bhagawan’s great saga of taking students annually to Kodaikanal where they would live with the Avatar for weeks and imbibe the way of life from Him. In 1981 however, Mr. Srinivasan welcomed Swami into his an antediluvian specimen of a house with old bathrooms and bedrooms. Swami stayed there for 10 days, having bhajans by the fireplace and granting darshan for the few dozens of devotees who came there. Swami even joked about the creaking doors saying,

“Not only the people and the family of Srinivasan sing, even the doors here sing!”

Soon, Mr V. Srinivasan found himself being appointed as the All India President of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, a role that he functionally held for several decades and was sentimentally associated with till his very end. He worked tirelessly, touring the length and breadth of the country, applying the principles of Seva (that were most dear to Swami’s heart) in a manner that suited the place best. It was under his leadership that Swami initiated and executed the massive Sri Sathya Sai Village Integrated Programme or the SSSVIP all over India. When Bhagawan decided to bless the flood-ravaged state of Odisha with a massive housing project, once again, it was Mr. V. Srinivasan who announced and toiled for the project in collaboration with several others. Swami also appointed him as a Trustee of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, a position he held during the difficult times post 2011 till Bhagawan’s 91st Birthday, when he announced his voluntary retirement from the post.

It is very evident that Mr. V Srinivasan had Swami’s trust completely. It is with goose bumps that one recalls his miraculous experience in the late 1990s. Mr. Srinivasan was to go on a ‘flying work-visit’ to Chicago to attend a meeting. When he sought Bhagawan’s blessings, Swami assured him of success and then commanded,

“On your way back, stop in such and such a place and meet this particular person.”

Without having the slightest clue about what it was, Mr. Srinivasan did as he was told, taking a detour flight of 14 hours to reach the particular gentleman in the wee hours of the morning. The gentleman was in a very sour mood and was further irritated when Mr. Srinivasan seemed to have no agenda at all. But then, he said,

“I have come here because Swami asked me to come and see you. I have no message other than this.”

The gentleman relapsed into dead silence and got into a very sombre mood before revealing a gun that he had hidden in one of his socks.

“This is a fully loaded revolver. And I want to tell you that just tonight I was going to shoot myself. Bhagawan knew what I was going to do. That’s why He has asked you to come and see me.”

A few weeks later, the gentleman presented himself before Swami in Chennai where he was severely reprimanded by the Lord who used Mr. Srinivasan as a translator. Mr. Srinivasan sincerely did the job. He was an effective instrument of Swami - be it for showering Divine Love or the Divine Discipline.

That possibly marks the greatness of a devotee’s life - where one has no will of one’s own and is ready to allow the Lord to work through him. Mr. V. Srinivasan was one such instrument who was used by Swami for several projects - worldly and divine. And today, as the Lord decides to reward one effective instrument with a resting place at His lotus feet, the Sai fraternity (along with many others whose life were touched by Mr. V. Srinivasan in his professional capacity) will miss his sage advice and inextinguishable passion for the Mission Divine.

Many tributes are sure to flow but the greatest tribute to Mr. V. Srinivasan's life will be the pat of Divine Appreciation that he received as he returned to his Bhagawan.


Tribute from Mr Nimish Pandya, All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation

A good heart has stopped beating, a good soul has ascended to heaven, a mighty leader has merged at the Lotus feet of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. An ardent devotee, a true exemplar, a loving Uncle to most of us, Mr. V. Srinivasan has moved ahead in his spiritual journey.

  Sri Nimish Pandya

Just three days back, when I was on the tour of State of Tamil Nadu, Mr. V. Srinivasan despite his frail health, attended the Tamil Nadu State Conference at Chennai and addressed the delegates of the Conference. His only prayer to all was “Transform yourself to transform the world”. Indeed Uncle Srinivasan, as I lovingly called him, was a true practitioner of the teachings and message of Bhagawan.

Even after stepping down from the post of the All India President of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, India and Trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, he spent his days contemplating and planning how to further spread the Message of his Beloved Lord and Master.

To his credit, goes the planning of the Symphony presented by more than 125 musicians drawn from all parts of the world. At Wuppertal in Germany, where the last event was held on 28th May, 2017, the end of the show saw 15 minutes of standing ovation forcing the main artistes to come back on stage thrice. Such was the glory and grandeur of the event planned by Mr. V. Srinivasan.

As if that was not enough, on my last visit to his residence at Chennai on Friday last, he disclosed to me his great desire to produce a film on the Life and Message of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He even requested me to find a Director from Hollywood, who will take up this project. He directed Mr. Chalam, the State President of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana States to provide space in Shivam at Hyderabad for a Data Centre.

On Saturday last, when he attended the Tamil Nadu State Conference, he spoke as if he knew that was his last meeting with Office Bearers, he poured out his heart and stated “Today, I am happy to state that my successor is far better than even me”. Indeed, a man humble to the core. A true leader and visionary of his times!

Uncle, we will, really miss your guidance and advice!

Nimish Pandya
All India President
Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, India



Tribute from Dr Narendranath Reddy, Chairman, Prasanthi Council, Sathya Sai International Organisation

Dear Brothers and sisters

Om Sri Sai Ram.


I learnt today that long-time devotee Sri V. Srinivasan has merged with our Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on 25th July 2017 in Chennai. On behalf of the Sathya Sai International Organisation, with love and humility, we pay tribute to Sri V. Srinivasan, an exemplary devotee of Swami who dedicated his life to serving Him and doing His work.

Sri Srinivasan was fortunate in playing an important role in the Avatar’s mission as a leader in Sai organisations. Having come to Swami 47 years ago, he served as the All India President (AIP) of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation (SSSSO), as well a Trustee of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher learning and Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust. Sri. Srinivasan was a well-known industrialist and the Chairman of W.S. Industries.

Even after losing his wife, another exemplary devotee, a few months ago, he continued to serve Swami and the Sai organisations – both in India and abroad. We gratefully remember his contributions to the World Conferences, SSE Conferences and Youth Conferences of the Sathya Sai International Organisation and I had the good opportunity to work closely with him. His attention to detail was impeccable. Sri V. Srinivasan will also be remembered for sponsoring the Sai Symphony Orchestra performances, both in Prasanthi Nilayam and in Wuppertal, Germany – to spread the universal message of Bhagawan through the medium of music.

On a personal note, my wife and I were fortunate in knowing both Sri V. Srinivasan and his wife, Smt. Vidya Srinivasan well for several decades. I worked with him closely on many aspects of the work of Sathya Sai organisations in India and abroad. Even a few weeks ago, I talked with him about the possibility of taking the Sai Symphony Orchestra to other countries to share their musical tribute to the life of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Sri V. Srinivasan will be missed by many. We pray to Swami to give his soul permanent peace. Please convey our sincere condolences to his family, friends and the Sai fraternity. May our loving Lord Sathya Sai also give strength to his family and friends to bear this great loss.

Jai Sai Ram. Lovingly in the Service of Sai,

Narendranath Reddy, M.D.
Chairman, Prasanthi Council
Sathya Sai International Organisation



Cool As A Cucumber

- A Tribute by Ms Karuna Munshi, Director, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini

I thought my year had a great start because on January 9, 2017 I found myself recording a marathon interview at the Radio Sai studio in Sundaram, Chennai. My guest was the distinguished, senior member of the Sai family, Mr. V. Srinivasan or Uncle VS as I called him.


Given the fact that his wife Mrs. Vidya Srinivasan (Aunty Vidya to me) was not keeping good health, Uncle VS had not been traveling out of Chennai more than when absolutely necessary. Luckily his classy residence Sai Srinidhi was just a stone’s throw from Sundaram, the Sathya Sai mission headquarters in the city of Chennai where Radio Sai has a studio. It was not the first time I was having the honour of recording a conversation with Uncle VS. But it was the very first time he had conceded to our request to share his personal journey to and with Bhagawan Baba. Earlier interviews focussed primarily on organisational and policy matters.

On that surprisingly pleasant Chennai morning of January 9, he came in, dressed as neatly as ever, with his usual air of grace and class. His helper brought the oxygen cylinder to the studio which he used in between the three long sessions of recording. Other than those few moments, when he hooked himself to the machine nonchalantly, it was business as usual for him and the business was revered Swami and the divine Sai mission. I was well-aware that this interview could potentially be of historic significance, coming as it was from a person who had served the Sai mission for decades in various important positions, including as the All India President of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation and a Trustee of the Central Trust at Prasanthi Nilayam. Little did I know that it would assume such historic significance within seven months!

I was not surprised when I saw him come prepared with notes, as I always had found Uncle VS to be a perfectionist with meticulous attention to detail. As we got into the conversation, I witnessed an emotional side of him which rarely surfaced in any of our earlier recordings. There was a sense of urgency in his tone to share his story. What was even more touching was the recurring refrain to remain loyal to the lotus feet of our beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I also sensed an undercurrent of detachment to outcomes of his lifetime of involvement with the Sai mission. He shared with me some amazing stories and flashbacks off the record as well. I will cherish them forever. He spoke tenderly of his mother who raised him with great love as her only son and his father who taught him discipline by example. My personal favourite in his recall was how appreciating he was of his wife, Aunty Vidya Srinivasan’s contribution in his life. I found that pleasantly refreshing coming from a person who was of my father’s generation.

Today, in hindsight, I feel Bhagawan Baba blessed me with the honour of recording the interview that is now a six-part Sai history lesson for posterity, and I feel humbled and grateful for the opportunity. It has taught me much, as has knowing Uncle VS and working with him over the past 8 years.

Bhagawan’s sense of timing is so precise that Radio Sai aired all parts of that interview before the passing on of Aunty Vidya on May 8, 2017. I remember Uncle VS informing me that both of them had listened to most of the episodes together. That gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart for which I remain grateful to the Master of Time and Space, and the Executive Producer of all that happens at Radio Sai, our Master Scheduler – Beloved Swami.

My first introduction to him was through my boss at Radio Sai in 2009. Prof. G. Venkataraman introduced me to Sri V. Srinivasan by email in connection with two special supplements on Bhagawan Baba and His divine mission that The Times of India group was to release. I was part of a small team that worked on the project. The first issue was released on Ugadi or Telugu New Year’s Day in 2010 and the second one on the eve of the 85th birthday.

As we were debating on the appropriate title for the first special supplement, it was Uncle VS who came up with the winning answer – Beacon of Love. I remember his attention to detail and his availability for any information I needed for the two issues. As I worked closely and quietly under his supervision, he didn’t say much about my work except that I wielded a mean pair of scissors when it came to editing for clarity and brevity. Coming from him, I took it as a compliment.

As the deadline for the second supplement – ‘The Universal Sai’ was fast approaching, I recall calling him in panic one evening because one of the stories was hard to fit within the limited column space available for it. To me every bit of information seemed important and I had already slashed it generously wielding my meanest pair of scissors. He responded to my distress call rather calmly and asked me to wait in my office. Few minutes later, he came over to Radio Sai, sat at my desk, looked the story over with his laser vision and just called out a few paragraphs to be deleted. What remained was a tighter story that still captured the essence of the topic, without any jumps or gaps in the flow of ideas and yet fitted just right within the prescribed space. I was awe-struck by his incisiveness, speed and efficiency.


Of all the finer moments of learning that I experienced in his company, the one that stays with me as my personal favourite was when he addressed a scathing press conference from a vile set of media persons in the aftermath of the Maha Samadhi. The venue was the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre for Sports (Indoor Stadium). A ludicrous set of yellow journalists and all major news networks with Outdoor Broadcasting vans had descended upon Puttaparthi. All sorts of rumours and innuendoes were flying around and the mood was hardly cordial. During those unsettling moments, the questions hurled at the panel were more like attacks and accusations that left me infuriated even though I sat as a mute spectator to the exercise. Yet, I could not help but admire the poise, calm, clarity, logic and humility with which Uncle VS responded and thereby significantly neutralised the bitter mood prevailing in that hall. I remember sending him a message of congratulations immediately after for playing it like a pro by staying ‘cool as a cucumber’. I find myself needing to fall back on that lesson quite often.

The fairly long conversation I had with him after the passing on of Aunty Vidya gave me a peep into his ability to handle pain and loss with a sense of serenity and acceptance. More recently, when I called him to invite him to an upcoming family event, he blessed me profusely for my new role at Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini. I was pleasantly surprised as I was yet to make up my mind about it then. And he assured me of his participation in our family celebrations. What did not amaze me was when the manager at the venue of the upcoming festivities informed us that a person had visited the site to check the possibility of hooking up an oxygen tank at the venue for a guest who is planning to attend the occasion and needed one. Such advance and meticulous planning, commitment to honour a promise… I just knew it had to be my cool as a cucumber Uncle VS. How I will miss him…!

Karuna Munshi
Team Radio Sai
Director, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini


Reflection and Reverie of Mr V Srinivasan





Radio Sai Team

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