Thursday, December 31, 2009


From: vama vamadevan
Date: Tuesday, 29 December, 2009, 14:07


Why do you worry without cause?
Whom do you fear without reason?
Who can kill you?
The soul is neither born, nor does it die.
Whatever happened,
happened for the good;
whatever is happening,
is happening for the good;
whatever will happen,
will also happen for the good only.

You need not have any regrets for the past.
You need not worry for the future.
The present is happening...
What did you lose that you cry about?
What did you bring with you,
which you think you have lost?

What did you produce,
which you think got destroyed?
You did not bring anything,
whatever you have, you received from here.
Whatever you have given, you have given only here.
Whatever you took, you took from God.
Whatever you gave, you gave to Him.
You came empty handed,
you will leave empty handed.

What is yours today,
belonged to someone else yesterday, and
will belong to someone else the
day after tomorrow.
You are mistakenly enjoying the thought
that this is yours.
It is this false happiness that is
the cause of your sorrows.

Change is the law of the universe.
What you think of as death,
is indeed life.
In one instance you can be
a millionaire, and
in the other instance you can
be steeped
in poverty.

Yours and mine, big & small
erase these ideas from your mind.
Then everything is yours and
you belong to everyone.
This body is not yours,
neither are you of the body.
The body is made of fire, water, air, earth and
ether, and will disappear into these elements.
But the soul is permanent - so who are you?

Dedicate your being to God.
He is the one to be ultimately relied upon.
Those who know of his support are forever
free from fear, worry and sorrow.
Whatever you do,
do it as a dedication to God.
This will bring you the
tremendous experience of
joy and life-freedom forever.

Thanks for Reading
and Honestly Trying to
Implement the same,
in your Day to Day Life.


An exploration into Hindu philosophical theories
K. S. Sivakumaran

During the tailend of last year I was literarily mesmerized in gaining new knowledge of the basic paradigm of the Hindu Philosophy as enunciated by a guru-like scholar in thamil literature and religion - the indomitable Kamabavaarathy Jeyaraj. This happening took place at the Sangarapillai Hall of the Kolumbu Thamil Sangam began on December 28. It will conclude on January 2. It was a series of exposition of a great work in Thamil called Thirukural codified and written by a Jain Thamilian during the post-Sangam period (roughly 3rdC AD - 6thC AD). It was organized by the Kolumbu Thamil Sangam.

What Jeyaraj did was not the customary explaining the meaning in the couplets (1330 in all), but he went deeper into the basics of the ancient religion Hinduism as described and formulated in the Vedas.

He had his own choice in determining the heads under which he would speak for two hours. Accordingly he chose the uniqueness in Dharma, Aram, Work, Iyal, Kural, Athikaram, Paal, Urai. The right equal term for the Thamil words is difficult to find in English. At least to me for the present. The first lecture was on the 'Varnachara Dharmam'. It was a presentation with clarity. It was a fresh look at the classification of the four kinds of population: Brahmins, Shashtrian, Vanikan and Choothiran. The nuances and the functions of each category of people were rationally analyzed by the speaker.

I am afraid I won't be able to retell what he said in a brief note like this.

Maybe we shall do that on a later occasion because it was too quick to assimilate beautiful ideas one after the other in eight consecutive days.

There were a large number of eagle listeners to listen to Kambavaarathy who is not an academic, but his methodology in presentation with his fluency in the language drawing allusions from related material was simply astonishing.

Kambavaarathy has travelled around the world with his Kudumbi (Konde) lecturing.

He is an authority on Kambar's Ramayana. Every year his Kamban Kalagam organizes many days of seminar on different aspects of the work of the 9th century poet Kamban. But of late he had engaged in literary criticism in the form of lectures.

Kambavaarathy comes from Yaalpaanam and was a student of Hindu College in that city. His team of enthusiasts was in the north for a long time serving the people in the peninsula in inculcating Thamil culture, religion and the arts. After moving to Colombo he has established his institution at Ramakrishna Lane in Wellawatta.

Many scholars and VIPs in Colombo patronize his cultural activities. Justice C. V. Wigneswaran, T. Easuwaran are few such people.

He has coached and trained people who have become academics.

Naturally there will be people, who would not like his interpretations, but Kamabavaarathy is irresistible and one wish to know more from him to form the correct stance one could take after listening to him.

He is only 52 years, but a senior citizen like me wished to be his student understanding the value of Thamil Literature and the Hindu religion.


Sithars of Sri Lanka
Thilaka V. Wijeyaratnam

In the District of Rmaanthapuram was a small state called "Perunaali". It was ruled by a king whose son was Govindaswamy.

Once there was an infectious disease in that small state and many died of it. At that time, two sanyasis were seen walking about the place. Nobody knew who they were. They went into homes where there was this affliction and begged for food. For fear of these "sanyasis" contacting the infection some of the people refused to give them food. The two "sanyasis" forced the householders to give them food and ate the food then and there. Those whose food the 'sanyasis' partook cured the terrible infection. This news spread far and wide. In fact these 'sanyasis' took upon themselves the disease and relieved the sick. When the king heard this he wanted to invite them to his palace and sent his son Govindasamy to bring them to the palace. Govindasamy went to the cottage in which the 'sanyasis' were and worshipped them. They embraced Govindaswamy with joy. One of those 'sanyasis' was none other than Periya Anaikutty Swamy and the other was Navanatha Swamy.

Reaching Colombo
Govindaswamy stripped himself of all his royal raiments and wore a loin cloth. He became their disciple and was known as Chitanaikutty Swamy. After going on foot to many shrines in India they turned their attention towards Sri Lanka. They asked a Chettiyar to buy three tickets. But only two tickets were available. So Govindaswamy was left behind. When their boat reached Colombo Harbour, there was a crowd to receive them and strange to say Govindaswamy was among them. The two 'sanyasis' were not surprised for they knew that their disciple was not an ordinary person. Navanatha Sithar left the other two and went his way.

Periya Anaikutty and Chithanaikutty were walking along with the other mendicants. Suddenly Periya Anaikutty Swamy asked his disciple to buy two tickets to Peradeniya. When they went by train to Peradeniya they saw Navanatha Sithar there. Navanatha Sithar had a cane. With that he tapped on his head and then he tapped on Periyanaikutty Swamy's head and then he tapped on Chithanaikutty's head. Symbolically he had indicated that he would attain Samadhi first and then Periyanaikutty Swamy followed by Chithanaikutty Swamy. Later Navanatha Sithar left for Nawalapitiya. The other two left for Colombo.

In Colombo Chithanaikutty Swamy was hovering around the hut of Eanamuthu who was a devotee of Periyanaikutty Swamy. He felt that Periyanaikutty Swamy had come close upon Samadhi state. He wanted to take him to Jaffna then. There were only a few days left for his Samadhi. So Chithanaikutty Swamy was always beside him. Suddenly one day his guru ordered him to go to Munneeswaram. When Chithanaikutty Swamy was there his guru attained Samadhi in Mutwal, Colombo. On that day while at Munneeswaram he saw an effulgence and he knew Periyanaikutty Swamy had attained Samadhi. He came to Colombo and stayed in meditation at the Samadhi for forty nine days. On the fiftieth day Periyanaikutty Swamy appeared in his dream and told him to go to Queensbury.

Navanatha Sithar attained the state of Samadhi in Queensbury. Before that he had told one Perumal Ammayar that Chithanaikutty Swamy would come and look after him. Chithanaikutty Swamy, went to the Samadhi of Navanatha Sithar and prayed there. Later he went to Perumal Ammayar's home and asked for alms. That lady gave him everything he needed to be comfortable there. Both at Queensbury and other estates around Swamy performed many miracles.

Mystical deeds
Chithanaikutty Swamy went to Kataragama and went to Hambantota and from there he went to Batticaloa. There he resided at the house of one Karthigesu - a superintendent who was a great devotee of Swamy. Swamy had a great liking for Swamy Vipulananda - the greatest son of Batticaloa soil. He was a religious, a poet and an erudite scholar. When Swamy Vipulanandar was suffering from paralysis, Chithanaikutty Swamy became ill and underwent the sufferings.

Swamy instructed his followers thus:

"Wake up early
Think of God as you get up
Abstain from tea and coffee.
Vegetarianism gladdens you.
Feed the hungry.
If you fail in your duty you cannot realise God.
Let there be the holy ash on your forehead.
Pray to God before retiring to bed."

These were considered as golden words by his devotees.


Swami Vethanthanantha to lecture on Bhagavad Geetha in Sri Lanka

All the religions, faiths, creeds and saints had come into this world with one objective - to remind man, the need to turn the inner spiritual relationship into a dynamic and living factor in one's own life.

Swami Vethanthanantha

Swami Vethanthanantha who is in-charge of Sri Sarada Brahma Vidya Kendra (Ooti Ashram), is presently in Sri Lanka to lecture on Bhagavad Geetha and various other religions discourses pertaining to 'Kambaramayanam', Mahabharatham, Periya Puranam and Thiruvasagam.

Swami Vethanthanantha who was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu obtained his Diploma in Textile Technology and Masters Degree (MA) from Madurai Kamaraj University and served as a textile engineer for nearly 10 years at Coimbotore.

Since he was very much inclined to spiritual matters, initially he entered Chinmaya Sandeepani Vidya Mandir (Vedanta Gurukulam) situated at Coimbotore and studied for three years mastering Bhagavad Geetha, Upanishad, Bramasutra and Tamil Vedanta scriptures.

On completion of his training at Chinmaya Sandeepani Vidya Mandir, he was posted as Achariya of Pollachi Ashram and there he served for 2 years. From there, he was posted to Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF). As he wanted to serve independently, he left Chinmaya Mission and joined Sri Sarada Brahma Vidya Kendra (Ooti Ashram). As Swamiji-in-charge of this Kendra, he conducted lectures on Tamil Vedanta scriptures and also he has established vedanta International Foundation which is now extended to Sri Lanka as Vedanta Mandram.

Swami Vethanthanantha's main aim is to make everyone to attain self realization and to serve mankind. His philosophy of life is to love all, to share with all, to give away everything without caring for his own comfort and conveniences and also without expecting anything in return and without any considerations of gain.

Swami Vethanthanantha's motto is to help all and to make them happy, cheerful and blissful. He says, "I live to serve you all. I live to help you all to destroy ignorance.

I live to make you all happy. Whenever people go to him in India with various problems they are facing, Swamiji never hesitates to see whether they are deserving or not. He helps them with all he can, to get over their problems.

Indeed, his method of teaching is to encourage people to think for themselves and to resonant and test for themselves and not to be bound by any blind belief. Swamiji says that the greatest contribution of the Geetha to modern society, apart from its priceless spiritual teachings, is its emphasis on work, dedicated work for the good of the society and the welfare of all the people.

Work without aiming at personal aggrandizement and with an eye only to the welfare of the community is the way of life taught in Bhagavad Geeta.

It lays emphasis on the dignity and sacredness of all work that falls to one's lost.

According to Swamiji "God is one. Follow any path that appeals to you with steadfast faith and try to experience Him."


Temples and sacred worship
Sivanandani DURAISWAMY

"Our whole world is a temple domed by a vast celestial heaven. Billions of stars follow the moon and pour themselves into the golden brilliance of sun-rise. The sun rises like a luminous lingam filling the solar system with its radiant light," says Suddhananda Bharati.

An ancient Shiva temple at Thiruketheeswaram

The beauty of the luminous lingam tinging the clouds with pink hues and bathing the sleeping world in that strange ethereal rosy glow, creates in man a sense of peace and harmony. The calmness that radiates from around and the extraordinary sense of stillness at that sacred hour creeps upon him. This magnificent beauty stretching across the sky moved the ancient rishis in their woodland hermitages on the banks of the holy Ganga, to prayer and meditation, singing the Gayatri mantram at the very dawn of civilisation itself - 'Let me contemplate the adorable splendour of Him who created the earth, the air and the starry spheres and sends the power of comprehension within our minds,' said Rabindranath Tagore. This has been the transcendental guiding light to humanity down the ages. It is an earnest prayer requesting for enlightenment, linking the present to the Vedic past. The past lives alongside the present giving the whole a gentle continuity and man even today is constantly seeking peace and happiness, despite all the tensions around him.

Places of worship provide man the rhythmic anthem of love and peace. These places are the temples referred reverentially by the Tamils as the koyil or aalayam. The koyil is the home of the Divine King, the Lord of the Universe and is a sanctum of peace and bliss. Dame Avvai, the grand old lady of the Sangam Age says, "aalayam tholuvadu saalavum nanru," it is good to worship at temple," and adds, "never live in a village where there is no temple."

The Hindu enshrines and worships the Almighty God in three places: firstly in his heart as the Antar-atman; secondly in his home as the revered household guest and lastly in the Royal Residence, the consecrated temple, as the Ruler of the Universe. The Hindu temple is thus one of the holy sanctuaries where man shares the precious moments of prayer with God. He attunes his own emotional self to noble and pure thoughts. The purpose of the temple is therefore to be near God, seek His love and to awaken greater love for him. Initially man worships God in His Personal form and as his love deepens, he begins to understand Him as pure Consciousness, Light and Love.

The religion and culture of the Hindus are centred on the temple. Being serene settings for music, song and dance, weddings and spiritual discourses, temples mirror the life of the people. Down the ages, these have been regarded as centres of excellence for the study of fine arts, sacred architecture, engineering, medicine and sociology.

The temple is likened to the body of man and the various sanctified acts within the temple have their significant parallel in our inner world of body and mind, "ullam perun koyil oonudambu aalayam," says Tirumular.

Modern research shows us that temples act as bridges linking both religion and science. Hinduism is viewed as a religion, which could be explained scientifically. As a philosophy it quenches the thirst for the knowledge of the Ultimate Reality and as a religion it is a link between God and man founded on faith and devotion and manifested through the various rites.

The belief in God is basic to the Hindu Religion and man needs the temple and images to guide his prayer and establish contact with Him.

Within the temple, God is worshipped physically and through the senses but in man's inner temple deep within, He is realised through the mind. "ennul eluparam sothi," He is not only the Soul of his soul, but is also the dweller in the holy shrine of Tirupperunturai - 'Tirupperunturai urai Sivane', sings Saint Manikkavasagar. These words guide one to seek God first in the temple and then with more prayer and meditation, within.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Religious Conversion as an Economic Enterprise..!!!

Religious Conversion as an Economic Enterprise

By R. Samarasinghe

Religious conversion has to be examined in its global context, because coerced conversion is not a spiritual but a political act with economic motives. So was colonization; though they said they came to civilize us! The so-called religious wars such as the Crusades were about wealth and dominance.

War is not an option any more because it is no longer economically viable. It can lead to expensive recurring conflict, and though beneficial to the Western military industrial complex, have negative political implications at home for the politicians. Therefore cultural hegemony achieved through conversion is an effective political and economic strategy.

The imposition of the belief of cultural superiority of the colonizer was particularly important in effecting social control of the colonized. It also underpinned their racial superiority firmly. This process, defined as hegemony enabled the wheels of capitalist system to move efficiently. The colonizers also created a comprador class, whom they educated, trained and some times christianized to continue their work when they eventually withdrew their military forces of domination. This class has completely internalized the idea of European cultural and racial superiority. Present new missionary activity is simply a readjustment of colonial strategy to suit the new global order.

The British colonizers had an existing developed literary and cultural tradition which they used to good effect through education, to create a tame brown elite in colonized countries; to carry out their policies. But in US, which later became the dominant capitalist state, religion provided the basis for social solidarity in place of a shared culture and it was but natural that they would use controlling forms of Christianity to establish hegemony over people they wished to dominate. This form of Christianity arose from Puritanism, a strict, narrow and literal interpretation of the Bible and has evolved into the present day Fundamentalism. Economically, religion has proved to be a cost-effective form of social control.

Fundamentalist Christian groups, funded mainly from America have continued to use religion as a weapon, funding ‘local’ groups to convert the ‘heathens’. They conduct a spiritual war using sophisticated, psychologically devised forms of mind control and aggressive marketing strategies using electronic media and incorporating them into proselytizing in India and Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia as well as Africa.

It is an attempt to retain economic dominance through cultural/religious hegemony in order to maintain control of valuable resources.

At these mass rallies for conversion they use religion as propaganda. The methods used in conversion are the same as those used in advertising and war fare. They attack the mind from several directions, breaking down the buyers’ or enemies’ resistance.

Buddhism which appeals to reason and focuses on disciplining the mind and promotes critical thinking stand little chance against this onslaught. There are many morally reprehensible methods used in conversion but only a few can be dealt with here.

One of the main techniques used by missionaries is to create a state of cognitive dissonance in their victims’ minds. That is, they would create doubts about the validity of their existing belief systems, at the same time offering some thing ‘far superior’ which would advance them materially and spiritually. The interpretation of reality offered by their original religions as well as the customs etc. will be shown to have less status and usefulness.

Holding two contradictory views at the same time would cause psychological tension, motivating the person to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs or behavious. Aggressive missionary activity would create dissonance and convince some, that their beliefs and culture was inferior; leading them to avoid this emotional tension or cognitive dissonance by changing them. The targeted would shift their allegiance to the spiritual colonizers and identify with them, while seeing the ‘natives’ and their religions through the missionaries’ interpretation.

At some of the prayer meetings where new recruits had been lured, they had been asked to bring a statue or picture of the Buddha or Shiva etc or a picture of the Pope. Then after the initial preamble of denigrating their religions, the recruits would be asked to smash the statue or tear and trample the holy pictures. This would create a situation of ‘no return’ spiritually. The prayer leaders are powerfully persuasive, similar to modern salesmen and use the vulnerability and weakness of the victims to their own advantage, so that they would be forced to conform with the group.

The idea of purifying one’s soul through confession and completely washing away one’s sins (total immersion baptism) has existed since early biblical times. Since man was ‘born of sin’ he had to be made ‘pure’.

During the Cold War, enterprising psychiatrists began to experiment with electric shock therapy and mind altering drugs on their patients. According to Naomi Klein, (The Shock Doctrine 2007), Dr. Ewen Cameron, who had been the president of the American Psychiatrist Association and later of the World Psychiatrist Association, rejected Freud’s talk therapy and began using electroshock therapy as well as a cocktail of newly discovered mind altering drugs to try to return the minds of patients to a state of tabula rasa, where the earlier personality was wiped out, so that he could reprogram them as he wished.

For example, the sheer volume of noise at one of these ‘prayer meetings’ shuts out thoughts and one has no choice but to listen to the magnified voice of the Pastor. His shouting and Halleluiahs are interspaced with loud religious pop music and shouting to Satan, Mahasona (a local demon) and related demons etc to leave forthwith! The confused patients allow manipulation through being stunned by the force of persuasion. Sometimes physical force is used to restrain them. Sometimes it is not only their freedom to think that is murdered but their bodies as well.

In the recent deaths that took place at one of these Evangelical Meetings in Viharamaha Devi Park, one of the women who subsequently died was tied up and isolated in a cage, and her father or relatives were forcibly prevented from accessing her. Thus isolated and intimidated by a screaming Pastor and a shouting and singing mass of unfamiliar people she had gone into shock, as they would have expected, and then they would have reprogrammed her, or ‘saved her soul’; but her body was not prepared for the violence imposed on it. It was a very public execution, all in the name of religion.

There are usually thousands at these conversion meetings and many who come due to sickness or poverty or helplessness are intimidated and coerced by the weight of sheer numbers. The total power of the presiding Pastor backed by the shouting, singing and praying congregation shocks the victims into compliance.

As anyone who reads the history of the Christian religion will know that it has a long history of torture and murder of those who reject their views.

According to Klein, Dr Cameron used what he called “input-overload” or use of six times the normal electroshock to change behavior.

Dr Cameron spoke of ‘wearing down of defenses’ and the ‘breaking down of the individual under continuous interrogation’. The label applied to ‘the enemy’ then was Communist, and now it is ‘infested by Satan’ which really mean non-believer. The word that is repeated again and again is “Jesus” so that Satan is driven out and that word replaces Buddha or Shiva etc. It is ‘shock and awe’ by other means.

Hitler and Mussolini used similar methods very successfully. For them the Satan was the non Aryan Jews and Slavs etc.

The conversions are a two pronged attack against society. They target the poor and vulnerable, because in a democracy numbers mean power, but they also hunt the vulnerable among the power elite. Here, they are able to manipulate the nation through internal interference with the machinery of power, subtly. They target the lonely or the bereaved and depressed among the rich and powerful and promise personal peace and of course salvation. The prayer group provides a substitute family to the lonely and the real family and community are gradually ripped apart.

The core of a culture is religion. The foundation of a nation is its culture. The loss of culture and religion weakens a people and naturally and instinctively we tend to react emotionally and irrationally when our way of life is threatened by alien forces. But in modern context this is not skillful. It is made out into an attack on freedom of choice and therefore a rights issue and also since ‘their’ right to ‘save our souls’ has been given to them by God. Our actions have to be justified through rational behavior and the use of law.

In acting like victims we become disempowered and taking the law into our own hands criminalizes us and makes them, into martyrs - which is what these Evangelists want; in order to obtain more funding from their donors. There is no accountability to the donors or the Government who is responsible for the people they prey on, as to how this vast amount of money is spent.

We are no longer fighting the Portuguese but sophisticated, well funded pseudo-religious organizations who use criminal methods against our society to re-colonize us again. Therefore we should use the law against them but, also ask ourselves why, with free education and free healthcare people still flock to these false messiahs.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Divine mission of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba...!!!

Divine mission of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Chandima DE SILVA

Millions of followers of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba around the world celebrated the birthday of this Divine Master on November 23. Sri Sathya Sai Baba was born on November 23, 1926 in a tiny, hilly, isolated village called Puttaparthi in the Anatapur District of the present Andhra Pradesh State of India.

Not only his father Sri Pedda Venkappa Raju but his grandfather Sri Ratnakaram Kondama Raju and one ancestor Sri Venkavadhoota too had been very pious, religious-minded people belonging to the Raju lineage of the Kshatriyas. The family had rich musical, literary and dramatical traditions. Sri Sathya Sai Baba's mother Srimati Eswaramma was also very religious like her mother-in-law Srimati Lakshmma. Sathya Narayana Raju, now known as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, or Swami to millions of his devotees, was the fourth child of Sri Pedda Venkappa Raju and Srimati Eswaramma.

In 1940, at the age of 14 Bhagavan declared His mission as "I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added lustre. I have not come to speak on behalf of any teaching, like the Hindu teaching. I have not come on any mission of publicity for any sect or creed or cause; nor have I come to collect the followers for any doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this Atomic principle, this path of love, this duty to love, this obligation to love."

Each day, hundreds of pilgrims make their way to Puttaparthi, the tiny hamlet in Southern India where Sri Sathya Sai Baba's ashram (spiritual headquarters) is located. They come not only from India but from virtually every country of the world. Over the years, followers have organized to foster the construction of a variety of buildings and facilities to house and otherwise accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors. The name of Sri Sathya Sai Baba's ashram is Prasanthi Nilayam, which means "abode of the highest peace".

Spirituality, according to Bhagavan Baba, is having the courage and determination to follow our conscience in all things and at all times. In doing so, we recognize that we are all united in God. We are bound together by divine love.

If we may quote Swami: "I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added lustre. I have come to tell you of this universal, unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of love, this duty of love, this obligation to love. Every religion teaches man to fill his being with the glory of God and to evict the pettiness of conceit. It trains him in the methods of non-attachment and discernment, so that he may aim high and attain spiritual liberation. Believe that all hearts are motivated by the one and only God; that all faiths glorify the one and only God; that all names in all languages and all forms man can conceive denote the one and only God. His adoration is best done by means of love. Cultivate that attitude of oneness between men of all creeds and all countries. That is the message of love I bring. That is the message I wish you to take to heart."

With the aid of many thousands of active service workers, Sri Sathya Sai Baba runs major humanitarian projects to help poor and suffering people in India and inspires and supports many others. All this work is done anonymously by members of the organization with no publicity or public fund-raising, which Swami strictly forbids. The Sathya Sai Seva Organization in India and other countries provides free services like village hygiene. sound basic education in human values and home industry etc. Outside India there are well over 1,000 Sathya Sai centres and many thousands more groups spread throughout the world where the organization is represented do selfless service, primarily for the direct benefit of the poor, for refugees, the homeless, the aged and many other kinds of needy and suffering people.

A most significant event for the population of a large part of the poor state of Andhra Pradesh was the inauguration on Sri Sathya Sai Baba's 70th birthday of the enormous Rayalaseema water project. In the presence of a crowd of about 200,000, the President of India officially started the turbines that opened this project, which brings a year-round water supply to each of over 750 villages and several towns in this day state that were often without any water previously, which lack caused much suffering.

Establishment of the most modern and spacious Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital in Puttaparthi could be undoubtedly described as a milestone in Swami's selfless service to humanity. All services at this hospital, including complicated surgeries, are done free of charge. Leading surgeons from Italy, USA, UK and India work gratis for the hospital. The infection rate at this hospital is reported to be 0.8 percent, which would be quite extraordinary even in Britain or the US. The mortality rate here is less than 2 percent, which is regarded as virtually unprecedented.

Already, more than a dozen Sathya Sai Colleges have been built in India, admitting several thousands of students annually. These are all run through private donations, as are numerous Sathya Sai schools, male and female colleges and one central university, the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. These institutions that offer school education and both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in many disciplines are regarded as foremost seats of learning in a number of Indian States.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba predicted many years ago, when it seemed incredible, that there will eventually be at least one major Sai College in each State of India. This unique education combines the highest technical and scholarly standards with the deposit moral education available anywhere today, requiring through personal commitment to universal truth and goodness in both word and action. Sai Schools and Colleges also exist in other countries, especially Thailand. Another Sathya Sai College in Zambia has been in existence for many years. This well-founded college teaches the unity of religions, charges no fees, is run on donations and serves children from low-income families with scholarships. Sai schools have also been started near Gothenburg, Sweden and in Odense, Denmark. It is worth mentioning here that the first Sri Sathya Sai School in Sri Lanka is presently operating in Manipai, Jaffna.

The Sathya Sai Education in Human values (SSEHV) for young people from 6 to 16 years of age and a trust for that purpose were inaugurated by Sri Sai Baba in 1981. SSEHV is a universal system of spiritual education, not bound specifically to any particular religion, sect, or other single system of moral belief. The five human values truth, right action (righteousness), peace (of mind), love and non-violence, which are the most universal ideals in all world cultures and form the essence of all religions form the basis of SSEHV. SSEHV provides for blossoming of these five human values that are dormant in every human being.

Bhagavan Sri Sai Baba has told His followers that, even though God is in everyone and everything. He is totally aware of His Divinity in a way which others are not.

The breadth and depth of spirituality in India's ancient culture, with its great tolerance and universality, is well reflected in the works and teachings of Sri Sai Baba. Whether Sri Sai Baba is the avataric incarnation of Vishnu come again to save the world from the crisis caused by its periodic decline in righteousness or whether Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is God in human form is a question of personal conviction, for no one can fully perceive and know the true nature of such omniscient and omnipresent divine incarnations.

In conclusion, let us quote Swami: "Service to man may deal with his physical or spiritual needs, but serving him by example is best of all. Do not be a bad example to your neighbours or family members. Be good and radiate goodness. In ancient times, when the education of the pupil was over, the teacher exhorted the pupil to speak the truth and observe righteousness. The truth must be spoken without hypocrisy or deceit; there must be no motive to injure. Acts must be regulated by the overall supremacy or righteousness.

"He is asked not to neglect the knowledge he has acquired but to ruminate on it and cultivate it by putting it into practice. Treat the mother as God; treat the father as God; treat the preceptor as God; treat the guest as God. These important declarations should be honoured. Give in reverence; give in plenty; give with modesty; give as to a friend; give without any thought of reward. Do not give ostentatiously. All has to be done with humility and reverence. Only then will these acts bring about cleansing of the mind, which is the main benefit to be derived from service."