XXX Convocation of SSSIHL…

Secular education is for happiness in the mundane world and spiritual education is for happiness in the other world, echoed Bhagawan, The Founder Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning this morning in Sai Kulwant Hall on the occasion of 30th annual Convocation of SSSIHL, a deemed university.

Unique, imparting free education promoting human values with spiritual orientation, Sri Sathya Sai Institute has been the beacon of hope for a new world order, engendering thousands upon thousands of students for the past three decades, ever since its inception.

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was instituted in the year 1981 to provide value based education, absolutely free of cost, and has the unique distinction of being one of the very few institutions that impart emphasis on total value based education.

Besides education, the students are taught human values, morality and spirituality with the five cardinal human values of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa being the backbone of all teachings. The Institution has three campuses, a Women’s Campus in Anantapur set up in the year 1968, Men’s Campus at Brindavan in Whitefield, Bangalore set up in 1969 and the Men’s Campus at Prasanthi Nilayam set up in 1981. This institution has the unique distinction of being accorded Double Plus Level Higher Rating (Highest Grade) certification by the National Accreditation and Assessment Council.

This morning’s function commenced at 1030 hrs. with the Institute Brass Band leading the procession from Yajur Mandir. Following prevalent pattern a student carried the Scepter on one side while the Registrar carrying the Ceremonial Mace.

The dais, the Seat Of The Divine Chancellor, was arranged in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum with the chief guest to the convocation, former vice chancellors, academicians, members of the academic council and other officials taking their respective seats on either side.

Ceremonial Veda chanting followed. Submitting himself at His Lotus Feet, Vice Chancellor, Prof. J. Sashidhara Prasad prayed to the Founder ‘Divine’ Chancellor to declare the convocation open. To the delight of a capacity audience, Divine Chancellor’s beatific voice rung in the air…”I Declare The Convocation Open…” and the assembly went into rapturous applause.

Exuding confidence that Bhagawan is watching the entire proceedings, the Vice Chancellor reiterated the Institute’s resolve to work towards fulfilling Bhagawan’s mission following His set ideals. Making a mention about the unavailability of the current Chancellor, Justice (Retd.) PN Bhagavati, owing to ill-health, he extended a cordial welcome to the entire assembly into the morning’s function.

Giving a brief account of the Institute’s rare achievements in the academic front, Prof. Prasad introduced the Chief Guest to the Convocation, Prof. P. Balaram, Director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore reading out his colourful profile.

Graduates for the year were presented to the Founder Chancellor followed by the Institute Oath, that was administered to the students by the Vice Chancellor. The Oath reads: “I hereby solemnly declare and promise that if admitted to the degree duly recommended I will in my thought, word and deed, support the cause of sound learning, morality and spirituality, all round welfare of my countrymen and fellowmen.”

Gold medals to various degrees were presented to the students by the Vice Chancellor. Twenty two students were presented with various gold medals for academic excellence, instituted in honour of distinguished personalities.

Chief Guest’s Convocation address followed: Referring to the invitation and the ongoing function, the reputed scientist conceded that it is for the first time that he was facing a crowd of this magnitude as otherwise, being a scientist, he would often spent his time in laboratories. Quoting Bhagawan at the outset, he hailed the Institute as a unique one that evolved over three decades under Bhagawan’s guidance, with discipline as its hallmark. Being a scientist the chief guest’s address was with more of a rational touch, speaking mainly about science and engineering.

Elucidating on the subject, how to become successful, the learned speaker stressed on the need to work hard, irrespective of failures. Failure is a common phenomenon, but one should treat the same with equanimity, said the speaker dwelling upon the rags to riches story of world-famous author of Harry Potter fame JK Rowling.

Illuminating students on the success story of Rowling, quoting from her commencement address at Harward, titled ‘The Fringe Benefits Of Failure, And The Importance Of Imagination”, the chief guest stressed on hard work and imagination as vital chords leading to success. What she feared most was not poverty, but failure.

Failure is a common phenomenon and one has to treat it with equanimity, said the speaker inspiring the young students with the success story of JK Rowling to become one the world’s richest and celebrated personality. Bringing his convocation address to a close, Prof. Balaram wished the students from SSSIHL to reach the pinnacle of success by adhering to discipline, commitment and hard work.

This was followed by the Benedictory Address by the Founder Chancellor, the video of which was played on LED screens, echoing entire Prasanthi Nilayam.

Speaking about the importance of secular education, Bhagawan stressed on the need on the part of students to introspect, to know the true self. Science has limitations, and the real knowledge lies beyond science, that illumines us about creation, existence and dissolution. Science has no effect without spirituality and there lies the importance of self-enquiry, exhorted Bhagawan.

Mother and Motherland are forgotten today. Highlighting on the increasing trend of seeking ‘paradise’ abroad, Bhagawan questioned the young mind’s trend to go abroad without serving Motherland. One should serve Motherland with all his energy. Being educated one must face the battle of life with courage and valour and emerge victorious. Students should realise the sacredness of this great country, Bharat.

Advising the students to discharge their duties sincerely, Bhagawan promised to take care of their requirements. The degree I confer on you is related to Atmananda, that is Educare. Laziness is rust and dust; realisation is best and rest. Be prepared to proceed along the path of self-realisation, exhorted Bhagawan ending His Benedictory Address.

National Anthem was sung followed by Mangala Arathi at 1140 hrs. before the University Band retreated leading the procession back to Yajur Mandir.