The Sathya Sai International Organisation was founded in the 1960s by Sathya Sai Baba, represented here by the authors: Ramesh Sawant, Member, National Advisory Council, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations; and Dr. Shashank Shah, Alumnus, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
In the last 50 years of Shri Narendra Modi’s active public life, the first 25 were dedicated to silent service, grassroot engagement, and cultural integration. In those decades, he spent a night in 500 of the 600 districts of India. Such local connect, awareness and understanding of India and its people is rare. It is this exposure and training that helps him connect with people belonging to different regions, religions, languages, and cultures with equal ease. It is this understanding of the pains and problems of the people at the base of the economic pyramid that has influenced his priorities as the leader of India’s 130-crore people. Whether Sanitation or Drinking Water, Affordable Healthcare or Inclusive Finance, all policies have a direct impact on those living at the fringe of the society. Those who have benefitted from such projects appreciate and admire his leadership and concern.
An important contribution to his personality and thought processes during the years he spent as an ordinary citizen travelling across India was his interactions with saints, sages, and spiritual masters. A powerful inspiration among them was Sri Sathya Sai Baba. During an interview he gave to Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations in 2012, while serving as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Modi fondly recalled his interactions with Baba from the 1970s and 1980s. He underscored the special love and grace he received from Baba during the very first meeting, and the dozens of interactions in the subsequent decades – whether at Brindavan (Whitefield), Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi), Chennai or Delhi. These were filled with motherly love, affection, and fondness.
During many of them, there was hardly any conversation. But Shri Modi believed that these interactions were meant to consistently inspire him that he was progressing in the right direction. On some of these occasions, Baba would give gifts to those who came with Shri Modi, but not to him. He would then smile at him and say, ‘Do you know why I don’t give you anything? Do you know where you are?’ And then Baba would take his hand and put it on his heart and say, ‘You reside in my heart!’ A specific question that Shri Modi would ask Baba would be, ‘How do you have so much self-confidence to say that the future of India is very bright.’ In response Baba wouldn’t say anything but look deep into his eyes and smile. This experience would give him the confidence that India’s future is very bright, and that this nation will lead the way for the world. Today, when the country is among the world’s leading economies, a trailblazer in several spheres, and is taking giant strides across sectors and industries through a commitment to innovation and excellence, those convictions are becoming visible manifestations.
Shri Modi often admires the outstanding discipline and services of the Sathya Sai Organisations under Baba’s direct and personal leadership for the benefit of the masses. As once mentioned by his political mentor, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Prasanthi Nilayam, ‘Baba elevated selfless service as the means to spiritual emancipation’. The Vedic ideal of ‘Sarvajan Hitaya, Sarvajan Sukhaya’ has been the watchword of the Sathya Sai Mission. Whether it is the Sathya Sai Educational Institutions that blend secular and spiritual education and nurture over 50,000 youth in 25 states; whether it is the Sathya Sai Healthcare Institutions that have provided free world-class tertiary level healthcare to more than 50-lakh patients; or whether it is the Sathya Sai Drinking Water Supply Projects that have benefitted nearly 1.5-crore Indians in three states in just a dozen years. Each of these have nurtured the ideal of ‘Service to Humanity is Service to God’.
We believe that it is this vision of India’s rich tradition of spiritual personalities that inspires the discipline, focus on youth and needy, and commitment to Bharat’s culture and millennia-old heritage in Prime Minister Modi. Whether Ayushman Bharat or Atmanirbhar Bharat, Water Mission or Digital Mission, the underlying motivation has been to strengthen the roots of our great nation and empower it to righteously lead the world as it has done for several centuries.
On this occasion of Prime Minister Modi’s 70th Birthday, we take the opportunity to wish him good health and many years of service to the nation. We pray for Divine Grace to help him to continue to contribute to the wellbeing of Bharat Mata and all her children.