Sri Sathya Sai World Education Conference 2008 was held in the Divine Presence of Baba at Prasanthi Nilayam from 20th to 22nd July, 2008. More than 2000 delegates from 90 countries of the world including India participated in this Conference.
On the afternoon of 20th July, 2008, in a grand function held in Sai Kulwant Hall, Baba inaugurated the conference by lighting the sacred lamp at 4.25 pm. The function began with speeches of two distinguished speakers, Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation and Sri V. Srinivasan, All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations. Dr. Michael Goldstein, spoke first exhorting particularly those connected with Sathya Sai Education, to observe the highest spiritual principles in all that they did and become worthy instruments of Baba. He was followed by Sri V. Srinivasan, who observed that Sai Education is the gift of Sai to mankind for its transformation and redemption and is poised to bring about an era of love, peace and harmony in the world.
After these speeches, Baba blessed the delegates with His Inaugural Address. He spoke for fifty minutes, mentioning at the end that within twenty to thirty years, the whole world will be one, united in love. The Sai Symphony Orchestra presented their devotional music concert at 6.30 pm. After forty minutes of the symphony, Baba accepted Mangala Aarati at 7.05 pm and returned to His residence as Prasadam was distributed to all.
The first plenary session of the Education conference was held in Sai Kulwant Hall on the morning of 21st July, 2008, after the Divine Darshan at 10.30 am. Professor David Gries, the Zone I Chairman of the Sathya Sai Organisation, introduced the speakers: Dr. Tom Scoville of U.S.A., Dr. B. G. Pitre from Mumbai, Dr. Dalton de Souza Amorim from Latin America, and Sri G. S. Srirangarajan of Sri Sathya Sai University. Baba accepted Mangala Aarati after the speeches and returned to His residence at 11.50 am.
The second plenary session was held on the afternoon of 21st July, 2008, in Sai Kulwant Hall after the Divine Darshan at 4.30 pm. The programme commenced with speeches by Mr. Victor Krishna Kanu of Zambia, Mr. Jeremy Hoffer of U.S.A., Mr. M. K. Kaw of Delhi and Sri Sanjay Mahalingam from Sri Sathya Sai University. Baba then graciously consented to speak to the delegates. He answered the questions posed by the delegates and clarifications desired by them. In His Divine Message, He stressed on the need for parents to take proper care of their children, and for the children He said that they should love, obey and respect their parents. The students sang Bhajans for ten minutes after the Discourse. Thereafter the devotees from the former U.S.S.R. offered a musical presentation. Songs from Russia, Georgia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan kept the packed hall enthralled with their catchy tunes and lively beat. After their half-hour programme, Baba asked them to sing one more song, so they sang the popular “Kalinka” and had the audience clapping all through. He interacted with the organisers, and then, waved His hands to materialise a large golden Hiranyagarbha Lingam. Wrapping it in a small bag, He handed it over to Dr. Goldstein with some instructions. Blessing all the devotees, Baba accepted Mangala Aarati and returned to His residence at 7.30 pm while Prasadam was distributed to everybody present.
On 22nd July, 2008, in the morning, Bhajans began in Sai Kulwant Hall at 9.00 am and Baba granted His Divine Darshan at 9.50 am. After He sat onstage for a few minutes and interacted with the conference organisers, He moved to the interview room and called in a few lady delegates for an interview. Once He emerged from the interview, He accepted Mangala Aarati before returning to His residence at 11.00 am.
The Valedictory Session of the Sri Sathya Sai World Education Conference got underway in the evening on 22nd July, 2008, in Sai Kulwant Hall in the Divine Presence at 5.00 pm. The three speakers for the session were Dr. Narendra Reddy, Director, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation; Sri Nimish Pandya, District President, Mumbai Sai Organisation and Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation. Once the speakers summed up the conference proceedings and outlined the course of future action, Baba delivered His Benedictory message. He stressed the importance of unity and the feeling that all are the children of one Father. At the end of His Discourse, He went to the interview room briefly, and returned with Dr. Goldstein in. Baba took the Lingam He had given to Dr. Goldstein the previous evening and displayed it to everyone, then created Vibhuti and sprinkled it on the Lingam. Baba announced that He’s giving the Lingam to Dr. Goldstein for him to distribute the Abhishekam water to those who are unwell. He then asked for the evening’s cultural programme to begin.
Children from the Sri Sai Vidya Vihar, Alwaye, Kerala, presented an hour-long dance-drama on ‘Bhakta Jayadeva’. Baba’s face was wreathed in smiles, watching the small children make their presentation. As they concluded, He got up from the stage and walked down to take group photographs with them. He then sat onstage and distributed laminated photographs to each of them as they came up one by one, while Prasadam was distributed to all the devotees. He also threw a couple of sweets to some of the drama participants. It was 8.00 pm when Baba accepted Mangala Aarati and returned to His residence.
An All India Conference of District Presidents and State Office Bearers of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations of India was held at Prasanthi Nilayam from 29th to 31st August, 2007. The Conference commenced in the Divine Presence after Baba granted His Divine Darshan in Sai Kulwant Hall on 29th August, 2007, in the morning. All the working sessions of the Conference on all the three days were held in the Conference Hall at Prasanthi Nilayam. On 31st August, 2007, in the afternoon, in Sai Kulwant Hall, Baba in His infinite compassion, personally gifted His robes to all the 700 delegates as a symbol of love and showered His blessings on them.
A grand spectacle of world unity was witnessed when over 6,000 youth from 86 countries of the world congregated at Prasanthi Nilayam to participate in Sri Sathya Sai World Youth Conference held in the Divine Presence on 26th, 27th and 28th July, 2007. Baba blessed the youth of Sri Sathya Sai University also to participate in this unique conference as delegates. The theme of the Conference was ‘Ideal Sai Youth: Messengers of Sai Love’. Baba, in His infinite love for the youth blessed the conference with His Inaugural and Valedictory Addresses.
On the morning of 26th July, 2007, Baba granted Darshan amidst Vedic chants in Sai Kulwant Hall at 8.00 am. A grand youth rally was held in the Divine presence. This rally was led by the Vedic chanting group of delegates with Poorna Kumbham who offered traditional welcome to Baba. This group was followed by the brass band of Sri Sathya Sai University and the contingents of 86 countries holding the name boards and national flags of their countries. The contingents of gents were followed by the ladies. They also recited Vedic Mantras holding Poorna Kumbham and were followed by the brass band of Anantapur Campus and the bagpipers of Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Prasanthi Nilayam.
After the rally, Baba lit the lamp and inaugurated the Conference at 9.00 am. The proceedings of the Conference started with the welcome address by Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation. Sri Shitu Chudasama, International Youth Coordinator of Sri Sathya Sai Organisation, in his introductory speech reminded the youth that this was a wonderful opportunity for them to understand the fundamental truths of human life and Baba Himself was there to teach them. At the end of his speech, Baba blessed him and materialised a gold chain for him. Thereafter, Baba blessed the delegates with His Inaugural Discourse. The proceedings of the Inaugural Session of the Conference concluded with offering Mangala Aarati at 10.30 am. Prasadam was distributed to all.
On 27th July, 2007, the second day’s proceedings of the Conference commenced after the Divine Darshan of Baba in Sai Kulwant Hall at 9.00 am. Three speakers, Sri Shashank Shah, Research Scholar, Sri Sathya Sai University, Ms. Alma Berra of Argentina and Mr. Jermy Hoffer of USA addressed the delegates. The morning session concluded with Bhajans and Mangala Aarati was offered to Baba at 10.40 am. Prasadam was distributed to all.
On the afternoon of 28th July, 2007, the Valedictory Function of the Conference was held in the Divine presence of Baba in Sai Kulwant Hall. At the outset, Sri Shitu Chudasama expressed gratitude to Baba for the wonderful opportunity granted by Him to youth from different parts of the world. He also presented at the Lotus Feet the summary of the proceedings of four workshops held during these three days. Following his talk, Dr. Narendra Reddy, Director, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation and Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation addressed the gathering.
Thereafter, Baba blessed the delegates with His Valedictory Address. Explaining the origin of creation, He said that the entire Universe emerged from the truth which was embodied in God. Baba here materialised a Hiranyagarbha Linga and asked, “Who else can manifest such pure consciousness?” He expressed His happiness on the gathering of such a large number of youths from all parts of the world. He said, “I am extremely happy to see you all here. This is your good fortune.” He showered His blessings on all delegates and exhorted them to lead a happy, peaceful life.
During the Valedictory Function of the Youth Conference, the overseas delegates from three countries presented a music concert in the Divine Presence. The programme entitled, ‘European Music Programme’ comprised devotional songs in German, Russian, Polish, Latvian, Italian and Czech languages. Baba blessed the artistes and gifted them wrist watches. The proceedings of the Youth Conference concluded with this befitting grand finale of musical presentation. Mangala Aarati was offered at 6.15 pm.
On the afternoon of 26th July, 2007, a friendly basketball match was played in the Divine presence between India and Sri Lanka in Sri Sathya Sai International Centre for Sports on the occasion of Sri Sathya Sai World Youth Conference. All the delegates to the Conference were invited to this programme. Baba arrived at the Centre at 4.25 pm and blessed both the teams. The Secretary General of FIBA, Asia – Mr. Dato Yeoh Choo Hosk introduced the players, coaches and officials of both the sides to Baba. The match concluded at 5.10 pm.
The Eighth World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations was held at Prasanthi Nilayam in the Divine Presence. Baba lit the lamps in Sai Kulwant Hall at 8.10 am and inaugurated the Conference. Nearly 15,000 delegates from over 180 countries participated in the Conference. Sri Indulal Shah, International Advisor, Sri Sathya Sai World Organisation; Sri V. Srinivasan, All India President of the Sai Organisation; Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman, Prasanthi Council; and Mr. Leonardo Gutter, Zonal Chairman of the Organisation, Latin America, addressed the delegates. The Sai International Choir consisting of 175 members from 45 countries of the world offered a grand musical tribute to Baba in Sai Kulwant Hall at 4.00 pm.