Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Union Minister Piyush Goyal gives inaugural address at Sathya Sai World Youth Festival at Puttaparthi

First, some info. about the World Youth Festival at Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi. Here's the associated website, http://youthfest.sathyasai.org/. It is being held from 12th to 14th July 2016. The theme of the festival is, "LOVE IS THE SOURCE, LOVE IS THE PATH, LOVE IS THE GOAL". Photographs of the inaugral day function held on 12th July 2016, can be seen here, https://www.facebook.com/radiosai/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1115934968495640.

The Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, providing his best wishes for the function through a tweet, https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/752843324936126464, "My best wishes to all my young friends gathered for the Sathya Sai World Youth Festival at Prashanthi Nilayam. @ssssoindia"

I (Ravi) sent a tweet response: "@narendramodi Thank you Hon'ble PM for your support - From a Sai devotee. Jai Sairam!"

Union minister of state, Shri Piyush Goyal, was the chief guest for the inaugural function.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piyush_Goyal:
Piyush Goyal is the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines in the Government of India. He is currently a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and was earlier the National Treasurer of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He headed the BJP's Information Communication Campaign Committee and oversaw the publicity and advertising campaign of the party including the social media outreach for the Indian General Elections 2014.
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Above: Hon'ble Union minister, Piyush Goyal, and Hon'ble minister for IT for Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Palle Raghunatha Reddy, offering their obeisance at the Mahasamadhi of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Pic courtesy: Radio Sai


Above pic is from Shri Piyush Goyal's Facebook post,
https://www.facebook.com/PiyushGoyalOfficial/photos/a.214645462039941.1073741826.165714096933078/586901974814286/. The text on the page is, "Offering prayers & seeking blessings at Sathya Sai Temple at Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh."

I (Ravi) added a comment on the above Facebook post:
Thank you Hon'ble Union minister sir for the visit to Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi. We appreciate the encouragement provided by the visit. - From a Sai devotee.
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Here's a video of Shri Piyush Goyal's speech at the function, Inaugural Address at Sathya Sai World Youth Festival in Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8T7lG7Msk8, 33 min 18 secs, streamed live on Jul 12, 2016.

Here are some excerpts of the speech:

I pay my most humble respects to the divine Swami - somebody whom I had only one occasion to see, not even meet. I was sitting there [Ravi: pointing to the verandah area behind him] amongst other friends - I would think more than 15 years ago. Swamiji came by [Ravi: pointing to the verandah area again]. There were very lovely kirtan bhajans. But that one moment has left an indelible mark in my mind. I am indeed very grateful to (the organizers) for giving me this opportunity to once again visit and relive those lovely memories I have of Prasanthi Nilayam. It was indeed a great privilege as I saw the young children walk in from around the world and one almost felt empowered with the strength of the room. The power that was generated by all the young boys and girls in this room. My salutations to Swamiji and my best wishes to each one of you from all around the world who has come to participate in this festival of love, festival of joy, festival of divinity. And I do hope each one of you will take back not only great memories but a great message from this three day deliberation.
...
Thank you once again for helping me relive my memory and in some sense, pay a debt of gratitude that I have always had for Swami Sathya Sai Babaji who at one critical juncture in my life had impacted my own life, had impacted my future very deeply. And, in some sense, it would not be wrong if I was to say that the very fact that I am able to stand here today has in some sense a link to something that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Babaji did in my life for which I shall for ever be grateful to him and to this organization. [Applause]

It is 90 years since Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba came on this earth. 90 years of divinity, 90 years of preaching goodness, and I think for all of us, he shall always be within us. He shall always be within our heart and soul. So I would think the samadhi truly [Ravi: gesturing to Samadhi behind him], only helps us reignite our faith, helps us relive our good memories, helps us remember him with all the joy and happiness, and as I see his picture right in front of me [Ravi: gesturing in front of him], I think today he has the same twinkle in the eye and joy on his face, which every young person yearns for, and that is the image of Swami that I think we all carry in our heart, in our minds, and that is the image that inspires all of us to look up to him, to worship him, to learn from him and to follow his divine path.

In some sense, I think he was born to reestablish the rhythm of righteousness, and also repair many of the evils, many of the ills that our society was plagued with. Over the years many good things have happened to our nation. Many unfortunate events have unfolded. I think it is the continued tradition of India that we respect our elders, we respect people of good thinking. We respect people who preach goodness on earth. And that respect - such holy people have, in some sense, catalyzed India's immense spiritual wealth in the service of humanity.

And Swamiji through his messages - I had the privilege to just scan through this lovely book that you have brought out on this auspicious occasion, 90 Divine Interactions. And, to my mind, none of us need to go beyond the 90 small snippets that are captured in this book. It's truly wonderful. Each one of the small lessons and sir, as you mentioned about power, I think the entire power lies over there [Ravi: pointing to the Mahasamadhi].

As I embark on my path to light up the homes of possibly fifty (to) fifty five million homes which still are deprived of this basic amenity of power, I think on the one hand I have the divine blessing of God. On the other hand, I am sure I have the goodwill of each one of you. [Applause]

And on page 6 it does say, the power is in his divine hands. And, in that sense, at the ashram of Baba which is spreading the importance of human values particularly among the youth, I am reminded of the words of George Bernard Shaw which I disagree (with). George Bernard Shaw had once said, youth is wasted on the young. I think, looking at the strength of the young boys and girls present here, I think George Bernard Shaw has been proved wrong at Prasanthi Nilayam. I think youth is invested in our young. I think youth empowers our young. To think big, to aim big. To work better. You also said, to plan better. To achieve better. To focus better. And ultimately live a life which one can be proud of, at the end of whatever term the Lord gives each one of us.

In fact it is a tribute to the young boys and girls that when I embarked on this program of electrification, while everybody worked hard to achieve good results, it is 500 young boys and girls, young engineers, not coming from IITs and IIMs, coming from very humble background, small engineering colleges, most of them selected because they lived in villages which did not have electricity, yet persevered and became engineers. 500 young boys and girls whom we selected as Gramin Vidyutikaran Abhyantas - these are soldiers for village electrification. These young 500 boys and girls provided the power to this program and truly are a tribute to this massive task we have embarked on to achieve electrification of every home in India. And it is these young boys and girls because they had the passion, the energy, the desire to see electricity in every home. They had felt the absence of electricity in their childhood. They wanted to give back. They wanted to serve society. They wanted to participate in nation building. Its those young boys and girls who in some sense embody the power of youth, who reflect the power, the dynamism that's there in each one of you. And I am sure, just each one of you in this room, once you take it upon yourself to live the ideals of Swamiji, can make a difference to society, can make a difference to the world we are living in. [Applause]
...
Swamiji had said, the mind sees separateness, love sees unity. And, in fact, in most of his writings and all through the Prasanthi Nilayam when I was taking my morning walk, I saw his words: Love is the source. Love is the path. Love is the goal.

And, in some sense, the body, the soul and the divine are united through love. Chardin a very famous philosopher had said: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

That spirituality is within each one of us. It is in our mind, its in our thinking. Its in our lives. Its not something that the Lord has to bestow on one and may not bestow on the other. Its there amongst each one of us in this room. It is for us to recognize it, for us to respect it, for us to practise it, for us to live it.

In fact, Swami Vivekanand, another great saint who lived few years on earth, whose youth and whole life was encapsulated in a very short span on this earth, but who left behind memories, who left behind philosophies and messages which will outlive generations.
...

I think we have been given this human existence to be able to realize something divine. And I am sure that the lessons, the learnings that we have at this youth festival will give each one of us something to ponder about, something to reflect on as we go back to the real world after three days. And I am sure the more each one of you works, the more each one of you works hard to take care of your body, to make a healthy body out of your lives, you will be able to serve the Lord, serve society in a far better manner, in a far fruitful manner.

Love your country - desh [Ravi:Hindi for country]. After all, what can be a greater thing than respect for our country. Than the desire to give back to our country. Wasn't it Kennedy who said, ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country.

Its ultimately a life that we are leading where we can leave behind (as) an unsung existence. Or we can leave behind something in the footprints of time, which you can be remembered by, which you can be looked up for.

In fact, Baba has observed, when there is harmony in the home there will be order in the nation. When there is order in the nation there will be peace in the world. And I think the fact that so many nations are represented here, each one of us desirous of peace and harmony in our homes, in our nations, collectively will result in peace in this world.
...
It is unfortunate that today many misguided youth are going down the wrong path in India and other parts of the world. Possibly (its) time that the message of Swami is taken all across the world, to the youth of the world to come back to the path of peace, to come back to the path of harmony, to come back to the path of service to their nation, rather than getting lost in ways and means which can only lead to sadness, which can only lead to unhappiness.

In fact, there are examples galore about people who have served the nation, served the nation gloriously. Be it Swami Vivekanand, be it Mahatma Gandhi who led the freedom struggle and without a drop of blood, through the path of satyagraha, through a peaceful path gave all of us independence, the 70th year of which we are celebrating this year.
...

Baba had said, the greatest fear that a man can have is the fear of losing God's love. I was reading also in this book, don't run after Baba, don't run after God, don't run after divinity. Its there within you. Practise it. Its not only going to be the prayers that you say. Its your deeds that are going to bring divinity into your lives.

On page 46, there is a small snippet that Baba had once articulated, don't ask, He will certainly give.
...
Its a strong message that Swamiji has also given when he says, only good comes out of good.
...
Lord Krishna, who is the embodiment of Love, in His message of Bhagavad Gita says, fill your mind with me. Love me. Serve me. Worship me always. Seek me in your heart. You will at last be united with me. And I think that can only be the true reflection of divinity that each one of us is working for.

Look at the example of Srinivas Ramanujam, the great scientist that India produced, the great mathematician. He changed the world of Mathematics while he was only in his twenties. He had visions of Mathematical secrets unfolding while praying to Mahalakshmi, he says. He said, an equation for me has no meaning unless it represents a thought of God. Look at the deep message that the famous mathematician left behind in his discoveries of mathematical formulae. When he said mathematics to him came from his spirituality, the divinity that was within him.
...

We in India believe that the rightful place of India in the comity of nations (is) as a Vishswaguru. As the country that will the lead the world to the path of righteousness, to the path of spirituality. And all of us in India believe in Vasudaiva Kutumbakam - the world is one family. And for us there can be no greater joy than welcoming the world to our shores, the world to participate in our joy, the world to be part of our own growth, our development. As they say, Aa No Bhadra kratavo yantu viswatah - Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides, from all directions. [Ravi: That's a famous quotation from the Rig Veda] We should not necessarily confine ourselves to our own thinking, to our own learnings. Let the world's learnings flow into India. Let our learnings go across the boundaries of India across the world.

In fact, there can be no better example than the world being one family than what we saw happening in Paris during the Conference of Parties - COP 21, where the world got together to fight the challenge of climate change. Where countries across the world sat in a room, sat on a table, thrashed out differences. And Prime minister Narendra Modi and India, representing the people of India, was able to play a leadership role, recognized by leaders from across the world in bringing consensus on the table. Bringing all nations together in this massive fight to protect the environment, to protect the world, to protect the earth from the savagery of pollution, from the harm that years and years of environmental degradation has done to this earth, and this universe.

I think the collective efforts of the world to fight the twin challenges of climate change and terrorism are the only message which show how the world can be united, which show how the world and the people of the world, particularly the youth, have a divine role to play in serving humanity, in serving people of all countries of every part of the world.

On a lighter vein, Mark Zuckerberg, in his twenties through Facebook has brought the world together. His introduction (of), his conceptualization of Facebook has connected so many people that you can actually never be alone. You can never be away from your near and dear ones. And this is the sort of connectivity that this world today yearns for, that is going to change the destiny of the world.

The last D that I wanted to talk about was Seva. Daan. Service to humanity. I think there can be no better teacher than Swamiji when it comes to explaining service to society.
...
And there can be no greater happiness than impacting the lives of a poor man and making a difference to somebody less privileged than you. I think all these lessons of love for the youth of India, for the youth of the world - if each one of us can adopt the five D's that Swamiji had articulated in the service of humanity, in the service of your country, in the service of the world - true divinity, true happiness can only come from there.

The power in this room is best reflected in the words of Margaret Mead, Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. it is the only thing that ever has.

And I believe that the large following that the foundation, that the Sri Sathya Sai Baba organization has in India, across the world, and the power of each one of you in this room will change the destiny of your family, of your locality, of your city, of your country, and of the world, for each one of you has within yourself that power. Each one of you has the power to be the next Vivekananda, the next Mahatma, the next Ramanujam, the next true devotee who will change the destiny of this world, who will impact the future of this world. Each one of you has the divine spirit of Swamiji right inside you. I invoke that spirit in the service of society, in the service of the world. Thank you very much for this opportunity. [Applause]
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I put up the transcript part of this post on Facebook here:
https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1764754310407805.

I was very pleasantly surprised to note that the Hon'ble minister, Shri Piyush Goyal, has shared my above Facebook post, on his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/PiyushGoyalOfficial/posts/587465344757949.

I wrote a comment on the above post as follows:

Piyush Goyal, Dear sir, I am honoured that you have shared my post having a transcript of parts of your speech delivered at Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi. I take this opportunity to thank you again for the encouragement you have provided to Sai devotees, especially Sathya Sai youth, by visiting Prasanthi Nilayam and inaugurating the World Youth Festival. Jai Sairam!

Readers may want to visit my associated blog post titled, Union Minister Piyush Goyal gives inaugural address at Sathya Sai World Youth Festival at Puttaparthi, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/union-minister-piyush-goyal-gives.html.
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[I thank Shri Piyush Goyal and Wikipedia, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their speech/website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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