Campus visits by Alumni to JAYAPURA on August 6 and 7th, 2016

On the 6th of August, a group of alumnae and alumni, left from Bangalore on a trip to Jayapura, which houses two of Bhagawan’s educational institutions – one, for the boys and the other, for girls.

The group – a mix of three children and five adults – started from Bangalore on Saturday morning at about 5 AM. The small group was driven to Jayapura by none other than our dedicated and talented singer brother Prasad, who is also instrumental in training the boys of the Mandya campus in singing Bhajans, songs and playing the harmonium. His wife, sister Pavana, who is an alumnus of the Anantapur Campus, too came. She is a trained teacher and is multi-talented, with a keen interest in cooking and baking. She has been praised for her cooking skills by none other than Bhagwan Himself on several occasions! Their two children, Prarthana and Payal too were a part of this troupe. Sister Prashanti Goswami, alumna of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School and the Anantapur Campus too accompanied us. After having served as a volunteer with VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) for a couple of years, she is currently associalted with Mata Amritanandamayi’s projects on rural uplift, women empowerment and the Clean India Initiative by the Government of India. Being among the first batch of students from Swami’s school in Ooty, and the first batch of students who joined the then newly-built school in Prashanti Nilayam, sister Prashanti had many wonderful experiences to share with us. Brother Ashimavo Dutta, a tablist who teaches how to play the instrument to the students in Muddenahalli and Mandya campuses was accompanied by his wife, Vidhya and their daughter Kirti on this trip.Vidhya, an alumnus of the Anantapur Campus is also a talented singer and an active participant in the Annapoorna Breakfast programme.

While the drive was long, the collective pool of divine experiences in the group was exhaustive and kept everyone hooked along the way. Weather gods too played along, keeping company with a pleasant cloud cover.

Once we reached Jayapura, we were officially welcome by Sri Surendra sir, Warden, Secretary and Principal of the boys’ campus at Jayapura. No sooner than we were ushered in, few of the students from class ten had assembled there, ready with aromatic dishes to serve us.

It was a pleasant surprise to meet Dr Vinodini, Chairperson of the girls’s PU college, Chikkaballapur, and one of the teachers from Prashanti Bala Mandir, sister Neha, also an alumnus. They were on an independent visit to the girls’ campus with regards to health check-ups and screening.

After lunch – an authentic North Karnataka style with a slight Mangalorean touch – the sisters proceeded to the girls’ campus. They had planned a separate session with the teachers, as they weren’t able to dedicatedly speak to them during their previous visit. The interaction was short and sweet with sister Prashanti impressing upon the teachers the importance of their role in shaping this young group of girls, who will grow to be the pillars of their families, societies and nation at large. We then had an informal chat with the teachers, and discussed among various things about their value education classes, the syllabi, project works undertaken, etc.

Following this, we went on an extensive tour of the building to specifically identify areas where we could help from the infrastructure perspective.We noticed that drying clothes was a challenge for the girls, as Jayapura enjoyed rains for most part of the year.

The new campus is under construction and irrespective of the rains, the work was going on in full swing. By the beginning of next academic year, the new campus with completed infrastructure is expected to be functional.

After a short break of tea and masala vada with the students and staff – we visited the temple of Mata Annapoorna Devi (adjacent to the school building). The idol presented an image of serenity, peace, beauty and bounty, and the beautiful and charming picture of Bhagawan at the backdrop gave the sanctum sanctorum a befitting facelift. There were bhajans going on in the temple, and we also joined in.

After the Aarthi, we went to the prayer hall in the first floor of the school.After the evening bhajans, we took the opportunity to talk to the students about Swami, and also about some of the fundamental aspects of hygiene. It merits note that during the sessions Bhagawan has had with the Education Core Committee on different occasions, He had always stressed on the importance of hygiene to be specifically followed by girls. Therefore, importance of drinking ample water, some aspects on healthy eating habits, importance of having breakfast, etc. were also discussed with the girls.

The content discussed with them was to top up on the points that Dr. Vinodini had discussed with the girls in the morning during the health camp. Sister Vidhya followed the sessions with a quick revision of the songs she had taught during her visit last month.

Meanwhile Prasad and Ashimavo focussed on preparing the boys students for Swami’s visit to the campus. They engaged those boys who were already being trained in music and tabla furnishing them with added skills and fine-tuning their existing knowledge. Four songs were taught to the boys by Brother Prasad and Ashimavo guided the tablists to play for these 4 songs.

After that everybody headed back to the guest house, bringing the day to a close.

Before sleeping, we went to pray in Swami’s room. Since Swami’s room in Jayapura is under renovation, we were taken to a make-shift room that was being used for Bhagawan. And for the few moments we sat there, we could each feel the presence of the Bhagawan. We rested well at night and the next morning, we were ready for a holy pilgrimage to Sringeri- the temple town of Sharada Devi located about 22kms from the campus.

The temple and the surroundings were generously gifted with a beauty that only nature can provide. Vast expanse of greenery, sprinkled with trees and fresh air was a welcome change to us city folks. After a good darshan, we readied ourselves for the tasks at hand.

 

Sunday

Once we reached the girls’ campus, we all assembled in the prayer all for the morning session. The girls were taught three songs, including a thanksgiving one and offered to help them put up a cultural show during Swami’s visit to the campus.

The Vice-Principal of the campus, Miss Prarthana, informed us that they had regular Bal Vikas sessions, and prayer talks after assembly, wherein the students were encouraged to share their personal experiences in front of a large gathering. They also had scripture reading as a part of the Bhajans in the evenings to encourage clarity of expression, pronunciation and voice modulation etc.,

We went around interacting with the girls, and struck some heartfelt conversation with them. Thanking all the hostel staff and teachers for their hospitality, we then took leave from the campus. The girls insisted that we keep visiting them, as they looked forward to our visits. All of them extended warm invite to us requesting us to be present during Swami’s visit to Jayapura.

Brothers Prasad and Ashimavo resumed their training sessions and spent a good 7-8 hours with the students between the two days. What was impressive was the enthusiasm exhibited by the students in learning. Even after long hours none of them showed any restlessness.

Apart from honing their skills, the duo also identified certain needs of the campus in terms of buying musical instruments, repairing damaged ones and other such aspects were taken note of.

With heartfelt thanks to Swami for His constant guidance and love, the team returned to Bangalore later that night. The overall experience was not only overwhelming but also immensely gratifying.

‘YOU ARE WHERE GOD WANTS YOU TO BE AT THIS VERY MOMENT. EVERY EXPERIENCE IS PART OF HIS DIVINE PLAN.’

This was the sum and substance of our weekend trip. We were blessed to have been the instruments that He chose to send to His campus.

Written by-

Vidya Ramsubramanian & Ashimavo Dutta

 

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