Alumnae sisters organise a trip to the Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple for the outgoing students of the Jayapura Campus

Alumnae sisters organise a trip to the Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple for the outgoing students of the Jayapura Campus

(As narrated by sister Vidhya Ramasubramanian)

Offering my humble salutations at Bhagwan’s Lotus Feet

Also take this opportunity to offer our gratitude to Swami for making the Jayapura trip a very memorable, a success story of “Sai sisters Connect”

We were three alumnae who were part of this trip – sister Shakila, sister Sri Valli, myself along with my daughter Kirti. We started on 27th night and reached Jayapura on the 28th morning. Our scheduled meetings with a few of the local alumnae were in the evening. We hired a cab and spent the entire morning exploring the beautiful sights around the campus. We headed to Sringeri, the first Shakti Peetha established by Adi Shankara. We had an opportunity to offer our salutations to Shri Bharathi Teertha Swamiji who is the Matadipathi of the SRinger Mutt. After a good Darshan of Sharada Devi, we went to Kigga, a place located 8 kms from SRingeri which has the only temple for Rishasrunga, in the entire world. Devotees who are aware of the significance of this temple come to offer their prayers asking for rains during the drought struck times or to stop heavy rains when it is in excess!

From there headed to the Sirimane falls where we spent some time. Small joys, but long standing memories!

After thanking Mother Nature for her benevolence, we went back to the Sringeri Mutt to partake Prasadam, we all vowed that nothing could match this PRASADAM. We then returned to the Campus.

IN the evening, we had a productive session with four of the alumnae of Jayapura who had come to the girls campus. We participated in the evening prayers offered to Annapoorna Devi, who stands facing the campus and who is, the ‘WARDEN’ of the girlsユ campus, as per Swami!!

There was sharing of notes between the sisters, some of the challenges that they were facing studying outside and some of their precious experiences when they had connected with Swami. Some of us also shared some practical wisdom on facing challenges in the outside world and endeavored to instill them with confidence with the assurance that the elder alumnae sisters would support them, in every way possible.

Following this was yet another interesting session where two sisters – one who is studying in Jayapura and the other studying in Nallakdirenahalli shared their experiences. The first speaker was very emphatic, she was in fact the one of the two leaders in their batch – she spoke at length about some of the key do’s and don’ts, to set standards for themselves when they step out of the portals of Sai Institute and step into a world of the unknown. The session was over a cool drink and with the cool breeze of the Jayapura soil, it was really heart touching. We all sang the Kannada segment of the song PYAAR HAI just to remind ourselves that we are one and as one, we can achieve many things. The outgoing girls sang a wonderful song for Swami – these were indeed emotionally touching moments as they sang from their hearts.

The day ended with a few senior sisters sharing their thoughts. Before we came back to the campus, we went to the Kanika Parameshwari temple (the head priest of this temple is the main priest at our Dusshera Yagnam), that was the last day of the Rama Navami celebrations in the town, we also sang a few Rama BHajans. We enjoyed the Prasadam and then rested for the day.

On the 29th of March, after a healthy breakfast, we all proceeded to the girls campus where the outgoing batch of girls and 4 other Jayapura alumnae currently studying in Muddenahalli were all waiting in earnest for the trip to Hornaadu – Shri Annapoorneshwari temple.

The journey was a little stressful since the temple had winding roads leading to the hilltop where Goddess had installed herself. We sang three bhajans, chanted Rudram as we proceeded in our journey. We did make time for a few photographs.

Needful arrangements were already made with the help of Shri Narendra Bhat Anna, son of Shri Jayawant Bhat and also with the help of Surendra Anna.

We all had an opportunity to sit in front of the sanctum of the Devi for 10 minutes where Kukmum archana was done for the Goddess. It was not only a feast for our eyes but we certainly thanked our stars for that ethereal experience of sitting right at Her feet and offer our prayers to her. Truly, yet another surreal experience. We partook the Prasadam that was given in the temple and on our way back, we made time for quiz on Swami’s life. All the students actively participated in the quiz. We returned to the campus by 2:00 pm.

In the evening, there was a GRATITUDE PROGRAMME organised by the 9th standard boys students of the Divya Niketanam Campus. There were 2 short talks, one in Kannada and the other in English by the boys from 9th class. The boys put up a short and sweet music programme – PYAAR HAI was one of the songs that was sung!

Inspirational speeches were rendered by Shri Sai Guru Sir and Brother Arvind. Each of them spoke of their life and related the beauty and the indescribable depth of Swami’s unconditional love for those who have faith in Him. The warden, assistant warden, Principal also spoke to the  students sharing their words of wisdom and advise to them. The most interesting part of the whole event was that one of the student’s father who runs a catering business in Mumbai had taken the responsibility on himself to bring 3 cooks to make authentic delicacies for the students since it was their last day in that academic year – a really wonderful gesture par words.

A special evening snacks session was awaiting all and included – Paani puri, cold badam milk

Which was followed by a sumptuous dinner

Thus ended another memorable day of this trip.

On the 30th of March a alumni-alumnae JAYAPURA COUNCIL meeting was scheduled. The meeting involved the local alumni from the campus apart from Campus leads for the Jayapura campus. The meeting began with a prayer. Surendra Sir gave a brief introduction after which Suresh brother Suresha Kodapala explained the reason for setting up these alumni Councils in each of our campuses, our role in strengthening the Council by encouraging lot of local alumni participation. Inviting local alumni and alumnae with families for celebrating festivals, regular campus visits and establishing good rapport with local alumni to bring them back to the scheme of things, updates on Swami’s work and some of the DOユs and DON’Ts were also taken up for discussion.

It was unanimously agreed that we need to strengthen, focus our efforts, build manpower and effectively plan and utilise to take things forward.

After the meeting, we alumnae boarded our buses after bidding farewell to the elders in the campus and returned to Bangalore.

Some good lessons were learnt and much joy was experienced, sharing and caring for our younger sisters, giving our time and attention to involve ourselves in many more ways were some of the key takeaways. In a nutshell, this trip did confer on us a unique feeling of satisfaction and deeper thoughts of gratitude to Him for helping us in our little steps towards self-transformation.