The three volume “Students with Sai: Conversations” series from 1991 to 2004 is an exclusive compilation of the interactions that the students and staff members of the Sri Sathya Sai Institutions were blessed to have with Bhagavan on various occasions at the Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir, Institute and Hostel.
The current Book, the second in the series, covers the academic year 2000-2001. This is the most exhaustively documented academic year with respect to conversations between Swami and students. No doubt, an entire volume has been dedicated to it. This was the year of Swami’s 75th Birthday celebrations. All through the interactions, the upcoming Birthday celebrations and the associated planning was discussed by Swami with staff and students in the Prasanthi Nilayam portico. Swami also mentioned repeatedly and with great excitement about the new railway station that was to be inaugurated on the occasion of the 75th Birthday; and how devotees from different and distant parts of India would now have the convenience of arriving to Puttaparthi for His Darshan in train. The other noteworthy events frequently discussed by Swami with students and staff included the Grama Seva Project which was started for the first time in the month of November 2000, and the Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music which was also inaugurated in November 2000. His meticulous planning and eye for detail is very visible in these conversations. January 2001 saw two major events. The first was the inauguration of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences at Bangalore. For over six months prior to this, Swami was already discussing with great enthusiasm the various developments associated with the contruction work and the equipment, doctors and technical experts working on the project. January 26, 2001 was the fateful day when a massive earthquake shook the entire western part of India. In the weeks following this natural calamity, Swami planned a number of relief projects for the suffering. His approach towards service to such people emerges in these conversations.
This Book has the double advantage of having a special section on the interactions at Trayee Brindavan in April-May 2001. This year, Swami had not gone to Kodaikanal and spent the entire vacation in Brindavan, giving opportunities of frequent interactions and proximity to students who had stayed back during the holidays at the Ashram. These interactions have been captured to give a flavour of the very popular ‘Trayee sessions’ which all looked forward to with great yearning. Besides these special events, this Book covers other daily conversations that Swami invariably focussed on such as exams, Sports Meet, Convocation and drama, visit to the Hostel and College, participation in Conferences by Visiting Faculty, and so on. The pages of this Book bear testimony to the variety of topics Swami has covered in these exchanges. On many occasions, very fondly Swami reminisces the interactions that He had with His childhood friends and teachers. Many unknown facts of His early years, that have not been recorded elsewhere, have been shared by Swami in these conversations. Swami used every opportunity to elaborate on and share details about the precious Indian scriptures. In one of the conversations, Swami revealed that Krishna had given only five verses in the Bhagavad Gita. On another occasion, He elaborated on the lineage of Rama. In one interaction, He showed the letter written to Him by Bill Clinton, President of USA; and on another occasion, He expressed His deep anguish over the loss of a civilizational heritage in the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. Page after page, the grandeur and mystery of interactions with ‘God in human form’ is revealed in ample measure.