After a couple of gloomy rainy days in Goa, the sun rose to shine in all his glory and splendour on the morning of 6th October to greet Prof G Venkataraman, the Divine Ambassador from the Valley of Puttaparthi. The Dempo Charities Trust headed by the enterprising Mr Srinivas Dempo organized a lecture by Prof G Venkataraman, eminent scientist and ex vice chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai University in Menezes Braganza hall, Panaji on “ India at Crossroads – Which way must it turn?”. The Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization was represented by Shri Nimish Pandya, All India Vice President and Shri Ramesh Sawant, State President of Maharashtra & Goa. The hall was brimming to capacity comprising an eager audience amidst whom were dynamic industrialists, educationists, students, Advocate General, Goa and members of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization. 100_2055
After the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by the dignitaries and the melodious invocation song rendered by Smt Tanvi Y, Mr Srinivas Dempo felicitated Prof Venkataraman and delivered the welcome address. He stressed on the relevance of the topic keeping in view that India was on the road to becoming a superpower in years to come. He spoke with nostalgia about his grandfather Shri Vasantrao Dempo who was a major source of inspiration and instrumental in setting up educational institutions and a newspaper house in Goa after the Portuguese rule. He cited the scholarship schemes amongst various other contributions in the field of art, culture and sports being made by the Dempo Charities trust for the betterment of fellowmen. He emphasised the need to combine the mystical with the mundane so as to take home lessons from our epics for everyday life. He added that all external problems can be combatted with the right attitude and we should strive to bring about happiness to others instead of using others to gain happiness.
Prof G Venkataraman began his keynote address with the post-independence scenario leaving India divided into two nations and also creating a huge divide between the rich and the poor. Predicting India to be on top in terms of population in the near future, he stressed on the need to be a Moral Super power rather than a Material Super power. Amongst all problems ailing most countries today, those pertaining to economy, social and cultural tradition and Moral & Spiritual ambience were common to all. India and the world were in need of a robust moral base, he added. He reflected that although India was supposed to be shining after 1990, few could perceive the asymmetric growth and development leading to complexities in India of rich and poor, literate and illiterate, etc coupled with religious, ethnic, cultural and language diversity. Home to about 55 billionaires, India was also home to one-third of the poor in the world. He lamented that the asymmetric impact of the economic reforms paved the way for the rich and upper class to move faster leaving the lower layers lagging far behind while the media and intelligentsia disassociated from traditional, cultural and moral values.
He traced the post globalization era leading to clamour for money and materialism together with a steady decline in values. He drew a parallel between the cells, organs and organ system in the human body to the individuals at the micro level, functional unit, and system in the Society. In contrast to the organs in the human body that worked selflessly for others, the selfishness of individuals led to chaos in society. A few abnormal cells causing death was akin to the behaviour of selfish individuals causing break down of the society. He exhorted that every generation should strive to leave planet Earth in the same condition in which they had inherited it.
He attributed the steadily growing Naxalite problem to areas where people were neglected and uncared for. He spoke of one of the water projects undertaken by Bhagawan Baba for the tribals of Eastern Godavari and the immense love and gratitude with which they reciprocated His gesture. Knowledge coupled with selfishness resulted in exploitation, inequity and destabilisation in contrast to knowledge coupled with selflessness that paved the path to prosperity and stability arising out of love and care shared.
Prof Venkataraman elucidated on the ideals and values of Truth and Ahimsa propagated by Mahatma Gandhi. He explained that the pursuit of materialism left man deeply mired in the labyrinth of never ending wants so much so that suffering and deprivation were a much sounder option for the soul. While reiterating on Cosmic Connectivity, he cited that the atoms that make our bodies were once the stuff of stars – and will become the stuff of our environment . Quoting Alan Greenspan, formal head of Federal Reserve “ You cannot have an island of prosperity in an ocean of misery” he emphasized the BMV (Basic Moral Values) as a pre-requisite for acquiring (a BMW) anything in life. He shared Bhagawan’s advice to the rich who hoarded their wealth, “ Cow dung piled stinks while the same cow dung when spread becomes manure”. He concluded by urging that Money and Knowledge are Divine and have to be used righteously and judiciously.
Mr Nimish Pandya while delivering his vote of thanks lauded the Dempo Charities Trust for the philanthropic activities and their contribution to society. Reverberating Baba’s words “Your life is My Message” he paid glowing tributes to Mr Srinivas Dempo for putting into practice Bhagawan’s ideals and message. He added that Mr Dempo was an exemplary person in today’s world where there is a dearth of role models who practiced unity of thought, word and deed. He shared a lighter moment with the Advocate General of Goa by quoting what Baba once told him “ Lawyers are Liars. They are the cause of all problems today”. On behalf of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Mr Nimish Pandya felicitated Mr Srinivas Dempo with a memento of Sarva Dharma Sthupa, synonymous with Unity of Faith expounded by Bhagawan Baba. Mr Dempo fondly recalled his meeting with Bhagawan Baba during His visit to Maharashtra and the positive vibrations that He exuded. Although the programme concluded, it certainly left the audience asking for more….Yeh Dil Maange More…