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Doctors' Day report and photos

Brindavan, 5 July 2003

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Photographs of Doctor's Day Celebrations at
Sai Ramesh Hall, Brindavan, on 5 July 2003

You could see the deep longing and anticipation in their eyes, a feeling of completeness filling the chasm of their hearts and an inner joy waiting to manifest in joyous smiles on their faces. Devotees in thousands gathered on the cool and breezy morning of 5 July in the richly decorated Sai Ramesh Hall, waiting patiently with prayers on their lips, for the darshan and Sambhashanam (Divine Discourse) of Swami after a month long hiatus. For the last one month Swami had been giving darshan only on Thursdays and Sundays and had not addressed any public meeting. But that morning promised something different and the devotees were waiting in all eagerness.

At 8:15AM, Swami glided onto the stage accompanied by the guests for the occasion: the Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka Mr. S. M. Krishna and His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka Mr. T.N. Chaturvedi. The multitude clapped in thrill and delight as Swami took the chair along with the dignitaries. The programme then commenced with the presentation of bouquets. Dr. A S Hedge (Chief of Neurosciences, SSSIHMS, Whitefield) presented the first bouquet to Swami, which was followed by Dr. Shekhar Rao (Chief of Cardiac Sciences, SSSIHMS, Whitefield) presenting to the governor and Dr. Narayan Swami (a well-known anaesthetist) to the Chief Minister. Swami then honoured the distinguished guests with mementos.

This was followed by a talk by Sri Sanjay Sahani, Principal of the Brindavan campus of the Institute. Sri Sahani, quoting from the scriptures, brought to light the sacredness of two professions, namely the teaching profession and the medical profession. He emphasised that the latter is more blessed a vocation because it leads directly to annihilation of suffering of the subjects.

Next, Mr. C. Srinivas, Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust, Bangalore, in his scintillating oration took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the government for their concern and support to the Trust and hoped that the future will only bring them even closer to serve the destitute and downtrodden. Calling the hospitals 'Temples of Healing', Mr. Srinivas brought to the notice of the CM the great strides the Sri Sathya Sai Hospitals (SSS General Hospital, Whitefield, and SSS Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield) have taken over the years to rekindle the lamp of hope and joy in the lives of millions. Lauding the selfless service and sacrifice of the doctors working in these hospitals, Mr. Srinivas called upon Dr. Sundaresh (an acclaimed orthopaedic) and Dr. Hemanth Murthy (a reputed ophthalmologist) as representatives of the dedicated eminent galaxy of physicians to receive shawls and gifts from the hands of the honourable guests to mark the historic occasion --the first Doctors' Day celebration in Swami's divine presence.

Dr. A N Safaya, Director, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield and Prashanthigram, subsequently made a stimulating and enlightening presentation to the assembly. Speaking on the high-quality treatment offered in the cleanest possible environment in our hospitals, Dr.Safaya hit the nail on its head when he said, "In the same hospital where dozens of sick and poor get operated every day, we operated on our beloved Swami. The same doctors who see our patients each day of the week operated on our Swami too. We did not consult doctors from America or take Him to any other hospital in India or abroad. What greater testimony does one need to prove the quality and competence of our hospitals?" Dr. Safaya also stressed the need to spiritualise the medical profession and de-commercialise medicine in the present-day context. Before concluding, he exhorted doctors to make efforts to live up to the ideals set by Swami by giving up ego and cultivating love.

Swami rose, to the applause of the gathering, after Dr. Safaya's talk and delivered a revealing and captivating discourse for more than 40 minutes, to the great delight of the devotees. Exhorting devotees to give up body-consciousness and develop Atmic consciousness, Swami said that one can experience everlasting peace and happiness if one is ever in Atmic consciousness. Citing His own example, Swami said, "You are all aware of the fact that Swami fractured His hip, and it was in three pieces. The ball in the hip was in two pieces. The pain was so excruciating that it cannot be described in words. It was impossible to move this way or that way. It pierced the body as if it were an electric shock. But I was unaffected by it. I underwent all this suffering only to demonstrate that one should not be attached to the body. Instead, one should develop divine consciousness. I am not this body. Body consciousness leads to untold suffering. One has to get rid of body attachment in order to enjoy peace and happiness".

Swami, at different times during the discourse, stressed the need for doctors to be less money-minded and be more dedicated and selfless. Highlighting the significance of observing the day as Doctors' Day, Swami said, "Today, we are celebrating Doctors' Day. This is the day when doctors should rededicate themselves to the alleviation of suffering. Doctors should serve the poor with the spirit of sacrifice. There is no greater service than this. The spirit of sacrifice is the hallmark of a true doctor."

Swami concluded His discourse urging not only doctors but every individual to take the initiative and help the poor and needy to the extent of one's ability, for the essence of all the scriptures is verily to 'Help Ever and Hurt Never'.

The function concluded with all the people rising up for the National Anthem.