Annual Convocation
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The annual convocation, held every year on 22 November, forms an integral part of the Academic Calendar for all stakeholders of SSSIHL. The sentiments of this special day are aptly reflected in the oath that the students take on the Convocation ceremony, in the Divine presence of the Revered Founder Chancellor.
Over the last three decades, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers of the Government of India, Chief Ministers and Governors of Indian States, ardent devotees and many educationists and legal luminaries have participated in the Convocation ceremony and proceedings.
The highlights of the function are the conferring of the various Doctoral Degrees and Gold Medals, addresses by the Vice-Chancellor and the Chief Guest, and the Benedictory Message by the Revered Chancellor. The programme concludes with a play staged by the students of the Institute, focusing on the unique lessons learnt by them in the University. These plays are guided by the Revered Founder Chancellor and the student's love for Him motivates them to give their best performance.

SSSIHL XXXIV Annual Convocation - A Report

22 November 2015 | Sai Kulwant Hall
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed to be University) held its 34th Annual Convocation at Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam in the Divine Presence at 3:00 p.m on 22 November 2015. This was followed by a drama on the occasion of the Annual Convocation by the students of the university. The drama was held at the Poornachandra Auditorium.
The Annual Convocation
The annual convocation at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) coincided with the 90th birthday of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A considerable amount of detailed organization and thought that goes into the event was visible during the ceremony.
The chief guest of the 34th Annual Convocation was Prof. Kenji Uchino, Director, International Centre for Actuators and Transducers, Professor, Electrical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, USA. Prof. Uchino is a highly reputed and decorated material scientist.
The university brass band—one of the finest in the country—lead the ceremonial procession into the Sai Kulwant Hall at 3 p.m. The packed hall of over 10,000 people was colourfully decorated for the event. The procession was led by two students carrying the University Standards on either side of the Registrar, who carried the Ceremonial Mace. Other members of the procession included the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Deans and the Heads of Departments along with the Chief Guest, members of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and the Board of Management.
Following the invocatory veda chanting, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. K B R Varma prayed to the Revered Founder Chancellor to declare the convocation open. The Convocation was then declared open in the Divine voice of Bhagawan Baba.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Speech
It is customary for the Vice-Chancellor to then deliver his introductory speech. Prof. Varma stressed on the fact that Bhagawan Baba developed this university in the spirit of developing national character in students, and that while academics and research are strong, the uniqueness of the university is the development of ethical and moral values in students, who get inspired to develop humility and selfless love for humanity. He then summarised the academic and research achievements of the past academic year.

 
 
Degrees and Gold Medals to Graduands
Following the Vice-Chancellor’s introductory speech, Sri G S Srirangarajan, The Controller of Examinations, presented the graduands of the year to the Honourable Chancellor, Justice M N Venkatachaliah for admitting them to their respective degrees (undergraduate, postgraduate and professional). The Vice-Chancellor then administered the convocation pledge to the graduands. This year, 469 students were awarded degrees, including 24 gold medallists, five M.Phil. students and six research scholars, who were awarded doctoral degrees.
Four All-Round Gold Medals were also awarded to one student from each campus. These students not only excelled academically, but highlighted exemplary qualities that best represent Sri Sathya Sai Values-based Integral Education during the academic year 2014/15.

 
 
The Chief Guest’s Speech
The chief guest, Prof. Kenji Uchino then highlighted how he spent over fourty years of his career commuting between Japan and the United States in the quest for his philosophy of living: one step ahead. His speech highlighted his struggle with the changing world and environment through the various decades of his career leading to the current challenges of conservation and the geo-political situations of today’s world. He encouraged students to embrace change, as it is part of life regardless of what they do, especially in current state of play we find ourselves in. Advising the fresh grandaunts, a unique ‘four-character slogan’—cooperation, protection, reduction and continuation—which according him is the basis for their future developments, Prof Uchino expressed great confidence that the students would be able to imbibe the message of the ‘four-character slogan’ and demonstrate the manifestation of human values and morality seeking the welfare of humanity at large.
The Divine Benediction
Finally, a convocation benediction by the Revered Founder Chancellor, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was beamed across the hall. He told students that they are essentially pure and urged them to expand their hearts. He said that we cannot know the true nature of an atom (the smallest of the small and the biggest of the big). Instead we must transcend the need to know (in the material realm) and attempt to experience bliss. This, He said, is practical knowledge. The true meaning of education education is to brush aside their negative qualities and serve others with joy. There is no property worth owning more than love.
The event came to a close at 5 p.m. following the national anthem and Managala Aarati.

 
 

Drama: Jagannatakam – Jagatiki Sandesham (This Cosmic Drama – A message to the World)

The drama was always an important part of the annual convocation at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. Our Revered Founder Chancellor would Himself write the script and take keen interest in these dramas. The uniqueness of the dramas is that they are conceived and produced by students of the university. All the aspects of the drama such as sets, costumes, makeup, music, etc. are entirely produced by the students.
The theme of the drama this year was based on the the purpose of the ‘drama’ of life. It can perhaps be summarised by what William Shakespeare once famously declared: all the world is a stage and all men and women are actors.
The theme was portrayed through the trials and tribulations of the central character in the drama, Chaitanya, a talented young actor under the tutelage of Sri Jagannath - a famous playwright.
Sri Jagannath is a strict task master who endeavours to impart the true meaning of drama through his own drama school. But Chaitanya does not believe entirely in the philosophy and ideals of Sri Jagannath. He wants to spread his wings far and wide and earn wealth and fame.
At an opportune moment, Sri Jagannath gives Chaitanya that opportunity. This new journey takes Chaitanya through a chequered career across the length and breadth of the country. However, in the process he traverses far away from his master’s dictum of drama. In the humdrum of applause and adulation, the true purpose of ‘drama’ is totally lost to Chaitanya.
Often, his master would say, “more important than the drama you do, is what the drama does to you.”
The moment of truth in Chaitanya’s life comes from a very unexpected quarter. The King himself invites Chaitanya to be facilitated in his darbar with the highest civilian honour. Amidst that, Chaitanya realises how much his son means to him. His son, however, says that he is not proud of him since he had lost his way by sacrificing enlightenment for the sake of entertainment and got himself into a quagmire.
Chaitanya realises his great mistake and lack of gratefulness. He comes back to his guru Sri Jagannath with sincere repentance. And with his blessings, Chaitanya becomes Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, merging with His Lord Krishna.
After the conclusion of the drama, a video collage of Swami interacting with students was broadcasted on the LED screen, much to the hearts content of all present and those watching online all over the world.
This was followed by prasadam distribution and Managala Aaarti, marking the end of the XXXIV Annual Convocation of SSSIHL.

 
 
I hereby solemnly declare and promise that, if admitted to the degree for which I have been duly recommended, I will in my daily life and conversation, and in thought, word and deed, conduct myself as befits a member of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning; that I will to the utmost of my capacity and opportunity, support the cause of sound learning, humanity, morality and spirituality; and that as far as lies in me, I shall uphold and advance the social and indeed all round welfare of my countrymen and fellowmen.
Convocation Oath, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
© Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Vidyagiri, Prasanthi Nilayam - 515 134, India.