On 7 November 2019 Dr Naren Chellappah OAM, a longstanding member of the Australian Sathya Sai community, and a recipient of the Sai Lion award at the recent SNC 2019, donated a sculpture titled ‘ONE’ to the University of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.
The sculpture was officially unveiled by the university’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Deep Saini, during a dedication ceremony on the lawns of the main university concourse and in front of an audience of approximately 80 people, including Zone 3 Chairperson, Neville Fredericks and Australia’s National President, Singanayagam Indrapalan from the SSIO, university faculty members and members of the public from various faiths.
Dr Chellappah, arising from his love for his adopted city, Canberra, wanted to donate an inspiring work that reflected the inherent human values he holds dear and which were promoted by Sathya Sai Baba; Love, Truth, Right Conduct, Peace and Non-violence. He envisaged this as a gift from the whole “Sai Community” who are engaged in living lives that reflect these values along with practicing selfless service to their communities.
Dr Chellappah delivered a heartfelt speech on the vision behind the sculpture. Amongst other things he said, ‘The structure, “One,” is on a base which has the human values for life that I was taught – Truth, Right Conduct, Love, Peace and Non-violence – written over a background of Aboriginal motifs. This is to acknowledge and respect the timeless Aboriginal presence here. Upon that foundation…Australia, was established, as ONE harmonious entity made up of people of differing countries of origin, race, colour, religion and political beliefs and so on, living together in peace.’
Installed adjacent to the main concourse of the University, the artwork has transformed the area into a space for reflection and contemplation. The large sculpture stands 5 metres tall, made out of stainless steel. Its mirrored exterior reflects the viewer, encouraging them to feel that they are part of the structure, evoking the sense of Oneness. The inside of the structure is a deep red to signify that under the surface, all beings are the same, whilst also reflecting the rich red earth of much of the Australian landscape.
Dr Chellappah expressed his warm feelings for his adoptive home and country and emphasised Sai Baba’s teaching of the unity of all beings and his hopes that this piece of public art will serve as a reminder of the underlying oneness of all humanity.
‘I feel this is my and (my family’s) home and it is a sense of oneness we feel with everyone and everything else in this city, in this country, our home.’
Dr Chellappah noted that university students have enquiring minds. It is his hope that exposure to the structure and what it represents will inspire them to attain their life goals with positive principles based on the values. It is also his intention that the space will provide an area for quiet contemplation where students and others can think about transcending the egotistic concepts of I and mine, towards a broader vision of ‘We’ and the undeniable oneness of all creation as taught by Sathya Sai Baba.
Lining the pathway to the sculpture stand two concrete walls upon which the 5 human values and the words “Seek Aspire Inspire” are inscribed. Dr Chellappah explained the rationale for the inclusion of these words as he addressed those present.
‘“S” – Seek one’s goal in life whether of a spiritual or secular nature. “A” – Aspire with principles such as truth, love, peace, non-violence and right conduct. And ‘‘I” – Inspire others thereby.’
‘So, Think, “SAI” – Seek, Aspire, Inspire.’ Dr Chellappah concluded, to a resounding applause.
Dr Chellappah’s donation is a wonderful promptor of Sai Baba’s teachings, and serve as an excellent example of how His universal messages of Unity and Love can be shared with and appreciated by the wider community.