Invaluable Advice to Bal Vikas Gurus & Students
The world over, devotees of Bhagawan celebrate 6 May as the Easwaramma Day, in honour of beloved Mother Easwaramma. In the year 1977, the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation, with the blessings of Bhagawan also decided to dedicate this day to the Sai children around the globe. In Bhagawan’s presence this special day would always bring with it a sea of exuberant Bal Vikas children who would infect the gathering with their pure love for Bhagawan. We would look forward to the bhajans these children offer to Bhagawan in their innocent and mellifluous voices.
We bring for you on this occasion that is dedicated to the Bal Vikas movement, excerpts from Bhagawan’s discourses on various occasions, which remind us of what He envisioned for this movement and what He expected from Bal Vikas children and gurus. We hope all Bal Vikas gurus go through these excerpts and also share them with their students.
(Padhyam – Telugu Poem)
From education arises humility, when one acquires humility, one obtains deservedness, when one gets the deservedness, out of that he will acquire wealth in this country. Once he acquires wealth, it follows that he acquires righteousness or Dharma; out of righteousness thus acquired will flow his material pleasures and his spiritual requirements. Man therefore, obtains his material pleasures and his spiritual requirements through this sequence which starts with education, humility, deservedness, wealth and Dharma.
The Goal of the Bal Vikas movement is societal transformation. But where should this process begin?
According to our Indian culture it is said, mother is God, father is God. One’s parents are the manifestations of Divinity in a visible form. Our parents have given us this body; have cared for us by giving us food and also given us the ideals with which we have to lead our lives. Hence we must consider showing our gratitude to them as our first and foremost duty. Our body, our blood and everything in this human body, all the aspects and all the capacities are given to us as a gift by our parents.
If you are unable to give satisfaction to your parents who have given you this sacred body, how will you be able to do good to the country? How will you be able to transform the society? How will you be able to look after the security of your country? You can think for yourself. When we are not in a position to make our parents who live in the same house happy, how can we spread happiness across the country and the world?
The boys and girls of Bal Vikas should begin at their homes by showing respect for their parents, brothers and sisters. This should be the first step. The second step is to respect, those in the neighbourhood. We should also respect those that come as guests to our homes. Gradually in this manner, we should be able to spread our care to the rest of the village, going on to the whole district, and eventually to the country as a whole.
(Divine Discourse – 2 Mar 1974)
Bhagawan reminds the Bal Vikas children why it is essential to build a strong character in a tender age and what one must do to build such a character:
You young children will soon grow up, and some of you will become mothers and some of you fathers; it is only when you learn to respect your parents when young, your children in turn will respect you and show regard to you when you become mothers and fathers.
Whatever seed is planted, that corresponding tree will sprout out of it. So also the kind of food that you take in will determine the nature of the belch. This concept of reaction is well understood and accepted by citizens of Bharath. Your life is like a seed. You must nurture this seed of life into a tree, and make efforts to relish the fruits of bliss and happiness that the tree bears. If the plant in its tender age were to become crooked and get a curved shape, then the whole tree too will be crooked.
So ensure that this period of life is spent in a fruitful and sacred manner. You can do this by acquiring sacred education through the study of the holy texts of Bharath like Bhagavatha, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Ithihasas and Vedas. Not only our spiritual texts, you should also acquaint yourself with holy texts like the Bible and the Quran.
Our country has been known as the treasure house of spiritual knowledge. In such a country, today, unfortunately injustice, hatred and jealousy are showing their ugly head. I am hoping that you boys and girls of the Bal Vikas, will grow into such citizens who will re-establish Santhi, Prema and Dharma in this country.
(Bal Vikas Conference Divine discourse – 22 Nov 1975)
What should be the role of a Bal Vikas Guru in the life of their wards?
The close connection that should exist between the Bal Vikas students and Gurus should be for the goal of controlling one’s own senses. The teachers should be good guides, and the students should be ideal recipients of such good ideas. Teachers should play the role of an alarm time pieces. The students, who are lost in the sleep of ignorance, should be woken up by these Gurus through the teaching of Prajnana (spiritual wisdom); they should be exhorted to, ‘awaken, arise and strive towards the goal.’ Ignorance strengthens ones ego. Ego is like a great sin. It has been said, “Death is sweeter than blindness of ignorance”.
Where there is the teacher ignorance disappears, but if one has ignorance, one cannot find a teacher. So long as one has ego, it is not possible to find a real Guru. Unfortunately, today in the world, there are plenty of greedy teachers and lazy students. Today, there is a great need for students with sharp intellect and teachers who can sacrifice. It’s not great to give away objects, but it is indeed great to give away one’s own self. It is only when there is a close relationship and connection between the teacher and the student, that whatever is taught will take the shape of spiritual knowledge.
(Bal Vikas Conference Divine discourse – 22 Nov 1975)
A few important tips to Bal Vikas Gurus and coordinators:
There is one important advice I wish to communicate to the teachers. Anything about a religion or aspects of a religion, should not be taught to the children in a manner which will create contradictions in their minds. We should not have hatred for any religion, all religions only teach how we can go closer to God. One should not take the attitude that one religion is better and another is smaller; one should not make such comparisons. It is the equality of all the religions and the acceptance of the main principles of all religions is the essence of Sai’s ideas. This is something which you should recognize.
There is only one religion, the religion of Love;
There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity;
There is only one language, the language of the Heart;
There is only one God, He is Omnipresent.
Keeping this in mind, with love you must welcome people of all religions. Whether Christians come to us, Parsis come, Jains come or Muslims come, we should equally welcome all, regarding this beautiful country as a garden in which all these different religions are flowering, adding beauty. Our country Bharath is like a “Nandanavana”. In this “Nandanavana” various religions which are flourishing should be regarded as different flowers that give us Ananda or Bliss.
(Divine Discourse – 2 Mar 1974)
Bhagawan reminds us as to how important it is for a Bal Vikas Guru to strive for individual purity:
Today in the context of there being about 5000 Bal Vikas Gurus, if each teacher can set right a hundred students, the whole country can be improved in a large measure. Today there being 5000 gurus of Bal Vikas classes, what is the progress we have made during the past four years is a question we should ask ourselves? We should carefully examine everything that each one of us does. The Gurus who have Sathvik feelings can inspire such noble feelings in the students who learn under them. If we therefore want sacred ideas to be promoted in the students, first thing to do is to develop sacred thoughts in the minds of the teacher.
The first step is that the teacher’s minds should be made free of jealousy, differences and all other bad qualities. Most importantly, teachers must keep away from all kinds of politics, that are like injurious insects. Teachers should not form small parties and groups. When a few teachers get a good name and fame, some others become jealous of them. All the gurus should regard themselves as brothers and sisters and promote the divine aspect of Atma and regard themselves as the proponents of that one idea. Being humans, it is possible that unpleasant ideas may occur in the mind. But you have undertaken to be a Sathya Sai Bal Vikas Guru. If such bad qualities occur in other teachers there is not so much danger, as would be in the case of a Bal Vikas teachers.
(Divine Discourse to Bal Vikas Gurus at Poorna Chandra Auditorium – 20 Nov 1979)
Bhagawan instructs on the importance of self-introspection, as individuals and as a group:
We should have the faith and understanding that teachers are like the guiding light for the country. If one student takes to the wrong path, he or she alone would have taken the wrong path. But if the teacher takes to the wrong path, hundreds and thousands of young people will take the wrong path. The teachers should stand as a guidepost. He/She should have an unwavering mind in setting an example of an ideal to the young students. If the guide post is not stationary and is constantly rotating, then it will show the wrong direction. Just as a guidepost stands firm and shows the direction clearly, so also, the teachers should stand firm, should be selfless and should show the path to the students to follow. The teacher should also promote one’s own devotion and faith.
(Divine Discourse to Bal Vikas Gurus at Poorna Chandra Auditorium – 2o Nov 1979)
Thanks to Radio Sai Team for this Article