Bhagavan says that His students are His property and I have been a witness to how Bhagavan moulds each one of His students into His effective instruments by infusing in them the qualities that make them the leaders of society and thus agents of positive change. When a student was questioned whether Swami wanted to produce Managing Directors or Ramakrishna Paramahamsas from His University, one of the students aptly replied, “Bhagavan wants to make us Managing Directors from outside and Ramakrishna Parmahamsas from within.” Truly, if the society has to be rid of the tangles of materialism and blind sensuality, if the Golden Age of Sai has to come upon Mother Earth, it is the students of Bhagavan who will have to reinforce their crusade against the prevalent negative forces and emerge victorious. So, though instilling in their hearts the goal of realisation and freedom from the cycle of births and deaths, Bhagavan never advises His students to leave the world and run away to the Himalayas to engage in penance. He wants them to live in the world and bring about transformation by putting into practice His ideals that His life so potently demonstrates. He says that we can be in the world and still not be for it, that we should be good doctors, engineers, lawyers and businessmen or even sportsmen. Observing the success of our students in the outside world, I feel that the Golden Age would be here sooner than expected.
But let us not have any misconceptions and wrong notions about who are the students of Bhagavan. I would accentuate that those alone are not His students who have studied in Sri Sathya Sai Schools or colleges. The qualification is based more upon imbibing of the values that Bhagavan has delineated, in one of His discourses, “A good student should be humble and be loyal to high ideals. ‘Sreyasthe Viswasreyah’. It is only when the individual succeeds in being good that the world too can become good. A real student of Bhagavan must place before himself the ideal of world peace and prosperity. He has to be unpretentious. He must vow to be of service to others. He should have humility and devotion. This is the essence of true education or Vidya.”
Thus we see that all can strive to be the students of Bhagavan. In fact, when the whole Universe is the University of Bhagavan, can we confine His real students to only a few colleges? I would prove by various examples as to how those who have put these very ideals into practice have found success, fame and fulfilment in life. Following are the value Bhagavan’s students are expected to imbibe:
Regularity and discipline
In this regard, the schedule that Bhagavan has given to the inmates of the hostel is by itself the best training for their future. Many former students attended training sessions sponsored by their companies confessed this. They were amazed to see that the way professional corporates organised workload was very much similar to the way departmental activities are organised in The Senior Boys Hostel. Let me reproduce here the feelings of Sri P. Seshasai who passed his M.B.A from the Prasanthi Nilayam campus in the year 1995 and now works as the Business Development Manager, Data Software Research Con. Pvt. Ltd., Chennai. He was suffering from hypertension for a certain period and confessed, “While talking about this problem of being hypersensitive, when I look back and think of reasons which could have led me into this, I must admit that the one major reason was not sticking to the hostel schedule and the thoughts that I used to entertain. The schedule followed in hostel is the IDEAL ROUTINE which can lead us to the best of health and well-being if regularly followed. Stress starts for many people in the morning because they may start for the work late and hence they try to rush in the chaotic city traffic causing more stress to themselves and also to others. The primary reason for doing this is waking late. If we choose to follow the Puttaparthi routine, people would be getting early, spending some time in prayer/meditation followed by a walk or a jogging then getting ready for work without any hurry. What a beautiful way it would be to start one’s day! Swami says, “Start early, drive slowly and reach safely” many are able to practise this. Thus I would advise my younger brothers in the hostels to consciously and strictly adhere to the hostel schedule given by Swami and make an invaluable investment for their future. Such discipline gives required strength to face everyday challenges in life with more conviction. I hope my younger brothers will not make the same mistake as I did and realise that the hostel life is the most important and valuable part of their life, not squandered away for flimsy reasons.”
A sense of commitment and determination
|Dr. M. S Swaminathan, father of the Green Revolution in India|
Let me begin by narrating in brief the story of Dr. M. S Swaminathan. He is acclaimed as the father of green revolution in India, who envisioned an ‘evergreen revolution’ through eco-technology that would give the maximum produce to the farmers from their land and help alleviate their hunger and poverty. An agricultural scientist, he was the first to recognise the potential of Mexican draft genes for Indian conditions. After independence, when a majority of Indians dependent primarily on agriculture were living below the poverty line, his research and dedication to take this new variety to every nook and corner of the country was no less than a boon from the heavens. It was due to his efforts that during the Bihar famine of 1966, the number of starvation deaths was minimal as India’s wheat production jumped to 12 million tonnes in 1967 and to 20 million tonnes in the next two years reaching 72 million tonnes by 1994-95. Dr. Swaminathan had found his mission in life and never believed in the word called ‘impossible’ while fighting politics, bureaucrats, lack of funds and above all the passive frame of mind that created hurdles in his way. This power of a grand and lofty aim in life is the very power that Bhagavan also inculcates in His students. The gigantic projects of Bhagavan executed in record time and His unrelenting efforts in protecting the lives of millions from the drudgery of aimless living are the living examples in front of our eyes.
Many examples prove that the students of Bhagavan are committed to setting similar goals and playing a concrete role in the mission of Sai. Let me cite the example of one of our students Sri Srinivas Murthy who passed his MBA course in the year 1993. After working for some years in the industry, one day he heard his inner voice calling him to leave his lucrative job. Accordingly, he established the ‘Vidya Sagar Institute of Rural Development’. He picks up village children who have passed their XIIth class with good marks and gives them two years of free education. After this, the students go for training as NGOs and then get absorbed therein and thus continue to work for the upliftment of their own villages in a planned and organized manner. These students bring succour not only through developmental activities, but also by bringing the message of Sai to their doorstep and taking lead in organizing devotional and service activities through community participation. Thus the students of Bhagavan are bringing a sustainable change in the rural set-up of the country. This movement is certain to gather momentum and from a mere stream would turn into a big river in the future.
Surrender and implicit faith
Let me now tell you the story of Mother Teresa who dedicated her life as a messenger of God for those that were forsaken by men. One day she was travelling in a train to Darjeeling and heard an inner call. Very soon, she gave up her post of the Principal of the St. Mary’s High school in Calcutta and entered the slums alone, with only Rs.5/- in her pocket! With her missionary zeal, her efforts have today been instrumental in giving over 75,000 brothers and sisters either a decent life or at least a decent death. She said, “Deep down in our heart we know exactly what our calling is - if we are humble and sincere. God created us to love and be loved.” And it is known to all how she found everything in life by giving up her all. In the same strain let me narrate to you the experience of Sri Prabhakar who completed his M.F.M in the year 2002. After passing out, he joined ‘H.A.L’ (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) in Hyderabad. In a short span of time, all came to know of him due to his outstanding qualities, hard-working nature and humane approach to the task assigned. Even his Executive Director (E.D) would sometimes call him and ask about Bhagavan and His glories. He narrated following episode:
“We were coming to the end of the financial year 2004-05 and our production nowhere seemed to be close to the targets. The main problem was non-receipt of required material from the suppliers. One night, at around 11p.m., when I was sound asleep, the E.D rang me up. He sounded perturbed. He asked me if Swami could do something about meeting the targets before the year closing. That seemed impossible in the current circumstances, and requested me to pray to Bhagavan for the same. I told him that Swami always advises us to do our best and leave the results to God. I requested him to contact the suppliers once again in the morning, explaining our position to them. To the utter surprise of entire division and H.A.L as a whole, on being contacted, next day onwards contractors agreed to supply all the materials required which started pouring in from all the suppliers - the same suppliers who had earlier expressed their inability. The E.D was so inspired by this positive turn of events that he motivated the employees to work on a 3-shift basis and finally H.A.L-HYD not just met, but exceeded its targets for the year. What was impossible became possible by His grace.” Thus we see that once we have implicit faith in God, wonders begin to happen.
God as the Centre of Life
I feel this is a very important qualification for those who want to be instruments of Bhagavan. One example of the modern times of people who have reached great heights by always remaining centred on Bhagavan is that of M.S. Subbalakshmi. Having known Bhagavan since her childhood, the power behind her voice, though she may be singing in Europe or USA has always been Bhagavan. She says, “Bhakti is devotion to the Divinity that resides within us. If there is radiance in the heart, there will be radiance in the voice.” She recognised herself as merely an instrument of Bhagavan and hence the qualities of humility, simplicity and dedication were just evident and contagious in her. Similarly, if we make Bhagavan the centre of our lives and feel that we are but His instruments, the very same qualities that will manifest from within will take us to similar heights, whichever field we may be working in.
|Sri Sathya Sai blessing M.S. Subbulakshmi|
A way in which Bhagavan always keeps His students and staff centred on Him is by showing to them His ‘visiting cards’ that declare His omniscience and omnipresence. Then wherever we go, whatever we do, we know that He is there in our hearts, that He is watching, guiding and protecting. In this regard, let me narrate the story of Sri Pawan Negi, who passed out from the Institute in the year 2001. Swami had not spoken to him for a long period of time and he felt frustrated and a bit down due to this. He started wondering if Swami would ever speak to him again. To his utter surprise, Bhagavan called his entire class for an interview the next day. Inside the interview room as He bowed at Swami’s Lotus Feet to take Padanamaskar, Swami lovingly caught his nose between His fingers and asked him as to what he was thinking the previous night. Before he could say anything, the Omniscient Lord lovingly replied, “Were you not thinking that Swami does not speak to you or talk to you?” Pawan was simply overwhelmed. He says, “For many people, this might not seem very significant. For me, this incident holds a lifetime memory. It has given me the steadfast faith that even though Swami may not be physically with me around the world, He is watching over me and cares for me and will never abandon me.” What more can a man ask, than The Lord Himself choosing to be his guide and guardian? Thus by revealing His omniscience Lord Sai keeps His students and staff centred on Him.
Thus let us be assured that all success awaits us if we choose to be His students, i.e. develop the above qualities and add to that Man Management, and being a humble and silent worker. Bhagavan expects His students to have these qualities. These very same values are the basis of all great men and women who have made a difference to our lives. These values, once imbibed, will make us the ideal instruments in the hands of Sai and make us a part of History - His Story.
|Dr.Deepak Anand blessed by Sri Sathya Sai|
- Dr. Deepak Anand
Assistant Professor, Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus