A World Conference for Bal Vikas Students and Teachers at Prasanthi Nilayam

Sri Sathya Sai at the Poornachandra Auditorium

Tuesday, December 27, 1983 to 

Saturday, December 31, 1983

A five-day World Conference of Bal Vikas teachers and students was inaugurated in Poornachandra Auditorium by Bhagavan at 9.30 am on 27th December 1983. The Conference was held between the 27th and the 31st of December. Major General Mahadevan, State President of Tamil Nadu Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, welcomed Bhagavan and the delegates. He stated in his speech that it was a red letter day in the history of the Bal Vikas Movment. Bhagavan in His Inaugural Address pointed out how Bharatiya culture had survived the vicissitudes of centuries, while many ancient civilisations had disappeared. It was the duty of the Bharatiyas to preserve this heritage and live up to the values represented by this culture. He gave the details of the cyclone that had hit Puttaparthi the previous night. A sudden gale brought down the Shamianas (tents) where the Bal Vikas students were housed. Children were trapped underneath the collapsed tents. However, the only words that escaped their mouths were “Sai Ram”. They started singing Bhajans immediately. Bhagavan pointed out that the Bal Vikas training had trained them to face such ordeals with courage and faith.

Bhagavan addressed the Bal Vikas and Pre-Seva Dal students in a special session on 30th morning at Poornachandra Auditorium. He told the students that success in any endeavour could be secured only if effort was coupled with Divine Grace. Bhagavan announced that all the expenses of their stay at Prashanti Nilayam would be borne by the Central Trust.

In His Discourse addressed to the young students Swami said:

"YOU, children of the Eternal! You are not lumps of flesh. You are embodiments of the Eternal. You are repositories of Bliss. Your hearts are shrines of the Divine. The whole of Nature is your playground; all the things in it are your play-things. Regard yourselves as masters of the Universe and not its bond-slaves. As long as you are bound to your desires, you cannot escape being subject to the material world. With all his prowess, Ravana could not save himself from disaster because he was a slave to his passions. Once you surrender to the Divine, nature becomes your servant.

The boys and girls of today should realise this basic truth. They represent the future of humanity. They are the guardians of the nation's culture. The greatness and prosperity of the country depend on them. The nation's future will be determined by how the lives of the young children are shaped. Today the world is plunged in chaos, violence and wickedness. It is for the young people to see that these demonic forces are routed For accomplishing any objective two things are needed: Krishi (individual effort) and Kripa (Divine Grace). The two are like the negative and positive poles of a magnet. If there is only Divine Grace, but no proper effort on the part of the individual, the object cannot be achieved. Divine Grace is always there. We need not go far to seek it. The efforts made to secure it are called Sadhana (spiritual effort).

Children should learn to admit their mistakes Every person should possess four important qualities: Shanti (peace), Satya (Truth), Nirahankara (absence of egoism) and absence of Asuya (envy). These four are essential. Suffusing all the four is Prema (love). These qualities are not got through studies or from a teacher or as a gift from someone. They can be acquired only by one's own effort. These noble qualities have to be developed from childhood itself. Only then will they stand in good stead in later years... 

... Without discipline, your life will be beset with pitfalls. Children of Sathya Sai Educational Institutions must set an example in discipline. In big gatherings, they should observe silence and order and restrain their enthusiasm. If children who have gone through the Bal Vikas course indulge in chatter and frequent clapping of hands, they bring discredit to the movement. Whatever the situation, you should observe strict discipline and obey the orders of your teachers or elders. You should also learn to make sacrifices for the sake of others in need. Sacrifice means going to the help of others to the extent of your capacity. If you are not in a position to help others, you must at least refrain from doing any harm. Even that is a form of sacrifice (giving up the tendency to do harm to others.)"

Bhagavan blessed the Bal Vikas and Pre-Seva Dal students with Padanamaskar on 31st morning in the open ground around the Prashanti Mandir, and distributed clothes to all the children and teachers. During the Valedictory function in Poornachandra Auditorium on 31st evening, Bhagavan blessed the assembly with His New Year Message. He said:

"Every second is a new moment in your life. Do not wait for a whole year to celebrate the new year and make new year resolutions. Utilise every second to purify your heart and fill it with love. You will then realise that God is yours and you are with love. True devotion is the means to realise the Divine. Devotion means love of God without any desire for reward. Such devotion can be developed only through good conduct. There can be no devotion without righteousness. Purity of mind is an essential for enjoying Divine Bliss as purity of body is essential for bodily health.

Higher than all the knowledge that can be acquired in the world is the Atma Jnana (knowledge of the Self). There is nothing equal to the bliss that comes from Self-realisation. It is attained only when the ego-sense is destroyed and there is prayerful submission to the Divine. Prayers must issue not from the lips but from the heart. Prayers from the lips are like a telephone number call. They will not reach the person you want. Prayers from the heart are like a "particular person call." They will go straight to God.

Prayers, again, are used for seeking fulfilment of material desires. Out of the millions who offer prayers, very few seek God Himself with pure hearts. The happiness derived from material benefits is lost when these are lost. Life is a constant succession of happiness and sorrow. To be free from these opposites one has to cultivate detachment. This detachment is Vairaagya."

On 28th, Bhagavan inaugurated an international exhibition of paintings and handicrafts done by Bal Vikas students in the foyer of Sathya Sai College. He witnessed the cultural programmes and an international rally by 7,000 children at Hill View Stadium on 29th and 30th December.

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