Are Sathya Sai Students Ready? – By G. S. Srirangarajan

Srirangarajan with Sri Sathya Sai inside Trayee Brindavan
Often, I keep asking myself this question, “Are we ready, are we ready?” The day Bhagawan addressed ‘we students’ as His Property and stated that we would be the instruments through whom He would bring about a change in the world – the Call was given. Bhagawan has blown the conch in the battlefield of each one of our hearts, in the battlefield of society. Will we rise up with courage and confidence and fight the forces of Adharma within and without, or will the bow of confidence slip from our hand and the arrow of faith fall away from our quiver?

Where do we stand?

We students have been touched, by none other than the Lord Himself. We must become something more than just average human beings – as a testimony to His Presence in our life. Let not the generation of tomorrow proclaim, “Here are a band of men who were in direct association with the most effulgent Lord, but where is Thy luster lost in them?”

If we were to ask the question, “Have the students of this Institute made an impact in the outside world?” The answer comes, ‘Definitely Yes!’ But is it adequate? ‘An emphatic No!’ Many of us possibly settle down for a low aim. But Bhagawan has explicitly declared that each of His students is capable of becoming a Vivekananda. It is for us to rise up to the occasion and seek our fulfilment in fulfilling His statement!

What will we be known by?

What will the students of Bhagawan be known by? Character, Self-confidence, Competence, Sincerity, Integrity, Humility, Perseverance, Detachment, Sacrifice. Possibly a varied mix of some or all of these, and maybe many more such virtues. On one occasion, Bhagawan expressed His expectations from His students saying that they should maintain their Gauravam (dignity), Maryada (respect), Neeti (morality) and Nijayati (integrity).

We students live in the same world as others do and will therefore face similar problems and difficulties. For a Sai Student, the difference does not lie in what he faces, but in how he faces it. How we respond to situations and circumstances, how we tackle adversities and challenges, will show our true worth and that is where we must leave our mark. 
Srirangarajan addressing the International Seva Conference in the Sai Kulwant Hall - July 2002
What keeps us from reaching the top?

Based on my interactions with several students of the Institute in the past decade, I have been able to observe several patterns in our perceptions and attitude. I dare not generalize, but would still make an attempt to list out a number of apprehensions that many of us foster and the possible solutions to it. Most of these arise on account of a mismatch between our expectations and reality. Bhagawan says; accept whatever comes to you in life as God’s Will, but practicing this is often very difficult.

Once we accept everything we must not expect anything. But if we expect something, how then, can we accept everything?

Problems in life are like passing clouds: Some of our alumni face a variety of problems after they leave the portals of this Institute. A delay in getting a job, lack of job satisfaction, not getting due recognition, family problems, etc. But trials and tribulations are part of the game of life and are common to all. On one occasion a faculty member working in our Institute had decided to resign from his job for some personal reasons. Before he could implement his plan, Swami had called all of us for an interview and addressing this gentleman, Swami said that, the problems that he was facing were a consequence of his own past actions and had nothing to do with his working in this Institute. These problems would appear wherever he would go. Let us remember that in as much as good moments do not last forever, bad times too are not permanent.

Living up to His expectations: We do have a ‘market’ out there – no doubt. But often, many of us have the hope that as soon as we go out, we would receive a very warm welcome. No doubt, Swami’s name will carry its own ‘weight’, but we must prove ourselves by living up to the expectations that people have from Sai Students. It is a great responsibility for us to live up to these expectations and avoid any tarnish to His name, not withstanding the fact that He is the Sun whose brilliance can never be reduced by any amount of darkness.

We are not alone in this battle: A critical weapon in the hands of a Sai Student is faith in Bhagawan. Bhagawan’s assurance that He is always with us, in us, around us… is amply testified by the innumerable experiences of several students. However, many a time, we feel helpless. This is because we look at all the undesirable things going on in the world around us and feel that we have to fight this Adharma all alone. The moment we consider that we are alone in this game; the feeling of pessimism and helplessness overwhelms us. Constant Awareness of Bhagawan’s omnipresence is the only antidote to such negative feelings. None of us are fighting this battle of life alone. He is always with us!

Do we really cry for Dharma: However, sometimes just the reverse happens. We forget the role that we have to play and expect Swami to wave a Magic Wand and change the whole world. When we see lot of negativity around and no major transformation occurring, we get disheartened and even start doubting Swami. However, if we truly have a strong desire to walk on the path of Dharma, He will facilitate our journey through this world, by paving a special path for us, enabling us to live by our principles. In other words, He may not change the whole world, but He can and will change our world! The point in question is, do we really cry for Dharma?

Changing ourselves is our duty, changing the world is His: We usually rate our performance as His instruments, in terms of what change we are able to bring about in people around us, in situations and circumstances around us. We feel very happy when we talk about Swami to somebody and he or she gets inspired. When such ‘miracles’ do not happen, we get dejected. It is a matter of irony that His focus is always on our transformation while our focus is always on that of others! Even if we cannot influence others, let’s make sure that we do not get influenced by others!

Having discovered some of our apprehensions and the way to get rid of them, let us now move over to identifying a recipe for our success in being His ideal instruments. Being Sai Students, the secret of our success lies in manifesting the virtues and qualities that our Lord embodies and that serves as a trademark for all His tasks and activities. “Our life must become His Message”.
Srirangarajan seeks the blessings of Sri Sathya Sai
What do we look for?

When we make a serious attempt to study His way of working, we find so many lessons to imbibe. Let us take a look at some of them:
•    His work goes on very silently
•    No ostentation, publicity or advertising in anything that is done
•    No shortcuts or quick wins
•    Slow & steady progress
•    Lot of difficulties & hurdles in the short run but grand success in the long run
•    Efficiency in action leading to perfection
•    No wastage of resources
•    Focus on Individual transformation. What the work does to the individual is far more important than the work itself!


Do we have it in us?

The following recipe for success has been drawn up as a result of my own experience and lessons learnt at His Lotus Feet for the past several years. It is a result of longstanding personal introspection. By way of caution I must state that this recipe is neither exclusive nor exhaustive.

Get the fundamentals right: The best way to be a successful Sai Student is to imbibe all the necessary qualities during our stay here, in this educational system. By the time we are ready to leave the portals of this Institute, we must be a complete product, with all the final touches, quality checks, packaging, etc. This will enable us to play our role right away.

Frame a vision for our life: We must frame a noble vision and mission for ourselves within the framework of Bhagawan’s Divine Mission, even as we go through our stay here as students. This will keep our focus clear and will drive us in the right direction. It would also enable us to equip ourselves with all the tools and props necessary to realise our vision.

Relationship with Swami: It shouldn't be an ‘on’ and ‘off’ affair: Our life must be a continuous offering to the Lord. As Mahatma Gandhi put it, life is one undivided whole. We cannot compartmentalize life as personal and professional. We are the same entity in all the roles we play and this must get reflected as unity of thought, word and deed in whatever we do.

True strength lies in getting up each time we fall: Sometimes, not being able to live up to Bhagawan’s ideals may bring in a feeling of guilt in us. To get over this feeling, we try to keep away from coming to Bhagawan. Mistakes will happen. But we must never cut off our relationship with Bhagawan. With Swami, there is no success or failure. He just looks at our sincerity and our willingness to change. We are like the compartments in a train. He is the engine. He keeps pulling us towards our destination. All we need to do is to make sure that we do not keep applying the brake at every small problem!

•  Whatever happens is for our good: Ups and downs are part and parcel of life. We students must consider every adverse situation or circumstance that we come across as a lesson that has something valuable to teach us. The moment we learn our lesson correctly, such situations will never come our way again. If we fail to draw lessons from them, these situations will recur again and again, with multiple intensity, causing greater stress and pain. Finally, we will be forced to learn our lessons. Therefore, the choice is ours – whether we learn on our own or whether the bitter pill has to be pushed down our throat!

• The pre-requisite to make the right choice is to have the conviction that whatever happens in life is for our good. When we are faced with the toughest situations in our life, let us tell ourselves, “This is the best that God can ever give me. Can He do anything that is less than the best for me? Impossible!”

Command and not demand A shift of focus from Short-term to Long-term: We find it difficult to resist the temptation to seek praise, recognition, status, and position; for these are the drugs of a materialistic world. But Bhagawan says that our focus should be only on our responsibilities and rights will come on their own. We must command and not demand a good name, praise or reputation. This may take a long time, but then what comes slowly also lasts longer!!
 
•  Being Swami’s students we must learn to shift our focus from the short term to the long term and must make every attempt to see events as a part of the whole picture. As Lord Krishna states in the Bhagawad Gita, “What is bitter in the beginning becomes sweet at the end and what is sweet in the beginning becomes bitter at the end”.

A place for everything and everything in its place: Life will  land us in a situation that is in tune with our ‘native genius’. Let us offer this genius or talent that is God’s gift (Prasadam) to us, back unto Him as our Naivedyam. This alone will give us fulfillment in our life.

“Atmano Mokshartham, Jagat Hitaya Cha”. These two must become the banks of the river of our life. On one side, the effort to seek our spiritual goal and on the other side, continuous work for the welfare of the world. However, with Bhagawan the latter ensures the former. On one occasion Swami gave us an assurance, saying, “You do My Work and I will take care of your work!? What a fantastic Divine deal!

Let us surrender ourselves to our dear Lord and be ever ready for His Call. He is calling us from within right now. Let us press the ‘pause’ button of our lives for a while, turn inwards and listen…listen…listen…….Are we Ready? 
 


-    G. Srinivas Srirangarajan
Student (1990-1992), Department of Management Studies
Formerly, Controller of Examinations
Currently, Director, Brindavan Campus,

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning



1 comment:

  1. excellent ! a reminder to all who wish to be called Sai devotees.. thank u.

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