Imagine the story of Jesus without His chosen disciples; or, the enlightening epic Ramayana with no Hanuman or army of monkeys. Would the story of Lord Krishna be so enchanting without the gopis and gopalas, Radha, Arjuna and the other Pandavas? The saga of Sathya Sai, in exactly the same way, without His students is like the Sun with no heat and light. If there is one facet of His Avataric drama which has always remained constant, and continues to reveal itself in so many unique ways, fascinating you every other day, it is the Love that Bhagavan Baba has for His students.
Right from His childhood, when He would collect a band of boys and train them in song and dance to form the “Pandhari Bhajan Group”; or the days of His early Avatharhood when He revamped the High School in Bukkapatnam infusing vibrancy and values into the campus; or the early sixties when He set up the Veda Pathashala, an institution to impart the Vedas and ancient wisdom of India to a band of eager youngsters and said, “This Pathshaala will blossom into a University…the boys will grow into strong pillars of Sanathana Dharma…they will be the leaders and guides of this land…I shall take care of them as the apple of My eye, more than any mother”; or the seventies when He established the college in Prasanthi Nilayam, right up to the blossoming of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (now Sri Sathya Sai University) in 1981 after which began the golden era of Sai Education - His immense Love for the youth and keen involvement in carefully moulding their character has been the Avatar’s continuous agenda. And He does this in ways that are manifold, and at times, mystifying.
Whether it is the unique chances of interaction He grants to them during every Darshan; or the intimate sessions He awards inside Trayee Brindavan in Bangalore; or the opportunity to travel with Him to Kodai Kanal and observe Him at close quarters; or the chance to sing and speak, act and dance in front of Him throughout the year – the sole Mission of the Divine Master is to make masterpieces of men and women. And how does He do it? How does He instill immortal values in the minds of the young and the restless so that they are embedded in their being for eternity? The cover story of this issue will give you a glimpse of this glorious and insightful aspect of the Lord’s present Incarnation.
When you read “His Boys – His Voice”, you will know how the Master Sculptor uses the Convocation Drama, which is one of the many ‘tools’ that He has created, to chisel and cut, sharpen and straighten, the ‘raw boulders’ He has brought into His ‘workshop’ so that they stand out and shine as icons of integrity and purity. You will realize that while the screen play, acting, costumes, sets, music, etc. are excellent in these dramas, and the Lord spends hours of His precious time perfecting the minutest parts concerning all these areas, the brilliant performance on the final day is probably not even one tenth of the Lord’s complete objective. What is important to the Divine Director is the message that seeps into the awareness of the audience, and even more significant is the purifying effect it has on the participants themselves.
When you read the stories of transformation, instances of revelation, examples of Divine compassion, and anecdotes of amazing love that suffuse the whole process of preparation, practice and performance of the Convocation dramas, you will know how the Lord invests His valuable time and why He does it. For Swami, the students are His Property, which He has stated any number of times. In fact, during the 32nd anniversary of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust in September 2, 2007, addressing the boys who work in His Instututions, He said, “Without you I cannot exist. When you exist, I exist, and when I exist, you exist. I and you are one.”
That is how much the boys mean to Him and that is the precise reason why He takes every opportunity to make them reflections of His Love. But at the same time, ‘boys’ here do not refer to the students of His University alone. For, as He once said, “To be a Sathya Sai University Student is to be a student of Sai for just a few years, during the tenure of education; but to be a Sathya Sai Student is to be a Sai Student for Life!”
Bhagavan’s Love knows only expansiveness. In His own way, He has showered His immense attention on children and youth from all over the world, just like He has done for His University students, and for the same mission. An interesting example is the story of two boys, Sathya and Dominique, that you will find in the feature article “Sai Movement in Germany”. How the frustrating antics and attitudes of the little Dominique, dramatically transform through the medium of a play - just as it happens during Convocation dramas with the students of His college - is truly fascinating. Dominique, today, is a Sai Student to emulate.
And such gems crafted by the Lord are many. When you read the account of Mr. C. B. S. Mani, an alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai University, sharing how he is able to adhere to the principles of “Speak the Truth and Follow Right Conduct” in the competitive and abrasive corporate jungle of today, it will hearten you.
Again, in the Sai Seva section you will find another inspiring tale. A group of youth from Argentina traveled 1500 kilometers carrying 7200 kilograms of relief material into a place called “The Green Hell” inside deep woodlands to share Love in the form of essential needs to a population who have only wild animals for company and a few fruits and local produce to eat. But once they are touched by the selfless love of the sevadals, a joy they have never experienced before, engulfs them.
It is the same experience with Shweta, too – a young promising lady, whose life had turned from dreams to dust, when she heard the prognosis of her doctor. But thanks to the power of Pure Love, today she says, “I have found the true meaning of service, loving and selfless service.” This is after she visited the Sri Sathya Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield. When you read her life-altering experiences in the first person in the Healing Touch section, you too will envision a new direction in life.
“Service to man will help your divinity to blossom, for, it will gladden your heart and make you feel that life has been worthwhile,” Swami said in a Discourse on December 5, 1964. And this is the crux of the message conveyed through Convocation dramas too, enacted under His Divine Direction by His boys, year after year. Through these revealing plays, the Lord teaches that whatever talent we may possess, let it be dedicated to the service of the rest of humanity, indeed, of all living beings. For, therein lies fulfillment.
Let every act of ours be like a flower, free of ego and full of fragrance, to be offered at His Lotus Feet. Let our beings be like a flute, hollow, clear and pure, so that we can be effective conduits of His Love. Let us be a perfect puppet in the Hands of the Divine Puppeteer, who alone is Permanent.