Devotees often say: "Swami's students are wonderful.
But then, they are close to Swami throughout their stay in
the Institute . What happens to them when they go out? Do
they still cherish the values they are exposed to in the Institute?"
Of course they do, and many are the stories that testify to
this fact. As the Bible declares, it is only a house built
on sand that collapses when facing a storm; a house built
on rock does not. The character of Sai Students is built on
the firm rock of Faith, Faith in Bhagavan Baba.
Reproduced below, is an article written
by Gene Massey of United States of America. Gene's home is
in Hollywood. He comes often to Prashanti Nilayam for Swami's
Darshan, and while he is here, he invariably helps us out
in various ways with his expertise. To him belongs the credit
for the wonderful film on Creation that one sees in the Chaitanya
Jyothi. Swami blessed Gene by seeing the entire film [in English]
on the inauguration day. One year later, Swami again came
to Chaitanya Jyothi to see the Telugu version that Gene had
produced in the meantime .
Gene's article speaks for itself, describing as it does
the Seva that he witnessed. Old students, both the boys and
the girls, keep doing such Seva all the time, wherever they
are. They leave the portals of the institute, but do not leave
the path He has shown
WHEN THEY LEAVE
once to Sathya Sai Baba, Jack Hislop used the phrase "dry
Western heart" to describe himself. I had often thought
that those words also applied to me. Imagine for a moment,
if you will, a selfless person who chooses a career as a teacher,
a doctor, a nurse, a social worker or any number of occupations
that deal with helping other souls become wiser, or healthier,
or better off in some way. Now imagine a fellow like me who
chose the path of fame and fortune, seeking a career as a
movie star, and failing that, a career as a Hollywood film
director. The years I spent in search of such a career in
the spotlight left me a lost and greatly troubled soul who
thought he wanted and needed the admiration of others to be
whole and happy.
The Mission of Sai is to change hearts, even the hardest
and driest of hearts, and it is to those souls that He has
often given the most of His much-needed Grace. A Mother sees
her child playing happily in the back yard and knowing he
is fine, she lets him run free. But when the child falls,
or is hurt, or is troubled, she will bring that child in,
and hold him close, and comfort him.
was the Grace of Sai with me. A lost and troubled soul, with
a dust-dry heart, He has brought me in, held me close, and
has given me a glimpse of His most wonderful Divine Love.
I say, "glimpse" because His Love is fathomless,
infinite, and cannot be described in words. It must be experienced.
My recent experience of His Wondrous Love actually began
with a prayer. Don't all good things begin with a prayer?
One evening, I was sitting in my room at Prashanti and actually
said out loud, "Swami, I just want to experience Your
Love. I want to really feel You in my Heart."
was quick in his answer. The next morning, Dr. Venkataraman
("GV") called me in and asked me if I would like
to film an "Old Boys Seva." Though I did not know
what exactly it meant, I immediately accepted, as I have learned
that the Sai Army is one army where you won't be sorry if
you volunteer. The plan called for me to accompany GV's colleague,
young Sai Prakash, a former student of Swami's School at Puttaparthi
and a graduate from the Masters Program at the Sri Sathya
Sai Institute of Higher Learning. We were to film a Seva (selfless
service) project in a village about an hour from Puttaparthi,
organised by Swami's "Old Boys," as former students
of Swami's University are called. They had all left College
many years ago but had come back to do Seva to the less fortunate
villagers. Apparently, they do this regularly.
Divine Plan for Changing Hearts usually includes putting you
together with those souls who can do you the most good in
progressing along the Divine path, and this partnership was
no exception. Sai Prakash is truly a fine fellow and I was
assigned the task of teaching him what I knew about filmmaking.
However, when one works for Swami, one soon finds out Swami's
real purpose, which is to make one understand that it is not
the apparent task that is important, but one with a deeper,
even greater goal behind it. This task assigned to me was
no exception. Superficially it appeared to be a filming expedition,
but I would soon discover just how important my partnership
with Sai Prakash was, and how important the filming of this
Seva project would be in my own transformation. I would also
soon learn that, even at his young age, Sai Prakash had such
a fine character and Devotion to Sai that he could teach me
a lot more than I could teach him.
You see, the graduates of Swami's schools are not ordinary
human beings. They are truly Divine Instruments. Swami's students
are pearls, whereas the rest of us are plastic beads. You
have to know them to come to realize this, because on the
outside they look just like you and me. They walk around,
wear the same clothes, talk, eat the same food, and look like
you and me, but they are different. They are selfless. They
are living examples of Swami's teachings.
has often spoken of the "Golden Age" and how it
will soon be upon us. He has also said that selfless people,
who want to work for the good of all mankind, is what the
world needs now. To effect this great change in all mankind,
Swami is "seeding the world" with these great young
souls and the future of our world is literally in their hands.
My Great Blessing was the opportunity to see these souls in
action and to work closely with Sai Prakash.
So that morning after Darshan, Sai Prakash and I packed our
cameras and joined the expedition to the distant village.
We travelled by car through several small villages along the
way, any one of which could have used much help, as these
people have nothing. We travelled so far into the backcountry
that at one point near the end of our journey we had to get
out and walk, as the road was so rough.
at the village, we could see that many preparations had been
made for this Seva project and the "Old Boys" had
been working for several days. In addition to the students,
a large group of doctors had come from Hyderabad and one aspect
of this Seva Project was a medical camp where all the villagers
would get to see a doctor. A fully stocked pharmacy had been
set up to dispense medicines as prescribed by the doctors.
A veterinary clinic had been set up to treat the animals.
There was also a noon meal planned for the whole village,
and the day was to be capped off with a procession and Bhajans
singing praise to the Lord.
The first thing that struck me was the simplicity of these
beautiful villagers. They were so loving and so innocent.
I marvelled at their humility and tremendous gratitude for
what was being done in their village. The wide-eyed children
surrounded us and looked at us with such innocence, such humility
and such Love in their eyes - His Love.
boys were scurrying around preparing lunch, preparing to treat
the people, and assisting the doctors. Many of the Old Boys
were now even doctors themselves. Tents had been set up to
provide for privacy as the doctors gave each villager a personal
consultation before they were sent off to the makeshift "pharmacy"
with their prescription. The doctors tried to give each villager
a prescription, even if they were just vitamins, so no one
would feel left out. Sai Prakash and I did our best to film
the most pertinent activities and we interviewed some of the
doctors. I was particularly impressed with these great Devotees
who spoke on camera. They spoke so lovingly about Swami's
Mission of selfless service to the less fortunate people in
the world that at times I felt that Swami must have selected
them personally for these interviews. They knew His teachings
by heart, and could recite so many of them without a second
thought! These Devotees were such wonderful, loving examples
of His teachings that I will forever remember what they said
that day on camera.
One young lady who spoke on camera will be
forever embedded in my mind. She was the village schoolteacher.
This highly educated young lady lived here in the village
and taught over three hundred young children, and without
her they would not have the opportunity for an education.
For a moment, I imagined the primitive conditions she was
enduring to be teaching here in this remote village, and thought
about the much more comfortable life in some nearby city she
had given up to be here with these children. As she spoke,
I could see a deep love, a Divine Love shining forth from
her heart. She was His Instrument, a pure and loving instrument,
and a selfless soul, His Divine Will acting through her.
In addition to the medical treatment for the villagers, several
Devotees had come who were veterinarians. They had set up
an area to treat the village animals and inoculate them against
certain diseases. They also provided the villagers with certain
medicines to be added to the animals' food. This was a particularly
interesting thing to film, as the animals did not especially
like to get an injection. They moved around a lot and would
not hold still, so to film them we had a heck of a time finding
a good angle without getting kicked!
noon, a hot meal was served, and as we filmed we could see
the villagers were extremely grateful. Living in the western
world, where so many of us have too much to eat, we often
forget this great need of many of our less fortunate brothers
and sisters. Many people in the west just don't know what
it is to be truly hungry. One of the doctors explained to
me why many of the villagers are malnourished. When they do
have a little money to buy food they buy rice, because they
can buy more rice with their money than they can buy vegetables.
The greater volume of rice is more filling, and they are so
hungry that they just want to fill their stomachs. However,
in doing so they are missing many of the important nutrients
they need to be healthy, so the vitamins provided to the villagers
are a much-needed supplement to their diets.
The day wound down and we prepared to leave. I had packed
up my camera and was waiting in the small car to depart. A
group of beautiful young children completely surrounded this
car I was seated in, and they all began to look at me. After
a moment, one child said "Sai Ram." I smiled and
said "Sai Ram" in return. Another child said "Sai
Ram." I smiled again and said "Sai Ram." Soon
all the children joined in this Sai game. "Sai Ram"
each child would say. "Sai Ram" I would say back
to them. Again "Sai Ram" they would say. "Sai
Ram" I would say back to them again. Over and over they
would say "Sai Ram" and I would say "Sai Ram"
back to each child. I looked into their eyes. They were so
innocent, so humble, and so pure. I could see that they wanted
nothing but His Love. For a moment, perhaps just a split second,
I felt it come through me. I'll never forget it.