Volume 6 - Issue 07
JULY - 2008
THE ZENITH OF HOLISTIC LEARNING
The Sublime Story of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School,
Divine Energy Flows Through His Instruments
An alumnus of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, Mr. A. Raghavendra is currently Vice President, ABN AMRO Bank N. V. in Bangalore. When asked what he cherishes the most from his time when he was a student at Swami’s school, he is prompt to respond, “We had an environment that was pure and unsullied. We could easily concentrate on our academics, and at the same time do wonders in extra-curricular activities.
"More importantly, we had a dedicated band of teachers who left an indelible impression upon us at that impressionable age by the sheer power of their personal example. I still remember one particular day when I was in grade X. Our Board examinations were going on, and therefore, our room was not swept for two days. Each one of us was hard pressed for time, and the room, as a consequence, had become very dirty.
"That day, our hostel teacher, who was living in a room adjacent to ours, quietly came into our room when a very few of us were present. Without speaking a word or bothering any of us even a little, he picked up the broom, swept the room clean corner to corner, and left silently as if nothing had happened. This was in 1988, but it flashes in my memory and inspires me whenever I think of the school.”
Teachers Serve Sai in His Students
Another alumnus of the school, Chaitanya Juluru, similarly goes down memory lane recalling his lasting impression of the school, says, “I was then in my XI grade. Extreme weakness and ill-health had confined me to the bed. All the symptoms pointed towards malaria.
"My body was shivering with cold and fever, even though I had covered myself completely with sleeping bags and blankets. When my hostel teacher noticed my condition, he returned with an oil bottle in his hand and started applying oil to my feet.
"I desisted because I felt embarrassed; the teacher was almost 3 times my age. I felt I was being disrespectful to allow my respected teacher to touch my feet, but he had no qualms about it. He did it with much love, and sure enough, my shivering ceased and I felt better.
"A day later, by Swami’s grace, the malaria test too proved negative. But what touched me the most is what the teacher did which under normal circumstances, only my parents or brother would have done.”
Teachers the Most Inspiring Role Models
Instances like this are innumerable. Ask any student of Swami’s school and he will have a number of stories of how his teacher, without a second thought, cleaned the vomit on the corridor when his sick classmate threw up unexpectedly one day, or how he fed him with his own hands three times a day when his hands were hurt, or how he took extra classes everyday for only one student who needed more attention, or how he paid a boy’s hostel fees once he knew about his poor financial condition, and so on.
“In the school I witnessed a set of individuals who practiced what they preached,” says Mr. Surya Prakash Pati, an alumnus of the school currently pursuing his Ph. D in Management in IIM-Lucknow.
He further adds, “The teachers were live definitions of the words ‘love’, ‘sacrifice’ and ‘dedication’. They followed the same rules that we, as students, complied with. I am really proud that I had them in my life. I cannot explain in words how they have molded me.”
Reforming Students At Source, Never By Force
On one occasion when a student was leaving the school upon completion of his studies, he bowed down with reverence and gratitude, and touched his teacher’s feet. His parents had come to take him, but he was in tears.
The teacher consoled him saying “Swami will always be with you… you are never going to miss anything…do not worry…”. His sorrow, however, was very deep. It was then that his parents revealed to the teacher their son’s real story.
“Before joining Swami’s school, he had been absolutely uncontrollable,” the father said. “On many occasions, he would just go out of the house and return very late in the night. When we questioned him, he would carelessly say ‘How does it bother you?’
"And it is the same boy, who now touches our feet when he is home, and never leaves anywhere without our permission. When we see our son now, we feel so fortunate. We do not know how to express our gratitude to Swami and this wonderful school.”
Another parent, Mr. Krishna Sundararajoo from Singapore, says, “When my son, Saishreyas, joined this School for grade XI, initially he used to ask me to bring lot of goodies and other items whenever I visited him. But now, he does not ask; he is happy with whatever I bring for him during Sunday visits. When he returns home during holidays, he gives talks at various Sai centres and willingly shares his ennobling experiences. And many people tell me he is matured not only spiritually, but also has become worldly-wise. His help in the house and respect to the parents and elders is exemplary.”
Beacons of Sai Light Guide Parents
Boys come to Swami’s School as tiny buds and within a span of two years or more, they bloom into fragrant blossoms, spreading the fragrance of love wherever they go. The students on many occasions have become change-agents who have brought sweeping changes, not only in their family but also in their work place, and society at large. For instance, after completing his education in Swami’s School and subsequently in the Institute, one alumnus joined a non-profit organization which worked for rural upliftment for a salary that was half or less than what his counterparts were being paid elsewhere.
There are occasions when small children of the school have actually reunited their parents. Citing one case, Mr. Venkateswarlu, the Mathematics teacher who also stays in the hostel along with the boys, says, “This boy was at the same time in grade X. As I used to interact with him frequently and ask him about his welfare, just as I do with every student, one day he revealed to me that his parents were actually not living together. ‘When I go to mother, my father gets upset, and vice versa.’
Sharing more he said, ‘My parents separated over difference of opinion as to which school my younger brother should go.’ I encouraged the boy saying since he is under Swami’s care, the Lord would surely take care. ‘Write letters to Swami as well as to your parents,’ I advised. When you write to them explain that they are correct in their viewpoints, but they would be doing more good to your brother if they stayed together than otherwise
The boy did this for several months. He counseled and cajoled his parents through his letters asking them not be carried away by the opinions of friends and relatives, and think only about his and his brother’s welfare. At the same time, his prayers to Swami continued. One fine day, his father arrived in the school! Overjoyed to see his son, he said to me, ‘Nobody advised me better than my own son.’ Soon the family reunited, but the father was keen that his son continues in this School after his grade X. The boy was fortunately successful in the selection tests, and is, in fact, now in grade XI.”
Positivity Extends to Family
Mr. C. Subramaniam, the parent of Giridhar and Aadarsh, says, “The improved behaviour and attitude of our sons has had a subtle effect on our lifestyle too. Because of our interaction with them, there is a strong urge in us to understand Swami’s teachings in the right perspective and put them into practice in every day life. We feel they are real satsang (holy company) in our family; they definitely provide a positive input in everything.”
High School a Vital Limb of the Sai University
Apart from enriching their families and surroundings, one unique way the school contributes to Swami’s education mission is by providing students of high caliber to Bhagavan’s Sri Sathya Sai University. “In the last seventeen years, 90% of the gold medalists in Swami’s University are former students of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School,” says Dr. Shailesh Srivastava, who teaches physics and stays with the boys in the hostel. The school, therefore, is a vital limb of the Sai University.
“The purpose of our existence is intertwined with Bhagavan’s grand education mission. There is no difference,” says the Principal, Mr. Shivramakrishnaiah. In fact, the school is a part of His divine master plan to present mankind with an alternate and most effective system of learning, which alone can rescue modern education from its present crisis, and raise it to a level where it can create enlightened individuals who could guide humanity to a new and noble destiny.
Alumni Draw Upon Hostel Experiences Forever
Mr. Ratnakar Sharma, an alumnus of the school currently working as an Investment Banker in Citibank, says, “My stay in the school has changed my life in ways more than one. It has taught me to take decisions with the head as well as the heart, and to treat others just as you want others to treat you. It has inspired me to touch others’ lives just as Swami has touched mine.”
“Very clearly, we, as Swami’s students, have advantage over others because of one factor – self-confidence, the basis of which is absolute faith. We know that Swami is always there with us to guide us through,” says Mr. T. M. Gopikrishna, a school alumnus who works as a divisional head in Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd. in Chennai.
He adds, “This allows us to take risks both professionally and personally on matters we strongly believe in. In terms of outlook and personality, it has made me more empathetic to others. I realize that I need to look at personal equations from the other person's perspective, and this is exactly what Swami does too…Truly, whatever I am today it is because of my stay with Swami and at His school.”
Gratifying Experience to Serve as Sai Teachers
As for the teachers, they consider being with the students their single greatest fortune. “To be able to use my life for the children’s welfare who are the harbingers of a new society where Sai ideals would be the norm than an exception, is what gives me a great sense of fulfillment,” says Mr. Satheesh Babu. Another teacher, Mr. Sai Surendranath, says, “These children have, in fact, taught me the great virtue of equanimity. I am always inspired when I see them sacrifice so much so willingly and still keep a smiling face.” The warden of the hostel, Mr. Janardhan, says, “Many of the students appear to me like sages. In fact, I feel they are here to contribute to my self-improvement more than anything else.”
Reflecting the Energy of True Transformation
With its open-to-all and free education policy, values and life-skills integrated curriculum, close bond between students and teachers, the school has emerged as the perfect blend of the ancient wisdom of the Gurukul system in a contemporary setting.
Increasingly, students, parents, educators, policy makers and government bodies around the world see the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School as the ideal model of education to emulate for preparing wholesome students who can face the challenges of our times with a deeper sense of social and spiritual responsibility.
Today, without any publicity or promotion, the name and fame of this school has spread to all parts of the world, including non-English speaking countries, only due to the silent transforming power of those who have passed through its portals. Here the overall ambience, curriculum and the physical presence of living Divinity as the Founder, impacts the students at so many various levels that with every graduating batch, a new army of virtuous men enter the world as potential contributors towards the arising of a new consciousness, determined to lead humanity to a new age of enlightenment.
Not surprising though, since it has been designed personally by God and directed dexterously by His instruments, making it a warm and nurturing environment where students feel empowered enough to dare and live their lives as divine beings; where discipline, dedication and service are the first, second and third languages; where the only subject that is never taught but is continuously learnt, practiced and perfected is Love. This Love is truly the real driver behind the success of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School – God’s own garden of pious blossoms meant for spreading the fragrance of universal human values around the planet.
- Bishu Prusty
Vol 6 Issue 07 - JULY 2008
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