"The mediocre teacher informs. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires," says an old proverb. But there is a fifth category, which is extremely rare. And that is the teacher who enlightens. Such a teacher is an alchemist who almost by magic not only illumines your mind and softens your heart, but also opens up your soul. Anybody who comes in contact with such a being feels like he or she is born anew. And that is the reason why whenever such a personality has walked on this earth, it has been a phenomenon that has charted a new destiny for not one or two or a few hundreds, but thousands and sometimes millions of individuals. And that is when new civilizations are born, world culture is enriched, the human race discovers a new philosophy, and mankind finds a semblance of eternal peace and perennial happiness that has been its quest since time immemorial.
Just look at the way Jesus has entered and stayed put in the hearts of nearly one-third of humanity on this planet. Two thousand five hundred years after His nirvana, the Buddha and His teachings are the life-breadth of over five hundred million Buddhists spread all over the world. Today, at least 20 per cent of the world population derives its strength, solace and inspiration from the gospel revealed by Prophet Mohammed. Mention the name of “Guru Nanak Dev” and not less than 23 million people will be willing to lay down their lives to protect the honour of their Guru. Even in recent history, the influence which Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had, and continues to have, in the minds and hearts of thousands of spiritual aspirants in India and abroad is extraordinary by any measure. All these great masters, apparently, had varied approaches to communicate their pristine philosophies, but at the fundamental level, their mission was only one: To awaken man and reunite him with God. In their modus operandi too there was one aspect which was common: All of them had youth as the principal recipients of their priceless doctrine.
If Jesus chose twelve young men as His apostles; the two chief disciples of the Buddha, Sariputra and Mahamoggallāna, too were young ascetics. When Prophet Mohammed had to undergo a lot of hardships and actually fight a holy war, it was again his young army of devoted followers who rose to the occasion remarkably. And how Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa longed for Swami Vivekananda is a popular legend. And we all know that if the name of ‘Sri Ramakrishna’ immediately rings a bell in the mind of every Indian, and their head bows down in reverence, it is largely because of what Swami Vikekananda and a few other close disciples did to take the message of their master beyond the narrow confines of the temple garden at Dakshineswar. It is the same with every great Master.
But for the twelve apostles, Christianity would probably have been at most a country’s or a region’s religion. In the case of Sikhism, it was the succession of nine Sikh Gurus after the primordial Guru Nanak Dev, culminating with the young and fiery Guru Gobind Singh, who created the vibrant faith that we are familiar with today. All these disciples dreamt of creating a world where there is “the brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God” as their masters envisioned. Each one of them was successful in arousing the God ‘sleeping’ in man, but to a restricted extent, limited by their capabilities.
But the possibilities become infinite and truly staggering when the Source of all Enlightenment, the Master of Masters, Himself descends on earth! The whole process of awakening mankind acquires God-speed. And that is the reason why a tiny hamlet in an obscure location in a matter of just a few decades has today become Rome for thousands for Christians, Varanasi and Mathura for millions of Hindus, Mecca and Medina for a multitude of Muslims, and Lumbini for innumerable Buddhist all over the world. The way Bhagavan Baba, has touched and transformed a colossal mass of mankind – personally to each one at that – is absolutely unprecedented. In a landmark discourse delivered four decades ago on May 17, 1968 , Bhagavan Himself declared, “On previous occasions when God incarnated on earth, the bliss of recognising Him was vouchsafed only after the physical embodiment had left the world…But, ponder a moment on this Sathya Sai Manifestation…What is it that brings to Him the adoration of millions from all over the world?... This is a human form in which every Divine entity, every Divine Principle,…ascribed by man to God, are manifest.”
Apart from personal transformations that have redirected the lives of millions God-ward (Read Swami and Me section), each initiative of His in the sphere of social upliftment, has been an eye-opener, that has enriched the lives of millions like it has happened never before. Be it the mammoth Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Project, or the one-of-its-kind Super Speciality Hospitals (See Healing Touch); or the plethora of initiatives to empower the poor, the orphaned and the disadvantaged of the rural areas. But the most amazing aspect is the cascading effect these phenomenal projects have had in inspiring any number of such projects, big and small, by Sai devotees all over the world, which is as mind-boggling as it is countless.
But among all the direct initiatives of the Divine in the present era, the one that stands out unquestionably like a beacon for the rest of the humanity, and for every future generation to come, is the mission of Bhagavan Baba that has as its focus - the youth. This energetic lot is priority number one when God Himself comes down too, but unlike with great messengers of the Lord, now the scale and its impact are huge. It is a fulfillment of the dream of every enlightened being on earth concerned about humanity’s welfare. To show you how it happens and how unbelievably true it can be, we have in this issue the cover story “The Zenith of Holistic Learning”. It is the most inspiring and sublime story of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School established by Bhagavan Baba in Prashanthi Nilayam.
In a divine discourse delivered a year before this school formally started as an English medium school affiliated to the CBSE, Swami said, “A teacher has to be so full of compassion and love that he understands and sympathises with the students, and their struggle to expand and to blossom.” Have you heard of a teacher in the present times who goes to the extent of sweeping the pupil’s room, washing his clothes and keeping awake the whole night so that the student blooms without any impediments whatsoever? Or for that matter, do you know of any school in the current time where a student, who has a very crucial examination of his life the next day, sits next to the bedside of his sick classmate and reads out chapters and lessons simply because he could not study selfishly when his own roommate was in such a pitiable state?
This is only a tiny glimpse of what goes on inside the sacred precincts of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. “Our endeavour is to create balanced and dynamic personalities who are physically strong, intellectually sharp, emotionally stable, and at the same time spiritually advanced,” says Mr. Habbu, the first Principal of this school. When you read this cover story you will see how this goal has found fulfillment in the integrated personalities of hundreds of students who have passed out of this school, or are currently pursuing their unique curriculum with great passion and dedication.
Like every project of Bhagavan, this School too is a model for humanity to watch, understand, appreciate and emulate. It is heartening that world over today there are many walking on the trail blazed by this school from Australia to England, South Africa to Thailand, Zambia to Canada. In the Sai World News section of this issue, you will find how the inspired students of the Sathya Sai School of Canada are reaching out to their community, nation and worldwide to spread the message of Truth, Peace and Love.
On Guru Poornima Day, the sacred festival in which the preceptor is venerated and worshipped, way back in 1992, Swami said, “Guru Pournima is not performed by circumambulation and offerings to the Guru. What is the real offering? It is the offering of one's love... There is only one Guru and that is God.” “There is only way you can describe God and that is ‘Love’,” Swami explained on this occasion in 2004, and added, “Strengthen this love…there is nothing that can liberate you more easily than pure and selfless love.”
On this sacred month of Guru Poornima, let this be our gift to our Supreme Divine Master – our pure, unsullied, unwavering and unconditional love.
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