“You must be a Lotus, unfolding its petals when the Sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it is born or even the water which sustains it!”
-My Master, Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(The symbol of the Sai Movement, depicting a blossoming lotus with all the 5 core human values written on each petal)
“Brother, why does Swami use the lotus in various places. His buildings has some lotus drawn or carved out, his school has lotuses and even the statues of the deities too in Puttaparthi has lotuses below the feet. Almost everywhere I see in the ashram and His schools have lotuses. Why so?” I asked Mr. Ravi Kasturi, one of the dedicated teachers in my Master’s school in Muddenahalli.
And he replied, one of the most beautiful answer ever, “Swami wants us to blossom. To blossom like a lotus. Transcend all that dirt in the water and blossom into a beautiful lotus. His teachings to us is all about blossoming. Becoming better people.”
The trip to India opened my eyes to many things. One of them were the emphasis on the teachings of My Master which was imparted with love. It’s amazing to see the stuff that He had done and many of those stuff were not reported in the newspapers or the media.
My Master, lovingly emphasized on 3 most important aspects to make a man, a better man:
1) Attention to Health
2) Proper Education
3) Willingness in Spiritual growth
These three are the pillars or pathway for men to better themselves. Without one of the above, the other two would crumble. If one has no education, health and spirituality is jeopardized. Each of these three aspect is extremely important and I discovered this after visiting the schools for the poor that my Master built. The various clinics and Super Specialty Hospital that he built. The Chennai Water Project, the Orissa disaster relief project. Just amazing amazing stuff!
We visited my Master’s Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Educational Institution for children in Muddenahalli just on the outskirts of Chikballapur District of the Karnataka State. The school emphasized on Human Values, importance of education and discipline and also spirituality and health in the form of sports.
The children wake up in the mornings around 4 to do their morning prayers and then it’s exercise/yoga. By 8 their class for the day starts and ends in the evening. In the evening they play sports such as volleyball, cricket and football. They have their dinner and evening prayers and everyone’s back to bed.
Food is given to every child in the school 5 times a day. It’s amazing how much of emphasis my Master placed and every child is happy.
Two of my Master’s students of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Educational Institution of Muddennahali
Two students of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Educational Institution of Muddennahali take a breather during recess, observing a cricket match
The school has around 70 professional dedicated bunch of teachers who’ve sacrificed their lives to serve the 1000 students of the school and make them better people. Most of them are unmarried and has sworn celibacy. The school has it’s own website http://alikeonline.org/ and you can click on the link to learn more about the school. Below are some portrait shots of just some of the dedicated teachers of the school.
Extremely loving and wise, he made sure that our visit was a happy one. Unfortunately, as I didn’t had my notebook at that time, I could not take down his name. My apologies.
Mr. Ravi Kasturi, a witty and very loving soul who works in the school as a teacher and he was also our guide. He also lovingly made sure we not only had our lunch, but our evening tea with juicy watermelons as well. Such dedication and love he has for his job.
Don’t let his face deceive you, this man’s a genius but due to his love for our Master and the love for a simple life, he opted to work as a warden instead for the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Educational Institution of Muddennahali.
Mr. Ravi Kasturi took us around the school and showed us around the various aspects of the school. He showed us the school canteen, the book stall, the playground for the kids and even Swami’s residence!
The prayer hall in Swami’s Residence. Unfortunately, by the time this residence was built, Swami had left His physical body. But there has been stories of people hearing and seeing His presence in this residence. The energy pervading inside of His residence is amazing!
Students enjoy their favorite sports pastime while the school’s administration block serves as a backdrop of the playground
One of the students enthusiastically posed for a shot during a game of cricket.
A beautiful statue of Lord Ganesh just below Swami’s residence nearby the school. It appears as though Lord Ganesh is going on an afternoon stroll.
This is how the entrance of the school looks like. Now tell me, who wouldn’t want to study in such a beautiful school? Symbolically, observe the colors used to paint the pillars and walls. These are my Master’s favorite colors and according to Him, colors play an important role in our lives as colors around us determine the types of thoughts we will have. The colors used for the walls here are the very same colors of the Ashram in Puttaparthi and these three colors; light blue, light pink and light yellow, helps the mind to focus on spiritual growth and also helps to ward off negative thoughts.
A statue of Lord Ganesh on top of a blossoming lotus in the compounds of the school. “The end of education, is character” as my Master lovingly puts it.
I walked around the school, with my camera in hand, snapping away everything and anything I found inspiring. I walked past a bunch of students who were walking past us to go to their class and each one of them looked, smiled and greeted us, “Sai Ram” enthusiastically.
The future generation of India AND this world
I asked Mr. Ravi, “Do you get paid for your services here as a teacher?”
And he replied, “No we don’t get paid in terms of money. But we do get paid in terms of love that the students give us. That satisfaction when you see them excel and become someone. That is the whole point of being a teacher. Not to earn. But to teach and learn. When you see them excel, what’s the use of money?” he smiles.
“Then how do you run this school? How do you get money to support the food and facilities of the school?”
He replied, “Brother, when you do good and with love, a lot of others who intend to do good with love will be attracted to you. We get lots of sponsors from old students of this school, sponsors from various people who are so taken up with our work. Help comes. We place no importance on that and we don’t worry about that. Swami takes care of it. Our job is to teach lovingly and that’s all.”
I was deeply moved and humbled by the whole trip. It’s amazing that everywhere else in the world, education institutions around the world focuses more on income and money than on the importance of education to the students. And that too without PROPER education.
I feel, and I’ve realised, that the only way to make this world a better place is by imparting a proper education system whereby dedicated teachers teach with love. Teachers should teach not to punish but to guide the children. Dedicated bunch of teachers. Teachers who are willing to sacrifice everything they have, their comforts, money, time, health and everything else just to make sure that their students become better people in the future.
Teachers and parents play an important role in society as without proper attention to the children, a positive society in the future will be lost forever.
That is what I learnt from my trip to the school and the hospital that day. Eventhough my Master had never said this, but with the way He did things, it made me realise that Spirituality, Health and Proper Education will make us all better human beings.
Many would say that my Master’s a fraud. Well, personally, I prefer following the teachings of a fraud who has done so much of good and service filled with love than follow the teachings of someone who just sits, complains and calls another person a fraud.
I deeply owe my gratitude and my life to my Master, who after every single incident in my life, even during the times when I let His hands go, He never left me, and infact, made sure He brought me even closer every single time we parted.
It’s thanks to His teachings, that I know, someday, I too will blossom into a beautiful lotus. And I know, slowly, the petals of my heart are opening, bit by bit
Lastly, I guess, my Master’s teachings can be summed up in a phrase that He has always used and emphasised:
Thank you for reading this post. I love every single one of you with every single breath I take. Love, love, and LOVE!
With a Heart filled with Love to the brim,