All India President’s Address to Balvikas Alumni

Addressing the Balvikas Alumni Convention recently held in Prasanthi Nilayam, Sri V Srinivasan, All India President of SSSSO delivered an enlightening speech, inciting the young students to rise to the level of Bhagawan’s expectations, dedicating themselves to the Holy Mission.

Om Sri Sai Ram!

We have to begin with offerings of gratitude, given with humility to our beloved Divine Master Who has given us life, Who has given us a vision, Who has given us a mission, Who has taken us to Him and selected us from the millions and millions of people. I, on your behalf and on my behalf bow to our Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and express mine and your heartfelt gratitude for giving us this occasion to come together. Always this is our home and let me add my words of welcome to all of you – Welcome Home! Welcome to Sai!

On the 1st of January this year 2013,we had the alumni of the Institute of Higher Learning of Sai University, who gathered here and today we have the alumni and those who are shortly going to become alumni who have come here to this seat of Divinity, of learning and of excellence. The pathway to excellence -dear brothers and sisters – starts and ends at the Lotus Feet of our Beloved Bhagawan. So if you want to go and travel on this pathway-your journey begins at His Feet and your journey will end hopefully at His Feet. So, as I was saying that, we had the alumni of the University and today we have the alumni of our Balvikas. It is perhaps interesting to draw some comparisons.

As far as I know, there are about 10,000 alumni of the Institute of Higher Learning and again this is something I should know is that we have over 10 Lacs alumni of the Balvikas. The University students go through a period of 10 to 15 years of study, while you go through the nine years of Balvikas curriculum. The University students receive a Divine degree, you receive a Divine diploma – because both the University and the Balvikas, way back in 1968, both were started by Bhagawan Baba. The University course came a little later but Bhagawan started with the Balvihar and that evolved into the Balvikas. The University students receive Sai Integral Education, you receive Sai Education for life.

When we compare that we are 10 lacs, then today the first target we have to set dear brothers and sisters is that at the next alumni meeting there must be at least 10,000 of you to attend this and all 10 lacs of the alumni must attend at least one meeting a year held on a regional basis. While we will have a meeting at Prasanti Nilayam, I know that you are dispersed throughout the world, so you should now resolve that you should come together because Bhagawan always emphasized ‘Satsang’ i.e. collective action. He was not for individual action, he was for individual transformation.

As you know the Sai organization today has set for itself a motto – ‘Transforming lives to transform the world’. We are first to transform ourselves before we can make the effort to transform the world. And Bhagawan always believes that transformation started at the individual level. Bhagawan always emphasized that action becomes worthy action if it is done collectively. He always said all the fingers of the hand have to work together to bring about meaningful action. Individual action, when we point with one finger, usually results in unworthy action. So it is important that the Sai alumni should meet regularly- at least once a year at your regional, zonal levels whatever we may wish to call it. Meetings to come together so that the lamp which Bhagawan has lit, as your song was sung, continues to burn with effulgence. That lamp should never be allowed to go off. It is important now, that the Balvikas have a proper database of all it’s membership. Database is so important. It is important that the Balvikas now has it’s own e-newsletter which will reach out to all the 10  lac members.

These are all small things, we should not look upon them as an end in themselves, they are ways and instruments to enable us to do a task which Bhagawan wishes us to do. Do you realize that you as Balvikas alumni have two Alma Maters – you have one as the Balvikas and if the Vice Chancellor would not mind – I would like to call this as Balvikas University, and the other is the school or the college where you studied.

What have you done for your Alma Maters? How are you supporting the Balvikas movement. Have you ever reflected or is our commitment only oral. Bhagawan always said, ‘Do you do what you say?’ The wonderful words which were sung -’Duniya mein kitana Dukh hai, duniya mein kitana kashta hai, uske baare mein hum kuch kar Rahe hain ya nahin?’ about the difficulties and the problems and the griefs in this world – What are we doing collectively? Individually and collectively? In the other Alma Mater, what steps have you taken to introduce the Balvikas. Yours is to make the effort, the results are in His hands. We should never bother about results, results are in Bhagawan’s hands. But He wants you, He out of His love and His compassion for all of us, whether we are in the Balvikas, whether we are in the Seva Dal, whether we are in the University or whether we are in the hospital – He wants us to make the effort – problems will be there, but Bhagawan is the Master. He is The Lord Who ordains the results. So, as Balvikas alumni, have you taken any steps to introduce the Balvikas in your old school? Bhagawan always emphasized the importance of gratitude and He always stated that ingratitude is the worst sin that exists.

I do not know whether you realize that the Balvikas has two fountain heads- the source is here, but He created two fountain heads – the Iinstitute of Sathya Sai Education in Mumbai and the Balvikas Trust. Are you aware of these things? Have you ever visited the institute of Sathya Sai Education? Are you aware that there is a body called the Balvikas Trust of whom the chairman is our venerable Sri Indulal Shah. What action have you taken to support these institutions? I am being frank because we are talking among family members. This is not a public function, this is a time for recapitulation, re-dedication, review and resurgence.

Brothers and sisters, we have to expand in all directions, we have to expand the Balvikas, we have to expand the university, we have to expand the hospitals because if we have stagnation, if we have contraction, it is the first sign of decay and how ungrateful we would be to our Lord and Master if we were to standby and do nothing. How should we do it? How can we expand the university and hospitals. Answers are with Him but it is our duty to think, to use this grey matter to plan, we are instruments… nimitam Bhagawan always said that you are just the instruments, results are in Bhagawan’s hands.

Today, the Balvikas, I am watching since last few years is steady around 3.5 lacs children all over India. Are we happy with that? No, we have to expand. We need more gurus and all you alumni -are you willing to be gurus? It is not that difficult to be a guru to contribute that time – you may be a house wife, you may be a career person but our classes are held one day in the week. And we are not interested now to propagate this concept of residential Balvikas. Yes, it has been the strategy for initial growth, but we have ordained now collectively that all Balvikas classes should be held in public places either in the samithi centres, in the bhajan mandalis, in schools, in any public place where people can congregate. So you are no longer restricted by having to go to somebody else’s house to conduct the Balvikas class. We are also thinking that we try to have at least two gurus per class, not just one guru. Because this is the way of growth, training, the pathway to excellence. Can you not be gurus? People think that when we are talking on these kind of forums, we are talking about money – Money is the least of the factors. Bhagawan paid no attention to money. He always said that for good work, resources will always come. But what we want is human effort to give off yourself, it is so easy to take out a pen and write a big cheque but to give off yourself – that is the greatest gift which you can give to our beloved Lord.

So in this expansion of the Balvikas, what role are the alumni going to play? Are they just going to congregate once a year, sing some songs, have some meetings and disappear – no, no, no. Sai has to become part of our lives. Sai has just not to save us from earthquakes. Remember that. Sai is the reason for our birth, the reason for our existence. We should not pray to Swami only when we are in trouble. Everyday must be a day of living with Sai and He is here, He is listening and He must be saying as usual that this All India President has started to talk. But as usual He said that when I spent 40 years with Him. I used to catch His Feet and say that you only have given me this job and I have to do my duty to talk. This Vibration, this essence, His presence is here and this presence must be with you at all times, not just in the form of pictures but worship Him in your hearts, He must live in your hearts.

And be aware that the opportunities of Seva don’t come only when we meet on Sundays. The opportunities for Seva come anytime, we may never know when they come. How often have we heard the story of Shirdi Baba Who came in different forms to enable devotees to do their Sadhana and who did not recognize. Today dear brothers and sisters, the suffering in the world has at least one good purpose – it creates continuous opportunities for serving mankind. Every moment of your lives, be alert, be ready, how to serve. And you can do service without compromising on your busy schedules, instead of looking and going all the times on our blackberries and iPhones needlessly. You can use that time instantlyto serve somebody, to relieve some suffering and serve with love. No service can become Seva unless it is done with love. Bhagawan always used to say, where there is no love, there is no Seva. You can’t just take an old lady’s hand, take her across the road, working on your blackberry. It is with full involvement, then it becomes Seva. One thing we must remember that Bhagawan has picked every single person, each one of us here today and all over the world who say they are Sai devotees.

Whoever had a chance to come to Him, they could come only because He decided that they should come. We could never come without His Sankalpa and with this good fortune comes great responsibility. Of the crores and crores of people if we are the devotees of  Bhagawan Baba, it is because he has willed us. We should never forget that. People say, Oh Bhagawan received lots of money. What did He do with that money? Did he keep anything for Himself in that plain robe which He wore? All of it was used in the Seva of the poor and the needy – the hospitals, the University, the water projects, building the houses for the flood affected in Orissa. Bhagawan’s heart was like butter.  The slightest sign of grief in the world used to melt His heart. Some people used to say that towards the end of His physical stay on this earth, Bhagawan sometimes used to shed tears. People used to mistakenly think that He was shedding tears because He was planning to leave. No, no, no. Bhagawan never cared about Himself, His compassion was only for the world. We must have that compassion, our hearts must also melt when we see suffering in this world. You cannot solve all the suffering, but you can feel the compassion for those who are suffering and do your little bit to ease that suffering. A person without compassion cannot be human and this was a source of compassion. If there is any one lesson that we have learnt from Bhagawan Baba – that must be compassion.

Today, dear brothers and sisters, the organization cannot remain aloof from society. We have to be involved in society. We have to change and adapt. We should never forget the core values which Bhagawan gave us. But still you know this peripheral appearances for society, the peripheral methods of working which we have to make to change for society – that we have to do. So Bavikas alumni must be the vanguard. Today, Sai organization, again statistics – we are about 6 lacs of people of which Balvikas is 3.5 lacs, so you must be the vanguards for the involvement in society. We cannot say that we will do our bhajan, or we will do our sadhana, we will do our retreats and stay aloof from the world. No, no, no. Today Sai students cannot remain aloof from society. Today Balvikas cannot remain aloof from society. We must change the world but pray to Him that we never change. ‘Duniya ko badalenge lekin Bhagawan aapki daya se hum na badalein’. This should be our prayer.

Yesterday, in the Sports Stadium – I was just looking around the stadium and I found this beautiful display boards which we had made for the 85th birthday. And as you know, I do not know how many of you know, we put up these boards at prominent places all over India. Now we need a new direction. It is not enough if we have messages that the beginning of everything is character. We need more message – one which says that ‘ Love is Life – Share it’. So messages which are relevant to society, Bhagawan has given all the messages – Let’s go through all that He has written, you will find all the messages that you need. But pick out those messages and make posters – I give this work to you – the Balvikas alumni – to decide and make posters which will display. Most important, do you know that 90th birthday is around the corner, do you know that the 50th anniversary of the Sathya Sai organization is around the corner, we just have two years. 2015 is the year of the 90th birthday celebrations. 2015 is the year of the 50th anniversary of the Sathya Sai organization.

Your posters could concentrate on Love, Service, Unity of religions, the Seva to daridra narayanas, not just talk about Madhava Seva. Talk about Seva to those daridras in whom Madhava resides.

I think I have taken a long time, I have much more to say but I do want to leave that to Nimish during these various meetings to tell you what the Sathya Sai Central Trust is doing, what is the Sathya Sai Organization doing.

I will only close with a prayer to Bhagawan to bless each one of you. My request to you, not to all of you but to many of you – come and work in Swami’s institutions, come and work in the hospitals, in the ashram here, you see now we are introducing totally modern procedures. Today the Sathya Sai Central Trust is run on higher standards of corporate governance compared to any other Institutions in India. Don’t believe on the muck and the stupid things which are written. Today we are totally transparent. Sathya Sai Central Trust is one of the few public charitable trusts which brings out a comprehensive annual report with all financial details. Don’t pay attention to all this 40,000 crores and  50,000 crores. Facts and figures are there, audited. You don’t need to go by rumours. Everything is there, you can see it any time. Look at the website – all the details are there. You are the messengers of Sai. At some stage of your lives, many of you are fortunate to come at an early stage – but may be some others later in life. Come and work in Swami’s institutions, and hopefully we will have many of Sai’s institutions not just in Puttaparthi but all over India.

Dearest Bhagawan, bless these children, make them fit instruments in Your Hands. The future of the Sai mission is in their hands.

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II