National Convention Of Bal Vikas Alumni…

The National Annual Convention of All India Bal Vikas Alumni and Group III Students was held in Prasanthi Nilayam in the immediate Divine Presence of Beloved Bhagawan on 4th and 5th January 2014.

In the first evening, the programme commenced at 1650 hrs. with Veda chanting by the Bal Vikas students from Kerala. An introductory talk by Dr Deepti Upadhay followed next. Calling Bal Vikas a Divine Opportunity, “Joy Of Learning”, Dr Deepti said, EHV in human values encompasses and influences all aspects of life of a Bal Vikas student and alumni. Educare is Love in Action that in essence contributes to Loka Vikas, echoed Dr Deepti before introducing the programme, inviting one and all for the ensuing session.

First to come was a invocatory group song, a musical version of Sai Ashtotharam presented in gist.

Three selected students, Ms Sayeesha from Madhya Pradesh, Master Pranay Vidyut from Andhra Pradesh and Ms Tankshi from Himachal Pradesh, shared their inspirational thoughts about Bal Vikas next, on the subject “Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas, Education For Loka Vikas” in Hindi, Telugu and English respectively.

Sharing the telling influence of Bal Vikas that transformed thousands of lives, these inspirational speeches by the blossoming buds served as a testimony of the greater influence of Bal Vikas, paving the way for Loka Vikas. “This is Swami’s way of reaching out to us, of guiding us and of putting us in touch with our higher selves so that we return to Him fast…to Home fast. While other children were learning to sing Ba-Ba Black Sheep, we were learning to lay the foundation of the five principles of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa so that the distance towards Home was shortened…” echoed Ms Tankshi from Himachal Pradesh.

A compendium comprising of reflections of journey in Sathya Sai Education was placed at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet by Ms Kamala Pandya next, releasing the same.

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Sri Sathya Sai Award for Excellence for the Sri Sathya Sai Alumni (Bal Vikas) followed next. This award was instituted to honour those alumni who have completed the 9 year course in Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas successfully, before entering in the society serving it as per Bhagawan’s dictum…

The recipients of Award of Excellence were: Pallavoor Hariharan from Gujarat, Dr Srikant Balasubramanian from Maharashtra, Abir Guha from West Bengal, Urvish Jani from Gujarat, J Venugopal from Tamil Nadu, A Hareesh from Tamil Nadu, T Madhusudan Rao from Andhra Pradesh, Sravan Cherukuri from Andhra Pradesh, Abhrankash Kanungo from Odisha, Dr Vinayan Uthaman from Kerala, KC Ragesh from Kerala, Aparna Dwivedi from Bihar, BS Gowri from Karnataka, Dr Madhuri Patel from Madhya Pradesh, Mamta Sunderam from Karnataka, Nami Sambha from Odisha, Nishi Gambhir from Himachal Pradesh and Shweta Kachroo from Delhi.

Music was to follow… Master Vivek Karmahi (Madhya Pradesh), a former student at Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music, a budding talent in Hindustani Vocal, recipient of National Award for outstanding talent in Hindustani Vocal by Government Of India for the year 2013 offered a couple of Hindustani vocals, a bhajan, “Bhaaje Re Muraliya Bhaaje…” followed by “Yaad Sai Ke Aaye…”, enough to evoke the nostalgic feeling.

Two young mascots, Master Truptraj Atul Pandya and Pooja Alan provided the icing on the cake. The ‘young’ mascots, took over the proceedings one after one, offering their rich talents at Bhagawan’s Divine Lotus Feet. Master Truptraj Atul Pandya, a Guiness Book Of World Record holder for being the youngest Tabla player was the first one to offer. Beginning with Teen Taal, the young seven year old talent went on performing with Khayals, classical and bhajans before signing off in style with one of his favourite pieces “Madhuvan Mein Raadhika Naacheyre…Sathya Sai Ki Muraliyaan Bhajere…” Little Pooja danced with ease and flexibility, exhibiting great balancing skills. These Little Mascots later chirped on the mike blurting innocently expressing their love for Bhagawan.

Bhajans continued and ended with Mangala Arathi.

Earlier in the morning, Mrs Sarala Shah inaugurated the 2-day convention in a function held at the Poornachandra Auditorium. The inaugural ceremony was followed by a group song, talks and dance presentation by Bal Vikas Alumni representing various states. The morning session later concluded with a talk by Dr M SaiKumar.

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In the second day morning, the proceedings of the benediction ceremony began with a band procession. Even as the band marched forward a song in the backdrop extolling Mother Gayatri was sung by Bal Vikas children, as two officials carried the Bal Vikas standards.

Next to come was a dance depiction to the theme “Aham Asmi Aham” by a Bal Vikas student. Sai Sravan, an alumni of Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was the master of ceremonies. Sri Sravan mentioned that today’s education bestows the highest form of knowledge to students but lacks in character education. He said Bhagawan has given the tools and techniques to groom the Bal Vikas movement.

Sri Nimish Pandya, National Vice President of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations then introduced the dignitaries for the function: The Chief Guest, Dr. Ajinkya Patil, Chairman of DY Group and Dr. Sai Kumar, IAS, Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu, Public Works Department. Quoting Bhagawan, Sri Nimish Pandya said Bhagawan always says, if I Am God, you are also capable of becoming God. The erudite speaker said forcefully that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has the remedy for world peace:

“If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.

If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.

If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nations.

When there is order in the nations, there will peace in the world.”

A housewife who dons the role of Bal Vikas guru teaches morals, value games and slokas to 10 to 20 children and makes change in their life for the better. He also made a special mention of the veteran couple Sri Indulal Shah and Smt Sarla Shah, the doyen of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation. Mentioning about the half-a-million strong Bal Vikas community, Sri Nimish Pandya ended his speech at a high note saying that this movement is here to stay and grow.

Next, Sri K. Chakravarthi, Trustee, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust presented special trophies to Dr Sai Kumar, IAS and Dr Neelam Desai, Head Cardiac Department, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram, both former Bal Vikas students.

The next speaker was Ms Rama Sampath, a diploma holder of Institute of Sathya Sai Education. Bal Vikas movement has shaped our lives; activities like silent sitting helps in toning the mind to a higher level. The Love of Bhagawan is like a magic wand through which one can touch the lives of every heart through Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema and Ahimsa, said Ms Sampath giving her resolve that we will strive to make this world a better place to live in. She concluded her speech with special mention of Bhagawan’s Own Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu and Samasta Jiva Sukhino Bhavantu. Subsequently, a Divine Light was placed at the Sanctum Sanctorum praying for Divine Light and Effulgence.

Ms Nita Khanna, Deputy National Coordinator of Bal Vikas administered the pledge to students that if admitted to Diploma of Sathya Sai Education, the students will conduct themselves with upright character and righteousness. Names of persons to be felicitated were announced next. These included staff members at various institutions under Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.

Two young speakers made their presentation next. The first speaker was Brother Sathyam from Punjab. Beginning with the sloka Twameva Matacha Pita Twameva extolling Bhagawan, Sathyam related how Bal Vikas has changed his life for the better. His mother, a Bal Vikas guru has taught him morals and teachings of Bhagawan and Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas has taught him the concept of ceiling on desires and rendering service to humanity. He celebrated his birthday in an orphanage which gave him lot of happiness. Bal Vikas will help a person to pass the test of life. He requested every parent to join their ward in Bal Vikas and spread the light of love in their lives.

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The second speaker Sister Swetha from Maharashtra said that Bal Vikas is a beacon light gifted by Bhagawan. Today, knowledge and skills are being misused for vested interests. Educare is the practical approach to education. It is through Bal Vikas that one gets the understanding that all are Divine children. Bal Vikas helps to discriminate between good and bad. Sister Swetha ended her speech by saying that Bal Vikas is the road map for good and moral living.

Dr Sai Kumar, a senior IAS officer of 1990 batch and Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu, PWD Department began his speech offering salutations to Bhagawan. Calling Bal Vikas a network of hearts, Dr Sai Kumar further gave the anecdote of Bhagawan wherein a Sanskrit scholar exhibited his pedantic knowledge to a boatman while travelling in river. During the course of the journey, the scholar asked the boatman whether he knew to read newspaper, when the boatman expressed that he was unlettered, the scholar derided him by saying that 25% of his life was lost. He kept asking the boatman various questions to which the poor boatman had no answer. The scholar criticised him by saying that he had wasted his life. Suddenly the river became rough, it was now the turn of the boatman. He asked the scholar whether he knew swimming. When the scholar said that he had no knowledge, the boatman jumped into the river saying, “Now your entire life is lost.”

Dr Sai Kumar admitted that he would come for Bhagawan’s Darshan only at longer intervals owing to his busy official life, but always had constant communion with Swami. His dreams were always lucid. The speaker then narrated a dream experience, wherein Bhagawan told him, “I Am in Sundaram. I don’t find the pillow in the bed.” He was a bit apprehensive to tell this to the authorities in Sundaram. However he made a mention. Sri Ramani, All India Vice President was trying to frantically contact him. He told him that while cleaning, they had kept the pillow inside. Dr Sai Kumar from the government ended his speech by saying that one should something for the society, for your fellow being.

Dr Ajinkya D.Y. Patil, Chairman of DY Group, the Chief Guest of the function was the next speaker. Beginning his speech by seeking the blessings of Bhagawan, he opined that he stands here as a Sevak and not as Chief Guest. Bal Vikas students are the real heroes of this function. Indian education is the greatest in the world. We are known for our wisdom all over the world. We had reputed universities like Nalanda and Takshashila. One should bear this truth in mind that compared to vast universe and cosmos, one is a tiny speck. So, it is important for everyone to be humble. In our everyday life we face many obstacles, but Bhagawan shows us the right way. Dr. Patil concluded his speech by quoting Bhagawan, “There is only one caste, the caste of humanity, there is only one religion, the religion of love, there is only one language, the language of the heart, there is only one God, He is omnipresent.”

The Benedictory function concluded with an offering of profound gratitude to Bhagawan.

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II