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Then & Now
A day in Ashram

Bal Vikas Guru's Conference

"….Let the Beacons never fade; Let the Lamps be ever bright" was the inspirational message given by Bhagawan addressing the Balvikas Gurus when the Movement was set in motion way back in 1969. This was not a mere message, but a huge responsibility, Divinely ordained…to nurture the little hearts…to blossom them to ideal citizens.

Eversince, the Balvikas Movement has been on a roll. Lakhs and lakhs of children have been blossomed into youth of character over the years and there are thousands of teachers, known as Bal Vikas gurus guiding these young aspiring minds to a better tomorrow based on the divine teachings and guidelines of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Leading up to the coveted 80th Birthday Celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Prasanthi Nilayam has witnessed a unique congregation of ‘Balvikas Family’ from all over India at His Divine Lotus Feet, rejuvenating their minds and pledging their hearts in unison at the Feet of the Eternal Being in human frame…Sadguru…Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

It was ‘Children’s Festival of Joy’ that set about the tone for the celebrations on 22nd October with children from all parts of India participated in a rare display of outpouring of love and gratitude to Bhagawan for entering and transforming their lives, and through them, the lives of their family members and others around them. Over the three days, the children basked in the love of Bhagawan, presenting a variety of programmes in the Divine presence on the lessons they have imbibed as students of the Bal Vikas Programme. There was a significant presence of students from the far off North Eastern states like Assam, Manipur and Sikkim, their faces beaming with the joy of being with Bhagawan on this wonderful occasion.

At the backdrop of this wonderful ‘Festival of Joy’ came the All India Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas Guru’s Conference inaugurated by the Divine Hands on the morning of 25th October. Delivering the key-note address Smt. Sarla Shah, National Bal Vikas coordinator highlighted the evolution of the Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas Movement from its humble beginning in the year 1969 into the much talked about and highly valued Sri Sathya Sai Educare and the significance of its application in day-to-day life. She said, the Movement is aimed at creating Sai Energy Globules in the hearts of children and parents so that instead of Atomic Energy, Atmic Energy will be generated resulting in world peace at large. She further reiterated on the need to make this Movement more effective for the spiritual regeneration of mankind. Love alone is the essence of education and where this Love prevailed, it resulted in transformation which would lead to the manifestation of 5 D’s: purity, unity of thought, word and deed and experiencing one’s own Divinity. Sai Education is the only solution for today and the Mission of the Sai Avatar coupled with our action could alone change the world into a better place, concluded Smt. Sarla Shah.

The next speaker, Sri Nimish Pandya with his rhetoric excellence regaled the audience on the Glory of Sri Sathya Sai Avatar. Leela of Pure Love is the essence of the glory of the Avatar, said Mr. Pandya. While profusely thanking Bhagawan for removing the myth that God was complicated and that God could be achieved by simplicity and Love through the means of Bal Vikas, he emphasised that Bal Vikas is the simplest means for achieving the much talked about World Peace. Highlighting Bhagawan’s teaching that it is important to change the individuals and their attitudes before changing the world into a better one, Sri Nimish Pandya concluded with an optimistic note that this alone would herald the dawn of the Golden Age.

Bhagawan in His short but sweet address to the Bal Vikas Gurus reiterated that, that which protects Dharma is Real Knowledge and Real Knowledge is nothing but, Educare which is coming from Atma.

The first exclusive session of the Conference was held in the Poorna Chandra Auditorium in the afternoon, in the immediate Divine Presence. The first one to address the Gurus was Smt. Kamala Pandya on the subject, “Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas – Milestones in the Divine Mission”. Bal Vikas in its 36th Years of sojourn is at the prime of its life, in full bloom and it is time to take a perspective view of the Divine Mission; We have to think, reflect and understand as to what Bhagawan is expecting from us, advised Mrs. Pandya to Bal Vikas Gurus. The next speaker Dr. Anand Mohan elucidating on the subject, ‘Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas –A Way of Life”, referring to Bhagawan’s famous dictum:

If there is Righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in character
If there is Beauty in Character, there will be Harmony in the Home
If there is Harmony in the Home, there will be Order in the Nation
If there is Order in the Nation, there will be Peace in the World

If there is Order in the Nation, there will be Peace in the World, said, individual transformation alone can bring about transformation in the world and this individual transformation should start at the right time…right age…should be a continual process…that should culminate in attaining world peace. In her inspiring speech, Ms. Deepali Changkaoti exhorted the Gurus to be exemplary role models while talking on the subject “Be, Do and Tell”. The last speaker for the session was Ms. Jayashree Bajaj who stressed on Bhagawan’s Message of Purity and Unity to enable the gurus to experience Divinity.

The second exclusive session was on the 26th morning in the Poornachandra Auditorium. Dr. Ms. Neeta Khanna in her eloquent exposition on the importance of Thought Management said that our destiny rests on our thoughts and hence the seed of good thoughts should be implanted right from the conception in monther’s womb. Smt. Parul Sachdeva in her emotional rhetoric stressed the importance of inculcating good habits which she said makes our destiny and when one follows those good habits he or she is closer to God and when one is closer to God he or she is at Peace. She posed the questions herself: Am I of good character? Do I have all those values which a guru is ought to have? Giving full credit to the Bal Vikas training, she said transformation started from the very day she has become a Bal Vikas Guru. The next speaker Ms. Sashibala from A.P. stressed the need for integration of the five techniques while imparting the course content. Dr. Mrs. Devi Rajagopal in her lucid presentation gave deep insight on the benchmarks of an ideal Bal Vikas student. Explaining about the 5 D’s, namely, Duty, Discipline, Devotion, Discrimination and Determination in details she said these five D’s are not given to the child altogether, but in gradual doses according to age.

The third and final exclusive session commenced with the analysis of the role of a Bal Vikas guru by Ms. Radhika Trasi. Explaining in detail the techniques involved in training children in moulding into future citizens she has a word of caution to fellow Bal Vikas gurus: “plunging deep into the tumultuous waters of samsara we have emerged heroic with the rare pearl in our hand and this rare peal is the Divine Grace of Swami because of which we have become Bal Vikas gurus. So, we must be very careful and not allow this pearl to slip through our fingers and fall down to the depths again, because only as Bal Vikas gurus we will be able to render service and make our lives fruitful”. This was followed by Ms. Binoti Thakore’s guidelines for parenting and the crucial role of parents in moulding the children in to ideal sons and daughters. She stressed that families are to be dwelling places of right conduct. She concluded her inspiring speech with few beautiful lines on parenting:

Parenting is both Love and Law
Parenting is both Sowing seed and fructification
Parenting is Mutable yet Constant
Parenting is music both Gazal and Classical
Parenting is Mystic yet very Systematic
Parenting is Parenthetic and Paragonic
Parenting is both Practical and Tactical

Smt. Vidya Srinivasan emphasized the need for co-ordination of the different wings of the organization in promoting Bal Vikas.

The Valedictory function was held in Sai Kulwant Hall in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan. Mr. Nimish Pandya summarizing the whole proceedings of the conference in a nutshell thanked Bhagawan for the great realization that “we are all perched at a moment in the history of mankind when the entire world is due to become a Sathya Sai Organisation, every family is due to become a Sai family, every mother is due to become a Bal Vikas guru and every child is due and deserves to be a Bal Vikas student”.

The first speaker, Mrs. Usha Nair spoke about Bal Vikas Movement in rural India. Narrating various inspiring incidents happened across various villages in Madhya Pradesh wherein Bal Vikas children were involved, she concluded her inspiring emotional rhetoric with a prayer to Bhagawan, with a positive note to shower His Blessings to make their endeavour a success so that the health, wealth and prosperity of these villages which constitute the real wealth of our nation would richly contribute to the well being of our country. The next speaker, Smt. Nimmi Kanwar while profusely thanking Bhagawan for His bounteous blessings enlightened on the recommendations of the Conference that all active workers and office bearers should make it a point to attend the Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas classes so as to make it a way of their lives.

Dr. Anil Vinayak Gokak, Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning exhorted the teachers to be transmitters of impulses to the children and detectors of their talents. Smt. Jayalakshmi Bajaj who was specially called upon the dais by Bhagawan said that love should encompass everything under creation and love is expansion.

The programme concluded with the presentation of the recommendations of the Conference and vote of thanks by Shri Nimish Pandya.

Richly inspiring for thousands of hearts and minds of Gurus across the length and breadth of India, rejuvenated in the Divine Presence and inspired at the Divine Hands to carry the torch to nurture and guide the little minds to make them ideal future citizens of our culturally enriched Mother India - the noblest of the tasks divinely ordained by the Avatar of Age.

Jai Sai Ram