The one you think you are – the Body,
The one others think you are – the Mind,
The one you really are – the Atma.”
- Sri Sathya Sai Baba
When I attended the first day of the MBA programme at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, I realised that the degree meant more than ‘Master of Business Administration’. It stood for Mind, Body and Atma. Truly, one of the most salient and unique aspects of the Sri Sathya Sai Philosophy of Education is the ‘Integral System of Education’ that recognises the three aspects of human personality and caters to their needs.
Elsewhere, the students are well-trained in Management skills and techniques and coached to become super-efficient managers, and sadly though, it stops with that. These young managers tirelessly and aggressively, work their way up the corporate ladder, become experts in their field of activity and earn for themselves a fat salary to support a sophisticated and comfortable life through retirement. While there is nothing wrong about this, these managers have lost out on something very important – their hearts’ needs.
Fortunately for us, our Revered Chancellor and our Dear Lord, has shown the right way to lead happy, wholesome and balanced lives… something many of our counterparts elsewhere have not had the fortune of learning about.
‘Ihamanu Sukhayimpa Hemathaaraka Vidya, Paramanu Sukhayimpa Brahmavidya’
We, the students of Bhagawan, not only receive the academic degrees to help us earn our living in this world, but also the spiritual knowledge that assures us of lasting happiness and bliss – here and hereafter. Education is not limited to the classrooms of the Institute. In fact, the Hostel and the Mandir sessions in the presence of Bhagawan are the places where the most important lessons are learnt. Every minute of our student lives here, brings home those little truths that enrich our way of thinking and our lives.
When I look back at the student days in this hallowed Institute, I realise how subtly, yet surely, Bhagawan was working on me simultaneously at various levels in a synchronized manner to mould me into a better human being. Waking up with a prayer to the Lord to bless us with strength and wisdom to go through the day with His presence beside us, we used to sprint out of the Hostel in tracksuit and shoes in all our youthful exuberance. Warming up and stretching exercises would wrinkle out any physical or mental creases of sluggishness. Greeting each other with a warm and cheerful “Sairam” as we walk into the classrooms, we would resume our studies with renewed intellectual vigour. As our minds were busy grasping the various techniques and strategies of the world of Management, the hands of the clock would slowly move to quarter past two in the afternoon.
Then it’s time to grab a snack and rush to the Mandir to catch a glimpse of our Lord as He slowly moves among the devotees, granting Darshan, materialising Vibhuti, accepting letters and speaking comforting words to soothe their aching hearts before finally disappearing into the interview room. Endless moments of observation for the slightest movement in the portico and waiting to see if the Orange Robe would come out towards the white waves of the restless sea of students…. Silent prayers emanate from many hearts and fill the Mandir with almost an audible hum of the Pranava. Finally, unable to hold Himself away any longer, the Shepherd rushes towards His flock. Here and there a gentle pat on the cheek, a humorous remark about somebody, a gentle advice, a firm warning, and words of immense spiritual potency uttered almost casually … and the love story unfolds day after day, year after year.
Painting, poetry, quiz, drama, musical orchestra… and many such activities to bring out the latent talents and skills that are surprisingly hidden within us for long years. It’s all magical when we realise how Swami’s Love can inspire us and through us, can inspire many people around us.
|Sudhindran riding the horse carriage carrying the Revered Founder Chancellor during the Sports Meet practice sessions (1999-2000)|
The eleventh day of January is a date that conjures up sweet memories in every Sai Student’s mind. After weeks of strenuous practice in the hot sun, when the final decisive moment arrives, how effortlessly we succeed in front of our Dear Lord! Or when we think that we have miserably failed and are ashamed even to look towards the dais, how our Dear Mother Sai claps in great joy as if He is mightily pleased with our feat, and how enthusiastically He shares His delight with the guests around Him. “That special smile and ‘Abhayahastha’ was definitely meant for me,” each one of us feel in our hearts. The photograph sessions in the Mandir are evidences of those glorious moments where the Loving Mother posed with Her children who did Her proud in front of everyone.
What to speak of the numerous opportunities that would come our way in the form of mega projects that Bhagawan would undertake like Grama Seva, where we would be the direct beneficiaries of His Love and attention while the multitudes gratefully partook of the Prasadam that Swami had sent them through us. The Management lessons that we learnt and the firsthand knowledge of the living conditions of our fellow beings that we gathered, are something that no book or lecture could ever have brought home so effectively.
Each minute of those student days were filled with happiness and learning. In this context, a verse from the Sri Rudram comes to my mind:
Namo Shambhave Cha Mayobhave Cha
Namo Shankaraya Cha Mayaskaraya Cha
Salutations to the One, Who is the Source of worldly happiness and spiritual bliss. Salutations to the Bestower of worldly happiness and spiritual bliss.
|Sudhindran (left) with Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the Navaratri celebrations in the Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir (2005)|
How true it is of our own Lord. Where else can we get this kind of complete happiness, but at His Lotus Feet? This gift of education that He has granted us is really the greatest boon anyone can ever aspire for. It’s our responsibility to live up to His expectations and prove ourselves worthy of it.
In conclusion, I would like to offer my heartfelt gratitude to MBA: My Beloved Antaryaami.
- N. Sudhindran
Student (2000-2002), Department of Management Studies
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Currently, Assistant Manager, Larsen & Toubro Construction, Chennai