A few months had passed as a teacher at Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Ooty. On June 1989, Bhagwan called us, a small group of “Ooty teachers” for an interview. It was my first interview as a teacher.
Bhagwan said,” Fish is better than a selfish person. A fish cleans the water it lives in. Whereas, a selfish person does not contribute to anything in society.”
Our Jagat Guru said,”Teachers and parents should not be like Dhritarashtra and Gandhari. Do not be blind to the faults of the children. A good mother controls her child with one look. The vision of the mother is beneficial for her children. Since the Kauravas did not get Gandhari’s motherly vision upon them, they were unlucky. Since Gandhari blindfolded herself, she did not do her Putra Dharma, the Dharma of a mother towards her children. Look at what the children do. Correct them when they make mistakes and instantly appreciate them for the good that they do.
As an inexperienced teacher, I was attempting to find the balance between Love and Law. Teaching history to 12-13 year-old boys was easy but dealing with a cheeky boy who wrote about cricket in a history test was a daunting task. To ensure discipline without curbing natural boyish boisterousness is as much an art as pruning a rose bush! So, I asked Bhagwan, ”Bhagwan, how should we control children? They don’t pay heed to us!” Bhagwan kindly answered me,” Tell them again and again.” Today, I realize that is exactly what Bhagwan, our teacher has been doing with us, His naughty students. He has repeated with immense patience and love, the same lessons for years and years the lessons of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema, Ahimsa and Kshama. He has taught by personal example, stories, jokes and songs with untiring zeal.
A brick knows only its own arduous journey from clay to foundation brick. Does it know the toil of the brick maker who makes thousands of bricks for the edifice?
A couplet by Kabir says,”Karat Karat Abhyas te, Jadmati hot sujan, Rasri avat Jat le, sil par parat nishan.” Meaning – By practice a dullard can become knowledgeable just like a mark can be made on even a stone by repeatedly rubbing a rope on it.
Recapitulation re-assessment and repetition are necessary for any type of learning. As we recollect the abundance we all received from Bhagwan…the gifts, teachings, encouragement, guidance, care, protection…lovingly showered upon us…each of us bow at His lotus feet and ask,” Oh sweet Mother, what can I do for you?”
This reminds me of a little conversation in the darshan grounds. Bhagwan had just given sarees to all the teachers and the Warden of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Mrs Prem Behl asked Bhagwan, ”Swami, You give us all so much, what can we give you?” It was a gratitude-filled yearning echoing in the hearts of many devotees. Bhagwan smiled and said,” Pure heart! I want only a pure heart and you have it.” Bhagwan gave each of us the gift of a pure heart…keeping it pure by His grace needs constant effort, recapitulating lessons until it becomes a part of us.
Thank you Bhagwan for patiently repeating the lessons You want us to learn. Hope we learn them soon.
(Sowmya Roopa completed her B.A in 1987 and B.Ed in 1988. She received her gold medal for distinction in B.Ed from the Sri Sathya Sai University. She taught at the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar Ootacamund from 1989 till 1991. From 1991 till 2000, she taught at the Sai Sathya Sai Primary school, Puttaparthi. Sowmya Roopa was invited to the Sai Sathya Sai Schools, Rishikesh and Kathmandu in 2000 and 2001. There she shared her knowledge about value-oriented education with the teachers and students through talks, poems, songs, charts and demonstration. Currently, she writes value-based skits and paints quotation boards. In this series, she shares her experiences and learning as a student and staff in Swami’s educational institutions. )