When They Leave
say: "Swami's students are wonderful. But then, they are close to
Swami throughout their stay in the Institute . What happens to
them when they go out? Do they still cherish the values they are
exposed to in the Institute?" Of course they do, and many are the
stories that testify to this fact. As the Bible declares, it is
only a house built on sand that collapses when facing a storm; a
house built on rock does not. The character of Sai Students is
built on the firm rock of Faith, Faith in Bhagavan Baba.
is an article written by Gene Massey of United States of America.
Gene's home is in Hollywood. He comes often to Prashanti Nilayam
for Swami's Darshan, and while he is here, he invariably helps us
out in various ways with his expertise. To him belongs the credit
for the wonderful film on Creation that one sees in the Chaitanya
Jyothi. Swami blessed Gene by seeing the entire film [in English]
on the inauguration day. One year later, Swami again came to
Chaitanya Jyothi to see the Telugu version that Gene had produced
in the meantime .
speaks for itself, describing as it does the Seva that he
witnessed. Old students, both the boys and the girls, keep doing
such Seva all the time, wherever they are. They leave the portals
of the institute, but do not leave the path He has shown…..
once to Sathya Sai Baba, Jack Hislop used the phrase "dry Western
heart" to describe himself. I had often thought that those words
also applied to me. Imagine for a moment, if you will, a selfless
person who chooses a career as a teacher, a doctor, a nurse, a
social worker or any number of occupations that deal with helping
other souls become wiser, or healthier, or better off in some way.
Now imagine a fellow like me who chose the path of fame and
fortune, seeking a career as a movie star, and failing that, a
career as a Hollywood film director. The years I spent in search
of such a career in the spotlight left me a lost and greatly
troubled soul who thought he wanted and needed the admiration of
others to be whole and happy.
The Mission of Sai
is to change hearts, even the hardest and driest of hearts, and it
is to those souls that He has often given the most of His
much-needed Grace. A Mother sees her child playing happily in the
back yard and knowing he is fine, she lets him run free. But when
the child falls, or is hurt, or is troubled, she will bring that
child in, and hold him close, and comfort him.
was the Grace of Sai with me. A lost and troubled soul, with a
dust-dry heart, He has brought me in, held me close, and has given
me a glimpse of His most wonderful Divine Love. I say, "glimpse"
because His Love is fathomless, infinite, and cannot be described
in words. It must be experienced.
My recent experience
of His Wondrous Love actually began with a prayer. Don't all good
things begin with a prayer? One evening, I was sitting in my room
at Prashanti and actually said out loud, "Swami, I just want to
experience Your Love. I want to really feel You in my Heart."
was quick in his answer. The next morning, Dr. Venkataraman ("GV")
called me in and asked me if I would like to film an "Old Boys
Seva." Though I did not know what exactly it meant, I immediately
accepted, as I have learned that the Sai Army is one army where
you won't be sorry if you volunteer. The plan called for me to
accompany GV's colleague, young Sai Prakash, a former student of
Swami's School at Puttaparthi and a graduate from the Masters
Program at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. We
were to film a Seva (selfless service) project in a village about
an hour from Puttaparthi, organised by Swami's "Old Boys," as
former students of Swami's University are called. They had all
left College many years ago but had come back to do Seva to the
less fortunate villagers. Apparently, they do this regularly.
Divine Plan for Changing Hearts usually includes putting you
together with those souls who can do you the most good in
progressing along the Divine path, and this partnership was no
exception. Sai Prakash is truly a fine fellow and I was assigned
the task of teaching him what I knew about filmmaking. However,
when one works for Swami, one soon finds out Swami's real purpose,
which is to make one understand that it is not the apparent task
that is important, but one with a deeper, even greater goal behind
it. This task assigned to me was no exception. Superficially it
appeared to be a filming expedition, but I would soon discover
just how important my partnership with Sai Prakash was, and how
important the filming of this Seva project would be in my own
transformation. I would also soon learn that, even at his young
age, Sai Prakash had such a fine character and Devotion to Sai
that he could teach me a lot more than I could teach him.
You see, the
graduates of Swami's schools are not ordinary human beings. They
are truly Divine Instruments. Swami's students are pearls, whereas
the rest of us are plastic beads. You have to know them to come to
realize this, because on the outside they look just like you and
me. They walk around, wear the same clothes, talk, eat the same
food, and look like you and me, but they are different. They are
selfless. They are living examples of Swami's teachings.
has often spoken of the "Golden Age" and how it will soon be upon
us. He has also said that selfless people, who want to work for
the good of all mankind, is what the world needs now. To effect
this great change in all mankind, Swami is "seeding the world"
with these great young souls and the future of our world is
literally in their hands. My Great Blessing was the opportunity to
see these souls in action and to work closely with Sai Prakash.
So that morning
after Darshan, Sai Prakash and I packed our cameras and joined the
expedition to the distant village. We travelled by car through
several small villages along the way, any one of which could have
used much help, as these people have nothing. We travelled so far
into the backcountry that at one point near the end of our journey
we had to get out and walk, as the road was so rough.
at the village, we could see that many preparations had been made
for this Seva project and the "Old Boys" had been working for
several days. In addition to the students, a large group of
doctors had come from Hyderabad and one aspect of this Seva
Project was a medical camp where all the villagers would get to
see a doctor. A fully stocked pharmacy had been set up to dispense
medicines as prescribed by the doctors. A veterinary clinic had
been set up to treat the animals. There was also a noon meal
planned for the whole village, and the day was to be capped off
with a procession and Bhajans singing praise to the Lord.
The first thing that
struck me was the simplicity of these beautiful villagers. They
were so loving and so innocent. I marvelled at their humility and
tremendous gratitude for what was being done in their village. The
wide-eyed children surrounded us and looked at us with such
innocence, such humility and such Love in their eyes - His Love.
boys were scurrying around preparing lunch, preparing to treat the
people, and assisting the doctors. Many of the Old Boys were now
even doctors themselves. Tents had been set up to provide for
privacy as the doctors gave each villager a personal consultation
before they were sent off to the makeshift "pharmacy" with their
prescription. The doctors tried to give each villager a
prescription, even if they were just vitamins, so no one would
feel left out. Sai Prakash and I did our best to film the most
pertinent activities and we interviewed some of the doctors. I was
particularly impressed with these great Devotees who spoke on
camera. They spoke so lovingly about Swami's Mission of selfless
service to the less fortunate people in the world that at times I
felt that Swami must have selected them personally for these
interviews. They knew His teachings by heart, and could recite so
many of them without a second thought! These Devotees were such
wonderful, loving examples of His teachings that I will forever
remember what they said that day on camera.
One young lady who
spoke on camera will be forever embedded in my mind. She was the
village schoolteacher. This highly educated young lady lived here
in the village and taught over three hundred young children, and
without her they would not have the opportunity for an education.
For a moment, I imagined the primitive conditions she was enduring
to be teaching here in this remote village, and thought about the
much more comfortable life in some nearby city she had given up to
be here with these children. As she spoke, I could see a deep
love, a Divine Love shining forth from her heart. She was His
Instrument, a pure and loving instrument, and a selfless soul, His
Divine Will acting through her.
In addition to the
medical treatment for the villagers, several Devotees had come who
were veterinarians. They had set up an area to treat the village
animals and inoculate them against certain diseases. They also
provided the villagers with certain medicines to be added to the
animals' food. This was a particularly interesting thing to film,
as the animals did not especially like to get an injection. They
moved around a lot and would not hold still, so to film them we
had a heck of a time finding a good angle without getting kicked!
noon, a hot meal was served, and as we filmed we could see the
villagers were extremely grateful. Living in the western world,
where so many of us have too much to eat, we often forget this
great need of many of our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
Many people in the west just don't know what it is to be truly
hungry. One of the doctors explained to me why many of the
villagers are malnourished. When they do have a little money to
buy food they buy rice, because they can buy more rice with their
money than they can buy vegetables. The greater volume of rice is
more filling, and they are so hungry that they just want to fill
their stomachs. However, in doing so they are missing many of the
important nutrients they need to be healthy, so the vitamins
provided to the villagers are a much-needed supplement to their
The day wound down
and we prepared to leave. I had packed up my camera and was
waiting in the small car to depart. A group of beautiful young
children completely surrounded this car I was seated in, and they
all began to look at me. After a moment, one child said "Sai Ram."
I smiled and said "Sai Ram" in return. Another child said "Sai
Ram." I smiled again and said "Sai Ram." Soon all the children
joined in this Sai game. "Sai Ram" each child would say. "Sai Ram"
I would say back to them. Again "Sai Ram" they would say. "Sai
Ram" I would say back to them again. Over and over they would say
"Sai Ram" and I would say "Sai Ram" back to each child. I looked
into their eyes. They were so innocent, so humble, and so pure. I
could see that they wanted nothing but His Love. For a moment,
perhaps just a split second, I felt it come through me. I'll never
Source: Radio Sai
E-Magazine, 1st November 2003