Living with God is true Education

There is a humorous saying which gets printed on the T-shirts of many young men these days. It says, "I was born intelligent, but education ruined me."
Well, this may be the case with modern education since the education of today only looks at ways and means of making more money. Education has lost its value and values are no longer seen in today's education system.
What a strange paradox it is! It is in these very times and with this very backdrop of events that the Divine Master -Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba decided to set up a university in 1981 which would instill values in young students.
As a student who had the good fortune of studying in His Divine University, I had the opportunity to mould my character and to fully understand why a value based life is more important than a fat salary. Recently, I had the privelege of spending some time with Sri V Kumar, an alumnus who studied BCom, MCom and MBA from Bhagwan's university and has an entire gamut of experiences through which Swami taught him the important lessons of life. With his permission, I am sharing a couple of experiences and learnings.

V Kumar (in brown sweater) with Swami in Kodaikanal

Ganesh Chaturthi
During his college days, Kumar was blessed by Bhagawan to sing in Divine presence in Prashanti Nilayam.Bhagawan was fond of his singing and would eagerly wait for him to sing. The setting was that of the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and the practice was that each entity in Puttaparthi - be it the Primary school, the Higher Secondary school, each class of the college, the hospital and so on - each of them would make a chariot, install a Ganesha idol, perform pujas and bring it to Prashanti Nilayam Mandir where Swami would see them before they were taken for immersion. It was the norm to do Pradakshina or circumambulate the Mandir 3 times before they took it for immersion. Swami would stand at the end of the portico on the gents side and would bless the procession, after which the idols would be taken for immersion to the Chitravathi river or the village tank. The general order of things would be that the Vedam group would lead the procession followed by the Bhajan group and the rest of the classes would follow with their chariots.
As Kumar was one of the Bhajan group singers, he was with the group during the circumambulation. All the students naturally looked at Swami as they were circumambulating the Mandir and Swami. Kumar noticed that Swami beckoned him to come towards Him. Kumar ran to Swami and Swami said to him, "Stand here next to me ." Imagine Kumar's embarrassment. All his classmates, seniors and juniors started staring at him since they did not know what transpired between him and Swami. They thought he was being arrogant and indisciplined. Kumar was so embarrassed that he stood a couple of paces behind Swami. As Swami was standing with His hands behind His back, Swami gently extended His arm from behind, held Kumar's arm and pulled him up to make him stand next to Himself. All the students finished the circumambulation and left for immersion. As Kumar stood next to Swami, not knowing what to do, Swami gently went into the interview room. Kumar sat down outside the room in the now empty verandah - since most people had gone away for immersion. After some time, Swami came out and walked straight to Kumar and asked, "Why did I make you stand next to me?" Kumar thought ‘what intelligent answer would satisfy Swami?’ but could not think of anything smart.
Kumar did not know what to say. He just said, "I don't know Swami."
Swami replied, "Did you notice what happened? . Keep Me next to you and the whole world will go around you. I wanted you to learn this lesson." Now, what a powerful message that was! And, it is only Swami who can teach like that. This is true education from the great Master. When you keep God next to you, the whole world goes around you.

Singing for God or for the world

Sometimes, we do not realize the value of something just because it is available too easily. During his college days, Kumar would get a lot of attention from Swami and perhaps that is why, he says, he did not quite understand the value of what Swami was giving him. Being an avid listener of radio (since TVs were not so prominent those days), Kumar was fascinated by the lure of 'playback singing'. He would listen to the announcement on the All India Radio in the Vividh Bharathi programme, which said, "This song is sung by Kishore Kumar for the film XYZ. Music is by RD Burman"
Kumar started harbouring the dream of becoming a Bollywood singer and having his name announced in a similar fashion. So, one day he decided to tell Swami about it, discontinue his studies and pursue a career in playback singing. He came to the Darshan area and sat in the verandah. Swami saw him and asked him what the matter was. Kumar replied, "Swami. I have to talk to you personally."
"Come in" said Swami.
As they went into the interview room, Kumar told Swami, "Swami, You may or may not know (imagine that!!) but there is a programme which comes on the radio. It is called Vividh Bharathi. And on the radio, the name of the singer is announced along with the name of the film and the music director. I have a desire that my name should also be read out one day in a similar fashion. So, I want to become a playback singer Swami."
Swami looked amused, shocked and said, "What? . Swami said ‘Say again what you said to Me’. Kumar had the audacity to tell the whole thing again to Swami.
Then Swami said “Have you gone mad? Do you even know what great good fortune you have?"
And then came the punchline, "I am God ra" Swami said. "I am God. I am that unmanifest for whom people have prayed for centuries. I have come here now and am listening to your singing EVERYDAY. I wait for you to sing and enjoy your singing. And you say that you want to leave that chance? Are you mad? You are singing for God. What more do you want? Think clearly. Do you want to be my instrument? . " Kumar replied totally shaking “Yes. Swami. I want to be Your instrument”. Swami said ‘then do what I tell you, go inside the bhajan hall and sing. I will hear and enjoy”
That is when, Kumar says it hit him like a ton of bricks, and he realized the foolishness of his desire. He begged forgiveness from Swami and said that he wants to continue singing in Swami's presence.
Listening to Kumar's experience made me realize that we all undergo this folly of running after the world at some time or the other and ignore the God within us. Just ponder for a moment. We all tend to run after every ephemeral thing in the world, forgetting God. I pray that this incident serves as a reminder to me, everytime I think of drifting away.
Jai Sairam.

Similar blogs:

To read how Swami has played the role of a Divine Sadguru read:

To read what Swami says on good company and how we can keep it irrespective of circumstances, read:

To read on whether God needs instruments to do His work, read:


Sita said…
Is it not SSS Sir on far right in the picture? Is S Kumar Bhai in the picture?
I cant see S Kumar sir. But it is SSS sir on far right. Also, we can see Raviteja (flute), Sai Surendranath sir (extreme left), T Ravikumar sir, Vidyanath sir.
Aarthi said…
Sairam brother, I stumbled upon your blog through brother Aravind's blog. Can you please tell me how I can subscribe to your blog? I did read a few of your blog posts and they're very good food for thought.
Aarthi, you can subscribe via the email link on the right of the page. You just need to enter your email Id and you will get a notification whenever I post a new blog.

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