|Top view of the bhajan hall at Srisailam|
Life at Sri Sathya Sai Vidyapeeth, Srisailam (That's where I studied class 9 and 10) was never an easy one. It was a tough one. Tough, not in terms of the time table followed there but, peer pressure. My dorm mates wanted me to take part in their conversations in which I wasn't that keen on. I did not distance myself from them, either. The result of not taking part in their filmy conversations, was that they spoke of me as a person who had ego that I hailed from a country out of India! They totally seemed to forget the fact that I am an Indian! I did feel lonely because I did not get the right company, a company I wanted to be in, a company that loved to talk about Swami.I did not know if I was doing the right thing. Did I want to be famous amongst my dorm mates by joining in their conversations or be good to myself and Swami and remain quiet doing my job in the best way possible? I just did not know what to do.
|Good or Great???|
Meanwhile, the extra curricular activities were on in full swing at school. The Sri Sathya Sai Institutions are always busy with some or the other activities. It was then that the Value Fest for girls was round the corner. We were already prepared with a drama but were not informed of the elocution contest. Just two weeks before the Fest, our Principal ma’am called around four of us for an audition. She gave us a topic, 'Being an instrument in His hands'. In the next one minute I spoke the best I could. That was how I got selected for the elocution competition to be held during the Value Fest. But what was the topic for the actual contest? It was,'I want to be good, not necessarily great'! I fell in love with the topic the moment I heard it. Something told me that the solutions to my stress was not far behind. I began my preparations with lots of gusto.
Preparation for the speech begins.....
The first thing I did was to check out the definitions for good and great in the dictionary. It was as follows:
Good: having the right qualities; behaving in a way that is right, polite or
Great: considerably above average in extent, strength or importance.
|There is a difference between positively great and negatively great|
From the above definitions, I further differentiated goodness and greatness with my own humble understanding, this way.
Goodness has a Satwik attribute while greatness, has a Rajasic attribute in it. This can be clearly understood with the examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler or even Rama and Ravana. Rama and Mahatma Gandhi were good, thus achieved greatness whereas, Ravana and Adolf Hitler achieved the negative greatness through their fame and atrocity.
Therefore all those who are great need not be good but those who are good are bound to achieve greatness. (1st take home message)
This was a very important lesson I learnt during my stay at Srisailam.
A small observation, I have heard Swami appreciating His students, a ‘good girl’ or a ‘good boy’. Same with the teachers and parents. Have we ever heard them say ,’great girl’ or a ‘great boy’? Obviously, spontaneously that is what comes out of the mouth. But I thought this way. Perhaps, our elders know that greatness follows goodness and thus they appreciate us using ‘good girl’ or ‘good boy’.
I shared these thoughts with my teacher-in-charge for the elocution. She appreciated my efforts and thoughts and as an after thought, said that the main idea behind we being given this topic was to show us the nature of Sri Sathya Sai Integral System of Education. So she told me that there was a need to mention Education and Educare also in my talk. That was a clue she gave me. I now had to develop more on the topic.
I pondered too much about the topic. It was then that it struck me, doesn't the topic in itself speak profoundly that the end of education is character? In short, it gave importance to educare.
There is a thin line of difference between Education and Educare. Education is plain and merely involves absorbing the bookish knowledge which is completely a theoretical study but Educare is so beautiful where the theory you learn is put to practice in a way that is helpful to the society. Thus education, solely can help you achieve greatness, in terms of wealth and fame but educare is all goodness where you do things without any selfish gain.
Though you don’t expect greatness, it is bound to come to you.
At the same time, education is equally important, for, both good and great men blossom with education. The way they channelise their education is what brings out the difference between the two.
Swami has so graciously gifted us with the Sri Sathya Sai Integral System of Education which aims at moulding the students to have the head of Shankara, symbolizing wisdom, heart of Buddha, symbolizing compassion and hands of Janaka, symbolizing selfless service. This helps us to achieve excellence in all phases of life. Thus greatness follows goodness.
By the way, hasn't Swami said that all of us are good? This means all of us have goodness latent in us. Our search for greatness, solely in terms of fame and wealth, afflicts us with the vices like pride, ego, jealousy.In fact being good, is being oneself, in the best of your character, living your life just to please God and no one else. If you are good, greatness has no other option but to fall in place.
It is just like His grace, that is, one must yearn only for God’s grace and pray fervently for His grace but not list their worldly requirements to God which are transient commodities. One must pray for God Himself and God will take utmost care of his worldly requirements and the eternal life in bonus. Thus everything falls in place.
So just be yourself, be good and greatness will follow (2nd take home message)
I felt that this was my solution. I made up my mind to be the way I am, come what may!
The D Day.........
The D day arrived and it was my turn to give the talk. I just prayed to Swami that He make me speak my heart for, this was not a topic I had mugged up, but a topic Swami had gifted so that I get my solutions. So I just prayed that He makes me an efficient instrument to convey His message.
I spoke for five minutes, nah, not me at all! I had applauses till I left the podium . I couldn't do anything much but thank Him for a wonderful talk and a lesson of many lifetimes I learnt through this.
Swami, further encouraged me to move ahead practising what I spoke by rewarding me for the talk. Yes, I secured an A+ grade for my talk. (Sathya Sai Schools, don't have the system of first prize, second prize and third prize. For this particular contest, the grades were just A+ and A for the simple reason that B grade could de-motivate the students)
The topic turned out to be the best solution ever!
Still there were people who spoke about me, behind my back but considering the lesson I learnt through preparing for my elocution, I continued doing all that I could. I continued being myself.
The result of what I saw at the end of two years of my stay at Srisailam was that they bid me farewell telling,''Sreenidhi! You are a good girl. We will miss you!''
I heard it from people who spoke behind their backs about me. I was very happy.
The credit entirely goes to Swami. He showed me how greatness follows goodness.