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Love and Light

Region 3 - SSE Training Day

One could be forgiven, amidst the pageant of activities that line the Sai calendar not to notice the few SSE training events strewn discreetly over the teaching year. On the 22nd of March 2014, a beautiful sunny Saturday morning a group of SSE teachers, parents, office bearers, SSE helpers and aspiring teachers, youth wing and group 4 members came together at Manor Park Centre Region 3, for a deeper insight and understanding of the Basic Teacher training course.

It is these seemingly unassuming and routine of days that perhaps more than all others hold the key to the future of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation and its sacred vision at large. Without the humble and loving dedication of SSE teachers and helpers, the committed parents and the Sai Centre playing the pivotal role, it would be impossible to mould children into the leaders of tomorrow; and without children of integrity and love for God there can be no hope for the future. The training day aimed to refresh and inspire teachers; and to that end it certainly did not fail to deliver.

Mrs Vidyulatha Narayan, the National SSE Coordinator opened the day, setting out the noble aims and purpose of the SSE wing as declared by Bhagawan Himself – transformation of character and inculcation of godly ideals. She touched upon the SAI (Systematic, Appropriate and Integrated) approach. This is used to measure the impact of the learning experience for children attending SSE and the crucial role that all other wings play in supporting and enhancing the work of the SSE wing.

Vidyulatha introduced us to the five teaching techniques, and with Swami’s grace, she came across a beautiful download of the Jyoti meditation guided by Sai Baba himself which we then practiced. This is a tool to enhance our personal sadhana in order for Self- development. It is also the first code of conduct which Swami has laid down for us to practice on a daily basis. We discussed how to introduce this to children, in different age groups, through guided visualisation and Soham techniques to help focus our minds and bring about calmness so as to be able to listen to the voice of our conscience.

The tripartite system where the child, parents and the Bal Vikas Guru are all working together as emphasised by Swami was the focus of a subsequent session led by Uncle Raj Rajasingham, Former Region 1 Chair. As Uncle lucidly pointed out with the precision of a seasoned accountant – Bal Vikas lessons took up an hour or so each week for 36 weeks a year. This amounted over the nine year curriculum to a total of only 16.5 days of teaching time per child; nothing short of a miracle considering the kinds of transformation we have grown accustomed to seeing. Case study scenarios were also used to highlight the importance of effective parental engagement and the need to understand the challenges families faced, particularly those where a parent may not be a Sai devotee.

Attendees were also fortunate to be visited by a professional child psychiatrist Dr Rakendu Suren who is also the National Spiritual Coordinator of the SSSSOUK, who outlined the different stages of a child’s physical, cognitive, mental, emotional and spiritual development, and how these corresponded with the SSE teaching groups and syllabus. Other sessions looked at some of the teaching techniques uniquely espoused by Bhagawan to engage students during lessons and allow them to connect with their inner selves. This included a session on the role bhajan singing can play in developing confidence, devotion and discipline – facilitated in his usual scintillating style by Kapil Dev Prasher, the Region 3 Youth Co-ordinator. Another session on the significance and importance of prayers was conducted by Dr Mahesh Narayan, Region 6 Chair who also befittingly conducted the art of story-telling His infectious zeal, legendary anecdotes and spontaneous quips were woven seamlessly throughout the day to highlight the benefits of each of these techniques as demonstrated by Bhagavan Himself as early on as His childhood days. Kamal Arulvel, SSE Coordinator for Region 3 brought out the creative and fun side to an SSE class by conducting an interactive group activities session. He encouraged teachers to be creative and take (children) activities out to various service projects for their experience to be meaningful and aid in the development of the child’s personality so as to become well rounded and balanced individuals.

In conclusion, Sister Vidyulatha Narayan summarised that alongside the activity of teaching or participating in the various capacities within the SSE programme, the activity of individual sadhana or spiritual effort is very important. The inspiration and success of this noble movement is contained in the name itself, 'Sri Sathya Sai Balvikas'.

If we can only put these three Ss in Sri Sathya Sai into practice in our daily lives, success is sure to come.

  1. S - Silent Sitting
  2. S – Study of Sai literature
  3. S - Self introspection

Let me leave in your heart Swami’s words "pour out all your Love on the children around you and instruct them gladly and sincerely. This attitude alone can justify association with Sathya Sai Balvikas". (Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. X, page 288).

Thanusan Gunabalasingham
SSE Teacher & Vice Chair
Walthamstowe Sai Centre

Raakhe Chohan
SSE Coordinator
Thurrock Sai Centre