Divine Visit – Japan, Singapore and Bali – 18 March, 2016 to 26 March, 2016
The first of the three back-to-back trips to ten countries between March 18 and April 28, 2016, began on the morning of Friday, March 18, when Bhagawan’s entourage boarded the flight to Singapore. As always, the Lord would reach the destination by skyline, waiting to welcome His entourage!
The ever loving devotees from Singapore, led by Dr Ravi Pillay welcomed the entourage at the Changi airport. After a quick refreshing break, Bhagawan along with His entourage made their way to a ling time devotee’s residence for dinner. The house was resplendent with candles, flowers and more importantly the warmth exuded looked just perfect to receive God! It was an intimate family gathering, and they basked in His love. While speaking to the family, Swami spoke about how important it is to keep God at the center of everything that we do. He said, “A house is a building made of bricks. It becomes a home when people living in the house love each other selflessly. The home becomes heaven, when God is placed in the center of each person’s life.” Only Swami can explain the highest of truths in such simple palatable ways, which are easy to comprehend and leaves everyone definitely in a contemplative mode! After blessing the home and partaking His dinner, Swami along with the entourage went back to the Pillay residence. He insisted everyone retire early, as there was an early morning flight to Tokyo.
Devotees from the Land of the rising sun – Japan, in all eagerness and humility waited with bated breath to welcome their Master. Many months of preparation and hard work went behind the scenes, for the Lord’s second trip to Japan. The entourage landed at the Haneda International Airport in Tokyo in the evening at 5pm & were driven straight to the Izu Peninsula, a four-hour drive from Tokyo, and venue for the Japan satsang this year. After dinner the entourage retired, eager to welcome the next morning, which was filled with promises of great insights into the ‘Guru Vikas’, or Blossoming of the teacher’. The last couple of days had witnessed heightened activity, as Gurus from ten countries – Australia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Singapore, UAE, UK and the USA, had arrived for the second ‘Guru Vikas’ meet.
The Izu Peninsula is a large mountainous peninsula with deeply indented coasts to the west of Tokyo on the Pacific Coast of the island of Honshu, Japan and is now a part of Shizuoka Prefecture. The inaugural session of ‘Guru Vikas’ was held in Singapore on September 29, 2015 and Bhagawan lovingly explained the true meaning of the word TEACHER. T – Transformation, not Information; E – Exemplar; A – Awareness of the Atma; C – Culture of the Country; H – Unity of Head, Heart and Hands; E – Environment and R – Role of Religion.
Lord Buddha said, “When watching after yourself, you watch after others. When watching after others, you watch after yourself.” Teaching is often characterized as the most transformative experience and effective teachers are life-long learners. Being genuinely interested in the welfare of the students and keeping their highest good in the mind, should be the basis of a teacher.
If a teacher speaks with love that becomes truth; if he acts with love that becomes right conduct; if he thinks with love that becomes non-violence; if he experiences love, then he experiences peace. Therefore, love is the fundamental. Swami said, “If the Gurus understand love, everything else will fall in place. They should be loving teachers. Love for students should be impartial. It should interest in the highest good of the students. Love is the undercurrent and is the fundamental basis of the ‘Guru Vikas’ programme.”
Sunday, 20 March, 2016 – Morning
After a hearty Indian breakfast, Bhagawan proceeded and made His way along with His entourage in a specially arranged van to the satsang venue, Amagi Sanso, a Christian Baptist Convention Centre, about an hour’ s drive, from the place where everyone were staying. Izu Kogen, a piece of paradise overlooking the Pacific Coast, was the place where Bhagawan and His entourage were staying. It was 7 degrees, but the drive was absolutely scenic and breathtaking!
The satsang was arranged at the Chapel of Amagi Sanso, indeed endearing to see multitude of devotees gathered lovingly to welcome Bhagawan. Upon entering the premises, youth with flags of the various countries were lined up on either side of the road to welcome their beloved Lord, with the ceremonial dip of the flag. Bhagawan was then led by another group of youth who chanted the Rudram with impeccable intonation and pronunciation! Talk about the things we do with only one aim in mind – to make the Lord happy!
The ‘Guru Vikas’ meet started with Sister Bhuvana Santhanam talking about the progress of the initiative since the last meeting. Bhagawan had given everyone a homework, of going back to their respective countries, to approach a school close by their residence, and begin interacting with interested teachers, by observing them in the classroom and outside. Apart from observing the teachers, one key area of focus was self-observation! And along this journey there were wonderful moments and new avenues of knowledge, which expanded the pathway of a reflective process for every Guru. By the command of Bhagawan, each Guru had to make a short presentation, giving a snapshot of this journey and the progress they had made.
Bhagawan had also commanded the ‘Introduction to Guru Vikas’ to be compiled as the first book, in the series of nine books, and by His Grace, it was ready and the Lord officially unveiled the book in the midst of all the gathered Gurus and devotees.
Learning to be human is a critical aspect, grossly missing from modern education. There is certainly a mood of disenchantment prevalent today. Sri BN Narasimha Murthy was the speaker of the morning and expressed his great concern and anxiety that the younger generation have been cut off from their cultural roots. He reminded everyone that values-based education was very much prevalent earlier, but over the decades it got overshadowed by the deep material aspirations of man. He quoted Isaac Asimov, who said, “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
Swami began His Divine discourse by saying, “Because of no fear of sin, no love for god, and a decline of human values or humanness, the world is lacking peace today. Only through the path of sacrifice born out of love of others, will one be able to undergo transformation.” Swami then went on to explain, “The right process is to ‘be’ first. To be what you want others to ‘be’. Then to do what your nature is, and then to see what is happening around you. First you have to create goodness in yourself. Then preserve this by being in the company of the good. Be good, remain good & transform yourself. What the world needs today is not great, but good people.”
Swami’s key message to everyone was – TO BE , TO DO, TO SEE and to TELL ( others). He said, “Today’s system of education is avoiding discussions on spirituality and religion, in the name of secularism. There is an apprehension to teach spirituality in the school; nevertheless_ we want our children to have morality and fear of wrong-doing. We are talking about human values without imparting the truth that all are essentially divine in nature. Divine exists in each and everything.
Spirituality is the awareness of divinity within and without. Sans the nurtured roots, spirituality, the tree of morality and the branches of fear of sin, cannot exist. We must pour the water of selfless love in to the roots that is spirituality. Only when the roots are nourished, can the trunk and branches flourish. It will be foolish to assume that we can do away with spirituality and talk only about moral values. May be by force of law it can be enforced for sometime, but if we want permanent results we must bring it out of source of Love for God.
Belief in God will not let them go in to depression during a setback or failure, during which many children take to extremes. And also would not let them swell with pride on success or achievement, which causes envy and ego.
Even if it is difficult, the medicine must be applied to the leg where the scorpion has stung and not on the wall where it stung you. You must take up this task of spirituality in education.
Spirituality is the subject being taught, religions are like various schools who are teaching it using different media of instruction, different rules and regulations, different teachers. The dress, prayers, class timings, media and other external aspects might be different, but the lesson taught is same in all schools. If children are not given the right inputs about religion and spirituality, they will pick up the wrong interpretations leading to rifts. Sun is same, though in Japan its called by one name, in India by another. God is same but called by different names in different religions.
Like a candle we must be willing to burn ourselves out, to bring the light of wisdom to others and transform the darkness in to light, thereby annihilating it.
Teachers have a great role to play. Only if you know your goal, can you take the path. Goal of ‘Guru Vikas’ is to imbibe spirituality in education through religious harmony and it must be done, one step at a time.”
After a short Q&A session, mangala arathi was offered and prasadam was distributed.