National Youth Meet 2016 – Day Three – 27 May, 2016 (Evening Session)
Theme – Spirituality and Morality in Education on the basis of Harmony of Religions
All good things must come to an end. And so it was with the three-day cultural and spiritual extravaganza that the National Youth Meet was. While the evening session signaled the end of the blissful Meet, the abundant spiritual wisdom that was shared in these three days was enough to last one a lifetime!
The energy and excitement in the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham auditorium was undeniably palpable, having reached a crescendo over the last three days. The hall was reverberating with the divine sound of bhajans when Bhagawan entered the hall at half past six. The mesmerizing music of bhajans was then replaced by the pristine chants of the vedas by the girl students from Bhagawan’s educational institutions. What a fitting way to welcome the Lord on a day when the central theme was ‘Spirituality in Education’. The vedas are the very epitome of spiritual knowledge, which awaken and enlighten the minds of men and women, enabling them to hear the voice of God! The vedic chants were followed by a quick recap of the day’s proceedings, beautifully summarised by two delegates.
Bhagawan then asked for the results of the Pre-University examinations to be announced and being a proud mother, rewarded all those who had secured more than 90 per cent marks by inviting them onto the dais and personally handing over their certificates along with a token of His love. Needless to say, the Lord had perfectly timed the announcement of the results in order to demonstrate to the world and to all those present that it is possible to have hands in the society and head in the forest – which was the essence of the theme for the day!
Bhagawan also blessed the certificates that were to be handed over to all the delegates as a memoir for having participated in this glorious Meet. In His characteristic style, He then remarked, “All are getting their certificates. What about mine?” He then went on to answer the question by declaring that “your conduct is My certificate.”
The first speaker for the evening was Ms Gulshaa Begum, President, Global Peace Mission. She spoke about her guiding force, which she lovingly addresses as ‘Maa’ or ‘The Energy’. She encouraged the audience to try and find the one and only true identity that exists in the world. “We are spiritual beings who are travelling in an illusionary world, trapped in the human body. The sole purpose of our existence is to release the spirit from the prison of life,” she explained. She also beautifully elaborated on the notion of nothingness, stressing that the notion of good, bad, world and even god was an illusion, for in reality there is only nothingness. She encouraged the youth to break the barriers of the illusion of the world to experience the state of being in bliss. She then went on to explain how the untrained mind was responsible for all the calamities, pain and suffering in the world today. That being said, the “same mind is also capable of making the world harmonious, beautiful and peaceful”. She ended her talk by declaring that all the truths of the world are hidden in the heart. “When the heart is broken open, even god ceases to exist.”
Bhagawan then instructed Ms Begum to elaborately describe her experiences with ‘The Energy’. She then narrated her encounter with goddess Durga, who is her guiding force and energy. Born into a conservative Muslim family, she said she had no exposure or inclination to lead a spiritual life. But she was destined to live otherwise. One fine day, she experienced and saw an energy that slowly started to take the form of the Hindu goddess Saraswati, before transforming further into the form of goddess Durga. She recalled how her life, from then on, was never the same. The next morning, the entire world was exactly as it had been the previous day, but it had transformed completely for her, she exclaimed. She recollected how, for many years, not wanting to experience such phenomenon due to fear of facing criticism from the world, she fought with Maa; but Maa never fought with her! This taught her the meaning of unconditional love, love that expects nothing, love that is only interested in giving, love that the world can never provide nor understand.
To continue enthralling the audience with the narratives of the unseen, Bhagawan called upon Father Charles Ogada, Founder and President of the Spiritan Self Awareness Initiative, Nigeria to share his experiences. The Father recollected how, when he was a little boy of five or six years, he would feel a presence that would engulf him. He very beautifully explained that “while he was with the presence, God appeared and he disappeared.” He then went on to recollect his father’s desire that he become a priest. While his own desire was to be a medical doctor, it was God’s plans which finally resulted in him taking up priesthood. Narrating about his first encounter with Bhagawan, in which Bhagawan appeared in a dream, waved His hand and hugged him, the Father shared that at that moment “the world did not exist, he did not exist and even the presence did not exist”. He urged the youth to never allow anything to disturb their peace. With the conviction that God alone leads us to our destination, he advised the audience to be happy, which is also what God desires for everyone.
The next speaker for the day, once again at Bhagawan’s behest, was Swami Muktidananda, Head of the Mysore Centre, Sri Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Swamiji shared a few experiences that drew him to his spiritual master, Sri Ramakrishna. Even as a boy, Swami Muktidananda had a deep desire to solve problems such as poverty and cancer, which plagued the world. When pursuing second year in Bachelor of Science, he had an experience which convinced him that Sri Ramakrishna is verily lord Narayana himself, he shared. This led him to the Ramakrishna Mission, where he decided to further his quest for god. While stressing on the importance of the quest for divinity, he said that unless one is empowered by God, it is impossible to solve and deal with the problems of life. He also recalled his visits to Parthi and Dharmakshetra in Mumbai as a boy where he had heard several discourses delivered by Bhagawan. Swamiji then went on to elaborate that God’s love for his creation was infinitely larger than humans were even capable of understanding, let alone loving. He concluded by beautifully explaining that the ability to love god is not attained by our effort, but by the grace of god alone.
The cherry on top of the icing on the cake was the valedictory address delivered by Bhagawan, which He began by declaring that God has neither birth, nor death; neither beginning, nor end nor the intermediate. Being the Atma, God resides in the heart of everyone. Bhagawan stressed that it is not enough to just listen and contemplate on such talks. We have to also ensure that it transforms into practice. Bhagawan then stated that many of the boys and girls in the audience, after having heard Ms Gulshaa Begum, Father Charles and Swami Muktidananda, had developed a doubt as to why only certain people were bestowed with such divine experiences. Bhagawan explained that it is our birth right to experience our true divinity. Without attaining divinity, all else that is attained is utter waste. One must have sincerity of purpose to attain and experience God, He reiterated.
Bhagawan also narrated a small incident from the life of Swami Ramakrishna, wherein a devotee approached Ramakrishna with the desire to be able to experience God. Swami Ramakrishna, on the pretext of revealing God to the devotee, takes him to a well and pushes him into it. The devotee frantically begins to scream from inside the well, asking Ramakrishna to rescue him. At that instant, Ramakrishna tells the devotee that when the yearning for God is as intense as it is to be rescued from the well, God will surely reveal Himself.
Bhagawan urged the youth to rise above the petty feelings of selfishness and self-interest, which arise out of fear, which is present only when there is lack of complete faith. It is futile to visit temples, mosques, churches and even go on pilgrimages, unless we find the same God that we are seeking outside in our hearts, He said. Bhagawan concluded by mentioning that the national youth meet will find fulfillment only when all the youth develop the feeling of oneness and unity and work together for the betterment of society. He then asked for the multi-religious prayer to be sung, following which Aarati was offered to Bhagawan, thus bring the National Youth Meet to a close.