Summary of Sai Spiritual Education Conference
The Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) held the Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) Conference in Prasanthi Nilayam on 1-3 August, 2015. The SSE (known as Bal Vikas in India) programme is organised by Sathya Sai centres for the children of interested families. The SSE program is centred on faith in God, devotion to Swami, and the manifestation of our innate Divinity through the five core values of Truth (Sathya), Right Action (Dharma), Peace (Shanthi), Non-Violence (Ahimsa), and Love (Prema).
The conference was designed with the goal of uniting the extraordinary global Sai fraternity and leveraging it to mould and shape the character of every Sathya Sai child and family in the world. Over 500 delegates from 50 countries attended this landmark conference. Senior leaders of the SSIO, SSE coordinators, SSE teachers and trainers, SSEHV educators, and Sathya Sai youth all came together in the spirit of giving and sharing of their expertise, experiences and best practices to further enhance the SSE programme.
The conference programme was enhanced by inspiring keynote speakers, engaging workshops, innovative networking fair and special interest groups, and an inspirational theme song uniting many languages spoken in the countries of the SSIO.
The First Day
Sri S. S. Naganand, Trustee of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust opened the meeting with an inspiring address, pointing out the importance of early spiritual education that lasts a lifetime. In his inaugural address, Dr. Narendranath Reddy, Chairman of Prasanthi Council, emphasised Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s key teachings on Ideal Sai Education. Dr. Reddy also emphasised the importance of ideal student, ideal teacher and ideal parents. Dr. Pal Dhall, Chairman of the Education Committee, clearly set the objectives of the conference, urging delegates to lay a solid foundation and establish a launching pad for the next phase of SSE.
The afternoon programme of the first day featured a well-organised tapestry of workshops based on the conference focus areas. The participants divided into groups to hear about the best practices in areas such as curriculum development, SSE alumni, expanding beyond the Sai center to the community, and SSE administration and governance.
The Second Day
The morning of the second day began with the inspiring keynote address by Mrs. Geetha Mohanram. Delegates were treated to a bouquet of delightful anecdotes describing her spiritual journey under the guidance of Bhagawan Himself from the tender age of five. She stressed on the foundation of faith in Baba and described Him as the ideal spiritual teacher in every way.
The afternoon session was dedicated to the SSE Networking Fair showcasing the breadth and depth of the SSE programme. The purpose of the fair was to give the delegates a forum to showcase, interact, and share best practices, inspirational projects, and innovative ideas. Trustees of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, members of the Prasanthi Council, and the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation, leaders of the SSIO, and over 500 conference delegates, attended the fair.
Over 40 stations represented each of the 11 zones of the SSIO and countries from around the world including Argentina, Australia, Germany, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Middle East, Nepal, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Southern Europe, Thailand, UK and United States. The colourful and well decorated stations presented special highlights, professional development for SSE gurus, parent/teacher awareness and education initiatives, SSE for special needs children, activities and games to make SSE fun, and much more. There was also a special presentation on the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini programme by Sri Sathyajit Salian.
The Final Day
On the third and final day of the conference, Sri R. J. Rathnakar, Trustee of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, gave an uplifting talk emphasizing the spirit of oneness we all share with Bhagawan. He kindly distributed special gifts as Prasadam from Swami to all the delegates.
Mrs. Berniece Mead, National Education Coordinator of the USA, shared how she was personally instructed by Swami to spread Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV) in the USA. Other speakers shared their personal experiences with Swami and emphasized the important role of parents, teachers, coordinators, educators, and the organisation in the development of a successful SSE program. The morning program concluded with Dr. Pal Dhall outlining the proposed resolutions from the conference and next steps to be taken.
The Valedictory Function
The conference concluded in the evening of 3rd August with a valedictory function in the Sai Kulwant Hall. The programme commenced with a brief overview of the conference. Speaking first, Ms. Katinka, National Education Coordinator Netherlands reminded us of the power and beauty of the spiritual tool called Sathya Sai Education. She identified the areas of focus and emphasized the importance of love, teacher’s commitment, faith in Swami, and the need to connect with the children. Ms. Berniece Mead then spoke of her Divine experience and His constant guidance in sharing His teachings through the SSE programme.
As a finale, all conference delegates in Sai Kulwant Hall joined together to sing the theme song, “I See You in One and All” led by Dr. Srinivas Raghavan from the United States. He introduced the theme song as a prayerful conversation with Swami composed by the Sathya Sai Youth of Southern Florida (USA) under his guidance. The song has been translated into many languages and the chorus line was sung in unison in multiple languages of the SSIO.
You Are My Everything Dear Swami
You Are My Loving Lord Of All
I See You… I See You… I See You In One And All.”
It was an inspiring conclusion, dedicated with love and gratitude at His divine lotus feet.