Thursday, March 15, 2018

Teachers' Day loving gift-message from students when I was in Sai university

The pics below are of the loving gift-message I got from students of the Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Sai university), Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi) campus, when I was a free service teacher there. I served there from Jan. 2003 to March 2012 with formal designations of Honorary Staff (informal designation of Systems Manager), Honorary Faculty and Visiting Faculty. My roles were mainly teaching software development (lab. courses), providing technical advice to students on their Masters' projects in areas related to software, and also some Systems Management in the initial 5 years of my stint.

 I don't recall the year I was given this gift.

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]

The text in the framed picture/document is as follows:

Dear Ravi Iyer Sir,


A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.

Your Loving Students

--- end text in picture frame ---

The students were very loving when they gave this gift and I recall being touched by it. The message was a challenging one, though! At that time, I don't think I was prepared to go that far :-).

I don't think even today I am willing to go that far. But I have to say that it seems that destiny has pushed me a little further towards the ideal expressed in the message above, in my current role as an Internet based writer on spirituality and religion, where I am not exactly a formal teacher but perhaps an informal Internet based one, on spirituality and religion, to some readers, especially young readers.

Given below are comment(s) from my Facebook post,, associated with this blog post :

Saithra Leilani wrote:
A memory to treasure for life! teachers teaches from the heart.. Hope you were of that kind to your students..Happy for you! 😊

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Thanks Saithra Leilani. About teaching from the heart part: I had prayed to Bhagavan for an opportunity to serve Him and this is where I got placed. So I viewed His students as His precious children that I should teach and serve as sincerely as I can. I tried to do that but may have tripped up here and there due to my many human flaws.

I viewed my teaching and service activity in the Sai university as a vital part of my spiritual sadhana which would help me progress spiritually! Really! I was not there for any material world stuff like a paid academic career.

The general belief in Sai university, Prasanthi Nilayam campus was that we teachers and staff should serve Bhagavan's students and take care of them, and that in return Bhagavan would take care of us. I think Bhagavan had even told some senior teachers that.

In my own spiritual journey in physical presence of Bhagavan, though I had a fair amount of spiritual flaws, Bhagavan certainly took care of me spiritually! He was strict with me as my spiritual teacher and I have received some scornful/disdainful and even angry looks from him. Note that I would go to Sai Kulwant Hall almost every day during these years whenever Bhagavan was in Prasanthi Nilayam and as I would be in staff seating area, eye contact with Bhagavan happened every few days. So I was under His watch! Really! I did not realize the full value and full power of that until after Bhagavan Mahasamadhi when that was ***gone***, at physical level.

I was true to my free service duties in the Sai university and Bhagavan was true, Oh So True, to me as my spiritual teacher, despite my many human flaws! I am so deeply grateful to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for that ****invaluable**** spiritual guidance He gave me, at direct physical form level during these years (till His Mahasamadhi), mainly through His looks at me and through His discourses heard live by me, sitting in Sai Kulwanth Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam. Jai Sai

Saithra Leilani wrote:
Wow beautiful experiences. Indeed He has eyes everywhere. Our human flaws however seemingly minor it may be cannot escape from His vision. I can really relate this to my own experience with Swami.

A former Sai university student of mine wrote over email (and was OK with public sharing):

Dear Ravi Sir

That is telling reminder of the excellent teacher you are. I have personally benefited greatly from sitting in your classes and learning from you.

I liked your intensity, sincerity and depth of knowledge. With your exit from the college, the institute has lost a wonderful teacher but social media has earned a diligent and conscientious blogger.

I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):

Sai Ram brother --Name-snipped--,

Thank you for the kind words.

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