The
Education Wing

“The Bal Vikas is the primary basis of the great movement to restore Dharma in the world. It is raising a generation of boys and girls who have clean and clear consciousness … and … the creation of an atmosphere where noble habits, ideals can grow and fructify.”

Baba once explained that the ideal of Bal Vikas is to raise a generation of boys and girls to have a clean and clear conscience. He says children should learn to love God, fear sin, and to practice human values in society. On this last point, He explains that by introducing an understanding of the human values which enter every aspect of life, the child appreciates the importance of values which are the basis of good character and happiness in life. Baba requires that children have humility and respect for their elders.

He advises that children should be made acquainted with the sacred texts, like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bible, Koran, etc. He emphasizes that children had to be taught the equal validity of all faiths, and so, for example, one may teach the ideals of the different faiths by quoting from the sacred texts of the faith. In this way, there will be a harmonious blending through love of all the religions.

Baba says what is taught at a young age would make such a deep impact and impression, and would remain with the children as a life-long companion and treasure.

Swami explains that the Bal Vikas gurus (teachers) have to be embodiments of love and patience if they are to be catalysts of change in the behaviour of the children. Thus, they must live the ideals they teach so that the children may imbibe them and themselves become the ideals. Gurus need a calm and quiet temper. He advises them that their Bal Vikas duties would elevate and sublimate their thoughts and emotions far better than any other sadhana can. Their seva as gurus is to be guided by their own Guru and so they too must learn the lessons of equality, equanimity and selfless love when serving.

The Hong Kong Sathya Sai Spiritual Education Wing (or Bal Vikas) thrives with about 250 children attending weekly classes for 1½ hours under the guidance of 26 gurus and 4 assistant gurus. There are a total of 19 classes separated into age groups from 4 to 17 year olds spread across Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsuen Wan, Tai Koo Shing, Aberdeen and Mid-levels. Classes are offered free of charge.

The objectives and goals of the Bal Vikas programme are to inculcate Love for God and Fear of Sin.

The Curriculum

The curriculum and syllabus aim to help children gain spiritual insights and reflect on their behaviours according to the five innate human values of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Righteousness), Shanti (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). The curriculum has been adapted to emphasize stories that are culture based and taken from the different epics, viz. Ramayana, Mahabharat, Bhagawad Gita, etc. The life of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is covered extensively.

The general curriculum also includes the Ceiling on Desires programme (C.O.D.), the 5 Elements, the 5D’s – Discrimination, Duty, Devotion, Discipline and Determination.

Children at the younger age levels (4-8 year olds) are taught by using the direct teaching method. The five teaching techniques of Prayers, Meditation, Bhajans, Storytelling and Group Activities are employed to bring home spiritual messages. The children are also assigned life application practices to continue the spiritual practice at home.

For older children (9 years and above) the indirect approach of discussion, debate and analysis is employed. The Bal Vikas children are encouraged to exercise their critical thinking skills and discrimination to act accordingly to real life scenarios.

Themes have been set for the various age groups to streamline the learning. These themes are:

9 – 10 years: ‘I to We’

Loving God and accepting His Omnipresence and Omniscience is the core of this theme. The children are introduced to ‘I To We’ as a journey. The roadmap to this journey is through practice of the 5Ds, W.A.T.C.H., the 5 Elements, stories from the Ramayana and lessons from the Divine Life of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

11-12 years: Heroes

The children learn to develop faith in God and partner with Him as their true Hero and friend. The programme focuses on known heroes from the Ramayana, and Mahabharata that the children can look up to, spiritual lessons are taught and relevance to modern day life is emphasized. Modern day heroes are also considered.

Other topics included at this age group are bullying, peer pressure, etc. As the ultimate Hero is Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the children dwell on His Life through the Namavali and stories about Him.

13 – 15 years: Leadership

Swami’s emphasis on the responsibility of youth provides the vision to the children in this age group and explains their dharma. Leadership skills are nurtured through emphasis on their self-awareness (including who they are and the purpose of their lives, their relationship with God, self-confidence including conviction and confidence, and self-reliance as a means towards self-satisfaction). This explains subtle ideas like the omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience of Swami, His friendship in their life pursuits, and that God is present everywhere at all times and so all creation must be loved and respected. They are reminded that thoughts, words and deeds towards others should reflect this truth.

I. Seva Activities

Sai Baba says, “Service to Man is Service to God.” As part of their spiritual growth, Bal Vikas children participate in a seva activity at least once every quarter. They either visit old age homes to entertain the elderly with EHV songs, or take part in beach cleaning, selling cookies for the elderly, etc.

A recent home-based seva was ‘Grandparents Day’ where the children invited their grandparents to play value-based games with them. The children spent a fun filled morning totally dedicated to grandparents.

The Senior Bal Vikas children (aged 13-15) attend a local Primary School once a month to teach the local school children ‘English through Human Values’. Our Bal Vikas budding teen leaders enjoy interacting with the local primary school children.

Throughout the year, children are being encouraged to practice the Ceiling on Desires programme and the money saved is used for seva activities.

II. Spiritual Activities

Bhajan singing is encouraged in all Bal Vikas classes to develop devotion to God by singing his glories. In addition to Sanskrit/Hindi Bhajans, the children also learn English SSEHV songs and Mandarin bhajans, which help them to reach out to local residents when they participate in seva activities and provide entertainment. Bal Vikas bhajan sessions are held once a term in the Sai Centre. Parents are welcome to attend and encourage their children.

Outside of regular class, bhajan learning sessions are held every Saturday morning.

Easwaramma Day Celebrations

Easwaramma Day is celebrated with much fun and pomp every year by the children. A half day or full day camp is organized and themes are set. The activities organized for the day revolve around the theme and reinforce learning that has previously taken place in glass.

Some themes adopted in previous years include – Values in action, 5Ds, the 4Fs, My Father-my Hero, etc.

III. Bal Vikas Graduation

When the children complete Bal Vikas at age 14, they move on to the youth group. A special graduation ceremony is held at the Sai Centre. They are awarded a certificate of achievement at the graduation ceremony.

IV. Parent-Teacher Consultations

These meetings between the Bal Vikas teachers and the parents are held twice a year, each guru meets with the parents of the children in his/her class on a one-to-one basis and reports on the progress during the year. Sometimes a guest speaker is invited to address the parents on currents issues relating to parenting.

The consultations are enthusiastically welcomed by the parents. The consultation serves two purposes: one is for the parents to know and understand what is being taught in the classes, and the other is that it allows the parents to take home positive feedback as well as points for improvement to help the children with their spiritual growth.

For any inquiries please contact the Bal Vikas Coordinator Naina Shamdasani at saiorghk@netvigator.com

Please click here for the
Admission form for Bal Vikas 2017-2018

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