Sai Saga 5
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baba of India
"Do Deeds Follow Words?"
A word may be said about Sathya and the dramatic activities of
the school. Sri Thammi Raju, the teacher in charge, once asked Sathya to
write and produce a play in Telugu, and Sathya plunged into the work very
enthusiastically. The drama was a great success, not only because the hero
of the play was a little boy, a role enacted by Sathya himself, but,
chiefly because it had as its theme the eternal sin of man, hypocrisy, "Cheppinattu
Chesthara?" was the title, "Do deeds follow words?" to put it in English.
The scene opens, revealing a lady, reading out the Bhagvatha to a number
of other women, and explaining the meaning of the slokas. She says that it
is the duty of the housewife to give charity to the deserving, the
defectives who cannot earn by the sweat of their brow, and not to the
stalwarts who lead idle parasitic lives. The woman disperse some time
later, and the lady is left alone with her little son, who has all along
been an interested listener. Presently, a blind beggar comes and makes
much fuss to attract attention but he is rebuked and sent away. Then,
there comes along a hefty mendicant with a pompous paunch and a polished
copper vessel filled with grain and richly caparisoned Tambura, and the
mother respectfully welcomes him and offers him rice and coins, and falls
at his feet, asking for his blessings. The son is nonplussed; he asks the
mother why she did not follow what she had herself extolled a few minutes
previously and he is dismissed with the curt answer, "Cheppinattu
Chesthara? Can we act as we say?." The mother is irritated by the
impertinence of the son who dared question the ethics of adult behaviour;
she drags the boy to the office room where the father, an Upper Division
Clerk in some Office, is busy with the files.
He gives the son a big lecture on the value of education and how people
should study and get promoted from class to class, whatever the
difficulties. Suddenly, a schoolboy pops in and asks just a rupee to pay
his fees, for otherwise his name will be struck off the rolls and he will
fall short in attendance and he will not be promoted. The father says that
he has no money with him and shows the boy his empty purse as proof. A few
minutes later, a batch of young men, all clerks belonging to his office,
thrust themselves in and hold out a subscription appeal calling for
contributions for a Welcome Dinner in honour of an officer, taking charge
of their office in a few days! The father is very jubilant at the idea,
says that it must be done very aristocratically so that the new man may be
pleased, offers to make a speech and pulling out the drawer of the table,
he gives them the huge sum of Twenty Rupees!
The child looks aghast at this behaviour and asks the father why he went
against his own words; why he uttered a lie to the schoolboy; the father
turns angrily at the child, and says, "cheppinattu Chesthara? Should deeds
follow words?" He roars at the child and commands him to go to school,
The scene now shifts to the school. Sathya, that is to say 'Krishna' of
the drama, enters school. The teacher is in a storm of great excitement
because the Inspector of Schools is to visit the school the next day. He
coaches the children intensively for the Inspector. He tells them that the
Inspector may ask, "How many lessons have been done?" And they were all to
say, not "23" the actual number, but, "32". He says that he will do, when
Inspector comes, lesson number 33, on "Harishchandra"; so, he teaches them
that lesson, so that the answers may come quick and fast the next day; he
threatens them with severe punishment if any one so much as whispers that
lesson 33 was already done in class. "It must all appear as if I am doing
it for the first time tomorrow," he says, and continues with the teaching
of Harishchandra's sacrifices for the sake of Truth. When the class is
over, all other boys move out, but Krishna alone remains behind; he asks
the teacher the question he has already asked twice that day; "Why do you
not follow the advice you give?" and he gets the same rebuff, "Cheppinattu
Chesthara? Do you mean to say that the adviser should follow the advice?"
Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, everywhere!
The scene now changes to Krishna's home. It is next day, school-time, but
the boy refuses to go. He throws away his books, says that going to school
is waste of time, and sticks to his resolve, not to study in school. The
distracted parents send for the teacher, who comes rushing in. Then,
Krishna says, "If all that you teach, as mother, father and Guru is only
to be spoken and written, if all that is learnt is to be discarded when it
comes to action, I do not understand why I should learn anything at all."
This opens the eyes of all three and they praise the boy as their "Guru,"
and decide thenceforward to speak the Truth and act the Truth.
This is the theme of the drama that Sathya wrote at the age of twelve!
This gives a clear idea of the far-sighted Intelligence and the
Educational Enthusiasm of the young Sai which is ever unfolding.
Sathya was soon sought after by persons who had lost articles of value,
for he had brought with him to Uravakonda the reputation for an intuitive
perception, which revealed to him the place where anything was! Baba says
that in those days, he used to give his friends only the first and last
letters of the names of the persons with whom the lost articles could be
found. He left them with their own resources to recover the goods.
However, one case in particular deserves some notice. A teacher lost a
valuable pen and he persuaded Sathya to disclose the identity of the
persons who had 'taken it without his consent.' Sathya gave the name of a
servant; but the teacher dismissed the very idea, because he was very
faithful and 'honest'. Besides, a search in the servant's room when he was
away did not give any trace of his share in the loss of the pen. But,
Sathya persisted in his statements; he said that the man had dispatched it
to his son, who was studying at Anantapur, and offered to prove the fact.
So, Sathya got a letter written as if from the servant (he was illiterate
and always indented on the services of a letter-writer for his
correspondence) to his son, in which after enquiries about health etc.,
the father asked how the pen he sent was writing and advising the boy to
be careful in using it, For, it was costly and might easily be 'stolen'!
There was also a self-addressed card for reply. Within four days came the
reply into teacher's hand! The pen was writing magnificently; it will be
duly cared for, with all the vigilance due to its high price and its value
as a present from a loving father. Thus, Sathya's miraculous power was
vindicated; every one honoured him.