Sai Saga 5

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"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, immediately.

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.



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