Bal Vikas is not just a program. It is a noble movement that took roots in the year 1968 with the founding of Sri Sathya Sai Mahila Vibhag. Swami instructed Mahila Vibhag in 1969 to start BalaVihars for the children above six years of age and they were imparted education from the content drawn from ancient scriptures with Divine guidance, through the methodology of storytelling, enacting plays and singing Bhajans etc.
Bhagavan later changed the name of BalaVihar into BalVikas in 1971, redefining the education system created by Him as the system aiming at the Blossoming of Human Excellence. As time passed by, slowly and steadily the Bal Vikas Program designed by Bhagavan for children between 6 years and 15 years of age, in three groups, took shape and with the formation and expansion of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, BalVikas spread far and wide. Training modules were developed, research went in deeper, and with Bhagavan's active and continuous guidance BalVikas was crystallized into a 9 year non-formal education system for children enhancing their learning to become role models in character and also in academic performance.
Swami Says "Children's minds are innocent and pure. Each child is like white marble for the teacher and the parents to sculpt into an image of God, a bud to be helped to blossom in all its Divine glory so that it becomes a worthy offering to God. Sri Sathya Sai BalVikas (SSS-BV), the program of Education in Human Values (EHV), has proved to be the ray of hope for the future as it promotes that each child is unique, unrepeatable and creative being and when treated as such, learns to recognize his or her own worth and to give respect to all."
Sri Sathya Sai Balavikas has been a loving catalyst in the development of the personalities, making each one of them who completes the 9 year program spanning over the formative years of life from 6 to 15 years, blossom into beautiful flowers in His lovely garden.
The schools of today provide physical, intellectual and emotional growth of the child but Sri Sathya Sai Balavikas provides all-round development of the child so that he can face the challenges in life with dignity, confidence and strong character. Sri Sathya Sai Balavikas aims at inculcating good habits in the child so that he grows up into an ideal citizen - an asset not only to his parents but to the society, nation, and world at large.
Objective of Sri Sathya Sai Balvikas
Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas classes are conducted with the main objective of initiating the child into a course of character building by developing self-discipline, providing healthy association, inculcating such habits of reading, listening, studying, and reciting, as it will sublimate the child's growing mind. This course commences with small children (Group I) between 6 and 9 years of age for creating interest in the child's mind, for the collective discipline and instruction that is to follow when the child moves on to Group II between the age 9 and 12 years. During 5-6 years of this training, the child is expected to have derived the following benefits:
Having due respect for parents and other elders at home
Pay due attention to school studies and proper respect to the school teachers
Show good physical orderliness in respect of dress, behavior in school, society etc.
Develop good manners, humility, speaking obligingly
Develop good moral character
Make good use of time by planning it in a balanced way between play, study, prayers etc.
Have spirit of service for those who need his/her help
Have love for God who expects us to be truthful, honest, good, loving, kind and helpful to all fellow beings.
After completing this course, the student is considered fit for the Group III, conducted for the children between 12 and15 years. At this stage the student, besides getting a firmer grounding in theoretical and practical syllabus, receives further training (Unity of faiths, Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man, Project work) which will widen his/her outlook on life, inculcate higher and nobler values of life.
A pre Sevadal activity and training course is conducted for children between 15 and 18 years of age. At the end of this, the student is considered fit to undergo training programs as a BalVikas Guru or Sevadal which will equip him/her to serve according to his/her aptitude, abilities and aspiration in Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations.
The BalVikas classes are conducted on every Sunday in Sri Sathya Sai Mandirs/Schools/Devotee Houses for 1 Hr 30 minutes only, through the use of five teaching techniques - Silent sitting/ guided visualization, Story-telling, Prayers, Group singing, Group Activities.
Bal Vikas Gurus are well trained as per the guidelines issued by the All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Organizations, India.
The main stakeholders of this beautiful program are
The ultimate aim of Balavikas is to let the child realize that Divinity dwells in him. The child is ignorant that he or she is Divine though pure at heart, soft in physique, tender in mind and nascent in intellect. What you sow, so you will reap. It is here that the teaching techniques assume importance. All the techniques are meant to achieve the two important goals mentioned above. Essence of education and knowledge have been clearly emphasized by Swami as
For each age group, from young children to teen-age youth the Bal Vikas Guru takes on a specific role linked to psychological development of the child. For Group I, it is that of a mother: discipline established and good behaviour is positively rewarded. In Group II, the teacher takes on the formal teacher's role and the children develop a sense of order and respect for rules. Finally in group III, the teacher is a friend helping the children to develop firm principles and become actively aware of their conscience. In Group I learning is attained through 'doing and making', in Group - II 'doing and thinking' and in Group III 'Planning and Achieving'.
Balvikas Group I Syllabus
GROUP I (6 - 9 YEARS)
This is the period of doing and making. "Start Early, Drive Slowly, Reach Safely" is our Swami's Divine Dictum. With this in view, children are inducted into this program at an early age of 6 years. When seeds of Human excellence are sown at a young age, they become rooted in values, remember and follow these throughout their lives. At this stage, the child wants to do and make things; hence the focus by the Balvikas guru is on pictorial demonstrations, games, charts , group activities, role plays and attitude testing, group singing, storytelling, prayers, silent sitting, rather than on mere lecturing.
Simple slokas of different deities
Value Based stories
Introduction into the Life of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Following External disciplines of the class such as dress code, separate seating positions in class for boys and girls, organized footwear arrangements outside the classroom
Extrapolating these disciplines at other environments such as home / other classes etc
Reverence to parents
Remembering God throughout the day through Prayers [Morning / Before food / Night]
Imbibing the values of sharing and caring
Accepting God as the only true friend
Hey Shiva Shankara
Jai Jai ram
Om Shri ram jai ram
Value songs (regional)
Value Songs (regional)
Value Songs (regional)
Stories for Children - Part One
Unity of Faiths through stories
Life of Bhagawan Baba
Health & Hygiene
Om Sri Sairam
Om Sri Sairam
Om Sri Sairam
Broad details of the Main religions of The World - Islam Christianity, Buddhism, &Zoroastrianism
Significance of Festivals
Bhagawan Baba's Birthday
5 Elements - Educare
Duty, Devotion, Discipline
Ceiling on Desires
Role play, Quiz, Attitude Testing
Experiental Learning - Mind mapping and web charting
Lives of Great Men like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa& Swami Vivekananda
Bhajans / Value Songs and Indian Culture & Spirituality
Introduction into and Hands-on experience of the Humanitarian seva of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations
On completion of Group III of SSS Balvikas:
Learning to see Divinity in everyone/everything around and to introspect on the essence and purpose of this human life (application of the BhajaGovindamslokas)
Pursuing to seek excellence in life and practice the necessary methodologies towards this pursuit (application of the Bhagawad Gita slokas)
Being patriotic and taking indulgence in their mother land; developing social consciousness within through participation in community sevas (services).
Appreciating the inner significance and the unity/divinity amidst the diverse customs and varied cultural practices of our country; Practice, placing a ceiling on their desires
Augmenting skills required to shape up their personality, through management of thought, breath & time and properly discharging their duties at school, home and in society;
Developing better problem solving and management/leader ship skills; understand the true purport of 'Life is a Game, Play it' & 'Life is a Challenge, Meet it' and attempting to imbibe the significance of the Mahavakyas culminating in 'AhamBrahmasmi'
Gita Slokas on Gyan, Sadhana, Karma
Health & Hygiene
Personal health and hygiene
Management of Thought
Breath and Time
Life of Vivekananda and Ramakrishna
Lives of Regional saints of India
Lives of Freedom fighters
Message of Gita in day to day life
Ideals of Sai Education
Importance of Prayer, Omkar, Japa and Dhyana
5 Elements and its Inter-Relationship with Man
Community Living like Participation in family work
Synthesis of Major Religions
Cultural Habits and Manners of India
Role of intuition
Camps, Seminar, Debates, Symposia, Shramdhan
Training as Seva dal/ B V Guru, Project Work, Study Circle
Narayana suktham, Medhasuktham, Bhusuktham, Sri suktham.
The home is a temple where each member of the family is a moving temple and is nurtured and nourished. The mother is the high priestess of the House of God. Humility is the incense with which the house is filled. Reverence is the lamp that is lit with love as Oil and Faith as wick. - Baba
Home is heaven when there is Love and understanding and the same becomes hell when there is distrust and hostility. The home and the family is the basic social institution everywhere in the world. When the home improves, the whole world will be better. The home where the name of the Lord is not heard is a cave and nothing more. If the home is filled with clean fragrance of contentment and peace, all its occupants will be happy and healthy. The elders have, therefore, a great responsibility towards the generations that is coming up.
That home, where the husband and wife are bound together by holy love, where every day both are engaged in the reading of books that feed the soul where the name of the Lord is sung and His glory is remembered, that home is really the Home of the Lord. The homes in which the Bal Vikas children grow, as indeed all homes, have to be clean, with vibrations free from hatred, envy, greed, spite and hypocrisy. The food that the child eats must be wholesome and pure. Between the ages of two and five, the child's mind is profoundly affected by the behaviour of those nearest to him, so the parents must take care to set a good example.
The family is essential for the blossoming of human personality; how can a helpless baby grow and learn, talk and move forwards without a home? Home is the dwelling place of Right Conduct. A home is a home if the woman is honoured and respected within it. Such a home is the heaven of prosperity and peace.
Parents are living gods
First and foremost, you should show gratitude to your parents. Your blood, your food, your head and your money are all the gifts of your parents. You do not receive these gifts directly from God. All that is related to God is indirect experience. It is only the parents whom you can see directly and experience their love. So consider your parents as God. God will be pleased and will manifest before you only when you love and respect your parents.
Mother, father and then the preceptor
It is the mother who teaches you the sacred principles like love, compassion, forbearance, tolerance and sacrifice. Mother shows the father, father takes you to the preceptor and preceptor directs you to God. That is why among mother, father, preceptor and God, Mother comes first. The earlier years of life are the most crucial, and so mother and father have to share the responsibility of proper unbringing. The parents must lay the foundation strong and straight. The child must grow with the mother for the first five years of life. When a boy is five years old, the father has to take up the task of bringing him up. The father must encourage the son by example more than precept.
Parents and teachers work hand in hand
The father and mother must supplement at home the training given by the teacher at school. They must acquaint themselves with the lesson the child receives at school and see that their conduct and advice do not conflict with what the child learns from the teacher whom he adores. Children must be led into good ways of living, into simplicity, humility and discipline. All parents must be persuaded lovingly, through the example of bright, cheerful and motivating the children in BalVikas classes, to send their children also to these classes. Teachers should not be content with merely teaching the children. They should contact the parents and ascertain how they are behaving at home. Knowledge can be given by the teacher; however, the discipline, the rigorous control of the senses and behaviour must be administered by parents. Then the children become sacred souls, holy, sanctified individuals.
Some golden rules by beloved Bhagavan
Children are pure and sacred at birth - Moulding them as ideal children is the duty of the parents
Children are gifts of God - Parents should rear them as representatives Of God
Parents are sculptors who chisel their children beautifully - Upbringing children starts from the womb. What the mother sees, eats or hears affects the baby.
Mother is the first teacher, the child learns every act from the mother
First five years the child learns action from the parents
Environment is the first place for the child to learn social behaviour - The world would be more beautiful if the environment is good
Child's body, health, mind depends on parents' life style
Parent's relation with child should be natural, simple, friendly and loving. Parents must spend more time with the child
Blossoming of child's mind depends on its Home filled with Diligence, Devotion, and Faith. With all these qualities the child's Home becomes a sacred place a Temple, a Mosque or a Church
The Valuable gift parents can give the child is training in Human Values - Sathya , Dharma, Shanthi, Prema, Ahimsa
Not only building a House but parents should also be ideal householders
Mould the children to have good thoughts and good practices to make "The Home A Sweet home"
Three wishes of a noble mother
Easwaramma, mother of Sri Sathya Sai Baba expressed her three desires. Once she told Baba, "Swami, our Puttaparthi is a small village. As there is no school in the village, the children are forced to walk long distances to attend schools in the neighbouring villages. I know that You are the ocean of compassion. Please construct a small school in the village". I asked where she wanted the school to be built. She said she had a piece of land behind her house. She wanted the school to be constructed there. As desired by her, I got the school constructed. Though it was a small school, the inaugural function was a grand affair, attended by many devotees. The next day Easwaramma expressed the happiness over the inaugural function and said that she had one more desire. She wanted a hospital also to be built in the village. She said, "Swami, I don't want to put You to trouble. If You are troubled, the whole world will be in trouble and if You are happy, the whole world will be happy. So if it gives You happiness, please construct a small hospital." As per her wish, I got the hospital constructed. Bejawada Gopal Reddy, a highly reputed person in those days, was invited to inaugurate the hospital. The inaugural function was a grand one, attended by thousands of people from the neighbouring villages. Easwaramma did not imagine that this would be such a grand affair. Next day, she came up to Me and said, "Swami, it does not matter even if I die now. I have no more worries; you have fulfilled my desires and mitigated the suffering of the villagers to a great extent." I said, if you have any more desires, ask Me now. She replied hesitantly that she had yet another small desire. "You know that the river Chithravathi is in spate during the rainy season. But, in summer it dries to a trickle and people do not have drinking water. So, please see that some wells are dug in this village." I told her that I would not stop with these small wells and that I would provide drinking water to the entire Rayalseema region. Easwaramma said, "I don't know what Rayalseema is. I am satisfied if our village is provided with drinking water."
The young lad of Puttaparthi had no ancestral wealth and no powerful family has done no one can ever think of them in one's lifetime: free healthcare, free education, and safe drinking water for millions. He rebuilds innumerable lives shattered by calamities, and above all united people across all faiths, cultures, countries and classes with the universal bonds of love, and tolerance. It is this pure love that distinguishes Baba's enormous projects from others. The young lad of Puttaparthi had no ancestral wealth and no powerful family has done no one can ever think of them in one's lifetime: free healthcare, free education, and safe drinking water for millions. He rebuilds innumerable lives shattered by calamities, and above all united people across all faiths, cultures, countries and classes with the universal bonds of love, and tolerance. It is this pure love that distinguishes Baba's enormous projects from others.
The Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, started by Baba over 50 years ago, today stands for service with love, discipline with dignity, charity without publicity, relief beyond costs, and help without distinction.
The guiding message
To earn real respect, you should do what you say. First "Be", Second "Do" and Third "Tell". Without the first "Be" and the second "Do", you cannot merely "Tell". IN A NUTSHELL... Good Parenting is the step to self-fulfilment.