In the words of its Founder Principal
Swami’s School in Sikkim
It was one fine morning on the seventh of July 1983, while I was waiting for the Precious Divine Darshan of the Lord in the sacrosanct grounds of Prashanti Nilayam that Bhagawan while granting Darshan to the multitudes of devotees in all His Divine Grace and Compassion, came close to me and commanded – “Tum Jao Aur Sikkim Mey School Kholo” meaning go home and open a School in Sikkim. In response I prayed – “Swami Aapki Ajna Shirodharya Hai” meaning Swami They Will Be Done.
A bit startled to hear His Divine Command but much delighted at the same time, I had to make preparations for the homebound trip. I informed my mother whom we could escort up to the Divine Abode for His Darshan despite her advanced age of ninety years. That she was in Prashanti Nilayam in robust health, so far away from her birthplace Sikkim was itself one of the most wonderful miracles wrought by Bhagawan in our lives. We had always considered it impossible for her to reach Prashanti Nilayam mainly due to her advanced age and her acute travel sickness. She was so averse to any journey by car, train or even by air due to her allergy to the smell of petrol or jerky movements. It might take another chapter to narrate the manner in which the Lord transported my aged mother to His Abode. So it was only due to His Divine Will that my mother was living in Prashanti Nilayam and basking in His radiant Grace. The Lord surely answers any prayer that wells up from the deeper recesses of the heart. We only have to surrender ourselves to His Will.
The next day in the morning Darshan, the Lord asked me again “When are you going? Go inside (for the most coveted Interview).” The next moment I found myself unbelievably sitting so close to HIM, among the other fortunate ones picked by HIM for the Inner View. I cherish and savor every bit of those rare and precious moments when He allowed me the highest privilege of His proximity or Sanniddhi. It was yet another great experience for all of us present there in His Presence. I could hardly believe how it could be possible for an ignoramus such as me to avail of such a blissful moment in my life – the most heavenly moment saturated with the fount of His Love Divine. The Lord instructed me that I should return to Sikkim without further delay in order to open the school in time and that there was no need for me to worry in the least about the future of the School since He would take care of all that were needed to be done for the school. I was commanded by the Lord to sit close to His Lotus Feet for Padanamskaram. So I got on my knees and placed my forehead on His Lotus Feet. In the course of the Interview, He queried – “What should be the name of the school?” To this I prayed – “Swami, Prashanti Vidya Mandir.” Profusely blessed by Beloved Bhagawan, I proceeded the next day towards my hometown Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. My son was granted permission by Bhagawan to travel with me up to Kolkota in West Bengal State. From there, he was directed by the Lord to return to Prashanti Nilayam, since he could not afford to spend more time away from the Sri Sathya Sai University where he was pursuing his studies. After my safe and comfortable return home, I hurried to carry out His Commandments, preparing the classrooms for the toddlers who would be arriving for admission. Admission forms were printed along with the Attendance Registers. To begin with, I was compelled to arrange the classrooms in our own residence located at Tibet Road. We got two classrooms ready for the young children of three to five years of age. They were admitted in Nursery C and B classes. There were twenty one children to commence with and I offered my deeply felt humble sentiments of gratitude to the Divine Lord for His Help and Guidance all the time. Mrs. D. K. Bhandari came to know about this and she offered to help with four well-made black boards. This lady was the wife of the then Chief Minister of Sikkim and an ardent devotee of our Beloved Bhagawan. In the ensuing days, she proved to be one of the most devout supporters of the School.
The task done for the initial period, I made another trip to Prashanti Nilayam to pray to the Lord to direct me regarding the exact time of the commencement of the School. I brought along with me a copy of the Admission Form and the Admission Register to be offered to the Lord. To my joy and utter satisfaction, Bhagawan mercifully asked me in the Darshan line about the progress of the school. Once again, He commanded me to “go inside” for an Interview. When the Lord entered the Interview Room, He motioned me to sit beside His Lotus Feet. After I was granted His Padnamaskaram, I offered the Admission Form and the Admission Register to Him. He perused the name of the school printed on the form and granted His approval, pronouncing the name Prashanti Vidya Mandir three times. His gracious gesture bolstered my courage and spirit and I went on to ask Him about the date and time of the commencement of His School. He commanded that the first day of March the same year would be ideal. He then gave me this injunction which I have been following and practicing ever since with diligence and care –
“School Mey Bacchon Ko Discipline Sikhao. Teachers ko bhi discipline sikhao. Discipline nahin hone sey Education nahin ho sakta hai. Phir tum school key liye chinta mat karo. Bachon ki sankhya barane ke liye chinta mat karo. Pehle bees bachon ko acchi tarah discipline mey rakho, Quantity se jyada quality par dhyan do. Phir Swamiji sab dekhenge – Tum chinta mat karo, Zarurat nahin hai Aur Tumhara Digvijay Hoga.”
Here is a translation of His injunction given to me in the Hindi language:
“In the School you should teach discipline to the children and to the teachers too. Without discipline it’s not possible to impart education. You need not worry for the school and for increasing the number of children. First make twenty children well disciplined. Do not lay stress on quantity but quality of teaching should be prioritized first. Do not worry about anything, Swami will take care of everything and you will be crowned with success.”
I listened to His Divine words in rapt attention and prayed to Him that I would carry out His commandments with utmost care and unwavering attentiveness. According to His Divine Will, the School was opened on the first of March 1984 and the number of students on the inaugural day was twenty one enrolled in the Nursery section. In the month of May the same year, Bhagawan commanded my son Sunam then studying in His University with a Message for the formal inauguration of the School on the 6th May, the auspicious occasion of Mata Eswaramma Day. Sunam arrived home on 2nd May and he was indeed a big help for the event. On the appointed day, the dignitaries included Mrs. Talyarkhan, wife of the then Governor of Sikkim, Mrs. Dil Kumari Bhandari, wife of the then Chief Minister of Sikkim, Mr. M. M. Rasaily, then President of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation and also Secretary in the Department of Education, other Government officials and blessed devotees of Bhagawan. The erudite Guests of Honor were inspired by the Lord to address the gathering in the most thought provoking manner. The State President spoke encouraging words for the School, the children and teaching staff of the School. Mr. Vivek Keshar Pandey, an ardent and chosen devotee of the Lord had come all the way from Kalimpong town in the Darjeeling district. He proposed a vote of thanks to the gathering. This is how the Lord in all His mercy and amazing grace, gave Sikkim a Sai School. Sri Sathya Sai Prashanti Vidya Mandir has grown by leaps and bounds over the decades and today the School runs classes from Nursery to standard 10. As commanded by the Lord, the emphasis is more on quality and the total number of children in the school is 224 with 58 children in the hostel. It has indeed been Digvijay or Victory all the way – His Victory.
Mrs. P. Tshering Tenzin,
Tibet Road, Gangtok, East Sikkim