By John Behner
This article first appeared in Heart2Heart, April 2006.
A Brief Overview of Mexico
Mexico has contributed to the culture and spiritual development of man from ancient times. Several thousand years ago, pyramids to the sun and the moon were built at Teotihuacan, which means the City of the Gods. These pyramids, built by the Toltecs, are comparable in size to the pyramids in Egypt. Teotihuacan is a spiritual center, which includes many other pyramids and ceremonial buildings.
At about the same time, the Mayan Indians were developing a very advanced culture further south. They knew the sun’s magnetic cycles and the secrets of life and the universe. Their science was of a very high order, and they were able to explain how the sun affects life on earth such as the earth’s weather, seasons, and even ages, which can be correlated to the yugas described in the Upanishads.
They knew the purpose of life and death, the journey of the soul, which can return to the creator purified or diminished, returning to earth later for another try at purification through suffering. After the Spanish invaded Mexico and destroyed the Aztec Empire in 1519 AD, the Mayan and Toltec cultures declined.
The population of Mexico is about a hundred million, and 25% of that lives in Mexico Cit,y the capital. With this overview, we would like to describe how the Sai movement became established in Mexico.
How the Sai Organisation Took Root in Mexico
In 1973, Dr. Luis Muniz and his wife, Gail, traveled to India from Mexico with the idea of visiting some spiritual masters for whom they had references. Their program included visits to six ashrams. The last site scheduled, and one that looked less interesting to them, was the Ashram of Sathya Sai Baba. For various reasons, visits to the other five ashrams had to be dropped; in some cases the Guru was not available, or he was away. So they arrived at the Ashram of Sai Baba. Their plan was to stay there for only seven days, since they were to continue visiting the other ashrams. Instead of seven days, they stayed for seven weeks! Amazed by the miraculous Sai Baba and His wisdom, their doubts instantly vanished. Sai Baba talked to them about their lives in such a detailed manner that they were very moved.
One night, Gail had an unusual dream and at 3:00 AM woke her husband to tell him about it. Three days later, Baba called them for an interview and, with a smile, said to her: “Three nights ago you had a dream didn’t you?” Then addressing Dr. Muniz, He said “and she woke you up at three o’clock in the morning to tell it to you, isn’t that so?” In the interview, they asked Swami if they could open a Sai Center, though they didn’t have the faintest idea how to do it. Baba gave them very simple guidelines, “Women should sit on one side and men on the other. There should be a good aroma.”
The Growth of the Sai Organization
The Institute of Human Values Comes Into Being
As the program in teaching and spreading human values grew, it became apparent that an ideal school was needed to demonstrate what this program can really do for the children. With this objective, two Sai Schools have been opened, one in Chihuahua and one in Cuernavaca. There are about 100 children in each school.
Here is an example of how the values are impacting these children at the Chihuahua school. One day during recess; the 2nd grade children were strangely quiet. The teacher went to the window to see what was happening and saw all the children sitting in a circle meditating. After a minute or two, one of the children got up and moved to another spot in the circle and sat down and continued to meditate. A minute later another child changed places. After about 20 minutes the children came in from their recess. The teacher asked what they had been doing. The answer was: “meditating”. Then she asked why they were moving to different places in the circle. The answer: “to hear God better”.
Another incident shows how the children teach the teachers --and also their parents. One little boy was crying, so the teacher took him outside to talk to him and try to cheer him up. There was a mandarin tree in the neighbor’s yard, which had a branch which came over into the school yard. The teacher asked the boy if he would like a mandarin. Between his tears, he said, “I thought you said it was wrong to take things that do not belong to us”.
The Sathya Sai Institute of Human Values is training public and private school teachers in diploma courses that last 90 hours. One teacher said that, “this program must really work”, because since taking it and practising the values, she has started to enjoy teaching and can feel the love of the children. Up in the sierra, the training course was taken to a village where several teens had committed suicide. The application of the program in the village school has helped to overcome this terrible situation.
The Government’s Encouraging Support for the Noble Work
Amazing Transformation In Teens
Service programs have been numerous and varied. In Monterrey, at a correctional Institution for youth, devotees are giving human values classes to the youth and to their parents. On Mondays, ladies from the Sai center give classes to the girls section and on Tuesday, the men give classes to the boys. These youth are from ages 12 to 17. This has brought about a big change in their behavior.
On Fridays, the devotees meet with the parents. This is an interactive meeting, and once the parents start to tell of their problems with drugs, liquor, theft etc. all of them start to open up and they find support and love in the group, especially from the devotees. Their attitude toward their children has changed radically and they are starting to develop a loving relationship with their siblings. This has changed the parent’s behavior, and many of them have a history of being in and out of jails for one thing or another. These people are changing for the better, getting jobs, and keeping them. Some have stopped drinking and using drugs. The Governor of the State has given a certificate of recognition to the Sai Organization for the wonderful work they are doing at this detention center.
Reaching Out to the Underprivileged...
In Mexico City in a slum area, devotees are showing the residents how to prepare soy protein, which is given to them by the government. In another shanty town, a medical clinic has been established and is open 6 days a week.
Medical Clinic for the young and hygiene lessons by Mexican Sai Volunteers
One man who was an alcoholic received so much love from the devotees working at the clinic that he stopped drinking, found a job, and is now supporting his mother. Another man came to the clinic after his wife told him about the loving attention she received in pre-natal care run by Sai devotees. He was a drug addict but has been able to kick the habit and maintain a job to support his wife and their new-born son. After a major earthquake in Mexico City, Sai Seva Dals rushed to establish 2 soup kitchens, which served hot meals to rescue workers and people who had been left homeless for many days.
Mysterious Blessing During a Public Meeting in Mexico City
We have also held many public meetings in Mexico, the most outstanding was a meeting in Mexico City. The meeting was to start at 11 AM on a Sunday morning in a well known auditorium. About 1200 people were present when one of the volunteers who was helping outside in front of the theater came in and advised the people at the back of the theater to go outside and see the sun. People started to walk outside, and look up at the sun. Inside, the people who were on stage did not know what was happening. But then they too were advised to go outside. Over a thousand people were looking up at the sun. A few were taking pictures. It was a beautiful day with a clear blue sky, and a bright orange ring had formed around the sun. This was Swami’s Darshan, because it was a very unusual phenomenon.
The next day the major newspapers of Mexico carried photos and scientific explanations, which were pretty far out. It was apparent the scientists didn’t know what was happening, but the devotees did.
Furthering His Mission in a Myraid Ways….
The youth of Mexico are very active in forming groups and looking for difficult service activities. In Veracruz, a group of youth have been doing a beach cleaning service, which no one wanted to do, not even the authorities. Other youth have dedicated themselves to establish electronic web information such as Sai bhajans, and discourses, and a site for Sathya Sai EHV. Mexico will continue to lead the way for many to find the Avatar in this historic moment of time.