Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
International Conference Of Educationists
Prasanthi Nilayam, 17 August 2005.
During his childhood man develops absorbing interest in play in the company of other children. In youth and middle age, he is entangled in worldly matters and deeply engrossed in earning money. Finally, in old age, he craves for this and that without contemplating on God even at that ripe age. Thus, he wastes his precious human birth. (Telugu poem)
In this world, there are millions of educated people. Right from a child to a learned old man, everyone is interested in reading books and acquiring knowledge. But in what way are they benefited by the acquisition of bookish knowledge? Such education can only help you to eke out a livelihood. Right from a pauper to a millionaire, everybody wants his children to be well educated. Parents are prepared to spend any amount of money and they even borrow money (even beyond their means) to provide quality education to their children. In spite of the fact that the parents face a lot of hardship in educating their children, the children do not have any gratitude towards their benefactors. They do not introspect, “Who is responsible for all my development? Who has made me what I am today?” Under these circumstances, we should enquire into the true purpose of education. One may study a number of books and master various branches of knowledge, but does he enjoy peace and tranquillity? All the knowledge that we acquire from books can only take care of our physical needs. The fact is, true knowledge is latent in everyone. Women do not lag behind men in academic excellence. People think that education confers on them respect and esteem. But, people lack true wisdom in spite of their high academic achievements.
Education must result in transformation
In the present, parents want their children to pursue solely job-oriented education. But, what is the use of such education which does not bring about transformation among children? Neither are the children benefited nor are they able to render any help to their parents. Modern man develops ego on account of his educational achievements. Humility is the hallmark of true education. If a man lacks viveka (discrimination) and vinaya (humility), all his education is of no value. You should understand that your education is meant for the welfare and progress of society. But, in what way is society benefited by educated people? Actually, you are learning many things from society and derive benefit from it. But power of discrimination which is found even in uneducated people is not to be found in the so-called educated people today. When this is the true state of affairs why should the educated get inflated with ego? There is scarcely any humility among students today. They show no respect towards elders. They do not realise their responsibilities towards society. What is the use of merely acquiring bookish knowledge if one does not respect elders and serve society? One who leads such a life is not true to his nature. His walking, talking, reading, writing, everything becomes an affectation. If this is the result of academic education, why should one go to college at all? Every student must enquire into himself, “What am I doing in the college? What am I supposed to do?” Only when he conducts such self-enquiry, can he understand the true meaning of education. Mere bookish knowledge is not true education. It is merely transfer of what is contained in pustaka (book) to mastaka (head) and vice versa. In this manner, people are entangled between pustaka and mastaka without really understanding the true meaning of education. They are wasting their time in the pursuit of bookish knowledge instead of acquiring practical knowledge. No doubt there is a lot of information in pustaka, but what purpose does it serve if the mastaka is filled with filth? You can never achieve the desired results from such an education. The same was explained by the chief guest in his address. “Though all people learn and study, what is the ultimate result out of this?” he questioned. People spend thousands of rupees for acquiring academic education. What is the role the educated people play in society today? Do they contribute for peace in society? Do they try to bring about transformation in individuals? No. In fact, they are unable to inculcate discipline in their own children. Most children may pretend to be well behaved and humble in the presence of their parents, but they behave like rowdies once they step out of their houses.
Students should strive to earn a good name in society. Today’s education is making the students materialistic. It does not prepare the students to turn inward to listen to their inner voice. One should acquire Atma prabodha (atmic knowledge). That is true education. Without awareness of the Self, all other knowledge is useless. Why should one pursue such education?
Deeds must follow words
People are interested in exercising their influence and power; they are not making efforts to cleanse their mind and heart. This is the result of modern education. People have learnt to talk sweetly, but they do not translate their words into action.
Embodiments of Love!
Mere learning by rote the contents of books is not important. You should imbibe the gandha (essence) of all granthas (texts). That is true education. People read a number of books, but what is the use? They merely quote what others have said. Is this what you are supposed to learn? You should listen to the prompting / utterance of your inner voice and share it with others. But, scarcely anybody thinks on these lines today.
Embodiments of Love!
You must put into practice at least one or two principles of what you have learnt and set an example to others. There are many learned scholars, but do they practise what they have learnt? They appear to be people of eminence (‘chief’), but they are cheap in their behaviour. The end of education is character. We should consider character as our very life-breath. Education without character is useless like half-cooked rice. We should practise at least one or two principles and only then venture to preach to others.
There are three important principles in every human being Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect) and Atma (Self). What is the nature of Self? It is all-pervasive. True education is that which originates from the heart. The reference in this context is to the spiritual heart and not the physical heart. There are many noble souls who are setting ideals to society by translating their knowledge into action. If you do not act in a principled manner, all your education becomes useless. It is what you practise that matters, not what you speak. Wherever you may go, your behaviour should be exemplary. That is what pleases Me.
Strive to acquire spiritual knowledge
Happiness is union with God. You are not ordinary mortals. All are essentially divine. In order to realise your true nature, practise what you preach. Only then can you experience bliss. Verily, bliss is the true nature of man. Why should you give up that which is natural to you and lead an artificial life? Wherever you see, in colleges and schools, students lack practical knowledge. They give importance only to bookish knowledge and become ‘books’ themselves. True education is that which originates from the heart. Heart is very important for human existence. When a child is born, the first thing that people observe is the heart beat. You should rely more on your spiritual heart than on the physical heart. Conscience is another name for spiritual heart. Keep your heart pure. That should be your main endeavour. Whatever is done with love and purity of heart will confer bliss on you. In fact, bliss is latent in everyone. But man is unaware of this truth. One should make every effort to manifest one’s innate bliss in him. What is the nature of this bliss? Nityanandam, Parama Sukhadam, Kevalam Jnanamurtim, Dwandwateetam (God is the embodiment of eternal bliss, He is wisdom absolute, beyond the pair of opposites). It transcends duality. So long one is immersed in duality one cannot experience bliss. First of all one should understand the principle of unity. Unity leads to purity and purity leads to divinity.
A true human being is one who strives for unity, purity and divinity. Otherwise, he is no better than birds and animals. First, purify your senses and develop unity. Consider all as your brothers and sisters and live in harmony. In public meetings we hear the speakers addressing people as brothers and sisters. But do they really mean what they say? Do you find unity among brothers and sisters today? No. True happiness lies in unity. Human life can be compared to a tree. Our relations are like branches and sub-branches. Contemplation of God is like a flower from which you will get the fruit of bliss.
You can certainly acquire secular knowledge. But you should not rest contented with that. You should turn inward and acquire spiritual knowledge as well. Only then can you attain peace.
Embodiments of Love!
Love is the essence of education. Bereft of love, education is artificial. Therefore, develop love in the first instance. Understand that the indweller is the same though bodies are different. Hold on to this fundamental principle and experience ananda (bliss). So many of you have assembled here. Everyone’s attention is focused on Swami. In the same manner, let your mind be focused on divinity always. Contemplate on God. Serve your fellowmen. If a person who has been starving for ten days is served a sumptuous feast, you can well imagine the joy he experiences. When all the tanks and lakes are dried to a trickle, you can imagine the joy that a continuous downpour brings with it. Similarly, serve those who are in desperate need of your help. Give them happiness. You can attain divinity only through service. Human life is most precious. But, man is behaving like an animal and thus wasting his life.
Being vidyarthis, you should endeavour to aquire true vidya (education). There is no point in merely going through books without understanding the true meaning of vidya. Always contemplate on the fundamental principle of life. Beings are many, but the divine principle is one and the same. Hence, recognise the principle of divinity that is present in all in the form of atma. Atma is adhara (support)and body is adheya (the supported). Consider atma as the basis of your life and everything else will be taken care of. Everyone can have the vision of the atma. All are endowed with such power. Enquire into yourself what have you achieved by going through a number of voluminous books? You have become hard-hearted. If that is the result of your education why should you study at all? First of all, develop love. When you have love in you, everyone will become your friend. If your heart is not suffused with love, your life will become artificial. Life is meaningless without love. If everyone shares his love with his neighbour, there will be no room for hatred at all. Share your love with everyone and live like brothers and sisters. Today we find conflicts and differences even among brothers and sisters, because they lack proper understanding.
Understand the principle of oneness
People do not understand the true meaning of love. Their love is tainted with physical and worldly feelings. When you understand the principle of love and develop love to love all will become one. The Veda says, “Sahasra seersha Purushah …” It means that all heads, all eyes, all feet are His. Once you understand the principle of oneness that is present in all, you can live in tune with the true spirit of brotherhood.
Our hand has five fingers and each of them has a specific duty assigned to it. All the fingers work in unison and harmony while performing a task. Once an argument ensued among the five fingers of the hand as to which finger among them was great. The thumb claimed, “It is not possible to undertake any work without me. Hence, I am the great.” Then the index finger smiled and said, “Look here, Oh thumb! How can you perform any task without my support? Moreover, I am used as pointer to identify individuals. Hence, I am greater than you.” The middle finger intervened and said, “There is no point in what you say. I am the tallest among all the fingers. Two of you on one side and two on the other are serving me as Aide de Camps. Hence, I am the greatest.” Then the ringfinger said, “I feel like laughing at your ignorance. Don’t you know that people adorn me with gold rings studded with precious stones like diamond, emerald, topaz, etc.? Hence, I am your king.” In the end, the little finger said, “I always lead from the front when it comes to teaching a lesson to someone and punishing the guilty. Hence, I am your leader and you have to follow me.” As the fingers were arguing among themselves in this manner, the heart intervened and said, “Oh ignorant ones! Each one of you is as important as the other. One cannot perform any task if there is no unity and harmony among you. In fact, you represent the five human values which are like five life-breaths of a human being.” Hearing these words of wisdom, the five fingers realised their mistake and bent their head in shame. A deep enquiry reveals that the heart is the greatest of all. Body, mind and intellect are mere instruments. Hence, one should follow the advice of the heart in all his endeavours. Understand that all are one and each one is equally important. Do not become egoistic thinking that you alone are very important. Do not waste your precious time in vain argumentation. Be friendly with all and face the challenges of life with unity and harmony.
You have to lead your lives in an ideal manner. In fact, all ideals are latent in you. They cannot be learnt from books. The principle of ‘I’ is common in all. If someone asks, “Who is Sai Baba?” I respond saying, ‘I’. If someone asks who is the Vice Chancellor? He will say, ‘I’. The single letter ‘I’ represents the principle of atma. The Veda declares, Ekameva adviteeyam Brahma (God is one without a second). True spirituality lies in knowing your true Self. But you are unable to know your true Self as you identify yourself with the body. Identification with the body gives rise to ego. One with ego cannot know the reality. Your welfare and also of others will be ensured when you have a firm conviction that all are one. Develop such a spirit of unity. You cannot expect divinity to manifest in you unless you cultivate such unity. The Veda has exhorted:
Let us all move together, let us all grow together, Let us all stay united and share our knowledge, Let us live together with friendship and harmony. (Telugu poem)
Some students do not share even their textbooks with others. How can they attain happiness if they are so self-centred and narrow-minded? You should all stand united. Where there is unity, there is bliss.
Embodiments of Love!
There is only one thing that you have to learn. Develop love. The same principle of love is present in you, in Me and in everyone. I see only love in others. Hence, all are one for Me. You too should develop such feelings of love and equality. All are one, be alike to everyone. This is what you have to learn today.
Embodiments of Love!
Along with the acquisition of secular knowledge, you should also make efforts to understand the principle of oneness. Only then can you achieve unity and harmony. Take for instance this rose flower. It consists of a number of petals. Likewise, our heart can be compared to a flower and the virtues are like petals. The petals of a rose flower may fade and fall by the next day, but the flower of heart remains ever fresh. It symbolises the principle of oneness. People worship the navagrahas (nine planets) to invoke their blessings. You might have observed that there is perfect unity and harmony among the nine planets. (Bhagawan with a wave of his hand materialised a gold ring studded with nine types of gems.) Here you see a navaratna ring. Whoever wears this ring will be protected by the Navagrahas wherever he goes.
Develop unity. Be courageous and develop the necessary strength to face the vicissitudes of life. I don’t want to take much of your time. Whatever you have learnt here, let it be imprinted in your heart. Only then can you attain peace and your education will become meaningful.
Embodiments of Love!
I shower My love and blessings on one and all. Be always united and spend your time in bliss. Make your parents happy. Your body is given to you by your parents. Hence, first of all, express your gratitude to them for this gift. Only then can you find fulfilment in life.
(Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the bhajan, “Prema muditha manase kaho…”)