Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
Valedictory Address, Sri Sathya Sai World Education Conference, Prasanthi Nilayam, 22 July 2008
All the names and forms are but the manifestations of the Supreme Being, who is existence-knowledge-bliss Absolute and non-dual.
He is the embodiment of truth, goodness, beauty (sathyam, sivam, sundaram). (Sanskrit verse)
Embodiments of Love!
During the last two days, you attended the conference and listened to the speakers sitting here in this hall, undergoing all inconveniences. It is really your good fortune that you could come here from far off countries and participate in this conference. You have come here spending a lot of money and undergoing great strain. This in itself is a testimony to the purity of your heart. There are millions of people in this world. There are lakhs of schools and colleges. But only a few of you are blessed with the opportunity of coming here. You can imagine how fortunate you are!
The educated must manifest human values
Having come here and participated in this conference, what is it that you are supposed to learn? First of all, you must understand the nature of your own heart and manifest human values, namely, truth, righteousness, peace, love, and nonviolence. Only then can you be called educated in the true sense of the term.
Many lawyers in this world study voluminous books, but in spite of their learning, we find many ‘liars’ among them. There are many doctors. But what is the use? They are getting bogged down with professional rivalry. We cannot find unity anywhere. First and foremost, we have to develop unity.
All of us are the children of God. We are all brothers and sisters. We should preserve this truth in our heart. At times, there may be some differences among brothers and sisters. Therefore, we must learn to adjust with each other. Not only that, we must understand each other in the first instance. Adjustment becomes easy when we have proper understanding. There cannot be any adjustment without proper understanding. Firstly, you must understand that whatever Swami teaches is only out of His love for you.
There is great progress in the field of science today. All the inventions of the scientists are within the purview of senses. In fact, many scientists are acting in a senseless manner and committing mistakes. Scientists themselves are not sure of what they are saying and doing. They say they are helping society, but in fact they are doing just the opposite. Help never, hurt ever — this seems to be their motto. As a result, people today are leading their lives with fear and anxiety. When you board a plane, you are not sure whether you will reach the destination safely. People are in the grip of fear. They are afraid of even rats!
Never be afraid of anything. Don’t fear. Fear is the root cause of anxiety and delusion. People today are afraid to eat even fruits and vegetables because they are grown with the help of chemicals that are harmful to health. The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe are all polluted. How can we lead a healthy life in such a polluted environment?
We should make our lives pollution free. We have to do it ourselves. Don’t eat junk food and spoil your health merely for the sake of satisfying your taste buds. When you take proper care of your health, the children born to you will also be healthy.
Always speak the truth. Apart from speaking truth, remain calm and composed in the face of criticism. Only then can there be peace.
Our ancient sages used to observe silence as part of their spiritual discipline. Observance of silence helps you to progress on the spiritual path. When you practise silence, you can easily experience peace of mind. Love manifests from peace. When you are filled with love, you will have no enemies. Therefore, lead your life with love. Only through love can we establish peace in the world.
Today, people talk of peace but we find only pieces everywhere. Even the country is being divided into pieces! What I mean to say is that people are keeping the interests of their regions above the national interest. We should stand united as a country. When someone asks you, ‘Where do you come from?” you should proudly say that you belong to India. Do not say you belong to Puttaparthi, Anantapur district, etc. Only those with a narrow mind will give such an answer. “I come from India,” should be your answer. Similarly, one should not say that one comes from California, which is only a small part of America. One should say that one comes from America. Always be broad-minded in your thinking. It is your good fortune to be endowed with such a broad mind. When you develop broad-mindedness, your children also will be broad-minded.
Parents should lead an exemplary life
Parents should enroll their children in Sai spiritual education (bal vikas) classes and impart sacred teachings to them. As the parents, so are the children. Therefore, parents should tread the right path and set an ideal so that their children can emulate them. The fault lies in the parents if the children do not behave properly. Hence, parents should take utmost care in bringing up their children.
After a certain age, children do not obey their parents, because parents themselves do not follow the right path. Parents should lead exemplary lives if they want their children to be good and come up in life. There should be no difference of opinion between the father and mother. They should be united in whatever they tell their children. In some families, mother says one thing and father says something else. Such lack of unity and understanding between the parents is not a good sign. Both of them must stand on one word and teach their children the right path. First of all, they should teach their children to adhere to truth. It is enough if we follow the path of truth, because truth is the basis of everything.
“There is no right conduct (dharma) greater than adherence to truth (Sathyannasti paro dharma).” Peace originates from righteousness and love manifests from peace. Where there is love, there is nonviolence, and everyone can lead a peaceful life.
If the nation has to attain peace and prosperity, we should follow the path of truth. What is truth? “He is a noble soul whose thoughts, words, and deeds are in harmony (Manasyekam vachasyekam karmanyekam mahatmanam).” If your thought, word, and deed are at variance, it amounts to falsehood. Before we teach our children to adhere to truth, we should practise truth in our daily life. Only then can children emulate us and become ideal.
We should lead a ‘heartful life’, not an artificial life. Today, right from the system of education, everything has become artificial. People read a number of sacred texts, chant mantras, and undertake meditation. But all this is done in an artificial manner. Whatever the spiritual practice we undertake, we should do it whole-heartedly.
In the name of meditation, people close their eyes and sit cross-legged, but they have no control over their mind. Their mind goes everywhere as per its whims and fancies. We should control our mind in the first instance. “The mind is the cause of bondage and liberation (Manah eva manushyanam karanam bandhamokshayo).” As the thought, so is the action. Hence, we should entertain only good thoughts, which lead to good actions and ultimately yield good results. Do not follow the vagaries of the mind. Do not be under the control of the mind. The mind should be under your control. The mind is like a mad monkey. It goes everywhere without any restraint. But it becomes quiet and subdued when it is turned toward God.
When the sun rises, our shadow is very long. If we start walking toward the sun, our shadow will fall behind us. On the other hand if we walk in the opposite direction with our back toward the sun, we have to follow our shadow, which falls ahead of us. When the sun is right on our head, the shadow will fall under our feet. Delusion (maya) is like our shadow. In order to conquer delusion, you have to turn your mind toward God. When your mind is directly focused on God, delusion will be totally subdued like the shadow under your feet.
Keep your mind focused on God
The three hands on the clock indicate seconds, minutes, and hours. The second hand is the longest and moves quicker than the other two. When the second hand completes sixty digits, the minute hand moves forward by one digit. Similarly, when the minute hand crosses sixty digits, the hour hand crosses one digit. However, it is the hour hand that is most important. Thinking of God once in a while and spending the rest of the time in worldly pursuits is like the second hand, which has little significance. But constant contemplation of God at all times is like the hour hand, which is most important.
Do not act as per the vagaries of your mind. As I have mentioned earlier, the mind can cause liberation or bondage. Therefore, you have to exercise control over your mind and turn it in the right direction, i.e. toward truth and love. Then it becomes steady and attains the power of concentration. Love is truth and truth is love. Live in love. This is not physical and worldly love. We should preserve spiritual love in our heart. Only then can we develop steadiness of mind. Worldly love will only make our mind fickle and unsteady. Therefore, keep your mind always focused on God. Only then can you experience peace. People think it is very difficult, but let Me tell you that no spiritual discipline is easier than this.
When we develop love for God, the mind can be controlled very easily. On the other hand, if the mind is not turned toward God, it can never be controlled. Whatever you do, consider it as God’s work.
Everything happens as per the will of God. Do not be under the delusion that your will alone can make things move. If that be the case, why are you not able to exercise any control over certain events that take place in your life? Understand that everything moves as per the divine will. If something good happens to you, consider it as the will of God. If something bad were to happen, accept that also as the will of God.
There is certainly some purpose behind whatever He does, which you cannot comprehend. Whatever He does is for your own good. Hence, leave everything to His will. “One should remain equal-minded in happiness and sorrow, gain and loss, victory and defeat (Sukhadukhe samekruthwa labhalabhau jayajayau).” Whatever may happen, consider it as an act of divine love and welcome it wholeheartedly.
When you get immersed in divine love, you will be successful in all your endeavours. But today, people are getting immersed in worldly love only. One who develops worldly love is a liar! Only divine love can be called true love. Divine love will never betray you. Let people think what they like, let them criticise you in any manner, but always remain firmly established in divine love. Under any circumstances, do not deviate from the path of divine love. When you preserve divine love in your heart, your future as well as the future of your children will be safe and secure.
When someone asks you, “Who are you?”, you are unable to give correct reply. You identify yourself with the physical body. But in fact, the physical body is like a leather bag that contains various entities such as the mind, intellect, subconscious mind, etc. Once the life principle ebbs away from the body, it becomes an ‘empty bag’, which is of no use to us. Hence, we put it in the fire and reduce it to ashes. Before the body becomes an ‘empty bag’ and is burnt to ashes, offer to God all that is contained in it and redeem your life.
Eliminate the bad in you and establish direct contact with God
First of all, give up the bad qualities such as lust, anger, greed, infatuation, pride, and jealousy (kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, and matsarya). They can cause you only misery, not happiness. You can see for yourself how blissful you become when you get rid of these evil qualities. In order to experience such eternal bliss, offer to God all that is in you. You have a number of desires, but is it possible to get all your desires fulfilled? No.
Never cause harm to others in the process of fulfilment of your desires. If you desire something, pray to God and ask Him directly. Establish direct contact with Him. If you follow ‘indirect’ methods, you will be put to untold misery.
But today, people try to harm others in order to satisfy their own greed. Such people are bound to reap the consequences of their evil deeds. Long ago during the independence movement, I composed a song picturising a scene where an infant was crying and his mother was consoling him with an assurance that everything will be alright and there is nothing to worry about the fate of the country. I sang it on the stage, placing a rubber doll in a cradle and rocking it gently.
Do not cry, my child, do not cry.
If you cry, you will not be called a valiant son of Bharat (India).
Go to sleep, my child, go to sleep.
Did you get scared because the terrible Hitler has invaded the invincible Russia? Go to sleep, my child, go to sleep.
Do not cry, my child, do not cry.
For the Red Army is marching under Stalin.
They will put an end to Hitler.
Then what else is the reason for your crying?
Is it because the countrymen lack unity?
All the countrymen will unite and fight to win freedom; Go to sleep, my child, go to sleep.
Maintain a noble character suffused with love
Today, you have gathered here in such large numbers. Have we sent an invitation letter to any of you? No, no. It is only love that has brought you here (applause). It is only love that can unite everybody, not hatred. When your love and My love come together, any task can be achieved. Hence, develop love. With the power of love, you can win over anybody, even a mighty demon can be subdued.
When Ravana abducted Sita, Hanuman went to Lanka in search of her. He found her in the Asoka grove (a grove of Asoka trees), sitting under a tree and chanting the name of Rama. She had firm faith that only Rama could protect her from the clutches of the demons (rakshasas). In spite of all his learning, valour and wealth, Ravana was as insignificant as a blade of grass when compared to Rama because he lacked character. Rama was one of noble character. If one is endowed with noble character, one can achieve any mighty task. That is why I often tell our students that the end of education is character. What is the use of all your education if you lack character?
Some lawyers keep reading a number of books day and night, but when they go to the court, they speak only untruth. Greatness does not lie in reading books. The truth that the books teach should be preserved in our heart. We must develop good character. Then we will certainly achieve success in all that we do.
Once you go back home, remember all that Swami has taught you and develop good character among your children. Develop a spirit of sacrifice and sanctify your life with noble deeds. What is the use of merely amassing wealth? Alexander, the great emperor, conquered different parts of the world and came to India with a desire to conquer this country too. On his return journey, he suffered a grave illness. Sensing that his end had approached, he called all his ministers and generals and told them that he was not going to live anymore. He instructed them to take his body to his country after his death. He further told them to expose his hands out of the bier with his palms turned upward and take the funeral procession to all the streets of the city. This was to tell the people of the world that in spite of his great conquests in the world and a great name and fame, Alexander left the world empty-handed.
This is true for all of us. Whatever we may accumulate, we have to go empty-handed only. In the ultimate analysis, all worldly possessions are useless. Our bank balance will not follow us when we leave this world. Therefore, utilize your wealth for the benefit of the poor and needy with a spirit of sacrifice. When you spend your life in such a sacred manner, you will certainly be redeemed.