Let students master

It is a rare type of Festival, this Diamond Jubilee of a school; I am glad you have asked Me to inaugurate the Celebrations. To illumine a place with the lamp of knowledge for sixty years, to have trained up for life hundreds and thousands of persons, is no ordinary achievement. I am glad you have as a part of the programme, the expression of gratitude for the Headmasters and Teachers who toiled at this School to make it a successful training centre in this region. It is now twenty-five years since I last came to this place, which is so near geographically to Puttaparthi. People in America, Europe and Africa, in Hongkong and Australia are establishing Sathya Sai Bhaktha Mandalis and Study Circles; they are having Telugu Classes, so that they may listen to Me and learn things directly from Me. But, places near Puttaparthi take long to derive the benefit. As for Me, I have no ‘near’ and ‘far’; all are near to Me, except those who keep afar. Even they are close to Me, if only they dedicate themselves to God, under whatever Name and Form.

Considering the system of education sixty years ago when this school began and the system prevalent now after many experiments and modifications, one has to say that a great many valuable characteristics of the old system have been lost. Numbers have increased; but, quality has suffered. More information is forced in; less knowledge to meet the fortunes of life is imparted. Skills are added but virtues are subtracted. Respect for the great scriptures and sacred texts has diminished; how then can patriotism strike root? Love for India springs from reverence for her role in the history of the world, in the upliftment of man.

Students are not told how the sages and seers of India saw the highest truths that man can ever hope to visualise; they decry their forefathers as fools, and their elders as old-fashioned. They have other lands and other cultures as their ideals, for, they are carried away by material victories like space ships and rockets to the moon. They have no idea of the utter danger which these adventures into space denote and of the vastly grander adventures into the soul which Indian sages have achieved.

Recast the mind as an instrument for Liberation

The Jubilee which has to be celebrated by every individual is not the Diamond, but, the “Diemind”, the occasion when through saadhana, the mind is mastered. Modern civilisation is based on competition in which the interests of the individual precede the interests of society. Therefore, fear haunts men wherever they turn, fear of poverty, fear of loss, fear of death and destruction of property. The mind urges the senses to seek and secure softness, sweetness, fragrance, melody and beauty, not in God whose heart is soft as butter, whose story is sweet as nectar, whose renown is fragrant as the jasmine, whose praise is melodious to the ear, whose Form is the embodiment of perfect beauty, but, in the shoddy contraptions of material things. So, the mind has to die, so that it may be recast as an instrument for liberation, through fulfilment.

Sixty years ago, and until recently, in some primary schools, Sumathisathaka and the verses of Vemana were passed on to the children and they implanted in the tender minds the seeds of Sanaathana Dharma. Today, they have given place to Nursery Rhymes, like “Who killed Cock Robin?”, “Jack and Jill went up the Hill”, rhymes that cannot grow into goodness or virtue. The neglect of the study of the Sanskrit language and literature is denying our students the spring of wisdom, from which generations have imbibed courage and confidence to face life. Consider first things first — that is the message of the Shaastras. The true culture of India can be experienced only then. Bhaarath is the only country where the process of exploiting the mine of Aananda lying in the inner consciousness of man has been systematically explored.

Basis of the Indian ideal of Ahimsa

India has always laid down disciplines to cultivate Universal Love; the yajnas and yaagas (Vedhic sacrifices and worship) which are recommended in the Vedhas are for Loka kalyaana and Loka sangraha — the welfare and security of all mankind. That is why India is as the engine which drags the wagons along, all wagons that are coupled with it. The wagons are the different nations. Lokaassamasthaah sukhino bhavanthu — ” May all the denizens of all the worlds be happy” — is the prayer that rises from the children of this land, since thousands of years. God is omnipresent; He is immanent in every being in equal measure. So, man must visualise Him equally in himself and in others. That is to say, he sees only God in all. So, how can he injure others or fear that he will come to harm through others? This is the basis of the Indian ideal of Ahimsa. We have such world-transforming truths embedded in the ancient texts, but having them there or even inside the heads does not help; they have to be put into practice, steadily and with faith,

You are happy when you have a watch; you are happy when you have a transistor radio hanging round your neck; the happiness is due to the fact that you have them and that others have no right over them. The sense of possession, the sense of ‘mine’ (mamaakara), that is at the root of the joy. The thing by itself is powerless to evoke joy; for, if the thing itself was the source, every one having it must derive the same quantity of joy. When a neighbour gets a transistor, you do not feel happy at all; you might even feel it a nuisance. Analysis will show that all joy is in us, for us and from us. And it is but a reflection of the boundless joy that the Aathman is. So, instead of scattering attention in many directions, man must endeavour to attain that Aathmic joy while here, with body. The moon that shines in the waters of a million lakes is one; the shine in the lakes is due to the reflections; look up and know the truth. Do not be deluded that inside each lake, there is a distinct moon. The bodies are many but God is reflected in every one of them.

Establish contact with that Almighty Power, that Omniscience, that Omnipresent Entity and all things will be added unto you — power, wisdom, vision, liberation. The way in which schools are now attempting to shape the tender minds of children is full of defects. They are not given the sustaining food of Vedhaanthic truths; they are not trained to grow straight and strong, breathing the bracing air of virtue. They are not allowed to grow in an atmosphere of love and endurance. The hatreds and factions, which elders indulge in are their examples and inspirations now. Their energies and enthusiasms are not canalised by means of restrictions and directions, precept and example, into beneficial activities.

Efforts in these directions, however elementary, will, if persisted in, yield good results. Begin this day this task of rousing in these students the keenness to become masters of their senses and the tasters of lasting joy.