The wheel and its hub

BHAARATH is the sovereign of all nations, so far as spiritual dominion is concerned; and which dominion can be richer than that? She alone is capable of scattering the clouds of doubt, anxiety and fear that darken the minds of men and turn them to competitive adventures in the realm of material gain and glory. These clouds have appeared over the Indian sky also; people here too are admiring darkness and slighting daylight. They blindly imitate the manners and morals of the West and open the doors of their hearts to the flood of greed and discontent. Of course, the material world which science analyses and studies, and provides the means to control and regulate, is necessary for fulfilling the demands of living, but, it is wrong to imagine that world can give us lasting peace or joy.

The Vedhas and Shaasthras of India were not collected or compiled by fools or knaves, they were put together by people, who gave up the attractions of comfortable life, as so many heroes of scientific discovery like Edison do now: they retired into the forests, so that they could concentrate on the solution of the problems that challenged them. In every statement in the Vedhas and Shaasthras, you get the genuine ring of actual experience and personal thrill.

Do not sit on the bank of the river and pronounce judgements of the depth of the waters, or their taste to potability. Step down and examine for yourselves; that is the sign of the sincere seeker of Truth. If you do not, you can be rejected as a prejudiced or perverse witness. Those who pronounce My act of creating Vibhuuthi (holy ash) as ‘magic’ are also of the same category, for they talk without any qualification. They cannot tolerate the splendour of the Divine to disturb the darkness they have learnt to like. The impact of material civilisation has hardened their hearts, softened their brains, and made their lives hollow and vain.

Search for comfort will make a man egoistic

The rulers who frame and foster the educational system of the country are responsible for the discontent, disillusionment and consequent delinquencies and disturbances of the students. They pay attention only to the physical and intellectual training of the youth; they forget the attention must also be paid to mental, moral and spiritual development, so that an integrated personality can emerge. Now, a child is put to school so that years later he may get a cushy job! Schooling is for gaining a living, not for gaining the ultimate in life. In all countries, it is the same.

Nowhere is youth trained to earn Shaanthi (equanimity, peace); everywhere, the aim is a comfortable life, not a life of peace and undisturbed joy. Comfort is a passing phase; it is a relative stage, between two discomforts. The search for comfort, for riches, for fame, for power over others — these will make a man so egoistic that he is a danger to himself and others. The only safe path is to seek Aanandha within oneself, not in or through others. There is great joy awaiting the person who radiates compassion, truth and patience, humility, reverence and piety.

Mind soaked in desire Cannot receive wisdom

Students must demand a revision of the system on these lines; they must demand that they be equipped better to meet the challenge of life. They must convince the administrators that this is essential. After all, they are your own people, interested in your welfare. They must listen and carry out suggestions. Zoroaster, one day, asked the Prince of Iran, “Go, light this lamp, from yonder flame.” The lamp could not be lit; for the wick was soaked in water. Then Zoroaster said, “Your mind is so soaked in desire that it cannot receive the wisdom it needs; dry it in the sun of detachment.” When teachers and the taught are immersed in worldly desire, how can light be transmitted or kept alive?

There was a mother-in-law once, who declared with evident satisfaction, “My daughter-in-law passed away, no doubt, but, what a wonder, the terrible fever she was suffering from disappeared in a trice.” The fever is not the prime thing; her life is the crucial object to be cared for. So too, the student should know how to live a contented, peaceful, happy life; that is more important than a degree or a class in examination. The journey into the inner consciousness to calm the storms that rage there is more important than the journey to the Moon or Mars. The latter may be more spectacular, but, the former is the more beneficial. Life without goodness, good thoughts, good actions, good words, is like sky in the night, without the moon or stars. It is like a wheel without hub or spokes! No one can push a boulder away while standing on it; you cannot be free from anxiety, while all the entrances through which it sneaks in are open. Stop catering to the senses, and feeding the desires that haunt you.

Let the name of the Ananthapur Engineering College reverberate all over the country, as indicating an earnest desire to serve others, as suggestive of sweet talk, and sweeter hearts. I am always happy among students, especially when they are full of love and joy, high ideals and heroic determination. I had met the students of the Kaakinaada Engineering College, while this same Principal was working there. They did fine voluntary services for the meetings there, which attracted lakhs of people from all over the area. I am happy that this College too has the same tradition of intense study, combined with excellent social service.