The essence of education is humility

Editor’s note. This discourse does not appear in the Sathya Sai Speaks series. 

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
Auditorium of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam, 24 February 2005.

Simply by learning the alphabet and letters can one become literate? Can one become educated merely by acquiring degrees? Can one be called educated bereft of the discrimination between spirituality and knowledge? Birds and beasts also eke out a living without any such education.

Students and teachers, it is truly your good luck and fortune! If you reflect on the Vice Chancellors and the teachers you have had, you will realise that it is verily your good fortune. The first Vice Chancellor of this university was Sri Vinayak Gokak. The seeds sown by him have sprouted today and have acquired great reputation and esteem. Today, his son is taking charge of this university as its Vice Chancellor. Sri Vinayak Gokak was a great scholar. His son, too, is a great scholar and a great intellectual.

In the future, this Institute will attain great heights and become the leader for the whole country. Some ignorant people may have doubts as to how a university in a rural village can become a leader, but note that it is bound to become one!

You all think that this is a university that will excel only in academics. This is not merely an educational Institution. In the future ‚the concept of ‘educare’ will gain great repute and acceptance. This Institute will share the Atmic Principle (Atma Thatthwa) with all people.

Secular education is merely the gross or superficial manifestation. The undercurrent is educare. This will gain emphasis and will come to the forefront very soon! The initiative has already been taken in Delhi. Great scholars have associated themselves in this process. Not that it depends on the individuals, but their capacity also counts.

There must be no place for pride in education. Educated individuals must be humble with discrimination and wisdom. Why feel proud at being educated? Never be egoistic. That which helps to render service to society is true education.

It has become a human habit and behaviour to define things as good and bad. But remember, both good and bad are created by the Will of only One God. Therefore, knowledge cannot be differentiated as good and bad. Your knowledge is but a fraction of the infinite!

The essence of education is humility. Within each one there is the spirit. The Japanese, the Americans and the Britishers think that their achievements are due to individual qualifications. But all these accomplishments are truly due to the noble youth. What was Winston Churchill’s accomplishment? Being the chief of the Army, he encouraged everybody. This quality made him noble.

Lincoln grew under such poor and trying conditions. His mother consoled him saying that, though poverty may be cheap in the eyes of the public, it will bring him great respect in the future. She advised him “Tell the truth. Say, I am poor; I cannot afford to wear rich and good dresses. Do not feel shy.” Finally, he become the President of the United States of America.

Such great sacred mothers have brought forth great leaders in the world. In recent times, we are having more such sacred mothers and therefore many sacred Institutions are coming up.

Lincoln would pay his obeisance to his parents before leaving the house every day. You too must respect your parents and make them happy. That is why, since ancient times, it has been said, Revere your mother and father as God (Matru Devo bhava, pitru Devo bhava) and Speak the truth, pursue righteousness (Sathyam vada, dharmam chara).


Your parents are spending so much money for your education. They even fast in order to pay your fees. However, in our university, education is totally free. Get a good name like Abraham Lincoln. Emulate his example. That is true education. First respect your parents. Keep up the honour of your family.

Do not do all this merely to win praise. Humility is a must. Only those who behave with humility can be called students. They will reach great heights. Such students are needed today. We have a good lot of them. Swami is willing to give them more and more opportunities to manifest the noble qualities within them. You think that you have secured high ranks. Do not limit yourself to those ranks. Be true to yourself.

Many spend a lot of money and go abroad. There is nothing great in that. Stay here and be prestigious. I will never be happy if you humiliate your own country and acquire a good name abroad.

Students, I am so happy to see all of you. You too are deriving so much happiness looking at Bhagawan. I am ready to give up even My life to foster you all. Keep up your good conduct. That is very important.

Sri Vinayak Gokak was a great scholar. His son also rejected great and attractive offers and chose to work in the villages in India. He may look very simple from the outside, but you cannot comprehend his honour and dignity. Modern students wear all sorts of coats, but he wears simple clothes. He has sacred qualities, which are so dear to Swami. This university has been gifted with such people right from the beginning.

In this world, there are many educated people, but they sell their education for money. Spirituality is not a commodity for sale. Spiritual education is very necessary today.

Sri S.V. Giri also occupied a very high position, that of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, before coming here. He resigned and came straight to Swami. It is these sacrifices that brought him such good name and repute. Not by action, not by progeny, not by wealth, but by sacrifice alone can one attain immortality (Na karmana na prajaya dhanena tyage naike amrutatva manasuhu).

Today, Sri Anil Gokak also sacrificed everything and came to Swami. The other day, we had sent some members from the Central Trust to invite him to take up this position. Hearing them, he just forgot himself. He and his wife immediately consented to come here and accept the responsibility. Such men of sacrifice will surely win great repute.

Students, you too must be prepared to sacrifice. Sacrifice does not mean leaving everything. But you need to stay in society and earn a good name. Position may bring a good name today and it will disappear tomorrow. But a good name in the spiritual field will remain for eternity.

Students, your Love is most valuable to Me. I am unmindful of any other wealth. See that this Love does not diminish. Humility is the breath of God. It is education (vidya) that should be shared with everybody.

From tomorrow, Sri Anil Gokak will make all efforts to share the richness of his past experience with you all. Sri S.V. Giri will continue to stay here. Just because another Vice Chancellor has come, he will not leave Swami and go. Our former Vice Chancellors, Prof. Venkataraman and Sri S.V.Giri, have decided to settle down here and share their knowledge with all.

Above all, focus your attention on the indweller. The indweller is indeed Divinity itself. There is no doubt that the human body is required to discharge its regular duties, but do not give too much attention to the body, since this will lead to body attachment.

Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the bhajan, “Prema Mudita Manase Kaho Rama Rama Ram…”

Music attracts God. That is why the Music College was started here. It has to progress a lot in the future and reach great heights. Knowledge of music should help you share the feeling of Divinity through music with everyone.