Oneness with God is true education

Listen to the discourse

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam, 22 November 2007

From the time one gets up from the bed till he goes to bed again, why should one waste all his time in earning money?

Embodiments of Love!

It is not good to waste one’s time and energy in vain pursuits without attending to one’s ordained duties. Time is sacred and valuable. “ Time waste is life waste”. You are all students who have to lead others in future.

Every individual has some desires. But, students especially have to control their desires. This is their duty. No doubt desires crop up in your mind endlessly one after the other. But, it is the foremost duty of a student to control those desires. The word ‘vidya’ (education) has its root in the word ‘vid’, meaning light. It means that education shows us light. Education illumines our path to progress.

Understand the higher purpose of education

Dear Students!

You must stand as an ideal to everyone. It is only with this hope that we are bringing you up with great love. You all know that the educational institutions in the outside world charge money for everything. But, we are not collecting any money from our students towards fees. Education in the Sathya Sai institutions is totally free from K.G. to P.G. In fact, Education, Medical and Water Supply projects undertaken by the Sathya Sai Organisation are not revenue earning departments. On the other hand, we ourselves are incurring huge expenditure on students’ education. Also, we are helping a number of destitute children in so many ways by providing them material support, free education, financial help, etc. You must realise this truth. Education is your property. Education is not merely to help make a living in the world. It is not merely for making a decent living in the material world. Even the uneducated are able to live well in the material world. Then, of what use are your degrees like M.Sc., M.A., M.B.A., etc., This is not the purpose of education. Education may help one to earn a decent living in the outside world to a certain extent. But, that is not the be-all and end-all of life. There is a higher purpose to education — providing an inner life based the five human values, namely, Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-violence. These human values provide a secure, real and meaningful life to us. Sathya (truth) is the basis for everything in the Universe.

The creation emerges from truth and merges into truth,
Is there a place in the cosmos where truth does not exist?
Visualise this pure and unsullied truth.
(Telugu poem)

God is the creator of all living beings right from a tiny ant to a mighty elephant. Nothing in this universe will move without His Divine Will. Even tiny ants that you see are born out of God’s will. The same truth has been explained in Saint Tyagaraja’s famous Kirtan “Cheemalo Brahmalo Siva Kesavaadulalo Prema Meera Velasi Unde Birudhu Vahinchina Rama Nannu Brovara” (Oh Rama, in Your pure and unsullied form of love, You indwell in all beings from an ant to Brahma as also in Siva and Kesava. Please be my protector too). No doubt we are aware of it, but once an ant bites us, we immediately kill it. On the other hand, when Lord Brahma appears before us we offer our pranams to Him with folded hands. Though the names and forms are different, the same atma permeates all living beings. One who develops faith in this Truth will not hasten to cause any harm to any living being.

Every individual develops desires to satisfy himself. He always chants ‘self, self, self’. Every individual repeats ‘this is my body; this is my mind; this is my head’, etc. who is ‘my’? When you say ‘this is my body’, perhaps it may be true for today or tomorrow. But, where is your body day after tomorrow? What happens to it then? You are nourishing this body with great love and care. But, this body is not yours. It is a gift of God. In fact, everything in this universe is God’s gift. For instance, this is a handkerchief. From where did it come? Has it fallen from the sky? No. It has come from cotton. From cotton came the thread and the thread is woven into a cloth. Hence, there can be no thread without cotton and no cloth without thread. Thus, everything in this universe has a basis and a source. Unfortunately today we are forgetting this fundamental principle. That is the reason why we are experiencing several difficulties.

When you hear the word ‘God’ repeatedly, you are tempted to enquire ‘where is God?’ God is with you, in you, around you, behind you. In fact, “you are God!” Develop that firm faith. The same God as atma thatwa permeates all the millions of human beings in this world, nay, every living being in the world. We are witnessing millions of living beings with different names and different forms in this Universe. Though the names and forms are different, the atma tatwa in them is only one. Ekam sath viprah bahudha vadanthi (truth is one, the wise say it in different ways). Gold is one, the jewels are many. When the different ornaments are melted, what remains ultimately is gold only! Hence, Oh embodiments of Love! You try to realise the source and sustenance for all objects in this universe. You consider you are different from your father and mother. Again, you treat your mother as different from your father. No, this is not correct. Both father and mother are one. You are part of them. Hence, the question of difference does not arise. A man with dual mind is half blind.You should not have a dual mind. All the education you pursue is not for you only. It is for helping your fellow human beings, fellow living beings like birds, animals and insects. Then only the education you have acquired becomes meaningful.

Whenever you come across a person whom you consider as your enemy, say “hello”. You must love everyone. Never hate anybody. You might have noticed that no one hates Swami and all people love Him. You may ask Me whether there are people who really do not deserve Swami’s love. I wish to emphasise that all people deserve Swami’s love. I love everyone. I do not hate anybody. I do not cause trouble to anyone. I do not offend anyone. Since the feeling of ekatma bhava (one atma permeating all living beings) is so strong in Me, so many people love Me. The whole world loves Me and I love all. My word, My song and My divine leelas are all dedicated to your welfare. You must therefore try to understand My real nature. You develop faith in the atma tatwa. From faith comes love. When faith and love go together thus, your desires will be fulfilled. Both faith and love are most important for a human being. All others are like passing clouds which just come and go in between. You should not attach much importance to them. In fact, faith is the reflection of love. And love is the very form of God. Hence, Love is God, Live in Love. Truth is truth for all times — past, present and future. It will never change. That is why it is said “Truth is God”. We should not think that God is present somewhere in a distant place. God is not separate from us. The entire universe is an embodiment of Divinity. You should therefore constantly contemplate on that Divinity who is none other than Unity.

Recognise the one God immanent in all

Dear Students!

You read several books. However, all those books have been written with the help of only 26 letters. There are a number of lawyers. They carry books which are very bulky in size. But, all those books contain only letters ultimately. Health, wealth, happiness and bliss — the source and sustenance for all these things is only God. Good or bad, everything is God. You cannot find bad anywhere separately. Wherever you see, it is only good. But, you are not able to realise that good. You are confused. The bad, if any, is only a manifestation due to the difference of time. Today we partake a variety of tasty dishes. But, the next day they are transformed into excreta. Today’s phala (fruit) is transformed into mala (excreta) tomorrow. Divinity is present in all things — both good and bad. There is no place or object in this world where God is not present. No one can say with any authority that God is “nowhere or only here”. Several names and forms are ascribed to that Divinity and a lot of confusion is created thereby. The reason for this confusion is based on how one relates himself to God at the individual level. We should therefore try to set aside this individual relationship at least to a certain extent. It is only for this purpose that we are pursuing many types of education. The moment the individual relationship merges into a feeling of oneness with God, what remains is only Divinity everywhere.

Religions are many but goal is one.
Clothes are many but yarn is one.
Beings are many but breath is one.
(Telugu poem)

There are several jeevas (individuals) sitting here. They have different bodies, but there is only one God immanent in all the bodies. Hence, whomever you see consider him or her as God. Whomever you love, consider them as embodiments of Divinity. You are all encountering several difficulties due to deha bhranthi (identification of the self with the body) and differences in feelings. You alone are the root cause for these difficulties. Both good and bad are the products of your mind. You may learn many subjects and acquire several degrees; but consider the atma tatwa as one and only one. The same Truth has been explained in the aphorisms Ekameva adwitheeyam Brahma (God is one without a second) and Ekam sath viprah bahudha vadanthi (truth is one; the wise say it in different ways). You must preserve this truth in your heart safely and securely. You consider someone as your enemy. No, no; this is not true. It is only a change in your attitude and love towards him that made him your enemy. There is no change in him at all. Everything in this world is reaction, reflection and resound. However, reality is only one. If you develop such an attitude, you can experience any amount of happiness. You think “Swami is always cheerful and smiling. How is it possible?” Yes. I am always smiling. The reason being I treat all people as one. The happiness of all of you is My food. Hence, you also develop that attitude. The other day, the children put up a playlet. I felt very happy on witnessing that playlet. The children put up the show unitedly. We use the words ‘I’ and ‘We’. From where did the word ‘we’ come? It has come from ‘I’. Without ‘I’, there can be no ‘we’. Thus, ‘I’ is the one and only one entity. It is like a vertical wooden pillar. When another piece of wood is nailed across in the middle horizontally, it becomes a cross. It means that when ‘I’ (ego) is broken, it becomes a cross. We must always endeavour to keep ‘I’ as only one. You consider all people as your brothers and sisters. These brothers and sisters are not separate entities. All are one. If you thus make an enquiry, everything in this universe represents only the principle of oneness. If you establish this truth firmly in your heart, the same feeling will reflect everywhere. Suppose you love a girl. Who is that girl anyway? Yourself only. It means you loved yourself! The girl is not separate from you. When you treat her as separate, you refer to her as ‘wife’. On the other hand, when you treat her as one with you, you become one. You realise this unity. What could be the reason for such great diversity in the living beings in the world? They are a manifestation of the divine principle Ekoham bahusyam (the one Divinity manifested as many).

Embodiments of Love! Dear students!

You must all become ideal men and women. It is only when you lead an ideal life, the whole society will become ideal. Do not entertain any differences of those people and these people. All are one; be alike to everyone. This you must remember always. Then only can you become ideal students. Otherwise, you remain merely as educated people. Who is an educated person in the real sense? One who has realised that all are one. Education implies only learning. On the other hand, Vidya is one that symbolises oneness. Vidya spreads the light of oneness with God. If you lose this enlightenment, you have to live in darkness.

Embodiments of Love! 

Let your love be diverted towards God and it will confer bliss upon you. If you direct it towards worldly objects and persons, it is likely to change every now and then. Whomsoever you come across, develop the feeling that they are all your brothers and sisters. Once a gentleman was addressing a meeting. He started his speech with the address “Dear brothers and sisters”. But, he made an exception in the case of only one lady. Someone enquired why? He replied that the lady was his wife. Strictly speaking, no exception need be made since he addressed all people as brothers and sisters. But, once he married her, she became his wife. If there is no marital relationship between them, all are one. I exhort you once again to lead your lives with a feeling of oneness and a sense of sharing.

Arjuna among the Pandava brothers won Droupadi in the swayamvara. When Pandavas returned along with Droupadi and told their mother that they brought home a fruit, instantaneously mother Kunthi advised them to share it equally among the five of them without being aware of the fact that they were referring to Droupadi. Accordingly, she became the chaste wife of the five Pandavas. Even Lord Krishna testified to her chastity thus:

Droupadi dutifully obeyed the command of her husbands. She would never say to any one of them that she had no time to serve him. She was satisfied with whatever she got in life. She was the supreme example of chastity and none could match her in this respect. (Telugu poem)

The Pandavas shared and cared for each other and led a life of discipline and control.

Students only can transform the society

I am quite well. No one need worry about My health; not only My body, everything is all right. My mind does not waver. I have a steady and ever alert mind. The body may undergo some changes; but I am always My own Divine Self. People enquire, “Swami, You are always smiling! Did you not ever encounter sorrow?” No. Not at all Sorrow is nowhere near Me. Whatever has to happen will happen. If you go on worrying about it, will it be warded off? That will lead to much more worry. Hence, one should not give scope for worry at all. Once your mind starts worrying, it will never end. You worry, “Examinations are nearing; Oh God! How do I prepare myself” What is all this worry about? Why do you fear to write answers for those questions which you already know? Surely you will fare well in the examinations. Do not develop any fear of examinations.

No one can measure the distance of the sky from the earth. That is the reason why it is said that the sky is blue. Similarly, none can describe the form of Divinity. In order to portray God, artists started using the colour of blue. In fact, God has no colour at all. If God were to be born with a blue colour, He would have been put in an exhibition as an object of wonder. Divinity cannot be changed. You may change; but your Atma will never undergo any change. It is Nirgunam, Niranjanam, Sanathanam, Nikethanam, Nithya, Suddha, Buddha, Mukta, Nirmala Swarupinam (God is attributeless, unsullied, final abode, eternal, pure, enlightened, free and embodiment of sacredness). That is why it is said Buddhi grahya matheendriyam (the atma is beyond the ken of the senses and can be understood only by the intellect).

You earn a name for yourselves as good boys. Bring honour to your parents. Also, let the society be proud of you. If the society is to be transformed into a good society, it can happen only through the students. Today wherever our students be, the people say they are very good. I am getting the news. You try to live up to that name. I don’t aspire for anything else. I will give you whatever you want. In fact, I have given Myself to you. May you all be happy! Do not quarrel with anybody. Do not abuse anyone. May you all live like brothers and sisters! That is the fruit of education. That is real education. In spite of his education and intelligence, a mean-minded person will not give up his evil qualities.

You must always conduct yourselves as good boys. First and foremost, make your parents happy. If you cannot make your parents who brought you up happy, how can you make Me happy? Hence, you all go to your homes and live happily with your parents. Then, I will also be happy. When people praise you that so and so is a student of Sri Sathya Sai University, it is a matter of pride to you as well as to the Institution.

The University Grants Commission in New Delhi did not recognise several educational institutions in the country for a long time, whereas the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was conferred the status of a Deemed University within the second year of its inception. Dr. Madhuri Shah was the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission then. She visited Puttaparthi then and put forward a proposal to make our Institute into a Deemed University. Several objections were raised to her proposal on the ground that it was still a nascent Institute in its second year and it would not be proper to confer the status of a University on it in such a short time. Dr. Bhagavantham was with us at that time translating My speech. He confidently said “this is impossible; impossible”. I told him very emphatically that it was possible. The U.G.C. committee visited our Institution thereafter in the second year itself and unanimously recommended to confer the status of a Deemed University on Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. As per the committee’s own admission, “This is the first college” to be conferred a Deemed University status within the second year of its starting. Later, Dr. Madhuri Shah came here to formally inaugurate the Deemed University. She openly said in a meeting “Dr. Bhagavantham, you said it is impossible to make it into a University in such a short time. How has it been possible now?” The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, a Deemed University, has since been made into a full-fledged University with the combined efforts of all people.

All our students are men of noble character. They are well behaved and well educated. You may not perhaps know how famous is our Sri Sathya Sai University all over the world, especially in the United States of America. There are about 180 past students now working in America in different fields. Recently, they all came here in a group. They prayed to Swami, “Swami, we do not wish to go to our homes here. We will go back direct to America from here, after this visit.” Such was their love and dedication to Swami and Sri Sathya Sai University.