Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
Sri Sathya Sai World Education Conference, Prasanthi Nilayam, 20 July 2008
Embodiments of Love!
I have nothing more to add to what has been told to you by Michael Goldstein and the All India President of Sri Sathya Seva Organisations, Srinivasan.
Education is not a subject on which anybody and everybody should talk. Today, education has become more outward and worldly. Millions and millions of people have pursued such worldly education in India. In what way is society benefited by such people? Everyone is concerned with their own selfish interest. No one cares for public interest and welfare. No one is bothered about how society is and in what condition it is, or what difficulties people are undergoing. When they speak in public, they are highly rhetorical about helping the poor, but when it comes to action, they are nowhere near.
Shun the feeling of I and mine and develop a broader outlook
You all know the state of the world today. Wherever you turn, you see sorrow and suffering. Peace and happiness are not to be found anywhere. Every country claims progress and achievement in different areas. These claims are hollow in nature, since peace and happiness cannot be found anywhere. If we enquire into the truth, every country is steeped in difficulties and is in some crisis or other. No government makes a sincere effort to understand the difficulties faced by poor people. It is very difficult to determine who is poor and who is rich.
All are ‘poor’ in one sense. Then who are the rich people? Those who put into practice what they say. It is said, “Manasyekam vachasyekam karmanyekam mahatmanam”. It means: Those whose thoughts, words, and deeds are in perfect accord are great souls. Such people are very rare. In fact, countries that are considered to be super powers are causing great harm to the poorer countries. They do not even regret their mistakes. They are unable to realise how the people of the underdeveloped and developing countries are suffering. For example, the people in Iraq underwent untold suffering, but none cared to bother about their suffering.
No doubt, in every country there are rich and poor people. Strangely, it is the rich people who are taken care of and provided with help. No one comes to the rescue of the poor people or provide succour to them. Hence, first and foremost, the poor and the downtrodden should be protected.
Every devotee must cultivate love and compassion. It is said, “It is only by sacrifice that one can attain immortality (Tyagenaike amrutathwamanasuh).” Only a person with the quality of sacrifice can experience bliss. Those with the egocentric feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ can never be happy in life. Where there is the feeling of ‘I’, there comes ego. Those who cultivate the feeling of ‘mine’ and ‘my people’ develop attachment. Never develop the feeling that only one’s country should prosper. Develop a broader outlook and pray, “May the whole world be happy (Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu)!
Those who develop the narrow-minded feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ undergo a lot of suffering. This is due to the secular education that they have acquired. Worldly education does not go beyond one’s own selfish interest. We should love all and serve all. Today, the rich have lost the qualities of fear of sin and love for God. If you cultivate only these two qualities, you can achieve anything in life.
We must bring down our selfish interest to a greater extent. One has to gradually give up selfishness. We have to make full use of our education and energies for the benefit of society. If there are no poor people, you cannot even be sure of your food, for it is they who toil in the fields and factories to produce the grains and goods for the consumption of people in society. While the rich enjoy the comforts of life, the poor sweat to keep their body and soul together.
Every individual in society has their own rights, the right to live, etc. Hence, we must take care of the poor people and provide them with certain basic necessities. For utilising their services, we must also serve them in return. Today, those who are highly educated and those who are holding positions of power are steeped in utter selfishness. It is only they who exhibit mean mentality.
Human beings are those who practise human values
Today, everyone wishes to fulfil one’s selfish interests at the cost of others. No one acts with a pure heart and good intention to help others. A human being is expected to have the qualities of truth (sathya), righteousness (dharma), peace (santhi), love (prema), and nonviolence (ahimsa). Devoid of these qualities, one is not a human being at all. How can a person with demonic qualities be called a human being? Hence, first and foremost one has to cultivate human qualities.
No one has a right to enjoy when his fellow human being is suffering. All are God’s children. To whomsoever you cause suffering, it will affect you. Hence, you have to conduct your life with devotion to God and love for all human beings. All should remain united. Where there is unity, there shall be purity. Where there is purity, there is Divinity. You all have to lead your lives keeping in view these three aspects of unity, purity, and Divinity. Do not remain unconcerned with others’ difficulties and suffering. Treat their suffering as your own.
The one God dwells in the hearts of all people. God is immanent even in ants and mosquitoes. There should be compassion in your heart, but this has become a rare quality these days. Instead, we find ‘come-fashion’ everywhere. How can then equality prevail in society? Show at least an iota of humanity. He who has such a human quality will become a person with compassionate heart in the real sense. Lust, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, etc. are animal qualities. The real wealth of a human being is noble qualities like love, compassion, righteousness, sacrifice, and truth. Only a person with these human qualities can be considered a human being. Unfortunately, today people are human only in form, but their qualities are those of animals. What is important is not the form but qualities.
You cannot be sure when difficulties will confront you. Every action (karma) has its reaction, resound, and reflection. If you hurt others, surely it will have its reaction. Only when you recognise this truth and conduct yourself accordingly can you be called a true human being. Talk to any student of our institutions, even primary school children will explain to you the human qualities very clearly. Human values have to be cultivated right from childhood. Boys and girls should grow in human values. Even elders can learn from such students.
Truth originates from one’s own heart
Now, about truth. From where did truth come? It did not sprout from the earth, nor has it descended from the sky. Its origin is not north, south, east, or west. Truth is firmly installed in your own heart. If you develop your inner vision, you can surely recognise truth there. Where there is truth, there is righteousness. When truth and righteousness go together, love emerges from the heart. From love comes peace. When peace and love go hand in hand, nonviolence reigns. We have to understand the inter-relationship between the five human values, namely, truth, righteousness, peace, love, and nonviolence. All these human values are embedded in our own inner being.
A human being is God, verily. That is why God is portrayed in human form. If God were to reveal His true identity, He would declare, “I am Brahman.” He would not say “I am so and so.” All the names of individuals are only those given to the human body by their parents. They are not God-given. God has given only one gift, that is Atma. That is, “The one divine Self permeates all beings (Mamatma sarvabhutantaratma).”
Observe the ants. They move in a line up and down. While doing so, they greet each other happily. If a cow has given birth to a calf, it does not join the flock leaving the young calf alone. The cow recognises the cry of the calf even from a distance. The calf cries “Amba! Amba! And the mother cow responds. Such is the relationship among animals and even in birds.
In the Ramayana story, a hunter saw two birds happily spending their time in each other’s company, perched on a tree. The hunter shot an arrow and killed the male bird. Unable to bear the separation from her beloved, the female bird also died soon thereafter. Sage Valmiki, who witnessed this pathetic scene, uttered a verse (sloka) even without knowing it. It came spontaneously from his mouth. That soka (grief) became the inspiration for the great epic Ramayana. Thus, the birds and animals also love each other.
How then can a human being lose such a noble quality of love? Today there are many things that a human being can learn from birds, animals, and even beasts, but the human being is least bothered to learn these lessons. I have been teaching many good things for decades, but you don’t listen. Even if you listen, you don’t put them into practice. If somebody abuses you, you feel sad. Don’t you know that that person also feels the same way when you abuse them? Praise or criticism, treat them all as part of the divine play (leela). When you develop such a sense of equanimity, you will come up in life.
Today, even rich people are crazy for money, but they do not show the same enthusiasm for God. People have lost self-confidence, totally. “Where is Atma? What is Atma?” People ask a hundred and one questions. They do not at all understand that the Atma they were questioning about is very much immanent in them.
People say, “This is my handkerchief.” This means that ‘I’ is separate and ‘handkerchief’ is separate. Similarly, when you say ‘my body,’ you are different from your body. What is this ‘my’? You say ‘this is mine,’ but who are you? You do not know the truth about yourself. When you know yourself, it amounts to knowing everything. If you do not know yourself, you cannot know others. Hence, sit calmly and peacefully in some corner and try to enquire into the nature of your own self. That is real meditation. Meditation does not imply contemplating on God.
Know about yourself, in the first instance. God is in you, with you, around you, above you, and below you. YOU ARE GOD. Whenever someone asks, “Who are you?” say “I am God.” Don’t say, “I am so and so.” How happy you will feel when you consider yourself as God! Even those who listen to your reply will feel happy.
Develop inner vision
Education does not mean simply imparting knowledge. We learn many things from textbooks, but we may not be able to understand their real meaning. First and foremost, enquire into yourself, “Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?” Then you will get the real answer. Are you the mind? Intellect? Subconscious mind? Ego? Body? You are none of these. No doubt the body, mind, intellect, etc. are all gifts of God. You have, of course, to respect them and value them, but it is not enough to read various texts and feel happy and contented that you have gained vast knowledge.
Yesterday, one boy came to me and informed, “Swami, I finished reading Sri Shirdi Sai Satcharitra.” When I asked whether he had read the book fully, he replied that he had completely read the book without missing a single letter. Then I asked, “How many teachings of Baba contained in that book are you practising?” He replied, “None, Swami,” Then, what for is this reading? For turning pages? Not at all. There should be a transformation in your heart. Then only will your reading of sacred texts be sanctified.
Devotees undertake several kinds of spiritual disciplines, but they are not spiritual disciplines in the real sense. If you wish to see ‘reality’, you have to develop an inner vision. If you open your eyes and see the outside world, you will see a number of heads. On the other hand, close your eyes and look into yourself. Then you will see none but yourself. Hence, develop an inner vision. Enquire into yourself, “Who am I?” Immediately the reply comes from within: “I am I.” That is the correct answer. People say “I am so and so; I am an American,” etc. These are not the real answers to the question “Who am I?” These are all outward names for identification in the external world. They are not important. What is important is self-enquiry. Then you will realise the Truth.
Goldstein and Srinivasan who spoke earlier eulogised education. What they said related to worldly education. I do not agree. It should relate to you. Then only can the concept of ‘I am I” be realised. Tomorrow, I will provide answers to some of your questions that bother you in your daily life. I am sure very soon you will realise Divinity.
I do not wish to speak about modern education. That everybody will do. Reading books and gaining worldly knowledge is not great. This is only bookish knowledge. You must gain knowledge of your own self (inner being). That is real knowledge. That is changeless and eternal.
Truth is only one, not two. Truth is God. Righteousness is God. Peace is God. Love is God. Know this. “Love is God; live in love”. If you cultivate such selfless and divine love, you can achieve everything in life. “God is one; goal is one.” Develop firm faith in this maxim, and you can understand everything.
Your experiences and enjoyment in this material world are not important. They are not true. Behind these momentary experiences, there are some eternal values to be cultivated, some human qualities to be developed. These values and qualities have to manifest from within, not from the outside world. That is Educare. Educare means bringing out the latent qualities and values from the core of our inner being. The books you read in the outside world relate to education, but this is ‘Educare’. What is needed today is ‘Educare’. If people develop ‘Educare’, all will be united.
Take it from Me: in about 25 to 30 years’ time, the entire world will become one. There will be only one caste, one religion, and one God. What is needed is such unity. Today, there are several differences between individuals on the basis of caste, creed, religion, language, nation, etc. Such differences should disappear and unity should prevail. The Veda has emphasised this unity in the declaration “Truth is one, the wise say it in different ways (Ekam sath viprah bahudha vadanti).” That is the real world we are visualising.
Today, I spoke at length, taking a lot of time. Tomorrow I will clarify all your doubts leisurely.