The end of education is character

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

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam, 22 November 2010

Students, Embodiments of Love! 

All of you want Swami to say at least a few words. You feel, “How nice it would be if Swami would speak for a few minutes”! However, I don’t want to say anything about the present system of education.

This land of Bharat (India) has given birth to many noble women, like

Savitri, who brought her dead husband back to life;

Chandramati, who extinguished wild fire with the power of truth;

Sita, who proved her virtue by coming out of blazing fire unscathed, and

Damayanti, who reduced an evil-minded hunter to ashes with the power of her virtue.

(Telugu Poem)

At first, Chandramati was fear-stricken by the raging forest fire. She and her husband and son were surrounded by flames of wild fire. Nobody could say how they were all of a sudden surrounded by the raging flames. This, in fact, was a divine play. Ultimately, when Chandramati utilised her power of truth and virtue, the fire was extinguished in a trice.

As Chandramati prayed, there was a heavy downpour. On one side there was a raging fire and on the other side started a heavy rain, and ultimately the fire was completely extinguished.

Savitri was also endowed with great power of penance and virtue. She could even stop Yama (Lord of Death) from taking her husband’s life. She argued with Yama and told him, “The life of a wife depends upon her husband and that of the husband on his wife. One cannot live without the other. So, if you want to take my husband’s life, take my life also. Or else, spare his life. We are not separate from each other. It is my primary duty to safeguard my husband’s life.”

Ultimately, Lord Yama had to revive Savitri’s husband. Is there any country or region in this world where one can find a woman like Savitri, who could bring her dead husband back to life? Such divine power is latent in every human being. One should draw this power from within oneself, which can be utilised not only for oneself but also for others.

During those times, a wife considered her husband as her very life and vice-versa. But, unfortunately, the situation is not the same today. This sacred land of Bharat is surrounded by the seven seas. In this land, many women like Damayanti and Savitri performed intense penance. They are all women of great virtue. But, today, we do not find such women of great virtue.

A virtuous woman (pativrata) is one who considers her husband (pati) as her very life and depends entirely on him. A virtuous woman does not talk back to her husband. There will not be even a little defect in her. She does not have any selfish desires. All that she does is for the sake of her husband. She would not even look at any male other than her husband. Only such a woman can be called a true virtuous woman.

But modern ladies do not follow their husbands. They do not listen to what their husbands say. When the wife follows her husband and the husband follows the wife and both lead a life of harmony, the entire country will attain peace and prosperity. It is due to the differences between the husband and wife and disunity in the family that the country is subjected to one trouble after the other. Both husband and wife should understand each other and adjust to each other.

A virtuous woman (pativrata) who strictly obeys the command of her husband can do anything. If she prepares food for her husband with saline water of the ocean, it will be changed into sweet water. When the wife obeys the command of her husband and the husband fulfils the desires of his wife, the future of the family will be safe and secure. If they act contrary to this, the family will be subjected to great suffering.

Both husband and wife may conduct themselves in a decent manner when they are in their house. But as soon as they step out of the house, they indulge in all sorts of evils. If there is no unity and harmony between wife and husband, there is no use undertaking spiritual practices like chanting and meditation).

When the wife follows her husband and the husband follows his wife, there is great happiness in the family. Strive to achieve such unity and harmony in your family. Then, your entire life will become happy and peaceful without any worries whatsoever.

All your worries are of your own making. They are not given by God. God is not at a distant place. He is immanent in humanity. You should have unwavering faith in this truth. Then there will be happiness not only in the individual but also in society. A pure heart is the temple of God. Therefore, develop love in your heart. You will attain everything in life.

There will be peace and happiness in the family when both husband and wife share the same views. A virtuous woman (pativrata) is one who has no other thought of anybody or anything except that of her husband. A woman who leads her life with such unflinching faith in her husband can achieve everything in her life. When both follow different paths, there can be no peace and happiness in the family.

Do not allow your mind to waver this way and that way. Focus it totally on God. Contemplation of God is the basis to achieve unity and harmony in the family. When the wife prays to God, the husband will become a good person.

Virtuous women of yore, like Sita and Damayanti, had single-minded devotion toward their husbands. Sita was held captive in Lanka for ten months, but not even once did she look at the face of a male person. She spent all her time in the contemplation of Rama, sitting under a tree in Ashoka forest. She did not move out at all. Since she was such a great virtuous woman, she could prove her purity through the fire test (Agni Pariksha).

God is only one, not two. He is the indweller of your heart. If you constantly contemplate on Him, you will also become God. Whomsoever you come across, consider them as the embodiments of Divinity. That is the principle of Divinity.

On the other hand, if you follow the vagaries of your mind and move about arbitrarily here and there, how can you become God? When you go to your college, why should you look here and there and indulge in vain gossip? Focus your mind on the purpose for which you came. Do your work without developing unnecessary contacts. Look after your family. There is nothing wrong in this. Nobody tells you to give up performing your worldly duties. Live in the world and perform your duties. But always have divine feelings.

Many people go to places of pilgrimage like Badrinath, Amarnath, Kedarnath, Bhadrachalam, and Tirupati in search of God. They think that they can find God at such places.

Oh foolish one! God is not somewhere else. In fact, you yourself are God. God is present in all. God is only one, and He is present wherever you look for Him. He is in you, with you, above you, below you. God is beyond birth and death and dwells in every being in the form of Atma. He is present in all human beings right from a child to an old person. The same God is present in an ant, a mosquito, and all birds, beasts, and animals. Therefore, do not go in search of God here and there and trouble yourself.

Wherever you look, God is present there. Whomsoever you see, there is God in them. God has no different form. All forms are His. That is why the Veda declared, The Cosmic Being has thousands of heads, eyes and feet (Sahasra seersha purusha sahasraksha sahasra pad).

When you sit for meditation, your mind wanders here and there. D not allow the mind to waver; keep it always steady. When you go to a seashore, you will hear the waves making the sound of Om! When you concentrate on that sound, you will forget everything.

Since you are all young, I wish to emphasise this point: Do not develop opposition or differences among you. Controversies give rise to many troubles. These days, some people marry not once, not twice, not thrice, but even four times. This is not a good practice. Be single-minded. Even if somebody makes you angry, do not fight with them. Understand that by fighting with others, you actually harm yourself. Control your thoughts. This is the quality of a truly educated person. This is called educare.

Along with education, you should also have educare. When you have educare, you will have everything —health, happiness, peace, and prosperity. This is what I want you to understand.

Everything will become good to you if you make your heart pure. At least from today onward, take to the right path. If somebody tries to put you on the wrong path, do not pay any heed to them. Even if such a person comes to you and tries to start a conversation with you, do not even look at their face. Just ignore them and go away.

Students should live with unity in all matters. But today unity has disappeared altogether. On the other hand, enmity is on the rise. When one student in the class secures high marks, other students start feeling jealous. This should not be there. Because jealousy gives rise to hatred. There will be further divisions if politics enter the educational institutions. Therefore, all students should live with unity and solidarity.

You should achieve unity. There is no unity in the youth today. First and foremost, the youth should come forward to help each other. The end of education is character. If your character is good, then you can achieve anything in life. You may think you have won gold medals, acquired high degrees, and achieved name and fame, but if you lack character, these degrees are merely a piece of papers. It is most essential for you to safeguard your character. Only such a person is a truly learned one.

When Ravana was taking Sita away to Lanka, she dropped all her ornaments in a bundle, which fell on a mountain. Rama and Lakshmana, while going in search of Sita, were shown this bundle by Sugriva. Rama asked Lakshmana to see the ornaments and identify if they belonged to Sita. Then Lakshmana replied, “Brother! I never looked at Sita’s face, so I don’t know whether these ornaments belong to her. I can recognise only the anklets, since I have seen them while offering my obeisances to her feet everyday”.

Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana lived together in the forest for almost fourteen years. But not even once did Lakshmana look at the face of Sita. What a pure-hearted person Lakshmana was! Whenever he had to talk to Sita, he talked to her with his head bent down. Since he was such a noble person, he could enjoy the wealth of proximity of Rama.

When Lakshmana fell unconscious in the battlefield, Rama said, “If I search, I may get a wife like Sita but not a brother like Lakshmana. I can bear separation from Sita, but not from Lakshmana”. Such was the strong bond of love between Rama and Lakshmana.

Students also should develop such unity, considering all their brothers and sisters. All are human beings. All are the children of God. Therefore, live with unity without giving room to any differences. This is My message for you today.