|Date: 22 Nov 2002||Occasion: Convocation||Place: Prasanthi Nilayam|
Those who could teach the essence of Vedanta to even the ancient rishis
Those who could make the inert stones dance by their sculptural skills
Those who could make the heads of the enemies roll like rubber balls with their sharp swords
Those who could rule the entire world with their sovereign authority
Are there in the land of Bharat.
Of what use it is?
Not one of them is prepared to listen to the heart-rending cries of the common people.
What is meant by 'education?' What kind of education we must pursue?
What should be the educational standards? What type of education
contributes to the human development? What benefits do we derive from
the present system of education?
A real student is one who contemplates on these five issues and understands them thoroughly. Vijnana (higher knowledge) and prajnana (supreme wisdom) are not merely products of education. Man can acquire these sacred powers only by culture and refinement gained through education. What is culture? Culture is the conscious effort put in by a man to achieve a transformation in his daily life from untruth to truth; from non-conformance to conformance to scriptural authority and from evanescence to eternity. It is a spiritual journey toward divinity. Where is such divinity? It is in every human being as the embodiment of truth. What you have to protect today is not your country; but sathya (truth) and dharma (righteousness); they, in turn, will protect the country. Only then, the whole world will enjoy peace and prosperity. The entire universe is based upon sathya and dharma.
The creation emerges from truth and merges into truth,
Is there a place where truth does not exist?
Visualise such pure and unsullied truth.
The life of every human being is based upon truth. Truth and right conduct alone are protecting the universe. But, unfortunately, man is unable to recognise this fact and is leading a miserable life.
Embodiments of Love!
Education is not an exercise. Neither is it meant to make a living. It
is for the purpose of achieving the goal of life.
Dear Students! You are born, brought up and living in this country of Bharat (India). But, you are unable to recognise the underlying philosophy for which this sacred country stands for. The land of Bharat is a karma bhumi (field of activity) in which you perform the sacred duty enjoined upon you. It is a land of virtue where you accumulate punya (merit) by the diligent performance of your kartavya (duty). What is the intimate relationship between this sacred land and God? This is hand; this is leg; this is head; this is stomach --all these are parts of the body. There is humanness in the body. That humanness is a part of society. That society is a part of nature. The nature, in turn, is associated with the Paramatma (Supreme Being). Thus, prakriti (nature) is an anga (part) of the Paramatma. Only when man recognises the nature of these parts and sub-parts (anganga) and conducts himself accordingly will he be able to understand Divinity.
Embodiments of Love!
If you seriously contemplate, you will understand that Divinity keeps
humanity going. Without Divinity, man cannot live for even a moment. Man
thinks, out of his ego, that he can live by himself. But, this is not
true. Merely by spending some time, life is not fulfilled.
When you enquire into the matter whether duty or right comes first, several people insist upon right getting priority. Where did the right come from? When you perform your duty, its fruit in the shape of right accrues to you. How can a child exist without the mother? Therefore, right is not the first priority. In fact, man has no right at all. When he performs his duty, the result of that action comes as right. When you enquire into the fact, whether rain comes first or the flow of water, it becomes clear that flow of rain water follows rain. Without rain, there cannot be a flow. Here, flow can be compared to the right and rain to the duty.
You are putting a lot of effort in your study to acquire high academic qualifications. In spite of all this effort, you are not having peace of mind. It is said, "Secular education is for happiness in the mundane world and spiritual education is for happiness in the other world. " In order to acquire spiritual education, one must spend some time in enquiry. Spiritual knowledge cannot be acquired with secular education. It is said, Adyatma vidya vidyanam (among various branches of knowledge, spiritual knowledge is the best) and "Saa vidya yaa vimuktaye " (true education is that which liberates mankind). Therefore, students must first begin to enquire "Who am I "? They must also realise the fact that right carries responsibility also with it. Your parents have a right. When you protect their rights, they in turn will discharge their responsibility toward you. In Indian culture, first place has been given to the mother and father by proclaiming Matrudevo bhava (revere your mother as God) and Pitrudevo bhava (revere your father as God).
Today, scientific knowledge is considered to be great. How did science
acquire this greatness? Science deals with the physical aspect of the
universe. It strives to explore the secrets of the universe, and not
beyond. But, there is a knowledge beyond this that forms the basis for
its creation, existence, and dissolution. That is spirituality. Without
that spiritual basis, science has no effect. Churchill, the late Prime
Minister of England once said, "Man has conquered all, but he has not
conquered himself. " Man today is making efforts to explore everything in
the world, but he is unable to realise his own nature. What is the use
of such knowledge? Therefore, man must begin enquiry into himself as to
who he is, what is his nature, what latent powers he has, etc.
In the olden days when the convocations were being held, the teachers used to teach the students such noble principles as mathrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevo bhava, atithidevo bhava (revere your mother, father, preceptor, and guest as God). First, it is mother, who gave you birth. Then, she shows you the father. The father takes you to the guru and finally the guru leads you to God. Unfortunately, today, there are very few gurus who lead you to God. That is a different matter. First and foremost, the mother who is responsible for your very birth in this world, is forgotten today. Similarly, the motherland where you are born is also neglected.
Today, you take degrees from this Institute of Higher Learning and set your foot in the wide world. There are about two hundred universities in India. Several thousand colleges are functioning under those universities. Every year, these universities award degrees to several thousand students and send them into the wide world. But what are these students doing in the outside world? How do these highly educated people make their living? Students are taught education in these universities to make a living. It is not possible for all these degree holders to get jobs. Therefore, these educated people migrate to foreign countries. Having gone there, not all these people are able to make a decent living. Therefore, they undertake some menial jobs to supplement their income. The question is, why don't they do the same service in their own country, Bharat (India). Today, the educated people are not serving their motherland. They don't serve their country but are prepared to undertake any type of job in a foreign country. No, no. This is not proper. This is not the purpose for which you acquired education. You should serve your own country with all your energy. Your entire life must be devoted to serve the country in which you are born and brought up. Being educated, you must face the battle of life with courage and valour and ultimately emerge victorious.
Today's students are not prepared to do hard work with patience and perseverance. Work is important. To pursue education and obtain degrees is not important. It is more than fifty years since India attained independence. Several thousands and lakhs of students have acquired higher qualification, during these fifty years and odd. But what are they doing? They are not undertaking service to society. They do not live up to the glory of this country. First and foremost, one must realise the sacredness of this great country, i.e. Bharat. How can one who cannot protect his own home protect another's?
Give up the idea of going to foreign countries for higher education or job. Even if you are not able to get any employment in your country, remain here and serve the country. Serve society. Bring honour and glory to your motherland, Bharat. Attain the glory that "this student is a hero in action and sadhana (spiritual discipline). "
You all know about Abdul
Kalam, President of India and the chief guest of today's function. I
may tell you that he has not gone to a foreign country in search of a
job or money. He is a great scientist. All the scientific knowledge he
has acquired, was from the Indian Universities only. What is there in
other countries that is not already here? It is said, Yanna
Bharate, thanna Bharata (that which is not here in Bharat is not
there in other countries). All the power and the glory is in India only.
What can you do in a foreign land that is dry, leaving such a great
country like India, which is basking in glory, honour, and prestige in
You are making use of all your education and energies for the
development of a foreign country. Why don't you, instead make use of
them for the development of your own country? Why don't you serve the
people of your own country? You will attain glory only when you make use
of your education for protecting your motherland?
You must, in the first instance, work hard. You must become heroes in action. It does not behoove of you to spend your time in idle talk without involving yourself in some solid work for the benefit of the nation. Bend your body and work hard to attain glory. A seed that is sown in the soil loses its shape to ultimately become a gigantic tree. That tree yields sweet fruits. On the same analogy, only when you destroy your ego and loose your identity does real fruit of your actions comes out. Therefore, remove your dehabhimana (attachment to your body) and develop deshabhimana (attachment to the country). Today, you will not find deshabhimana anywhere. Several students, today, are not aware of the national anthem and how to sing it. But, surprisingly, they are fully aware of the cinema songs in great number. Why don't you learn to sing the national anthem and try to understand the glory and characteristics of Bharat embedded in that song?
You must protect the honour of this great country. You must develop
self-respect. One who has lost self-respect, cannot attain glory.
Self-respect comes only out of spiritual sadhana (spiritual discipline). Today, students wish
to achieve wealth, physical strength, and friends' circle. What about
character? Of what use is it to have the above three, without character?
Whenever they come across somebody, they wish him "hello " and try to make friendship. This is only a "hello, hello " friendship, but inside, everything is hollow. Therefore, you must give first preference to character. When you respect others, others will respect you. You complain that others are not respecting you. But did you enquire into yourself whether you are respecting others? You serve others; others will then serve you. What you expect from others, you extend it to others first. Only then there will be reaction, reflection, and resound. You respect your neighbours and enquire into their welfare. You may have wealth; you may be great; you may be leading a comfortable life. But, all these things will not be of any value if you do not have character.
You must cultivate the human values of sathya (truth), dharma (right conduct), santhi (peace), prema (love), and ahimsa (nonviolence). How can you call yourself a human being, without cultivating human values? It is only because of the human values that you are considered to be a human being. You do not have the human quality of respecting others; then how can you expect others to respect you? The human values are divine qualities. Anything can be achieved with these qualities.
Embodiments of Love!
The quality of "Love" permeates every living being. Truth is verily the embodiment of Divinity. It is in you, with you, around you, everywhere, protecting you always. You need not search for God in some distant place. Truth is the very embodiment of God. Do not ever move away from truth, even in times of danger to your life. Hold on to truth steadfastly at all times.
One may be a big person and another a beggar. But, the truth that is underlying in both these persons is the same. If you realise that truth, all will become one. That type of unity must be achieved. When you realise the principle of unity in all human beings, you can realise true divinity. You observe the principle of unity in diversity expressing itself in the universe. For example, there are several types of bulbs here in this Sai Kulwant Hall. But the electric current flowing in all these bulbs is the same. Indian culture has proclaimed one ideal "Sarvam khalvidam Brahma (verily all this is Brahman). " That is the Truth. When you realise that truth, all comforts and happiness will accrue to you. You need not have to struggle for them. Learn to speak good words. Never hurt anybody with harsh words. Speak softly and sweetly to make all people happy.
Embodiments of Love!
Good words bring good actions. You cannot always oblige; you can always
speak obligingly. When you thus speak obligingly, how much your status
grows! The society will respect you.
I have often quoted the example of
Abhraham Lincoln, the late President of America. In his childhood days,
Lincoln did not have enough money to prosecute his studies. He was so
poor that he used to sit under the streetlight in the bazaar and read.
He used to borrow books from his classmates and read them during the night
time and return them the next morning.
One day, his friends made fun of
him saying how could this beggar pursue his education. Lincoln felt very
sad and humiliated. He came home, crying. His mother tried to comfort
him with soothing words. She enquired, "My dear son! Why are you crying?
What is the reason? "
He replied, "Mother! I don't have any money even to
drink a cup of tea. I realise the situation in our house. I am aware
that you and father cannot afford spending money on my education. "
Lincoln struggled hard in his childhood days and studied well, with
self-confidence and self-respect, with the moral support extended by his
mother. He did not hesitate to supplement the family income by doing
some painting work and boot polishing. Nevertheless, throughout his
educational career, he sustained his self-respect. By doing so, he
earned a good name in society. In the meanwhile, he could secure a small
job. With the meagre income from that job, he used to support his father
and mother. The good name he earned in society commanded their
respect and love for him. In due course, elections came. His
well-wishers and supporters advised him to contest in the elections.
They assured him of their support and votes. On their advice, he
contested in the elections and got himself elected to the position of
the President of America. How could a poor carpenter's son with no money
even to pursue primary education, become the President of the United
States of America? It is only because of the self-respect and
self-confidence that he assiduously cultivated right from his childhood.
Therefore, Dear Students! Do not ever give up self-respect, wherever you are and whichever circumstances you are placed in. Always assure yourself, "I am man, I am not animal. " Man today is playing with the fire of sensual pleasures. But, how long you can continue like this? There is absolutely no purpose in indulging in this game. All your wealth and pleasures will disappear in a trice. It is only self-respect that continues to be your companion throughout your life. Therefore, cultivate self-respect, which is a divine quality. Only then can you achieve the highest honour of the country.
This evening, our students will present a drama. It is really a
presentation based upon the story of the life of Abraham Lincoln. In
this drama, a student wished to study medicine. He wanted to become a
doctor. He worked hard, studied under streetlights even, and got
admission into a reputed medical college. He had to pay 5 lakh rupees as
fees, which he could not afford. Because he was feeling depressed and
dejected, his father consoled him saying, "My dear son! Do not worry.
God is there to fulfil your wish. He protects all people at all times. "
These words of wisdom made an indelible mark on his heart.
Next day he
sat in the college garden and started writing a letter to God, explaining
his desire and his inability to fulfil his desire. "Oh God! People say
you are omnipresent; my father also told me the same thing. I have full
faith in the words of my father. If You are really omnipresent, why
don't You manifest before me and fulfil my desire? " Thus, while he was
writing this letter, the bell rang and he hurriedly got up to leave for
his classroom. In the process, the letter slipped from his books. He did
not notice it. A rich person who came to the garden after some time
noticed the letter. He picked it up and read it. He was very much moved
by the determination of the boy to pursue medical education and his
inability to do so due to financial constraint. Therefore, he went
straight to the principal of the medical college, showed him the letter
written by the boy addressed to God and paid the entire fees for all the
five years in one lump sum. He requested the Principal not to reveal his
identity to the boy till he completed his studies.
The Principal called
the boy and told him, "My dear son! Don't worry about paying fees.
Somebody has already paid your fees. You have absolute faith in God. You
are sure to complete the course and come out in flying colours with
God's grace. "
When he completed his medical education and became a
doctor, his friends congratulated him, saying, "You will become a great
doctor and earn a lot of money. " But the boy said, "I am not interested
in earning money. The purpose of my pursuing medical education is for
serving the people. My life is dedicated to the service of society. Just
as I studied this course paying no fees, similarly I wish to serve the
people without taking any fees from them. "
Do you find such boys nowadays? Very rarely. You cannot admit your child in any school without paying fees. Even advance reservation is made in a school, for a newly born child. You book a seat by paying Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000/-. But, faith can work wonders. For a person who has self-confidence and absolute faith in God, anything is possible. Faith is the key. Without faith, how can one live in this world?
People have lost their eyes of faith.
They have become blind in this world.
There is no use of opening your charma chakshu (physical eyes). Open your jnana chakshu (inner eye). Only then, you will achieve the desired result.
Embodiments of Love!
You studied in Swami's institution for a long time. Did you ever spend
any money for your education here? Tell me honestly. I am always worried
whether you had to spend money on any occasion during your stay in this
Institution. I am revealing a small incident that has happened sometime
back. Normally, I will not reveal such things. Usually, during
examination time, students study the whole night, keeping the lights on.
One day, the warden advised the students to limit the period of their
study during the night, since the charges for electricity are gradually on
the increase. The students did not pay heed to the advice and continued
to study for long hours in the night. Consequently, the electricity bill
came to a huge amount. Meanwhile, exactly two months before the
examinations, the Electricity Department disconnected power supply to
the hostel due to non-payment of the bill. They cannot be blamed, for,
it is their duty. There were no lights in the hostel rooms. Students
were feeling a lot of inconvenience.
The warden came to Me and explained
their plight. I asked him, Why he didn't bring it to my notice
earlier. The warden replied, "Swami! You are spending so much amount on
the education of the students. You are taking so much responsibility.
How can I add some more burden? With that intention, I did not bring it
to your notice. "
I asked him the amount of the bill. He replied that it came to Rs. 70,000/-. Thereupon I advised him, "Go immediately and pay the entire amount. Ask the Electric Department people to restore the power supply immediately. Do not reveal to the students anything of what transpired between you and Me. " Thus, I take so much trouble to look to the convenience and welfare of the students.
Today, I have given a cheque for sixty lakh rupees to Paramahamsa, to be deposited in the names of the sixty children adopted under the scheme of "Sri Sathya Sai Deenajanoddharana Pathakam ". Some time ago, I happened to read a report about a mother who committed suicide after giving poison to her three children. She resorted to such a gruesome act because there was nobody to look after them after her husband's death. I felt very sorry reading this news. Our country, Bharat, has earned the appellation Annapurna (Goddess of food). In such a sacred land, how can we remain a mute witness to people dying of hunger and poverty? Hence, I decided to undertake a project under which poor children who lost their father, in some cases both parents, are adopted and provided the basic necessities of food, raiment, and shelter. Their education is also taken care of. These children are selected from Bukkapatnam, Kothacheruvu, and Puttaparthi Mandals. They belong to very poor families who are finding it hard to feed themselves. We told the children, "We will give you food, shelter, and also education. We will make you self-reliant. You need not worry. "
Within a short period of one month, I got houses constructed for them. One lakh rupees are deposited in the name of each child. By the time they complete their education, this money will get multiplied into three to four lakhs. They can lead a comfortable life. When this was told in the beginning, people could not believe it. How can they believe? They are carried away by untruth. When truth is conveyed to them, they are not prepared to believe it.
The children are being looked after very well. Paramahamsa is taking care of them with all love. Every day, the children are brought here in a bus for Swami's darshan. They are extremely happy. All of them are learning the Vedic mantras even. Whenever I ask them, "Are you happy? " they say, "Yes Swami. When You are looking after us like a wish-fulfilling tree, how can we be otherwise? " They are so happy because they are being looked after with love. Money cannot give such happiness. In this manner, we are performing many sacred activities. I am not interested in publicising them. Some people may not believe this, but I am not bothered. I will not give up My resolve. We should serve the poor and needy. We should strive for their uplift. After all, they are also human beings and we should treat them as our own.
Having completed your education, it is time for you to go back to your respective places, take up suitable jobs and serve your parents. Once in a while, you can come here to recharge your batteries. Otherwise, you may forget whatever you have learnt here. Your stay here becomes meaningful only when you practise what you have learnt here.
(Swami asked Mr Raghupathy Rao to get up.) He lost his father when he was very young. He came here with his mother. I gave her a job in the Anantapur Hostel. After some time, she also passed away. Then I brought this boy here and educated him. He has completed his MBA and is presently working as a lecturer in our Brindavan Campus. He pursued his education with sraddha (sincerity). I have been looking after many such students. This is My duty, because all are Mine. I belong to them and they belong to Me. Since they are being looked after with such love, they are shaping into ideal citizens. Here is the best example. He is a very good boy. He would never talk back to elders and would never ask anything from others. In the beginning I told him, "If you need anything, do not ask others. Come to Me straight and I shall give you. "
I am telling you all this because you should also undertake such sacred work. Service to society is very important. The best way to love God is to love all and serve all. Let others think whatever they like, you should hold on to this sacred path. Serve your parents. Never hurt their feelings. This is the essence of education.
Education confers humility, which in turn bestows deservedness.
Deservedness confers all types of wealth
through which man can attain happiness here and hereafter.
Humility is the hallmark of education. Give up ego and serve society with Self-confidence. Students who did not have even a naya paisa with them are now earning thousands of rupees every month. They are good boys. So, they will not have any problem. I will take care of their future. I told this boy that he could go out and take up a job, if he wished so. But he did not want to go anywhere. So, I gave him a job here with good salary. Whoever it is, I do not want anybody to work here without taking salaries. Outside people may not be aware of this. I do not take even a naya paisa from them. I undertake good work and hence, whatever I require will come to Me of its own accord. Lakhs of devotees are coming here. Did I ask anybody for anything? Never. There are many devotees who are coming here for more than forty years. But I have not asked them for any favour. I shall never ask. I shall not give up My resolve and shall continue the good work with firm resolve. My Mission is bound to succeed. It will never fail.
Children should be looked after well. Young men and women should be moulded into ideal citizens. For Me, there is no greater happiness than this. Children are My property. I am happy if they come up in life and earn a good name for themselves. I do not expect anything else.
Today you are receiving your degrees. The university gives you a degree in education, whereas I give you a degree in Educare. The degree I confer on you is related to Atmananda. That is educare. Discharge your duty sincerely and I shall take care of your requirements. Do not give room to laziness. Laziness is rust and dust. Realisation is best and rest. Be prepared to proceed along the path of Self-realisation.
I am very happy that our President Abdul Kalam has come here and participated in the Convocation as the Chief Guest. He has immense love for the nation. He is a Muslim by birth. But he does not have any differences whatsoever. He loves all and treats all equally. He learnt all his knowledge in India itself. He is a scientist par excellence. There are many scientists in the country. But what is the use? As the poem goes, "Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are? ", they are attracted by foreign lands. But Abdul Kalam is not such a person. He does not have even a trace of ahamkara (ego). His pure heart is his most beautiful alamkara (ornament). He is a paragon of virtues. That is why he could become the President of this country. I wish that he brings back the pristine glory of Bharat (India) during his tenure.
The function came to a close with the singing of National Anthem by all.