SSSIHL II Convocation Discourse – 1983
Audio excerpt of the Divine Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the SSSIHL Annual Convocation
Chivalry of speech has increased;
Chivalry of deed has disappeared;
Life is laden with false vanities;
This is the life the student leads today.
Money has become our God;
Pride has become our creed;
Selfishness sits supreme in Buddhi’s seat;
Egotism has become our fashion:;
Greed has become our beauty;
Dharma has come to naught;
Compassion has sunk low;
Moral fervour is lost;
Hypocrisy has become the light of our life;
Love and kindness lie sick and diseased;
Modern education has blinded men with lust;
Life has become a burden;
Minds have gone astray.
Delay no more for delay is disastrous,
Fuse morality with education in sweet harmony,
And see what happens.
What is education? What kind of education should we seek? what is the true measure of education? What kind of education fosters the well-being of humanity at large? What good has the current system of education done? He indeed is the wise one who focuses his attention on these five aspects of learning and obtains the right insight into the true nature of education.
Mere interpretation of the meanings of words does not constitute education. Education is that which throws wide open the doors of the mind that men of learning should first experience within themselves the sublime beauty and splendour of education, and then they should impart it to others.
Students strain themselves hard to acquire degrees. But they must strain harder to acquire noble qualities. The value of an individual depends on the measure of purification that he brings about in himself. It is by giving up bad habits and by cultivating good ones in their place, that one purifies oneself. Education should enable a person to nurture proper virtues in himself.
Education without purification of one’s personality is like a kite whose twine has snapped. No one knows for certain where such a kite falls on a bush or a brier. Education without refinement of character is like a rudderless boat no one knows where it will take us! Education bereft of purity of character is like a dungeon where no light streams in and where only beasts of Kama, Krodha, etc., live. The student who has not achieved purity of character suffers from raga (attachment) and dwesha (hatred) and will make a wreck of himself. Education devoid of character is like a coin which has lost its currency. Even a beggar doesn’t condescend to accept such a counterfeit coin! Even parents do not love their own children if they reek with vices. It is not the acquisition of education that matters much. What is most essential is the cultivation of samskaras along with your education. Vidya is not mere accumulation of knowledge. Vidya should be transformed into dedicated dynamic action.
People today mistake science for education and nourish the wrong notion that there is nothing more powerful than science. It is dynamic action which is more powerful than the knowledge of science” Knowledge without wisdom, action devoid of discretion, scholarship sans sagacity, life without prudence, music minus melody, speech not based on truth, friendship bereft of loyalty, society not marked by discipline and education without humility do not earn the admiration of men. Education should sanctify the heart of man and lead him along the sweet avenues of life. But the education imparted today hardens the heart of man and makes him a bond slave to his senses.
Students should gaze back at the glory of education in ancient times. There is a world of difference between the ancient System of education and the modern one. Education has slid from its lofty heights of the past. Students in the past distinguished themselves in all disciplines of knowledge scientific, economic and spiritual. They faithfully pursued the path laid down by the Smriti and the Sruti and rose to eminent heights of glory. On the contrary the students of today have descended down to the depths of degradation, in all disciplines of life.
People who glibly lisp pious words of peace do secretly encourage deeds of violence and unrest. Such self-deluding people have increased in numbers by leaps and bounds. Cruelty has come to the fore as a consequence. It is these people who destroy the peace of the world by encouraging unrest and violence.
We do not see today even the slightest signs of sacrifice, good conduct and honesty. We are human beings only in form and appearance. We are students only in dress and style. Even the men of learning are determined to destroy the very foundations of Dharma. such attempts by these men will spell destruction not only to Dharma but the very social organism.
‘Dharayati iti dharmah’ Dharma is that which holds and sustains. As burning is the nature of fire, fragrance, of a full blossomed rose, sweetness, of sugar, so is truthfulness of man. Dharma is that which enables us to live as a human among humans without ever losing the glory of humanness. It is the decline of truthfulness that causes the decline and downfall of humanness. Students shourd firmly resolve to go to the rescue, when Dharma is in danger.
Students are the sons and daughters of this effulgent Bharat. This country is the cradle of courage, valour, chivalry and prosperity. The students of today are born to the glorious lineage of great Rishis, as Vasishta, Vamana, Jamadagni, Parashara, Bharadwaja, Gautama and others, who shook the three worlds by the power of their penance. The descendants of such illustrious Rishis have given themselves to a state of supine complacence when Dharma is berated by others. It is not meet on the part of the sons of Bharat to give themselves to such torpor. Students should leap to the defense of their motherland even at the cost of their own lives, when she is being treacherously betrayed.
Today the so called educationists talk loud and long that there is no God and even if He is, there is no place for him in their hearts. How ludicrous is their talk! How low is their intelligence! God is the embodiment of Truth. These people who argue that there is no God indeed indirectly confess that there is no place for Truth in themselves, for God is Truth. God is verily the Sun of wisdom. These people by denying the existence of God deny the presence of wisdom in them. As strange buds grow on the trunks of trees before they decay, similarly strange thoughts spring from the minds of these people. These men sin by lending voice to such wicked thoughts. Denying the existence of God is like saying that one has tongue but cannot speak. It is as foolish as saying “My mother is barren.” The one who denies the existence of Atma denies his own existence. Only those blind of atmic knowledge cause such controversies.
Students should come to know the right kind of knowledge and see that it is translated into the activities of their daily life. We should bring about reforms in the current system of education.
Modern education has waxed high,
Atmic knowledge has waned low,
Sathya and Dharma are extinguished forever.
The education that we acquire today does not help us to understand concepts like Sathya and Dharma. Mankind should develop the feeling of oneness of humanity and they should endeavour to live as members of one society.
A serious study of the present educational system reveals that it creates ignoramuses on an enormous scale. Twenty one thousand five hundred students worked on various thesis and obtained their doctorate degrees between 1975-80. Their research work by no means contributed to the welfare of the world.
There are scientists who toil hours together in the laboratories without doing any good either to society or to themselves. They at best succeed in wasting their energy and time. The U.G.C. expends crores of rupees on research. It is no greatness to expend huge amounts of money; real greatness lies in spending huge amounts usefully.
Sir Charles Carton was the Chairman of the Committee which made a detailed enquiry into the research work undertaken in different disciplines of knowledge. He found that the benefits that accrued out of research were meagre. He felt sad that the research work which many undertake is a wasteful activity involving wastage of time, work and energy.
There are those who have toiled and earned their doctorates with hardly any capacity to communicate to others the findings of their research. Hence due effort should be made at the post graduate level to develop in the students the skills of teaching. Many have received their Ph.Ds without ever obtaining any skill in the art of teaching. At least once or twice a week, students should be given training in the cultivation of teaching skills.
There is a widespread thinking on the part of our students that the end of education is gainful employment and possession of wealth. These cannot be the true end of education. Students enroll themselves in the Employment Exchange Office, make many visits to it and some of them even commit suicide out of despair. This is not the right attitude for a student.
Students with sound financial resources should launch self-reliance schemes like small scale industries and thereby remedy the unemployment problem by providing employment to the poor and the helpless But if these students with sound financial resources gain employment for themselves by exercising their influence, they will be inflicting incalculable harm on the poor and the helpless, who cannot compete with the rich for securing jobs.
It should be the earnest endeavour of every student to lend work to every hand; to irrigate every field; to light lamps in every house; and transform every home into a factory. Then alone the present educational system will be able to add grace and distinction to itself. Students of today should renounce selfishness, give up pride and arrogance and illumine their lives with humility.
We scarcely find either vitality or skill in the present educational set up. Education without humility is no education. So, students should cultivate the attitude of obedience to elders, devotion to God and unflinching faith in Dharma. They should nourish within themselves the belief that the strength that springs from Dharma, morality and spirituality is real strength.
Students of today are mercurial in their temperament and flit from mood to mood They greet you with a ‘hello’ in one moment and bid you farewell in the very next, leaving you in the lurch. How can vidya reside in the hearts of these men who have no constancy of mind and in whom raga and dwesha have reached their very zenith? What is the cause of all this? The Government which grants a considerable measure of freedom to our students is responsible for the violence in the campus. It is the unions and federations sanctioned by the Government that trigger chaos in the campus.
What is a Union? Living as one is union. The Union has the ultimate objective of remaining a friend to a man through thick and thin, pain and pleasure. Unity is seeing the one in many. But the students of today divide the one into many, instead of fusing the many into one. The Government has sanctioned elections at all levels, ranging from the primary school to University colleges utterly oblivious to the atrocities committed in the name of elections. First and foremost, the U.G.C. and the Government should suspend the elections and instead of holding elections for the selection of a leader, the best all-rounder amongst the students should be chosen as the leader. Elections fill the students with hatred for one another. It doesn’t stop with them, but descends down on the fresh batches of students that enter the portals of an institution. Love and affection should be fostered in the students; the feeling of oneness has to be instilled in them; and the feeling of fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man has to be nurtured. Love will start welling up the day we suspend the elections in our institutions.
There are people who advocate ragging in the name of cultivating friendship and fearlessness. This foul practice is being increasingly encouraged in the name of friendship. But creating horror in the students and forcing them to end their lives is not a mark of friendship. It is due to sanctioning of these small measures of freedom that education has fled and agitation has set in.
It is not the fault of the students that they indulge in agitation We must bring about due changes in the code of discipline that we have laid down for our students and grant them only that measure of freedom they deserve. No good accrues without discipline. Discipline should mark every aspect of our life.
Today we have unions of all kinds; students union, teachers union, workers union, etc. We have unions but there is no unity. Teachers hate fellow teachers; students hate fellow students; men hate fellow men. All reek with hatred. The heart is not filled with love. It is the absence of compassion, righteousness and devotion that causes this lovelessness.
Compassion is a superlative virtue. A heart without compassion can never become a temple of God. It is through Prema that we should seek to promote the feeling of humanness. Vidya filled with love alone can enable us to employ knowledge in the service of our fellow men.
We see today proliferation of various disciplines of study. The proliferation of subjects for study unhinges our brains. The education imparted in ancient Gurukuls was of exemplary excellence. Even a subject like mathematics was learnt by heart and formulae were tenaciously retained in the mind. Students of today do not know that 4+3+3 add up to 10 (Ten). The master and the memsahib press the buttons of the calculator even to total the cost of vegetables they purchase. The human brain rests idly while calculators and computers do brisk calculation for them. We can use calculators and computers when the need arises but we should rely on our brain instead of pressing the computer and the calculator to action for every silly thing. The power of our faculties decreases if our dependence on computers and calculators increases.
The knowledge that we obtain in the present educational system is more extensive than intensive. We learn too many things but our knowledge of these things is too shallow. It is the mark of right education to know few things intensively and deeply. Learn a few subjects but learn them well instead of learning many without mastering even one. lt is thoroughness that lends strength to our knowledge.
Let us cultivate common sense and general knowledge which are essential in our day to day life. We scarcely find even the slightest trace of these two in our educational system. Students earn ranks in their examinations but in practical life they earn zeros. Which of these two is more important? success in the examinations or success in daily life? We should in fact take these two aspects as the two wings of a bird or as the two wheels of a chariot. We must blend education and life in one sweet harmony.
Inconstancy rules the minds of our students today. They never remain steadily even for a second. Of what avail is their education which does not develop this virtue of steadiness of mind in our students? Students waver and vacillate and do things according to their whim and fancy. Students should cultivate awareness, for awareness is life. We must lend expression to our awareness in all walks of life.
We nowadays give credence to intelligence, discounting the importance of character. Character should keep pace with the advancement of intelligence. The development of intelligence without a corresponding development of character is an exercise in futility.
Students! we should make an earnest enquiry into the true nature of Vidya. What is Vidya? What kind of Vidya should we acquire? What are its distinctive marks? What kind of Vidya brings about the wellbeing of humanity? What benefits has the Vidya of today bestowed? We become true students if we grasp these five aspects of Vidya. Mere mastery of subjects and scoring high ranks do not make a real student.
Do reading and writing make a student?
Does securing degrees make a student?
Can education without wisdom become education at all?
If education is for living, do not birds and beasts live?
Education is not for a mere living. Birds and beasts also live. Education which does not bring about unity of mankind is futile. Students! we should first cultivate the virtue of gratitude. We must reason within ourselves well; who are the ones who have enabled us to reach the present status? Your mother is your first Guru; your father is your second Guru and your teacher is your third Guru. Hence, we have the prayer;
God is the embodiment of all these three. Today we show no gratitude to our parents, who have given birth to us. We show no gratitude to our guru, who has nurtured our mind and intelligence. And to God we are least grateful. Life without gratitude is sheer cruelty devoid of all feelings of humanness. It is gross ingratitude on our part to throw into the fire the very boat that has steered us through the waters of the stream. We don’t know where and when and who will be of help to us. Even little things can be of great value in life. So we must not belittle anyone in this world. We must show lifelong gratitude to the parents who have given their blood and bone to us, and the teachers who have taught us.
Children should shape themselves into ideal human beings. The places where students meet should exude peace and joy and the very Nature should delight in their presence. But today the rendezvous of students turns gory and Nature is deprived of all charm and delight. Students of today destroy peace and joy and endanger safety and security. Such behaviour on the part of students is not in consonance with the ideals of education. The students who ought to be leading and guiding and fostering fellow human beings, on the contrary, inflict untold misery on them.
Students should resolve to protect and foster every act, art and organisation, that are related to life. In spite of strains and stresses, undaunted, students should strive to defend our dharma and our institutions, spread abroad the science of spirituality, foster wisdom and ultimately obtain the vision divine.
Students should ask themselves, before launching any action, whether their action is beneficial in any way to their brethren.
Science has made rapid strides in modern times. It has brought us atomic bombs. It examines everything with analytical intensity which encourages only divisive tendency. This tumbler in my hand is made of many atoms. It is the gathering of the atoms in a particular harmony which has created the tumbler. If we start separating its atoms, we won’t have the tumbler at all.
Our expenditure on the atomic research far exceeds the production that we obtain therefrom. Students should spend less, produce more and avoid wasteful extravagance. You will be causing immense harm to society by spending lakhs of rupees on scientific research for advancing your own self-interest.
We should practise simple living and high thinking. Unfortunately, students of today practise high living and simple thinking. Your parents miss two square meals a day to put you through schooling whereas you regardless of their sacrifice walk up and down, trim and tidy, without caring to lend a helping hand to them.
Students! Time is precious. Waters of a river and the youth of a young man can never be restored once they are lost. This period of your life is your golden age. Do not waste these sacred years but sanctify them by doing noble deeds. Plunge into the service of society and extend help to your fellow men. Do not turn yourself into a beast by harbouring selfishness. Cheer up saying to yourself “How soon the day will come when I finish my studies and serve my fellow men in the society.
Don’t waste time by participating in strikes which are triggered off for every silly reason. Do not use your time, wealth and energy in pursuit of shallow purposes. Try honestly to resolve your problems by approaching with peace and humility the concerned authorities. If on the contrary you adopt an attitude of unrest and violence, you will never succeed in seeking solutions to your problems.
There is a good deal of truth in the adage, “A washerman is much better than an educated person”. You know pretty well how intelligent a washerman is. The washerman who collects the clothes of four hundred boys in a hostel makes a mental note of the clothes given by all the boys for wash without ever using a note book, whereas you who pride on your intelligence have to use a note book and waste a lot of pen, paper and ink, though you have to give him for wash a pair of shirts, a pair of pants and a hankey. Along with intelligence develop your character. Your passing B.A., B.Com., and M.A. examinations should not inflate you with pride. The marks of true education are:” Good qualities, good thoughts, truthfulness, devotion, discipline and dedication to duty. Vidya is that which teaches these. And these the students should learn.
We should employ our education in the service of society. We should use it for the realisation of ‘Soharn Tatva’ instead of idling away our time. Do not live for yourself. Live in society and dedicate yourself to it. Shape yourselves as the sons and daughters of Saraswati and strive sincerely to realise the sanctity of goddess Saraswati. Let the students of our University shape themselves into ideal men and women and resolve to impart true and lofty education to the children of Bharat.
We see fear wherever we set our eyes upon. There is unrest and agitation everywhere. We are not sure that a boy who has gone to school and a person who has gone to market will ever return.
Facilities for higher education have immensely increased. But there is a corresponding increase of fear, burden and responsibility as well. Students should determine to prove that they form the backbone of the nation and they are the harbingers of security and safety.
The alumni of Sathya Sai University, wherever they go, should leave behind them an abiding impression of serenity and sanctity. It is ludicrous if you throw to the winds the discipline that you so religiously observe here as soon as you leave the portals of your alma mater. Only ignorant fools act that way. Don’t degrade your degrees by acting in such ludicrous fashion. A time should come when people will know by your humility and obedience that you are the alumni of the Sathya Sai institutions. Become street lights as soon as you leave this place. And donot turn into street dogs. It is in order to instill in you this spirit of humility and righteousness that our Vice-Chancellor has administered the oath of promise from the Shikshavalli of the Taittiriya Upanishad.
You are all well aware of your Vice-Chancellor Dr. Gokak. It is the Diamond Jubilee year for him for he is 75 years old. This is the age at which he ought to have been leading a life of rest, mentally and physically. It is because of his high sense of devotion that he has accepted the Vice-Chancellorship of our University and is toiling day and night for its sake. The clerks work during the scheduled hours i.e. from 10 AM to 4 PM and go home after the scheduled time but not so Dr. Gokak, for he works day and night. He is striving hard to realise the truth that service is God. Many of you may not even know that he does not accept any remuneration for all the work that he does as a Vice-Chancellor. He deems it his great good fortune to serve this Institute. He takes great pains of travelling often to Delhi on matters relating to the Institute. He is administering the University with great discipline.
Allasani Peddana, the poet Laureate in the court of Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Empire, on the occasion of wearing the golden bracelets that the king gifted him with, said, “I do not prize these decorations (Bhushanas) high. I esteem the Bhushana of God’s grace most.” Our Gokak earned the title Padrnabhushan. For Gokak who is like the lotus (Padma) the grace of God is indeed a bhushana (decoration). Titles like Padmabhushan are no bhushanas (decorations) to Gokak, as the only bhushana that he esteems most is the bhushana of Daivanugraha (God’s grace). He does vigorous sadhana to merit God’s grace. Members of the Trust (Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust) have entrusted me with the responsibility of adorning him with Daivanugraha Bhushana.
Sri Krishna wore three Kankanas (resolves)
The first Kankana that he wore is :
Sambhavami Yuge Yuge
(I incarnate myself from age to age to protect the gentle, destroy the wicked and establish righteousness)
The second Kankana that he wore is :
Yoga kshemam vahamyaham
(I take care of those who have surrendered themselves to me completely, utterly oblivious to all)
The third Kankana that he wore is :
(Do not feel sad for I will surely liberate you)
Even the Lord descends down to the earth wearing these Kankanas (bracelets of resolve). Our Gokak puts on two Kankanas; the first, is the resolve to place before society a set of dedicated students and the second Kankana that he wears is the resolve to merit God’s grace. The sincere service that Dr. Gokak renders gives immense satisfaction to Swami.
Fully realising the capacity of Gokak, the U.G.C. appointed him for a period of three years as the Vice-Chancellor of this Institute as a special case. Our lnstitute is a tender babe of two years. It requires great alertness and responsibility to guard this child against disease and danger.
As Lakshmana to Rama, our Registrar Chakravarthi works hand-in-hand with the Vice-chancellor. The members of the staff are full of harmony and adjustment and the students are indeed gold! It must be spoken that it is our great good fortune to have such students, staff, controller, registrar and vice-chancellor. They are devoted workers and are much dedicated to God.
Sathya Sai Central Trust through Me will now adorn Gokak with the bracelets of God’s grace. The felicitations extended to Dr. Gokak should not be misconstrued as an exhibition and a show of satisfaction. These are felicitations of Prema. Dr. Gokak did not know till this moment about this. Right now Swami is adorning Gokak with this Prema Kankana and Anugraha Kankana, the bracelets of love and the bracelet of God’s Grace.