SSSIHL IV Convocation Discourse – 1985
Audio excerpt of the Divine Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the SSSIHL Annual Convocation
In the world today, the type of education given and the kinds of skills imparted may make a person clever and knowledgeable but all these have no value if the rare qualities of character formation are not developed in our institutions. Education without character leads to innumerable wants and desires and converts a hero into a zero. Even if a fraction of what one learns is imbibed and practised in thought, word and action then it would make a complete change in man.
It is Truth (Sathya) which is the mansion of God. One who leads a life based on Sathya is truly an ideal person. His life indeed is a true life. This Sathya is Universal and of paramount importance. This transcends limitations of time, space and country. Manu, the greatest sage went deep into this concept of Sathya, experienced it himself and then handed down its benefits to the human race. “Utter the Truth. Do not utter untruth” This is the essence of his experience and teaching.
The idea that one’s education is only getting a job is a narrow view. On the other hand, education should prepare one for life and not merely for a living. A person who understands this supreme Truth and acts accordingly does indeed live a worthy life. The sages, who have been like stars in the firmament of this great land, experienced this vital truth of Sathya and they in turn have passed on the essence of their experience. Education does not connote only scholarship and getting to know the contents of a book. Man in spite of inadequate knowledge, when compared to the supreme universal knowledge, tends to become arrogant. Only true education brings about humility and a transformation of heart. The first and foremost task for man is to understand the value of education. Only when you recognise the truth that there is something beyond entities of the material world, you would have understood what true education is. In other words, it is not Physics only that you will have to go in for, rather it is Metaphysics as well that you must seek out. We have people who try to understand this deep significance, this underlying link. We had in ancient days wise sages in this country like Vasista, Vamana, Jamadagni, Viswamitra, Parasara, Gautama and others.
We are assailed by the lurking doubt, “Do we have such sages in our midst today?” We have gained something in terms of Science and Technology. Even as you have to further the cause of science, you should also understand as to how to make use of this scientific knowledge. We do have the growth of science but we do not have the necessary discrimination to use these advances properly. That is why the world at large is beset with problems. However, even in these days of great advances in modern science, there are undoubtedly some great men who have understood the basic synthesis between modern science on the one hand and spirituality and ancient wisdom on the other. Newton was one of the first who gave an interpretation regarding the force of gravity. But, he also had the wisdom to know that the force of attraction was present all along. In fact, he went on to say that he had discovered this idea of gravity but had not created it. He also had the firm conviction that there was a supreme hand behind this. Einstein was yet another towering figure who delved deep into the mysteries of Nature and found in the end that there is the principle of spirituality deep within all that exists. He further understood that if we wish to make the best of this knowledge, we need to have the company of good men, because it is only then that your mind and heart could be cleansed and purified. It was in this context that he said, “Tell me your company, I shall tell you what you are”. What becomes clear from this simple statement is that the type of company we live in is a reflection of our own nature. Then we have yet another great personality. Werner Heisenberg contributed a great deal to modern scientific thought. He too wanted to know the essential link between science on the one hand and spirituality on the other. It was in this context that he understood the vital link between the two as found in Yogasastra. He summed up his experience in this manner: “Master the mind and become a mastermind” He maintained the essential synthesis between science and spirituality and in fact felt that spirituality is the basis of science. He also understood that by increasing one’s wants and desires, one tends to lose one’s innate calm Therefore, “More desire is more despair.” Paul Dirac sought to find the harmony between science and spirituality. He tried to discover the one entity underlying all living beings in all forms and conducted experiments for this purpose. As a result of this pursuit he found the truth to consist in the statement- “Love ever, hurt never”- This conclusion is nothing but an echo of what the ancient sage Vyasa had given to mankind as the quintessence of all the Puranas that “to help others is meritorious, to hurt others is sinful”. Then we have another modern thinker, Louis victor de Broglie. Having begun as a critic of the whole concept of spirituality, after serious enquiry, he came to the conclusion that his doubts were due to his ignorance. He proclaimed from his experiences that divinity was at the core of everything in the Universe.
Therefore, even in these days of modern science, we find such rishis and seekers of truth. Going back to ancient times, the sapta rishis were those who gave us the wisdom. Now the presentday sapta rishes are people like Newton, Einstein and others who have given us the fundamental truth that God alone first created this world and the qualities that are associated with the world.
Vyasa cognised the truth that the world is made of Spandana or vibrations. That view is largely reflected in today’s theoretical science. Here is an episode from Mahabharata. Subhadra was pregnant. And Arjuna was describing Padma Vyuha, an intricate type of military formation, to Subhadra. Krishna intervened and said, “Oh brother-in-law, are you thinking that it is Subhadra who is listening to your words. Now it is the child in the womb who is listening to your words”. In ancient days, it was customary for the parents to encourage their pregnant daughters to relate spiritual literature and stories about heroes and saints and entertain noble thoughts so that the child in the womb may be influenced by the vibrations produced by such sublime thoughts in the mother. The ancient rishis knew this truth. Moreover, many ceremonies like seemantham were performed to keep pregnant women in a happy frame of mind in the interest of the child. This was the reason why the children of those days used to grow up to be good and noble. But in today’s world, parents seek for their entertainments in the medium of the T.V. or the cinema most of which is crude and unedifying. Naturally, children are born with such tendencies.
And down the ages and for a long time there have been a number of critics who were skeptical about the validity of this specific observation of Lord Krishna. But today the scene has changed. People now acknowledge that what was said in those days is true. In the U.S.A. at the “Institute of Child Health and Human Development” attached to the Carolina University, Anthony Cooper undertook research to find out the truth of the above ancient theory and after experimentation he confirmed the truth contained in the fundamental observations of Lord Krishna. It was proved beyond doubt that the child just born had the wonderful capacity to respond to what the mother was saying.
What is valuable in this world is certainly not our position, education or learning but our conduct and behaviour based on spiritual values. Conduct and behaviour determine the type of result that we get. Our conduct has to be patterned on noble and lofty ideals. We should broaden our vision and outlook. We should give up all that is narrow and petty-minded. True education is love and nothing but love. Without love, life is not worth living.
The fundamental basis of our life is Sathya. What is the use of mastering so many skills? Along with your studies you should also transform yourselves. Respect elders. Love your parents. Trust your friends. Like the breathing process which is continuous, trust and faith should always be with us. It was this trust and faith which was emphasised in the past; but today’s system of education is purely examination oriented. The result is that the students enter the examination hall; they pour out all that is contained in their minds and come out empty headed. Enrichment of heart should become part and parcel of our educational system. Only then can we find supreme sense of fulfillment and perfect harmony between thought, word and deed. Only such a person can bring credit to the country. When he comes to the fore, there will be peace and prosperity and happiness all around the world.
Today, everyone talks about peace, but does something quite contradictory. While we go on piling bombs, we go on talking about peace all the while. We may have undoubtedly reached the moon, but still we have not experienced the state of peace.
There is also environmental pollution. Today we have polluted the atmosphere around the earth. Not content with this, we are trying to pollute the outer space as well. So how can we get the peace we are aspiring for. There is nothing to be gained by harming others. Whatever little is given to us, we should try to use it for the benefit of others.
Embodiments of Love! While you may not have developed the capacity to do any positive good to people around, you should at least not harm anyone. Not doing any harm is the greatest quality which you should develop. While we have expanded education, it has not improved character. If you have the quality of love within you, you can secure anything for yourself and others. What is the reason for lakhs of people assembling here without any invitation? The simple reason is love of and for SAI. Educating one to develop the quality of love is most important. You may have secured post graduate and doctorate degrees and possess untold wealth, secured name and fame, blessed with a long and fruitful life, performed japa, dyana or attained the mastery of Vedas. But these cannot be compared to the love of Sathya Sai in any manner. Go in for education which develops in all its purity. It is love alone which can safeguard this world. Devoid of love, the world could be destroyed. So, if in this world there is to be peace and prosperity, joy and happiness all around, love is essential. The development of a nation, does not depend on the industrial growth alone. The person who has the well-being of the nation and of the world at heart, should go in for the kind of education which develops qualities like purity of mind and heart and morality. It is character and morality alone which can take the world forward.
Students, teachers and all those who have the cause of education dear to their hearts: I earnestly wish that our system of education should be so perfected that there is enough room for developing moral values and qualities of love, righteous conduct, peace, truth and non-violence. Only such a system of education can take this country forward and regain its past glory and contribute significantly to international brotherhood and universal Peace.
Audio Source: Sri Sathya Sai Media Centre, Radio Sai Archives
Transcript Source: ‘Benedictory Addresses’ (Edition: May 2011), published by Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust, Publications Division