SSSIHL VII Convocation Discourse – 1988
Audio excerpt of the Divine Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the SSSIHL Annual Convocation
Make Others Happy
Education is an ornament for man. It is his secret wealth. It confers prosperity and fame. It is the teacher of teachers. It is one’s unfailing kinsman in foreign travel. It secures the respect of rulers more than wealth.
Education is the basis for leading a purposeful life in the physical world, in the realm of the mind and in society. It equips one with the mental strength and steadiness to face the challenges of life. It enables one to understand the myriad manifestations in nature. It is only when one understands the powers of his mind that he can recognise the relationship between the world and society. Real education should enable one to realise that mankind is one family. It should help one to experience the unifying forces in society.
Unfortunately, education today is not promoting these objectives. We have no lack of intelligent men in the world today. There are any number of scientists. It is because the intelligentsia and the scientists have not been educated on right lines that the world is plunged in chaos and disorder. Education today is concerned mainly with satisfying the senses and developing intellectual skills. It ignores the development of virtuous qualities. Despite the committees and commissions set up by the Government to suggest reforms in education, no resolute efforts have been made to effect the necessary reforms. The main reason for this failure is the lack of unity after the achievement of freedom. All the ills the nation is suffering from are due to the absence of unity and the preoccupation with ephemeral objectives. There is nothing that cannot be achieved through unity.
Education should promote discrimination and humility. The quantitative explosion in the number of educational institutions—schools, colleges and universities—has been accompanied by a corresponding decline in the quality of education. To have no respect for your elders and to be ungrateful to those who have fostered you, to revile even the teacher who taught you, can this be called “progress” in education? There is little evidence of morality in society. There is a general decline in character and conduct. Bharatiya culture, which laid emphasis on plain living and high thinking, has been almost forgotten. Can there be anything more unfortunate for the country?
The culture of Bharat
India which achieved great heights in every cultural sphere, is today unaware of the magnitude of its greatness. Most students are not aware of even the meaning of culture. Culture refines the human spirit and makes one a complete human being. Today no attempt is made to understand the truth relating to the body, the mind and the Atma. Culture seeks to integrate the various aspects of daily life and develop a unified outlook.
It should enable one to transcend the divisions of caste, creed and community and realise the divine unity that underlies the apparent diversity. Students should realise that Indian culture is not meant only for India but is meant for all mankind to reveal to the world the path to the Divine.
Today one finds that the virtues exhibited by illiterate villagers and uneducated folk in the tribal areas are not to be seen among the educated urban population. In fact, wherever schools, courts and administrative offices have multiplied, there we witness an increase in corruption, injustice and wickedness. In seeking to lead a free and unrestrained life, people are falling a prey to the desires of their senses. Educational institutions, which should be havens of peace and serenity, are haunted by fears of insecurity. The true aim of education is to prepare the student for a useful role in society with the help of the knowledge he has got and for leading an ideal life.
Science and corruption
Science and technology have made great advances in recent years and have a prominent place in education. It is true that science has helped to improve the conditions of living. But the harm it is doing outweighs the benefits. Man has lost peace of mind and the sense of security. The growth of videos, radios, television, cinemas and air travel has been stupendous. But there is no sign of any growth in “Divine vision,” with the result that daily life is becoming more precarious. Morality and justice have declined. This must be ascribed mainly to the craze for acquiring modern scientific gadgets. Many middle-class people, who have moderate incomes, wish to acquire motor vehicles, TV sets and the like which they cannot afford to buy from their regular incomes. This leads to corruption and bribery. Even education has become expensive and far beyond the means of middle-class earners. In addition, there is the tendency to show off before others, to appear to be better off than one really is. This kind of ostentation is another cause for fall in moral standards among lawyers, doctors and other professional people. There is nothing wrong with science as such. It is the way it is used that produces bad consequences.
In the reform of the educational system, it is necessary to ensure that students learn about the right use of science. True education must enable one to realise the Self (Atma Jnana). Instead of emphasising this need, modern education creates many problems and difficulties for the students. Acquiring a small fragment of knowledge, a student gets inflated notions of himself. With this sort of conceit, he develops a contempt for Bharatiya culture. This is not what true education should aim at.
Education should be divorced from job hunting. Its primary purpose should be to enable the educated person to lead an honourable and meaningful life in society. If one cannot command respect in society, of what value is his education?
Education should make a man recognise his obligations to his parents and others who have made him what he is. Gratitude is a supreme virtue. If one cannot be grateful to his parents, his education is a waste.
Dear students! In the pursuit of your studies, you must place the interests of the nation above your personal interests. If you wish to maintain the greatness of Bharatiya culture, you should fully understand its sacredness and sublimity. Bharat’s prosperity will last only as long as its culture is preserved. Bharat will cease to be Bharat if its culture is lost. Consider this hoary culture as your life breath and as the blood flowing in your veins. The receiving of a degree is not the end of education. Your education will be worthwhile only when you lead exemplary lives in the service of society.
Duty of the educated
In ancient days high value was attached to education and the students led simple lives. Their clothes and their manners were dignified. Today such simplicity and dignity are not to be seen among students or teachers generally. Discipline is at a discount. More than ever it is essential for educated persons today to conduct themselves as men of honour and integrity and raise the moral level of society. Even in pursuing the spiritual path, the process should not be from Nature to Spirit but from Spirit to Nature. By seeking to master the forces of Nature through education, people tend to become subjects of nature. Live up to the Institute’s motto: “Sathyam vada; Dharmam chara” (“Speak the Truth; Be righteous”). These injunctions are not properly understood. Adhering to Truth means living up to transcendental Truth which is the eternal verity that is true for all time past, present and future. “Dharma” does not mean living as you please. The bonds of love that existed between the gurus and the disciples in the past do not exist today between students and teachers. The guru considered it his duty to teach the disciple what was most beneficial for the latter and the disciple loved to render service to the guru and carry out implicitly his commands. In those days, the students were few and they received intensive instruction. Today students are numerous and education is diluted. Far reaching reforms are needed in the educational system today. The future progress and welfare of the nation will depend upon how education is imparted. Students must be imbued with genuine patriotism. Starting with love and reverence for their parents, students should cultivate love and reverence for the Motherland. All your education must be a preparation for serving the nation.
Broaden your vision. Cultivate the spirit of love. Being endowed with the human form, you must strive to develop human values and not stray away from the path of righteousness. Fill your minds with sublime thoughts and your hearts with divine feelings. Consider the entire society as your home. Only then you will realise genuine unity with all. Redeem your lives by revering your parents, honouring your teachers and developing a loving faith in God. In this way you can lead dedicated lives in the spirit of the injunctions of the Upanishad. Be aware of the divinity that is inherent in every being. Thereby you will grow in your own self esteem. Fill your life with joy.
Be Happy; Be Happy
Make others Happy
All will be Happy
God will be Happy.