SSSIHL XI Convocation Discourse – 1992
Audio excerpt of the Divine Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the SSSIHL Annual Convocation
Recovery of Moral Values
Sathyadheenam thu Daivatam
Uthamo paramo devatha.
The Cosmos is controlled by the Divine.
The Divine is governed by Truth.
Truth is subject to the high souled.
The high souled are supremely Divine.
Students! Educationists! Patrons of Education!
The entire Cosmos is under the control of the Divine. But the Divine is bound by Truth. Truth is under the control of high souled persons. These persons are the embodiments of the Divine in the world.
The universe is infinite and marvelous. Unable to comprehend the nature of Creation, man is a prey to divisive forces. Creation proclaims the Will of the Divine. It is known as Prakriti (Nature). Every man, who is a child of Nature, should have Divine nature. Man is born in the world to proclaim the Will of the Divine. Man is a part of Creation. He is bound by all the material objects in the world. His awareness is based on his perception of the world. Man has to order his life for the purpose of furthering the creative process.
Unfortunately, today, as a consequence of scientific and technological progress, humanness has declined and man considers the world as only intended for his enjoyment. As a result, the powers of Nature are being used in a manner which poses a great threat to the world. The world has not been created for mere enjoyment. Abusing the resources of Nature and forgetting his own basic human nature man is going against the purpose of Creation. Many natural catastrophes are entirely due to man’s behaviour. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, wars, floods and famines and other calamities are the result of grave disorders in Nature. These disorders are traceable to man’s conduct. Man has not recognised the integral relationship between humanity and the world of Nature.
In the human body, all organs like eyes, ears, mouth, etc., are integrally related to each other. Just as these organs are important for man, man is equally important for society as a limb of the social organism. Man is a part of the human community. Mankind is a part of Nature. Nature is a limb of God. Man has not recognised these interrelationships.
Rights and duties
Man is a kind of stage director of what goes on in Nature. Forgetting his responsibilities, man fights for rights. If a deep enquiry is made, it will be realised that man has no rights at ail in this world. He has only duties and no rights. It is foolish to fight for rights without discharging one’s duties. All the chaos and conflicts in the world are due to men forgetting their duties. If everyone discharges his duty, the world will be peaceful and prosperous. When the master performs his duties properly, the employees will work well. When the parents discharge their duties, the children will realise their responsibilities. When the children do their duties by the parents, the latter will be honoured. Likewise, when teachers discharge their duties, the students will conduct themselves well. When the students perform their duties well, the authorities will secure due respect.
Today men are forgetting their obligations. The Cosmos is an integral organism of interrelated parts. When each one performs his duty, the benefits are available to all. Man is entitled only to perform his duties and not to the fruits thereof.
Need for ideal persons
Students! Today the educational world is immersed in multifarious problems which are baffling the authorities concerned. The educational system is contributing to the collapse of human values in society. Educational institutions, which ought to give a lead in promoting the nation’s all-round welfare, are leading the country astray. Human values like sacrifice, integrity, fairness and morality have almost disappeared. Reverence and respect (for elders) are totally absent. What we need today is not a new system of education, nor a new social order, nor even a new religion. There is a good deal of speculation about how to bring about a new social order. All these are exercises in futility. What we need today are noble and high-minded men and women (Uttamapurushulu). The nation will be prosperous only when there are such persons with noble minds and hearts. Such persons will emerge in society only when there is purity of mind and morality in society. Only a society with a moral foundation can foster such noble persons.
Spirituality and progress
Morality and integrity are based upon spiritual consciousness. Spirituality alone will take man to the sacred path leading to his destiny. Spirituality alone can elevate man and raise him to higher levels. It is the means to real national progress and prosperity. World peace can be secured only through spirituality. It is the means for the redemption of mankind.
Forgetting spirituality, man is leading an artificial life based on worldly pleasures. Education should be used for promoting the nation’s welfare. Knowledge gained through education should be used selflessly for promoting the welfare of humanity.
Truth is the ornament for the mouth. Charity is the ornament for the hand. Education is the ornament for the ear. Apart from these ornaments, what does anyone need? A man with these ornaments can reach great heights. He alone is a full man.
Rama and Ravana
Mere knowledge by itself is of no avail. Ravana had studied as many branches of knowledge as Rama. Educationally both were equals but Valmiki described Ravana as a “moorkha”, a self-willed fool. Rama was hailed as a perfect man. Wherein lies the difference between the two? Rama utilised all the knowledge he had gained for noble purposes and the welfare of all. He had mastery over the senses. He gave up his rulership. He was pledged to the upholding of truth. Dedicating his knowledge to the cause of truth, to set an example of ideal life to mankind, he dedicated his life to the welfare of the country. Rama exemplified human perfection by his sacrifice, his adherence to truth and his spotless character. On the other hand, Ravana utilised all his knowledge for enjoying sensuous pleasures. He became a slave of his senses and brought ruin upon himself and his country.
Whatever knowledge one may acquire, one should use it for the well-being of all (“Sarvahithe rathah”). Only then he can be deemed rich in wisdom. (“jnana-sampannah”). Such a wise person will be endowed with all good qualities. It is for these noble purposes that the ancient system of education was devised.
All that students learn today is unrelated to the Bharatiya system of education. A system which enslaves the mind and promotes the office hunting mentality can have no relation to Bharatiya education. It was a system which sought to combat injustice and corruption and promote truth and righteousness. It was not designed to make a student acquire a degree at great expense and then go about with a begging bowl in search of jobs. It aimed at promoting self-reliance and encouraging one to take up social service in a spirit of dedication. Bharatiya education was based on the twin mottos: “Sathyam vada; Dharmam chara” (“Speak the truth. Practise righteousness”).
Love is the spiritual discipline governing human life. Truth is one’s life breath. Bharat produced any number of men in the past who were dedicated to these two ideals. Bharatiya education made the human personality shine effulgently like a multi-faceted diamond.
Bharat: then and now
Bharat is like a myriad petalled lotus. The variety of creeds and communities, languages and customs, manners and traditions to be found in Bharat cannot be found in any other country. With its many languages, customs and cultures, Bharat is a magnificent garden blooming with flowers of many hues. Bharatiyas today are oblivious to the greatness of their country. People of many faiths lived in harmony as members of one family in ancient times. This harmony has now been lost. The love principle has become extinct. People are unable even to recognise what is truth.
Students should enshrine in their hearts the greatness of Bharat. Their lives should not be offered as a sacrifice to selfishness and self-interest. Give up completely selfishness. Only then you will have acquired education that is Divine and holy.
In the olden days, after the students had completed their education, the teachers (gurus) used to offer them words of advice before they embarked on the life of house holders (Grihastaashram). It was a kind of Convocation. The advice the preceptors gave them was: “Serve the world. First of all, revere your father and mother. Develop love for the nation.” What kind of patriotism do students have who, after completing their studies here, go abroad for work? Live in society and earn the esteem of your fellowmen. These are the essential lessons to be learnt by students.
The gospel of service
Today you took the Institute pledge as to how you will conduct yourselves after you go out into the world. You have pledged yourselves to lead ideal lives. This pledge should pervade every corpuscle of your blood. You will be guilty of treason to yourselves if you fail to live up to the pledge.
Students! From now onwards you should engage yourselves in service to society and cherish Indian culture. Do not aspire for positions. Practise at least a fraction of what you have learnt. Action alone counts. Only through practical experience is wisdom gained. Money is not everything. Acquiring good qualities is vital. Education without character is utterly worthless.
Go to the villages and serve the poor and the downtrodden. The essence of education is service to one’s fellow men. There is no greater occupation than service to society. Become leaders through service. Only when you lead such exemplary lives can you be deemed truly educated.
Live in God
Whatever may be the situation in other universities, the students from the Sathya Sai Institute should behave in an exemplary and ideal manner. Foster moral, spiritual and social values. Dedicate your lives to the upholding of morality. Officials without morality can never serve society properly. They can never protect the greatness of Bharat.
Dear students! Uphold the ideals of education. Cultivate the love of God and inspire in everyone devotion to God. Live in God! Make others live in God!
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