SSSIHL XIV Convocation Discourse – 1995
Audio excerpt of the Divine Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the SSSIHL Annual Convocation
Cherish Bharatiya Culture
Embodiments of Love!
Education lends beauty to man;
Education is man’s secret wealth.
Education is the source of fame and happiness.
It is the teacher of teachers.
Education is the true kinsman for one going abroad.
It is the third eye for man.
Rulers honour the scholar more than the man of wealth.
One without education is an animal.
This is the message of Bharatiya culture.
Life goes on whether a man acquires culture or not or pursues studies or not. But the lifespan melts like ice from day to day. Even before he realises his duties, his life comes to an end. In the sphere of education, every thinking man is confronted with baffling problems. Educational institutions have forgotten their obligation to make education a source of strength and happiness in daily life. Educational ideals have lost their appeal. Education has ceased to be creative. It has become a destructive force. Respect and reverence are down in the dumps. Education has been commercialised. Students are keener to make money by means rather than to acquire knowledge. Educational institutions, which ought to be citadels of morality, integrity, sacrifice and character, have ceased to foster morality.
Students don’t make any attempt to develop good qualities, while cultivating friendships and participating in common activities. All associations without good qualities are valueless. Character is most important for a student. It is the essence of Bharatiya culture.
Without cultural refinement, can anyone hope to earn honour? Without morals, can you acquire the esteem of others? If you preach righteousness without practising it yourself, will anyone respect you? Without fear of sin, with sinful thoughts, you commit sinful acts. At least from now on, recognise the truth and live up to the name of sons of Bharat.
It is not a good index of pure education, if having been born in Bharat, you do not live up to the ideals of Bharat and lead a mundane existence.
Bharat Matha’s lament
Students! Awake! This is not the time for slumber. Don’t you see the tears Mother Bharat is shedding? Why is she shedding tears? Because her sons have forsaken the sacred path and are leading a sub human existence. Morality and integrity have been given up. To wipe the tears of Mother Bharat, every Bharatiya should cherish the culture of Bharat.
Every student should observe the three principles of equality, unity and cooperation. The nation is going to pieces because of the lack of mutual respect and unity.
Education is not confined to reading, writing and listening. Degrees do not constitute true marks of learning. Without wisdom and spiritual knowledge, can there be real education?
Education is not for earning a living but for leading the good life. All education which imparts worldly knowledge and develops intellectual activities without promoting character is utterly worthless.
True education should promote morality, character and spirituality. Science and Technology are undoubtedly necessary for comfortable living. But there is an unseen power which underlies the physical world. Today students should acquire both physical knowledge for living and spiritual knowledge for understanding that which sustains life. The two together help to make humanness blossom.
It is morality that imparts value to human life. “Morality and Integrity are today confined to books. The heart is utterly polluted. Hands are engaged in selfish pursuits. This is the progress of modern education” (Telugu Poem).
Man has progressed in science and technology. But morality and integrity are going down from day to day. The immediate task is to promote moral values.
There are ninety crores of Bharatiyas, but few who will assuage the agony of Mother Bharat. Of what use are these myriad sons?
There was a time when Bharat stood out as the example for the world in holiness and purity. The ancient sages enthroned righteousness and gave the highest place of honour for the spirit of sacrifice. They adored justice and revered truth. In this way, they bequeathed to the nation its greatest cultural heritage.
Lessons of history
Students! Recall for a moment the past history of Bharat. There is no record at anytime of Bharatiyas having invaded other countries. Bharatiyas always adhered to justice. They protected Righteousness. They esteemed truth as their lifebreath. They took to arms only when foreign hordes invaded the country. Otherwise they never committed aggression on any country.
Many foreign nations plundered the wealth of Bharat, but Bharat never coveted the wealth of any country. Not only did they loot Bharat’s wealth, but they desecrated the sacred culture of Bharat. They created divisions between persons. They set at naught the sanctity of the plighted word. They undermined human relationships. It is because of these outrages that Bharat is in a deplorable plight today.
Reflect for a moment on the glorious record of Bharat’s past history. Bharat has always cherished noble virtues. Unable to recognise the purity, sacredness and spiritual heritage of Bharat, students treat it with levity. They consider it as uncivilised. This is totally wrong. Bharat has been the home of prosperity, morality, sacrifice and fraternity. But modern education has polluted all these qualities. Evils like corruption, dishonesty, injustice and falsehood were unknown to Bharatiyas in ancient India. Today the people have become victims of exotic modes of living and have no respect for the traditional culture.
The collectivist spirit
Bharat has upheld the collectivist ideal as against the concept of individualism. Community singing of Bhajans was preferred, not individual singing. Collective action was promoted. The Vedas also glorified the collective spirit. It was Guru Nanak who initiated the practice of congregational bhajans.
Students today should take a pledge to go to the villages and serve the rural population. Most students soon after they get their degrees, either wish to go abroad or desire well paid jobs. Students should realise the importance of our villages and try to improve them. Money is not important. It is character that counts.
Dharma and moksha
The ancients attached value to the four goals of life¾Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Wealth), Kama (Desires) and Moksha (Liberation). They followed righteous means to acquire wealth and transformed their desires into yearning for liberation. Thus they gave primary importance to Dharma and Moksha. Today people have given up Dharma and Moksha and are pursuing only Artha and Kama.
Students! Examine your hearts. Rectify your thoughts and earn money by moral means. Our ancients considered Dharma as the basis for the world. Today Dhanam (wealth) is esteemed as the basis for everything.
The achievements of our ancients and the greatness of their qualities are beyond praise. Emperor Sibi was prepared to offer his own flesh to save the life of a bird (pigeon). Many sacrificed their lives to protect the lives of others. Harishchandra gave up his kingdom and even his wife and son to honour his word. Students today do not cherish the lives of these heroes.
The educational system should not be subject to changes according to changes in Education Ministers. Education, like Justice, should be free from governmental interference. Students should realise that what matters is not the religion they profess, but how far they are truly human in their life. They should realise the sacredness of their Motherland, Bharat. It is a name which is anterior to either Bharata, Sri Rama’s brother, or Shakuntala’s son, Bharata.
Foreigners should understand the precise meaning of the word Hindu, the name which they associate with India. The five letters in the name HINDU represent five qualities. Humanity, Individuality, Nationality, Divinity and Unity. Unity is essential not only for Bharatiyas, but for the entire world.
Today students tend to migrate from villages to cities after their education is completed. Students who come from villages should stay on in their villages and improve the quality of life of the villagers. Students should learn three essential things: Cultivate the company of the good. Avoid evil associates. Do ceaselessly meritorious deeds.
Students should dedicate themselves to social service, striving always for public welfare. Social service leads to the ripening of wisdom. Wisdom is the source of good qualities. Develop good qualities and good conduct. Realise that service is the means to overcome the ego, broaden the vision and promote love. Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached!
Mother Bharat is shedding tears. Find out the cause, as Lava and Kusa did when they found their mother Sita was in tears. They asked their mother: “Oh Mother! Why are you weeping? Here we are, more valiant than Sri Rama. We can bring for you a Golden Mountain if you desire it.” (Bhagawan sang a Telugu song which was both sweet and deeply moving). The boys held her feet and declared that they would not leave until she revealed the cause of her grief. See what the children of Sita, the daughter of the Earth Goddess, did to assuage the grief of their mother. Which son of Bharat today is trying to wipe the tears of Bharat Mata? This is deepening her grief. She laments: “I have ninety crores of children but of what use are they? They are not relieving a mother’s sorrow.” Mother Bharat’s grief affects the whole world.
The Motherland should be revered as divine. Only then there will be worldly peace. Make your studies useful to the country. Values are necessary for acquiring education. Education is for life. Life is for love. Love is for service to the nation and the world. Then there will be peace. Starting with values you end up with peace. There can be no peace without values (cheers).
What Sai expects
When students acquire education in this manner, they will promote the wellbeing of the country and the world. Students should take a resolve to develop their native places and make their lives meaningful. This is what Sai expects from you. This is what you should offer to me. Be good and make the country better. Be ideal students. Ensure security and prosperity in the country. Experience bliss by taking to the spiritual path (cheers).