SSSIHL XVIII Convocation Discourse – 1999
Audio excerpt of the Divine Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the SSSIHL Annual Convocation
It is possible for one to master all branches of knowledge and win in an assembly of scholars, it may be possible for one to be born in a Royal family and rule over vast kingdoms, One can offer in charity any number of golden cows, one can count the stars in the Sky, one may spell the name of all the species of living beings in the world, one may learn the different arts and skills, one may reach even the moon, but it is very difficult for one to control the senses, steady the mind and maintain equanimity at all times.
Embodiments of Love! Students! Boys and Girls!
You can call yourself a student only when you know the significance of education. Education does not mean mere acquisition of book knowledge. There are many who are experts in bookish knowledge. Many have become educational wizards and scholars. What is the service these pandits and scholars are doing to the world? Having been born and brought up in society, having acquired their knowledge from society what is it they have done for the society? What is the use of their scholarship and education, if they don’t show their gratitude to the society?
Once, Aurobindo said at a University in Calcutta, “Oh students! Why do you acquire this knowledge? This learning is not for your selfish ends. You acquired knowledge in the community and if you don’t serve that community what is the use of your learning? If you do not use it for the benefit of the society, it is better you burn all the books that you read”.
Today knowledge of science is increasing. In fact, various scientific techniques are taught to the students. Is this knowledge imparted for the benefit of the society or for the personal gain? In fact, they are known as intellectuals. But what is the transformation you can find in them? Once Churchill said, “Man has conquered all but he has not conquered himself”. The scientific knowledge of today helps you to learn about many things but not about your own reality. Man is making efforts to learn all about the external world. This is physical and secular knowledge. Having known everything, he does not know about his own self. True relationship can be established only when you know about your Inner Self. Everyone is asking the others “who are you?” But no one seems to be interested to put to himself the question “Who am I”? There are two aspects of your personality one is physical and the other is spiritual. Only when the relationship between the physical and spiritual aspect is established intimately, the real total personality will blossom. Physical knowledge is negative and the knowledge of Self is positive. Only when there is blend of the positive and negative the human excellence will blossom. Education should help one to blossom into a total person. Man should be transformed into a compassionate one. What is the use of education when it cannot make one a compassionate person? The modern education is making a person hard hearted. Just as you want to gain the secular knowledge, you should also try to acquire the knowledge of the Self. The heart should melt at the suffering of others. If one has no such heart, of what use is the intellectual faculty? Along with the heart, mind also should be transformed.
In ancient times, in Bharat noble souls resorted to making lot of changes and modifications in the field of education. Before foreigners came here there were only a few educational institutions. There were only 5 or 6 Universities in this country. Each University had one subject as speciality and helped the student to achieve excellence in that subject. First there was the University in Kasi (Benaras) Grammar was the main subject in the Benaras University. Each University took up the responsibility of fostering the knowledge in a particular discipline. In Kashmir, the Alankara Sastra was the speciality. In Ujjaini University Mathematics was the subject of speciality. There was another University in a place called Navadweepa. The Nyaya (Law and Justice) was the subject of speciality in this University. Amaravathi was ruled by Bharata, brother of Sri Rama. In this University, not only Science but also Medicine was a specialised subject. The authorities of this University felt that morality and character were essential for the students. In order to eke out an honourable livelihood, vocational instructions in skills like carpentry, smithy, etc. were also imparted in this University, as they were useful for the daily life. What is the use of studying subjects which will not be useful in daily life? In fact, one should have professional skill. They also encouraged fine arts like music, dance, etc. The Amaravati University encouraged different disciplines. In Taxila University the subject of Ayurveda (Medical Science) was taught as a speciality. In those days only six or seven Varsities were there. Now, Universities have come up in hundreds.
What Truth we have realised from this large scale mushrooming of number of Universities? What help has the society got? What is the proof that we work for the advancement of society? With development of modern educational system, knowledge of the Self has declined, Vidya is called ‘education’. What is the meaning of this word? This has come from the root ‘educare’. What is meant by ‘educare’? The meaning is “to bring out”. All powers physical, mental and psychic are within the person. We should acquire the sacred education to bring out what is within us and serve the society. There are two things. ‘Educare’ is a Latin word. The inner meaning is “we have to bring out two things that are latent” One is to bring out external feelings. Head is the instrument to do this. The other is to bring out what is inside in heart (Hridaya). When once both the inner and outer faculties are made to manifest, life will be ideal. One is “life” and the other is “living”. All that come from the head will help you in carrying out works to earn your livelihood such as reading, writing, etc. This is called bookish knowledge. They say “Masthaka” (head) is absorbing the knowledge from “Pusthaka” (the book). Things from head have gone into the book and in the reverse order they go back to the head. Bookish knowledge is superficial knowledge. After this, we need general knowledge and later, we need discriminatory knowledge. It helps you judge what is right and what is wrong; what is good and what is bad. After this only comes practical knowledge. All the others are only pertaining to the mundane matters. They are for external (Pravrithi) not for (Nivrithi) internal wisdom. Man is engaged only in selfish pursuits and does everything for self interest forgetting the welfare of society at large. You can be safe and secure only when you work for the welfare of the society. There are hundreds of thousands of intellectuals and highly learned scholars. What are they doing? They work for their own self-interest, to earn money for themselves and their families. Are you able to find any who work for the welfare of the society? In fact they are giving awards like Nobel Prize, etc., only for people who seek their own self upliftment and engaged in selfish pursuits. It is apparent that they don’t know the real meaning and significance of education. One who acquires several degrees is hailed as a great scholar. All these constitute only “quantity”. But what we need is “quality”. What is the use of one barrel of donkey’s milk? A teaspoonful of cow’s milk is enough. That is why in olden days, each University used to take one speciality and impart knowledge of the highest quality. The subject of grammar was developed in manifold ways in Taxila University. They taught all the rules of grammar in such a way that they could make practical use in day to day life. The principle of immortality (Amrutatva) was taught with great clarity to the students so that they could blossom as real ideal human beings who could realise liberation. In those days, there were not many schools and in each institution of higher learning there would be only nine or ten students. The Resident teacher will be the Vice-Chancellor. They were independent institutions which had no connection with Government nor bound by their laws. The Goddess of Education Saraswati, was honoured and she showered Her boundless Grace on the students to attain high standards of excellence. They did not take any salaries for teaching, nor did students pay any fees. There was no fixed time table for the classes and any part of the day the students will be taught at his residence by the Vice-Chancellor. Any time in the night the student will be woken up and taught some important lesson. They used to clear the doubts of students at any time. How did they study? They didn’t have imposing buildings. Somewhere on the banks of holy river, under the trees, classes would be held in natural environment. They used to have their classes in any temple where students would sit on the floor in divine atmosphere. Nowadays University needs imposing structures to house the colleges and offices, lot of instruments are bought at great cost. They used to have classes in open air in those days.
When they sat under trees in natural surroundings, they maintained good health because the trees absorb the Carbon dioxide exhaled by people and give Oxygen for their inhalation. The students were hale and healthy. There is no comparison between students and teachers of those days and the present days. Present day students have a number of Text books but many have no time to read them.
Students! Boys and Girls!
In those ancient days there were no written books. It was only by oral communication from teacher to student, that they absorbed all important instructions and were able to retain them in memory. Though there was no printed matter, whatever the student heard from the teacher got imprinted in their minds. Nowadays, what a student is taught an hour earlier, he is not able to remember. The power of retention is so poor, because the students are loading their minds with unnecessary and uncalled for stuff. The students in those days were able to control their minds properly and concentrate on their studies. Only when you control mind you can assimilate what you read or learn. That is why it is said, “Mind is cause for bondage and liberation.”
Eternal Truth is forgotten now. The practice of compassion and love in daily life is absent. Education is not put into practice. What is the use of such education? All the ideals were practised by students of ancient times. There is no objection to your learning the secular education. But you should not neglect the fundamental knowledge. You should expand your love. It should not be narrowed down to yourself when it becomes ‘contraction’ love. We have forgotten the ancient knowledge of our reality and taken to the pursuit of worthless mundane knowledge. You must bring out your inner feelings. Whatever you have learnt from the books is not so valuable as that which you learn from within yourself.
Today, due to advance of Science and Technology, people have dug deep into earth causing imbalance. That is why you are having lot of earth quakes and other dangerous natural disasters. What is it that Science and Technology are doing to you? Everything is within human itself. If you inquire deeply, everything is coming from within you.
For example, the Science teaches that water is coming from combination of two parts of Hydrogen and one part of Oxygen. You make water by this process. But are you able to distribute it to the society? You have to supply to the society, keeping the welfare of the humanity in view. What is the use of your education if it is not serving the society? They have spent crores of rupees in attempt to convert sea water into potable drinking water. We are spending lot of money which goes to waste. You have to spend five thousand rupees to get a glass of water. You have lot of fresh water in the rivers Ganges, Yamuna, etc. You should devise ways and means of pumping this water and supply to people. You have to formulate such viable schemes. What you are doing now is like paying twice the cost of peanuts to transport it to your home.
You waste money in useless things. It is out of ignorance (Ajnana). You are doing such unworthy things with the belief that it is scientific (Vijnana). You think science has progressed. Ignorance has progressed to the same extent as you believe science has progressed. You spend four times more than what you have to spend. That is why Bharat is finding itself in economic insufficiency. You should have good sense, good conduct thereby good intellect, devotion and sense of duty while you are studying. Along with intellectual acumen you should have good conduct also. We find the students are heroes in study but zeros in practice. Such education is of no use. You should be shining as real heroes in practice as well.
We are giving lots of discourses and writing lot of good books spreading the message of love and service. It is not enough if these are propagated. They should be put into practice. Then only you will be blissful.
Embodiments of Love! Students! Boys and Girls!
The modern education is useless. You take degrees and pass out of the institute. These degrees also add to your burden. You don’t get comfort out of it. At least an uneducated villager is leading a more peaceful and happy life. Educated people who go on hunting for job failing to secure one, sometimes have to fast due to lack of income. Is this the result you expect from education? You should seek happiness and peace. If you don’t get this what is the use of education? Money alone cannot give you happiness. Earth is revolving round the Sun. Man is going around earth for money. This is not proper. Even a beggar earns money. We need the wealth of virtue. Because of lack of this, you are full of pride. All these actions of getting the degree, settling in a job, earning money, running a family are only earthly activities or Pravrithi. You have to bring out compassion, love, kindness, forbearance, which come from within. That is why it is called – ‘educare’- bringing out what is within.
There is no compassion now. We see only passion. Compassion or Daya should come out from one’s heart. You should honour every one, you should respect and help everyone, you should serve your parents with affection. They have provided you education and given you everything making you what you are now. You know, what difficult problem it is to educate children nowadays. In our University, there is no fee charged for education, but, in other places, you have to pay Rs.10,000/- in advance when a child is born for reserving a seat in 1st standard. You have to pay heavily for tuition fee in other varsities. Who will pay all this money? The parents have to struggle hard throughout the day for giving money to the children as they are very keen to educate them. Such parents you disregard today. If you do so, later in life you son will do the same thing to you. If you respect your friend today, later your friend will respect you. The state of advanced age is frightening. You may not be able to walk, you will become a matter for mockery by others as a puppet. Remember this, you should develop sacred qualities. You should grow up as an intelligent, sensible and compassionate person with humane qualities. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be a good human fulfilling the purpose of this life. If you join bad company take to all sorts of vices and bad practices, you will ruin all that you have learnt. You should join good company.
“Thyaja Durjana Samsargam
(Run away from bad company)
Bhaja Sadhu Samagamam
(Be in the company of good people)
Kuru Punyam Ahorathram
( Do good deeds day in and day out)”
These are the principles that you should follow scrupulously. What happens if you have bad company? You also become bad. “Tell me your company and I tell you what you are” goes the saying – “Love all and don’t hate anybody” But you must keep in your heart good persons only. Textual knowledge is useless. You should acquire practical knowledge.
In olden days acquiring vocational education, they were able to learn all works such as carpentry, masonry, smithy, etc. Why do you depend on Dhobis for the simple job of washing your clothes? How much extra expenditure you incur and expect your parents to pay for it? By washing your clothes, yourself you can save money which you can use for some good purpose or to help a needy person. You should tread on the righteous path and shine as ideal person setting example to rest of the world. When people extol you as a student of Sathya Sai Institutions behaving in exemplary manner, how much good name you get for the Institute! Uphold your own respect first, without this you cannot uphold the respect of the Institute. Otherwise, you lose your respect, and come with shaven head! Even if you have no food to eat, make your parents happy and give them food. You cannot always oblige but speak obligingly. Nowadays, it is difficult to make out whether a student is talking to his father or mother or someone else. His manner of talking to parents is so reprehensible. When a father in old age with physical weakness calls his son, he says ‘go to hell”. Is this the way one should treat once parent? When the son speaks in soft words how much pleased the parent will be! If you cannot make your own parents happy what happiness you can give to the society.
In olden days, on the occasion of Convocation the Preceptor used to call the disciples and bless them to lead a happy life and advise them to follow the righteous conduct. Consider father, mother, teacher and guests as God and respect all elders and so on. This is the purpose of Convocation when the student completes education and goes home, he does not respect the parents. But the parents do not mind this and are interested only in the well-being and the progress of the son. They bear all sufferings for the sake of their children. Present day students do not understand the culture of Bharat. Our culture is to pray for the welfare of entire mankind.
There was a grandfather in a house. He used to do sandhya Vandana (daily prayers) in morning and in evening. He had a grandson who used to come and sit in the varandah of the house for doing homework. He had ink bottle by his side and used to dip pen in the ink every time and start scribbling. In the evening his grandfather used to take water in spoon several times and sip chanting a Mantra. His grandson stopped his homework and was watching his grandfather intently. He asked him “why are you taking water every time by the spoon and taking into your mouth several times”? Why don’t you gulp the entire water at one stretch, if you are thirsty?” The grandfather was intelligent. He said “it is my work I am doing. You attend to your work”. But modern boys are naughty. They argue with elders. The grandson asked him “why are you doing like this”? The grandfather said “why are you dipping the pen every time in the ink. Why do not you pour all the ink at one time”? Then the boy realised his mistake in questioning his grandfather. You have to dip the pen in ink to write every word. Then only it will be neat. The grandfather said “when I chant a mantra and take water it reaches the particular deity whose name is chanted. When you write a letter and write address correctly on the cover, it will reach the right person. Similarly, the mantras are addressed to the respective deities. If you don’t understand you should keep quiet”.
Modern students don’t understand practical knowledge. You should try to learn about our ancient tradition and culture.
Man is bringing out all metal ores and minerals from the bottom of the earth thinking that everything is created for him. What is earth? It is a globe. It is cylindrical. If you dig on one side, the balance is effected, as the other side is heavy. In fact, it is the divine dispensation that maintain the balance. Because of imbalance, you get earth quakes, etc. Man is not only interfering with the balance of the earth, but also meddling with the water in the oceans. All the dirty water from sewage is let into the sea polluting it. You have to understand nature properly.
You know what scientists are doing and in fact you are also in the same mould. You are all intelligent. You must know first that knowledge is at the top. It comes out of head. The second is skill, the third is balance and the fourth is insight. I tell you to skill your knowledge and not to kill it. When you remove “s” from skill, it becomes “kill”. When you kill knowledge, the balance is lost. It means you are not putting the God given intelligence to correct use.
The human (Jati) species is the composition of three factors. “Nithi” (justice or morality), “Rithi” (Dharma or righteousness) and Kyathi (Tyaga or sacrifice). The human race is a combination of all these three. The human species is the rarest and most sacred of all the species of living beings in the world. But you are not living true to this dictum. That is why world is in chaotic condition.
Students! Past is past, forget the past. Don’t brood over the future. Live in the present, which is omnipresent. Lead good life in present time. The past is like a tree, its seed is the present and future has to grow from this seed. Past is tree. Future is tree. But present is seed in between. This present is the most important and it is to be governed by morality. Without morality, human race will be ruined completely. Morality is very essential. I said yesterday: “Sathyam Bruyath, Priyam Brayath, Sathyam Apriyam na brayath Speak Truth and let it be pleasant. If unpleasant, don’t speak the Truth to the affected person”. This contains both physical and spiritual aspects. “Speak Truth” is physical while “if unpleasant, don’t tell Truth” is spiritual. It is real Tyaga or sacrifice. If some Brahmin is sitting and chanting Mantra, you make fun. Every Mantra is highly powerful. Take an example. While performing a marriage function which is auspicious people decorate with green leaves and banana plants within four poles. If you enquire deeply the purpose behind this decoration, you will realise that it is to ensure the good health of the big assembly of people within the small Mandap formed by four post, they adore with lot of green mango leaves which absorb the Carbon diaoxide exhaled by the crowd who usually come to attend the function and supply the Oxygen for inhaling. So it is sign of auspiciousness and provides healthy environment too. Today you decorate with plastic flowers and leaves. Will these provide Oxygen or absorb the Carbon dioxide? No. Students, you should understand the old tradition properly. This University was started only with a view to teach Atmic Principle along with Academic Education. You have to broaden your outlook. This is the ancient tradition of Bharat. In those days, friendship also was very deep and tended with pure love but these days it is only `hello’ in words, when money is there and disappear when pocket is empty. There is no love. In olden days, it was like one mind in two bodies. Krishna and Kuchela are good examples of such friendship in school, in an Ashram in the forest. You should not hate or harm anybody even in thought and word. It is my desire that all of you should have love and purity in heart and shine as examples and ideals for others.
So long as you were here you are safe and secure. After going away from here, you may resort to watching TV and cinema in which they show things that spoil your mind. You may watch only educational programmes and not others which may cause imbalance in your mind. TV at present has to be feared as a source of disease. It is like the disease of TB, because all vulgar and bad things are shown in the TV which may spoil your mind. Instead, you may go for walk in free air which keeps you healthy.
Make efforts to keep your parents happy. That is very important. Follow the principle of Bharat ‘help ever, hurt never’. Swami does not object to your going abroad, but wherever you are you should not forget your culture. Be an ideal person. Do good. See Good, speak good and be good. Never try to become great and try to be good. Be friendly with good people. Get a good name wherever you go. Swami wants you to be good person. Lot of sins are attached to great men. Ravana was a great man. Rama was a good man. Both had same education but look at the difference which their conduct has brought about. Ravana strengthened only his desire. Don’t give room for desires. He brought about his own downfall because of lust. Hiranyakasupu ruined himself because of anger. He was able to control even the five elements but because of anger he perished. Duryodhana was a miser of exceptional type. He refused to give the land due to Pandavas. His entire family was ruined. All these demons not only ruined themselves but ruined their entire dynasty. When each of them was ruined by one bad quality what will happen if you breed all the six bad qualities like lust, anger, greed, pride, envy and hatred?
Think well! When you watch bad men, you will recollect your own bad qualities. When you come across a good person, good qualities will come to your mind. You have a relationship with all these qualities. Unify every one. See Unity in Diversity then Divinity will be realised.
You should not keep company of bad people. Investigate good and bad. You need not discriminate while helping. You must help all. Don’t hate anyone. It is enough for me if you behave in such exemplary manner to get good name for our Institute. I shall be happy. You are not charged any fees here. No tuition, laboratory, sports, or examination fees. As there are no fees, you enjoy peace. In other Universities, they collect fees and so there is no peace but you find only pieces. You should lead a peaceful and good life. Live as exemplary ideal human beings. That is the gift of Swami to all of you on this occasion. Don’t forget God. It is your life and everything is for you. You will be successful in all ventures. Success begets success. I want you to lead a successful life of happiness and peace.
Today’s Chief Guest, Dr. Goldstein has been coming to Swami often. You may be thinking he is an ordinary person. Don’t underrate him. He is highly educated and also wealthy. He has a good reputation. He is the Chairman of the American Medical Council. He has sterling qualities which all of you don’t have. He does not have the evil qualities which many of you have! He has all good qualities. I should not say this in his presence. There is no dearth of wealth for him. He comes to Prasanthi Nilayam because he says he finds Bliss here which is not there back home. He is very rich. They brought a girl who is the daughter of a big and rich film personality. He could have celebrated the marriage there in America. He doesn’t want a grand and great celebration. He wants only to be ‘good’. That film personality came here with the daughter. The marriage was done in the interview room. The couple are even now very happy. His second son said, Swami should perform his marriage. Though he wanted me to perform the marriage, I didn’t do for six years. I asked him to bring his father Dr. Goldstein. Here, there was a girl, who is the daughter of another rich man. She is quite good and good looking. I performed their marriage in the interview room. They are happy. Both of them are good boys. How did they become good? They are associated with the Sai Organisation. Their wives are also good. On their returning after marriage, they cried. I asked them to come here again with child. I Blessed them in this way.
It is not enough if you serve with two hands. You have to serve with four hands, (husband and wife together), one is right and another is left. Right does good work and left is bad. They have come here with child. They have my Blessings wherever they go. Dr. Goldstein is in-charge of the American Sai Organization. He has all the three sacred qualities of Duty, Discipline and Devotion. You should also lead exemplary lives in a similar manner. Be ideal and get a good name, make your parents happy. Don’t neglect them. If you disobey your father, later on your son will pay you back in the same way. Be good, See good, Do good and this is the way to 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