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Date:26 Jul 1999 Occasion:EHV seminar Place:Prashanti Nilayam

Human Values and Education

Sadayam Hridayarn Yasya Bhasitham Sathya Bhushitham
Kayah Parahithe Yasya Kalisthasya Karothikim
(Sanskrit Verse)

What can the evil effects of Kali Age do to a man whose heart is filled with compassion, whose every utterance is truth and whose body is dedicated for the service of others.

The Human Values

Man should fill his heart with compassion, always speak the truth and dedicate his body for the welfare of society. The thought, word and deed of man should always be sacred. The heart not polluted by desire and anger, the tongue not tainted by untruth and the body unblemished by the acts of violence-these are the true human values. It is because of the lack of these human values that the country is facing hardships today. The parents and the teachers should take note of the fact that only the students can restore the pristine glory of Bharat, which once was the treasure house of spirituality, but has now become the abode of worldly and ephemeral pleasures. Just as the parents are saddened seeing their children lagging behind in studies, so also Mother India feels sad seeing her children lacking moral and ethical values. You have to remember that all those whom you revere as ideal citizens and noble souls were once students themselves. Never forget that students of today are the future citizens and leaders of this country.

Culture and Values

The value of an individual depends on his or her culture. The real meaning of the word culture lies in giving up bad thoughts and bad actions and cultivating sacred thoughts and noble deeds. The country is not a mere piece of land; it is an assemblage of citizens. For the country to progress, the citizens have to cultivate the moral, ethical and spiritual values. It is not possible for the citizens and the leaders to cultivate these values unless they practice them right from childhood. Life becomes meaningless if one does not take to righteous actions from an early age. Modern students are not able to refine their lives. So, the parents and the teachers should play an active role in shaping the lives of the students. First and foremost they have to enquire as to how the students can get rid of their evil tendencies. Just as a boulder becomes worthy of adoration and respect when it is carved into a beautiful idol, so also the students will become ideal citizens if they are brought up in the right environment. The teachers and parents are responsible for the good and bad in students. But, unfortunately, they have not understood their role in shaping the lives of the students.

What is Education

What is 'Vidya'? It is derived from the root word 'Vid', meaning, 'to know'. Vidya is termed as education in English. The term education has its origin in the Latin word 'Educare,' which means 'to elicit'. Educare has two aspects, the worldly and the spiritual. Worldly education brings out the latent knowledge pertaining to the physical world. Spiritual education brings out the inherent divinity in man. So, both worldly and spiritual education are essential, without, which the human life has no value. But, spirituality finds no place in the modern education system. Only worldly education is given prominence. Just as two wings are essential for a bird to soar high in the sky, two wheels for a cart to move; so also the two types of education are needed for man to attain the goal of life. Spiritual education is for life, whereas worldly education is for a living. Only when man is equipped with these two aspects of education, can he be deserving of respect and adoration in society. Possession of these two aspects of education will bring not only respect and adulation, but also self-satisfaction. The worldly education, which relates to the head, is ephemeral. Reading, writing, eking out a livelihood, and attaining name and fame - all these result from worldly education. The worldly education makes man great, whereas the spiritual education makes him good. The spiritual education relates to the heart, the origin of sacred qualities like compassion, truth, forbearance and love. Today the parents expect their children to go in for higher studies, amass wealth and become great, but very few want their children to be good. Goodness is long-lasting, whereas greatness is temporary. Goodness forms the basis for spiritual life. There are crores and crores of people who have become great by amassing wealth, but what is their contribution to the welfare of society? Absolutely nil. Therefore, strive to be good, not great.

The modern students are travelling across the globe for material education without realizing the fact that the heart, the source of true education is within. True education is that which makes man ideal. Parents are the first teachers. They should show them the way to goodness. Man cannot become good by merely being highly educated. Worldly education confers only Artha (wealth) and Swartha (selfishness). Such education is responsible for the downfall of man. The worldly education (Bhouthika Parijnana) is information oriented, while the spiritual education is transformation oriented. The information oriented education makes man a computer, whereas the transformation oriented education makes man a composer. Man should become a composer, not a computer.

Decline of Values

Today the moral, ethical and spiritual values are on the decline. The modern students have no trace of these values in them. They have no respect for their parents and society. In that case how can they expect to be respected by their children? Our ancient culture exhorts: Mathru Devo Bhava, Pithru Devo Bhava and Acharya Devo Bhava (revere your mother, father and teacher as God). Respect and be respected. Practice before you preach. A composer is one who practices what he preaches.

Ashram (hermitage) Education Vs Urban Education

In the Mahabharata, there was a king by name Dushyantha. Having been born and brought up in a palace, he was after worldly and material pursuits. On the other hand, his son Bharata who was born and, brought up in Kanvashram (hermitage of the sage Kanva) was a repository of moral, spiritual and ethical values. This clearly demonstrates the difference between urban education and ashram education. Ashram education inculcates all noble values in man. Bharata became a paragon of all virtues because he received ideal , education right from his childhood. This enabled him to lead a life of peace and security. That is why it is said, start early, drive slowly and reach safely.

Values and Pranas (Life Principles)

The five human values of Sathya, Dharma, Santi, Prema and Ahimsa can be compared to the five life principles of man, viz., Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana. A true human being is one who practices the five human values. Today man does not speak truth, apprehensive of the consequences and does not practice Dharma as he does not know what it really means.

Under any circumstances never give up human values. Losing any of the five human values amounts to committing suicide. If you do not speak the truth, you lose one of your life principles. Truth is your Atma. So, till you breathe your last, uphold truth. The culture of Bharat teaches, Sathyam Vada Dharmam Chara (Speak truth and follow righteousness). These values are the same for one and all. People all over the world are praying for peace. How can peace be attained? It is only through the practice of Sathya and Dharma. Today man is leading a life bereft of Sathya and Dharma resulting in lack of peace (Santhi), which in turn has lead to the, absence of Prema (Love). The absence of these four values compel man to resort to violence. Violence is rampant everywhere be it home, bazaar, or factory. Man, bereft of these five principles, has become a living corpse. Life has to be infused into man today, for which faith in God is very essential. Where there is faith there is love. Where there is love there is peace. Where there is peace there is truth. Where there is truth there is God. Where there is God there is bliss. Human life has to begin with faith and end with bliss.

Faith is the restorer

Today even the parents and the children, the husband and the wife lack faith in each other. The love they exhibit is only artificial. Under such circumstances how can love prevail? One should have 'heartful' faith in order to experience true love. Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly. Fill your heart with compassion. When the heart is filled with love all actions will be suffused with love. Jumsai, in his talk, referred to EHV as 3HV. The first H stands for Heart, the second for Head and the third for Hand. The harmony of heart, head and hand symbolizes the true human life. Manasyekam Vachasyekam Karmanyekam Mahatmanam (he is a noble soul whose thought, word and deed are in perfect harmony). Manasyanyath, Vachasyanyath, Karmanyanyath Duratmanaam (he is a wicked one whose thought, word and deed are at variance). The very name of Hridaya (Hri + Daya) indicates compassion (Daya). So, the heart should be filled with compassion. When there is love in the heart all that you utter will be truth. Love in speech is Truth. Love in action is Dharma. Love in thought is peace. Love in understanding is Ahimsa (non-violence). So, love is the underlying principle of truth, righteousness, peace and non-violence.

Teachers and Gurus

In olden days the teachers were called Acharyas, meaning those who practice what they preach. Today the teachers cannot be called acharyas because they do not practice what they preach. The modern teachers are experts in giving platform speeches, whereas the acharyas of ancient times were proficient in practical science. How can the students heed the advice of the teachers if the teachers themselves do not practice what they preach? If the cow is grazing in the field can we expect the calf to remain a mere witness? The calf naturally follows the cow. The relationship between the teacher and the student should be like that of cow and calf. It means the teachers should treat the students as their own children. But today one does not find such relationship between the teacher and the student. Both the teachers and students have become money-minded. As a result the students do not respect the teachers and the teachers do not have love for the students.

Mercenary Education

In many of the educational institutions seats are allotted to those who can pay large sums of money. The quota system has corrupted the field of education. To stop this unholy trend education should be offered free of cost. Everyone has an equal right on education. Education is the gift of God. No one has the right to sell it. As the government is also encouraging the commercial educational institutions, the educational system has become totally corrupted. Education should lead to, elevation, not agitation. Today, money can buy admission, attendance, marks and even degrees for that matter. The medical seats are readily offered to candidates who pay a sum of twenty to thirty lakhs. In order to earn the money they had paid to get the medical seat, the doctors charge exorbitant fees from the patients. The same is the case with engineering too. Even for admission in first standard, some institutions are charging twenty to twenty five thousand, rupees. The modern education has made man a beggar. One should be a bigger not a beggar. I am not saying this out of sense of pride, Sathya Sai Institute is the only institution offering free education. Jumsai said that more and more institutions should be established. It is a matter of pleasure, but care has to be taken to see that education is offered totally free of cost. Only then can we shape the students into ideal citizens. Teachers should share all their knowledge with the students wholeheartedly. They must practice before they preach. This is what I expect from the teachers. The education that is acquired by paying large amounts as donation is no education at all. Only people having black money will resort to such illegal means to acquire degrees. 'Do (for the) nation,' that is the real donation. Make use of your education for the welfare of society and the nation. Share your knowledge with others. It is not necessary that you should become a teacher to do so. There may be a few spoor students in your locality. Conduct special classes for them in the evenings. Today people fight for money and property right from dawn to dusk. They take to corrupt ways to earn even a single rupee. One should not live just for the sake of money. It is better to die rather than to lead a life just for the sake of money. If you have money in excess, help others, provide free education and free medical care to the poor. In Zambia there is a devotee by the name Victor Kanu. He is here right now. He has established a Sathya Sai Educational Institution in Zambia. Many poor children are studying there. Both he and his wife, are teaching the children with all love and care. (At this juncture Bhagavan asked Mr. Victor Kanu, sitting nearby, as to how many children are studying in their school. Mr. Kanu said 520 children are there.) They are imparting Swami's teachings and human values to all the children. It is going to become a college very soon.

There are many affluent people in the world. But they do not have the spirit of sacrifice to help such sacred institutions. Some of them do contribute their mite, but they are after name and fame. They expect their names to appear in letters of gold. Sathya Sai institutions are not for name and fame. I would like to narrate a small incident in this regard. At a particular place when I was about to give discourse one person switched off the fan. I asked him, "Why did you switch off the fan? We need it now. It is very hot here." That person replied saying it was he who donated the fan, his name was written on the blades of the fan and unless it was switched off his name will not be visible.

Bharatiya Education and Values

The culture of Bharat declared "Na Karmana Na Prajaya Dhanena Thyagenaikena Amrutathwamanasuhu" (Immortality can be attained only through sacrifice, neither wealth nor progeny nor good deeds can confer it.) All the activities and rituals you undertake must be for the welfare of society. All your children must be dedicated for the emancipation of the country. It is only sacrifice that confers immortality. Participate in every good work according to your capacity. Select a few deserving students and give them free education. Education is not for worldly progress. It is to set an ideal, experience happiness and share it with others. All the elders, the educationists, the rich and the students should come together and strive for progress in the field of education. Just as the thread that binds flowers of different hues to make a garland, likewise the feelings of love and sacrifice should bring you all together. The flowers may fade away, but the thread remains changeless. Your bodies can be compared to flowers. With the passage of time, the child becomes man, man becomes father and father, becomes grandfather. But the feeling of love is changeless. It is true and eternal.

Even the animals render help to others, but not man. The cow partakes of grass and yields milk. But man partakes of sacred milk and indulges in wicked deeds. The spirit of sacrifice that is found even in a cow is not found in man today. What is the use of all the education he has acquired if he cannot give up his evil qualities? All the worldly education will only lead man to vain argumentation, but not total wisdom. It cannot help you to escape from the clutches of death. So, acquire that knowledge which will make you immortal.(Telugu Poem) The education should enable us to cultivate sacred qualities. The worldly education is negative and the spiritual education is positive. What is the use of having a bulb without electricity? The secular knowledge is like the bulb and the spiritual knowledge, the electricity. Both are essential for the progress of man and the world at large. Make proper use of the knowledge you have acquired. The parents should take active interest in education of their children. Never desire that your son should become a great person, instead pray that he should become a good person. The students should have the character of Bharata.

The Good and the Great

If one goes through the sacred texts of the Ramayana, the Bhagavata and the Mahabharata, one understands the evil effects of Kama (desire), Krodha (anger) Lobha (greed). In the Ramayana, Rama symbolized goodness, whereas Ravana, greatness. Though Rama and Ravana were equally proficient in all the forms of knowledge, Ravana could not make proper use of his knowledge as he had no control over his senses. On the other hand Rama exercised control over his senses and sacrificed everything for the sake of truth. The Ramayana is known as Ramacharitra (the story of Rama) and the story of Ravana is known as Kamacharitra (the story of desire).

The Bhagavata speaks of the consequences one has to face if one becomes a victim of anger. Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu were air-powerful, but ultimately perished because of their anger towards God. Hiranyakasipu was a great, scientist. Today man has traveled only up to the moon, whereas Hiranyakasipu could even reach the stars. But he was ruined by his anger.

In the Mahabharata Duryodana and Dussassana symbolize greed, which is a negative power. On the other hand, the Pandavas stand for the positive power. They adhered to Dharma under all circumstances. Similarly in the Bhagavata, Hiranyakasipu symbolizes negative power and Prahlada, the positive power. Thus wherever you see, you find positive and negative, good and bad co-exist. Accept the good and give up the bad and earn a good name.

The Method and the Means

Teachers! You have participated in this conference for the past three days. All of you have noble ideas, but you have to think of a proper way to implement them. Understand that character is important, not money.

Students! I want you to become ideal leaders. Make use of your education to serve the poor. Conduct free tuition classes for the poor children, share your textbooks with them. Only then the feeling of brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God will develop.

As I have told you earlier Educare has two aspects: one is Pravritti (outward) and the other is Nivritti (inward). God is the Hridayavasi (indweller). So all that originates from the heart is essentially divine. So, let all your thoughts, words and deeds originate from your heart. Do good, be good and see good. This is the way to God. Accept both pleasure and pain as gifts of God. In order to get cured of Malaria, one has to swallow a bitter mixture. Likewise, one has to face hardships in order to attain happiness. That is why it is said, "Pleasure is an interval between two pains. Light has no value if there is no darkness. Likewise, pleasure has no value without pain."

Students! To the extent possible serve the society. Of course, you need to take up jobs and earn your livelihood. But do not be avaricious for money. Be satisfied with what you get. Alexander conquered many kingdoms and seized a lot of wealth. When his end approached, he realized that he could not take even a single penny with him. He requested his minister to keep his two hands raised above the head during the final journey so that the people would understand that even the mighty emperor Alexander had to leave the world empty-handed. Likewise, everyone has to leave this world empty-handed. Even a millionaire has to partake of only food; he cannot sustain himself eating gold. So, be satisfied with the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter. Do your jobs properly and undertake service activities in your leisure time. Develop faith in God. If you do not have faith in God, you will not have fear of sin. Then you will become a demon. So, fear of sin; love for God is very essential. If you have these two, you will be successful in all your endeavors. Consider every good work as God's work.

Embodiments of Love!

Give up the hankering to go abroad after you complete your studies. Serve your Motherland. Lord Rama said, Janani Janmabhoomischa Swargadapi Gareeyasi (mother and Motherland are greater than heaven). So, work for your Motherland and serve the poor. The best way to love God is to love all and serve all, but serve only when it is necessary. You are born to experience love. Your life is full of love. But, you are not able to understand this Principle of Love. There is nothing greater than love in this world. Love is God. God is Love, so live in love.

[Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajans, "Bhava Bhaya Harana..." and "Sathya Jnanam Anantham Brahma..."]