True Education Is For Transformation

Sri Sathya Sai Speaks at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus Auditorium

Anglicised education has gained prominence,
Spiritual studies have taken a back seat,
How then can purity of the mind
The essence of education — be developed?

Teachers! Students and Lovers of education! 

The entire visible universe is a cosmic university. In it, every human being has to learn how to eat, walk, speak and do many other things. So, Nature is the first teacher. At birth, man is like an animal. The parents teach the child how to develop its human faculties.  If the parents do not undertake this task, the child would remain an animal. Thus, the second category of teachers for a man is his parents. The ancient sages  felt  that  it  was  not  enough to  develop  the  human  qualities  in  the  child  and therefore envisaged a system of Samskaras (cultural training) for the spiritual development of the child. The Samskaras are intended not only to develop further the human qualities, but also to eliminate all remnants of animal nature in man.

What is meant by Samskara? It is a system of practices by which the bad tendencies in man are got rid of and good tendencies are inculcated. They are intended to turn the Pravritti (outward-looking tendencies) of man towards the cultivation of the Nivritti (inward-looking tendencies).

Transformation Increases the Value of the Object

The process of Samskara (refinement) is not confined to specific things; it is applicable to every object in the universe. No object can be enjoyed by man without its going through a process of transformation.  For example, take the case of paddy. The paddy that is grown and harvested cannot be consumed as such. It has to be converted into rice. In the process of transformation, the original paddy has considerably increased in its value as rice. The transformation process thus makes an object more useful and valuable. Take another example, that of cotton. Cotton in its primary form has very little utility. But, when it  is  spun  into  thread  and  made  into  cloth,  it becomes usable  by  man.  There is a wide gap between the value of cotton and that of cloth into which it is converted. The same rule applies to gold. There is a big difference between the value of the ore that is extracted from a mine and the gold that is got from the ore after processing.

It  is  clear  from  these  examples  that  all  objects  in  the world,  unless they go through various processes of transformation,  cannot  acquire  much  value.  If  that  is the  case  with  regard  to ordinary  objects,  how  much more  is  it  necessary  for  man,  who  is  more  important than  all  of them, to go through this transformation? Man is the most precious object in creation. Men are more valuable than all the wealth in the world. It is man who imparts value to all objects. Today, we are failing to give proper value to man.

What is the reason? It is because man is attracted towards the visible objects of the world experienced by the senses and is unaware of the Atma (the Spirit) within him. The powers that man is endowed with are limited. By appropriate practices he can make good use of them. But by involving himself in sensual pleasures, man is losing his powers. The main reason for the loss of powers given to man is his lack of self-control. This accounts for the premature onset of old age among many people.

For accomplishing anything in the world, three things are essential: one, mastery over the senses; two, control over the mind; three, maintaining perfect bodily health. It is only when all these three requisites are present, that man can achieve his aims.  If today man fails to achieve even petty objects, it is because he is deficient in all these.

To  acquire  these  three,  man  has  to  practise  Dharma,  as  laid  down  by  the  sages.  The Vedas declare – “Yatho Abhyudaya Nissreyas Siddhih Saa Dharmah” (that which is conducive to one's well-being here and hereafter is Dharma). This means that in this world, that which gives happiness and relieves sorrow here and hereafter is Dharma. This calls for unity in thought, word and deed. This is true righteousness. Where there is no accord between what one thinks, says and does, one’s life is meaningless. It is by the harmony of thought, speech and action, that the true worth of man is manifested.

EHV is 3HV

The  mere  human  form  is  of  no  use  to  the  world.  It is by one’s thoughts and actions that one's humanness is revealed. Hence, all the studies that are pursued should be related to the body, the mind and the Atma. Today's education stops with the concern for the body and does not proceed up to the heart. People speak about ‘Education in Human Values’ (EHV). In My view, what is needed is not EHV but 3HV - education which embraces the Head, Heart and Hand. Students should reflect on the human values. One who pursues knowledge in the world may be a student or a scholar. But one cannot become thereby a Jnani (a man of wisdom). There is a big difference between a scholar and a Jnani. Ravana had mastered 64 categories of knowledge while Rama had studied only 34 categories. Although Ravana had studied more subjects than Rama, Valmiki described Ravana as a Murkha (a foolish person). Why was Ravana called as Murkha?  Because  despite  his  mastery  of all  skills  and  arts,  he  was  a  slave  of  his senses. The one  who is a slave  of  his  senses  is  a  fool  who  has  lost his  reason.  Rama was not dominated by his senses. He was their sovereign. 

The difference between Rama and Ravana can be seen in three aspects: Sarva Loka Hithe Ratah (one  who  rejoices in the  welfare  of  the  whole  world); Sarva Jnana Sampannah (endowed  with  all wisdom); Sarve Samudita Gunaihi (one who is filled with all the virtues). Rama promoted the welfare of the world by adhering to Truth and setting an example in righteous conduct. Hence, the supreme importance of upholding truth should be recognised. Everyone should try to keep one’s promise and live up to what one says. The simple motto - ‘Truth is vital to speech’, contains a profound message. All of you tend to speak a great deal. How much truth is there in your speech? This is the first lesson students have to learn. Without truth, what you speak has no value. Moreover, truth has to be spoken for the welfare of the world.

Source: True Education is for Transformation, Discourse 8, My Dear Students Volume 2, Divine Discourse delivered at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus Auditorium on June 15, 1989


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