Sri Sathya Sai Addresses National Symposium on Values Orientation in Higher Learning

Thursday, September 24, 1987 to Saturday, September 26, 1987

A National Symposium on ‘Value Orientation in Higher Learning’, the first of its kind on a national basis, was organised at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed University), Prasanthi Nilayam, between 24th and 26th September, 1987.

Sri Sathya Sai at the Poornachandra Auditorium at Prasanthi Nilayam

Vice-Chancellors from various Institutions and educationists from all over India participated in the Symposium. Bhagavan inaugurated the Symposium in the Auditorium, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus on 24th morning. 

Dr. Somnath Saraf, Vice-Chancellor, SSSIHL, welcomed the participants. Prof. G. Rami Reddy, President of the Association of Indian Universities and Vice-Chancellor of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi, was the Chief Guest. He delivered his Inaugural Address followed by Bhagavan’s Address to those present at the Symposium. 

"We are discussing education in Human Values. What seems to be necessary is not EHV but 3HV: Head-Heart-Hand (values). The hand should carry out what the heart has approved of the ideas emanating from the head. This triune process has been described in Vedanta as Trikaranashuddhi - the purity and harmony of thought, speech and action.

Activities arising from Trikaranashuddhi find expression in two ways: one through artistic creativity and the other, through scientific exploration. Of the two, artistic creativity is supremely important. The aesthetic feeling is based on creative imagination. A sculptor who desires to carve an image out of a piece of rock has to have the figure he seeks to carve in his imagination. This bhava (imagination) finds ichcha sakti (creative expression) in the sculpture. If the creative imagination is absent, no sculpture can come out of the rock. Hence, imagination and the creative impulse have to be properly understood. Both of them are rooted in Prajna, the Divine source of all creative activity. As against this aesthetic creativity, we have the urge for scientific enquiry. This is primarily concerned with objects in the external world. Experimental research has its vision turned outward. But even that has its basis in the Antardrishti (Inward Vision). This relates to the subject.

Integration must become a way of life

Science has been making remarkable progress in the recent decades. The world undoubtedly needs the discoveries of science. But if it forgets the base and is preoccupied only with the superstructure, it will be the source of much disorder and trouble. It may cause all kinds of diseases. Science has been divorced from spirituality and faith in the Divine. Many imagine that science can create a heaven on earth. But what is the kind of heaven that is envisaged? Is it the enjoyment of material and sensuous pleasures? This hedonistic attitude is undermining all human values.

Research is going on endlessly. Science is continually seeking answers to various questions. But how many of the answers are correct and satisfying? Progressively, the climate of peace is being destroyed by science. If peace is to be ensured, science has to be promoted on the right lines. This calls for unity among the people. Service to society must become the fundamental purpose. 

Everybody talks about the need for world unity. But real unity must begin with the individual and the family. From the home, it must spread to the village, nation and the world. National integration comes to the fore whenever there is an attack from outside by China or Pakistan. But when the external threat passes, integration is forgotten; integration should become an essential part of our being. It must become a way of life and cherished as an important value. It is vital to perceive the unity that underlies the apparent diversity. Bodies are many, but life is one. Beings are many, but Bliss is one. Religions are many, but Truth is one. This is the kind of oneness that has to be experienced in the depths of our heart. Prajnana (integral, higher wisdom) subsumes Vijnana (secular knowledge) and embraces also Sujnana (right knowledge). Prajnana, Vijnana and Sujnana together contribute to the fullness of man.

The ABC of life: Always Be Careful

Life is an exacting master. Hence the need to be always careful in everything one does. This is the ABC of life' Always Be Careful. One should always remember the supreme sacredness of human life. Man can experience real bliss only when he recognises the Truth, Peace and Love that emanate from Prajna and moulds his life on the basis of that knowledge. Human Values cannot be practised by studying books or listening to lectures. They have to be cultivated by individual effort. 

Students! True education consists in sanctifying everything you utter and every thought and action of yours. Humility is the bed-rock. Cultivate humility as the first step, Bend the body. Mend the senses. End the mind. This is the key to immortality. Human values are essential not for students alone. Everyone has to practise human values as a mark of a true human being. When a human being declares that he is a man, it is only a half truth. He must also declare that he is not an animal. To give up animal qualities and practise human values will make a man fully human.

Education without Transformation

The educational process will not be complete unless, together with specialisation in specific subjects, one acquires general knowledge and develops common sense. Many famous scholars who had significant scientific achievements to their credit have been lacking in general knowledge and the common sense required in daily life.

Today we have made prodigious progress in various fields of knowledge in mathematics, physics, chemistry, the biosciences. But no attempt is being made even to approach study of the spiritual. All our knowledge ends with study of matter, plants and living creatures. Education must go beyond these to an understanding of the Divine. Only that is true education. The task of education is to develop man into an ideal and exemplary person. Notable discoveries have been made over the years and great scientists have been produced. But how far have human values been promoted and what is the transformation that has taken place in mankind? There is no answer to these questions. The promotion of human values must become an integral part of the educational process. It is because students today have not acquired human values that they are behaving often like demons.

Give Values Orientation to Education

Leading Vice-Chancellors and educationists have assembled here today for this national symposium. If they dedicate themselves to the task of giving value orientation to education, considerable progress can be made in this crucial sphere. To restore the supremacy of human values in all fields of national life, an association should be set up by leading scholars and educationists in the country. This association should have no links with the government. It is only if it is autonomous and completely independent that it can achieve its objectives. There are eminent educationists in the universities. They may have very good ideas but they have no freedom to implement them. They should be given the freedom to try out their ideas. Authority should be commensurate with obligations. Vice-chancellors will then be able to promote human values among teachers and students. If all educational institutions jointly strive to instill human values in students, Bharat can become an ideal nation and an example to the world.

Today, educational institutions are growing in numbers, but there is no growth of a broad outlook among the educated people. Education should serve to enlarge the vision and broaden the outlook of the people. Everyone should be made to feel that his or her welfare is bound up with the nation's well-being. 

Science and Spirituality should go together

Everyone should feel proud about Bharat's ancient culture and its spiritual heritage. Spiritual knowledge and scientific knowledge should go together. There should be no dichotomy between science and spirituality. True bliss can be experienced only when science and spirituality are combined. Development of science and technology alone will not help people to get rid of bad thoughts, bad desires and bad deeds, because science by itself is not competent to sublimate life. Only spirituality can promote ethical values, the spirit of tolerance and equal-mindedness.

The science of spirit is essential for developing human values. Devotion to God is the first stage in the spiritual journey. Instead of developing devotion men are immersed in the "deep ocean" of worldly life. When the Ocean of Milk was churned, the first thing that emerged was. the Halahala, fuming poison. Amrita (nectar) came later. When the ocean of worldly existence is churned, Vairagya (renunciation) will emerge first. The nectar of bliss will come later. Vairagya is renunciation of attachment to the physical and the material. 

Students should start with cultivating the spirit of mutual regard and harmony. This will lead to good behaviour. When students in one educational institution grow in this manner, they will serve as an example to the rest of the world. Students should shed narrow and parochial loyalties and prepare themselves to serve the society and the world. Whatever conclusions are arrived at by the educationists and Vice-chancellors who have gathered here for this symposium, you students should become the "Messengers" for spreading them to the world."

Swami delivering the Valedictory Address for the Symposium at the Poornachandra Auditorium
The Valedictory meeting was held in the Poornachandra Auditorium on 26th. Dr. ECG Sudarshan, Director, MATSCIENCE, Madras, presided over the function and addressed the gathering. Dr. Jagadish Narayan, Secretary, Association of Indian Universities (AIU), presented the recommendations of the Symposium to Swami. In His Valedictory Address Swami emphasized:

"Educational institutions should teach students to adhere to truth and to discharge their duties as a sacred obligation. Students should not allow success or failure to raffle their minds unduly. Courage and self-confidence must be instilled in the students.

Bend the twig and bend the tree, says the proverb. The moulding of character must start with children at the earliest age. Begin developing human values from the primary school. Some are concerned about our living in a "secular state". Secularism really means equal respects for all faiths and beliefs. There should be no hatred towards any faith. Other creeds or beliefs should not be condemned or derided. Some time ago there was an absurd idea that Sathya Sai educational institutions were religious institutions. Sai educational institutions are based on equal respect for all religions. They are wedded to unity and harmony.

Whatever studies you may pursue, do not give up your faith in God. To give up God is to give up life itself. Life is God. Truth is God. All that you do as an offering to God will be an expression of human values.

The educationists and Vice-chancellors who have assembled here have come to some decisions as a result of their high-minded deliberations. They are firmly convinced that human values have to be promoted. Whatever their limitations, they should strive to the extent possible to implement their decisions. The Divine is installed in their hearts. It is enough if they follow the promptings of the Divine. They are bound to achieve their objectives. If faith in God is strengthened, all values will develop in due course. Sublimate your lives by remembering, worshiping and adoring God."

Source: Sri Sathya Sai Digvijayam Part 2 (1986 - 2005)

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