The Ideal of Sathya Sai Educational Institutions

Sri Sathya Sai Speaks

This country's youth are makers of tomorrow's India. The fortunes of India, good or bad, are dependent on them. On their skill, on their character, on their eagerness to learn and to serve, are based the progress of India. They can also bring about, by their conduct and character, the disintegration, the decline or the debilitation of its culture and fame. The poverty and misery that the country suffers from at the present time are the consequence of our youth ignoring their duty. India, which was for centuries the ideal land for many peoples following many faiths is today struggling to provide a mouthful of food for her children! How has this tragedy come about?

The reason is the attitudes, the desires and the acts of the youth have become unholy, impure and polluted by selfish and greedy motives. They are not seeking the education that can implant and develop qualities befitting mankind such as tolerance, humility, and the spirit of sacrifice. How are thieves able to steal flowers and fruits from a garden? Because it is not fenced in; there are no watchmen. In the Brindavan of the heart of youth, fresh, fragrant and green, holy emotions, impulses, feelings and desires bloom and fructify, but before they ripen into goals which are pursued with determination into projects and programmes implemented in daily life, thieves like evil habits and vices invade the hearts and overwhelm the youth. Therefore, the first requisite is to erect the fence of discipline and to foster the practice of virtues in the Brindavan of each heart.

Whatever has a form and name, definite and distinct, has also a cause, a creator, a maker. Every deed involves a doer. But there are among men both optimists and pessimists, the hopefuls and the depressed. The optimists keep their eyes always on higher values; the pessimists slide down into dispiritedness and despair. During nights the optimists look up at the starlight; the pessimists look down and grumble at the darkness around them. The optimists draw confidence and courage from the twinkling of a myriad lights on high. The optimists have eyes only for the flower on the rose plant. The pessimists see only the thorns underneath the flower. So fear of thorns results in rough handling and the petals of the lovely rose fall off.

Faith is essential for human progress

Seeing a glass half filled with water, the optimist is glad that it is half full, while the pessimist is sad that it is half empty. Though both statements are correct, the optimist hopes to fill the other half too, while the pessimist gives up in despair. The one has faith; the other has no faith to sustain him. So, we must develop faith by steady effort.

Faith must lead to effort. Faith is essential for human progress in every field. Knowledge, and through knowledge, wisdom can be earned only by means of faith and effort. Equipped with these, man can venture into the heights and emerge victoriously. Of course, one has to be warned against cultivating too much faith in things that are merely material. One has to develop it deep in the eternally valid Truth, God. Faith is power. Without faith, living is impossible. We have faith in tomorrow following today. That is what makes us take up activities and projects that extend beyond this day. People with no faith cannot plan; they court misery by their want of faith.

Do not lead barren lives, live for others

Students! The information and the physical and intellectual skills you gather and gain will be of use to some extent in your dealings with this material world. Scientific knowledge can be expanded through the manipulation of matter, or through the understanding of the world and the changes that happen in them. Scientists can describe the composition of matter and its behaviour, but they cannot delve into the why and wherefore of things. The real aim of education must be to help the student discover the Divine in every being. Saint Vemana says:      
Scholars Study! Study! Study!
But the fools know not who they are!
Studying, studying, studying.
The scholar is not free from vice
Nor has he become wise.
Then, why study these mean mortal things?
Study only that which is deathless.

The most desirable subject for study is the secret of the soul which is immortal. Do not be satisfied with the education that helps you to eke out a livelihood during your sojourn on earth. Even birds and beasts eke out their livelihood somehow. You have come to the world as humans in order to manifest fully the special human endowment, of intelligence and intuition. This is the goal which Prasanthi Nilayam is seeking to realise through the schools, colleges and university.

Live for the progress of the country     

You should not confine yourselves to the study of books. You should expand the love latent in your hearts and translate it into service to man. Service to society is the worship you offer to the Lord. Do not lead barren lives, concentrating on your own advancement. Live for others, for the promotion of the welfare of society, for the progress and prosperity of the country. It is not as if you are not aware of the conditions in this country. They are serious and ever frightening. Wherever you turn, people are anxious and agitated. Peace and security are not available for them. Your responsibility is, therefore, tremendous, for you have to lift India out of this morass of poverty, hatred, ignorance and violence. By the example of your lives, you have to restore confidence among the' people in the higher values of life. Do not neglect the great lessons embedded in Sanatana Dharma, which have sustained countless generations in this land for many centuries. “May all the Worlds be happy” – this is the goal towards which Sanatana Dharma is leading us. Welcome within the fold of your love all men without distinction of race, religion, colour or class. Have the picture of the happy, united, love-filled human community in your heart. That will give you enough encouragement in your mission.

Develop simple living and high thinking

Students! Only two paths are open before you: the path of individual freedom and the path of social service. Adhering to individual freedom, you should not lose yourselves in egotism. Students must develop simple living and high thinking. In the name of high thinking, do not lose yourselves in tons of books and waste your energies in barren pursuits. The mind will only confuse, confound and weaken your reason. Use only the energy that the situation and the need of the moment demand. Take the example of the electric bulb. The drawing room should have a higher wattage bulb, while the bedroom does not need it. If you fit all rooms with brilliant bulbs of high wattage, for the simple reason that electric current is available, you will be wasting precious stuff and paying heavy costs. Energy too has to be conserved. Pay careful attention to the time, place and purpose, and your action will be correct.

You are falling a prey to Western manners and behaviour patterns. They are not in line with the culture of India. Their social life and habits are suited only to the conditions of their countries. You cannot adopt their modes of living without injuring your own. So, adopt only those which are in accord with our cultural traits. Give up all habits which are completely unrelated to our ideals and goals.

Man has in him vast resources of power. When he does not utilise them while discharging his duties to himself and to the society which sustains him, he is only becoming a target for ridicule. When you are on a railway station platform waiting for the train that is due, and when you come to know that it will arrive five hours late, how do you react? You fling abusive words at the train. When the coaches receive from you such treatment, how much worse treatment you deserve for not fulfilling your duty and for disappointing the expectations that you have raised by your being a man! Utilise your skills and learning as consistently and as effectively as duty demands. Unless used, a watch get rusted what can be said, therefore of unused skill?

The body has to be exercised to keep it trim as a tool for serving your fellowmen. The body has not been granted by God in order to be fed and well clothed and to be paraded around in pride. Plunge into the problems of society, take up the burden of the family, and advance the interests of your country. Shine as examples of loving service. This is the ideal of the Sai Colleges. Cast aside all egotism, pluck out the root of pride, destroy the weed of envy and cultivate the Divine Consciousness. That will make you true students of these institutions.

Source: Divine Discourse at Prasanthi Nilayam to the Men’s and Women’s Alumni Association of Sri Sathya Sai Colleges, Whitefield and Anantapur, June 27, 1981.

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