How Should We Conduct Ourselves?

Sri Sathya Sai Addressing Students at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus Hostel
If one has the splendorous lamp to help him see, then there is no need for another lamp. In the same way, one need not search outside for wisdom. The birds and beasts, without any education, lead a systematic life. But, the educated man does not lead a life of wisdom. In fact, he leads a life of utter foolishness. 

The Building Of Life 

Your life is a four-storey building. If the building has to be safe, the foundation should be very strong. Many people see the building, they see its full glory and beauty; it attracts people. But, the foundation has no beauty, and it does not attract anyone. Yet, the security of the building depends upon the invisible foundation. The dome or any part of the mansion has its own beauty. But, the foundation never exhibits pride that the building depends upon it. It is not moved by praise or blame, and maintains equanimity. 

The first floor of this mansion of life is Brahmacharya (celibacy). The second floor is the stage of Grihastha (householder). The third one is Vanaprastha (forest life), and Sanyasa (life of renunciation) is the fourth floor of this mansion. Many people build these four floors. Some build only three, and some others only two. People in the first floor are the celibates. Hence, it is very important to lay a strong foundation. The security of the mansion of life depends upon the four virtues of humility, obedience, character and morality. 

There is a violent spread of seven dangerous sins in the country today; they are commerce without morality, politics without principles and honesty, education without character, worship without sacrifice, wealth without effort, science without humanity and devotion without steadfastness. We should get rid of these seven sins and achieve the seven goals, of commerce with morality, politics with honesty, educated people full of character, worship with a sense of sacrifice, wealth earned through hard toil, and science with humanity, and steadfast devotion. It is only then that the country will prosper. 

Human life is made of three virtuous qualities. But the man today does not cultivate the three attributes of charity, morality and character. The nation today is full of chaos because of the decline of these virtues. Though it is unpleasant to the ears of students, it is not possible to shut the mouths of people and students today. There should be a combination of conduct and behaviour according to the status of one’s life. If the person does not behave according to his status, tradition has to bend its head in humiliation. 

How To Conduct Oneself 

Once, a man went to the court of a king in the disguise of Shankaracharya. Thinking that Shankaracharya himself has come, the king offered due respects to the man. Being in the disguise of Shankaracharya, he taught all the truths of life to the king. The king, at the end, offered a plate full of gold coins to the man. The man replied that one has to leave his wealth, relations, and worldly duties in order to be liberated and said that he would come again the next day in another form. On the second day he came in the disguise of a dancer and danced majestically in the court. It was astonishingly beautiful. The dancer did not keep his two feet on the floor. The people present were astonished. As soon as the dance was over, the king came down with a plate full of gold coins and offered it to the dancer. The dancer told him, “Oh king, these coins are not enough for me. I want more.” The king questioned, “Yesterday, you discarded the same coins offered to you and today you demand more?” The dancer said, “As is the form, so is the behaviour. Yesterday, I was in the disguise of Shankaracharya and I acted according to the norms of a Sanyasi. Oh king! As people’s conduct is not accompanied by proper respect and decorum, as their behaviour is not proper, I have come in this form to teach you.” 

If the students behave properly, according to their standard, then only it is good. It will be humiliating for the tradition of a student, if he does not behave properly. If a teacher does not conduct himself according to his standard, it is shameful. If the householder does not keep up the glory of the tradition of a householder, it is an embarrassment for that phase of life. In whichever country you live, in whatever times you exist, you have to take into account the time, place and circumstances. 
"It is not my nature to burden people, but only to reduce it"
Even in history, this kind of behaviour of Divinity itself can be seen. A Gopika in the Dwapara age went to a well with two vessels. She rested one on her head and she wanted to keep the second one on top of the first. But there was nobody to help her. At that time, Krishna arrived there. She asked Krishna, “Would you place this vessel on top of the first vessel above my head?” Krishna said that He would not do it. She was full of sorrow that Krishna would not help her. And then came another woman, who helped her, and they went home. Krishna also followed her to her home. There without the Gopika praying to Him, He Himself put down the vessel from her head. The Gopika was surprised. She said, “Krishna, You refused to keep the vessel on my head near the well. Now, without my prayer, You have brought the vessel down. What is the significance of this?” Krishna said, “It is not my nature to burden people, but only to reduce it.” It is not God’s nature to burden people. On the other hand, He unburdens them. It is difficult for people to understand this kind of behaviour.

Man’s nature is to crave for happiness. Joy is his nature. Ignorant of his joyous nature, he seeks joy elsewhere (outside of him). When he learns, he thinks there is joy in learning. But he does not derive joy at all by learning. He makes many efforts thinking that employment gives joy. Even after obtaining a job, he does not derive joy at all. He thinks that marriage will make him happy and becomes a householder. Thinking that progeny will give him happiness, he wants to have children. He does not get any joy at all from children. Thinking that wealth is the source of happiness, he seeks wealth day and night, without any rest at all. Without finding any joy or happiness, he dips and wails for all that happened to him, often after losing his health. Then only man realizes that neither learning, nor wealth, nor children, nor anything in this world will give him happiness. Even if he has health and wealth, he does not enjoy any happiness at all. The dog at hay does not allow the cattle to come and feed on that, nor does it eat that hay. In the same way, wealthy people neither give anything to the society, nor enjoy their wealth. This is not the sign of affluence. Charity is a part of wealth. But man is not realizing that charity alone gives him happiness. 

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