The Fourth Summer Course in Indian Culture and Spirituality at Sri Sathya Sai University - 1993

Thursday, May 20, 1993 to Thursday, June 03, 1993

The Summer Course in Indian Culture and Spirituality was conducted from 20th May to 3rd June 1993, at the Institute Auditorium at Brindavan. Air Chief Marshal N. C. Suri, Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force, was the Chief Guest for the occasion. The Chief Guest inaugurated the course by lighting the lamp. Dr. Hanumanthappa, the Vice Chancellor, delivered the welcome address. 
Air Chief Marshal N.C. Suri with Sri Sathya Sai at the Inaugural Session of the Summer Course in the Brindavan Campus Auditorium
After the inaugural address by the Chief Guest, Bhagavan delivered His message emphaisizing on the theme of ‘Man, Mind and Atma’. He said:

"Man struggles hard ceaselessly night and day for the sake of bodily pleasures. One who recognises that the Atma (Spirit) is distinct from the body will not be a prey to any troubles. If, indeed, every person in the world recognizes the nature and purpose of human existence, these difficulties will not arise. The Upanishads declare that if one, who is born as a human, grows up as a human in society, does not know the meaning of the term. Manava (man), he is worse than birds and beasts.

Humanness is a marvellous thing. It is boundless. It is significant. The term "man"' does not refer only to the physical body. A human being is a composite of body, mind and Atma. To perform with the body, to understand them through the mind, and to have the Atma as a witness to both these - these three constitute Manavatvam (human existence). Action, Awareness and Realisation - these three manifest the inner meaning of human life. It is a sheer ignorance to equate human existence with the body alone. Students have to understand at the outset how a man should grasp the nature and aim of human existence and have to lead a meaningful life…

…While man has made astonishing progress in science and technology - in the realms of nuclear energy and electronics - he has been steadily going down in the moral, social and spiritual spheres. You have economic development on one side. On the other, you have divisions of class, caste and creed, language and territory. Unrest among students is growing. It is the animal nature in man that breeds these divisions. There are in man four traits' the animal, the demonic, the human and the divine. Man is developing his intellectual abilities, but not his divine attributes. Man has to develop faith in himself and in God this is the secret of greatness. Students should not consider themselves weak and imbecile beings. Rely on your Conscience and not on the impermanent body or the fickle mind. Make faith your life-breath.

The Atma (Conscience) is the source of all your strength. The reality is manifested in you by the "SOHAM" that is produced by every breath. This "SOHAM" is also known as Hamsa Gayatri. Hamsa (the Swan) is credited with the capacity to separate the milk from the water with which it is mixed. Hamsa Gayatri is recited to separate the body-consciousness from the Atma.

Gayatri signifies the mastery over the senses. Gayatri has two other names - Savitri and Saraswati. Savitri is the master of life. Saraswati is the presiding deity for Vaak (speech). The Gayatri manthra, "Bhur-Bhuvah-Suvah," refers to the body - Bhur, life - Bhuvah and Awareness - Suvah. "Bhur-Bhuvah-Suvah" does not refer to three worlds outside man. All the three are in him. Hence, man is not an ordinary being. He is Chaitanya-Swarupa (the embodiment of the Cosmic Divine Consciousness).

This jewel of Divinity is being bartered away by man for petty carnal pleasures. This is totally wrong. If one recognises his godliness, he will be engaged in godly' actions. This transformation must be effected in human attitudes. Man should transcend the mind and reach t. he state of integral - Chit. It is total comprehension of humanness. Out of that comprehension emerges Ananda (Bliss).

All the discord and violence in the world are due to differences arising from selfishness- This selfishness should go. This calls for adherence to universal truth, which is common to all humanity and valid for all time and places. The ancient sages proclaimed two eternal verities: "Satyam Vada' Dharmam Chara" (Speak the Truth; Adhere to Righteousness). These were regarded as two eyes for man. Today man has lost these eyes and is helpless. Man has to realise that he has emanated from the Divine Atma.

Students should develop a universal outlook and seek to serve all without regard to race or religion. That is the true purport of education. It must lend to realisation of the Self that is in everyone. Education should lead to elevation of the consciousness. Make use of Summer Course for the purification of your minds so that you may lead selfless lives. For this, there is no other path but the Spiritual.”

In the subsequent 10 days, Swami spoke at length on the theme of ‘Shad Darshanas’ the six facets of Indian Philosophy – Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa. These Divine Discourses can be accessed here.

During the valedictory function of the Summer Course on 3rd June, Dr. Rami Reddy, Chairman of UGC, the Chief Guest for this occasion, delivered his valedictory address. Thereafter Bhagavan gave His Valedictory Message. He emphasized the Dharma of a Student and the Essence of True Education. He said:

“What is the essential Dharma of a student? Self-respect, self-confidence, selflessness and self-support constitute the dharma of a student. The modern students of today lack all these four qualities. In the first instance students should acquire self-respect which in turn enables them to cultivate self-sacrifice. It is only the person who does self-sacrifice can acquire self-satisfaction. Since the students have lost all these four qualities, education, students and teachers too have lost their value. Man enjoys freedom and justice only when he has cultivated the qualities of harmony and adjustment and feeling of Atmic oneness. Universal love springs out of this Atmic oneness. This love is the basis of universal brotherhood. Man finds fulfilment by experiencing this nectarine love and sharing it with fellow humans. Thus by this love alone the divinity in you will shine, Sattvic strength will arise, universal harmony will spring and Divine union will be possible.

Education For Life

Why does a student seek admission in educational institutions today? They do so only to eke out their living. A student gives his energy and time to earn the degree so that he will be employed. What is the value of a degree if it does not enable him to serve society and nation? Today a student, as soon as he earns his degree, joins the queue at the employment office to register his name. He also tries to obtain a passport which will enable him to satisfy his greed for acquiring wealth. He is thus lured away to go abroad to make money. Students should realise the truth that education is for life not for a living. Birds and beasts do not go to any university, yet they manage to live. We must seek education not for making money, but to understand the meaning of life. 

Science has made tremendous progress. But along with it, like a shadow, even ignorance has also progressed. Our vision today is defective, as we see only the outside, not the inside. To a person who sees only outside, the ocean appears to be a mass of turbulence; but it is all calm underneath. Hence man should not allow himself to be swayed by the externalities of things. We must develop broad vision in this broad world.

The knowledge that we obtain in the educational institutions today is only information oriented. It can be compared to the process of gathering raw materials. The information you acquire should enable you to bring out the products such as self-respect, self-support, self-confidence etc. It is our duty to supply these products to the nation. But the modern student, on the other hand, passes in some subjects the knowledge of which neither helps him nor his friends.

It is only when the students shed selfishness that the seedling of spirituality will sprout in them. The well-being of all sciences depends on the study of moral and spiritual sciences. The excellence of all branches of learning depends upon ‘Vidya’ (education). Only good education can transform people and profession. It is said, “If the daughter-in-law is dark, generations will become dark. Similarly if educational system becomes dark, all fields of activity will be dark. The darkness which marks the educational institutions today is the darkness of selfishness.

True Education

The education system today should radiate splendour. It is only spiritual and moral education which can foster harmony and unity and humanity. But spiritual and moral education has almost perished in the world. The want of spiritual education is the cause for the ferment and the agitation in the world today.

Today Indians are lured away by the concept of ‘freedom,’ the mark of western civilisation. Freedom is not license. Freedom is restraint. Restraint of the mind and the senses is real freedom. Reckless abandonment to the things of the world is not freedom. India has won political freedom, but not economic, moral and spiritual freedom. People must have self-confidence. You should not be dependent on others. You should depend on yourselves. This is known as self-support. But today self-confidence has vanished; self-support has broken down; self-satisfaction has been blown away. All that the students have today is only bookish knowledge. They are totally devoid of practical knowledge. The modern student today:
Studies Mathematics assiduously but ignores the science of Arithmetic;
Knows the route to America but ignores the route to the holy Kashi;
Master of Algebra, he is ignorant of the area of his house.
Every day he takes exercises, but struggles to sit in Padmasana.
Master of botany, he doesn’t know the uses of Tulasi leaf.
Hence mere theoretical knowledge, devoid of practical knowledge, does not lead you anywhere. 

Students should be endowed with spiritual yearning. It is easy to acquire wealth and property, but wealth and property increase our ignorance. We are like those people who fence the thorny bushes with fruit-yielding trees. Our secular studies are like thorny bushes which should be used to guard the fruit bearing trees of spirituality.

Students, Love and respect others as you wish to be loved and respected. Unless you respect others, how can others respect you? Respect and courtesy are reciprocal, they are not one-way traffic. Our students do not have the spirit of sacrifice; if at all they sacrifice, they sacrifice their character. What is the good of living if you have forfeited your character? You can sacrifice anything, even your life, but never your character. It is said three-fourths of your life is character. In fact our real life is character. 

The students of today acquire secular skills to enjoy worldly life and worldly happiness. Swayed by selfishness, these people think in terms of their family and themselves. Though they derive much benefit from society, they don’t want to benefit the society in any way, ignoring the fact that the happiness of his family and his own happiness depend on the happiness of the society. Every educated student should plunge into the service of society. Then alone, you will acquire self-respect.

Whom To Blame For Today's Educational Crisis?

Our Vice-chancellor and our guest, Sri Rami Reddy have spoken to you about the existing educational system and about the number of educational institutions we have in the country. We have nearly two hundred recognised universities and thousands of colleges. What do these institutions do? Every year they turn out lakhs of graduates with a degree in their hands. Our educational institutions today have become factories for manufacturing graduates. These educational institutions add only to the existing number of five crore unemployed today. The government is keen on starting institution after institution. But it has not done much to cast the students and educational institutions in proper mould. In the absence of proper employment, unemployed youths have turned into naxalites, hijackers etc. It is not the students who are to be blamed, it is only the parents and government who are to be blamed. Carried away by their blind love for their children, they accept blindly whatever their children do without correcting them. These people have become the followers of Dhritarashtra who never corrected the unrighteous deeds of his children. These parents, who follow the footprints of Dhritarashtra, will share the same fate of Dhritarashtra. At the end of his life, Dhritarashtra found all his sons dead. Not even one was left to perform his last rites.

Today the parents give unlimited freedom to their children which is highly disastrous. If the children are not controlled at the tender age, they can never be controlled. This is the golden period of your life, do not fritter it away. Since no one cares to teach the excellence of Indian culture to the youth today, I have taken upon myself the task of teaching you the glory and splendour of Indian culture. Try to understand how sacred and how sublime is Indian culture! Indian culture is the embodiment of all excellence. It is suffused with dharma.

Dharma is infinite and timeless. Unaware of the infinite meaning, contained in Dharma, people equate it with religion. Dharma is steady, eternal and changeless. The summer course in Indian culture and spirituality is organised to acquaint the students with the spirit of Dharma. What is this culture? What is this spirituality? These too are nothing but parts of Dharma. As a cloth is nothing but thread and cotton, similarly the thread and cotton of culture and spirituality form part of Dharma. Though since the beginning of history many foreign races like Persians, Greeks, Muslims, Portuguese, Dutch and English made inroads into India, they could never shake the foundations of Indian culture. Though the foundations of many cultures have tumbled down, the foundations of Indian culture stand strong, steady and secure. 

We must seek education to cultivate noble virtues, but today we are sacrificing noble virtues for the sake of education. We must nourish noble qualities for the blossoming of human excellence. We must lead lives of exemplary idealism. People should appreciate your good conduct and virtuous character. Of what use is high learning without good character and conduct? Along with the cultivation of good character and conduct, you should also cultivate the four noble virtues of self-confidence, self-respect, self-support, self-sacrifice. Then alone you will find fulfilment as a human being.

Students, all these fifteen days you have learnt about different aspects of Indian culture. But mere knowledge is of no use without translating knowledge into practice. You must maintain the same discipline and good behaviour which you are maintaining now even after you go elsewhere.

Students work feverishly for marks; but at the same time, they must see that they earn no remarks. The value of your marks will be enhanced if you earn no remarks against you. We must give superlative importance for cultivating sublime virtues; and we must devote all our energy, all our strength and everything to nourish noble qualities. We must revere parents and elders; we must have firm faith in our culture. The more important thing is we must practise culture in real life.

We must understand the value of virtues by practising them, not by theorising them. But students today do not cultivate these qualities but allow themselves to be carried away by this greed which ultimately brings disaster in its wake. Greed is fraught with great danger. Wishing to obtain more milk, if you cut off the udder of a cow, you will be committing an act of foolishness. If you cut open the stomach of a golden goose that lays golden eggs, you will be losing golden eggs forever. Hence, it is highly dangerous to be carried away by greed. More desire brings greater danger, less desire brings more happiness.

A Sai Student's Duty

You must try hard to earn respect for your country. This can be achieved by conscientious conduct on the part of students and teachers. We must ask ourselves in our conscience whether we are working in proportion to the remuneration we receive. We turn ourselves into traitors if we receive more salary and turn out little work. India has borrowed crores of rupees from other countries. How can we discharge this debt unless we work hard? We will obtain self-satisfaction only when we work hard in proportion to the salary we receive. We must try hard to experience self-satisfaction, born of sincere work.

Students should realise that India is facing many political and economic conflicts. But students should remember that they should not enter politics while they are students. But it is nothing wrong to enter politics after you finish your education. There is nothing wrong if you work for the welfare and well-being of the country. But if you touch politics when you are a student, you will touch thorns. But there are some selfish people who drag students into politics to serve their selfish ends.

You must all resolve yourselves to keep Indian culture intact. What is Bharatiya education? Bharatiya education consists in sacrificing oneself happily for the sake of others. Discharge your duties with divine feelings. You will be blessed. Lead spiritual lives. What is spirituality? Spirituality is nothing but the blossoming of love. Whereas science is the split of love, spirituality is spirit of love. It is love alone that unites entire mankind into one. Then mankind will have no problems at all.”

Source: Sri Sathya Sai Digvijayam (1986-2005) and Summer Showers in Brindavan (1993)

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