Living With God Is True Education – By Prof. G. Nageswara Rao

Prof. Nageswara Rao with Sri Sathya Sai at Kodaikanal - 1989
Sri Sathya Sai University is a center for the learning of academic knowledge and yearning for spiritual wisdom.  In this Institute, we learn both secular and spiritual education. Both are required like the two wings of a bird to fly safely and comfortably at any altitude. One is for living and the other is for life itself. Sri Sathya Sai, the Sadguru, teaches us this right type of education ‘EDUCARE’, by His practice and precept.

Bhagavan says:                         
“Sadgunambulu Sadbuddhi Sathyanirati Bhakti Krama Shikshana Kartavya Palanambulu Nerpunade Vidya."

(Education is one that imparts virtues, good intellect, adherence to truth, devotion and discrimination, discipline and duty consciousness.) 

Good education confers humility, humility ensures credibility, credibility brings wealth, wealth induces charity, and charity confers peace and joy here and hereafter.

Sadgunambulu (Virtue)

Among the virtues, forgiveness (Kshama) is a noble one. Swami showed this when a lady devotee invited Him for lunch/ tea to her house and served poisoned vadas. Swami partook and came back home, His body became blue, He vomited the eaten vadas as a whole. The lady followed Swami and observed this. Swami’s reaction to the lady was one of love. She realized her mistake and asked for forgiveness. The Lord forgave her. She later on became a devotee.

Once Swami procured a bus. The dealer took money but supplied a substandard bus. The bus was not worth the money paid by Swami. In His large heartedness the Lord did not take any action against the supplier.

Sadbuddhi (Good Intellect) 

Cultivation of discrimination between good and evil, truth & untruth is culture. It is also removal of one’s evil thoughts, evil feelings and evil qualities. Culture is the realization of the inherent Divinity in man and making it manifest in one’s way of life. Swami gives us the example of Dattatreya. Lord Dattatreya went to the seashore. He observed the ocean throwing out any leaf or particle (falling into the ocean) on to the shore. When asked, the ocean replied, “If it admits dust into it, in course of time the entire ocean will be filled with garbage, changing its very face.”

Sathyanirati (Adherence to Truth)
Sri Sathya Sai interacting with students during the Kodaikanal Visit in 1989; Prof. Nageswara Rao is seen in the second row
It was in the summer of 1989, Swami took some of us to Kodaikanal. One day Swami was talking about hostel food and kitchen. He asked me, “What is the monthly expenditure on milk, and daily how much milk is procured for the hostel?" I told Swami, “I don’t know.” Swami said, “That is good. If you don’t know something you can tell that you don’t know. One should not pretend as if one knows.” Adherence to truth also means to keep the word one has given. 

Once a lady whose husband had been killed by Naxalites came to Swami. Swami in the interview gave her solace and assured her that he would take care of her children. Swami gave seats in the college for her two sons. They completed their MBA in Swami’s Institute and currently are settled in good jobs. Once anybody says, “I am yours”, the Lord will take care and protect him wherever he is. The Lord speaks the truth. To be more precise whatever the Lord speaks, is the truth.

Bhakti (Devotion)

Devotion is Love for God and Love for Self within. It means seeing God in all beings and loving them as manifestations of God and showing compassion. Bhagavan fosters love in us. At first, He gives us what we want so that, in course of time, as we develop love for Him, we love what He gives us. Seeing His miracles, and His creations, we develop faith in Him. His protection and assurance in times of difficulties and adversities give us hope and we develop love for Him. Like a loving mother taking care of her children Mother Sai takes care of all of us. Once in Kodaikanal as usual all students sat with Swami and had food. One of the students was suffering from fever and did not take food. Swami observed this and asked him about his health. Swami went to the kitchen, brought a glass of milk, gave him and asked him to drink.
Sri Sathya Sai with Students during a Food Session
As one develops devotion to God, one sees God in all beings and loves them. This is the real attitude of spirituality. This love must manifest as service to fellow beings. For love grows in the womb of service. In Him we can see the spirit of service. His entire life is spent in the service of mankind. The Lord wants or does nothing for Himself. Whatever He does, speaks or thinks is for the good of the entire humanity. All the service activities and projects undertaken by Swami are expressions of His Divine Love. When we observe Swami and understand Him, we are prompted to give up selfishness and develop the spirit of service. He demonstrates and shows us His ideals, so that we can follow His example.

Love is sacrifice. The, spirit of sacrifice is very important. As it is said in the Vedas ‘Nakarmana Naprajaya Dhanena Thyagenaike Ammritatwamanashu’ (Not by action, progeny or wealth, but by sacrifice alone one can attain immortality) Real sacrifice is giving up bad qualities – ‘Arishadvargas’ like desire, anger and others.

The Lord is absolutely pure and selfless. As Swami says, “I have no selfishness. I am selfless from top to toe.” Out of His love and compassion for His devotees, He takes our suffering upon Himself and undergoes that suffering. That is His spirit of sacrifice. The Lord is willing to suffer for His devotee’s sake. A student was suffering from Asthma. He was called for an interview and during the course of the interview, the boy prayed to Swami to relieve him of his pain. Swami looked at him. His eyes were filled with love and kindness. The student started feeling that his breathing problem was decreasing, but now the Lord was breathing with difficulty. The student prayed to Swami, “Please don’t take my disease; I can’t see you suffering like this.” The Lord said, “What you have to suffer for years, I can take upon myself and finish the suffering in a few minutes.” 

Swami’s compassion is not limited only to humans but also to animals and birds - like Sai Geeta (Swami’s pet elephant), Sai Kishore (Swami’s pet camel), deer, pigeons, parrots, etc. and to all beings in this world, which is possible only for an Avatar.
Sri Sathya Sai feeding Deer in His Ashram

Krama Shikshana (Discipline)

A fence is required around a sapling for protection. Swami says discipline is like the fence to the sapling of spirituality. As He puts it – in the army, firing and parade are common and everybody has to learn these two. Similarly, for members of Sai Organization, discipline and devotion are a must. Like a physical director, He demonstrates and teaches. Earlier, when any programme was announced, Swami used to come half an hour before the time. Sometimes few minutes before the announced time.

Kartavya Palanamu (Duty)

Professor Nageswara Rao with Sri Sathya Sai
at the Brindavan Ashram
In the Gita, Lord Krishna says, “I have nothing to gain in the three worlds. Still I act and do things to set an ideal, for common people look up to great ones.” Lord Sai also has nothing to gain but He is always engaged in activity for the welfare of the society. He diligently and lovingly performs actions which are Divine. He does all His activities without anybody’s help. Years ago, Swami sent word that He would speak to the members of the Faculty of the University. On the appointed day, He was not feeling well. Late Sri Radhakrishna, who was helping Swami in His room, requested Swami to postpone the trip as He was not well. Swami said that He had given His word and accordingly He would go and speak to them. He came to the college five minutes before the scheduled time. 

Thus, the Lord, Sadguru teaches us by precept and example and gives us the right education (spiritual education). Thus, a Sai Student is one who imbibes all these qualities and shines forth as an example to humanity.

- Prof. G. Nageswara Rao
Student and Research Scholar (1982-1988);
Currently, Head, Department of Chemistry
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus

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