|Sri Sathya Sai at Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Hyderabad|
Bhagavan laid the foundation stone for a Vidya Vihar at Hyderabad on 8th March 1981, and gave a Discourse emphasizing the kind of education that ought to be imparted. He said:
“Students! Teachers! Educationists!
Those eager to promote Education!
Undigested food brings about illness in the body; similarly undigested knowledge imparted by the present day educational system has brought several illnesses in the social organism and the body politic. The disease is promoting contrary feelings that are expressed in mutual conflicts. The educated are reacting with envious emotions towards those who have secured jobs; when they are unable to get jobs, they impute motives of nepotism, etc. and develop resentment, anger, and hatred. The system of education is the root cause of the prevalent discontent and resentment.
In the past, western rulers of this country established a system of education which can produce suitable men for the jobs they could provide for the natives. Today, since we continue the same system, we have to create suitable jobs for the people who are educated on the old lines. This is a strange reversal of the role. It is clear that the agitations, anxieties, fears and frenzies that disturb the country are traceable to education as it prevails today.
The four goals laid down by Sai
Though mankind has achieved incalculable progress in science and technology, the mind of man is still polluted with greed, envy and gross selfishness. Egotism has struck deep roots in the heart of man. It has grown into demonic proportions. Man has become a puppet, yielding to every pull of the string. He craves all things that can confer joy on him; he accumulates things that cater to his sense of power. He examines every item from his own selfish point of view. Therefore, he is enslaved by the monsters - envy, pride, fear, and prejudice. True knowledge alone can save mankind from ruinous downfall.
The four goals laid down by Sai, are in fact those laid down by the Vedas. They are Satya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema. Mankind has to understand the importance of these four goals, accept them, adore them, and practise them in daily life. Only then can the Divinity latent in man shine forth in all its glory.
Sathya or Truth is the first ideal. It is realised by the Sadhana of the tongue. The second, Dharma (righteous) living, is realised by the Sadhana (discipline) of the body and its components in relation to the society which surrounds man and the objective world which affects him and is affected by him. By his right action and right conduct, man can attain the third goal, Shanti (equanimity), unaffected poise or peace. This can be won by discipline of the mind. Satya establishes itself on the tongue through Sattvic (pious) Sadhana; Dharma is achieved by the exercise of Rajasic (active) regulation; Shanti or peace is the consequence of Tamasic withdrawal and even inactivity. But, Prema (love), the fourth goal, is beyond these three modes and beyond thought, word and deed.
The Divine Prema is not easily comprehensible. So, my emphasis is not generally understood in its full significance. Prema is God. God is Prema. To consider it as a method of speech, an attitude of mind or as physical behaviour is to sorely demean it. Prema has no trace of selfishness; it is not bound by motives.
Moral and spiritual standards must be raised
The educational system must be based on these four principles. But, this has not happened. Therefore, we find it burdened with problems. It is full of conflict and confusion. Humility, detachment, discrimination, eagerness to serve others, reverence, renunciation - such virtues are absent among the educated. No one is prepared to give up; everyone is anxious to grab. A garland can be made only when we have flowers, thread and needle. A system of education needs intelligence (flowers), devotion (thread) and the spirit of renunciation and service (needle) to become beneficial.
Raising the standard of living must also mean raising ethical, moral and spiritual standards. Then only can education lead to progress in human values and harmony in social life. This is the purpose of which the foundation stone for the school building is laid here today.
Children born in this holy land deserve this integrated educational system. The present set-up is producing discontent and agitation in social, economic and political fields. The upheavel of student unrest has become well-nigh uncontrollable. The number of students undergoing this barren education is sky-rocketing; primary schools in every village and raising middle schools, high schools and colleges everywhere. We believe this to be progress and are delighted. The opportunity to benefit by education which only a few had in the past is now being granted profusely to all people.
Certainly, every human being must be educated, irrespective of race, religion, caste, colour or creed. But, like the foolish mother who is happy when her child's limb swells with disease, believing that it is getting stronger, we too mistake this increase in size and number as a healthy development! In reality, we are only witnessing a disease, which results in debility, greed, hatred and envy.
What we can give others must be the concern
Persons who are educated through these institutions, in time, occupy positions of authority and influence. How then can the condition of the world become better? Education must assume full responsibility and enter the moral and spiritual lives of pupils. The imparting of worldly information and training in technical skills are not enough. Moral and spiritual education has to supplement them.
The idea that a posh bungalow, with costly sofas, dining tables etc., or a heavy pay packet from Dubai, Iran or Iraq, is the ideal to be worked for should be given up. This ideal' breeds evil. The ideal should be - hands dedicated to hard work, heads dedicated to service, and hearts filled with compassion. Vivekananda exhorted students to cultivate compassion. No one should suffer harm or pain through our words or deeds. For, when another is hurt by us, what really happens is insult and injury to our true nature, as men. Attention is now paid solely to the self and its wishes. This must be reversed. Not what we can get from others but what we can give others - that must be the concern.
|The beautiful campus of Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar High School at Hyderabad (recent photo)|