Monday, September 25, 2000 to Friday, September 29, 2000
The International Conference on ‘Strengthening Values in Education’ was organised at Prashanti Nilayam by the Institute of Sathya Sai Education Thailand between 25th and 29th September 2000.
Bhagavan lit the lamps in Sai Kulwant Hall and inaugurated the Conference on 25th at 3.30 pm. The Institute students and the students of Sathya Sai Schools of Zambia, Thailand and Nepal recited Vedic prayers. Dr. Art Ong Jumsai, Director, Institute of Sathya Sai Education, Thailand, welcomed the delegates. Dr. Michael Goldstein President, Sathya Sai Education in Human Values Foundation, gave a brief speech. Bhagavan then delivered His Inaugural Message. Some of the key excerpts are included below:
"Everyone should foster divine qualities, be he a student or an elder. Without these virtues, life is meaningless. For all your needs, do not depend on others, depend on God. In fact, you are not human, you are God as God is present in all beings. You will remain a human being so long as you think so. Have the firm conviction that you are God. Follow dharma and share your love with all. This is the essence of true education.
The goal of education is not merely reading and writing, which constitute worldly education. It is to attain purity and divinity. Worldly education is transient. Knowledge of the Self alone is eternal. It can be acquired only through devotion and love for God. Man is born to set an ideal to the rest of the world, not to amass wealth. Money makes many wrongs. Make your mind sacred. Where are all those kings of yore who amassed riches and conquered kingdoms? What is the use of such a life? One should lead a life that makes one immortal. True education will protect you wherever you are. This education will earn you the friendship of all, even if you do not have money and you are in a foreign land.
Cultivate Human Values Through Self Effort
Never give up human values under any circumstances. Only then can you set an ideal to the world. Human values cannot be acquired from textbooks nor can the teachers bestow them on you. They are with you right from your birth. You have to cultivate them through self-effort. Lead a truthful life. The whole creation has emerged from truth, is sustained in truth and ultimately merges into truth. Is there any place where truth does not exist? In order to lead a peaceful life, one should always adhere to truth and righteousness. No doubt, the path of Dharma is beset with difficulties. In the beginning, you may have to face many problems, but you should take them in your stride and proceed on the path of truth. Purity, patience and perseverance are very essential for man. But man is becoming a patient as he lacks patience. Each one has to question himself or herself whether he or she has these virtues. It is not enough if you proclaim that you are pure; let others say it.
True Education Fosters Purity And Unity
Do not have excessive desires. It is said, “Less luggage more comfort make travel a pleasure.” Your desires are the luggage in the journey of your life. You will have peace of mind only when you reduce your desires. Swami is the best ideal in this regard. I don’t have any desires; I don’t want anything. As you are aware, we have a very big hospital at Puttaparthi and there are many educational institutions. They are functioning smoothly because they have been started with love and noble intentions.
My only desire is that all people should live like ideal human beings. After the Bhajans, you chant the prayer Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu. It is not enough if some are happy and some are not. All should be happy. That is possible only when human values are practised. There are many who give lectures on human values. He alone is a true human being who puts them into practice. Elders should sow the seeds of human values in the tender hearts of the children. They will grow into gigantic trees and give shelter to many in future. It is said, “Start early, drive slowly, reach safely.” Human values should be taught to the children right from their early years. So, some schools have to be started for this purpose. If you start fostering values from Primary School level, the children then will grow to become ideal leaders of the nation. Parents and teachers should strive hard to inculcate ideals in children. If the parents at home, teachers in school and companions in the neighbourhood foster values in children, then there is nothing greater than this...
Human Values Can Not Be Acquired From Books
It is not enough if you start an institution. The students must be brought up in the right way. Speak gently. Never show anger towards the children. You cannot always oblige but you can speak always obligingly. Talk to the children softly and sweetly. Interaction between the teachers should also be pleasant. Then the children will be encouraged by their example.
Every little thing should be taught to the children to the best of your ability. Only then the children will learn with enthusiasm. Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry can be learnt from books or by experiments in the laboratory. But human values cannot be learnt that way. It is not something that can be acquired from books. It cannot be taught by a teacher by mere oral instruction. It is like training in physical exercise. Drill can be taught only by demonstration. The drill master demonstrates the actions and helps the learners to follow the steps. The children imitate their elders.
Therefore, you should teach the children the values of Satya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema by first practising the values yourself. Then the children will progress in the right direction. The whole country will grow. Not only this country, all countries of the world will be transformed. There are very few who teach these things today. Fewer still try to prove them. Those who practise are rare. That is why the world is in such a bad state now...
Many of you have come from far off places, spending a lot of money. After making so much effort and spending so much money, you must take back with you what will really sanctify your life. All of you have assembled here. Share your love with others and receive their love in return. Understand the meaning of Satya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema. Fully internalize these values. Truth does not mean merely to repeat faithfully what you have seen. Truth is eternal; it does not change in all the three periods of time (past, present and future). You must speak the truth and practise righteousness. What is Dharma? Dharayati Iti Dharmah (that which sustains you is Dharma). Dharma is the true nature of man. Fire is that which burns. If it does not burn, it is mere coal. Only when dharma is well-established in a person, his humanness manifests. The principle of love must shine prominently in you..."
Bhagavan blessed the delegates with two special Discourses on 26th and 30th in Sai Kulwant Hall. On 26th evening, in the Divine Presence in Poornachandra Auditorium, a unique cultural orchestra group named ‘Symphony of Unity and Love (SOUL)’, gave a presentation. The singers from Singapore, Malaysia, Latin America, France and USA presented a music concert on 28th evening in the Divine Presence.
Continued in Part 2...