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Education Must Be Value-Based and Free
Discourse given by Bhagwan on the 22-11-00 at Prashanti Nilyam during Convocation Day
"True education is that which teaches us the way to achieve world peace by removing the narrow-mindedness and inculcating unity, fellowship and equality."
Embodiments of Divine Love, Students! Boys and Girls, Patrons of Education and Educational Administrators!
Today what the world needs is neither wealth nor any materialistic achievements. We need students who are ideal and who work for the welfare of the society. The field of education today is plagued by problems, which confuse one and all. We rarely find students who work for the welfare of the society by strengthening the social fabric. Today students struggle to acquire wealth, prosperity and worldly might but none puts in effort to inculcate virtues in themselves. It's a mistake to think that service done to society is for someone else. In fact it is service to oneself and to God.
Sarvata Pani-padam Tat Sarvathokshi Siromukham
Sarvata Sruthimalloke Sarvamavruthya Thishthati
"God has His hands and feet everywhere;
His head, face and ears pervade the whole world."
There is one power that pervades both microcosm and macrocosm. That power is the cosmic Divine. The same Divine consciousness present in you is present in all. The whole world is filled with this Divine consciousness. People who realize this eternal Truth will not tread a wrong path. The forms are many but the Divine power is one. Today there are millions of scholars and intellectuals. Have they done anything good for the society? They promote only their selfishness and self-interest. Rarely do we find such people working for the welfare of the country. Only when selfishness is removed completely from the nature of men will we be able to find purity in the country. Therefore we should endeavor to recognize the innate Divinity of man.
Body, mind and intellect alone cannot make a man. Body is inert. Mind is negative. Man considers himself to be a combination of body and mind. Man is eternal and changeless. 'Man' lives eternally at all times and in all states of existence. Therefore whatever we hear, talk, think and act is the reflection of the inner being. We hear the very echo of this inner being. Never be proud of your knowledge, for it is the reflection of the inner Divine. You consider these studies full of reflection, reaction and resound to be true education. All these shall diminish in their value in course of time. Humanness is permanent and has no birth or death. Body is bound to change but the 'man' never dies. You take man to be the embodied one. The permanent man lies in humanness. This name is 'Nara' (one who does not perish). Atma does not change. Why then do you fear death when you are the embodiment of Self? Hence all these are worldly things i.e. negative actions. But you are the eternal Truth. Being the embodiment of such sacred Truth, why do you go after these changing and temporary things? Today's education can confer only creature comforts. Therefore along with this, one should recognize the principle of Atma. That is considered to be the all-pervasive Divine power. This is called the cosmic Divine. Many scientists have experimented a lot to discover this power. But what is the outcome? You tend to enjoy the transient and the worldly. You should try to recognize the unity in Truth. Once you recognize this Truth, you will never be subjected to worries. The power that pervades the whole universe is also in your little finger. You doubt this fact, go by the name and form, and enfeeble yourself. Once you transcend the name and form and realize the Divine energy, you get enormous strength.
Embodiments of Love!
Love alone is like our life force. With such love there is nothing one cannot achieve. "It is with this power of love this earth revolves without the support of any axle. It is the power of love that holds the stars in their positions without collapsing. It is the power of love that withholds the ocean from submerging the earth. It is the power of love that makes the wind God blow over the seven worlds. This sacred love is eternal, most amazing and indivisible. That love is the life breath of man." Without that love, mankind cannot exist. Humanness is not based on the form alone, so that we can consider all beings to be 'human'. We are carried away by the differences in form but as we realize the oneness of all these forms, we enjoy eternal bliss. Therefore it is important to start practicing this principle of unity in our lives.
"What is the use of all education? It does not help one to change one's destiny. When bad times befall man, all his education and intelligence become futile and meaningless."
Therefore we should not encourage bad thoughts. You should recognize the purity present in humanness. Fire burns everything. Cosmic Divine is like fire. It is present everywhere and incinerates all evil to ashes. That is the true Divinity of humanness. Mind makes the man and that man can be transformed to Divine. Thus there is no difference between man and the divine. The power latent in you is the divine. Because of his physical form, man seems different. Never be carried away by these forms. Always follow the Divine power. Mind, intellect, the limited human consciousness and the inner sense appear to be different. But the energy that activates them, all is one. All are nothing but consciousness. Because of our narrow vision, we are unable to perceive these verities.
Embodiments of Love!
Never hate anyone, because the principle of love is immanent in all. Divine energy is present too. Never criticize or malign anyone. Love all. When you love all, that itself is Divine consciousness, which transforms into a Divine power. Therefore never give scope to bad thoughts, and with pure conviction declare that you are the cosmic Divine present in all. Many people take recourse to many spiritual practices without understanding their own innate Divinity. They take to many spiritual paths.
Na Karmana Na Prajaya Dhanena
Thyagenaikena Amrutathwa Manasu
"Not by penance, not by pilgrimage, not by study of scriptures, nor by japa can one cross over the ocean of life. It is only by service to the pious one can achieve it."
So enter the path of service. Divinity is the same in all. There is no duality in the universe. The Vedas proclaimed: "Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanti". There is only one Truth described variously by scholars. Though the bulbs are many, the current is one. This verily is the Cosmic Divine. Dresses may be many, but the person is one. Men are many, but the consciousness is one. This is universal consciousness. Depending on the physical form, universal consciousness gets transformed to individual consciousness. Though consciousness is the same in all, man is cultivating differences based on form and fancies.
True science also recognizes the oneness in all, which is experienced as many. Once we transcend the name and form, we can experience the Divine energy in all. It is the Name and Form, which delude man. Give no scope to such doubts and falsity. There should be no scope for hatred or anger either. Everything is Love. Imbibing in oneself this principle of Love, one should serve man, with the feeling that one is serving God Himself. Lead your life inspired by such sacred ideals.
There is an inner being in man, which is his subtle body. Body consciousness is related to the outer body. Body consciousness also clouds the inner subtle body, which is comprised of the mind, the intellect, the chitta and the inner senses. One has to transcend this body consciousness and rise to the level of Higher consciousness, which is also termed as overmind. This Higher consciousness experiences everything but is not attached to anything. As long as the mind exists, it is not possible to enter the realms of the Higher consciousness.
It is said, "Mano Moolam ldam Jagat." The mind is the basis for the universe. The mind pervades the entire universe. The universe is based on the principle of material life. We should strive to reach the subtle vibration life. This is also the state of the Super Mind. In this stage everything is experienced in equanimity. This equanimity is also the true Principle of Vedanta. There can be no happiness without equanimity.
The Vedas declare:
Saha Na Vavathu
Saha Nau Bhunakthu
Saha Veeryam Karavavahai
Tejaswinavadheethamasthu Ma Vidvisavahai
(May the Lord protect and nourish us, May we grow in intelligence and valor, working together, May we live in friendship without any conflict!)
The primary teaching of Vedas is cultivation of unity. Vedas thus taught this principle of oneness. But there is no unity in the world today.
Today is the day of Convocation when you all acquire degrees. These degrees are also some kind of titles. Of what use are such titles if you have to beg in order to live? Your education is not for this. The secular knowledge is for earning your livelihood, the spiritual knowledge is for earning the Supreme Bliss. But as long as we live with the mind feeling, we should pursue such secular studies. The moment we transcend the mind, this education can be set aside. Man ascends to the Divine by transcending his mind.
We should cultivate the Cosmic Mind. Westerners refer to this as the Cosmic Power. They have come upon this Truth now, while the Bharatiyas have known this for centuries. But having known the Truth, they have not been able to put it into practice. Man has become a zero in `practice'. Only when you practice you can realize the Divine Atma.
There are two aspects, which we should consider: quantity and quality. Today whatever we do is related to quantity only. But we should give importance to the quality aspect instead. God takes various forms in the same way as gold is made into varies ornaments.
Jewels are many, but gold is one.
Cows are many, but milk is one.
Beings are many, but the breath is one.
Castes are many; humanity is one.
Without realizing this Truth, men bind themselves in many snares for the sake of eking out a livelihood.
Everything is Divine Will. Whatever happens is only the Divine Drama. This is the true principle of Vedanta. He who understands this is truly a Man. The Atma is the true nature of Man. What is Atma? What is Chaitanya? They are all aspects of Energy, which has no name or form. While there is no form to current, a bulb has a definite form. Similarly current runs the fan and the electric stove. In each appliance it does a different function. If you say, "Oh current, how helpful have you been to me," and touch it, you get a shock. Current has that energy and hence it is also a form of the Cosmic Divine. This is also illustrated in the story of Bhasmasura, who could reduce anything to ashes through the power he has acquired from the Divine by penance.
Today we are wasting a lot of energy. This inner energy expresses itself in the form of knowledge. Knowledge has to be transformed into skill to achieve balance. But people today are killing this knowledge, thereby losing their balance. By loosing balance in their lives, they acquire only outward vision and do not cultivate inner vision or insight.
Once you start looking outwards, you become fickle in your nature. You should keep up the balance in life. It is possible only when you transform your knowledge into skill. So get rid of all the bad feelings and shun body attachment. All the suffering in the world is because of body attachment. You should cultivate attachment to the Atma. Many people may feel why Bhagavan teaches all these to the youngsters. Actually it is very important to everyone - be it a youngster, middle-aged man or an old one.
Man wastes his childhood in fun and frolic playing with others. In youth, his life is burnt to ashes by the arrows of cupid. In middle age, man submerges himself in materialistic pursuits and struggles all the time to earn wealth. In old age, he laments over the lack of this or that, and does not think of God. Without any interest in the path of devotion, he is bogged down in the cycle of cause and effect, and thus man ruins his life.
Start early, drive slowly and reach safely. Start putting efforts even when you are still very young. What will you gain if you waste all your energy in the youth stage and then start thinking about God in the old age?
Realize that the Cosmic Energy present in everyone is the same. Everything is Universal Cosmic Energy. This only is referred to as 'Divine Cosmic Power'. This Divine Cosmic Power is present within ourselves and we need not seek for it outside. In this world, all the energy that we see, all the energy that we study and all the energy that we hear of - everything is within us. Anything that you do not have within yourselves does not exist anywhere else. Everything is reflection, reaction and resound. Every human is Divine. When you realize this Truth, all your troubles and worries vanish. When body attachment increases, worries also increase. Based on this it is said, 'Less luggage, more comfort, make travel a pleasure.' Vedanta refers to this as 'Renunciation'. Renunciation does not mean giving up house and home and going to forests. It means experiencing the unity of all beings. You imagine all the differences. They do not exist really. All that you study is borrowed knowledge. All this education is required in the material world. You should acquire it only as much as is necessary.
Can you call a person who knows to read and write to be educated? Are you an educated person just because you have acquired a college degree? No. Can education without good feelings and good mind be called 'true education'? If education is merely for a living, then are not the animals and birds living?
Embodiments of Love!
Being born as human, we should recognize the Divine energy within us. We should experience this Divine energy. Today what we have to share and spread is bliss and not misery. Human life is highly sacred. Secular education is also important. You should try to acquire it within certain limits. Otherwise, why should we establish colleges and educational institutions?
Secular knowledge is essential for the welfare of this world, and for the welfare of life in the hereafter the knowledge of Brahman is essential. Secular education is merely for the body and not for life. It is not the one, which can help you to understand the nature of Atma. There is no greater education than the one, which helps you to understand the nature of Atma.
Why can't man recognize his own Truth in spite of his knowing so much about others? He enquires of others, "Who are you?" Instead of that, you should enquire, 'Who am I?' Of what use is knowing others when you do not know yourself? When you know yourself, you will easily understand others. The same principle pervades you and also others. It is the all-pervading Universal Consciousness. You should recognize this Divine energy. Then you will not have any suffering or misery. Bhagavan asserts this from experience. My life is My message. Bhagavan is always blissful. Bhagavan has no worries. People greet Bhagavan "Happy Birthday." Happiness should be given to one who is devoid of it. Worries come and go. All are like passing clouds. Why then do you fear? Body is bound to perish one day or the other. It is like a water bubble. Mind is like a mad monkey. Why do you follow it? Follow the conscience, which is eternal. That is the goal of your life. Everyone in this world seeks happiness. This bliss is within us. There are five sheaths of the physical personality. The food sheath is the human body. The subtle body is comprised of the life sheath, the mind sheath and the intelligence sheath.
The ultimate sheath of bliss is one's goal of life. The sheath of intelligence, called the Vignanamaya Kosa, should not be confused with the modern science. Here is an example: The body undergoes changes in four stages - childhood, youth, middle age and old age. But you remain unchanged. You introduce yourself as 'I' when enquired by others in all the stages of your existence. This 'I' is single-lettered. We attach many decorations to it. Cut out the ego or the 'I'-feeling of body consciousness. The Christian cross is a symbol for the elimination of the ego. When the feeling of 'I' is eliminated, the ego vanishes and you become God. You should understand and experience the real nature of 'I'.
Your lives are full of love. Anything may change, but love does not change. The worldly love keeps changing, but true love remains the same. Being born and brought up in love, we are full of love. Cut your ego and cultivate love. When ego enters, love vanishes. Do not give any scope for ego to enter. When you recognize the purity of love, you will be devoid of any faults. Everything is based on pure and selfless love. In fact that is Divinity. But you ignore this Divinity. This is the worst mistake.
Human body will perish one day or the other. Don't go by the body. It is only an instrument. The strength that lies in the body is yours. When you recognize this power you will become Divine. "Master the mind and be a master mind." Don't become a slave but become the master.
Students have to pursue secular education as it helps to earn a livelihood. You also have to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of your parents and make them happy. Along with secular education, spiritual education is also necessary. This type of education confers happiness and peace upon you. Develop sacred and good feelings and live a noble life. Make your parents feel happy. Never trouble them. It is they who gave you life and brought you up. If possible, try to explain to your parents the noble and good things you have learnt here. Vedas say, "Matrudevobhava, Pitrudevobhava..." So consider your parents as God. Follow their words and keep them happy. With your good conduct and behavior, earn a good name in this world.
Secular education is like a passing cloud. It comes and goes. The reality, which is there inside, is the only eternal principle. Hold on to this principle and strengthen your faith. You have already pursued good and adequate education. On this Convocation Day, Bhagavan's only advice to you is to put it into practice. Share with others what you have learnt and derive happiness therefrom. Union Minister Murli Manohar Joshi is a highly educated and knowledgeable person. He has told you many good things. How far have you understood them? If you are able to understand even one principle mentioned by him, it will transform your life. A single matchstick is enough to burn any quantity of matter.
There is only one reality that exists. If you realize this, you can achieve anything. It is only the body consciousness that obstructs your vision. In a house, you have different rooms like drawing room, dining room, bathroom, kitchen, etc. Each room is separated from the other by a wall existing between them. If you remove these walls, you will find only one big hall. Similarly, when you remove the walls of body consciousness, you will develop a broad mind.
You have studied in this Institute for many years. When you go out, teach others what you have learnt here and be a role model. Lead an exemplary life and be happy. Your happiness is My happiness. Bhagavan does not expect anything other than this from you.
Our Minister said that there is only one way to keep students on the right path. Bhagavan too agrees with him. That is purity. It alone guides you in the right way. Our students are not paying any tuition fees, laboratory fee or examination fee. They come here empty-handed and go out with rich wealth of education. They learn here humility, discipline and faith. Education should confer humility. In other institutions many students don't possess this quality of humility. Those students pay fees. So the teachers and authorities are not able to question the students and correct them. Since the authorities are collecting money for providing education, they are afraid to take right disciplinary action and correct the students. Educational institutions, which are supposed to be Saraswati Mandirs, have turned into Lakshmi Mandirs. Money is able to purchase even degrees. Admission, attendance and it is said that even promotion to a higher class is possible on payment of money.
In My opinion, government should provide free education to one and all. It is spending crores of rupees on many activities. Collection of fees from students cannot add to their revenue all that much. Provide children education free of cost and they will prosper. Education, which is purchased, can only lead to agitation. Unable to secure jobs with purchased degrees, some students even put an end to their lives. The Government is responsible for this. Only free education will develop good relationship between people and Government. We at Prasanthi Nilayam do not collect even a paisa from any student in our Institutes. Not only free education, scholarships are also given to our students as an encouragement and reward. Our students should develop an unwavering mind and make their parents happy. You should lead a happy life. Our students are pure at heart. They don't possess any bad feelings. Leaving aside a negligible minority, they are like pure unalloyed gold. They do not like to leave the Institute and Swami and go away even after they finish their education. But some students have to leave the Institute after finishing their education. Parents wish to live with their children. So you have to obey them and fulfill their wishes also. Many of our students, even after completing M.Sc. or MBA, again apply for a Ph.D. Their intention is to stay with Swami for a few more years. They desire all these degrees only to be with Swami. On the other hand, those students who purchase education (in other places) long to leave their institutes and go in search of jobs as soon as they receive a degree. Our students are not like that. Along with degrees, they also possess good character. They also conduct themselves in a way, which befits their good qualities.
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