|Sri Sathya Sai delivering the Benedictory Address during the Convocation Ceremony of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning|
... Continued from Part 1
Ideal Children of Ancient India
Ideal Children of Ancient India
Here is an episode from the Mahabharata. Once, when his wife, Subhadra, was enceinte, Arjuna, not knowing that the child she was bearing was the future hero Abhimanyu, began telling her all about war-fare and the Padmavyuha, an intricate type of military formation, Krishna came in at that time and pointed out to Arjuna that the child Subhadra was being influenced by what he was telling her. It is an ancient practice in Bharat to relate to pregnant women stories about heroes and saints so that the child in the womb may be influenced by the vibrations produced by such sublime stories and the thoughts produced in the mother. The ancient Rishis knew this truth. No wonder that the children born under such conditions had noble nature and heroic virtues. It was a common practice to relate stories of exemplary children like Markandeya, Dhruva and Prahlada. They provided the inspiration and ideals for the children of those days. What do we find today? Pregnant women are engaged in seeing Television, Cinemas and other deleterious media which play up crime and sex. The result is the children who are born develop undesirable tendencies.
What Krishna told Arjuna might have been dismissed as meaningless previously. But today, scientists in the West are realising that what was said in the Mahabharata is true. The Institute of Child Health and Human Development, attached to the Carolina University in America, has been conducting experiments on the factors influencing development of children. An eminent scientist in this Institute, Anthony Casper after various experiments, came to the conclusion that what Sri Krishna had said was true, though our ill-equipped minds cannot fully understand the profound truth underlying Krishna's statement. Anthony Casper announced his findings on 3rd January 1984 at a conference of scientists. Caper's experiments showed that the food taken by the pregnant mother, the thoughts she had and the words she listened to had their impact on the child she was carrying.
|The Earth as seen from the Moon|
The link between Science and Spirituality
It is a welcome sign that there are open minded scientists today who are prepared to explore the truths declared by our ancient sages and to seek the link between science and spirituality. On the other hand, it is a pity that people born in this great country with such a precious heritage, are leading lives contrary to its ideals and wasting their opportunities.
The American cosmonaut, Mitchell, after landing on the moon, had a look at the earth from the moon. He saw the earth as a huge brilliant diamond set against a vast carpet of blue velvet. Experiencing this spectacle, he shed a few tears. He was stricken by the feeling: "Born on such a beautiful and brilliant land, why are men behaving like ignorant, evil-minded beings? Only a diamond can come out of a diamond and not a mere piece of stone. Why should evil men arise from the pure, holy soil of Mother Earth?" he asked. And he found the answer in man's fascination for material things, ignoring the cultivation of good qualities.
Right conduct is the only thing that matters
It should be realised that whatever scholarship one may possess, whatever position or name one may have, without righteous conduct all these are meaningless. Right conduct is the only thing that really matters. What you do determines what you get. Hence you must concentrate on right conduct. Give up narrow feelings. Broaden your outlook. True education can be summed up in one word: Love, all-encompassing love. A life without love is worse than death.
Worldly knowledge is undoubtedly necessary. But it is not all. You must also know the basic Truth about life and the human destiny. Along with the acquisition of knowledge, you also have to cultivate the disciplines of right behaviour such as respect for elders, love towards parents and affection for friends. The affection you show must be constant, continuous and unchanging like your breathing.
Education today is a process of filling the mind with the contents of books, emptying the contents in the examination hall and returning empty-headed. True education consists in the cultivation of the heart. What you learn should become a part of your whole being. Only then will you have a sense of fulfillment, and establish complete harmony in thought, word and deed. The country needs today, persons who lead such integral lives.
Cultivation of Love is the greatest need
People in all counties talk about peace but their actions are contrary to their professions. They talk of peace on the one hand and keep the atom bomb on the other. The entire world is suffering from environmental pollution. The talk of star wars contains the threat of polluting even the outer space. The desire for peace must be built in the hearts of men. The cultivation of love is the greatest need today. This vast gathering is a manifestation of love in action. Here are assembled lakhs of people. Were any invitations sent to them? They have come out of love of and for Sai. There is no use in acquiring all kinds of knowledge and performing of Japas and mediation if there is no love in the heart. It is love alone which can save the world. Students, teachers and lovers of education! I wish that in your attempt to perfect the system of education you provide for love, dharma and moral values, for these alone can take the country forward and enable it to regain its past glory.
Source: Benedictory Address at the Fourth Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Hill View Stadium, Prasanthi Nilayam, November 22, 1985