|Sri Sathya Sai, The Revered Founder Chancellor|
What is meant by ‘education’? What kind of education must one pursue? What should the educational standards be? What type of education contributes to human development? What benefits do we derive from the present system of education? A real student is one who contemplates on these five issues and understands them thoroughly.
- Benedictory Address by Revered Founder Chancellor, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, 21st Convocation, November 22, 2002.
Education is not only mere accumulation of information, but also includes action. Education, which essentially originates from within one’s own Self, would have a firm basis and be enduring. It is referred to as Sat (Truth). Thus, education is of two types: the first type is concerned merely with gathering of information and understanding about the external phenomenal world; while the second type involves deep understanding and assimilation of knowledge, which is known as ‘Educare’. Baba says:
“Education is for life and not for a mere living. People mistake bookish knowledge to be true education.
Today’s education has as its aim, only eking out a mere livelihood. If mere living is the purpose, then how do birds and beasts exist without any education?
Ants and mosquitoes too, which do not have any education, live their lives.”
Is education merely for eking out a livelihood? What is the essential spirit of education? It is the absorption of the mind within oneself to realise its full potential and not just collection of information, which will not serve any tangible purpose. For example, a washer man goes round the houses in India and collects soiled clothes for washing and pressing. In each household, the house owner notes the numbers of clothes that are given for washing down in a notebook. The washer man registers the same in the mind but does not keep a formal written record of it. When the clothes get ready after pressing, he returns the clothes to the respective owners without any confusion. This is general knowledge. For the acquisition of this, formal education is not needed. Today, many educated people lack the smartness of even a washer man! General knowledge cannot be acquired from formal schoolwork. It is to be acquired from the experience of day-to-day life.
Abraham Lincoln: A Story
In his childhood days, Lincoln did not have enough money to pursue his studies. He was so poor that he used to sit under the streetlight in the market and read. He used to borrow books from his classmates, read them during night times, and return them the next morning. One day, his friends made fun of him saying how this beggar could pursue his education. Lincoln felt very sad and humiliated. He came home crying. His mother tried to comfort him with soothing words. She enquired, “My dear son! Why are you crying? What is the reason?” He replied, “Mother! I don't have money even to drink a cup of tea. I realise the situation in our house. I am aware that you and father cannot afford spending money on my education.” Thus, Lincoln struggled hard in his childhood days and studied well, with self-confidence and self-respect, and above all with the moral support extended by his mother. He did not hesitate to supplement the family income by doing some painting work and polishing boots. Nevertheless, throughout his educational career, he sustained his self-respect. By doing so, he earned a good name in society. In the meanwhile, he could secure a small job. With the meagre income from that job, he used to support his father and mother. The good name he earned in the society, earned their respect and love for him. In due course, elections came. His well-wishers and supporters advised him to contest the elections. They assured him of their support and votes. On their advice, he contested the elections and got elected to the position of the President of America. How could the son of a poor man who had no money even to pursue primary education, become the President of the United States of America? It is only because of the self-respect and self-confidence, which he cultivated right from his childhood.
Continued in Part 2…
Continued in Part 2…
Source: Role of Values in Management Education: Insights from the Business School at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Chapter 24, Man Management: A Values-Based Management Perspective