On the Institution of a Family
"Bharat (India) has always accorded a high place to women as the upholders of all social virtues. The very fact that in mentioning the names of the Divine couples like Vishnu and Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati, the name of the consort is given the first place, as in Lakshmi Narayana, Uma Maheshwara, shows what importance Bharatiyas attached to women. People generally speak of women as the weaker sex. At last, now Bharatiyas recognise that women cannot be considered as weak. The woman in charge of the home plays the main role in bringing good name and fame to the home. Not only in respect of individual homes but also in the good name of the country and the world the woman plays the main role. From ancient times, woman has been accorded a high place in the society. The scriptures have ascribed seven virtues to women as a class: Satya (truth), Prema (love), Dharma (righteousness), Shanti (peace), Sahana (tolerance), Ananda (bliss), Svanubhuti (spirituality). The woman at home has been held in high esteem as Grihalakshmi, the goddess of prosperity of the home. When her husband faces difficulties, the wife readily shares the burden and is prepared to do anything, to undergo any suffering or even sacrifice her life for the welfare of her husband and the family. It is the woman of the home who is behind the good reputation of the home. The woman is the embodiment of sacrifice. Though the male counterpart may also do sacrifice, it will be with a selfish tinge, while the woman’s sacrifice is absolutely selfless. Therefore, we should be proud of our women."
“Glory of Womanhood”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 31,
April 19, 1998, Kodaikanal
"There are two different kinds of families. One is a nuclear family where there are father, mother and children. This sort of family is narrow. In a joint family, there are grandparents, parents and children, all living together. What is happening now is that in a nuclear family, both father and mother go to office, and the child has to stay with the maidservant or peon. These children develop the qualities of the peon or maid servant. They may become good for nothing. Parents get their children educated paying some money as fees. The parents do not even think as to where the son is, what he is doing, where he is going and how he is growing up.
In a joint family, even if parents go to work, grandparents will be taking care of children. They will be teaching them right conduct and good things about life and steer the life of the children in the proper direction. In the nuclear family if parents quarrel with each other, there is no one to settle the issue. But in joint family, either the parents or in-laws advice the quarrelling mother and father against it. Today, the joint family system has disintegrated. How can those who are ruining their own families develop broader outlook? They don’t even care for their parents. They chant ’Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu’ (May all the beings in the world be happy) out of sheer recklessness without any sort of sensitivity of implementing it.
Firstly, this nuclear family should be broadened. Joint family should be the family system. There is a lot of benefit in the joint family system. There are many ways people benefit out of such a system. Good qualities develop in children. This system has been responsible for upholding the respect and honour of the family. There is no use of nuclear families. They are only pomp and show."
“True Education is Knowledge with Discrimination”,
My Dear Students, Volume 05, June 24, 1989, Prasanthi Nilayam
"As you take care of your parents, you will be taken care of by your children. Therefore, we must know the value of respecting our parents. I tell the boys (students) many times that your blood, food, head and mind are given by your parents. So first you must pay your respect to your parents. Since parents have given you birth and have brought you up, you must first pay respect to them, even before God. God has given us mud and water, but the pots are made by the potters and not by God. In the same way, God has created our parents, and they, in turn, have given us this form. We owe this form to our parents. Your parents are the foundation of this body. Therefore it is said, Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava – Mother is God, Father is God. Parents are Divine. Even today, we may find a wicked son, but never a bad mother. Parents bring you up with so much love. You should never forget your parents’ love."
“The Transient Human Life”, My Dear Students, Volume 04, July 18, 1996, Prasanthi Nilayam
"Youth is the stage in life when the slightest turn towards wrong will spell disaster. Thoughts shape the career. You plan to earn much wealth, because you imagine that rich people are very happy. The rich have plenty to eat, but they have no appetite. The rich wield power over others but they are held down by disease. The rich can have many servants but they cannot live in peace. So, plan to be rich in virtue, in devotion and in dedication to good causes. Be rich in sovereign character. Steady adherence to truth, renunciation, genuine love, selfless service – these are the essential components of character. Follow the dictates of your conscience; you will never be wrong."
“Why Sai Colleges?”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 15,
July 18, 1981, Prasanthi Nilayam
On Misuse of Technology
"Television (TV) can be valuable means of educating and entertaining people. But how is it berg used today? As soon as a boy returns from school, he throws away his books and starts looking at the TV. His mother serves him food near the TV set. Both mother and son keep watching TV without regard to their other duties. Several hours of precious time is wasted in watching TV. The fault lies not with the TV, but with the excessive and wrongful use of the instrument. It is like a knife which can be used for slicing vegetables or stabbing a person. It is only when science is linked to spirituality that the results of science can be fully harnessed for the good and elevation of mankind."
“From Creation to Creator”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 18,
January 26, 1985, Bombay
"I see several boys keeping cell phones in their pockets. They think that they are keeping cell phones for their convenience and easy communication. They do not realise the ill-effects of these instruments. The cell phones are often misused for undesirable purposes like establishing contacts between boys and girls. They develop bad thoughts and bad connections between them. In order that bad thoughts should not enter our minds, we should avoid such connections altogether. It is said that mind is the cause of bondage and liberation of man. It is common practice that we give our telephone numbers to all and sundry. What happens thereafter? Bad contacts develop. All unnecessary calls are made to verify whether we respond to them or not. Thus, boys and girls develop unnecessary contacts and establish undesirable relationships between them. Hence, I would strongly advise you not to make use of cell phones. It may be convenient in the beginning, but gradually it will lead to bad ways."
“All are One, Be Alike to Everyone”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 41, October 09, 2008, Prasanthi Nilayam
"Man should be prepared to make any amount of effort in the pursuit of knowledge. Education today is concerned with worldly comforts, but it should seek to promote, in addition to worldly knowledge, concern for spiritual development. Education has two important characteristics. One is exposition of facts relating to any subject. The other is the unfoldment of the individual’s personality. The first is concerned with matter. The second is with energy. Education is a combination of the two. It is a combination of worldly and spiritual knowledge. Education cannot be confined to stuffing the head. It has to melt the heart, refine it and turn it Godwards. It is not enough to make a man of the student. He has to be transformed into an ideal human being. He must be made compassionate. Every effort should be made to utilise education for the purpose of Divinising man."
“Toward a Values-Based Education”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 23, November 22, 1990, Prasanthi Nilayam
"Scientists announce that the cosmos is composed of atoms. Spiritual seers announce that God is the minutest of atoms and the vastest among the vast. Sea water yields salt crystals. Similarly, the all-pervading Divinity crystallises as Avatars (incarnations). The crystal is the build-up of many atoms; the Avatar principle is the build-up of many Divine attributes. The two sciences - physical and spiritual, can never clash; one complements the other, for the sciences related to nature have bounds which they cannot cross. They can study only the created; the Creator is the special field of study for religion. One is a scientist; the other is a saint. The saint probes the root; the scientist peers into the tree above ground."
“The Purpose of Education”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 15,
November 23, 1982, Prasanthi Nilayam
"The plight of doctors (in India) deserves sympathy. Many of them have to spend large sums to get seats in medical colleges and to complete their education. The doctor is worried how to recover the money that has been spent on his education. Something must be done to solve this problem. For instance, no one should be admitted in a medical college merely because he is able to pay a large capitation fee (of lakhs). Only those who have the talents and aptitude for medical studies should be admitted. Such students will immensely benefit from medical education and will be of use to society. Today you must have either plenty of money or influential backing to get into a medical college. Students who get admitted this way take even twelve years to complete the five year medical course. Of what use are such men? The stress should be on quality and not quantity in the sphere of medical studies. In earlier years, medical students used to work hard spending even 18 hours a day. Without such hard work, no one would get his degree. Alas! today things are otherwise. Students pass without much study. Such ill-educated doctors are a calamity to the nation. Not all doctors are of this kind. There are quite a few competent doctors. It is the duty of the medical profession to rectify this situation. They should contact the authorities to bring about reforms. Only then will the nation progress."
“Doctors, Patients and Society”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 26, February 07, 1993, Prasanthi Nilayam
"What is the root-cause of all the disorder, chaos, crime, falsehood and violence that prevail in the country today? It is the behaviour of people contrary to the dignity of human nature that is responsible for the present situation. All the education that one receives has no relation to human values. Whether it be in the sphere of political behaviour or social conduct, economic activity or spiritual pursuits, all one’s actions are based upon the tendencies of the mind. No change in any form of activity is possible unless the mind is changed. That is why the Vedas (ancient scriptures of spiritual wisdom) proclaimed that the mind is the cause of the bondage and the liberation of men. One who wants to change others must first change himself. The heart is like a lock and the mind is like a key. If you turn the key to the right, you open the heart to God; if you turn it to the left, you turn it towards attachment to worldly things.
There is no use blaming the government for all the evils prevailing today. The people are responsible for the injustice, the wickedness, the falsehood and the corruption prevalent in the country. The people cannot disown their responsibility for the actions of a government which has been placed in power by their votes. Whether a government is good or bad depends on the people themselves. There is widespread talk in the. country about corruption. Many come and ask Me, “Swami! when will corruption end in this country?” Who is responsible for this corruption? Is it the government? No. It is the businessmen who are directly responsible for this corruption.
For their own selfish reasons and private gain businessmen have been financing those in power and making them more and more powerful. If businessmen live up to their principles, all this corruption can be ended in a moment. It is true that there is no one who does not desire wealth. An old Telugu proverb says that even a dying person will get up if he sees somebody offering money! It is not surprising if, when bribes are offered, officials do not refuse them. It is for businessmen to set a limit to their business and their profits and utilise their abilities for the promotion of public good. It may be difficult to combine business with morality. Therefore, the first requisite is to install morality in the heart and, with faith in the Divine, engage oneself in business. If this is done the nation will benefit from the business man’s efforts and he will be serving society."
“Combine Morals with Business”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 17, May 14, 1984, Bombay