Humility and Character are
the Hallmark of Education
Text of the Divine Discourse
delivered by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on 16th March 2005, at Prashanti Nilayam, Sai Kulwanth Hall
The creation emerges from truth
and merges into truth,
Is there a place in the cosmos where truth is not?
Visualise this pure and unsullied truth. (Telugu poem)
Embodiments of Love! Students!
You have joined this institution to pursue your education.
Firstly, make efforts to understand the true meaning of
education. Humility and character are the hallmark of education.
But, today students do not develop humility. They are interested
only in acquiring degrees. However, our educational institution
is an exception in this regard. Few students come here with the
sole objective of acquiring degrees. Most of them come here with
the single aim of pleasing Swami by striving to follow Swami's
ideals and attain exalted position in life. They give happiness
to their parents by their good conduct.
Education does not mean mere acquisition of degrees.
Oh man! Examine and enquire for yourself what great happiness
you have achieved by spending all the time from dawn to dusk in
acquiring knowledge and earning wealth unmindful of God.
One may acquire a high academic qualification such as M.A.
and B.A. and attain exalted position,
One may amass wealth, perform acts of charity and attain name
One may have physical strength and enjoy a long and healthy
One may be a great scholar studying and preaching the Vedas,
But none can equal a true devotee of the Lord. (Telugu poem)
Having entered the portals of this educational institution, you
should try to understand the value and true meaning of
education. Only when you understand these aspects, can you be
called truly educated. There is a lot of knowledge in
pustakas (books), but what is the use if the mastaka
(head) is filled with 'mud'? Once you fill your mastaka
with knowledge, you need not refer to pustakas any more.
Elders should evince interest in the education of their
children. They should enquire as to what the children are
learning in the educational institution and constantly monitor
their progress. Modern students react to the queries of elders
in a discourteous manner. They indulge in mere verbosity and
confuse the elders.
Students should earn a good name in society and uphold the
reputation and prestige of the institution in which they study.
An educational institution is like a gigantic tree. Different
subjects are like its branches and sub-branches. Virtues are
like the fragrant flowers that you find on the tree. Faith is
like the roots. When you water the roots of faith, you get the
fruit of Ananda.
At present, all educational institutions have begun to feel that
character is very important for a student. The end of education
is character. Character does not mean good conduct alone. One
should consider the fellow human beings as one's own brothers
and sisters. One should develop Bhava Shuddhi (purity in
feelings), which will ultimately lead to Jnana Siddhi
(attainment of wisdom).
Our students are highly virtuous. I repeatedly say that they are
My property. When I have such a property with Me, why should I
worry about anything? I asked the boys who appeared for the GATE
examination, "My dear ones! How did you write the exam?" They
said, "Swami, with Your grace and blessings we have done well.
You say that students are Your property. Having been blessed
with the opportunity of being Your students, our only aim is to
live up to Your ideals and bring a good name to the Institute."
I was very pleased and deeply touched by their answer. It is
heartening to note that there are such ideal students in our
Institute. It is because of such noble students that the country
has progressed and prospered. If there are no men and women of
virtues, how can the world shine with all its brilliance?
Our students do not indulge in empty rhetoric, they are men of
action. Their sincerity makes Me happy. I have come to impart
such ideal education to the students and inculcate virtues in
In spite of his education and intelligence, a foolish man
will not know his true Self and a mean-minded person will not
give up his evil qualities. (Telugu poem)
Modern education leads only to argumentation, not to total
wisdom. What is the use of acquiring education which cannot lead
you to immortality? Acquire the knowledge that will make you
immortal. (Telugu poem)
Once you acquire the knowledge of the Self, you would have
acquired everything else. These words of wisdom are imprinted in
the hearts of our students.
Embodiments of Love! Students!
You have proved your worth among lakhs of students and secured
high ranks in the GATE examination (loud applause). The
examiners were highly impressed with the intelligence and
behaviour of our students. They wanted to know whether our
students came from East or West, North or South. Our students
replied, "Sir, we are neither from East nor from West, neither
from South nor from North, we are the students of Sri Sathya Sai
Institute of Higher Learning."
They are not satisfied with what they have achieved. They are
striving hard to bring more and more laurels to our Institute.
Wherever you go, you find our students leading exemplary lives
propagating the ideals of our educational institutions.
Once someone asked our students what type of food they like to
take, vegetarian or non-vegetarian. They replied in one voice,
"Non-vegetarian food gives rise to evil thoughts and feelings;
hence we would never touch non-vegetarian food." They are 100%
vegetarians. Even the students who used to eat non-vegetarian
food earlier become vegetarians once they join our Institute.
Once someone tried to persuade one of our students to take
non-vegetarian food, saying it contained a lot of good
nutrients. But, he not budge from his stand. He said, "I don't
want such vitamins and proteins. Even vegetarian food has all
the vitamins and proteins that I need. I want to tread the path
of truth and non-vegetarian food is not at all conducive for
spiritual progress. Along with secular education, I want to
acquire spiritual education and propagate it to the world."
There are many such students who are firm in their resolve to
spread the Sai ideals. It is because of such noble students that
our institution has attained worldwide fame.
Students should develop good habits right from their childhood
to enjoy good health and happiness. In this context, there is a
poem which reads as follows:
Get up early in the morning at the crowing of the cock,
Have a bath after your morning ablutions,
Wear a proper dress.
Eat properly and moderately.
Go to school and study diligently.
Earn a good name.
Don't move out when it is raining,
And never go near the murky pools.
Take part in games,
Run and play.
If you abide by all these rules,
You will have both health and wealth. (Telugu poem)
Students should exercise restraint over their food habits. Even
birds, beasts and animals observe certain regulations in this
regard. Born as human beings and having acquired education, is
it not expected of you to follow proper discipline with regard
to food? Students who eat non-vegetarian food right from their
childhood give up that habit when they join our institution.
Even their parents are surprised at their transformation. When
one of our students went home during vacation, his mother tried
to serve him non-vegetarian food. He refused to touch it and
requested his mother not to prepare non-vegetarian items in
future. He explained to his parents the ill effects of consuming
Non-vegetarian food is the cause of several diseases like
cancer. You might have read in journals and newspapers that most
of the people in Singapore eat fish. Consequently, they are
infected by several harmful micro-organisms. Similar instances
were reported from various parts of Bharat. It is because of
unhealthy food that people suffer from diseases. Many are under
the mistaken notion that non-vegetarian food gives them
strength, but in reality it makes them weak. Once you spoil your
health by partaking of non-vegetarian food, you will never be
able to regain your health even if you spend the rest of your
life in forests eating fruits and tubers.
These were the answers given by our students when they were
asked questions about their food habits. The explanation given
by our students made such an impact on the audience that many of
them became total vegetarians. As is the food so is the mind. As
is the mind so is the man. Hence, one must necessarily partake
of sacred and sattwic food to lead a happy and healthy
life. Of late, there is a growing awareness among the
Bharatiyas about the influence of food on one's mind.
Consequently, people are changing their food habits for the
better. Our body is made up of flesh. Why should you feed it
again with flesh? Such unsacred food gives rise to unsacred
It is not enough if you observe regulations with regard to food
alone; you should cultivate good habits also. You should
participate in sports and games regularly. Take part in such
games which will help in the blossoming of your physical and
mental faculties. Healthy food and good habits will take you to
exalted position in life.
Dear Bangaru Students!
Truly, you are like gold. It is not possible to describe your
sacred feelings. You speak from the depths of your hearts. The
language you speak is not ordinary. It is Atma Bhasha
(language of the spirit). You are leading your lives with sacred
feelings. However, keep away from bad company. It is said, "Tell
me your company, I shall tell you what you are." "As is
your company, so you become." Hence, always keep good
company. Be in the company of those who speak good words. Never
utter harsh and unsacred words. If you use unkind words, people
will treat you like an enemy. If you speak softly and sweetly,
people would enjoy your company and talk to you for any length
of time. When you are in the company of others, make sure that
your body is clean and your mouth does not emit bad smell. You
should take proper care of your health in every possible way.
When your body is clean and healthy and when your thoughts,
words and deeds are pure, you will be loved by one and all.
Wherever you may go, ensure that you are presentable and
acceptable in every way. Only then will you earn the respect of
others. Always keep your mouth clean. Bad breath leads to
various diseases. Not merely that, it will cause inconvenience
to others. If your mouth emits foul smell, people try to avoid
you. Hence, the moment you get up from bed in the morning, you
should brush your teeth and clean your tongue thoroughly. When
you keep your mouth fresh and clean, you will enjoy good health.
Though I don't sleep in the night, I brush My teeth before going
to bed. I brush My teeth at regular intervals so as to keep My
mouth fresh and clean. That is why I don't have any health
problem. I don't have any pain whatsoever.
You should take care that no food particle sticks between your
teeth. Some people use a hard brush to clean their teeth. As a
result, their gums start bleeding. But I use a very soft brush.
Even now My teeth are so strong that I can crack a betel nut. My
students are struck with awe and wonder when they witness My
It will be a matter of shame that you spoil your health and
submit yourself to the hands of a doctor. Hence, each one has to
take care of one's own health. One should never be dependent on
others. This is what I teach to My students quite often. Get up
early in the morning, do some jogging and exercise so as to keep
your body fit. During examination time, students try to keep
themselves awake in the night for late hours to study. They keep
dozing with books in front of them. Such studies will take you
nowhere. Do not force yourself to study when you feel sleepy.
Keep the books aside and go to bed peacefully. You should study
only when your mind is fresh and attentive.
Oh man! Do not feel proud of your education and scholarship.
If you do not offer your salutations to God and not contemplate
on Him with devotion, of what use is all your education? (Telugu
First and foremost, take care of your health. Your education
will prove as mere waste if you do not maintain proper health.
Do not rest content with secular education. You should also
acquire Educare. Education is related to gathering outside
information, whereas Educare relates to inward transformation.
Educare is that which makes the human values blossom from
within. Whether you have acquired educare or mere education will
become evident in your speech. A word of caution in this regard
- you should not talk loosely. Especially when you speak to
elders, you should carefully frame your sentences and speak with
all humility and respect. True education is not limited to
textual knowledge. You should manifest the human values of
truth, righteousness, love, peace and non-violence. Truth should
not be confined to mere words. It should be translated into
Having come here and acquired education of the highest standard,
lead a life of virtues. Share your knowledge with others.
Let us all move together, let us all grow together,
Let us all stay united and share our knowledge,
Let us live together with friendship and harmony. (Telugu poem)
This is what you have to learn today. Always have a smiling
countenance and be a good friend to others. A good friend is one
who always has good thoughts, speaks good words and performs
good deeds. When you lead your life in such a manner, you will
be an ideal person and a source of inspiration to others.
Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the bhajan, "Hari
Bhajan Bina Sukha Santhi Nahin?"