Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Teachings

  Serve the Society

XVII Convocation Sandesh

Serve the Society - Divine Discourse at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
22nd November, 1998

Bharat has men who are capable of educating even the ancient sages about the essence of scriptures;  Men who have sacrificed their lives for the uplift of the society;  Men who can wield power over the land;  Bharat has many such eminent personalities.  Alas! Of what use are such men in Bharat if they have no awareness of the wail of the oppressed?  When will they respond to the heart-rending cries of the poor?

(Telugu Poem)


Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.  The need of the hour is men who set an ideal by their valour and courage in the battle of life, and not men who pursue physical, ephemeral, fleeting pleasures.

Students! Investigate into the concept of ideal education propagated by the ancient sages.  They enthroned Righteousness and welcomed Truth. They enshrined valour and courage.  You should emulate such people, who strove for the glory of Indian culture.  In fact, you are the true inheritors of the legacy of Indian culture.  You should resolve to uphold Dharma and work for the welfare of the country.  Science and technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the past 200 years, yet no sanctity has been attached to it.  This has stimulated development in human civilisation, but not within man.  Absence of human values will lead to the decline in spirituality.  Develop strong faith that the body has been gifted to uphold human values.  Since ancient times Bharathias stood for peace, forbearance and forgiveness.  A study of the history of Bharat will reveal the fact that many invaded Bharat and plundered its wealth, but never has Bharat invaded any foreign land on its own.  Bharathias have considered divinity and purity as their two eyes.  In such a sacred land justice and righteousness have been consigned to flames, resulting in trials and tribulations, turmoil and unrest on a large scale.

Education does not mean mere bookish knowledge.  Knowledge acquired should be put into practice and shared with the rest of the community.

  Does the ability to read and write make one educated?
  Does securing college degrees make one educated?
  If education is for a living, are not the birds and beasts living?

(Telugu poem)

There are millions of educated men and women all over the world, but what is the benefit accruing to their respective nations?   None.  They are utilising their education for selfishness and self-interest alone.

Embodiments of Love, Men and Women, students!

Eschew selfishness and self-interest and resolve to serve the society.

The eternal and long lasting values have disappeared into thin air;
Good nature in men and women is on the decline;
Ancient Aryan wisdom is frittered away.
Western education is on the rise.

Bharathia education makes one ideal and self-reliant.  It inculcates the sense of sacrifice in man.  Having called yourselves children of Bharat, you should keep in mind the welfare of Bharat Maatha.  Modern education enhances the intelligence, not broad-mindedness.  It makes the students stonehearted.  True education is one which instills compassion in you. Patriotism coupled with sacrifice;  devotion coupled with love should become a part and parcel of you life.  Education confers humility. Humility confers deservedness; devotion to God.

  In this sacred land of Bharat
  Forbearance is our best wealth;
  Of all forms and rituals, the highest
  Is the observance of Truth and morality;

  Of sweetness of disposition,
  The greatest is maternal love;
  Jettisoning the national ideal
  That honour is greater than life itself.

  What a pity to exotic practices!
  What can I say about the plight of Bharat!
  Like the elephant unaware of its strength
  Alas! Bharathias have become docile today."

(Telugu poem)

Since ancient times, Bharat has stood as an ideal for the rest of the world. Unfortunately we witness a different scenario today.  We find educational institutions proliferating in every street, in every village.  What is the gain therefrom?  Absolutely 'nil'.  Humility, the land mark of a true
student, is not noticed.

  Harm is done to those that help;
  Sense of gratitude is lacking;
  Teachers are made laughing stock;
  This is the progress of modern education.

(Telugu poem) 

To realise the purpose of education, serve the society.  Cleanse the country of all evils.  True education is that which makes one a complete man.  Only when one gets transformed into a complete human being, the purpose of education is fulfilled.


Resolve to make the best use of the education you have received.  Respect and revere elders and set an ideal to humanity.  Let your conduct befit the degrees you have acquired.  Nothing great in obtaining good marks, see that you do not invite bad remarks.  In the modern system of education, a student is declared "pass" if he secures just 35% of marks. What about the balance 65%.  If a person completes only 35 out of 100 tasks assigned to him, can you call him a successful one?  One should secure 100% marks.  That is true education.  Attaining high marks is not the aim of education.  Education is meant to broaden the mind.  Education and discrimination should go hand in hand.  The prosperity of the nation depends on the progress you make in the field of education.  The future of the nation rests on the students.  

  Moral and ethical values are confined only to books.
  Heart has become a dwelling place for evil qualities.
  Actions have become completely self-centered,
  This is the progress of modern education.

(Telugu poem)

Education acquired should be translated into action.


As I have told you repeatedly, knowledge can be classified into five categories: Bookish knowledge; Superficial knowledge; General Knowledge; Discrimination knowledge; and Practical knowledge.  General knowledge and common sense knowledge are very much essential.  You should set an ideal by exercising practical knowledge and following the four Fs. First F is "Follow the Master."  Who is your Master?  Conscience is your master.  So follow your conscience.  The second F is "Face the devil."  The third F is "Fight to the end" and the fourth F is "Finish the game".  Play the game of sportsmanship.  Students lack self confidence. Confidence in Self is essential.  Lack of confidence in Self will lead to depression.  Today, 90% of people are afflicted with depression.  Depression will lead to weakness of mind.  "Nayamatma Balahinena Labhyah", a weak-minded one cannot realise the Atma.  If you have confidence in the Self, you will never be weak-minded.

Bharat has stocked plenty of wealth for you.  What is this wealth?  It is the spirit of sacrifice, which can be acquired through service to society. Do not waste time.  "Karmanu bandheeni Manushyaloke", human society is bound by action.  "Sareeramadhyam Khalu Dharma Sadhanam", the body is gifted in order to undertake righteous actions, not to eat, drink and make merry. Render service to others till your last breath.  The essence of 18 Puranas can be summed up in one phrase: "Paropakarah Punyaya Papaya Parapeedanam." HELP EVER; HURT NEVER.  Set an ideal, which is helpful and delightful to one and all.


"Janthoonaam Narajanma Durlabham", human birth is the rarest of all. Human life should be one of the character, good actions and good qualities. It should be dedicated to the service of the society, not for amassing wealth.  Education is for life and not for a living.  One need not strive for money.  If education is properly  utilized  money will come on its own.  Today educational institutions have become business centers.

  Money has become our God
  Prided has become our creed
  Selfishness sits supreme in the minds of men
  Egotism has become our fashion
  Greed has become our beauty
  Dharma has come to naught
  Compassion has sunk low
  Moral fervor is lost
  Hypocrisy has become the light of our life
  Love and kindness lie sick and diseased.

  Modern education has blinded men with lust
  Life has become a burden
  Minds have gone astray
  Delay no more, for delay is disastrous
  Fuse morality with education in sweet harmony
  Live up to the reputation as children of Bharat.

(Telugu poem)

Moral values should be the underlying current in each and every action of man. Only when you have moral and ethical values, you deserve to be called children of Bharat.

Embodiments of Love!

"Loka Samasthah Sukhino Bhavanthu", Let the whole world be happy, has been the motto of Bharat since ancient times.  Resolve to revive and rejuvenate the pristine glory of Bharat.  Propagate these noble ideas in every village, every street, and every house.  Observe unity in every activity of yours.  Believe in the dictum, "Brotherhood of man and Fatherhood of God."  Do not feel jealous of any one.  Jealousy is an incurable disease.  Praise and censure are inevitable for man.  Only the tree that bears fruit is stoned.  Likewise only good face problems,  Do not attach importance to these trails and tribulations.  A tree welcomes stoning because it is aware of the fact that people have recognised its value.  Similarly, man should not feel dejected when he is censured. Treat dualities like pain and pleasure with equal-mindedness.  Develop this broad mindedness.  Divinity blossoms in those with such a sacred attitude.  All are the embodiments of God.  Krishna declared, "Mamaivamso Jeevaloke Jeevabhuta Sanathanah" (All are sparks of My divinity).  Do not consider yourselves as mere mortals.  Have firm faith that you are divine.  Only then you will be able to work for the emancipation of this country, and it will be restored to the status of teacher to the rest of the world.


The Vice-Chancellor quoted from the Taittriya Upanishad, "Matrudevo Bhava, Pithru devo Bhava, Acharya Devo Bhava, Athithi Devo Bhava."  Revere your mother, father, preceptor and guest as God.  This was the teaching given to the students at the time of leaving the portals of Gurukul in ancient times.  This act of benediction is termed Convocation today. Education is the very form of God.  The word 'education' has originated from the root word, 'educare' meaning 'to bring out' or 'to elicit'. Educare has two aspects; that which relates to the head and that which relates to the heart.  That which emerges from the head is pravritti (external) and that from the heart is Nivritti (internal).  Unless the head is empty (free from evil) it cannot be stuffed with good.  Modern education relates to the head, but true education relates the heart. Sacred qualities like compassion, Truth, forbearance, and Love originate from the heart.  Here is an example: Physical features like height, weight, complexion can be seen by the naked eye, whereas there are innumerable qualities like compassion, truth, love which are unseen. Merely acquainting oneself about the physical features of an individual does not make one aware of his/her true personality.

Hiranyakasipu's scientific achievements far exceed those of the modern scientist.  He could even reach the Polestar, whereas modern scientists have traveled only up to moon.  Prahlada cautioned his father, Hiranyakasipu, "Oh! Father, You have conquered all the worlds, but not your senses."  The same sentiment was expressed by the Prime Minister of England, Churchill.  "Man has conquered all, but he has not conquered himself."  Man knows everything, but not himself.  On being questioned by a westerner as to why he was in a pensive mood, Gandhi replied that he was ruminating over the modern educational system, which was making him stonehearted.  Education should fill one's heart with love and compassion. Two parts of Hydrogen and one part of Oxygen add up to make water. Greatness lies in  sharing water equally, not making it.  Everyone has an equal right in sharing water.  Today everyone is fighting for rights, but what about responsibility?  Students! You do not need to fight for rights.  Discharge your responsibilities, rights will follow.  Do your duty, duty is God; Work is worship.  What is your right?  To make everybody happy is your right.  Serve everybody and make everyone happy without expecting anything in return.  Service is God.  "The best way to love God is to love all and serve all".  "Speak softly and sweetly". "You canot always oblige, but you can speak obligingly."  That is the essence of Bharathiya Vidya.  Education does not mean  "Twinkle, Twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are?"  All this is artificial education. True Bharathiya Vidya is one, which fosters spirituality and human values.


Propagate the ideals of true education in the four corners of the world. Sacrifice everything for the sake of truth and tread along this sacred path.  Truth is God; Love is God; Live in Love; Live in Truth.  Imbibe these principles.  Once you are along the path of love and truth, you will gain all wealth and wisdom.  Be steady, do not waver.  Students of our institutions live up to these ideals and bring a good name to the Institute. There is no Institution comparable to our institution in this country. Business has taken over education right from K.G. to P.G. in other institutions.  But our institute is based on sacrifice.  Foster this sacred quality of sacrifice. Offer education to your fellow beings free of cost.  The  Veda declared, "Na Karmana, Na Prajaya, Dhanena Thyagenaike, Amrutatwa Manasuh", immortality can be attained only through sacrifice and not through wealth, progeny or action.  Be prepared to sacrifice.  True Yoga lies in scrifice.  First and foremost, make your parents happy. Make everybody happy and be an ideal.  The Vedas declared,

  Sahanavavathu, Sahana Bhunakthu,
  Sahaveeryam Karavaavahai Tejaswi
  Navadheethamasthu Ma Vidhvisavahai

  (Let us all move together and grow together;
  Let us grow in intelligence working together,
  Let us live in friendship without any conflict.)

I wish that you practise and propagate these sacred ideals.  Blessing you,
I bring this discourse to  a close.

(The convocation ended with singing of Indian National Anthem accompanied by Students Band.)

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