19. Role of teachers, parents and Governments
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 27 (1994)
Role of teachers, parents and Governments
EMBODIMENTS of Divine love! Teachers! Students! Educationists! Despite all the knowledge one may have acquired, if one has no concern for the welfare of the world, all that knowledge is worthless. Without good qualities, all knowledge is useless. Without refinement in daily actions, vast scholarship will not confer renown. Conformity to rules, without morality, will not enhance one's worth. Will anyone respect you in the world if you display the arrogance of power, overstepping the limits? Going astray from Dharma, if you preach Dharma to others, Will you be deemed human at all? If you have not cherished fear of sin and not entertained the Love of God in your thoughts, what have you achieved so far? Leading a truly human life, be human at least from now onwards. Embodiments of love! What we need today is not a new system of education. Not do we need a new social system. Such changes will not serve to solve the problems we face. We need today men and women who are pure in mind and heart. In a society lacking in purity of mind and integrity of character, noble-minded human beings will be few. Without spirituality there will be neither purity, not morality not integrity. Where there are no men and women of noble character, the state will not flourish.
Bharath is like a multi-petalled rose
No country in the world has so many races, creeds and languages as the sacred land of Bharath. Bharath shines forth as a multi-racial garden with its many races and creeds and languages and cultures. The different creeds and cultures are like so many flowers in a garden. The varied manners and cultures contribute to the many faceted brilliance of the nation. The magnificence of this diversity is beyond description. Bharath is like a multi-petalled lotus. Bharath is the home of people who cherished Love as the way of the Spirit and Truth as the breath of their life. Unfortunately, lost in the pursuit of worldly, physical and material objects, the people have forgotten their basic divinity as human beings. It is in this context that the educational system has to be examined. Teachers have to consider the fundamental features of this system. From early times, the ancient system of education developed a broad outlook and promoted virtues and morals which served to foster noble ideals in society. What are the changes we witness today in the educational set-up? Who is responsible in this sacred land of Bharath for moulding the young children of today into ideal citizens of tomorrow? It is only when this question is properly examined that we will find the right solution for our problems, Is the responsibility that of the parents? Or is it that of the teachers who enrich the intellects of the students? Or that of the national leaders who profess to strive for the progress of the nation? Or is it that of the administrators who are in charge of educational institutions? Or is it that of the writers who are producing the literature for the students and the public? The question may be asked whether all of them are discharging their respective duties properly Let them examine their hearts and furnish the answer. Only then we shall find the solutions to our educational problems.
Who is responsible for the indiscipline?
Among students discipline has almost totally declined. What is the means to restore this discipline on right lines? Is any one trying to find out the cause of indiscipline or the means to remedy the situation? Without seeking to find out who is responsible for this indiscipline, it is wrong to blame the students. They are not to blame. The truth is: The students are not being taught the greatness of the culture and ideals of Bharath through suitable books and writings. Are we teaching to our students the exemplary lives of those who struggled for freedom and gave even their lives for the sake of the country? Are we imparting to our students inspiration from the lives of great leaders like Bala Gangadhara Thilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandhra Pal and Nethaji Subhash Bose who asserted the nation's right to freedom? Are we teaching to out students the message of great men who proclaimed the supremacy of morality and character?
Students should be taught to develop good qualities
We do not impart to our students the lessons of our great epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. Are we teaching to our students the story of Shri Rama, who sacrificed his all to fulfill the promises of his father? Are they told about the sacrifice of Dharmaja who went into exile and lived on roots and leaves to uphold Dharma? Do they learn about the devotion of Shravanakumar, who did not spare himself in the service of his parents? Are the students taught anything about Ekalavya, who was prepared to offer anything desired by the preceptor as the debt he owed to him? Are we teaching our students the story of Prahladha, who rejoiced in chanting the Lord's name and demonstrated the infinite power of the Divine in coming to the rescue of the devotee? Are we imparting to them the great message of the Bhagavath Geetha, which is relevant not only to Bharath but to the entire world.? Are they receiving the message of the Buddha, who proclaimed the truth that there is no greater virtue than refraining from harming others?
Are they taught the significance of the compassion of Jesus? Are they told about the message of Prophet Mohammed? Are they taught the hymns of Nanak which glorify the unity of all faiths? Do they learn about courage and sacrifices made by great heroines like Jhansi Lakshmibai, Padhmini and others?
It is because such examples of noble conducts are not being taught to our students that their sense of patriotism is on the wane. Love of the country is turning into indifference. We have to develop in the students deep love for the country. Students should be taught how to use in a worthy and ideal manner their talents and abilities. Students today, without developing good qualities, are wasting their lives by bad association and giving free rein to their energies. Character alone is enduring. Students are going astray because their virtues are not cultivated.
All are to blame and not one single agency
Who are responsible for this? In the home, the parents are responsible, in schools and colleges, the teachers, and outside, the Governments which have tiled to provide a proper system of education and the administrators who have not recognized their obligation to train young people on right lines. The responsibility thus rests on all of them and not on any one single agency. In the homes, the parents should teach the children to cultivate good qualities and noble ideals. Bookish knowledge alone is not enough. It is superficial and not practical. Students need also general knowledge and common sense. The teachers, for their part, should impart to the students knowledge and skills which will enable them to lead ideal lives. Students today are getting involved in all. kinds of petty agitational movements. Morality and discipline are not to be found. Educational institutions are growing in numbers but the quality of education is declining. The reason is that proper text-books are not made available to the children. Morality and character are confined to books. The hearts are filled with foul things. The hands are used for selfish purposes. This is the progress made in education today. One repays with harm the good done to him. One betrays the man that feeds him. Students mock at teachers. This is our progress.
Students should cultivate human values. The teachings of great and noble souls should be taught to them. Education should not be to get degrees to earn a living, but should be a preparation for the good life. Education should be for elevation. Teachers should teach students discipline, observance of humility and respect, and instill in them the spirit of service to society and the sense of fellowship.
There is only one religion, the religion of Love
Differences of caste and creed should be eradicated from the minds of students. They should feel the sense of human unity, with faith in God. All religions teach essentially the same troths. Hence no religion should be despised. Because of the Government's policies, a wrong attitude has been developed towards religion. The concept of a Secular State is bandied about. Secularism really means that you should have equal respect for all religions and beliefs. No one can be asked to renounce his faith in the name of secularism. There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity. There is only one religion, the religion of Love. There is only one language, the language of the Heart. Imagine how our students would be able to serve the nation in the future if these basic truths were taught to them. Hence, at the outset, teachers should set the example. Parents should exemplify ideals. The Government should be exemplary in its actions. It is because teachers, parents and rulers have failed to set the right example that today our educational system is in shambles. Teachers should combine practice with precept, like the physical instructor who demonstrates the exercises the students should perform. In the hermitages of the ancient preceptors, this was how the Gurus taught their disciples.
The six qualities that emanate from the mind
The distinction between the body and the mind should be understood, in this context. The body can stand still easily; but cannot run so easily. In the case of the mind, to keep it still is difficult, but it can be always fleeting. From the body arise the six enemies of man: lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride and envy. Man today is a victim of these enemies. But from the mind, many good qualities can emanate. Good qualities, good feelings, adherence to truth, devotion, discipline and discharge of duty are the six qualities that emanate from the mind. These are the traits that uphold humanness. Man is called Manuja, the one who has come from Manu, the primal author of the Dharmashasthra (the Code of Conduct for all mankind). These are the qualities that have to be cultivated and practised today. They are the property of man along with his mind. A good mind is a god-mind. The degeneration in education is indicated by the change in addressing a student as "good boy" in olden days, to "Bye-bye" at present. Teachers! Inspire your students by your example. Give no room for anger, jealousy or hatred within you: Teach the children the three P's: Purity, Patience, Perseverance. Armed with these three qualities, they can protect the nation better than any army or atom bombs. When Truth and Righteousness are protected, the nation will be secure. Truth is God. This is true for all countries, everywhere, without regard to nationality or creed. Both Truth and Righteousness transcend barriers of space and time.
Students have 1 taught the path of spirituality. They have to acquire faith, which generates love. Self-confidence is the basis and Self-Realisation is the roof. That is the ultimate destiny of man - the full realisation of his human potential by practising human values.
Unity of head, food and God is vital for all
When all concerned- from students to educational authorities - function in this spirit, they can achieve all that they want. Teachers should not be content with merely teaching the children. They should contact the parents and ascertain how the children are behaving at home. Most Bal Vikas Gurus are working in rural areas. It is not enough to relate stories and reach songs and bhajans to the students. They should tell them about health, and food. For instance, in areas where fluorosis is rampant, they should teach the children how to treat the contaminated water before drinking. The teachers should reach them how to purify their heads and food to realise God. The unity of head, food and God will make them ideal citizens of Bharath. Unity is vital for all, wherever they are and whatever their country, religion or sex. Love should be the unifying force. Utilise the three days of the Conference for exploring all problems relating to your work in small groups and come to practical decisions. Teachers! Promote the sense of human unity among all people, without regard to race, religion or caste. Make Bharath the leader of the nations. The entire existence of Bharath is based upon spirituality. If spirituality goes, Bharath will cease to exist. If Bharath goes, the whole world will go. Faith in God is the life-breath of Bharath. With this faith, Bharath can face any challenge, Imbibe the children with confidence and courage. Unify them through Love and Love alone.
Listen to all such things as will draw you towards the principle of Godhead; then, think it over in silence, make it over in silence, make it part of your consciousness. This process of Manana makes you a man; that is the test of man - Mananahood!
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba