Sunday, Mar 24 2019
THE END OF EDUCATION IS CHARACTER - 27 FEB 2006
Until about fifty years ago, educational establishments everywhere regarded character development and training students to be good citizens as very high priority in their list of priorities. Lately, however, the stress has shifted almost exclusively to imparting worldly skills. When values cease to have any place in the scheme of education, Society ends up paying a heavy price. Indeed, a good fraction of the crime today is committed by intelligent and clever college-educated people, as should be evident from the number of corporate frauds, cyber crimes, high-level corruption, etc.
Baba says that all such actions occur when one forgets that the Atma is the most important component of a human being. He strongly believes that education must cater equally, and in balanced proportion, to the needs of the body, the Mind and the Soul, and not merely the "Head" as he puts it.
A parable often retold by Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the story of a little boy who tore up his father's world map into pieces. While the father was furious, the boy decided to make amends and starts putting the pieces back in place to stick them up. Even as he puts in all his efforts he fails to put the world together again. Then he notices that on the reverse of the world map there are bits of drawings of the human body; a nose here, a ear there, a foot here and an eye there... and then an idea strikes him. He reverses all the torn pieces and puts the parts of the human body together so that they form the complete picture of a man. Then he turns the picture to have the whole world again!
Likewise says Baba, in these troubled times when the whole world is going into pieces, the only way to make the world united is by making each human being a wholesome person. There are no other short cuts to it. By wholesome he means each one should develop a good character.
Today why are we studying hard for our exams? It is so that we get admissions into good schools and institutions later. In future this education will help us secure a good job and we can earn good money due to that. How many of us become good humans after studying? How many of us strive to do something for society because our studies teach and encourage us to do so. The current education system in the world is not bad but what it promotes is to earn a living, barring few exceptions. Is this true education? No, definitely not. Then what is true education?
Let me narrate to you a small incident:
In Bangalore, many have known Sir C.V. Raman. He is known all over India, too. He was a great scientist. When he was the Director of the Indian Institute of Science he had to interview candidates for jobs.
One young man did not give the correct answers to some of his questions and so, Ramana told him not to have hopes of securing the job. He advised him to try his luck somewhere else and asked him to leave. The candidate left the room slowly with a broken heart. He descended the steps and stood alone in the foyer. After sometime, when Raman came down, he noticed that he was still hanging around! He rebuked him and told him once again that he should give up all hopes of being taken for the job. The young man replied, with folded hands, "Sir! I am only waiting for the office to open. I have been paid five rupees extra by them as fare and daily allowance through wrong calculation. I shall return that amount and leave" On hearing this Raman's heart melted; he patted the candidate on his back, accepted him and gave him a job. What touched him was the true character of the boy.
Our beloved swami practices what he preaches. He has established the Sathya Sai University of higher Learning and 3 campuses under it’s wings in south India, one each in Prashanti Nilayam,White Field, and Ananthpur.
Other than the above institutions Swami started the balvikas movement in the sixties where character education was imparted to children. This movement grew from strength to strength where almost every town in India had a balvikas class. Then came the SSEHV Sathya Sai Education in Human Values ("SSEHV"). Sathya Sai Baba says that education has two aspects: the first is related to external and worldly education, sometimes referred to as book knowledge. The second aspect, known as Educare, is related to human values. The word "Educare" means to bring out that which is within. Sathya Sai Baba teaches that human values are innate in every human being and that true education develops the full human potential of every individual. It is because human values are absent in "educated" persons that they are steeped in anxiety and worry.
That is precisely the difference in EHV and normal worldly education. The latter teaches how to make a good living whereas the former teaches how lead a good life.
If wealth is lost, nothing is lost.
If health is lost, something is lost.
If character is lost, Everything is lost.
Character is power. Nothing can be more powerful on earth than character. Riches, scholarship, status authority are all frail and flimsy before it. A strong virtuous character cannot be earned from guidebooks; it is earned only through strong fundamentals.
The end of wisdom is freedom.
The end of culture is perfection.
The end of knowledge is love.
The end of education is character.
The end of true and real education should be character.
"The future of the nation lies not with the politicians but with the values with which we are able to inspire today's children." says Baba, "Education is like a bank on which the Nation draws a cheque whenever it needs strong and reliable workers", says Sathya Sai Baba.
There are five basic human values that are universally recognized and respected. They are the key to self-confidence, self-reliance, dependability, peace and happiness. Not only do they benefit the individual but, when practiced by the society, they create a peaceful, harmonious and purposeful society and nation. Any from of good education system should impart these values to the students.
The five basic values are:
Truth, Right Action, Peace, Love and Non-Violence.
Taken together, these values encompass the human potential in totality.
Remember Education is not just for living , Education is for life.
Jai Sai Ram