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EDUCATION FOR PERFECTION
Swami Sivananda’s Address
At University of Roorkee
Table of Contents
The Fountain of Bliss 5 Publishers’ Note 6 Sri Swami Sivananda’s Lecture 9 Not Engineers but Assistant Creators 10 The Need of the Hour 11 Virtue is Knowledge 12 Upanishadic Convocation Address 14 The Foundation of Education 15 Blend the Sacred and the Secular 16 Nachiketas and Maitreyi 17 Cultivate these Divine Virtues 18 The Cream of Divine Life 19 Blue-Print for Success 21 Real Education 22 Essence of Rishis’ Message 23 Song of Govinda 25 A Word on Brahmacharya 26 Secret of Health 27 The Last Word: Practise! 28
Educational Reforms 31 The Student’s Duty 32 True Culture 35
THE FOUNTAIN OF BLISS
There is not an iota of happiness in the sensual objects of this world. The greatest bliss lies within, in your own Self. You can enjoy real bliss, everlasting peace and perfect contentment only when you tap this source, the fountain of Bliss, your own Atma.
But, the Creator has put a little bit of Rajas in the mind. It has a tendency to flow outward. Therefore, you seek pleasure outside in the objects of the senses.
He is a Dheera, spiritual hero, who restrains this quality of the mind, turns the gaze within and discovers the hidden treasure of the Atma. Education should aim at cultivation of such heroism among the youth, not this shadow of heroism that makes man wage wars, climb mountains, fathom the seas, and conduct scientific experiments. He is the real hero who can wage a war with the senses, win a victory over the mind, scale the peaks of Self-realisation, and conduct ceaseless research into the workings of the mind. Yoga and Vedanta alone can produce such heroes. Therefore, Yoga and Vedanta should form essential parts of our education.
With great joy, we offer our readers the revised edition of ‘Education for Perfection’ by Worshipful Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. This wonderful booklet, first published in year 1954, comprises the soul-elevating address of Sri Gurudev at the University of Roorkee.
According to Sri Gurudev, education loses all its value if it does not have ethical discipline and spiritual culture as its foundation. Through this illuminating lecture interspersed with inspiring songs and Kirtans, Sri Gurudev enlightens the youth of India on the real purpose of life and the true meaning of education, and also inspires them to be sincere seekers of Supreme Truth like Nachiketas and Maitreyi.
We do hope that the present day students and educationists will be greatly inspired by the ideal of real education propounded by Worshipful Gurudev.
—The Divine Life Society
SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA’S LECTURE
Adorations to our worthy President, the Adorable Vice-Chancellor! Adorations to you all Atma-Swarup, the manifestations of the One Self or Atma or Brahman!
I had been here previously, some fifteen years ago, when I addressed the students of the Engineering College. I was then accompanied by professor Ganga Saran Sheel of Chandausi. I spoke to the students on the message of unity, love, service and sacrifice. I also did Kirtan of Lord’s Name, which is my favourite.
Roorkee University is the famous Engineering University in India—I should say in the whole world. It has produced many wonderful engineering geniuses. Many of our famous Railway Engineers were students of this University. Just as every country has its own special characteristics, every college has also its own characteristic features. Kumbhakonam is famous for mathematicians. England is famous for coal and iron; Germany for philosophers like Kant, Hegel and others. So also, this University has got its own special feature. Something in the atmosphere there is, that produces brilliant engineers!
NOT ENGINEERS BUT ASSISTANT CREATORS
Engineers are assistants to Lord Brahma in creation. Artists, Painters and Engineers—they are all assistants to Lord Brahma, for they have creative talents. They all add to the wealth of the world. The engineers construct dams and promote irrigation of the fields; this in turn helps the agriculturists to grow more food. This college is therefore the fountain-source of wealth and beauty. Remove the engineers; there will be no beauty in this world; it will be quite dry. It is these engineers who produce beautiful plans, designs for beautiful pieces of architecture. All the beautiful things of the world are created by you, engineers. I am happy, therefore, that God has given me a chance to serve you all. Through God’s Grace and also through the grace of our Vice-Chancellor, I am here amidst you all to share my thoughts with you.
There is something dearer than wealth, there is something dearer than wife and children, there is something dearer than your life itself. That dearest something is your own Atma, the Indweller of all beings,—Eko Devah Sarva-bhuteshu Gudhah Sarva-vyapi Sarva-bhutantaratma. That Indweller, the All-pervading Essence is hidden in all these names and forms, like butter in milk, like electricity in these wires. That is the dearest thing. You must realize that.
He who dwells in this hall; whom the hall does not know; whose body is this hall—He is the inner Self, Antaryamin, Pure Consciousness, the Indwelling, Inter-penetrating Presence. He who dwells within this mind, whose body is the mind, whom the mind does not know but who rules the mind from within—that is your Atma; that is your essential nature, Pure Consciousness. Know That.
THE NEED OF THE HOUR
For this, religious education is essential. The most urgent need today is to introduce in our schools and colleges an elementary religious education. By all means, let us avoid sectarian dogmas. But on that account, religion should not be left out of our educational institutions. Select such texts as would instill in the minds of the youth, healthy ideas, and would enable them to grow into real men and women. Real religion is universal. If the youth is taught that fundamentally he is one with all his brethren all over the world, that the one soul pervades all beings—"Eko Devah Sarva-bhuteshu Gudhah Sarva-vyapi Sarva-bhutantaratma"—you would then have effectively sown the seed of harmony, peace and brotherhood.
Real religion is selflessness. To live for the sake of the Lord’s Creation is Divine Life. The spirit of selflessness should take possession of every fibre of every Indian. Then will India regain her glorious position as the World-Preceptor which she occupied in day of yore. Her life-breath has always been Yoga and spirituality. That is our heritage, a very rich heritage.
If the law does not permit of imparting religious instruction in schools and colleges, this should be done as a part of the extra-curricular education. There should be regular study of the Gita by the students themselves assisted by some teachers well versed in Gita. Gita contains the essence of spirituality, and Gita has also been acclaimed a non-sectarian universal scripture.
VIRTUE IS KNOWLEDGE
What do you find in the Gita? Again and again the Lord exalts the man of virtue. Lord Krishna defines wisdom, knowledge, as virtue. Amanitwam Adambhitwam, etc. Study the thirteenth chapter. Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forgiveness, uprightness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control, indifference towards the objects of the senses, absence of egoism, reflection over the evil in birth, death, old age, sickness and pain, non-attachment, non-identification of the Self with son, wife, home and the rest, constant state of balanced mind whether one gets the desirable or the undesirable, unswerving devotion to God, love of seclusion, distaste for company, constancy in Self-knowledge, perception of the end of true knowledge,—this is declared as knowledge, and what is opposed to this is ignorance.
Of what use then is your biology, physiology, psychology, and the other ologies; of what use are your text-books which give you every kind of information other than what your inner self needs? Saunaka, a man full of wisdom, approached sage Angiras and asked: "O venerable sir, what is that supreme science knowing which all other sciences become known?" Angiras replied: "It is Brahma Vidya or Para Vidya or the Science of the Self," and then instructed Saunaka in Brahma Vidya. Is such instruction found in your text-books? Is Brahma Vidya taught in your schools and colleges?
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