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Adding Spirit to Knowledge

 A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari
during the Republic Day Celebrations on 26th January, 2006
at Lalaji Memorial Omega School, Chennai, India

Dear children (I hope next year I will call you wonderful children, and the year after that, our brilliant future citizens of India), parents of our children (who should consider themselves to be lucky in having these future brilliants entrusted to their care, and treat them as trusts rather than as children), and invited guests, members of the Trust of Baal Vatika Education Society and Trust, and other members of Shri Ram Chandra Mission and Sahaj Marg Spirituality foundation who are here:

My first thanks is to the donors—very magnificent, munificent, generous donors, who have made this building possible within the short span of a year, and as you can see, another building is coming up behind, which will be built at an estimated cost of about five-and-a-half crores, to be completed by June this year. Without their financial support, behind which lie great magnificent, magnanimous hearts, prepared not only to earn money, but to give away their wealth, lies the future of India.

I have seen in the U.S. that past students of great universities donate in millions, and they are very affluent universities. People go from here and admire those campuses—eighty acres, hundred acres, magnificent structures, well-endowed laboratories, well-stocked libraries, computers, what have you—and they compare them with the poor facilities available in our country here. But without money, you know, we cannot achieve anything. And what we have achieved is with those moneys that have come in from mainly the U.S., our abhyasis. So if anybody asks you who built this school, and who is going to build the rest of it, you can say abhyasis of Shri Ram Chandra Mission whose heart was well developed by education, whose intelligence was honed razor sharp, to such an extent that the Indian community in the U.S. is considered to be the most affluent of the so-called aliens. We owe [to them] what we are going to do, what we have done and what we shall do in the future. So my gratitude to them, first and foremost.

Secondly, no school is useful without its teachers. To our present line up of teachers, lead by our principal Mrs. Nirmala Sundaram, I must give all accolades and praise for what has been achieved in the very first year of this school’s existence. You all know by now that in a particular competition, I don’t know its exact name, but it is supposed to be technology-supported education, we have reached the third round (I mean Lalaji Memorial Omega School), and so far we are one of twelve schools selected from all over India. A similar test of efficiency or competition, whatever you may call it, is for teachers, and I am even more proud to announce that three of our teachers are already in the line up too.

So these speak of not only what the trustees are doing and what the teachers are doing, and what the children are achieving, but indisputably my Master’s grace is supporting this venture into the field of education; the very first we have started so far. I am also happy to say that there are requests from all over the world, from our abhyasis, from non-abhyasis, requesting us to open similar schools. I don’t know what we have done that is unique here. All that is unique, perhaps, in today’s morally corrupt, materialistic world where money-making is the chief aim, all that we have put in here is our hearts—pure hearts, with a pure aim and a pure goal of developing in a minuscule way our own society, which shall outshine everything like the stars in the firmament. To those hearts we owe gratitude, to my Master and his Master Lalaji Maharaj, in whose great name, in whose honour, to whom we pay our obeisance, the school is dedicated and is named after.

We have the responsibility of upholding a great tradition, that of Sahaj Marg. It goes without saying that behind all our education here, our educational efforts, our curriculum, there is the undercurrent of the Sahaj Marg tradition and teaching. We have already started in Shri Ram Chandra Mission value-based education some ten years ago, and teachers from all over India have been trained in that particular curriculum. And I am happy to announce it is meeting with very good success.

So we are the forerunners of a particular tradition, you see—that of adding spirit to knowledge. Without spirit nothing can fly. When you say, “He soared on the wings of music,” it is because behind music there is feeling. Without feeling nothing goes up. With feeling everything can go up. You know the old English saying, “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below; words without thoughts never to heaven go.” So that is what we are trying to put in here. In geography there is the spirit of the great Master; so also in history, so also in mathematics of which all of you are afraid. Once you understand that in mathematics too, my Master is there—and he was a poor mathematician himself, I am sorry to say! Mathematics is not the tradition of spirituality. But the spirit of spirituality imbues all these subjects that we teach here, and therefore they make them light, understandable with the heart rather than the intelligence. And therefore, whether we understand the subject or not, you’ll find that your understanding grows as you go on without really having learnt it. You may all like to know that the great Swami Vivekananda, whom I consider to be one of the very great Indians born in this country, was able to sleep with a book under his pillow, and next morning he knew the contents of the book from A to Z, from first page to last.

So there are ways of acquiring knowledge without having to read, without having to write, and that is called wisdom, as apart from knowledge. Our goal in this school is to produce wise, dedicated, loving, humble hearts, dedicated to service of others rather than to service of themselves. Our teachers are handpicked only with this goal, with this aim. That they have come here, some of them from other schools where they have held even higher positions than they hold here, and even at lesser salaries is a tribute to their acknowledgement in these values in their lives, because they have sacrificed money for values. Our children must do this as they grow up, and as they become citizens of India, so that one day we shall have a society which is clean, honest, un-corrupt, and you know as they say, “Pure as the driven snow.” With these values in mind, our education will be taught in multifarious ways: from books, through lectures, through computer-oriented education, through field visits, so many things you see. In the old days it was confined to class rooms. Now more and more it is going out of the classrooms into the field. You study botany outside the classroom. You study geology outside the class room—so on and so forth, you see.

Our children must be taught all these values; teachers must continue to be dedicated because this institution will succeed or fail depending on the teachers. We can do only so much, trustees can only do so much, donors can only do so much. I do with prayer, my trustees do because they are trustees of honour who hold the school as a sacred trust to which they must dedicate their knowledge, their wisdom and as much of their money as they can. We should not have to ask for money for such noble causes. My Master always believed that for the noble cause with spiritual support in it, money will come, and I am happy to announce that this year it has come. We have even received a donation from the U.S.A. for one million dollars—one single donation. With that money only we are building the second block. People ask me, “You have five blocks on your plan. How are you going to build the rest?” I said they will get built. I don’t build, they will get built. Because that is my Master’s wish; that is our intention to fulfil his wish, and that intention will be fulfilled by Divine Grace.

So you see, in a modern world where intelligence is the only thing, money is the only value, and health and happiness at a personal level are the only goals that human beings strive for, to blend the spiritual values of life and to rely on Divine Grace rather than on mundane financial or other assistance might seem a bit of an anachronism. I assure you it is not. Because I don’t see many schools coming up with the speed with which we are coming up; I don’t see them coming up as well as we have come up. I am not trying to boast, I am only trying to show you the value of grace and the power of prayer. To these two things we are dedicated, and to these values I dedicate the children of this school, and for those who will come hereafter, and may all be blessed by my Master, my divine guide, and the only guide we acknowledge in this system. And may he always shower his blessings on these children who are here and on the future children, and may his benediction be ever with us.

Thank you.