Thought for the Day - As written at Prasanthi Nilayam
Thought for the Day Archive
01 July 2003
You must practice moderation in food, sleep and exercise. Good food taken
in moderate quantities at regular intervals; that is the prescription.
Sathwic food promotes self-control and intelligence more than Rajasic and
Tamasic. Sleep too, must be regulated and moderated; it is as important as
work and food. The food must be clean and pure and derived through pure
means, and the strength derived from it must be directed towards holy
02 July 2003
Fulfillment in life cannot be found by indulging in eating and drinking.
Bad thoughts arise in one's mind because of the wrong kind of food.
Observe fast to bring the mind under control. This is the process of
self-correction. Bhajan is more important than Bhojan (food). Prayer is
more desirable than pining for meals.
03 July 2003
The questions that haunt us and pressurise us while we live- whence have
we come, to where are we proceeding, how did the universe originate, etc.
All religions try to answer these questions. Man has set down in all lands
certain rules and regulations in order to secure orderly and smooth
running of his daily schedule of activities, directed to the actual
process of living. Since they have become part of the code of conduct,
they are also described as 'Discipline'.
04 July 2003
In the use of sense organs, there must be due regard for moderation and
purity. This applies to food as well as to other things, which you may
consume. Today man is behaving like a patient who is clamouring for the
medicines that he relishes, not for the medicines that can cure him
according to the doctors who are the experts. The patient chooses the diet
and the regimen which are congenial to him; he bids adieu to the
directions given by the doctor, for they restrict and regulate.
05 July 2003
You are all endowed with viveka (discrimination), you have a conscience
whispering dharma (righteousness) into your ear, so you are to select and
choose yourself. Polish your mind and the sublime grandeur of the Lord
will be reflected in your heart. Just as you feed the body and care for
its upkeep and maintenance, the chitta (consciousness), the buddhi
(intellect) have also to be fed with good nourishing food. If you don't,
then they will be hungry and run after all kinds of foul food. Give them
proper nourishment and they will function well, which is to illumine the
Atma and help you realize that the Atma is in all.
06 July 2003
Man does not live by food alone. In fact he lives by the power of the
Atma. So you must use your strength of body and mind, wealth and education
with intelligence, in order to realize the Power of the Soul. Without
discrimination, what is the use of physical strength? Everyday, when you
take food, you are offering eatables to the Fire that God has put in you
to digest food. You have to eat in a prayerful mood, in profound
gratitude. The Gita says that the fire that cooked the meal is God; the
meal is God, the eater is God; the purpose of eating is to carry on the
work entrusted by God, or pleasing to God; and the fruit of that work is,
progress towards God.
07 July 2003
Agriculture is for living; mind culture is for life. Skills are for
shaping material things so that they cater more for the comfort of man;
studies are for shaping attitudes, feelings, desires, emotions and
impulses of man, so that they may confer more peace, more joy and more
fortitude on man.
08 July 2003
Life sustained by food is short; life sustained by the Atma is eternal. Do
not lay claim to long life; but to Divine life. Do not pine for more years
on earth, but for more virtues in the heart. The Buddha knew and made
known to the world, the Truth. Everything is grief. Everything is empty.
Everything is brief and polluted. So the wise man has to do the duties
cast upon him with discrimination, diligence and detachment. Play the role
but keep your identity unaffected.
09 July 2003
You must be careful about the food you take; the Jihva (tongue) and the
Guhya (organ of procreation) are the two great foes of man. The cravings
of hunger and sex drag you into perdition. Desist from catering to the
tongue and its greed; do not be a victim of lust or taste. Have sathwic
food and eat it in Sathwic company. Be moderate in food and keep the
senses strictly under control.
10 July 2003
Many of you have problems of health or mental worry of some sort or the
other. They are mere baits by which you have been brought here, so that
you may contact the Grace and strengthen your faith in the Divine.
Problems and worry are really to be welcomed as they teach you the lessons
of humility and reverence.
11 July 2003
Man has springs of joy and peace in his heart, even as a child. Cultivate
them, give them fullest freedom to gush forth and fertilize all fields of
activity, that is the real purpose of education. Man is born to be
perpetually happy, but he is always in misery. This is tragic; it is like
the dhobi (washerman) who died of thirst though he was standing knee-deep
in the running stream. The source of happiness is in you. Real education
has to teach man how to tap this spring of joy.
12 July 2003
Education today promotes greed instead of subduing it. The aim is to earn
more income. So the struggle is directed to the acquisition of degrees
which bring higher salaries. The learned man is anxious to exploit
society, to pilfer from society by means fair and foul. He is not eager to
give to society, to benefit society. He is concerned with what he can get
from society, not with what he can give to it.
13 July 2003
A Guru is necessary to make you understand the formless and attributeless
Divinity. Since it is difficult to get such Gurus, consider God as your
Guru. 'Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Guru Devo Maheswara; Gurur Sakshat Para
Brahma Thasmai Sri Gurave Namaha' Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is
Maheswara. Consider Guru as your everything. In this world, everything is
a manifestation of Divinity. All are the embodiments of Divinity. In fact,
all that you see is nothing but the Divine Cosmic Form. Divinity is not
restricted to a particular place. God is everywhere. You are developing
differences out of delusion, but Divinity is One and only One. It is the
duty of a Guru to propagate such principle of oneness.
14 July 2003
Education should promote discrimination and humility. If anyone blames,
abuses or hurts you, do not return him in the same coin. Behave nobly and
with patience. When a dog bites a man, the man does not bite the dog in
return. Education must lead you from darkness to light. It is only those
who wander in darkness that fall into pits; can a man walking in the light
fall into a pit? If he does it means that he is still in the 'dark'. 'Vid'
means 'Light', and a 'vidyarthi' (seeker of enlightenment) must seek light
and gain it. What is the use of an eye that does not reveal to you the
15 July 2003
Education has to cultivate humility and discipline; but today it is
yielding a harvest of pride and envy. ‘Vidya’ means: ‘vid’ (Light) and
‘ya’ (that which gives). So education has to shed light and illumine the
darkness in the mind and the intellect. It does not indicate mere bookish
knowledge. It has to clarify the kinship of man with man and his intimate
relationship with nature. It must harmonize one's earlier experiences with
one's present ones, and guide one to profitable and beneficial experiences
in the future. It must validate the knowledge gained from these books by
these experiences and in the process make man grow, until he becomes
16 July 2003
Wisdom flashes like lightning amidst the clouds of the inner sky; one has
to foster the flash, and preserve the light. That is the true sign of the
educated person. Do not believe that mastery of many tomes makes you wise.
Wisdom can grow only where humility prevails. It thrives when man is
afraid of vice and sin and is attached to the Divine, in himself and in
17 July 2003
The cow yields milk only for feeding its calf. The calf after having its
full, jumps about in joy and feels strong and happy. But, we take away the
milk intended for the calf and sustain ourselves with the strength it
gives. So also, education which is intended for the fulfilment of life is
misused by us for the 'fill-filment' of comfortable living. What we should
do, is to consider 'fill-filment' as secondary and fulfilment as the
primary purpose of education. We must, after being born as man, learn
about the Atman, for that alone can confer Bliss and Immortality.
18 July 2003
The end of education is character and the end of knowledge is Love. By
concentrating on bookish knowledge at the cost of its practical
application, the spirit of education is lost. Education should confer
humility, which in turn bestows deservedness. Deservedness leads to
prosperity which enables one to undertake charitable acts. Charitable
deeds ensure happiness in this world and the next.
19 July 2003
Philosophy is the butter churned out of knowledge. But, since human
aspirations and ideals, which change from place to place and from time to
time, decide which aspects of knowledge are included in the churning
process, it is often incomplete or inadequate or contradictory. Generally
speaking, religious beliefs and practices, folkways, customs and
traditions, educational methods, art-form etc., help the formulation of
the underlying philosophy.
20 July 2003
Believing that the world as cognised during the waking state as real and
that the highest goal is the attainment of happiness in that world, man
accumulates the instruments and symbols of that happiness; he fashions
after his own taste and inclinations according to the dictates of his
reason, the laws, ideals, institutions and principles that would bolster
21 July 2003
In the educational system today, the spiritual element has no place. This
is not true education. Education must proceed primarily from Spirit to
Nature. It must show that mankind constitutes one Divine family. The
Divinity that is present in society can be experienced only through
individuals. Education today, however ends with the acquisition of
degrees. Real education should enable one to utilise the knowledge one has
acquired to meet the challenges of life and to make all human beings happy
as far as possible. Born in society, one has the duty to work for the
welfare and progress of society.
22 July 2003
The knowledge gained from education is being misused today solely to
obtain and enjoy comforts and sensual pleasures. This education has served
to develop some kind of intellectual abilities and technical skills, but
has totally failed to develop good qualities. Society today is steeped in
materialism because of the preoccupation with mundane pleasures.
23 July 2003
Today, the student world is tossed in confusion; not only in confusion but
downright insanity. They may wear white clothing; but their hearts are
dark. Heads are full of evil thoughts and ears are open for scandalous
tales. Minds crave for wicked plots and Reason pursues plans to cheat.
When this is the condition, how can one earn Vidya (Enlightenment)?
24 July 2003
Science and technology have made astonishing progress, but humanity is
going on the downward path. There are undoubtedly many brilliant scholars
and scientists in the world today. But science alone is not enough. There
must be discrimination for utilising the discoveries of science for right
purposes. Science without discrimination, human existence without
discipline, friendship without gratitude, music without melody, a society
without morality and justice, cannot be of benefit to the people.
25 July 2003
Students must be enabled to prepare themselves to serve society with pure
minds. Today they do not have a sense of gratitude towards their parents
for all the sacrifices they make to educate their children. The students
acquire degrees and they go about begging for jobs. They should acquire
the capacity to stand on their own legs and be self-reliant. They should
be able to take up any work and acquit themselves well. They should place
love of the Motherland above everything.
26 July 2003
The world is a great teacher, a constant guide and source of inspiration.
That is the reason why man is placed in the world. Every bird, every
animal, every tree, mountain and star and each tiny worm has a lesson for
man, if he has but the thirst to learn. These make a world a veritable
University for man; it is but a Gurukul (a school for spiritual learning)
where he is a pupil from birth to death.
27 July 2003
There are three types of knowledge; knowledge of matter-energy; knowledge
of mental energy; and knowledge of cosmic-energy. Cosmic energy works in
every person in the form of Divine knowledge. Matter in all forms is only
energy. Without atoms, you cannot have any matter, and in the atom, energy
has the form of electron, proton, neutron etc. Energy springs from the
structure of the atomic constituents.
28 July 2003
The human body is the most wondrous machine in the world. It has a
bewildering multiplicity of limbs, organs, veins, nerves and cells which
cooperate to maintain it under varied conditions. If any one of these
rebels or refuses to rescue another, the body is bound to suffer. So too,
a society, community or nation can be safe, secure and happy only when the
individuals comprising it are mutually helpful and bound together in
skilful and sincere service. Every generation has to receive education and
training in such intelligent cooperation and service. Or else, the world
has to face confusion and chaos.
29 July 2003
The educational process has not received proper attention from thoughtful
persons. The institutions which ought to have been temples of Saraswathi
(the Goddess of Transformation through Learning) have become in all lands,
temples of Lakshmi (the Goddess of Wealth). The ideal held before the
tender, innocent, unselfish children is a lucrative job, rather than a
life of peace, contentment and love. Narrow loyalties and competition are
polluting the minds of children. Parents, teachers and all interested in
the progress of mankind have to take note of this situation.
30 July 2003
Teaching and learning have both become mechanical routines. They have lost
the freshness and joy which vitality alone can give. The value of the
teaching process lies in raising the level of consciousness of the
learner, in heightening the sense of wonder and awe and in emphasising the
unity of one with all. The destiny of a country is decided by the ideals
implanted by the teachers in the minds of the boys and girls entrusted to
their care. Educators must pay attention not merely to the material and
intellectual progress of the pupils but, also to their moral and spiritual
progress. Education should help man to live a meaningful life. It should
not direct all efforts just to provide for a livelihood.
31 July 2003
The higher life, which makes man human and a fit candidate for the
unfoldment of the Divinity that is his Reality, depends on the cultivation
of the Five Cardinal virtues - Truth, Right Conduct, Love, Peace and
Non-violence. These virtues elevate the individual as well as the society
of which he is a part. The teacher has to watch every word and gesture of
his, every action and reaction of his, in order to avoid any infringement
of these virtues. For, the teacher is, for the pupils, the ideals, the
example, to whom the parents have entrusted them. Lady teachers can
discharge this responsibility better than men. Children can be moulded
more easily through sweetness and softness which maternal affection
implies, rather than fatherly advice and admonition.
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