Thought for the Day - As written at Prasanthi Nilayam
Thought for the Day Archive
01 August 2003
The atmosphere of Love should not be disturbed by any uncharitable remark
against anyone's faith. Nor should anyone be ridiculed or slandered.
Children's minds should not be polluted by fear, hatred or disgust. The
doors of their hearts must be open to all. Later on as the impact of
society and the State grows, pupils can be led to an understanding of the
political and religious forces that affect their lives.
02 August 2003
Students have to be encouraged to "Follow the Master", (the inner voice of
Conscience), "Face the Devil", (the debasing anti-social urges), "Fight to
the End", (until one is able to overcome the inner foes of lust, anger,
greed, undue attachment, pride and hatred) and "Finish the Game", (of life
on earth). Students should realise that spiritual practice is as important
as secular education. Students should realise how much they owe to God for
all the benefits they enjoy, including the air they breathe and the water
03 August 2003
It is often declared that knowledge is power. No, character is power.
Nothing can be more powerful on earth than character. Riches, scholarship,
status, authority are all frail and flimsy before it. While earning a
livelihood is important, what matters most are the ideals for which you
live. The primary purpose of education is to enable one to manifest the
divinity within him. When students pursue education in this spirit, they
will be able to promote the welfare of the nation, of society and their
04 August 2003
We believe that the acquisition of knowledge is for the acquisition of
wealth. But this is not right. Just as a bird has two wings, and a cart
has two wheels; man too must have two types of knowledge - to live on and
to live for. The one helps him to eke out his livelihood and the other
rewards him for having lived at all. Whatever job a student may take up,
wherever he may be working, he must continue to practice spiritual
discipline. Without a spiritual basis, education would be wasted.
05 August 2003
Someone was found writing "pepper" on a tin of sugar, and when asked, he
said, "It is only to cheat the ants!" The label "education" on the present
system of teaching the young cannot cheat any thinking person who looks
for the real purpose of education - the unfolding of the divine in human
personality. Humility and an attitude of reverence are essential for man.
They are not promoted by the ducational system today. The curricula
recommended in the Upanishads ensure these two.
06 August 2003
Education must equip man to live happily without making others unhappy, to
evaluate things, pleasures and possessions correctly. One who is ignorant
of the historical and cultural heritage of his country is like an orphan.
For saplings to grow soil is essential; for the ideals to get implanted,
knowledge of the struggles and successes of saints and sages is essential.
07 August 2003
There are four stages in a man's acquisition of wisdom: (1) to be trained
and guided by parents, teachers and elders. (2) to be eager to establish
happiness and justice in society. (3) to pour out energies to transform
the human community. (4) and finally, the realization that the world is
beyond redemption by human effort, that one only need save oneself.
08 August 2003
The cultivation of social consciousness is very important. Man cannot live
in isolation like a drop of oil in water. He is a product of society. He
has to live in it, grow with it and work for it. One must join others in
common tasks and contribute one's strength and skill to the common pool. A
single thin string cannot bind even an ant, but hundreds of them twisted
into a rope can hold back an elephant. This is the effect of united
effort. It is a desirable trait to work for a common cause with others in
09 August 2003
When praised man gets inflated; when blamed he gets deflated. But for one
who has trust in God, these are signs of weakness. Men of character must
withstand both praise and blame, success and failure, pleasure and pain.
He must ever strive to be steadfast and unmoved. When you have attained
true wisdom, you will find that good fortune is not to be gloated over,
nor bad fortune be grieved over.
10 August 2003
Education will confer on a good man more wisdom and a better life, but for
a bad man it may result in disputes. Wicked people are never content with
obvious facts; they must create doubts where none exist. They dispute
whether Ram is superior to Krishna and so on. People who have not even
touched the outskirts of the capital city dare dispute the appearance and
glory of the emperor who resides in the palace in the heart of the city.
Man must engage himself in the constant process of self-correction rather
than finding faults with others.
11 August 2003
There are three benefits to be derived from games (sports): team spirit,
mutual understanding, and joy. Even if individuals speak different
languages and differ in their habits and cultures, in the field of sports
they have a common bond, a spirit of camaraderie. In sports, the youth of
different creeds and cultures take part and become united on the playing
field. Thus games and sports promote unity in the midst of diversity.
12 August 2003
The study of sacred books and listening to religious discourses is meant
to develop self-control and peace. I am not for indiscriminate reading of
books however valuable they may be. Much reading tends to confuse the
mind. It fosters argumentation and intellectual pride. What I insist upon
is putting the things read into practice, if not all, a least a thing or
two. Moreover, remember that a book is only a pointer, a guide, a
signpost. Reading alone cannot be the completion of the journey. It is
only the first step; read for the sake of practicing, not for reading's
sake. Too many books in a room indicates that a person is suffering from
intellectual illnesses, just as too many tins, capsules and bottles of
medicines in a cupboard indicate that the person is suffering from
13 August 2003
Read the sacred books of your religion and of other religions as well. In
some families reading of such books is done daily, so the children know
something about sages, saints and divine persons of the past. There is no
use relying solely on book knowledge or mere intellectual cleverness.
There must be firm faith in God as the basis of everything.
14 August 2003
The mother is not just a house wife, but on her depends the glory of the
whole country. That is why we say, "This is our motherland". She is a
companion and guide of her husband and the first teacher of her children.
She has to set an example for their social attitudes, a model for their
speech and is a guardian of their health and happiness. Indian culture has
always awarded a high place to woman, since upon her rested the strength
of the entire social fabric.
15 August 2003
God, who is the Origin and the Goal, can be cognised only by pure
consciousness. The race is won by those who start early and drive slowly;
only then do they reach safely. Put the "little feet" on the path of God;
the joy of the first step will lead them forward. Children must cultivate
clean and healthy habits. They must learn thrift and the proper use of
money. They must also learn and practice good manners at home and outside.
16 August 2003
The nature of man is such that he experiences ananda (joy) by mixing with
other humans. To stay aloof and to lead a secluded life is a sign of
weakness and of fear, not of courage. Active association with others alone
can produce morality, justice, compassion, sympathy, love tolerance,
equanimity and many other qualities, which help build man's character.
17 August 2003
Do not allow your behaviour towards others to be tarnished by contempt,
scorn, cynicism or hatred. Cultivate unity and brotherhood. In unity lies
the strength and prosperity. Society indeed is the school where man learns
that God is ever with him.
18 August 2003
Man must recognize his indebtedness to society and his duty towards it.
Society is the expression of divinity. A chance conglomeration of humans
does not become a society. It has to be wedded into a unit by
consciousness of kinship with God by sharing each other's joys and
sorrows. The individual has to manifest the ananda inherent in him through
word and deed.
19 August 2003
The Gita says that if you give up all Dharma and take refuge in Him alone
then, He will save you from sin and wipe away your tears. Giving up
Dharmadoes not mean that you can bid farewell to virtue and righteous
action; it means you have to give up the egoism that you are the 'doer',
be confirmed in the faith that He is the 'doer' of every deed. That is the
true meaning of renunciation.
20 August 2003
Turning the beads of a rosary or sitting erect in meditation are only
harmless ways of spending time. Active participation in society in a
spirit of dedication and surrender, conceiving all acts as acts of worship
and to recognise all men as embodiments of God is a more beneficial form
of Sadhana (spiritual discipline). Man is shaped by the company he keeps;
so, be ever vigilant of the air you breathe. It is fouled by the vile
thoughts of the men among whom you move.
21 August 2003
What can gatherings of learned bodies achieve? The conclusions arrived at
after extensive discussions are not put into practice at all. Large sums
of money as well as countless reams of paper are wasted. The
recommendations and resolutions must be tested on the touchstone of
practice. Money can be better spent on raising the standard of life of the
village folk. We must study the best means of bringing peace and apply
those means in a few villages to prove their validity.
22 August 2003
A society without values will cease to be human. The more human values are
cherished, the better will be the growth of society, the nation and the
world. We cannot rest content with an education system which is confined
to academic achievement. It has to simultaneously promote human virtues.
The main problem of our education is to adapt the spiritual and cultural
traditions we have inherited from the past, to the needs of daily life
23 August 2003
The relationship between the individual and society has to be rightly
understood. Why should the individual serve others? What claims has
society on the individual? When we examine these issues, we realize that
the individual can find fulfilment only in society. Born in society,
growing up in society, living in society, man's life too ends in society.
Man cannot exist for a moment away from society. In the word samaajam
(society), "sam" represents unity, "aa" means going towards. Samaajam
means marching forward in a united manner.
24 August 2003
Society may be viewed as a many-petalled flower. Every individual is like
a petal. All the petals together make for the beauty of the flower.
Without the petals there is no flower. Likewise, every individual is a
petal in the flower of society. Each one should manifest the glory of the
Divine. Society may also be compared to a four-wheeled chariot whose
wheels are Aikamatyam (Unity), Swadheenam (Control), Jnanam (Knowledge)
and Shakthi (Strength). These four take society forward.
25 August 2003
How are human qualities to be promoted in society? Society is made up of
individuals. No man can be an island by himself. Living amidst fellow
human beings, man has to sow the seeds of love, rear the plants of harmony
and offer the fruits of peace to society. Thus, his humanness is
26 August 2003
Ahimsa does not just mean not causing physical harm to others. It really
means one should not cause harm to anyone in thought, word or deed. This
is the most important human quality. Only when this has been developed,
will one be qualified to practice and experience Truth. Truth does not
mean merely telling the facts. Truth is one that does not change with
time. It must be spoken with complete purity of mind, speech and body.
27 August 2003
Man in his ignorance finds contentment in separating himself from the rest
for the search of his own happiness, forgetting that he cannot be happy
unless all are happy. He pollutes himself through the cultivation of
pride. He uses time for degrading himself to the bestial level. The thirst
of sensual greed can be prevented by keeping good company and putting into
practice the axioms of good conduct that one can imbibe from it.
28 August 2003
Aham, the ego, arises from the Atma. Thoughts are produced by the ego and
give rise to speech. Hence all actions are based on the Atma. All
thoughts, desires and speech emanate from the Atma. When all these are
sanctified by dedication to God, the consciousness of Oneness with Brahman
29 August 2003
Sadhana (spiritual discipline) is influenced by the company one keeps.
Good men keep you good; bad men drag you away in to evil. Of course, it is
difficult to find out who is good and who is bad and then settle among the
good. So, it is advisable to avoid excessive mingling with people, and
concentrate on sadhana . The human mind is like iron; if it falls on mud,
it rusts and disintegrates. If it falls in to fire, it loses its dross and
becomes pure. Therefore, if man joins the good company of Jnanis (men of
spiritual wisdom), it will do him more good than being in solitude. But
avoid evil company at all costs. A red hot iron ball is capable of doing
more damage than a flame of fire; a sinful man is more to be avoided than
30 August 2003
People today are totally immersed in self-interest. Multiplying their
desires without limit, they are becoming demonic beings. They are not
content with what they need for essential purposes. They wish to
accumulate enormously for the future. They are filled with worries and
discontent. Thereby they forfeit their happiness here and in the
hereafter. Birds and beasts are content to live on what they get. Man
alone is afflicted with insatiable desires. Birds and animals have no
desire to hoard or to exploit others. But man is a prey to these vices. He
forgets his natural qualities and behaves worse than animals. When these
tendencies are given up, the inherent Divinity in man will manifest
31 August 2003
Divinity is not limited to mankind alone. We find divinity present in
birds and beasts too. To demonstrate this latent, immanent divinity, we
have Vinayaka having an elephant's head, with a mouse as his vehicle. The
elephant is highly intelligent, faithful and loyal. The elephant has got
great patience and forbearance. It is prepared to sacrifice its life, but
it can never tolerate its master's suffering. When there is no path for us
to take in the jungle, it is the elephant that walks through and creates a
path for us. Similarly, in this jungle of life, it is the elephant-headed
Vinayaka who shows the ideal path for all of us to tread.
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