If you compare the present system of education with our ancient Gurukul system, there is a wide gulf between the two. In the first place, the present system of education is very costly. The moral side of education is absolutely ignored at the present moment. Every student in the Gurukul was pure. Every student, had perfect moral training. This was the predominating feature of ancient culture. Every student had a knowledge of Pranayama, Mantra Yoga, Asanas, the code of morals, Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Upanishads. Every student possessed humility, self-restraint, obedience, a spirit of service and self-sacrifice, good demeanour, politeness, a courteous nature, and last but not the least, a desire to acquire Atma-Jnana.
The college students of the present day do not possess any of the above virtues at all. Self-control is a thing unknown to them. Luxurious living and self-indulgence begin from their very boyhood. Arrogance, impertinence and disobedience are deep-rooted in them. They have become confirmed atheists and rank materialists. Many are ashamed to say that they believe in the existence of God. They have no knowledge of Brahmacharya and self-control. Fashionable dress, undesirable food, bad company, frequent attendance at the theatres, and the cinema, and applying Western manners and customs have rendered them weak and passionate. Brahma-Vidya, Atma-Jnana, Vairagya, the wealth of Moksha and Atmic peace and bliss are quite foreign to them.
Fashion, style, epicureanism, gluttony and luxury have occupied their minds. It is very pitiable to hear the life-history of some of the college students. In the ancient Gurukul, boys were healthy and strong and lived long. It has indeed been detected that the health of the students has deteriorated throughout India. Moreover, the vices and bad practices that are ruining their health are on the increase. There is no ethical culture in modern schools and colleges. In the present system, the moral side of education is absolutely ignored.
Modern civilization has enfeebled our boys and girls. They lead an artificial life. Children beget children. There is racial degeneration. The cinema has become a curse. It excites passion and emotion. Nowadays, in the cinema, vulgar scenes and immoral plays are enacted even when they show stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Again I have to reiterate with force that the present system of education in India needs a thorough drastic overhauling immediately.
Any system of education, which is not based on the principles of Brahmacharya, and has not in its curriculum a compulsory study of Sanskrit literature, will not be good for the Hindus. It is bound to fail! Those who are responsible for giving them a proper system of education are ignorant on this important point; and hence the numerous unfortunate experiments in education.
Professors of some colleges insist on the students putting on fashionable dress. They even dislike students who wear clean but simple clothing. A great pity! Cleanliness is one thing and fashion is another thing. The so-called ‘fashion’ takes root in worldliness and sensuality.
Cleanliness of life is very necessary for physical and spiritual growth. Boys and girls suffer in silence on account of ignorance, on account of misuse of bodily parts which constitutes a definite drain upon the vitality. This retards normal mental and physical progress. When ‘the human system is deprived of its natural secretions, there must be a corresponding decline in nervous energy. This is the reason why functional disorders develop. The number of wrecks is increasing.
Young boys suffer from anaemia, bad memory and debility. They have to discontinue their studies. Diseases are increasing. Thousands of injections have come into the pharmacy, hospitals and dispensaries. Thousands of doctors have opened their clinics and shops. Yet, misery is increasing day by day. People do not get success in their enterprises and business. What is the reason for this? The reason is not far to seek. It is because of wastage of the vital force or semen through evil habits and immoderate sexual intercourse. It is because of an unclean mind and an unclean body.
A great and onerous duty rests with the teachers and professors of schools and colleges to train the students in the path of Sadachara or right conduct and to mould their character properly. Brahmacharya includes character-building or right moulding of character. They say that knowledge is power. But I assert boldly, with great assurance and practical experience, that character is power and that character is far superior to knowledge even.
Every one of you should endeavour your level best to mould your character properly. Your whole life and your success in life depend entirely upon the formation of your character. All the great persons in this world have achieved their greatness through character and character alone. The brilliant luminaries of the world have won their laurels of fame, reputation and honour through character and character alone.
The teachers themselves should be strictly moral and pure. They should be endowed with ethical perfection. Otherwise, it will be like the blind leading the blind. Before taking to the profession of a teacher, every teacher should feel the high responsibility of his position in the educational line. Mere intellectual achievement in the art of delivering dry lectures will not suffice. This alone will not adorn a professor.
When students reach the age of maturity, certain growths and changes take place in the physical body. The voice changes. New emotions and sentiments arise. Naturally, the youngsters become curious. They consult the street boys. They get ill advised. They ruin their health by vile habits. A clear knowledge of sexual health, hygiene and Brahmacharya, of how to attain longevity and how to control passion, should be imparted to them. Parents should teach their children the various stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana that relate to Brahmacharya and right conduct.
Parents should advise their children, often and often, on the subject of Brahmacharya. This is their imperative duty. Candid talks to the boys and girls are very necessary when they begin to show signs of puberty. It is no use beating about the bush. Matters that relate to sex should not be kept hidden. It will be only false modesty if the parents feel shy to talk to their children on this important subject. Silence will only excite the curiosity of the adolescent children. Whereas, if they can understand these things clearly in time, surely they will not be misguided by evil companions and they will not develop bad habits.
Teachers and parents should give proper instructions to the boys and girls as to how they should lead a clean life of Brahmacharya. They should get rid of their false sense of modesty and shame. They are a good deal responsible for the ignorance of the boys and girls. There has been more suffering caused by ignorance of these matters than by anything else. You are paying the price of ignorance, of the false modesty that matters of sex and sexual physiology should not be discussed. The teachers and parents should diligently watch the conduct of the youngsters and clearly impress on their mind the vital importance of a clean life of Brahmacharya and the dangers of an unclean life. Pamphlets on Brahmacharya should be freely distributed to them.
Magic lantern demonstrations on the subject of Brahmacharya, on the lives of Brahmacharins of yore, on the stories of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, should be regularly conducted in the schools and colleges. This will be a great help in elevating and inspiring the students to a high moral standard.
O teachers and professors! Wake up now! Train the students in the path of Brahmacharya and righteousness and morality. Make them true Brahmacharins. Do not neglect this divine work. You are morally responsible for this onerous task. This is your Yoga. You can have Self-realization if you take up this work in right earnest. Be true and sincere. Open your eyes now. Explain to the boys and the girls the importance of Brahmacharya and instruct them in the various methods by which they can preserve the Veerya, the soul-force or Atma-Sakti that is hidden in them.
Teachers who have disciplined themselves first should hold private talks with students and give them regular practical lessons on Brahmacharya. Rev. H. Packenham Walsh, who was principal of the S.RG. College, Tiruchirappali, a few decades ago, and who later became a bishop, used to hold regular talks with his students on the subject of Brahmacharya and self-control.
The future destiny of the world rests entirely with the teachers and students. If the teachers train their students in the right direction, in the path of righteousness, the world will be filled with ideal citizens, Yogis and Jivanmuktas, who will radiate light, peace, bliss and joy everywhere.
Blessed is he who truly endeavours in making his students true Brahmacharins. Twice blessed is he who tries to become a real Brahmachari. May the blessings of Lord Krishna be upon them. Glory to the teachers, professors and students.
Passion reigns supreme in all parts of the world. The minds of people are filled with sexual thoughts. The world is all sexy. The whole world is under a tremendous sexual intoxication. All are deluded and move in the world with perverted intellects. No thought of God. No talk of God. It is all fashion, restaurants, hotels, dinners, dances, races and cinema. Their life ends in eating, drinking and procreating. That is all.
Passion has introduced new fashions not only in London, Paris and Lahore, but even in Madras amongst the Brahmin girls of orthodox families who apply Cherry Blossom Powder and Hazeline Snow to their faces, instead of the sacred turmeric powder, and dress their hair like the French girls. This sort of vile imitation has crept into the mind of our boys and girls in India. The sacred percepts and teachings of our ancient sages and Rishis have been totally ignored. What a lamentable state! They will accept anything as true only if a Johnson or a Russel brings something by way of the theory of evolution, motion, atom, relativity or transcendentalism. Shameful indeed! Their brains are all clogged with foreign particles. They do not have the brain to absorb anything good in others. There is a miserable degeneration in the present young men and women in India. This is the age when they cannot walk even a short distance without a Rickshaw, a car, a tram, a bicycle or a carriage. What an awful artificial life! Bobbing of the hair amongst the ladies in India has become a severe epidemic and has invaded the whole of India. This is all due to the mischief of passion and greed.
Young men of the present day indiscriminately imitate the West and this results in their own ruin. Men are swayed by lust. They lose their sense of righteousness, and of time and place. They never discriminate between right and wrong. They lose all sense of shame.
Read the history of the crimes—robbery, rapes, kidnapping, assaults, murders—that come up for trial before the Sessions Courts. Lust is at the root of all this. It may be lust for money or lust for carnal pleasure. Lust ruins life, lustre, strength, vitality, memory, wealth, fame, holiness, peace, wisdom and devotion.
Man, with his boasted intellect, has to learn lessons from birds and animals. Even animals have more self-control than men. It is only the so-called man who has degraded himself much by indulgence. At the heat of sexual excitement, he repeats the same ignoble act again and again. He has not a bit of self-control. He is an absolute slave to passion. He is a puppet in the hands of passion. Like rabbits he procreates and brings forth countless children to swell up the numbers of beggars in the world. Lions, elephants, bulls and other powerful animals have better self-control than men. Lions cohabit only once in a year. After conception, the female animals will never allow the male animals to approach them till the young ones are weaned and they themselves become healthy and strong. Man only violates the laws of nature and consequently suffers from innumerable diseases. He has degenerated to a level far lower than that of animals in this respect.
As a king is no king without a treasury, subjects and an army, as a flower is no flower without fragrance, as a river is no river without water, so also, a man is no man without Brahmacharya. Ahara, Nidra, Bhaya and Maithuna—food, sleep, fear and copulation—are common to both animals and men. That which differentiates a man from an animal is Dharma, Viveka and Vichara Sakti. Jnana and Vichara can be secured only by the preservation of Veerya. If a man has not got these qualifications, he should really be reckoned as a veritable animal only.
If lust, which is the source of all enjoyments in this world, ceases, then all worldly bondage, which has its substratum in the mind, will cease. Even the most virulent poison is no poison when compared to lust. The former defiles one body only, whereas the latter adulterates many bodies in successive births. You are a slave of passions and desires, emotions and attractions. When are you going to rise up from this miserable state? Those persons, who, in spite of the knowledge of the non-existence of happiness, both in the past and in the present, in the baneful objects of the world, do yet entangle themselves in them with their thoughts clinging to them, deserve the appellation of an ass, if not a worse one. If you do not possess Viveka, if you do not try your best for salvation, if you spend your lifetime in eating, drinking and sleeping, you are a horizontal being only, having to learn some lessons from those animals, which possess far more self-restraint.
The sexual degradation that has overtaken mankind today is due directly to the fact that people have assumed that there is a natural "sexual instinct" in human beings. It is not so. The natural instinct is the procreative one. If men and women restrict sexual indulgence to mere procreation, then that itself is observance of Brahmacharya. As this is found to be impossible in the vast majority of cases, total abstinence is enjoined on those who seek the higher values of life. As far as the Sadhaka of burning Mumukshutva is concerned, celibacy is a sine qua non, as he cannot afford to waste his vital energy at all.
The gratification of every worldly desire is sinful; the flesh should be the abject slave of the spirit intent upon divine things. Man was created for a life of spiritual communion with God, but he yielded to the seduction of evil demons who availed themselves of the sensuous side of his nature to draw him away from the contemplation of the divine and lead him to the earthly life. Moral goodness, therefore, consists in renouncing all sensuous pleasures, in separating from the world through discrimination and dispassion, in living solely after the spirit, in imitating the perfection and purity of God. Sensuality is inconsistent with wisdom and holiness. The great business of life is to avoid impurity.
O Devis! Do not waste your lives in fashion and passion. Open your eyes. Walk in the path of righteousness. Preserve your Pativrata Dharma. See Divinity in your husband. Study the Gita, the Upanishads, Bhagavata and Ramayana. Become good Grihastha-Dharminis and Brahma-Vicharinis. Bring forth many Gourangas. The destiny of the world is entirely in your hands. You are holding the master-key of the world. Open the door of Elysian bliss. Bring Vaikuntha in your home. Train your children in the spiritual path. Sow the spiritual seed when they are young.
O Devis of the world! Should you not strive for the higher life, the grand, the sublime, the only real life in the Soul? Is it sufficient if you are satisfied with the petty material necessities of life on earth? Do you remember what Maitreyi said to Yajnavalkya? "What shall I do with the wealth of this whole world if thereby I would not become immortal?" said she to her husband. How many ladies of this world will be bold enough to assert this wise saying of the Upanishadic ideal of a woman?
To chain themselves with the bondage of Samsara is not the birthright of the mothers and sisters of the world. To get stuck up in family, children and relatives is not the ideal of courageous and discriminative women. Every mother of the world should realize her responsibility to awaken herself, her children, her family and her husband, to the true light, and splendour of spiritual life. What a glorious mother was Madalasa! Did she ask her children to study up to the post-graduate examination, and then seek for some employment? "Suddhosi, Buddhosi, Niranjanosi, Samsara Maya Parivarjitosi—You are pure, you are consciousness, you are taintless, you are devoid of the Maya of Samsara"—such was the Advaitic instruction which Madalasa gave to her children when she rocked them in the cradle. How many mothers of the present-day world have got the fortune to teach their children such profound knowledge? On the other hand, the present-day mothers would try to crush the spiritual tendency of their children even if it is found in them in a microscopic state! What a sad and pitiable condition! Wake up, O mothers, sisters! Wake up from your deep sleep. Recognise your responsibility. Spiritualise yourselves. Spiritualise your children. Spiritualise even your husbands, for you are the makers of the family! Remember how Chudala illumined her husband. You are the makers of the nations! You are the builders of the world! Therefore, spiritualise yourselves. Assert in yourselves the spirit of Sulabha, Maitreyi, Gargi. Do not be cowardly. Come out of your fleshy homes—the homes of delusion, the homes of vanity!
Be you all real Sannyasinis and bring real glory, real greatness, for that is real boldness and courage, that is real wisdom and understanding. A woman is not a woman if she is devoid of spiritual fire in her, if she is ignorant of a higher life in the Soul. A woman’s duty is not merely family; her duty is also to transcend the family. Her duty does not lie in sans, bangles, jackets, powders and scents. Her duty does not lie in getting employment for her children. Her duty is also concerned with the Self, the Atman, the Brahman. Such a woman is a real symbol of God. She is to be adored, she is to be worshipped!
A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY PUBLICATION Sixth Edition: 1997 (2,000 Copies) World Wide Web (WWW) Edition : 1999 WWW site: HTTP://WWW.SHIVANANDADLSHQ.ORG/ This WWW reprint is for free distribution © The Divine Life Trust Society Published By THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY P.O. Shivanandanagar—249 192 Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh, Himalayas, India.