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On Educare

Recently, some organisational work got me a bit involved in matters relating to what is usually called Educare; and in the process, I had to do a lot of thinking. In this and some of the articles to follow in this series, I shall share with you a few of the thoughts on the subject that occurred to me during this exercise.

A natural starting point is of course the origin and the meaning of the word Educare. Most of us were totally ignorant about this word until a few years ago when Swami used it for the first time in one of His Discourses on education. Immediately many jumped to the conclusion that this was a new word and that Swami had actually coined it. That is not so. The fact of the matter is that Educare is an old word derived from Latin. Actually, there are two Latin root words that are somewhat similar. The first is word EDUCARE, pronounced EDOO KAARE while the second is EDUCERE pronounced EDOO KERE. The Latin word EDUCARE means to support and nurture the growth of, while the other Latin word EDUCERE means to draw out or to cause to come out. Scholars have pointed out the first word has in due course given birth to the word education in the English language. The second word, on the other hand, is really what Bhagavan Baba has been referring to, but with the modified spelling EDUCARE. So much for what might be called etymology.

Fine, but what exactly does it mean in our context and how are we to understand and possibly apply what Educare is supposed to mean? Also, whatever happened to Educare till now? How come no one seems to have mentioned it earlier? And what made Swami to pick this word and resurrect it? May be I should deal with some of these questions first.

In olden days, morals and values were paramount in all facets of Society – in the house, in the school, and in the community. Thus, when children from different families met, there was a general homogeneity of views and all were aligned to the same basic principles and moral values. True, the various temptations of life were present no doubt, but societal forces on the one hand and restricted avenues of communication generally helped children to be respectful, obedient and principled. To put it differently, the absence of large-scale disturbing forces greatly aided the process of sustaining Morality in Society. In Swami’s words, there was Love for God, fear of sin, and hence also Morality in Society. Thus, Educare was implicit and there was no special need to invoke it explicitly.

The one single major factor disrupting this process severely in recent time to the extent of almost damaging entirely the age-old fabric of Society has been the emergence of the Media as a towering and totally independent force. It started with print, then moved on to the radio, then to the audio, then on to TV, and now to the internet. As of all this was not enough, we also have the so-called blessing of the mobile phone.

The press, the movies, and television are all associated with corporations – there are owners, investors, and those seeking profit. In the name of making money, and by a clever projection of the so-called right to freedom of speech and expression, the Media, which is almost invariably controlled by giant and most powerful interests, has and continues to wreck havoc, making parents and teachers almost powerless. This large-scale [external] disturbing force did not exist earlier.

The question may be asked why the Media is acting in such a socially corrosive manner. The answer is simple: The Media is in the business of making money and not protecting Society’s interests – those days when it acted with concern for public good and with responsibility are more or less gone. The Media is extremely powerful and its influence is very strong. By ourselves we might not succeed in meeting the challenge of today’s disruptive forces but if we step forward with the Lord’s Name on our lips, even the seemingly impossible would definitely become possible – that is what faith is all about. Swami has for years been talking about the need for a firm and committed return to the Moral path, and it is by way of countering the present disruptive forces that He reminded us of what was once regarded as one’s normal duty, not only ourselves observing Dharma but also helping children to do the same. That, in brief, is the context in which we have to understand how the term Educare came to be placed before us by Bhagavan Baba. We have to make a special and renewed attempt to bring forth from within, especially in the modern context, the treasures already bequeathed to us by God.

Let us now try to understand all this in context of Swami’s basic Message to humanity. God as Sri Sathya Sai Avatar has been exceptionally considerate in spelling out His Message in considerable detail, not just once or twice but any number of times, at various places and on various occasions. Although the details of the exposition and the analogies used for illustration might have varied, the essentials have always remained the same; indeed they are precisely what the Lord in an earlier incarnation as Krishna had stated. In brief God’s Message is:

· Man must first realise that he is Divine in origin.
· Next, having realised his intrinsic Divine nature, man must act in accordance with that nature.
· When man follows the above two steps, he would automatically experience Bliss, which is the Form of the Divine.

Three key words often used by Swami in this context are:

  • Atma Viswaasam.
  • Atma Dharma.
  • Atma Trupthi.

The first word means faith in the Atma; the second essentially means acting in accordance with the nature of the Atma; and the third means achieving Self-satisfaction - true Self-satisfaction is synonymous with Bliss.

To the uninitiated all this might sound rather vague and abstract but there is deep meaning behind it. The first step, namely realising one’s true nature, involves looking deep within oneself i.e., going into the Inner World. Having discovered one’s true nature, namely that one is nothing but a Spark of the Divine, one is then called upon to act in the external world in accordance with one’s true nature – this is the second step. And when one follows steps one and two, Bliss is the automatic result. In short, the above three-point formula that captures the essence of God’s teaching to man involves both the so-called Inner as well as the external worlds.

To put it differently, the word EDUCARE as Swami uses it really means to draw forth from the Heart; and in this sense, it subsumes steps one and two mentioned earlier. [Swami also once told students that the commonly used word education in fact came from EDUCARE, and in a restrictive context. As we all know education is for just making a living while educare is the Compass for life.] In other words, EDUCARE is a one-word summary of the first two points of God’s Message to man spelt out earlier.

Seen in the above light many things become immediately obvious, the most important of which is that Educare as a concept is not only all-inclusive and comprehensive but also applicable to one and all, and in all situations in life. Nobody or anything is excluded from its purview.

In this and some of the subsequent articles in the series entitled Reflections, I shall try and elaborate on many different aspects of life, linking them to the basic point made by Swami. Swami has always stressed individual transformation and Educare is a word that focuses explicit attention on that. We shall now examine in some depth the implications of the word transformation.

Transformation implies change and in our context it means a change for the better. In turn this means giving up the bad and embracing the good. But there is more to transformation than just this. Now when relating to Swami, we must clearly understand that Swami’s focus is always on Spirituality and that He wants us also to have the same focus. This means that transformation must be seen as a process originating Inside. Unless we seriously look Inwards, we would never be able to relate even feebly to the Atma or the Universal and Eternal Spirit/Soul. Any transformation that a Sai devotee seeks, must involve such introspection, if the seeker is serious.

Swami wants man to look into his Heart and start from there – that really is what Educare is all about. Some years ago, while speaking to students of the Business School in His University, Swami related the processes associated with Educare to Import-Export. He said we must first import LOVE from the Heart into the Head and then, after processing it, export it to the world outside through LOVING WORDS and LOVING ACTIONS [via the Body of course]. This is typical of Swami, translating a seemingly complex concept into not only simple language but also a practical recipe.

OK, agreed as I said earlier that human actions must generally reflect Divine attributes. What are the attributes that one expects? The most important of these is the harmony of feeling, thought, word and deed, a harmony that Swami often refers to via the word Trikaranasuddhi. In practical terms, it means the harmonious functioning of the Heart [the seat of feelings], the Head [the seat of thought] and the Body [the source for words and action]. When these three components, namely the Heart, the Head and the Body function coherently and in unison, it automatically implies that the feeling that underlies the word/action is Divine, so is the thought that formulates the word/action and so is final word spoken or the action performed. In other words, if Trikaranasuddhi or Purity of Thought, Word and Deed is achieved, then it automatically implies that Educare has been given practical expression to. It is pertinent to note that Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa that are normally referred to as the Human Values manifest only when there is Trikaranasuddhi; no Triple Purity, no Human Values – Swami has made this abundantly clear on more than one occasion. The last mentioned point is important, especially in the context of the various efforts being mounted to spread Human Values. As Swami has pointed out – take care of Trikaranasuddhi and the Human Values take care of themselves automatically.

I think I have said enough for an opener. The bottom line for the present is: The first step in identifying oneself with the Atma is to make Trikaranasuddhi an essential and non-negotiable part of one’s life. Without this virtue, any Love that one claims to show, even to God, would be tainted – this we must never forget. This last point is non-trivial and yet forgotten frequently. For example, when one is in dire difficulties one often prays intensely to God, promising all kinds of things, including in terms of good behaviour etc. But soon after God responds and removes the difficulties He is quickly forgotten as also the many promises made, till of course the next crisis.

We all would do well to introspect carefully and honestly and check how often we have defaulted on our promises, not only to God but also to fellow human beings. [Incidentally, in the Atmic language, if we are untrue to a fellow human being we are in fact untrue to God.] Failure to keep promises and following up this failure with excuses is far more common that we care to admit. Whether we like it or not, and no matter what we think are the extenuating circumstances, every single failure is a loud announcement of a lapse in Trikaranasuddhi. Without this Inner Harmony, all Sadhanas become totally bereft of meaning, although we might not be willing to admit it.

In future articles, I shall take up specific matters related to today’s existence and discuss how these are to be viewed in the context to Atma Viswasam and Atma Dharma. Hopefully, all this would help you to appreciate that Swami’s teachings are actually meant to be applied in day to day life though on the face of it they might appear far removed from the reality of mundane existence.

Perhaps this Reflection is a bit “heavy”! Feel so? Why don’t you write back and let us know? Jai Sai Ram.



Volume - 2 Issue - 9 Radiosai Journal - PSN 2004