Interview by Shalini Saksena of ‘The Pioneer’, the English Daily, on why spiritual organisations must run schools and universities to educate young generations.
What is the connection between spirituality and Education?
ǟʍʍǟ: True Education takes place only when it goes hand in hand with spiritual knowledge. Otherwise, education will be reduced to a mere collecting of information. In today’s world, anyone can gather information; everything is available on the Internet. But such education will not transform you. It only nourishes the body, not the being. Education without spiritual values only serves to create big, small and medium-sized machines. Education with spiritual values transforms youth into highly capable and intelligent forces of goodness, compassion and service.
What is your goal?
ǟʍʍǟ: My life is an offering to humanity, the distressed and the downtrodden. Like a river that makes no distinction, I make myself available for everyone, everywhere — loving and serving all. You can say this is my goal, but really it is just my nature.
What is the reason for schools and a university?
ǟʍʍǟ: Why not? The ancient Indian gurukuls were also educational institutes. There, the disciples lived for 12 or more years learning the scriptures, doing physical work, including service. This is the tradition. Moreover, we live in a time where our educational system desperately needs to put more stress on inculcating universal spiritual values, such as service-mindedness, empathy, true love, compassion, etc, in our youngsters. What do you think is the cause of the growing problems and unrest in our younger generation? Why do we see so much self-centeredness in them-lack of respect, love and concern for their fellow human beings, even their own parents and siblings? It is definitely due to lack of these values. As long as it also provides excellence in what we commonly refer to as education, what harm is there in a spiritual organisation running schools and universities? We need hubs actively spreading these universal spiritual values. In our country, there is a real scarcity of such institutions.
How do you manage to have an opinion and idea about everything?
ǟʍʍǟ: The whole universe with all its knowledge is within you. Once you realise you are the source of all wisdom then even without a computer, everything is just a mouse click away, so to speak.
You have travelled the world. Are people different in different countries?
ǟʍʍǟ: There are cultural differences. For example, in India people drive on the right side of the road, whereas in many western countries, they drive on the left. Public hugging and kissing are natural ways of expressing love in the West, but that is not a part of Indian culture. But one thing is the same everywhere: The alarming increase in physical, emotional and intellectual problems. Because of this increase, there is also an increase in people’s thirst for love and peace as well. Everyone, everywhere is searching for love and peace. Wherever you taste honey — be it in an Asian country, the US, Europe, Africa or Australia-it will be sweet, right? Likewise, love and peace is the same for everyone. They are universal.