The following address was offered at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan by
Dr. Michael Goldstein, the chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization
in North America, at the inauguration of the International
Convention of Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas Gurus (Educare Conference)
at Prasanthi Nilayam, July 2, 2001.
Dear brothers and sisters, Sai Ram to all of you!
It is the task of this Conference to put forth ideas that will
result in the formulation of a Spiritual Education Program. This
program will reflect the Divine instructions of Baba for the
education of children everywhere. True education, Sai education,
imparts practical knowledge which leads to nobility of character
and selfless love, and which culminates in the realisation of our
Our beloved Swami has categorised knowledge by its depth and
its importance to life. He refers to several types of knowledge:
book knowledge, superficial knowledge, general knowledge,
discrimination knowledge and practical knowledge.
Practical knowledge is knowledge and experience of self. The
Vedas declare that spirituality begins with self-inquiry and that
self-inquiry begins when we ask ourselves the fundamental
Who am I?
From whence have I come?
Where am I going?
Our program must cultivate practical knowledge, which results
in nobility of character, and selfless love. We must recognize
that the universal human values -- truth, right action, peace,
love, and non-violence -- are manifested as we acquire and
experience practical knowledge.
A practical loving approach to the development of our Sai
education program requires that we acknowledge and respect the
importance of culture, tradition, history, and language of all
countries. When children are comfortable, when they feel safe and
secure, when the learning environment is familiar and compatible
with their culture, then levels of attention and comprehension are
Swami once said Sathya Sai EHV is a program for small children
but EHV is 3HV — head, heart, hands. He went on to explain that
the conscience must give guidance to the mind which will then
issue commands to the body. This is tantamount to the realization
that we are not the body or the mind. Rather, we are the atma, the
indwelling Divinity, who uses our mind and body as tools to uplift
the world with selfless love and service.
In our programs for small children, the Sathya Sai EHV and Bal
Vikas Programs, the ability of the teacher to inspire is far more
important than the formula defined by the program. The teacher
cannot inspire if he or she is not experiencing the values in
Teacher as the exemplar of the universal human values is the
very essence of the program.
It is essential that the spiritual depth, the spiritual
significance of this program is communicated to educators and to
parents. If we fear that we will be rejected by public agencies
because of our spiritual orientation, then we will merely be
presenting another quick fix program for the demoralizing decline
of character education for children all over the world. It is
imperative that we demonstrate the real spiritual significance of
this program to the educators and parents. In this manner they
also have the opportunity to apply and transform themselves. Any
lesser effort is unworthy of our program.
In conclusion, on behalf of all of us, I humbly and
wholeheartedly offer our gratitude to our beloved one, Sai Baba.
Jai Sai Ram.
(Dr. Michael Goldstein)