July 30: A nation is only as strong as its citizens. After centuries of backwardness, our great nation is moving towards prosperity and material wellbeing. Millions of people have been lifted from backbreaking poverty, and India is becoming a power to be reckoned with in fields of science and industry. But are we on the right path? Economic prosperity does not cure all the ills of society. If we look at the so-called advanced countries, while there is great prosperity, loneliness, depression, drug abuse, and disturbing family life are realities that cannot be ignored. We can see glimpses of all these issues today, even in India.
Does this mean we should cut back on material growth? Absolutely not. But it has to balance with the inner growth of people, and the answer can come only from the field of spirituality. Morality, honesty, goodness, charity and compassion are divine qualities, and these can be tapped only by connecting to the divine. The key to doing so is catching them young by reaching out to children and youth.
However, while there is excellent progress in material education, there has hardly been any serious effort in educating the young on spiritual values. It seems that our education system is focusing solely on marks, degrees and jobs without giving the young the foundation of spirituality. And without a strong foundation, all our efforts will collapse in a heap.
Throughout history, India was rich, not only materially but also in matters of the spirit. Visitors to India, from ancient times, the Middle Ages, and right up to a couple of centuries ago, were struck by the prosperity of the country as well as the strong moral values of its people. Our country, throughout its great history, has been a laboratory for advancing materialism as well as spiritualism. If our country hopes to reclaim its position as Vishwa Guru, we have to work on both of these fronts. One-sided development can only lead to disaster.
On a practical level, how can we instil the universal values of Sanatan Dharma in the young? The role of the teacher is vital to this, but mere preaching cannot achieve anything. To inspire the young, the teachers themselves must know these values and, most importantly, practice them themselves. Only then will the young imbibe these values”. This was the gist of Pujniya Raseswhari Devi Ji’s speech at Sambalpur, Odisha, on 23 July 2022, where she addressed eminent educators from across the country. The occasion was a seminar ‘GROOMING YOUTH TOWARDS NATION BUILDING’, organized by Sambalpur Public Library, in collaboration with ‘ODISHA STATE OPEN UNIVERSITY.
Pujaniya Raseshwari Devi Ji is one of the foremost preachers of Jagadguru Swami Sri Kripalu Ji Maharaj, the fifth original Jagadguru and the most stellar spiritual guide of this age. She is the co-founder of Braj Gopika Seva Mission, a non-profit organization engaged in spreading the universal values of Sanatan Dharma throughout India and the world. Devi Ji has been reaching out to people, and the youth in particular, for the last three decades. Because of this, she was conferred the “Yuva Adhyatmik Guru Puraskar” by MIT, World peace University, Pune, in 2019.
The idea of bringing a spiritual luminary to address educators with the young in mind was the brainchild of Prof. Aditya Padhi, the chairman of Sambalpur Public Library. Prof. Padhi has a long and distinguished career in the field of education, and his deep insight into the needs and shortcomings of present-day education prompted him to call Devi Ji to this distinguished seminar.
We hope others in the field of education, those who have a lasting impact in shaping the minds of the young, will be inspired by this and reach out to luminaries of the spiritual world. Dry material education can no longer address the problems of society. It has to be fused with inner development to shape the youth, thereby laying an unshakeable foundation for the country and the world.