|| Shree Hari  ||


Youth Corner


 1. Characteristics of a Student




A student should have the only aim of study or God Realization, because "determinate intellect is one-pointed" says Gita 2:41.


"Vyavasaayaatmikaa buddhirekeha kurunandana

bahusaadhaa hyanantaasca buddhayo'vyavasaayinaam" (Gita 2:41)


"In this blessed path, the intellect is determinate and concentrated, whereas the intellect of the undecided, is scattered in many directions, and is endlessly diverse." (Gita 2:41)


All his actions should lead him to the attainment of his aim. When he possesses such promptness and determinate intellect, then God, Saints (great souls), righteousness (Dharma), scriptures and ethics etc., all prove to be favorable to him and he attains his aim without doubt.


From: "Be Good" pg 132 by Swami Ramsukhdasji


Question:  What are the characteristics of a Student? 




Swamiji:   Answer: The five characteristics of a student are:


1) Carefulness like a Crow: A crow is very careful in every activity. A crow is so careful that no one can catch him. Similarly a student should always be careful in his studies and not waste a single moment.


2) Attention like a Heron: A heron moves slowly in water, but its attention is single-pointed on the fish alone. Similarly a student while performing all activities such as eating and drinking etc., should pay attention to his studies only.


3) Sleep Light like a Dog: A dog does not sleep completely carefree. His sleep is light. Similarly a student must sleep lightly, which is essential for good health, and must not be very carefree.


4) Take Food in Small Quantities: A student should neither overeat nor under eat. His diet should be regulated and reasonable so that he may neither feel lazy, nor think of the empty stomach.


5) Celibacy: A student should observe celibacy.


From: "Be Good" pg 135 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji


 2. Self Control is Essential for Students


Question:  What sort of conduct should a student possess and how should he act?




Swamiji:   Answer: A man behaves and acts according to his egoism (sense of I-ness). So a student should predominantly think -  "I am a student and I have no other primary duty except studies." He should eat and drink for the bare maintenance of the body by remaining absorbed in studies. He should not waste even a single moment without studies. He should stick to studies every time, even while performing the activities of daily routine such as sitting, moving, eating, drinking, sleeping and waking etc.


Self-control is very essential for a student. When physicians to gods  (Aswinikumaraaras) went to sage Dadhyan to gain knowledge-divine, he ordered them to observe celibacy. As ordered by the sage, they observed celibacy and again went to him and requested him to impart knowledge-divine to them. The sage again sent them back ordering them to observe celibacy and they carried out his order. They again went to him for the third time and again he sent them back to observe celibacy.  Thus they observed celibacy for a hundred years. Again when they went to the sage to gain knowledge-divine, he said to them, "when you were gone, Indra the king of gods, came to me and requested me to impart him knowledge-divine. But I told him that he did not deserve it." Hearing this answer he got irritated and said, "If I don't deserve it, then who deserves it? If you impart knowledge to anyone, I'll behead you." Thus the sage showed his inability to impart knowledge-divine and asked them to go to someone else to gain knowledge-divine. They said, "O noble sage, if you order, we can solve this problem. We will keep your head safe by cutting it off and fixing another head to your body. You can impart us knowledge divine with that head. When Indra the king of gods, cuts the head, we will fix the original head to your body, then Indra will have no right to cut off that head. Thus we will gain the knowledge-divine." Thus the head of a horse was attached to Dadhyan, and knowledge was imparted to the Aswinikumaars and after Indra cut it off, the original head was re-attached. Being angry with them, Indra deprived them of their share of the religious sacrifice. However, due to celibacy the Aswinikumaars gained knowledge-divine and also share of the religious sacrifice. It means that celibacy is a must for students, as it helps them to retain / hold knowledge.


A student must always be on the alert that he is a student. He who is a student does not waste even a single moment without studies. It is said that knowledge and wealth should be gained in small measures steadily and he who wastes small measure can gain neither knowledge, nor wealth.


There is a saying that grammar is learnt by learning the rules by heart, by questioning teachers and reflecting upon the lesson which a learner has learnt.  Similarly, it has been said about a student of grammar that he should look at the sky so that he may neither feel drowsy nor may have projections and distractions, because shutting of eyes leads to drowsiness, while opening eyes, leads to thoughts about the world. 


It is mentioned in the “Caanakyaniti” that a student should totally renounce attachment to pleasure because he who hankers after pleasure can’t gain knowledge and he who wants to gain knowledge cannot engage in pleasures (Caanakyaniti 10:3) 


From: "Be Good" pg 129-131 by Swami Ramsukhdasji




Question:  Can you further explain about why a student should not engage in sense pleasures etc.?




Swamiji:   Study is an austerity that must be totally free from sense pleasures.  When a student has not to derive any pleasure, there is no question for him to indulge in fun, display, movies, entertainment from television etc., These are to be totally given up because they besides being time wasters leave an impression which is a great impediment to studies.  So a student should stick to studies by remaining totally indifferent to the world, holding the view that the world does not exist for him and he does not exist for the world.  Thus he will become learned, as a good student becomes a good scholar.  


From: "Be Good" pg 132 by Swami Ramsukhdasji



 3. Student and Progress


Question:  What are the factors conducive to student’s progress? 




Swamiji:   There are seven factors conducive to student progress.  They are as follows:


1)    Enthusiasm: A student should have enthusiasm to study, because for a enthusiastic person even a difficult task becomes easy, while without enthusiasm even an easy task become difficult.


2)   No procrastination:  A student should work very promptly and careful.  He should not devote more time to the work that does not require as much time.  He who devotes more time than what the work requires, will be ruined.


3)   Right Knowledge of tools and techniques:  A student should know the right method of performing an activity such as ablution, eating, drinking, walking and worship etc.  He should properly act accordingly. 


4)   Freedom from Addiction:  A student should not be addicted to evils.  Gambling, drinking, eating meat, prostitution, hunting/killing, stealing, and adultery are the seven evils that lead to the worst of hells.  Besides them, the use of tea, coffee, opium, smoking, playing cards and games with dice, fun, frolic, movies, etc, are all impediments to spiritual progress and honest livelihood.  These are all evils and a student should not be addicted to any one of them. 


5)   Bravery: A student should be brave (free of cowardice) and fearless while performing every activity. 


6)   Gratefulness: A student should always feel grateful to his benefactor.  He should never be ungrateful to him and should show respect to him.


7)   Firmness in Friendship:  A student should offer the hand of fellowship to his friend in all circumstances.  As travelers seek a hospice, so does perfection seek a person possessing the above qualities.  


From: "Be Good" pg 134 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji


 4. Duty versus Rights




It is the duty (kartavya) of a son to serve his mother and father. Whereas it is the mother and father's rights (adhikaar) to receive this service.


A student must fulfill his duties and sacrifice his rights.


We need to give up the attitude that says - let others do according to what I like.  Let things happen my way.  Sacrifice is - "Giving up of our rights." It is our right to do our duty, but it is not our right to acquire or gain from it. These days we desire our rights, but are unwilling to do our duty. In reality, rights follow duties, but these days we run after our rights. Right is a servant of Duty, but nowadays we have become the servant of Rights. We desire to pass in examinations, but we do not like to study. In this society, if everyone only wanted to fulfill their rights, then there would be nothing but fights.


The minute we look at the duties of another, we fall from our own duties.  To show that we are superior to others is a pursuit of "Rights". To perceive ourselves as good is also a pursuit of our "Rights" Whatever others say to us, let us not be affected. Let us do our duty well then this world (society, community) will become a better place.


Seeing others with faults is not a fault finding view. Mother and father see the faults of their children. Teacher sees the faults of his students, Master sees the faults of his Disciples, but this is not considered as someone who is fault finding (dosh drshti), rather it is a desire to see them without any faults.  Flaws / faults should not be viewed as permanent in us, nor in others - this  is a very important point.


The essence is that everyone's present is without flaws and faults.


From "Sagar ke Moti" in Hindi - page 105 by Swami Ramsukhdasji



 5. Student and Politics


Question:  Should a student participate in politics? 




Swamiji:   If a student participates in politics, he can’t pay proper attention to his studies and spiritual practice etc., and thus his precious time that could be used to enable him to gain knowledge or realize God is wasted.  By participating in politics, he attaches importance to mundane matters that are an impediment to his studies and devotional practice.


From: "Be Good" pg 135 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji



Question:  Is it proper for students to form a Union? 




Swamiji:   By forming Unions, students become undisciplined and unrestrained.  They perform acts of sabotage and cause loss to their own property, because they are the future owners of this property.  How will students become responsible and good citizens if they participate in agitations against teachers, trouble passengers in trains and buses and shopkeepers in the markets?  How will they make a good society?  And how can the country be good and progressive without a good society?  Students are the future support of the country.  So their reform will lead to the progress of the country and they are responsible for this progress. 


There is nothing wrong if students from a union to train themselves in military science in order to defend their community and society.  They should always be on the alert to set things right.  But it is wrong if by forming a union they show arbitrary conduct, rule over others by unlawful means, pressurize their teachers and insult or slight them. 


It is also unjust to tolerate unjust and improper rules of the government.  So students should always be bold and enthusiastic to oppose injustice.  


From: "Be Good" pg 135 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji



 6. Student’s Daily Routine


Question:  What should be the daily routine of a student? 




Swamiji:   He should rise early in the morning before sunrise.  If he gets up after sunrise, he should observe a fast through out the day as penance.  He should make the best possible used of his time without wasting even a single moment. As soon as he get up, he should recite the verse –


twameva maataa ca pitaa twavmeva

tvameva bandhusca sakhaa tvameva

tvameva vidyaa, dravinam tvameva

tvameva sarvam mama deva deva.” 


“O Lord, You are my mother, Your are my father

You are my brother, Your are my friend

Your are my knowledge, Your are my wealth

Your are everything for me.” 


After reciting this verse he should perform activities such as ablution and bathing etc., Thereafter according to the scriptural ordinance he should perform morning prayer, recite the Gayatri verse and worship God.  He should practice hatha yoga postures for good health. 


A student should learn his lessons thoroughly so that he is able to explain it to others even without the book.  The method to get master over a subject is that he should revise the lesson, which he learnt during the day when going to bed, and once again revise it in the morning when he gets up.  By doing so he will be able to learn the lesson thoroughly without much effort. Studies (especially rote memorization) should be in the morning time because that is the best time when the materials can be learnt quickly and easily.  


He should reach school in time and bow to the teachers and study as they instruct.  He should pay proper attention to what is being taught, understand it and have a thorough grasp of the subject.  If there is any doubt about the subject, he should get it removed by his teacher.   He should leave no stone unturned in his studies. 


A student should have so much confidence and enthusiasm that he can teach the topic which he has learnt to others.     After meals a student should walk for a short while; then lying down straight facing up, breath eight times, lie on the right side and breath sixteen times, and life on the left hand side and breath thirty-two times.  Thereafter he should rise and start his studies. 


In the evening he should person “Sandhyaa” (prayer) before sunset that is superior and recite the Gayatri verse.  As far as possible, perform superior prayer at proper times.  Morning prayer performed in star-light is superior. 


After dinner, he must walk for a while.  Thereafter he should study his books and the scriptures such as Gita and Ramayan etc.  He should reflect on that which he has studied at bedtime. 


Student life is the base of a human being.  If the student life is noble, the rest of the life will also be noble. Therefore a student should be very careful and make his sentiments and conduct Sattvik (good and pure).  In the Bhagavata it is mentioned –


“Scriptures, water, people, place, time, occupation, birth, meditation, sacred text (mantra) and past influence – if these ten are Sattvika (pure and good), the mode of goodness is enhanced, but if the are rajasik (mode of passion) and tamasika (mode of ignorance), passion and ignorance are enhanced. 


Therefore if they are sattvik (Pure and good) then intellect and nature will also be sattvik. 


From: "Be Good" pg 136-137 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji



Question:  What about foods for a student? 




Swamiji:   The food eaten by him should be Sattvik (pure) rather than Rajasik or Tamasik (Gita 17:8-10).  Sattvik food makes the intellect good which is very useful for studies.  It is said – “The kind of food a man eats, so is his intellect in the same way as an oil lamp having devoured darkness produces soot.” 




 7. Student’s Development


Question:  How to gain knowledge? 




Swamiji:   While attending a class a student should look at the eyes and face of the teacher and pay attention to each and every sentence uttered by the teacher.  He should listen promptly to him without thinking of anything else.  He should not feel proud of his promptness in studies, feeling himself to be superior to other students.  Pride reduces knowledge to ignorance and that ignorance enhances pride. 


He should review the lesson time and again without the help of the book.  He should study in such a way that he may impart this knowledge to others by teaching them with full confidence.  Self-study does not make the topic as clear as when teaching others. 


A student should be humble to teachers and others because knowledge leads to humbleness. 


From: "Be Good" pg 143 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji



Question:  How to learn a subject by heart i.e. memorize it? 




Swamiji:  At a young age the meaning of a verse etc. becomes clear after it has been learnt by heart.  But in old age, it is easy to learn by heart after knowing its meaning.  


Morning is the best time for learning, as materials can be easily learnt in the morning time.  Therefore a student should rise at 3 to 3:30 a.m. and after ablution, washing and brushing teeth and cleaning mouth, one should start with the lessons that require rote memorization.  While learning it would be good to pick a verse, and just the first sentence and memorize, later memorize the second part, and then repeat by memorizing and reciting the two together without looking at the book.  Continue with the third and fourth and then together.  Then recite the first four together without the help of the book and continue in this manner.  Learn as many verses as you can and then stop.  Before going to bed, revisit and recite all that was learnt, without the help of the book and then go to bed.  On waking up, do the same, repeating the verses without the help of a book.  If the revision is with the aid of the book then he will forget the studied material in a few days.


The second method of learning and memorizing something is reading the same materials daily looking at the book.  E.g. if a person wants to learn Gita by heart, he should recite all verses of the Gita attentively by looking at the book everyday.  This process should continue for a year.  After the year is up, he should be able to recite all the verses without the book.  If he forgets a verse, he can go back to it at that very moment and continue his recitation.  Thus when he has memorized the entire Gita, he can continue to recite the entire Gita without the aid of a book.  By doing so, he will not forget the Gita.  But if he recites by reading from the book, he will forget it.  


From: "Be Good" pg 144 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji



Question:  How to learn a subject by heart i.e. memorize it? 




Swamiji: The power of memorizing can be developed by observing celibacy.  Preservation of semen provides a special power (vigor) that develops the memory.   An elephant possesses more physical power than the lion, but as far as vigor (vitality) is concerned, a lion has more vitality because a lion has sexual intercourse only once in a life.  Thus preservation of semen in a lion provides special vigor in him.     


From: "Be Good" pg 144 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji



Question:  What should the student do for intellectual and physical development? 




Swamiji:   Meditation on the Supreme develops the intellect.  Therefore every student whether he wants to attain the mundane or the spiritual aim should meditate on the Supreme.  We have notice that those who perform worship, change God’s name, meditate on God and perform such other spiritual activities never fail in examinations.  The reason is that these activities develop the mode of goodness that develops the intellect.  So even if a student devotes less time to studies, it proves to be much more fruitful. 


Dependence on God specifically develops intellect.  The reason is that he that depends on God follows the right path.  So every kind of thing or person or object or circumstance becomes favorable and helpful to him.  Thus he spontaneously attains his aim.  There are impediments in a person’s life only so long as he does not decide the aim of his life.  But when the destination is decided, there are no impediments at all. 


When a student observes celibacy and leads a self-controlled life, he gains knowledge of several subjects even without study and effort.  He grasps every subject very quickly. 


Self-control is automatically conducive to good health.  Physical strength that is gain by practicing self-control and by eating Sattvik food is not gained by leading an unrestrained life and by eating rajasik and tamasik food in order to relish it.  Self-control, celibacy, meditation on God and service of elders provide sattvik strength to the body, mind and heart.  By this Sattvika strength, evils such as lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride and jealousy automatically subside and virtues such as patience, equanimity, quietude and happiness etc., are naturally cultivated.  These virtues have a good effect on the gross body and a student possessing them naturally get free from diseases.  If he suffers from a disease as the fruit of his past evil actions, it does not affect his mental equilibrium. 


A student should practice yoga postures and breathing (pranayama) exercises.  They help him in studies because by removing heaviness and laziness they make the body light and active.  Thus he remains energetic and enthusiastic.  And even a difficult task becomes easy for him.  However, he that lacks enthusiasm loses heart and for him even easy work becomes difficult.   


From: "Be Good" pg 136-140 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji



Question:  Should students take part in games and sports?   




Swamiji:   Students should take part in those games and sports that lead to their physical or intellectual development.  Games and sports should be regarded as exercise of the body rather than the means to indulge in party politics that lead to conflicts.   This sort of activity often leads to groups whereby they may engage in slighting and humiliating others.  Thus it will prove very much harmful to them. 


They should never play games (e.g. cards etc) that do not lead to physical and intellectual development.  Therefore students should be very careful in their participation in games and sports.   


From: "Be Good" pg 141-142 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji


 8. Student Entertainment


Question:  How should students amuse themselves?    




Swamiji:   Students should amuse themselves by studies.   Discussions and question and answers on the studies is good amusement.  They prompt new ideas.  For students – movies and TV are the worst amusement, as they spoil the eyes and the mind and they leave bad impressions that are impediments to studies, adoration and meditation.  There is no use stuffing the mind and intellect with rubbish.  Therefore students need not indulge in such amusements. 


From: "Be Good" pg 142 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji


 9. Sins and Evils


Question:  Can you share some of your thoughts on addictions to smoking, drinking, other? 




Swamiji:   These addictions are due to foolishness.  Students by role modeling others become addicted to smoking and drinking.   They think that these intoxicants do not spoil the intellect.  But these intoxicants do affect he intellect, therefore how will they gain knowledge?  Students should neither smoke, nor drink that these are harmful to the intellect, physical and mental health.  In this connection parents and teachers should pay special attention to their children and see that they don’t get spoiled.   

From: "Be Good" pg 140 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji



Question:  A few students commit suicide, while failing in an examination.  Why?  How to solve this problem? 




Swamiji:   They commit suicide because their failure is an obstacle to their honor and praise that they desire.  There is no joy in commiting suicide.  Those who try to commit suicide but somehow escape it explain that suicide involves great suffering.  He who commits suicide commits the deadly sin of murdering a human being and in future he has to suffer the worst tortures.  So students should study the sacred books and keep company with great souls.  Their company can rood out such sins (evils) 


From: "Be Good" pg 141 in English by Swami Ramsukhdasji



Question:  What is student’s household responsibility? 




A student should perform his domestic chores according to the need of the hours as ordered by his parents before he goes to school or college.  After school or college, he should come back home and courteously take his meal with his parents.