Swami Jagadatmananda's book does just this. A senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, and currently the Head of the centre in Shillong, the swami has moved with and guided youths in many places in India and abroad with great success. His book Badukalu Kaliyiri in Kannada received a very warm welcome and more than a lakh of copies of it were sold. An English version published by the Ramakrishna Mission, Singapore, with the title Gospel of the Life Sublime also found a wide readership.
Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, has now the pleasure of bringing out the book under the title Learn to Lie. Tapping the tremendous potential of goodness and creativity in all youth, this book provides role models whose footsteps the young ones can follow with enthusiasm. With matching illustrations from authentic case histories the swami has highlighted virtues like self-confidence, and paying as much attention to the means as to the ends.
Our special thanks are due to Dr. N. Tirumaleshwar Bhat for his elegant translation of the Kannada book into English; to Swami Satyeshananda of the Ranchi T.B. Sanatorium for many helpful suggestions; to Prof. Siddhartha Ganguly of Meghalaya, to Dr. Bula Roy of Ranchi and to Dr. Bharati Bhat of Bangalore who have helped in many ways in preparing the manuscript.
There are certain values that are extremely necessary for life, but which are generally ignored by the modern system of education. My mind has often been engaged in trying to find a way of getting our youth interested in these values which can instill a sense of self-confidence and enthusiasm in them. I have had several opportunities to address young people at schools and colleges and have realized that important truths can best be driven home not by simply preaching theories, but by the use of illustrations. Today's education lays emphasis on accumulation of actual knowledge, but fails to mould the character of the youth. Our young people therefore have failed to acquire the means by which they can make themselves spiritually strong, courageous, bold and upright. The intellect gets sharpened by means of studies. Should there not be a similar training for the cultivation and control of our minds and hearts Our intelligentsia does not seem to have arrived at a constructive plan for the training of character as yet. The proverb goes, \"A single good act is worth a tonne of advice.\" Many enriching experiences and incidents in successful lives are not only of interest and significance, but also help in the moulding of character. Many books have been published in the West-based on actual incidents and experience which can provide inspiration and guidance to our youth.
There is no dearth of intellectuals, who try to correct the weak and the diffident by means of reproach, blame and contempt. Intelligent as they are, they don't seem to realize that damaging a young man's self-respect could eventually wreck his life. Till now, they haven't seemed to have made an honest attempt to rectify the problem either. Though it might be necessary to admonish and even punish those who go astray, it cannot be considered the only answer to all problems. What the youth really need are proper ideas, inspiring models and appropriate guidance to help them realize their follies and correct themselves, rather than criticizing them violently, attacking verbally or condemning outrightly. The purpose of this book has been to attempt to find an answer to these problems that afflict our youth.
There is a solution to the problems of the youth. The solution lies in re-establishing the self-confidence of the youth, in showing them the way of regaining their faith in themselves. With this, not only the individual but also the society rises to the heights of great achievements. When an individual becomes aware of his own tremendous potentiality, when he realizes that he himself is the architect of his future, he tries honestly to come up in life just like a man who falls to the ground will use the ground itself for support to stand up. The deliberations and discussions in this book, I hope, will help our people, both young and old, at least to some extent in bringing about the much-needed change in themselves and society.
Many people in the country hardly have a roof over their heads. Their lives should become secure and happy. The individuality that they lost to slavery for centuries should be regained. In this regard, the educated have a great role to play. And the role of young people is still greater. It is not material help alone that provides a cure for the ills of the world. \"We may convert every house in the country into a charity asylum; we may fill the land with hospitals, but the misery of man will still continue to exist until man's character changes,\" says Swami Vivekananda. We will be doing the greatest service to humanity not only by raising the roofs of houses but also by raising the minds of people. This book is a humble constructive attempt in this direction.
The present social and ethical conditions can very easily make one pessimistic about the future. Nations considered to be highly advanced, powerful and civilized are competing with one another in the matter of producing and stockpiling weapons of mass-destruction, which are capable of annihilating the entire globe within a few seconds. Millions of dollars are being spent on the manufacture of weapons of mass-destruction. Jonathan Shell, in his book 'The Future of the Earth' points out the human society is precariously hanging on the brink of disaster. If one compares the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima a few decades ago with the latest weapons the former was not even one millionth of the latter in its destructive power. Yet nations are piling up more and more such weapons. He remarks bitterly that the absence of any public protest against this, shows that the people are oblivious of the sense of human welfare or even of their own welfare. There is such an aggravation in man's evil spirit that the tragic day is not far off when the living might envy those who are dead. It cannot of course be denied that there are some organizations which strive for the welfare of the whole mankind, which, by carrying out constructive programmes for the upliftment of humanity stand testimony to the still surviving goodness in man. There are different branches of the United Nations Organisation and other non-governmental organizations, which are engaged in the task of feeding the hungry, driving away diseases, protecting the rights of the working class, rendering succour to men affected by various kinds of natural and man-made disasters, promoting culture, art and education. But demonic forces seem to be bent on strangulating all forces of goodness by using the powers of modern science placed at their disposal. Just think of the activities of the terrorists whereby innocent people are massacred. On the one hand large amounts of money are being spent on weapons meant not only for wholly non-productive but also for blatantly destructive purposes. On the other hand through the direct and indirect promotion of adulterated food, obscenity in films and literature, and drug-addiction, greedy men all over the world are minting money. In the pyre of selfishness, family and moral values are being reduced to ashes. Our youth tempted by the forces of evil and everywhere society is disintegrating.
Whatever the so-called educated people say, real scholars have an entirely different view to express. Modern sociologists affirm clearly that religion or spirituality is the true foundation of culture. They differ from some political theorists who say that religion, once upon a time an important social force, has become only a fossil in the modern age. The words of Christopher Dowson, in his book, 'Inquiries into religion and Culture' (Sheed and Ward) are worth observing, \"Religion is not a matter of personal sentiment that has nothing to do with the objective realities of society but is, on the contrary, the heart of social life and the root of every living culture. We are just beginning to understand how intimately and profoundly the vitality of any society is bund up in its religion. It is the religious impulse, which supplies the cohesive force, which unifies the society and the culture. The great civilizations of the world do not produce the great religion as a kind of cultural by-product; in a very real sense, the religions are the foundations on which the great civilizations rest. A society which has lost its religion becomes sooner or later a society which has lost its culture'. Sorokin and Toynbee also express a similar view.
There is yet another aspect of the river. This is rather invisible. The heart of the sun evaporates the water of the sea. The wind carries the vapour to the tops of hills; the rain on top of the hills flows as water along the river and joins the sea again. Likewise even in the stream of our life, there are many unseen forces in operation. A man born on this earth considers this terrestrial existence as the be-all and end-all of life, and that death terminates everything. But atleast a few know that the human spirit dwelling in the body doesn't cease to exist when the body ceases to exist. Existence and the existence of the soul are not just a matter of faith or imagination. They are truths verifiable by experience. Nearly six thousand years ago, our sages knew that man is not the same as the body, he only wears the body as if it were a garment. They knew that a living being comes to the earth and then leaves it according to an inexorable law. This book discusses this issue in the light of the new discoveries of science. Unfortunately the number of people, who consider the Karma theory to be irrational, unscientific, and superstitious is growing. There has been a foul habit of believing that those who attack these more vociferously are the more intelligent people. It must however be borne in mind that it is not in any way to be scientific minded, if we criticize things without studying them wholly and exhaustively. The thoughts presented here are not meant for those who pretend to sleep. 153554b96e