New Delhi, India, 27 January 2015 – The winter sun was out when His Holiness left his residence at the Tibetan Youth Hostel in Rohini, Delhi, at around a quarter to eight. He paused to wish ‘good morning’ to some of the Tibetan students residing at the Hostel, before leaving for Dayanand Anglo Vedic School (DAV) in Sahibabad, Ghaziabad district in Uttar Pradesh.
The school’s Principal and other administrators warmly received His Holiness and slowly escorted him to the ground where an audience of over 3000 people awaited him, comprising excited students and staff of DAV school together with other Principals and guests. As the heads of the DAV school led him through a building with nursery classrooms, he peeked inside and walked into three of them to greet the young children. Throughout the length of the ground, every step of the way His Holiness greeted the children, who were excited to shake hands with him or just to touch him.
Once on stage, His Holiness waved to the crowd and greeted the school band with folded hands. After a brief flower offering ceremony Mr AK Sharma, the Chairperson of the DAV school network, expressed that it was thoughtful of the school to seize the opportunity to listen to someone who has “contributed to peace and knowledge” worldwide. Their schools were founded by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati on the ethos of the teachings of the Vedas, Mr Sharma explained, and they welcomed the chance for the students to hear His Holiness’s wisdom on life.
“Dear elder and younger brothers and sisters” His Holiness began, expressing his pleasure for the chance to interact with young Indians once again. “India is the most populated democratic nation in the world and has a long history. It has produced great many thinkers who could be called ‘ancient scientists’ for their thorough investigation into the nature of things. Some of these masters,” His Holiness remarked, “already discovered the concept of quantum physics over 2000 years ago!”
His Holiness then told the audience, “The world is rife with problems today, and India has the potential to contribute to non-violence. Many of the problems in the world are caused by people who are well-educated but who use their knowledge to gain more money or power, and exploit others by cheating and bullying them.”
Pointing out that extreme selfishness, which leads to disrespecting others, is the root of many of our problems, His Holiness encouraged the students, “You, the generation of the 21st century, can transform the world into one concerned with morality. You can clean up the injustice done in today’s world, which is guided by the existing materialistic education.”
To mend this situation in the world, His Holiness told the students, “The concept of secularism, which respects both believers and non-believers equally, is unique to India. Today, in order to promote the principles of morality, you should find a means to address the problems we are facing that applies to both believers and non-believers. Religions won’t work for the non-believers!”
His Holiness then turned to the importance of affection and friendship. “A smile is something us human beings can express to others. A genuine smile brings us closer to others as we build trust, which in turn leads to friendship,” he told the students. “If you ask a non-believer whether money can buy us friendship, their response will be negative. You need an open heart to gain trust and friendship. A closed heart cannot bring us these.”
Even animals appreciate our love and affection, His Holiness explained. He told the students of his friendly relationship with the fish in a pond in the Norbulingka summer palace in Tibet, saying, “When they heard the sound of my footsteps they would pop out of the water in sheer joy!”
In order to demonstrate how our physical structure itself is built for friendly relations with others, His Holiness then hugged the school Principal as the delighted audience erupted into applause. “As social animals, affection brings us together while anger pushes us apart. Scientist say that anger and fear are bad for our health, and peace of mind is good for our health.”
His Holiness mentioned that religious harmony is something unique to India, and is linked to India’s secular approach and ahimsa, or non-violence. “You should think seriously about your culture,” he told the students. “You are the builders of a new world for the sake of the seven billion people on the Earth who need to be educated in these principles.” His Holiness explained that secular ethics is meant for entire humanity and we need to see it in this perspective and promote moral principles, beginning in our own families. We then spread this outwards to ten people, a hundred people, a million people, and so on.
“Young people,” he told the school students, “you have the potential to manifest these moral principles. You have the opportunity and ample time to do so for a happy 21st century. You should not feel discouraged thinking that there are too many problems in the world and that you cannot do anything about them. Change must start with individuals and spread out to others. Think that you have responsibility for the world and make effort.”