From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

If you compare the present system of education with our ancient gurukul system, there is a wide gulf between the two. At the present moment, education ignores the moral side completely. Every student in the gurukul was pure and received perfect moral training. This was the predominant feature of ancient culture. Every student had knowledge of pranayama, mantra yoga, asanas, the code of morals, the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Upanishads. Every student possessed humility, self-restraint, obedience, a spirit of service and self-sacrifice, good behaviour, politeness, a courteous nature, and a desire to acquire atma jnana, knowledge of the self.

Today’s youngsters

College students today do not possess any of the above virtues at all. Self-control is a thing unknown to them. Luxurious living and self-indulgence begin from their very childhood. Arrogance, impertinence and disobedience are deep-rooted in them. They have become confirmed atheists and rank materialists. Many are ashamed to say that they believe in the existence of God. They have no knowledge of brahmacharya or self-control. Fashionable dress, undesirable food, bad company, frequent visits to the theatre and cinema have rendered them weak and passionate.

In the ancient gurukul, boys were healthy and strong and lived long. It has indeed been detected that the health of the students has deteriorated throughout India. Moreover, the vices and bad practices that are ruining their health are on the increase. There is no ethical culture in modern schools and colleges. Modern civilization has enfeebled boys and girls who lead now an artificial life.

Unfortunate experiments

I reiterate with force that the present system of education in India needs a thorough and drastic overhauling. Any system of education, which is not based on the principles of brahmacharya is bound to fail. Those who are responsible for giving a proper system of education to the young are ignorant on this important point, hence the numerous unfortunate experiments in education.

Professors of some colleges insist that the students put on fashionable dress. They even dislike students who wear clean but simple clothing. What a great pity! Cleanliness is one thing and fashion is another. This so-called ‘fashion’ takes root in worldliness and sensuality. Cleanliness in life is necessary for physical and spiritual growth.

Need for vitality

Boys and girls suffer in silence, misusing their bodies on account of ignorance, thus draining their vitality and holding back normal mental and physical progress. When the human system is deprived of its natural secretions, there will be a corresponding decline in nervous energy. This is the reason why functional disorders develop. Young boys suffer from anaemia, bad memory and debility and have to discontinue their studies. Diseases are increasing.

Thousands of injections have come into the pharmacy, hospitals and dispensaries. Thousands of doctors have opened their clinics and shops. Yet, every day misery is increasing. People do not meet with success in their enterprises or business on account of the wastage of the vital force, or semen, through improper habits and immoderate sexual intercourse.

Importance of character

A great and onerous duty rests with the teachers and professors to train their students in the path of sadachara, or right conduct, and to mould their character properly. Brahmacharya includes character-building, or the right moulding of character. They say that knowledge is power. But I assert boldly, with great assurance and practical experience, that character is power. Character is far superior to knowledge. Every one of you should endeavour your level best to mould your character properly. Your whole life and your success in life depend entirely upon the formation of your character. All of the great people in this world have achieved their greatness through character and character alone. The brilliant luminaries of the world have won their laurels of fame, reputation and honour through character alone.

Teachers should be strictly moral and pure. They should be endowed with ethical perfection, otherwise it will be like the blind leading the blind. Before taking to the profession of teaching, every teacher should feel the high responsibility of his position in the educational line.


When students reach the age of maturity, certain growths and changes take place in the physical body. The voice changes, new emotions and sentiments arise. Naturally, the youngsters become curious. They consult the street boys, are ill-advised and begin to ruin their health with bad habits. A clear knowledge of sexual health, hygiene and brahmacharya, of how to attain longevity, and how to control passion should be imparted to them early on.

Parents should teach their children the various stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana that relate to brahmacharya and right conduct. Parents should advise their children again and again on the subject of brahmacharya. This is their imperative duty. Candid talks to boys and girls are very necessary when they begin to show signs of puberty.

There is no use beating around the bush. Matters that relate to sex should not be kept hidden. It would be only false modesty if parents feel too shy to talk to their children about this important subject, and silence will only excite the curiosity of adolescent children. However, if they can understand things clearly ahead of time, surely they will not be misguided by destructive companions and will not develop bad habits.

Responsibility of elders

Teachers and parents should give proper instructions to boys and girls on how to lead a clean life of brahmacharya. They should get rid of their false sense of modesty and shame, which are a good deal responsible for the ignorance of boys and girls. There has been more suffering caused by ignorance regarding these matters than by anything else. You are paying the price of ignorance and of false modesty by thinking that matters of sex and sexual physiology should not be discussed. Teachers and parents should diligently watch the conduct of the youngsters and clearly impress upon their minds the vital importance of a life of brahmacharya, as well as the dangers of an unclean life.

Teachers and parents should explain to the boys and girls the importance of brahmacharya and instruct them in the various methods by which they can preserve the veerya, the soul-force, or atma shakti, that is hidden in them.


Blessed is he who truly endeavours to make his students brahmacharis. Twice blessed is he who tries to become a real brahmachari himself.

The future destiny of the world rests entirely with the teachers and students. If teachers train their students in the path of righteousness, the world will be filled with ideal citizens, yogis and jivanmuktas who will radiate light, peace, bliss and joy everywhere.