Baba has clarified that the word Vidya used for this Vahini (Stream of Thought), means (Ya) that which (Vid) “illumines.” It is this sense that is highlighted in expressions like Atma Vidya, Brahma Vidya, etc., or even the name Vidyagiri given to the campus of Prasanthi Nilayam, which comprises the Institute of Higher Learning. Baba makes us aware of the comparatively less beneficial lower learning, which deals with theories, inferences, concepts, conjectures, and constructions. The Higher Learning hastens and expands the universal urge to know and become Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, Sathyam Sivam Sundaram. Baba has come as Man among men on a self-imposed mission, to correct the wrongs inflicted on mankind through the fanatically blind pursuit of lower learning. The human race has to voyage on an even keel; it is leaning too alarmingly towards the briny grave; the lower learning is lowering it into the bottomless pit. Vidya alone is the remedy.
From His childhood days, Baba has stood forth as an educator, a Guru as the villagers loved to address Him. He warned, without hesitation, elders at Puttaparthi, teachers in the schools, and headmen of castes against cruelty to animals and exploitation of labour, usury and gambling, pedantry and illiteracy, hypocrisy and pomp. Through gulps and jests, parody and satire, songs and plays, the young, teenager Teacher ridiculed and reformed the society, which honoured or tolerated such evils. Through Bhajans sung in chorus by groups of men and women, He reminded them of the universal, human values of Truth, Morality, Peace, Love, and Non-violence as early as 1943, when he was barely seventeen. These were the basic acquisitions that Vidya, the Higher Learning, can confer on votaries.
As Lord Krishna, He said to Arjuna, “Adhyatma Vidya, Vidyanaam.” “Among all the Vidyas, I am Atma Vidya,” the search for Atmic Truth. The world can be saved from suicide only through this Vidya. The search for Truth and Totality, for Unity and Purity is the means; the Awareness of the One is the consummation of the process. This Message is the sum and substance of every Discourse of His, during the last five decades.
This precious book provides us the chance to peruse nineteen essays He wrote, in answer to appeals for the elucidation of the principles, which must guide us while rehabilitating education as an effective instrument for establishing peace and freedom, in us and on Earth.