HIS EIGHT-FOLD PATH
For making an ideal society he advocated an eight-fold path.
He thus said: “Education leads any community to higher standards and, therefore, if we are interested in the welfare of the community, we have to encourage it. It may not be possible for every one to qualify in higher educations. Therefore those who are reasonably rich should try to educate the poor students interested in higher learning by sending them to other centers. This would benefit the society as a whole. The importance of Sanskrit education is declining gradually. The chief language now is English. Therefore our attention has to turn towards English. Women also should be educated. They should not be left in the lurch”. He asked his followers to explain the benefits of education and the loss caused by its lack and encourage the people to see to it with pride that not a single one of either sex went without at least primary education. He asked to enthuse and help people to open schools and libraries wherever necessary.
Cleanliness is next to godliness. Hence he asked the people to keep the body and mind clean. He thus said: “Cleanliness should start from kitchen. Once you keep the body clean, the cleanliness of food and house will follow. One who has achieved this can achieve anything. Everybody shall take bath every day so that body and clothes shall be clean and illness shall go. “He asked the people to organize bathing groups ( kuli sanghs) to promote this.
3. Piety (Iswarabhakti).
He asked people to have Bhakti (devotion) for god. He thus said: “Love for the god who is the father of the world, love for guru, father and mother, love for the truthful son of God, love for those who tread on the path of God and love for those who lead people away from forbidden acts and do acts for the liking of all is called Bhakti. Life without Bhakti is food withoutsalt and people who do not have Bhakti shall be given food without salt. Bhakti and pride shall not go together. It is enough if one is having Bhakti and faith. If faith is there the result shall follow.”
4. Organisation (Saghatana).
He asked people to get strengthened through organizations. He thus said: “The aim of the organization shall not be to include one sect of people. In this era the strength through organization is essential. To exchange ideas small organizations are essential. These small organizations shall become the corner stones for the society’s organizational strength. The working of these organizations shall be intelligent since it shall be the harbinger for all future progress. One may say that I would like to work in union but I get nobody to work together and therefore remain doing nothing. For the Christians there is the church and the priest. They lead an organized and systemized life. One shall learn from them”
All shall do agriculture. It is the backbone of the mankind. Not only that, it is its life itself. House-holders require money. Agriculture is useful to make money. The money that the house-holders are permitted to acquire is meant for charity.
Swamy thus said: “As a community we are very poor. Improvement is possible only through trade and industry. This demands attention of the rich. They can get from outside various kinds of machinery and run industries. If one cannot do it many should join as a company and boldly venture out. Though the paths to prosperity is open, men of our community do not have the courage to step out. We send out to other countries our produce like copra, coconut husk, etc and pay heavily to buy the consumer goods they manufacture out of them. We are forced to do this because we do not know the manufacturing process. We have to change this situation by sending our children to study in factories. It is the rich who have to undertake this. If sufficient money is not there societies and limited companies may be formed.”
He stressed the need for development of handicrafts. It shall provide jobs for more people and more utilization of indigenous materials.
8. Scientific and Technological Training.
Nowadays skilled workers are more required. Therefore scientific and technological trainings are essential. It provides jobs not only in this country but also in other countries.
Every year during the pilgrimage to Sivagiri Guru wanted to organize seminars at Sivagiri on the above subjects. He said “Experts in these subjects should be invited to give lectures on them. People should listen to these lectures with discipline and attention. They should try to practice what they learnt. They should achieve success. That will assure prosperity for the people and the country”. Four things he stressed more for social advancement are religion, morality, education and industry.