3 D’S – DUTY

Actions (karmas) carried out in accordance with the principles of Dharma are referred to as duty. Simply put ‘Duty’ is the work assigned to an individual. The duty of a student is to study, that of a doctor is to effectively treat his patients and that of a railway booking clerk is to issue tickets.

As children what are our major duties?

  • Duty to parents – Tending to our parents, with love, reverence, obedience and gratitude is our primary duty.
  • Duty to elders – Rendering loving service to them and taking care of parents and grandparents are our obligatory duties.
  • Duty to Teachers and Gurus – We should respect, revere our teachers who bestow knowledge upon us and our Gurus who help in bringing out the human values and turn our mind towards God.
  • Duty to society – We acquire physical, intellectual, mental, emotional and spiritual skills from the society. Having acquired such skills, one should contribute to the welfare of the society. We cannot imagine life without our collaborators in society.
  • Swami says the best way to be grateful is to Love All and Serve all. The dictum, ‘Help ever Hurt never’ should find its truest expression. It is our duty to duly respect the rights and freedom of others in the society. Duty means the responsibility, we have, not to hinder or harm anyone by our movements, speech, behavior or activities. When we walk on the street waving a big stick we have to be conscious of the person walking behind.
  • Duty to Mother Earth – We derive our food, dress and shelter from the natural resources. It is therefore imperative on our part to conserve natural resources and live in harmony with nature. We should never insult Mother Nature by polluting the environment.
  • Duty to Motherland – We should love our motherland and prevent the forces that mar the sovereignty. We should discharge our duty as an ideal citizen.
  • Duty to our Divine Parent – We are the children of God. We must therefore please our God by our exemplary behaviour. We should strive to sustain the harmony among thought, word and deed (trikarana suddhi).
Bhagavan says that we should fulfill these duties during our lifetime and we must do them wholeheartedly and we must dedicate them to God. Then only work (our duties) can be called worship.

Gurus can narrate episodes from life of Swami, His childhood days, how He fulfilled the promises He made to His mother Easwaramma, how He carried water for the family etc so that children understand how Swami was an exemplar in following His duty in all spheres right from His childhood.

5 Elements

Suggested Class Activity: Attitude Test

Question 1 – While doing your homework, do you
  1. Do it on your own
  2. Do it only under parental instructions
  3. Not bother much about completing it
  4. Expect your mother or sister to do the homework
Question 2 – You have a few potted plants / small garden at home. Your mother has to urgently go out of station for a few days. Will you, in her absence,
  1. Water the plants
  2. Tell your father to water the plants
  3. Not bother to see if plants are getting watered
  4. You are not aware that there are potted plants at home
Question 3 – Your elder brother has left the fans on by mistake. On noticing this, will you
  1. Immediately switch off the fans
  2. Look for your mother to complain about your brother
  3. Switch off the fans first and then complain to your mother
  4. Don’t bother about the fans, go out to play with your friends


Love is expressed and experienced in different forms.

  • Love towards friends – Friendship
  • Love that your mother has for you – Affection
  • Love for the poor and needy – Sympathy
  • Love for elders – Respect
  • Love for the Nation – Patriotism
  • Love for God – Devotion
5 Elements

Love towards the Divine is Devotion

We all love our parents, right? How do we show our love to our mother, our Deha matha? By doing all such things that please her – isn’t it? God is loka matha who has provided five elements, five senses, five values and five resources for our enjoyment. So how should we show our love for God?

  • Through Prayer – We communicate with God by adoring Him and praising His divine qualities. Chanting divine names is helpful in achieving inner peace, inner harmony and inner balance. We should pray to God, the embodiment of Dharma, before the commencement of any work.How should we pray?Devotion should be true and deep. If our devotion is true and deep, God comes quickly to protect us.

    Devotion promotes pure love, deep faith, good conduct, noble thought and total dedication.

    The Name of God, if recited with Love and Faith, has the power to bring upon the eager aspirant the Grace of God. – DD 23rd Nov 1968

    Gurus can narrate stories of Prahlad, Draupadi, Gajendra, Narada, Hanuman, Shabari’s devotion and other stories exemplifying the Nava Vida Bhakti (Nine forms of Devotion)

  • Through Thanks Giving – We should submit the flowers of love and gratitude at the lotus feet of God. Having remembered and prayed to God while commencing our work, should we not remember to offer our thanks to God once we complete the task?
  • Through Reverence to parents – ‘Mathru Devo Bhava, Pithru Devo Bhava’ is the dictum of Taithriya Upanishad. We should respect and revere our parents because they are the embodiments of God on this earth.
  • Through Dedication in whatever we do – Work is worship. If we perform our karma or duty wholeheartedly with total involvement and interest, it is also a type of devotion. Duty is God. Work is Worship.

Suggested Class Activity: Attitude tests/discussions on the following questions

  1. List out those whom you revere as God on Earth (Comprehension of : “Maatru Devo Bhava, Pithru Devo Bhava…)
  2. Narrate any incident where you have called God for help and how God responded to your prayers (Faith & Surrender)
  3. How will you express your thanksgiving to the Lord when your prayers have been answered (Adoration & Celebration of God)


Discipline means the training of people to obey rules or a code of behaviour. We should not fret against the rules and regulations. They are laid down for our own benefit. There can be no fame without discipline (Na sreyo niyamam vinaa). Discipline is essential to promote one’s character and virtue. Discipline helps to get rid of bad habits and inculcate good habits.

5 Elements

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba explains the technique of acquiring the character.

Thoughts give rise to actions. Actions, in turn, produce habits. Habits, then, form man’s character. Character decides our destiny. – (Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol.8A,p.227.) A life without character is as barren as a temple without a lamp.

We should learn Discipline from nature

5 Elements

All things in Nature obey their respective rules of conduct. Sun, moon, stars, planets and living things are all subject to certain laws. (Gurus can show pictures of the Solar system, Sunrise, perfectly regulated traffic on road etc, discuss what would happen if there is no discipline)

5 Elements

“You may have Devotion, you may discharge the Duty entrusted to you. But unless you are saturated in Discipline, the other two are useless. Discipline must regulate and control every activity of your life.” – Bhagawan Baba

Bhagawan Baba has given the following injunctions to man to lead a disciplined life: 5 Elements

  1. Follow the divine dictum:
    • See no evil, See what is good.
    • Hear no evil, Hear what is good.
    • Talk no evil, Talk what is good.
    • Think no evil, Think what is good.
    • Do no evil, Do what is good.
  2. Practice Ceiling on desires (COD):
    • Do not waste time.
    • Do not waste energy.
    • Do not waste money.
    • Do not waste food.
  3. The first step in spiritual discipline is the cleansing of speech. Talk sweetly without anger. Do not boast of your scholarship or attainments. Be humble, eager to serve; conserve your speech. Practise silence. That will save you from squabbles, idle thoughts, and factions. [Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume II,Chapter 6]
  4. You must make it a practice to observe silence for at least one hour daily. It saves your cosmic energy and ensures peace of mind. You should develop also the discipline of simple living and high thinking. [Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume XXX, Chapter 17]

Suggested Class Activities

Rule or No-Rule Game Gurus can ask the students to play carrom board or chess or any other board game – the only pre-condition being that there are no rules to be followed for the game. Initially the students will find the idea very captivating, but once they start playing they will find that there is really no charm in playing a game without any rules; eventually they will find it quite boring since anyone can play in any manner as there are no governing rules. The Guru can now lead the students into a discussion on how rules are framed for our own good and that without rules and regulations there is no real challenge in any activity, and so too is it in life. Right question – Wrong answer game Gurus are required to prepare a set of questions for the class. Gurus should instruct the kids that the answer to her first question should be “Sairam” only. When the second question is asked, children should answer the first question, and when third question is asked, they should answer the second and so on. The answers will appear very funny, and children will enjoy the exercise. Following are some sample questions and answers:
1. When do you brush your teeth? Sai Ram
2. At what time do you watch TV? Early in the morning
3. When do you chant Karagrey? In the evening when I return from school
4. When do you say Brahmarpanam When I get up from sleep, before starting the day
5. Do you allot time to clean up your cupboard – if so, when? Every day before I eat my food
6. Do you attend Nagarsankirtan sessions and if so, when? Every Sunday, between 3 to 4 pm
The learning Gurus should discuss in detail as to why children found the answers funny, what happens when they really do these things in their daily lives etc. In life, if there is no discipline then we too will become a laughing stock. This analysis is important so that gurus are able to drive home the point that life without discipline is similar to a kite without a string.



THE FIVE D’S [Sri Sathya Speaks – Volume 21 / Chapter No. 5]

The universe itself is a university in which every human being is a student. Every student pursues one subject and acquires a degree. Each one chooses a subject he likes. But whatever different subjects they may study, there is one thing common to all of them, one common pursuit and goal: to obtain the degree of Divine love.

In the cosmic university, though there are scientific, political, economic and other studies, what is fundamental to all of them is the spiritual knowledge. Even in the spiritual field they are special subjects. There is one group which may be described as the five D’s: Dedication, Devotion, Discipline, Discrimination and Determination. Those who have mastered the five D’s are qualified to receive God’s love.

Dedication should be free from ego and envy

Dedication means offering. As soon as Swami arrived, teachers and students made offerings of flowers and offered their salutations. The flower symbolises the heart. When you offer the flower of your heart to the Lord, it should be free from the pest of desire, hatred, envy, greed and the like. Only flowers are offered to the Lord or those whom you revere. The flower of the heart is subject to infestation by two evil creatures: One is ahamkara (self-conceit); the other is asooya(envy). Self-conceit is based on eight different factors: wealth, physical prowess, birth, scholarship, beauty, power and penance. Of these, the arrogance born of wealth is to be despised most. As long as this ahamkara (self-conceit) is predominant, it is impossible to recognise the Divine or one’s spiritual reality. Self-conceit is a great barrier between the individual and God. It has to be utterly demolished.

Pride of wealth is another human failing, which causes the downfall of man. All forms of pride, based on birth, wealth, power or scholarship have to be given up totally. Only when egoistic pride is offered as a sacrifice at the altar of the Divine can man discover his true nature. This is the Dedication that is called for as the first step in the spiritual journey. Next comes Devotion. This is the highest form of love. “Service to Hrishikesa is known as Bhakti,” says the Sutra. Devotion means constant contemplation of God. The term Bhakti is derived from the root Bhaj (to worship). Devotion means loving contemplation of God, repetition of His name, worshipping Him and doing penance for Him. Service to the Lord is the highest expression of devotion. There is nothing which is not attainable through loving service to the Divine. Devotion does not mean merely doing bhajans or performing puja. These forms of devotion at present are based on some kind of self-interest and self-seeking. True devotion should be free from selfishness of any kind. Devotion is not something to be proclaimed or demonstrated. Exhibitionistic devotion may result in disaster. True devotion should be an expression of love both internally and externally.

Discipline should be strictly followed in daily life

Next comes Discipline. This is most essential for students. From the moment you wake up, you have to carry out your morning ablutions, meditate on God and then do your prescribed duties in an orderly manner without deviating from the regular routine. Variations in the routine from day to day are undesirable. You should not wake up at one hour on one day and at a different time on another day. The day’s activities should be regulated by the same schedule. Immediately after finishing the morning chores, one should devote, in the calm and serene atmosphere of the morning, at least for a few minutes to loving meditation on God. The human estate is based upon regulation and self-control. These have to be strictly adhered to in daily life.

Then comes Discrimination.

The world is a mixture of good and bad, of joy and sorrow, right and wrong, victory and defeat. In a world replete with such opposites, man has to make constantly the choice between what is right and proper and what is wrong and undesirable. Man should not let himself be guided by the mind. He should follow the directions of the Buddhi (Intelligence). As long as you follow the mind, you cannot obtain Madhava (Divinity). Students must learn to use discrimination.

Young people in their tender years tend to follow the inclinations of the mind. They do not rise to the level of their intelligence. Consequently, they are subject to various agitations and frustrations. They have, therefore, to learn to use their powers of discrimination. “I am a human being. In this condition how should I conduct myself so that I may win the respect and regard of others?” These are the questions which each student must ask himself. He should enquire on every occasion as to what is the right course and what is to be avoided. He should decide on what he should do and where he should go after due enquiry. Having acquired knowledge, he should not behave like an illiterate, uneducated person. His conduct should be in keeping with his learning. Humility is the index of true education. Without humility, scholarship will lack lustre. Discrimination is essential for every student and educated man.

Sri Sathya Sai Balvikas, Tamilnadu

Determination is the fifth D. It is like the reins of a horse. When you want to achieve something, you must have the determination and persistence to secure it by all your efforts. No room should be given for doubts and hesitations. There is nothing on earth which cannot be achieved with firm determination. Starting with Dedication, you end with Determination. There is no use relying solely on book knowledge or mere intellectual cleverness. There must be firm faith in God as the basis of everything. There is one kind of pest which affects the leaves and branches of a tree. There is another which destroys the root of a tree. Likewise, a hypocrite is a human pest which can spoil a good man. The hypocrite is not  erely an actor. He poses as a devotee externally, but is really evilminded. He leads a double life. It is dangerous to associate with such persons. Many good men in the world have come to grief because of the association with such pretenders.

Worldly and Divine Love

Love is of two kinds: One related to the physical and the other related to the Divine. All the fears and delusions afflicting the world, all the chaos and violence prevalent today, are primarily due to physical attachments. These are also responsible for the falsehood, corruption and other evils rampant in society. Divine love knows no differences among individuals and nations. Egoistic attachments and selfishness are at the root of all human troubles and conflicts. Physical love should be confined to strict limits. If the Divine consciousness were not present within, of what use would the body be? It would be as useless as a school without teachers, a farm without water, a temple without a deity. You must develop Divine love. You must be resolute in striving to achieve what you aim at. Only then will your devotion and discipline bear fruit. There is no meaning in parading one’s devotion. The external human form has no significance. You must be human in your actions and feelings. By reforming your conduct and purifying your thoughts and actions, sanctify your lives. That alone is true education, which will lead to Self-realisation.

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