– G R Jagadeesh
Any country should have its own aim and vision in order to achieve progress. This contains both ideological and realistic dimensions which should be complementary to each other. These should be in tune with the culture, heritage, history and lifestyle of that country. Only then that country prospers in right and expected way. Future must be built in the present on the basis of past experience. In this manner, planning must be done at every stage namely, person, society and country. The life style of a country depends on geographical and natural factors of that country. Hence a model of one country won’t work for the another. Every country should envisage its development depending on its own experience.
Education plays an important role in the progress of the country. This should be based on the thoughts developed in that country over the years. In our country, our thoughts and ideology have thousands of year’s glorious history. This plays a vital role in the evolution of man’s personality. The ancient thoughts of Indian Rishis and sages have evolved in a logical and thoughtful manner in our country.
Our forefathers have laid down the aim of education which is a result of many years of thinking as follows
Vidya dadaati vinayam, vinayaad yaati paatrataam
Paatraatwaddhanamaapnothi dhanaadharma tataha sukham
Education imparts humility, humility bequeaths competence, wealth comes from competence, and virtuous deeds are done through the wealth that leads to prosperity and happiness.
In another shloka, the ultimate objectives of Education has been explained in same way but in more precise manner.
Tat karma yanna bandhaaya sa vidya ya vimuktaye
Ayasayaparam karma vidyaanya shilpanaipunyam
The real education is one which frees you from the shackles of karma. All the remaining education makes us do karma through efforts and skills. “Sa vidya ya vimuktaye” in this shloka is the main source of inspiration for the Principle of Education.
Swami Vivekananda says, “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man”.
The ancient Indian scripts like Kathopanishad and Taittariopanishad contain detailed and serious thoughts about Education. These are the bases for the Indian educational thoughts. These thoughts have more than five thousand years history and are fresh and novel even today. We, the inheritors of this great thoughts should begin our educational thoughts from here and implement them. These are like roots, if we water them properly, we will reap great fruits from affluent plants.
Our Rishis have given two ways of achieving the educational objectives. They are Para and Apara vidyas. The vidya that speaks about the inner things like mind, soul is known as Para vidya and Apara vidya speaks about the education that is needed for the livelihood and for mundane life. Universally both these should become the learning subjects of equal importance. A balanced personality will be formed because of this. This should become the objective of Education.
In our country, five thousand years ago only development of education system has been divided in to three stages namely Adhisheela, Adhi chitta and Adhiprajna. Even now also almost the same system is in practice everywhere. This stands testimonial to the concrete and scientific thinking of our ancestors.
Adhisheela Shikshan: This is education system from mother’s womb till five years of age. This is the education that is received at home from the family members in their vicinity. Especially mother’s role is very important in this. Here the child learns everything from careful observation and imitation. These warrantees a congenial environment for this. Discipline, tidiness, cleanliness, speech, behavior, hospitality, and religious activities should be complementary to child’s growth. All kind of free environment, security and freedom should be there for the child. Home should always be filled with love, affection and happiness. In such environment the child will learn many things by himself. There will be no need of reading and writing in this stage, that shouldn’t also be. Emotional development is crucial in this stage. This stage is the foundation for the man’s personality development.
Adhi chitta Shikshan: This is the education from five to fifteen years. This is the education that happens both at home and outside. Here the child gets the opportunity to learn many subjects pertaining to outside world like Language, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Environment, Culture, Arts, Literature, Sports and Etiquettes. The result of all these learning’s would make the student develop his own thinking capability and work efficacy. Over the period of time, as intellect evolves, independent thinking will begin. The ability to scrutinize and accept will continue to develop and stays permanently. This is called Chitta. Man will grow further with the help of this Chitta.
This is the most important stage of creating strong personality on the solid foundation of Adhisheela Shiskshan “We cannot teach anything. Children will learn everything. We should only facilitate their learning.” This is the principle given by Maharshi Yogi Arvind. In Adhi sheela and Adhi chitta stages we ought to play our role as per the principle.
Adhi prajna: This is the education capability received from 15 to 23 age of the student. Owing to the strong foundation in Adhisheela and personality development in Adhi Chitta, confidence is built in the person. He will acquire the capacity to find his own future. The person is prepared acquire specific and special knowledge of his choice. This stage will help to him to face and shape the family and social life.
Broadly, this is the path shown by the Indian thoughts. As this is more scientific and practical, almost the same system is prevalent all over the world.
Even Acharya Chanakya of famous Takshashila university also has explained the same three stages.
Lalayath pancha varshani, dasha varshani tadayeth
Praaptetu shodashevarshe, putre mitravadaachareth
Till five years of age, we should raise children in care, love and free environment. The next ten years, we should carefully correct the mistakes and weaknesses that accumulate over the years. Once the son attains sixteen years, we should start treating him like a friend.
Although the formal education received at educational institutions is important, man will continue to receive informal education from various sources though out his life. Even this kind of education is also very crucial. A Sanskrit shloka explains how an individual learns how much from various sources.
Acharyath paadamaddate, Padam shishyaha swamedayaa
Paadam sabrahmacharibhyaha paadam kaala kramena cha
One learns a quarter from teachers, other quarter from his own intellect, another quarter from his peers and the remaining quarter from his own experience over a period of time.
That means teachers can teach only a quarter of formal education. The remaining three quarters will be learned through parents and elders at home, informal education like holy discourses, Pravachanams, Dramas and Cinema etc. This includes Self-study, travels and life experiences. This way education continues to reach completion from various sources.
In all these learnings, importance must be given to one’s country’s culture, heritage etc. Only then it is possible to lead the country towards development. One who knows history can only create it.
Swadeshi: In this background the swadeshi thoughts and needed action plan should evolve in Education.
According to Indian thoughts, Education should be deep rooted in spirituality. Its base must be spirituality which is the mind, chitta and soul of Bharata. In order to achieve progress, we need to blend spiritual education with formal education.
A generation with independent personality, self-esteem and self-reliance must be created. In order to achieve this, we need to impart education to child in a natural language which is easily understood by the child. Our attire, our food habits must reflect our heritage. Hence, we should introduce culture and heritage through education. Along with it, universal thoughts like “swadesho bhuvantrayam” “vasudaiva kutumbakam” must also be inculcated. Individual should grow like a tree that is deep rooted in the pride of our history and heritage that receives oxygen from the surroundings and branches out in all directions in the blue expanse of the sky.
In order to achieve this, besides Mathematics, science and other subjects, the educational institutions should adopt the following topics in the curriculum.
Mother Tongue: Language is the carrier of culture. The culture and etiquettes of the language the children learn will naturally enter their personality without their knowledge. If we don’t have our own identity, over a period of time we end up becoming strangers in our own land. Hence at any cost our own languages should become the media of education.
Sanskrit is the mother of all languages, treasure trove of knowledge. Every Indian should learn this language. Along with this, we should develop an open mind to learn any language of the world.
Attire: Generally, attire is created over the period of time depending on the geographical and climatic conditions of respective region. Different attire will evolve for male and the female depending on age. We should develop the mindset to wear cloth on this basis.
Our country has diverse geographical environment. Accordingly, different attire has evolved in every state. They are attractive and reflect our culture and heritage. It’s our duty to protect this diversity. Everyone should take pride in wearing this apparel.
Food culture: We reckon eating food as holy Yajna. We have evolved a great spiritual system in which before eating food we remember the Lord and offer this food to him and eat it in the form of prasadam. We should strictly follow it. We should only eat how much is required and not eat to satisfy the taste buds. By doing so,we will be snatching someone else’s food. Our tradition has given a social caution that snatching away some one’s food and wasting food is a sin.
Ayurveda has taught us to eat food only when required based on seasons. All should follow it strictly. The formula that ‘Food is medicine and Medicine is Food’ is evolved in our culture. We can protect our health by following it. Educational institutions accordingly should teach the art of Food Preparation.
Shataayu life cycle: Man’s life from birth to death consists of four stages namely, Brahmacharya, Grihasta, Vanaprasta and Sanyasa, each consisting of twenty-five years period. Our ancient Rishis and Sages have broadly given us the roles and responsibilities to be carried out in each stge. These are the important stages that come in human life. Every Indian should realize the importance of these and practice accordingly. Life is not a stagnated pond, it’s a flowing river. ‘The old order should give way to the new’ is the underlying principle here.
Shodasha sanskaras : In our culture it is laid down that human being should undergo sixteen sanskaras from birth till death. This will make it easy for us to follow depending on the importance of the times. This will add grandeur to man’s personality. In order to practice them correctly understanding them is very important.
Efficacy of purusharthas: The four purusharthas Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha have been envisaged to for a person to lead a happy life and to let others also live happily. It’s inevitable to earn money so that we can satiate our desires and wants, but this earning must be done in righteous way. Only then the path of salvation will become easy. In this way a social and spiritual path of karma yoga is shown to us. We should impart education that understands all these nuances and implement them effectively.
Rinas: people of various strata in the society are directly or indirectly responsible for our development. These people will continuously work so that our lives are made better. Hence, we are indebted to all of them. They have been predominantly divided in to five Rinas namely Pitru rina, Rushi rina, Manushya rina, Bhuta rina, and Deva rina. Along with this we can make a list of many more rinas. We must pay back and clear all these rinas in this life only. This is the social rule imposed on us. It should be taught to everybody. For that purpose, it should be in our school curriculum.
Gusto towards life: Our life shouldn’t be languid; it should always be filled with cheerfulness and enthusiasm and we should face the happenings of life with courage. Hence Bharateeya music, drama, dance, festivals, various celebrations should become part and parcel of life, and such celebrations should be encouraged and patronized.
Legacy of knowledge inheritance: Man is by nature inquisitive. His intelligence and thoughts should continuously evolve based on his quest. This is a perennial process without any beginning or end. Our Vedas and Upanishads are the spring source of Bharateeya life and thoughts. They contain our culture and philosophy; these are the rivers of our national life; they are the springs that quench the spiritual thirst of the humanity. We have Ramayana and Mahabharata which are the most ancient and ever fresh in the world literature to understand this ethos.
Upanishad’s way of teaching: There is mention of 18 types of teaching methodologies in our Upanishads. Pravachana [lecturing], Samvada [dialogue], Paryatana [touring], Prayoga [experimenting], Prasnottara [questioning] etc. These various teaching methodologies must be introduced to our teachers. It should be included in teacher training curriculum.
Valuation: Continuous and comprehensive evaluation without annual examinations is being touted as the new way of teaching. But this system was prevalent in our Gurukuls since ancient times. We should make people understand that this is a purely Bharateeya and implement it.
Only when we dovetail all these things in our education, our country will remain to be ours. We should evolve a comprehensive plan and implement it to teach these in both formal and informal systems of education. We should also contribute to this knowledge tradition.
Yoga psychology: Yoga psychology is more effective in studying and understanding children’s psyche and finding suitable solutions to it. This should be taught to our teachers.
Present: This is always more important. We should always live in the present. On the basis of the experience of the past, we should look ahead towards the future. Our Prime minister has given call to vow for Atma nirbhar Bharat in order to come out of the economic crises arisen due to the corona virus attack in the present. As part of it we should rely on the local things. We should buy only swadeshi products in our daily purchases. The curriculum that highlights its importance must be created and added in the Education.
If only we leave all artificial beverages and start drinking fruit juices, lemon juice, sugarcane juice etc., thousands of crores of rupees will indirectly reach our farmers that will better their lives. If we think on these lines in other sectors like business, commerce, industry etc., we can retain lacks and crores of money in our country only. Our country ‘s prosperity depends this. It should be emphatically taught in the educational institutions that it is a national duty to live this way.
Let’s wake up, lets progress.
(Author is Sah Sangathan Mantri of Dakshin Madhya Kahetra – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnatka.)
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