Education

Our Basic Concept

To start with, what does ‘education’ connote in the modern sense of the term? It is to draw out the latent faculties in man. Merely stuffing pieces of information into the brain is not education. Making man’s brain a lumber room is not its aim. Recognising and bringing out the diverse talents and genius in man has been taken to be the cornerstone of education everywhere. And this has yielded substantial results too. We can find men of great achievements in several fields of arts and sciences in various countries.

But, we the Hindus have gone further. With us, the bringing out or the manifestation of the Inner Personality of man, is the essence of education. Life is not a mere bundle of passions. We say, there is an Ultimate Reality within us. To realise and manifest that Supreme Reality is the basic aim of our system of education. Our great sages and tapasvis have given detailed instructions with regard to the procedures to do that. And the teacher has a vital role in executing them.

Tap the Reservoir

To start with, he has to inculcate in the students the ten principles of Yama and Niyama. Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-coveting), Brahmacharya (continence) and Aparigraha (non-acquisition) form the five Yamas. Shoucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapah (penance), Swadhyaya (spiritual study), and Ishwara Pranidhana (offering of one’s actions to God) form the five Niyama. Even if a small number of students in a school imbibe the spirit of Yamas and Niyamas, they will be able to spread a healthy atmosphere so that others also will follow them in course of time.

Purge Perversions

Most of our young men do not even know that we have an ancient history, rich with excellences in all fields of life. Their methods of studying subjects also betray a lack of serious effort and the will to understand. Study of text-books and reference books by standard authors is given a go-by. ‘Short-Notes’ and ‘Questions and Answers’ have become the fashion of the day. Private tuition appears to the students to be another such easy way to pass. A teacher should, in fact, feel it an insult to his calibre and devotion to duty if his students are required to take tuition from others. The effect of all such short-cuts on the students’ minds has been ruining of his initiative, will and ability to understand.

Be Hindus to the Core

All these perversions have to be nipped in the bud and the great qualities of head and heart planted in the young minds right from the elementary school stage. This can be done only when we draw upon the limitless storehouse of our ancient as well as modern literature which depicts our sublime national ethos and our mighty national heroes and events. Especially, our young men must be made to feel proud of being born in the great lineage of Rishis and Yogis. If we have to live up to their legacy, we must live as Hindus, we must appear as Hindus and also we must make ourselves felt by the whole world as Hindus. It is only when we learn to respect ourselves, our national customs and manners that we can hope to command respect from the outside world also. In fact the world wants us to be true to ourselves and not to become mere carbon copies of some X,Y or Z.

Once a Frenchman came to me. He was invited for food. He gladly sat on the floor and took our food just like us with fingers – no spoon, no fork, no tables. He said that he relished it all the more, and remarked: “When we come to you we must know and experience your ways and specialities of behaviour and customs. Otherwise where is the fun in our coming all the way to your country?

(The above is from Sri Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts.)

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