Facilitated a FDP for Pillai college yesterday. I do believe that the role of an educator is of prime importance in building the future of a Nation and also that of the World society at large. As the student of today will be a citizen of tomorrow, who’s actions and choices will determine the future destiny of the world, isn’t it! And so it’s important to reflect on the challenges our educators face today and together come up with practical solutions for these challenges so that they can contribute to building a strong foundation for a brighter future.
Most of these teachers shared that it was a dream profession for them to take on the role of an educator. As this noble profession involved much more than just the mundane, it involved shaping the future of young lives. But ‘reality’ as we call it, corroded the sheen of their dream, and today they feel burdened by the many challenges they face in their profession. The most recent being teaching online due to COVID. They also shared about the volatile mindset of students, the corrosion of human values in general and the overall shift in the sanctity of teacher- student relationship.
Took the educators through a short meditation for them to experience it’s power themselves. All of them shared how they felt much more relaxed and relieved post their meditation in just a few minutes. We further discussed the four states of consciousness and how the practice of meditation can be the foundation for building a new ecosystem in universities. According to Ishavasya Upanishad there are two branches of knowledge, Avidya and Vidya. Avidya includes the knowledge of material, the manifest. While vidya is knowledge of un-manifest, of the absolute or the self. Both branches together complete the education process. In today’s education system one leg is completely missing. Vidya is the capacity building branch. In which one discovers the infinite possibilities of the consciousness of one self. Are the academics building capacity of students to take on the challenges of twenty first century? Is the education process churning out robust personalities? Are students in colleges as enthusiastic about learning as they were when they first joined school? Is the educator still living his dream job? If the answer to these questions is negative, then transformation is required. As doing the same things cannot fetch different results. It’s time for transformation…
I am really happy for privilege of this interaction with our educators. Looking forward for many such meaningful interactions in future. May be these interactions will inspire our educators to revisit the roots of our civilisation, our scriptures, for answers to the many adverse challenges that we face today. And they will discover a missing link right there.
ॐ सह नाववतुl सह नौ भुनक्तु।सह वीर्यं करवावहै।तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै। ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
It all looked automated, repeating cycles of pain and pleasure, happiness and sadness… Is there more to life? Is human birth all about eating, sleeping, working? Is everything destined or is there free will? The tiny eyes of a nine year old gazed in the heavens above for an answer. But the heaven did not reply, and her questions kept becoming deeper as she grew older, reading a lot of “mind management” books looking for practical answers for her not so obvious questions at her age. Often she would pretend not to have a tangled mind as others her age seemed to be happy with things the way they were. And then a series of self doubts followed.. “Am I normal! Why do I have so many unanswered questions, when others seem to have none…”may be, I would know when I grow up.” She thought to herself. Somehow she felt her answers would come when she grew up..
She was 19 and landed up at a meditation workshop. “Meditation is praying” that’s what she thought, “is there anything to learn in the way you pray”? she wondered! Isn’t prayer natural .. but she still had a thirst to explore what it really was and so she enrolled herself for this meditation class..
The first experience of a twenty minute meditation and as if a sense of completion dawned her. A mind without words, like a silent room & deep sleep, meditation felt like the right answer, the very first time that she experienced meditation almost twenty four years back. Her heart said a BIG YES, this is it! This was the answer she was looking for in her childhood. And she instantly felt that it is meditation which makes human life unique, and that Life was much more than repeated cycles of pain and pleasure, success and failure, attachments and aversions..
Meditation reached her one step closer to the discovery of “who she is”. Closer to the experience of infinity within, meditation felt like an Ocean of peace, like deep state of rest, and a new ray of hope, a new beginning and also an end for the painful experiences of the past…
And so It’s is the greatest investment of time for her that she made early in her life, to meditate and make it a part of her life’s journey. She thanks God for the wisdom. She is grateful for her Master without whom this possibility could have never opened for her. And she will always be indebted to the universe for reaching her the answers in her very first encounter.
My own Farmer
He may look frail but he is not meek..he may be ignored but he is warrior.. he who has won many battles of survival.. His many war with enemies like flooding plains, unforeseen droughts, failing crops, depleting nutrient in the soil, chemicals in food chain. These larger than life enemies which cannot be won by the even the mightiest of the mighty
Though he has called truce with his opponents he has not given up, he is ever ready and armed for the next war and the next natural calamity. For he must fulfil his commitment of sowing the new seeds of life for sake of the many, like you and me, who continue to be depended on his toil..
He may be dead tired, but he won’t give up as he knows he must continue his journey for the war of survival..The provider, The nourisher our very own farmer who’s immense contribution brings us our two meals.
He asks little in return.. And so I stopped by him for a moment of inspiration, a moment of pride and a moment of smile from him. He looks puzzled! No passer by ever stopped or ever noticed him, he thought he is insignificant worthy of only ignorance ..
But why had he remained unnoticed by all! I thought to myself, after all can the jewels, the riches, the money and the power, be bartered for our two square meals on our table..Then why does he live in this shadow of ignorance. My wet eyes search for many unanswered questions..
Two types of soldiers fight battles the one who protects and the one who nurtures. Yes! He is a true warrior, he is my very own Farmer..Let’s salute him with deepest respect, let’s bless him – Anna Datta Sukhi Bhava
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_51PvZ3RTgw – Do take a few minutes to stop by and visit him this Republic Day.
Thank you Sri Sri University for hosting the first ever FDP on Indian Knowledge systems online and reaching us such precious and rare knowledge. The speakers who imparted the sessions were true stalwarts in their field and it was a great delight to be in company of such wise people for fourteen days. I would like to thank Dr. Richa Chopra Ji and her entire team for making this event a reality. May this event get us one step closer to Gurudev’s vision of making India an educational hub again. The seed is sown and God willing with many such important sessions in future these seeds will sprout into beautiful shade giving trees. Sharing a few learnings & highlights from the sessions.
In the first session of FDP Prof. Michel Danino shared that the Economic model of development needs to change. “You own only what you use. Let Human be in centre and not consumption.” I personally think that the quick industrialisation brought a huge shift in the human mindset. From need based use of natural resources, to production for profits & exploitation of natural resources for earning more and more. What we need is limited but profit making is not. And this shifted the human mindset, from using natural resources mindfully to becoming mindlessly greedy for more profits. And so this one line from Prof. Michel meant a lot. He also added that in IKS (Indian knowledge systems) “Unity does not imply Uniformity.” Often we mistake one for other. The professor said that Self exploration is the central legacy of IKS.
Let me share with you what I call – ‘a did you know fact’ – As per the research done by Prof. Shailendra Raj Mehta Universities first got invented in India. Difficult to believe but it’s true. Out of the 24 innovations that define modern universities 18 came from India. Taxila, Vallabhi, Nalanda, Vikram Sheel, Odantapuri, Jagaddala, Somapura are names of some of these universities found in ancient India. Taxila being the oldest was a confluence for Indian, Persian & Chinese civilisation. Freedom of speech and academic freedom were the core values practiced in these educational hubs. Admission based on mental ability and not on the financial ability attracted the most deserving students to these universities. Vallabhi was founded in 535 CE was first of it’s kind University founded by a Woman for Women in the whole world. Princes Dudda was the founder of Vallabhi. Wow! Isn’t it..
Professor Kapil Kapoor is a walking talking Encyclopedia of IKS. When he speaks you want to continue learning more and more and more… Hearing him made me feel that there is so little that I know about IKS. One lifetime seems very short to acquire even an iota of this knowledge. He defined the Indian knowledge tradition based on Oral communication as the most democratic culture of knowledge in the World. Because all that one requires to gain knowledge is ears and no other gadgets. And so knowledge is accessible to all. Creating knowledge by reflection- Smriti/memory, pryog/implementation, Vimarsha/dialogue. Unlike modern education as per IKS Knowledge is a condition of awareness- what we see, hear, touch, feel, taste etc and what happens inside our mind and heart. Indian civilisation is perpetually modern as human is in the centre and reasons are it’s means. India became modern ever since Rig Veda times. The Bharamic or the Vedic is a cafeteria approach to God. Unlike the Abrahmic culture which propound existence of one personal God.
Prof. Kapoor marked a basic difference that distinguishes IKS from other systems I.e. we do not value knowledge to gain power over others. We value knowledge to gain power over oneself. The three civilisational values of IKS are Saiyama/restrain, Niyama/ethics & Shraddha/reverence. Relationships and emotions are a part of education. Indian culture is a repairing culture we repair relations. And the western World has a lot to learn from this.
Another astonishing fact shared by prof. Kapil – 1833 survey for measuring literacy rate in India revealed that 97% of our population was literate. With two lakh fifty seven thousand schools countrywide and only 12% teachers being Bhramans. After the English Act of 1835 by Macaulay it dropped to 16% in 1882. Because English was made primary mode of learning. The mode of imparting knowledge was local languages before this. McCauley assassinated Indian languages. The act made India into two nations. Those who know English and those who don’t know. 90% don’t know and only 10% know. But those 10% are policy makers. It generated upward mobility in India. You get respect, jobs via English. It got value conflict where Young people built Ignorance and contempt for their own culture. Further it made the Indian mind derivative and colonised. And thus the key for reviving IKS would be to impart education in local language. The professor described richness in Indian languages as Amazonian. With 22 languages in schedule & 37 still in waiting. He drew attention on Andal, Guru Gobind singh, Meera bai, Kabir, Kalidas, Hala, Mirza Galib & others for their rich contributions in Indian lit.
To be continued..
Gratitude to Akhil Patel for capturing these precious moments for us. No one could have done it more intimately than this. 🙂
I started earning to make a living
I ended living to continue earning.
In the race for wealth I lost my health,
loved ones got ignored fame & money poured.
Flooded with riches felt like a king
sleep, smile, solace & friends went missing.
Indulged in substances picked up vices
good Karmas diminished was paying my prices.
Conscience pricked for making wrong choices.
Remained engrossed in other loud noises.
Trend setters, Stars, Celebrities,
was following road map of hyped entities.
Covid-19 spread got me house arrested,
a pandemic with which World is infested.
Was forced to slow down & confront reality,
life’s impermanence, by sudden fatalities.
“Wrong, I went terribly wrong somewhere...
the direction I opted led me nowhere..”
I repent for my sins, hoping it’s not late
a righteous journey is my only true fate.
I want to fix all that has broken
live life of truth to which I was woken.
May I always remember the lessons learnt
time’s precious, must never again get burnt
Living is my goal, earning is not.
Cherish thy journey, yes! the little is a lot.
Life on this planet is a rare gift
together let us protect, conserve & uplift it.
7th September 2020
Life is nothing but a mirage
Illusions all along, by & large.
Like a person in the desert hallucinates water out of thirst,
we in life fantasise those means which would fulfil our desires first.
Every step promises the goal is near
Every breath assures, yes, you can reach there!
The heart beats fast, the pulse goes high,
We strive hard, Our feet as though cry.
Off course we do not reach there,
no matter how hard we try.
Wind blows, obstructs our way
Sand’s hot, where to lay??
Helpless and burnt-out we finally pray.
The Illusion ends..
We settles down as there is no more rush.
No more desire, no hopes that can crush.
We are at peace, memories do not brush.
No fallacies now, just one truth,
Life is nothing but a mirage.
Vasudha Jhunjhunwala- written in the year 1998
A silent moment or an empty wall, need no accessories, they are complete in all.. From emptiness is fullness born, witnessed in infinite forms. Observe.. Become aware.. know that vacant spaces perform. Feelings ripple from heart to heart, bridges gaps between those apart. Intuitive thoughts manufacture art, these are all space’s craft. Fill yourself with the sound of silence, or gaze at sunset on the horizon. In moments of nothingness is deep relaxation, discover this magic in meditation. A silent moment or an empty wall, need no accessories, they are complete in all.. Inspired by Inshavasya Upanishad ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते । पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥