Indian Knowledge Systems (part-1)

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.

University locations in India

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..

Published by vasuaol

Ms. Vasudha Jhunjhunwala holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. She is associated with the Art of Living since year 2000. Born and brought up in a pink city Jaipur, Rajasthan she currently resides in Amchi Mumbai with her family. For nearly a decade, Vasudha has inspired more than 10,000 youths with her teachings and social work. She has undertaken various projects and has been an instrument of change for its success. Juggling between home and work, in her spare time Vasudha likes to paint, write poems, learn music and play badminton. She is a Social Worker, Entrepreneur, State Coordinator of The Art of Living, Student of Sanskrit & Classical Music, Writer, Homemaker, Mother, Meditation Teacher, Public Speaker, Recipient of CSO-2014 award by Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam and has travelled in 30 Countries. She is a quintessential deshbhakt. It is difficult to match her youthful Energy. Vasudha is extremely passionate about her initiatives. One of the most successful projects lead by her was the ‘Vote For a Better India’ - A campaign that facilitated the voter registration process and lead to 5 lakh citizens new voter registration across India in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. Bringing more awareness to the people in the community she began the initiative ‘Mind your Vehicle’ - A project to sensitize citizens towards traffic discipline with 2000 volunteers in Mumbai. The project saw good media coverage. She was also the founding member of ‘Save Aarey’ project. In this project more than 300 volunteers cleared 5-truck loads of garbage from Aarey colony. With an aim to instill a sense of responsibility and nationalism among the youth, she has spearheaded several initiatives that included women’s safety drives, blood donation drives, cleanliness drives at railway stations and sea-shores, health and hygiene awareness camps and others. Often people ask her what made her belief so strong to walk the spiritual path. She affirms that, “just like the light house guides the ship through darkness of night, our conscience guides us through decisions of life. For a smooth sail, just listen to it!” The drought in Maharashtra had led to an increasing number of farmer suicides and Vasudha decided to contribute towards River Rejuvenation Project in the state. She along with her team revived around 22kms of Manjara river. The river Manjara rejuvenation in Latur District benefited 5 lakh villagers in its vicinity. Vasudha was also a part of the Solar Lamp Project. She was the catalyst in the distribution of solar lamps to flood-hit villagers in Orissa during Fani. Her courage and valour gives her the skill to bring out the right perspective in every project she undertakes. Worry or Uncertainty are not words she rhymes with, Vasudha believes that’s Spiritual knowledge shields the flame of life from the winds of uncertainties. Vasudha is currently working on Project Pavitra. Since its inception this year, the project has imparted menstrual hygiene education to more than 2000 young girls in BMC schools and it aims to reach out to many more. She is also the founding member of SORT Club - Student's organization for Reform and Transformation. The club is now operational in 10 colleges in Mumbai. The project aims to remove the menace of substance abuse from the colleges of India. Vasudha is also working on a Happy Neighbourhood Project. The project aims to establish Happiness centers in societies to make societies stress-free. If you meet her once, you would know that she has a very charming, intuitive, and jovial personality, her ideas and thoughts are ahead of it’s time. Her ability to perceive something new and unique in every individual is what draws people to her company. She gives a very comfortable and cool vibe something young students connect to and find easy to talk and open up to her about their problems. Make impossible, possible is her mantra. Her sessions are filled with grit, humor, inspiration, and some awespiring wisdom. People feel rejuvenated, energetic, experience clarity of thoughts, immense love in their hearts after attending her Mind and Breathe Workshops. Mysteries of life intrigues her and even though she has traveled in 30 countries she found her best place within. She, by herself is a ‘Happiness Express’ moving swiftly on the spiritual path.

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