An article from the book ‘Your Child is Your Parent’ by Manoj J Lekhi (Amrut Vivek).
The dictionary meaning of education is ‘to know and to impart’, but ‘to know what?’ is a question we must ask ourselves. Does our education system really teach us to go beyond the routine? Does it really prepare us to face the challenges of the world?
As per our ancient scriptures, education is of two kinds: education of the outside world and education of the inside world. Education of the outside world is called avidya and that of the inside world is vidya.
Avidya includes all that is normally taught in every school, subjects like physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, geography, history etc. These subjects basically help us to understand how the world works outside, such as why the tree is green, why the sky is the way it is, why we have low tides and high tides, how it is that birds can fly etc. In short, this education of the outside world merely helps to understand the mechanics of nature.
Efforts at understanding nature through the processes of science are called avidya. Normally, schools focus on this kind of learning, that is, avidya, and miss out on a very important aspect of learning, that of the ‘inner being’.
This knowledge of the world within us and how it works is called vidya. There are many questions within us: why we are happy when we are happy, why we are angry when we are angry, etc. This ‘why’ of the inside world is called vidya.
Vidya means creating an environment within us to enable us to absorb avidya. As we all know, we have an infinite capacity to absorb information. Vidya creates that space within, through the process of samadhi (taught in SSY), which will allow our child to absorb infinite information from the outside world.
This can happen through a continuous cleansing of the inside mind. Both these forms of education must go hand in hand: taking in information, registering it inside, storing it in the subconscious, cleaning the blackboard (i.e., the mind) and then taking in more information and repeating the process time and again, all the time.
Let us take sea as an example. Suppose we pour one glass of pure water into the sea, followed by more and more glasses of pure water; all of it becomes one with the sea. This outside glass of water is avidya — the knowledge of how the world works.
The sea represents us, and as we go on taking in knowledge, the two merge; but we can absorb it only if we are clear; our mind should be clear and ready to receive. This is facilitated by vidya.
As my master says, “There are five fundamentals education we need to give to the child”:
- a) The first one is SILENCE. How to be calm and peaceful no matter what the situation is.
- b) The second is how to make a lot of friends or how to LOVE EVERYONE AROUND.
- c) The third is the SCIENCE OF ENTREPRENEUR-SHIP: How to develop leadership qualities and make oneself useful wherever one is. This is where academics comes in.
- d) The fourth is DEVELOPING THE EYE FOR APPRECIATING BEAUTY; to be one hundred percent committed to whatever one is doing and, also, adding beauty to the environment. This is where the arts, music, theatre etc. come in.
- e) The last is ACTS OF SERVICE; doing service even down to the last person in the world. The kind of service (seva) done by Mother Teresa or Baba Amte is a great example for the same.
Vidya, or inner education, can be further divided into five:
physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual.
Physical development relates to three areas of development, namely, mobility, motor and balance.
There are several techniques to develop the child physically from day one of infancy, in fact, from the time it is in the mother’s womb.
Mental development means development of both sides of the brain, the left and the right, which means the development of both communicative and analytical capabilities of a child. It means developing the child’s intellect so that he can have the wisdom to choose right from wrong.
Social development constitutes making the child suitable for societal life. We all want our child to be disciplined, but how to discipline the child naturally forms the joy of parenting. We don’t need to shout at the child or give him a glaring look; all we need is love and patience, and a knack of dealing with the child. For this, we need to understand the psychology of the child. This joy of parenting has been amply elaborated elsewhere in this book.
Emotional development means allowing the child to express himself totally and fully. We are so used to suppressing our emotions all the time, so much so that a man does not shed tears lest it be taken as a sign of weakness. This is a wrong notion. All the nine rasas, namely Veera, Bibhatsa, Bhayanak, Karuna, Raudra, Adbhuta, Shringara, Shantam and Haasya, are important in our lives. They need to be expressed totally. Only when they are expressed totally do we, as human beings, feel complete. This is called emotional development, which has been detailed in one of the chapters of this book.
Spiritual education teaches a child to delve within himself and to find happiness within and not without (outside). If I am happy ‘doing’ things, then I am an evolved person. If I am ‘seeking happiness to do things’, then I will be forever ‘wanting’ in life. Being happy for no particular reason, being happy because it is my very nature to be happy is what makes for spiritual evolvement and spiritual education.
My master says: ‘Education is that which makes life more and more effortless and more and more joyful day by day.’ And I fully agree with that! Life is about enjoying the gift of life. If you can’t enjoy life, what are you living for? So, more than anything else, schools should teach our children the methodologies to make life more and more joyful and effortless.