14 December, 2011

Vedic Concept of Education

Radhakrishnan. C

The words of Vedas originated from man’s own nature. So they are eternal inspirations.

According to the Vedic concept an educator should have faith in the inherent potentialities of each and every student.”Though all men have the same eye and ears, yet they are unequal in their intellectual capacities”. Accordingly, an education system or school should be able to cater for the multiple intelligent skills of all the students. For that we have to find highly motivated educators who are lifelong learners.

An ideal Vedic style of school should cultivate an environment of love, care and independent thinking. This will help the students to have a burning desire for learning, generating ideas and ultimately, for innovation. In such schools the educators egoism does not reject or discourage a student’s opinion. In turn, the view points of students can stimulate new thoughts and ideas even among educators. Hence this ideal teaching learning process is beneficial for both the educator and the learner.

Regular study is of great importance in the process of continuous learning. However, one must be cautious about the choice of books. “He who studies books of divine knowledge, books that purify all beings, books that have been preserved by the enlightened sages and seers, enjoys celestial bliss, attains purity and piety”. We have to inculcate a varied reading habit among the students right from the primary stage. Throughout history, especially after the origin of writing and printing, reading has become the key factor in the learning process.

I recollect the saying, “Man is made by what he thinks”. As per the Vedas, true education is to develop a pure mind, to cultivate virtues and to entertain good wishes for all beings, as is evident from the following mantras: “This mind of mine, which travels afar, the light of lights, which wonders to far off places whether I am asleep or awake, may it resolve to do what is good and pure”.

‘O Agni, lead our minds on virtuous paths”.

The very essence of education is concentration of the mind. When one tries to acquire knowledge, the mind, being constantly fluctuant, cannot focus on it fully. Thus the knowledge acquired is superficial. Hence it’s essential for us to train our students to concentrate their minds, and then the knowledge acquired by them will be comprehensive. The Vedas say:

“The mind has gone far away to all that occurred in the past and will occur in the future. We call it back to thyself so that it may remain long under thy control”

However, purification and concentration of the mind are not merely for acquiring objective knowledge, but for subjective knowledge too so that he may realize his immortal spiritual nature. True education should motivate us to comprehend that life is a great and deep adventure, offering us continued and unlimited opportunities to open ourselves more and more fully to that infinite immortal reality of which we form an integral part. Vedas urge us to pray for illumination so that instead of groping in darkness, we may proceed towards light:

“Dispel horrid darkness from within; remove all vicious thoughts and enkindle the light we long for”

“Lead us from untruth, from darkness to light; from death to immortality”.

In essence, the right kind of education should touch and hone all the three aspects of an individual, i.e. body, mind and intellect.

For your success and glory!

Read, Learn and Flourish!