Human beings are blessed with an appropriately measured lifespan. It is long enough to beckon them on a journey of important tasks and yet short enough to make them feel the claws of time knocking on the door to obliterate their legends and bury them underneath it’s folds. Throughout mankind’s inception men have toiled with their best efforts to break the extricate matrix of nature’s harmonies. Although they have succeeded less and less in breaking open this shell of universe’s codes but we have rubbed the surface and scratched a fair amount of dirt and that dirt or knowledge is all the experience of mankind, being passed down the generations as ‘education’. One has to be always amazed at the way things finally unfold, like how the concept of education unfolded just now. Human beings used to be deep, sentient and sensible organisms, but off late they have become too shallow. For the new generation, even too little is too much and nobody really cares what a good education looks like. The purpose indeed was to wipe the mirror clean and through our cleansed hearts see through ourselves and rise up and become more than just a single person or identity but rather be a survivor and a human above all. With great sadness my heart bleeds as humanity loses its way. The plan was to have a flag for Earth and look to the universe with positive eyes but we are too cropped up in our own differences.
Amidst all this chaos enters the idea of ‘education’ that holds the promise to grow up beyond our little differences and look at the universe with eyes that want to learn and keep learning. Unveiling the secrets of universe has been the sole aim of education all along. We began with something crude and proto but as we have learnt to collect our knowledge and combine it comprehensively for the future generations, we have consistently expanded our knowledge base and the future holds an ostium to the complete understanding of self which is the ultimate aim of education.
Education is not just imparting of information and facts. It is also not just the dissemination of truths studied under great toil by the gifted minds. Education is but in fact the philosophy of living one’s life. It is the sensible experience that trains you to think logically and work in synchronisation and harmony with the natural and artificial systems already in place in the surroundings. More important than the degrees and diplomas is the message hidden between the long years of the educational process. The Vedic system, of education aims at not simply learning the answers but asking of the right questions by the student. While one is getting educated one learns to live their life by their experiences. The same force of education is at work when one person goes on to change the world by his words and his brother by performing miracles of science. Most people take their education wherever they go. It is true that it is the only wealth which once acquired can never be stolen from you.
The Vedanta philosophy establishes education as a process of revealing what is hidden inside the student and not stuffing the pupil with a fixed syllabus and sealing them up. Like the famous educator and journalist Sydney J. Harris explained in his quote, “The whole process of education is to turn mirrors into windows”, education is a two way process. If only we change the mirrors into windows, we would be able to look beyond our limited vision and take great leaps for the mankind, first in our vision and then in action. This perception falls in line with the principles of Vedic philosophy of education whose very essence is the concentration of mind to fluctuate at each and every moment. It is the recipe to control our minds to concentrate at our will. It is a long discipline that teaches us to harmonise our minds and bodies with nature. If we sit around in a room with just mirrors we are like a frog at the bottom of a well. We soon begin to think that the well is our world but if we open the windows there is a lot that lies unexplored even beyond the farthest horizon.
It is understood that only knowledge does not make one an educated person. It is the building up of character, forming of a personality, learning to communicate and express on the way. Most people think of students as empty sausage casings to be filled with education but genuine education is not inserting or stuffing knowledge into a child’s brain but rather eliciting and obtaining knowledge from him; according to the great philosopher Socrates, education is the drawing out of what is in the mind. The whole experience of education today is studying without learning. This misunderstanding of concepts can destroy generations of useful intelligence.
Students are more like oysters and less like sausage casings. The purpose of teaching is not to fill them with stuff and seal them up, rather it is to open and reveal the treasures and riches that lie within. There are diamonds and pearls hidden within each one of us, if only we learn to cultivate them with hard work and patience and that should be the purpose of education.