Gurukula Education

Gurukula Education

by Ac. Shambhushivananda Avt.


(Speech delivered on the occasion of the 75th birthday anniversary celebrations of Shrii P. R. Sarkar at Tej Pal Auditorium, Bombay, on September 14, 1996)
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Human civilization marches ahead, on the evolutionary path, either in gradual steps or through quantum jumps provided by discoveries and inventions born out of either intuitional flashes or leap-frogging intellectual endeavors begotten out of Cosmic Grace. And of course nature or cosmic prakriti always plays its invisible role of steering the evolutionary path in its pre-ordained manner. Whatever may be the speed, method or area of advancement, what the Cosmic Mind does directly is gradually taken over by unit-mind, in greater or lesser degrees.

Despite the advancements in quantum of information, knowledge and analytical abilities, we are still like infants trying to fathom the wisdom of the unseen power, to understand the unexplained regions of the seemingly limitless Mind and its concomitant brain and the physical world spectrum lying beyond the known bounds of relativity. At the crossroads of this world of ignorance lies our pathway for further human advancement. It indeed is the challenge of each generation to bridge this gap between the known and the unknown; between matter and abstract; between the crude, subtle and causal worlds. This work cannot be the prerogative of a few research institutes but must be shared by all human beings endowed with a searching mind. In this group effort of the human species lies the seeds of an emerging renaissance for a happier and a developing world. It is here that a reflection on our education principles, curriculum methodologies and reforms of all sorts can be immensely useful.

While on the one hand, we are the embodiments of the Cosmic Spirit capable of all that can be called Good and Divine, we are also, on the other hand, the creatures of eccentric force (avidya-shakti) that takes pride in snatching the rights of others and misutlizing the bounties of nature irresponsibly for personal gains. The dogmas faced by our present society are a constant threat which in the garb of pseudo-truths tend to lead the human beings astray on the path of exploitation, suppression, oppression and destruction of fellow beings and other species. It is unfortunate, but educational systems cannot deny responsibility for allowing this avidya-maya to play havoc on innocent beings. The greatest challenge for the educationist today is to empower the Good over Evil, Rationality over Dogma, Culture over Brute Force, Truth over Falsehood and Spirit over Matter.

We have been amazingly poor in the cultivation of moral values. The custodians and guardians of educational tradition have the first and foremost duty to revive the “Awakened Conscience” -the essential ingredient in liberating the human intellect from the shackles of geo-sentiments, socio-sentiments, metamorphosed sentimental strategies, vocal-revolutionaries, and intellectual extravaganza of pseudo-intellectuals. This is no easy task. It requires iron-will, indomitable courage, supreme surrender, fearlessness and flaming love for all animate and inanimate creatures. It is also a task which cannot be under-taken by only a few lone worshippers of the spirit. Rather, the entire community of educators must imbibe this ideological spirit and come to the rescue of faltering society. In the words of Shrii P. R. Sarkar, “without psycho-spiritual guidance, human beings tend toward exploitation and this exploitation can be more dangerous in the psychic level than in the physical level. In order to avoid physical subjugation or intellectual extravaganza, human beings require proper physical, mental and spiritual training.” Educators must come forward to provide such a training.

Ananda Marga Education System is an unhesitating step in this direction and Shrii P.R. Sarkar – the propounder of this Neo-Humanistic outlook felt and realized the urgent need for social transformations based on the cosmic-ideology. In order to implement his universal idea, he laid stress on cultivating the intellectual and moral standard of teachers, who like the rs’is and gurus of the past, must set an example before desiring and expecting the best from their pupils. Acharya literally means one who teaches by his/her character and conduct. All teachers must be acharyas and gurus in this spirit before being given the license to teach in our schools, colleges and universities. Shrii Sarkar took this very difficult task in his life time and even after his physical departure, Ananda Marga Gurukula has kept this priority to create a generation of teachers who would not only be vipras but sadvipras. Sadvipras, as the custodians of “awakened-conscience”, will keep the wheel of human society moving forward to progressively higher and higher levels of physical, mental and spiritual progress.

There is another concern in each age besides enriching the total wealth of this world and that is the rational and proper distribution of the fruits of collective labor. No achievements can be considered to be a strictly isolated affair. Our existence and growth is inextricably linked with the provision of myriad of other things. Diversity is the law of nature and Equality can never be. The seeds of human progress and advancement are hidden in bridging the gaps that keep one heart separated from another. In this task also, we are like infants and there is a vast potential for educators to improve and nurture the ways of reducing disparities in all walks of life while preserving the diversities in all strata of existence. ‘Diversities’ add to the beauty of this creation while disparities mar the joy of collective existence.

As long as the educational degrees remain only a passport for landing a job irrespective of their meaningfulness for society, there can be no true human advancement. Commercialization of education must not be allowed to extinguish the flame of the moral and spiritual purpose of human beings on this earth. In these days of unbridled materialism and competition, we need to remind ourselves that no structure can survive for long without nurturing its centripetal elements. Socio-spiritual consciousness is the essential ingredient for ensuring ‘prama’. i.e., balance in all spheres of life. Here again, the role of education is foremost. Our educational policies, curricula and methodologies must reflect this concern. Shrii Sarkar anticipated the impending crisis of human civilization and spearheaded a global movement for educational reform on these principles of Neo-humanism. In his view, “Educated in one who has learnt much, remembered much and made use of it in practical life”. He reminded us that “Self knowledge is the real knowledge” and a “happy blending of occidental extrovertial science and oriental introvertial philosophy” are the foundations of the Gurukula system of education. Unlike Rudyard Kipling who observed that “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”, Ananda Marga Education believes in one universal society with one ideology and one cosmic goal. In order to establish such a universal society, a balanced emphasis on both para and apara vidya (spiritual and mundane knowledge) is essential from early childhood. The happy synthesis between subjective approach and objective adjustment are the hallmarks of ideal living and a progressive society. It is abundantly clear now that no country can progress harmoniously with only one sided development.

Ananda Marga Education proposes a deepening of Deep Ecology by suggesting the cultivation of an ecology of body (internal physical) and the ecology of culture (external psychic) with the ecology of nature (external physical). By nourishing all levels of consciousness ranging from densest to the subtlest, Ananda Marga points to a paradigm shift in human thinking and a return to ancient tantric teaching of “sa’ vidya’ ya’ vimuktaya. i.e. knowledge is for all round liberation. Ananda Marga’s neo-humanist education provides that rare blend to turn dull and dry learning into learning with ecstasy in order to reclaim the human condition. It is not a mere “old drink in a new bottle but a culmination of a long yearning and the endeavors of earlier educational thinkers to establish a world free from the clutches of dogmas, superstitions, exploitations, and based on the solid foundations of cardinal human values, satyam (truth), shivam ( consciousness) and sundaram (beauty).

To conclude, the two main tasks facing the educational community today are:

1. To bridge the widening ‘knowledge gap’ between countries and people and

2. To cultivate and utilize the ‘quest for excellence’ in order to develop the human personality for its own sake, to serve the unique purposes of a particular culture in harmony with its prana dharma (elan vital), to contribute to a global culture of peace and mutual understanding and to enhance the ‘collective joy’ of all species by learning to dance to the cosmic will.

Thus, education is not an end in itself but a means for a fuller life. The objective of an education system should be to serve humanity with a neo-humanistic spirit and to acquire knowledge for that purpose. Towards this end, the teachers of today must regain their sacred status as preceptors of human society. To do so, they must possess such qualities as strength of character, righteousness, sense of social service, unselfishness, an inspiring personality and leadership abilities. Just as the position of teachers is very important, the standard of their proficiency must also be of a very high order. The future of human civilization greatly depends on such acharyas and towards this end, Shrii Sarkar has left an indelible imprint on the sands of time and is likely to remain a fountain of inspiration for all times to come.

A final word of caution. No learning takes place without effort on the part of the teacher and the taught. The external teachers, can only be the catalysts – an important aid to enkindle the inner teacher, the inner guru that lies coverted within our ‘I’ feeling. Hence, without spiritual sadhana, no self realization is possible and the path of sadhana cannot be followed unless one adheres to the moral codes of conduct. Any attempt to move on the path of vidya (divinity) is bound to arouse the avidya-shakti which asserts itself in the form of obstacles. These obstacles are the sign posts of progress and should not be allowed to thwart the forward movement. Therefore even in the reform and redesign of the educational systems, we must shrug the comfort of adhering to the status quo. The antithesis of today simmers to forge out the thesis of tomorrow culminating in the final synthesis of the future. The well wishers of humanity must herald the advent of such ideas which now lie at the periphery but seek to glorify and engolden the future. Let us all unitedly fetch that auspicious day closer and closer when we can sing in one chorus:

Samgacchadvam samvadadhvam samvomanansi janatam

Devabhagam yathapurve samjanana upasate

Samanii va akuti samana hrdayanivah

Samanamastu vo mano, yatha vah susahasati

“Let us move together, let us let us sing together, let us come to know our minds together. Let us share, like sages of the past, that all people together may enjoy the universe. Unite our intention, let our hearts be inseparable, our mind is as one mind, as we to truly know one another become one.”

How pertinent is this 10,000 years old sloka from the Rg Veda. Let us awaken to a new age, the age of spiritual awakening, where our buddhi (intellect) is guided by bodhi (intuition) and we are not slaves to the senses but can exercise the freedom of thoughts and expression for benevolence, for the good and happiness of all creatures including the mute plants, birds, animals and the so called inanimate creation. In this unending endeavor to express our love for one another lies the fulfillment of our education attainments. It is the summum bonum of all human endeavors., It is the final yardstick the touch stone of our every action, howsoever, tiny or big, it may be.

A Causal Matrix of Cardinal Human Values

 

 

CORE VALUES INNER OUTER RESULTANT EXPRESSION
Self Knowledge Devotion Service Discipline
Sense of Aesthetics Mysticism Beauty Unity in Diversity
Rationality Wisdom Justice System
Dynamicity Missionary zeal Prosperity Speed
Balance (Prama) Inner peace Eco balance Surrender

“Sá vidyá yá vimuktaye - Education is that which liberates”