Education for Character Building

Narendra Raj Purohit Seema is making efforts to introduce Neohumanist Education values to teachers, lecturers, professors, youth and students, in Maharastra, India. Various lectures and elocution competitions have been organized in medical, engineering, management, B.Ed., and D. Ed colleges. The following is a sample talk.

A talk in Maharastra, India
by Narendra Raj Purohit

We send our children to allied schools, colleges and top universities to make them doctors, engineers, management consultants, civil service officers, celebrities etc., rather than educating them in true sense of the word—all in the name of pragmatism.

Students finish their education and join different fields and exploit the masses. They simply forget that they are appointed to take care of society. The Meaning of the Vedic verse “Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye”, “Education is that which Liberates”, has been lost in a frantic search for wealth and glory. Intellectual knowledge has become the hallmark, at the cost of values, ethics, character building and spiritual fulfillment.

The five minimum physical requirements of all human beings are food, shelter, clothing, medical care and education. Of these, education is the most important factor in furthering the future of society. There is a psychic need to know more and more, and this is called ‘mental expansion’. Education should link the physical and psychic need of learners with the spiritual need for happiness that will take them to the stage of all-round liberation.

Some developed countries have realized the shortcoming of their education systems and are trying hard to turn them around with the help of ethics and cultural education. However, their efforts are hindered by the dominance of consumerism in society. Education becomes focused on making more money and, as a result, it on the advancement of knowledge as means to get a good job in the competitive world for making more and more money. Consumerism leads to “átma-sukha tattva”, or the principle of self gratification where a ‘me and mine’ psychology prevails. The current education system works on a model of the Individual as a Singular Entity pitted against the Forces of the Universe. Competition and the need to dominate and control are the hallmarks of this system. The psychology of the ‘individual against the world’ is cultivated, making students feel that they are on their own to face the world. The more they can grab from it, the more successful they feel. True education rejects this raison d’etre for humanity. Real education teaches Universal Brotherhood which is the Principle of Equality of All Living Beings: “Sama Samaj Tattva”. When Universalist psychology prevails, there is no chance of exploitation and accumulation of resources.

Due to the present education system, values are diminishing in society. What are values? Values are positive qualities that refine our behaviour and expression. There cannot be a negative or bad value. The lack of values is commonly known as bad values. Values take birth in the womb of conscience. Shri P.R. Sarkar has dfined conscience as, “Conscience is that kind of deliberation where there is conscious endeavour to decide in favour of benevolence (welfare of all), when confronted with the two opposite ideas of benevolence and malevolence.” Shri Sarkar has also given the real meaning of education: “The real meaning of education is trilateral development – simultaneous development in the physical, mental and spiritual realms of human existence. This development should enhance the integration of the human personality. By this, dormant human potentialities will be awakened and put to proper use. Educated are those who have learnt much, remembered much and made use of their learning in practical life..”

The primary goal of education is to awaken the dormant potentialities of the human mind. In order to do that, it must integrate the three aspects of human personality— physical, mental and spiritual— and goad them towards perfection in all realms of existence. There has to be a balance between individual needs and the needs of the society.

Science fundamentally answers the question, “Is it true?” This search of truth prevails against dogma that creeps into existing knowledge in the form of various ‘-isms’ that destroy the chance for mental expansion as well as the thirst of the student for knowledge.

“No ism except universalism can be allowed in the educational system. The thirst for knowledge will have to be awakened among students, and reverence, devotion, orderliness and discipline will have to be taught as well. Along with this, a scientific outlook will have to be inculcated.” – Shri P. R.Sarkar

Education must liberate the infinite learning potential that is bound up in our minds by expanding our understanding of our own potential. Spirituality, creativity and love are at the centre of this new force. We must feel part of a universal family engaged in a universal enterprise. We should seek to affirm our kinship through service to the universe.

Students should be educated with love and care. When this love and care for all living beings is instilled in them, it will sweeten whatever they do in this world and will create universalism in them. This Universalism in education is called Neohumanism, hence the name Neohumanist Education. ‘Neohumanism’ means love and care for not only human beings, but all living beings. Neohumanism is the spirit of benevolence.

Talk at Engineering College at Pandharpur Dist Solapur, attended by more than 500 hundred students & teachers.