Can Modern Education be called Wholesome?

Education is just not about making us economically independent but in shaping us become better individuals with strong character. We sure are acquiring skills to make advanced machines which are fetching us more money but living without a moral code.

A recent research of the NCRB report reveals that 81% of literate committed suicide compared to 19% of illiterate people. What good is our education when most educated end their lives in a bitter way?

If we question what has education bestowed us with, we might really not have an answer.

  • Has it made us a sensible person?
  • Did it give us the flexibility to manoeuvre comfortably in a stressful phase?
  • Had it made us powerful enough to control our emotions?
  • Did it make us passionate about driving the change we would like to see in the society?
  • Had it contributed to strengthening our resolve?

What can we expect from our youngsters with such education system? Look how ugly the JNU controversy is shaping our Nations image to the World. Our youngsters unsure how to identify good leaders and who to follow. The schools and colleges which were to impart knowledge and sharpen our faculties in making better decisions are just doing the opposite.

Modern education has become the breeding grounds to spread hatred. We are on the path to self-negation and every expression of our self-expansion is repressed. Until the system changes, we cannot hope to create good leaders. Let us hope and keep faith in our system to realise the drawbacks and bring back the education we once had.

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Being in the Company of Good is a Concomitant of growing Wise

Wise Sayings:

We can choose to be in the company of Adhama(Inferior), Madhyama(Intermediary) or Uthama(Superior). Our personality will reflect the company we keep.

Even at organizational level, potential successors for critical jobs are mentored and monitored closely by nobody less than the CEO. If you have to be like them, you got to think like them- is the objective of a good succession planning

Likewise,if we wish to live above the mediocrity then we need to seek Uthama Sanga. How do we do it? Seekers of such, needs to develop Satsangam. The power of Discrimination and the Freedom from Delusion only comes with Satsangam.

Sat–Truth   Sangam–Union

See how beautifully has Shakaracharya exalted the value of this association in his Bhajagovindam! (See the diagram below) 

 

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Satsangatvey Nissangatvam; Nissangatvey Nirmohatvam; Nirmohatvey Nischalatatvam; Nischalatatvey Jivanmukti  

Our intellect would evolve further upon reflections and interactions with the wise. Also, we would start living like a Karma Yogi, the merits earned by living such a life will remove any possible roadblocks to the Ultimate.

Bhagavad  Gita says the same in Chapter 10, Shlk 10

Karma yogi, who performs his/her work with Love, not only be Intellect evolved but also progresses on the path of self-realization to the Ultimate.

Prayer

Tvam adi-devah purusah puranas
Tvam asya visvasya param nidhanam
Vettasi vedyam ca param ca dhama
Tvaya tatam visvam ananta-rupa

                                                                                            Gita, chapter 11, shl 38

You are the original Personality, the Godhead. You are the only sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You know everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You………

A Mindful Journey

Human weakness starts with the thought involving our incapacity in changing ourselves. The thought that ‘Nothing is in my hands. I cannot do it’ stops us from even trying.

But if we look into Gita, it states that everything is in our hands. Gita says: uddharet atmana atmanam na atmanam avasadayet.

Only and only we can change our future. If we are incapacitated and unable to make a future then we wouldn’t be allowed to choose our actions.

Bhagavad Gita in chapter 6, shl 26 says:

yato yato niscalati
             manas cancalam asthiram
       tatas tato niyamyaitad
          atmany eva vasam nayet

Suppression isn’t what we are referring. The more we suppress our thoughts, the more strength they gain. Keeping the thoughts to the present is what we have to do. As soon as you watch the thought building up, either to the past or to the future, slowly bring it to the present. Keep it there.

Instead of looking at ways to be mindful, we are breeding the weakness by giving in to our senses. We all know belief structures determine our behaviours. They are formed through repetitions and reinforcements. And, Behaviours become more automatic with repetitions.

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To break that we need to teach ourself to replace an old response with a new response. Let that new response be ‘Mindfulness’. The objective is to change behaviours. Though beliefs are hidden, they will eventually change. Repeatedly practising will turn that to a habit. A habit which will do us good.

So, next time, when the mind takes you on a mindless tour. No matter how nice it feels at times, do not embark that journey. Do not entertain it. Consciously withdraw from that. You may have to do that repeatedly many times till it starts to live in the Here and Now. Being Mindful will only allow us to plan for our future with what we have in the present. It will not allow us to be tangled in those fantasies that are far fetched and loom in the disappointments.

In my last blog entry, I was pointing in to what Bhagavat Gitas’ daivic qualities are. It will be easy to inculcate those with mindfulness. Clearing the clutter will make room for more meaningful ones. Because mindfulness is all about acceptance, appreciation and gratitude towards oneself and life in general.

Remember there is nobody to take responsibility for our actions. The same ONE who has acted has to live the consequences of his actions. Now actions can be through our thoughts, speech or deed ( mano-vak-kaya karma).

We have a choice to live a happy or a hopeless life. The choice is ours. If we succeed to break free from the shackles of our weaknesses, we will LIVE else will just Exist.

 

 

 

 

 

Let our Life Preach what our Lips can’t

On my train journey to Chennai, I happened to listen in to the conversations of two boys and their fathers. We shared the same compartment. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. I do not enjoy listening in to others conversation, but it was too loud and I couldn’t but be a witness to the drama that unfolded.

In both the parties, one seemed to be quieter than the other. One spoke, spoke and spoke, the other would reply only if he found sensible else nodded and smiled. Nonverbal communication can save our energy and face from many such conversations and people alike, don’t they? The father who wasn’t talking much, his boy was his replica. He was quiet and did not interrupt when the other person spoke. We think kids aren’t noticing but they are and they learn from us.

Interesting thing that I noticed is all the four were talking about what they have and where others stand. Drawing comparisons and critical at judging others. Kids were flaunting and bragging about the toys and looking for faults at what the other had. Men did the same but the discussion surrounded around their jobs and looking down at others who were either doing bad or better.

Walt Whitman once said “This world is big enough for both the talkative and the un-talkative; for both the complainers and the non-complainers.” He is right. Many of us fall under the category of complainers. Men or women, we all do the same. Judging others is an easy exercise and again how do we judge people, on our perceptions. We look down equally upon people who are doing well compared to us or vice versa. What makes us unhappy? Is somebody’s success bringing us unhappiness? Is our happiness dependent upon others success or failures? And, What are we preaching our kids when we exhibit such behavior?

Did your kid ever walk-in to you complaining about something that he didn’t have or how bad he felt when he lost to his friend? Do you remember what you said to your kid? Many of us would have asked our kids to take it easy and be grateful with what they had in life. Even go a step further, and point on to the underprivileged ones who can’t even afford one square meal. Oh, my dad has done that many a times when I was growing up.

I wonder what stops us from applying the same principle in our lives as adults. What we preach and expect our kids to apply in his life doesn’t seem to work for us. Why? Are our problems real than theirs? Are ours more important than theirs? Please think. As kids we felt our problems were as real as our parents. We felt unhappy and dejected when they gave a deaf ear to our problems. For some, it might have shaped their life differently from the happy kids they were.

There is a lot of research around people who have selflessly given themselves to society and to those who have brought the society down. Psychologists have identified root cause of both these to their upbringing. Deep rooted emotions without a vent, suppressed which turned them to criminals that society had to pay a big price for. The same for the ones who were altruists.

Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 16, shl 6 and 7 tells us that men (human beings) are of two types. One who are of Daivah gunam(divine) and others of Asura gunam(demonic). Gita describes those who are of Asura gunam as the ones who do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper conduct nor Truth is said to be found in them. We have been given a choice to choose between these.

If I may say, we are the role models to our children while growing up. If they do not see us act upon our preachings. They will never inculcate it into their lives. We have to reflect the good things that we want our kids to learn in our lives first. Then we don’t have to even remind them, they will not only learn from us but also spread those good things to whoever they come across.

Fortunately we are in midst of a paradigm shift, parents are now paying more attention than ever. We should focus more in building at least a few from the below Daivah gunams. I mean, instead of ruminating over and over our past and future , that time can be spent in freeing our mind of those Asuric qualities. When you slowly free the mind of those negativity then it will be ready to imbibe those daivic ones(Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15, shl 1,2,3).

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we can live a positive life only with a positive mind. And, let our kids learn from our positive outlook towards life. Truly, then our lives will speak louder than our words.

How to make STRESS your FRIEND – By Kelly McGonigal

Yad bhavam Tad Bhavati..As you think, so you become is what our Scriptures Proclaim. By doing so, we can now befriend our worst enemy, STRESS.

Kelly McGonigal, Health psychologist in her Ted Talk has enough evidences to prove the same. Just by looking at stress as our friend can reverse its adverse effects on our body.

Enjoy the talk!

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

Shiva living the life of Shava

Morning walk not only rejuvenates my body and prepares it for the day but also a good time to contemplate on the fugacious nature of life. On the way back home today, I crossed a Shiva Temple with Morning prayers filling the air. An amalgamation of sounds: of Counch shell, temple bells and drums. Chanting do have the power to break us free from thoughts. We have to experience it to understand :))

Did you ever mull over the significance of prayers. Be it any religion, prayers are made indispensable. What do they signify? Do they have any importance in shaping our lives? Have heard a lot of people say that, they are trying to awaken or put God to sleep through prayers. Where is this God? Is the God within or without us?

What are we instructed to do? Are we to awaken the GOD within or the idol at the place of worship? Bhagavad Gita says the body is the Kshetram and kshetrajna, the Jiva is inside this Kshetram.  This is to remind us of the Shiva who is living the life of a Shava. These are to prepare us to face the Shakti, which is the Prakriti. We identify not to the Shiva but unfortunately to Shava that Shiva is in.

While the Mother, Shakti bombards us with sensuous things throughout the day. Only Shiva within this body can face her to retract her energy in developing the wisdom. Shakti without Shiva is nothing but cognitive dissonance. But we are living as Shava and aren’t sentinel to our thoughts. Thereby involving with the thought and becoming the thought itself.

Those who came before us understood this quite well. So, they devised these prayers and taught us to chant. The combination of sound waves of a particular frequency is said to enliven the Intellect. You may ask, when shall we stop. They ask us to continue:

  • Till we delve into the meaning of these prayers.
  • Till we start interacting with the world as Shiva.
  • Till we find a meaning to our lives.

I was reading an article named, ‘Abnormal is the new normal’. We tend to live an abnormal life because we do not have the knowledge of living a normal one. We have to question the necessity to move from the conditioned state that we are in?

Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharyas Bhaja Govindam takes us through the journey of a conditioned mind. Okay, why don’t we list a few drawbacks to our identification with the body/Mind?

  • Our bodies are never perfect. We might learn to live with our imperfections but there is a lot of evidence around that shows that we strive for perfection. Statista claims the revenue of the U.S. cosmetic industry is estimated to go up to 62.46 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, is one such example.
  • Old age will draw us of the energy that we have but the mind will still crave for pleasures.
  • Fear of death, losing power, possessions and people around is something we dread each day.
  • Lack of control over the minds makes us vulnerable to uncertainties.
  • Our endless pursuit to seeking happiness from things which we have no control on.

The wisdom of former generation is incomparable. They are communicating to us through these rituals. Let us not pollute it and rob the spirit. They are trying to awaken our spiritual consciousness and reminding us to disown the body consciousness. Become the Shiva which Shivoham (Shiva Aham) is referring to. Whenever we wake up to the world of stimuli, our real identity should be established. And any such interactions will always be fruitful and selfless. We shall then be a True Altruist.