"After our youngest son had seen Star Wars for the twelfth or thirteenth time, I said, "Why do you go so often?" He said, "For the same reason you have been reading the Old Testament all of your life." He was in a new world of myth." Bill Moyers, interview with Joseph Campbell












































































VEDANTA KESARICulture and Values in Education | M. Barik  










               M. Barik

     NOBODY CAN BLINK the paramount need and importance of culture and values in the field of education, even as we witness a serious erosion in values in society. The faulty system of education has failed to inculcate moral and spiritual values. Many have lost their moorings because of this. Anarchy and chaos loom large upon the world followed by senseless violence. The finer qualities like childlike simplicity, innocence and truthfulness have become rare.



     The Reasons



     The electronic media, mainly television, has a major role in eroding the value system. A craze for new life-styles and fashions has been another contributing factor. Student indiscipline can also be attributed to their frustration resulting from unemployment, corruption and nepotism involved in the process of admission to various schools and colleges and in the selection of candidates for various posts.



     Impact of Science and Technology



     There has been a tremendous revolution in the field of science and nuclear technology. The fast progress in information technology has had a negative fallout due to its abuse. Modern man is mad after garnering information. There is an explosion of information-related skills and new frontiers of knowledge are still being explored for sense gratification. There is a rat race for money-making by any means, fair or foul.

     Thus modern Science, Technology and information have silently mechanized our lives. Though it has taken giant strides in furthering our standard of living, it has failed miserably in enriching this knowledge by synthesizing it into wisdom. Instead of mothering our human values, it has smothered them. In the epoch-making words of T.S. Eliot:

     "Where is the knowledge? It is lost in information. Where is the wisdom? It is lost in knowledge. Where is the life? It is lost in living".

     Material progress cannot be the sole aim of life. Man's sublime quest should be for his spiritual and moral perfection. The perverted form of civilization has atrophied our spiritual and moral values and robbed us of our inner peace, happiness and harmony. According to John Ruskin, "The greatest wealth of a nation is the happiness of its people." Gandhiji also espoused an identical view when he said, "Man's greatest endeavour should be purification of the soul and establishment of fraternity of the noblest aspects of morality and ethics." But we deem ourselves cultured or civilized on the scale of material progress.



     How to Retrieve the Lost Values?



     How to get rid of this malady?

     The need of the hour at this critical juncture is value-oriented education. As our formal education is devalued, dehumanized and demoralized, it necessitates a holistic approach to resuscitate it. There should be a balanced and integrated development of the personality of the students. Therefore, keeping in mind that education is a means to the all-round development of body, mind and soul, it has to be imparted in such a way that it could enable the students to realize a composite goal in life and foster better human understanding and cooperation. In other words, it may redound to mental, moral, physical and spiritual revolution for their betterment.

     Infotmation should be dovetailed with wisdom to ensure the integrated development of the personality of the students as commended during the first as well as the second five-year plans in India. Spiritual and moral training should be imparted to the students as pet the recommendations of Radhakrishnan and Mudaliar commissions. Character formation should be given the top priority as envisaged and recommended by the National Policy on Education (1986).

     Swami Vivekananda is a staunch advocate of this integrated approach. According to him, western science and technology should be coupled with the universal philosophy of Vedanta. He has said, "The ideal for education should be man-making and character-building education." Education should build ideal citizens not tainted with parochial passions and feelings. Students will be persons of wisdom, integrity and honesty and moral rectitude.

     We are spiritual beings with a soul that is one with the Supreme Soul, the Cause of all causes and the source of all things. Swamiji said, "Each soul is potentially divine" and that "education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man". When this awareness that all are the children of God sprouts in us, it will generate a sense of fellowship with our fellow-beings and foster goodwill, mutual respect and better human understanding. It will also go a long way in minimizing the threats of nuclear and atomic wars and build a bridge of friendship, universal fraternity, and create an atmosphere of peace, happiness and harmony in the society.

     Our approach is required to be holistic and pragmatic. There should not be any gap between theory and practice. All the recommendations envisaged by various education commissions from time to time have remained only on paper and they have not been implemented so far. If the trainer is not properly trained first, we cannot hope to impart a training. So a teacher is required to be endowed with unswerving faith and conviction in the moral and spiritual values. We should, first of all, implement the values in our practical life in order to enable students to develop values and convince them of their importance in life. We should visualize education in the perspective of a whole life. Economic greed, political power, biological excitements and materialistic comforts are to be sublimated for resuscitating a dooming life.

     Every teacher should be a shining embodiment of love so that the temple of learning is permeated with the fragrance of love. Hence the language of the teacher should be the language of love. So long they have been imparting the language of the head. Now along with it they have to impart the language of the heart also. Values should also be transmitted to the students in the morning assembly as thoughts for the day, embodying pearls of wisdom of great leaders or spiritual teachers. Patriotic songs should also be a part of the morning assembly.
Life histories of great religious teachers and eminent leaders should be incorporated in the curricula at the school, college and university levels. Seminars on values in education should also be conducted from time to time in educational institutions. Even there is a need that training courses on value elements should be conducted for the teachers. Traditional dance, drama, music and art should form part of cultural programmes in any educational institution.

     What we need today is quality education. So the students' minds should not be crammed with unnecessary facts and figures and not burdened with too many books. It only dries up their innate faculties. Instead, emphasis should be laid on character formation. Teachers should put emphasis not only on the passing of the examination but also on the development of inner qualities and faculties of the students.
Mass-media can also play a vital role in transmitting values to the students. Newspapers can earmark special columns for the transmission of values in education. Many journals are rendering a yeoman service like good Samaritans in this regard.






     Mere transmission of knowledge does not suffice. Knowledge remains in the form of information unless it is harnessed in our practical life to become wisdom. Hence practice is required to make a man perfect. Both must go hand in hand for the flowering of a balanced and integrated personality. If we are able to follow such remedial measures, we may retrieve the lost values of education and pave the way for a harmonious society.



     Prabuddha Bharata

     Vedanta Kesari

     Vedanta Mass Media


International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015








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