Read my thoughts on the True Meaning of Education.
The ideas below that I have outlined are just based on my rudimentary observations of what is happening.
Please use my feedback form and I will include your suggestions also.
I am sure that if enough thought was put into it by experts, we could figure out a proper way for true and complete education based on the fundamental eight components of a true education.
For a brief recap, I have outlined them again below:
Only people who have thoroughly mastered the all the eight components of literacy mentioned below can be called truly educated:
2. Moral Literacy
The consistent and constant practice of Dharma to earn the trust, love, regard and respect of people.
3. Physical Literacy
Developing a strong and fit body through the practice of yoga, martial arts, swimming and other sporting activities.
In addition to this, they can take upto a maximum of any other three sports of their choice.
4. People Literacy
Treating all people equally with equal trust, love, regard and respect.
This should be given to all levels and all types of people regardless of any physical, mental, sexual, social, economic or family background.
They should be given hands on field experience level knowledge development of fundamental laws that teach that one must not oppress or discriminate or disrespect people because of their occupation, ancestry, race, caste, religion, orientation, gender, age, economic status, disability or any other material criteria.
They should learn about basic social etiquette like respect for women, elders, children, animals and surrounding public.
They should also learn about basic civic sense (cleanliness, hygiene, sanitation, garbage, traffic rules, low carbon footprint, water conservation, recycling, and other aspects of basic civic sense).
They should be made to do community service in the True Temples for at least 3 hours a week.
They should be made to do community service in the protection and conservation of Nature for at least 3 hours a week.
They should also be taught Astronomy, not just from books, interactive software and videos, but also with telescopes and also planetariums where possible.
6. Cultural Literacy
Learning and practicing the heritage and culture of a nation consisting of its history, arts, literature, music, dance, drama, painting, sculpture and other such cultural and historical heritage.
Now with the advent of the internet, Google has even developed a tool called Voyager to travel and view photos of historical monuments and wildlife all over the world.
7. Life Skills Literacy
Hands on and practical and field experience development of basic living skills like cooking, farming, masonry work, taking care of animals, carpentry, pottery, cobbling, hand loom weaving, sewing, metal working and other such basic skilled trades needed for daily living.
After 12 years of age, they can be taught plumbing, electrical and other slightly more advanced skills like land surveying, traditional medicine home remedies, basic financial literacy and accounting and book keeping.
After 12 years of age, they should also be taught basic financial management not only in personal affairs, but also in family, community, state and national governance affairs (budget, surplus, deficit, inflation, taxation, subsidies, debt to revenue ratio, startup funding and evaluation).
8. Technical Literacy
Advanced mathematics, science, computers and any other subjects even upto PhD that are actually worthless if a person does not first consistently learn, understand, practice and excel in Spiritual, Moral, Physical, People, Eco Literacy, Cultural and Life Skills Literacy.
After education upto 3rd standard in the mother tongue, we should go back to Sanskrit as the official language for education – even for computers, Sanskrit has proven to be a more efficient language than English.
However English has become entrenched as a language needed for these modern times.
So the technical and cultural knowledge of the English language must be taught in English.
But there is a vast storehouse of spiritual, technical and cultural knowledge that remain untranslated in Sanskrit and other classical languages of Bharat like Tamil, Kannada and others.
Only then we can go back and unearth the treasures of our heritage.
In states like Karnataka and others where they have their own ancient heritage this also must be taught to the students in those states.
In addition to the heritage of the state, even Sangam literature especially the Thirukkural must be translated and taught to students in even non-Tamil regions.
All students must be taught Sanskrit as the first language, English as the second language and their mother tongue as the third language.
Sanskrit is the mother of all languages even Latin and also all languages in Bharat.
The works of Vyasa, Basavanna, Sarvajna, Vemana, Thiruvalluvar, Allama Prabhu, Ghalib, Kabira, Khusrao, Kalidasa, Tulsidas, Tagore, Vivekanand, Shankara, Bhaskara, Maulana Azad, Radhakrishnan, Salim Ali, Dasa Sahitya and many other sterling writers and poets of Bharat, should be taught first, instead of Shakespeare and other foreign authors.
Children should also be taught the works of these great writers and poets, preferably in the language they originally wrote their works in.
All children right from 1st Standard upto 12th Standard must have public exams including practicals (not just book study, but also at least 50% real hands on projects and real examples).
For the first 10 years of their life or upto 5th Standard, all students must only be taught the first seven basic components of a True Education:
- Spiritual Literacy
- Moral Literacy
- Physical Literacy
- People Literacy
- Eco Literacy
- Cultural Literacy
- Life Skills Literacy
After all of the above is taught, from 11 years of age(6th Standard), then the courses of technical literacy like advanced reading, writing, social sciences, science and advanced arithmetic can be taught.
After 12 years of age (7th standard), students should be taught basic financial management in both personal, family affairs, community and business affairs.
The current day Civics classes we have are just a waste of time and can be taught only in after in the 11th standard.
This system of governance made Bharat one of the greatest countries and civilisations ever in the history of the world.
All Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Economists, Defenders of the State, Employees of the State and other cold blooded professionals whose profession influences the lives of other people must first learn liberal arts courses and humanities and social welfare for the first year.
All professionals, after their graduation, should first spend at least 18 months in a field posting at the junior most technician level after their graduation.
This includes at least a 15 day stint as a field labourer or lowest level labourer of their profession.
Such a thing never existed in ancient Bharat.
Only after successfully completing their field posting should they be given a certificate that qualifies them to apply for job with a more supervisory or management role.
They should first look at the social effects of their work so it can help them make more compassionate decisions and public interactions in their work which affects the lives of so many people, perhaps even millions of people.
In addition to the above aspects of education, the books the Yoga Vasistha, Tulasidas Ramcharitmanas including byhearting the Hanuman Chalisa and also understanding its meaning, by hearting the Bhaja Govindam and also understanding its meaning, Principal Upanishads, Thirukkural, Dhammapada, Atma Bodha, Vivekachudamani, Devi Mahatmya and the vachanas of Sarvajna, Basavanna, Vemana and others must be taught to all children who reside in Bharat whether they are citizens or foreigners or children of non immigrants.
This must be done to all students upto 10th standard, regardless of their origin or religion, as part of their primary education, as one subject on the heritage of Bharat.
Young students below 9 years (4th standard) can be taught comics and abridged versions of Panchatantra, Hitopadesa, Jataka Tales and other fables of Bharat, the stories of the Yoga Vasistha. stories and verses of the Dhammapada and stories of the Upanishads, stories within the story of the Mahabharat, especially the stories within the Shanti Parva.
All the above texts should be divided into two portions:
- One book will be the complete text in the original language it was written in.
- The second book will the translation of the text in the local language of education.
If they are smaller books, then they can be combined into one book and the first paragraph should be in the local language and the next paragraph should be the local language translation.
The texts should not be taught just for rote memorisation, it should be taught for understanding the basic underlying concepts.
Even if the students cannot recite the verses from memory, as long as they understand the meanings and more importantly the underlying concepts and essence, it is sufficient.
Students should be allowed to use open book exams to quote verses from these books.
The books should have the original Sanskrit script for the original verses and then the commentaries can be in Sanskrit, mother tongue or English.
Older students in 8th standard and above can be taught more serious interpretations by advanced scholars.
The other books to be taught on the heritage of Bharat are The History and Culture of the Indian People by RC Majumdar.
Even the interpretations of the Upanishads by the Ramakrishna Math are good and can be used, but these books have left out the Brihadaranyaka and Chandogya Upanishad some of the most important parts of the Mukhya (Principal) Upanishads.
In fact it would be better that the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad should be taught in the final year of school – 9th or 10th standard since even though it is a sublime scripture, there are some parts about rituals for procreation and conception of children, that some so called “moralist” parents may object to it being taught to young children.
To a perverted “moralist” mind, even a description of procreation for conception which is a divine and natural part of a human existence can be misconstrued.
But these are voluminous books and more suited to students who want to be religious scholars as a whole lifetime can be spent just to study and understand the wonderful works of Shankara.
For ordinary people S Radhakrishnan has also written excellent interpretations of both the Dhammapada and the Upanishads.
But these can only be taught to students in higher grades of 8th standard and above right upto those studying for a Masters degree.
It needs a fairly mature mind to understand his complex work.
Radhakrishnans version is more suited to modern times since it includes comparisons to various other religions.
The Dhammapada should be taught to all students from the first standard onwards.
For students of the 8th standard and above, the Principal Upanishads must be taught.
I have not recommended that younger students study the Gita and Brahmasutra, because these texts need a more subtle and profound understanding which only comes with maturity and having being taught simpler concepts of the same in the younger ages.
These are not “religious” texts filled only with rituals and rules of identity and morality and worship of the one and true God of the “chosen” people.
They are texts for all mankind and if they are taught to young children this world will be a much better place.
Dharma is not the right and responsibility of the “Hindu” religion alone.
Dharma is the right and responsibility of every human being.
These texts also teach you about the true Brahman who is not only one and true in heaven, but actually within you and in all things living and natural.
These are texts for the development of maturity, intellect, wisdom and most importantly an open and unconditioned mind.
Any person can only be considered truly educated when they have maturity, intellect, wisdom, and an open and unconditioned mind first.
And that can only come from mastering the above texts not only in theory, but also in practice.
These texts were born and originated in Bharat.
These are not “religious” texts.
This is our heritage. This is our culture. This is what made us great.
Religion is a creation of man.
Culture is given to you by God through your ancestors.
A person who objects to my above specified texts as required reading, should first read the texts I have given.
I challenge them, if they can find all of what I say below in any other religion, I will ask them to follow also study the texts that religion also:
Brother, there is no greater Dharma than SEVA (benevolence)(परहित), no greater sin than oppressing others.
I have declared to you, dear brother, the verdict of all the Vedas and the Puranas, and the learned also know it.
The remark of even a child is to be accepted, if it is in accordance with reason; but the remark of even Brahman himself, the creator of the world, is to be rejected like a piece of straw if it does not accord with reason.
He is mine and he is another,
Is a thought that narrow minded, selfish and ignorant people have,
For the truly noble and enlightened,
“The whole world is one family.”
I am the same to all,
None is hateful to me,
None is dear to me,
But those who worship Me with devotion, dwell in Me, and I too dwell in them.
Consciousness is Brahman,
the world is Brahman,
all the elements are Brahman,
I am Brahman, my enemy is Brahman,
my friends and relatives are Brahman,
Brahman is the three periods of time,
for all these are rooted in Brahman.
लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनोभवन्तु
May all the worlds become happy.
In fact people who truly understand their own religion, not book reciting parrots, will completely agree that the true form of their religion exactly matches what I have given above even in their religion.
But the problem is that most religions including what our so called “Hindus” follow with babas and Godmen is only about rules for Identity and Morality.
There are so many rules that one forgets the actual essence of these scriptures.