Letting the Child be Both the Sculpture and the Sculptor

“Education is The Manifestation of The Perfection Already in Man”… This quote by Swami Vivekananda demonstrates the clarity and crispness with which Swami Vivekananda delivered his messages.

Three important messages pop out from this statement – Manifestation, The Perfection, Already in Man…

Manifestation – It is not assimilation, but Manifestation. Mere intellectualisation of concepts and ideas do not suffice. True education is to ensure that the learning gets manifested in actions.

There is no purpose learning hundred things, without giving scope to find expression in life. It is advisable to take one thing at a time and internalise, before claiming to have learnt that.

Perfection – Whatever we learn should be manifested. But the question arises… what should we learn? What should be manifested? Swamiji talks of manifestation of perfection. As it is the case with most of Ancient Indian Scriptural Concepts – Perfection, as used by Swami Vivekananda needs to be viewed from two levels/perspectives.

  • At the spiritual level, it denotes the divinity or completeness of an individual. The perfection or divinity in man should find expression as a result of education. In Swamiji’s own words…

“The Light Divine within is obscured in most people. It is like a lamp in a cask of iron, no gleam of light can shine through. Gradually, by purity and unselfishness, we can make the obscuring medium less and less dense, until at last it becomes transparent as glass”. Note that Swamiji talks not only about the Divine within, but also the means by which that Divinity has to be brought out. Education should provide tools for one to be pure and unselfish.

  • At the day-to-day practical, worldly level, perfection denotes the ability to address various problems human beings encounter in society. Again in Swamiji’s words…

“The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out the strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion – is it worth the name? Real education is that which enables one to stand on one’s own legs.”

Education must provide “life-building, man-making and character making” assimilation of ideas to evolve as a holistic individual – one who has learned how to improve his intellect, purify his heart, handle his emotions and stand firm on moral virtues and unselfishness.

Already in Man – This is the key message in the above quote. The perfection which has to be manifested, Swamiji declares, is already in man. When we already have it, what is the role of education? What are we learning? The process of education is actually a process of purification.

It is a process of removing the blinding mask and realise the perfectness within.

It is a process which brings out the strength within and makes us courageous like a lion and help us stand on our own legs.

Here lies the critical role of an educator – be it a parent at home or a teacher at school, we need to make education student centric.

It is an educator’s responsibility to throw light on the strengths of the student and facilitate ways to bring out those strengths, to nurture a confident and courageous adult. An educator’s role is that of a farmer, not a sculptor.

A Sculptor carves out a beautiful image from a barren rock. There are many sculptors who do such fine job that the sculptures look real and life laden. A sculptor replicates the image he had conceptualised, in the rock. The stone with no inherent characteristics simply takes the shape, its sculptor gives.

Many a time, a parent or teacher act as sculptors and the children their sculptures. They try to mould and carve them into wonderful human beings. A noble objective… Is it really so?

We frequent with parents wanting their children to grow up and become like them or like what they wanted to be, but could not. Several others want to mould them into money-making machines. They force them to get into a field which is sought after in the market so that they can make more money. This market driven trend in human development is one of the main cause of stress. We come across youngsters – four to five years in the industry and disinterested in what they are doing, because their heart, passion and skill-set is elsewhere. This is counter-productive for all – the individual, organisation, family and the society.

A Farmer grows a mighty tree or a small plant, all with same amount of Love and Care. A farmer knows that each seed is different. Like all living beings, seeds have a unique inherent nature. The farmer provides the right environment for the seedling to emerge and simply act as a facilitator in its growth process.

Similarly an ideal educator has to provide the Right, Conducive, Compassionate and Loving environment for the child to grow into establishing his full potential…

An ideal educator sees the child from child’s eyes and let him grow based on his inherent strengths…

An ideal educator remain as helper/facilitator in the process of learning providing the child with necessary environment and tools letting the child be both the sculptor and the sculpture…

Self Made Man

Yoga is a time-tested and effective tool to realize the above objective. Yogic science explains five facets of human personality – Physcial, Vital, Mental, Intellectual and Spiritual. Different elements of Yoga help develop and hone these aspects of human personality at the individual level creating an ideal foundation for evolution of a responsible social personality

The five primary aspects of human personality are highly integrated. Evolving on one aspect also help evolve the other aspects. A good yoga teacher aware of this subtle aspect, provides student-centric tools, so that one is able to use the strengths to work on the weaknesses and evolve in a balanced manner.

For example let us take asana – one of the yogic tools. A single asana can work on all five aspects of human personality:

  • physical personality – making the body relaxed, fit, flexible and healthy
  • energy levels – directing the energies to the right place at the right time keeping one energetic
  • mental and psychic personality – making the mind calm, relaxed and focused
  • intellectual persona – brining out the spontaneity and creativity within
  • spiritual persona – helping one realize the completeness within and unity without

Similarly other aspects of Hatha Yoga like pranayama, various types of meditation practices etc., can also be used to evolve one or more aspects of human personality. Apart from Hatha Yoga, there are also other types of yoga, like karma yoga, bhakthi yoga, jnana yoga, etc., which can be practiced by all.

Practiced under expert guidance Yoga helps develop a clear, pure and focused mind making one more effective in life. The clarity and focus help one identify the strengths and weaknesses, prioritize needs and wants, discriminate right and appropriate from the wrong and make right decisions both in simple day-to-day activities and in life-influencing career choices. Thus Yoga is an effective tool with which children can sculpt their own life.

On this Children’s Day let us educators, resolve to help the child become a good sculptor of his own sculpture.

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Jiva Vigyan – a confluence of the illuminati

Emerging Trends in LIFE-SKILLS Education – Contribution of Native Wisdom

Jiva Vigyan Logo

“The ideal therefore is that you must have the whole education of our country, spiritual and secular, in our own hands and it must be on national lines through national methods as far as practical”        – Swami Vivekananda

Ancient Indian scriptures abound with universally applicable life-skills wisdom. Ancient Indians evinced interest in the minds of people from across the world as they excelled in all spheres of life – economics, science, politics, astrology, astronomy, medicine, mathematics, fine arts, philosophy, education, tourism, trade and commerce, etc. by integrating scriptural wisdom into their life-style. India was a leading world economy till about 4 centuries ago. Disintegrating our educational system from traditional wisdom by the colonial powers led to loss of national pride and rapid downfall of our society.

At this juncture when educational boards – CBSE, ICSE and state education boards are attempting to implement life-skills in education by giving enough weight-age to these skills in the grading pattern, there is a need to reach to the depths of this wisdom, revive and reach it to children with appropriate tools and methods as suited to the needs of 21st century.

Jiva-Vignan is a confluence of the illuminati – Principals and educationists of Chennai schools to create a path of light, life and wisdom in this direction. The confluence is aimed to stimulate thoughts in this direction among education heads and led by panelists who are authorities in our ancient wisdom with hands on experience in implementing.

Beginning with the end in mind… The program is an opportunity for the principals and educationists to share knowledge, experiences, learning, ideas and take back practically implementable ideas and tools to empower children.

The program shall be inaugurated Dr K Rosaiah His Excellency The Governor of Tamil Nadu on 19th April 2014.

In the current inaugural edition of Jiva Vigyan luminaries from Bihar School of Yoga share their wisdom and experiences in using Yoga as a tool for nurturing Life-Skills in children.

Apart from panel discussion, this session also includes paper presentation by the principals of Chennai schools on the topic “My experience in implementing Life-Skills in education” and more…

Look out for the April edition of uvAcha to learn more about the event and its outcomes…

Cowboys find their HERO!

Cowboys Find their HERO!

Once a group of cowboys challenged Swamiji to show how fearless he could be while talking about the undecaying and eternal atman, which is a man’s true nature.

Could he remain unmoved and statue-like while lecturing on the subject of the atman, whose realization, he claimed, makes a man completely fearless?

In order to test Swamiji, they put him on a drum inverted to form an improvised stool and asked to him to go on lecturing.  Then they fired rounds so meticulously as to whiz past his ears on either side.  If only Swamiji moved even an inch either way or shook his head howsoever slightly, he would have had to face the bullets straightaway piercing his ears!

Swamiji stood on the ‘stool’ calmly and started to lecture.

The cowboys started firing the rounds and a volley of shots whizzed past his ears with maddening speed.

Swamiji went on with his lecture unfazed and as if nothing worthwhile was happening around him!

The cowboys then put down their guns and greeted Swamiji saying: ‘Hey, this is our hero!’

Cowboys find their HERO in Swami Vivekananda

Moral: Practice Meditation and develop Fearlessness and Concentration

Education is The Manifestation of The Perfection Already in Man – Swami Vivekananda

This is a famous and most often quoted quote on education by Swami Vivekananda. It clearly demonstrates the clarity and crispness with which Swami Vivekananda delivered his messages.

As I was contemplating on this quote this morning, three important messages popped out from this statement – Manifestation, The Perfection, Already in Man…

Manifestation – It is not assimilation, but Manifestation Swamiji is talking about. The learning has to be manifested. Something is said to be manifested only when it finds an expression. Mere intellectualisation of concepts and ideas do not suffice. True education is to see that the learning has manifested in us and our works.

Agreed! One cannot change overnight. But, there is no purpose going on learning hundred things, without giving them scope to find expression in our life. It is advisable to take one thing at a time and incorporate it into our system, before we say we have learnt that. This holds true, especially for life lessons.

Perfection – Whatever we learn should be manifested. But the question arises… what should we learn? What should be manifested? Swamiji talks of manifestation of perfection. As it is the case with most of Ancient Indian Scriptural Concepts – Perfection, as used by Swami Vivekananda needs to be viewed from two levels/perspectives.

At the spiritual level, it denotes the divinity or completeness of an individual. The perfection or divinity in man should find expression as a result of education. In Swamiji’s own words…

“The Light Divine within is obscured in most people. It is like a lamp in a cask of iron, no gleam of light can shine through. Gradually, by purity and unselfishness, we can make the obscuring medium less and less dense, until at last it becomes transparent as glass”

Here Swamiji talks not only about the Divine within, but also the means by which that Divinity has to be brought out. More on this in a later blog.

At the practical, worldly or empirical level, perfection denotes the ability to address various problems human beings encounter in society. Again in Swamiji’s words…

“The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out the strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion – is it worth the name? Real education is that which enables one to stand on one’s own legs.”

Education must provide “life-building, man-making and character making” assimilation of ideas so as to develop an integrated person – one who has learned how to improve his intellect, purify his heart, handle his emotions and stand firm on moral virtues and unselfishness.

Already in Man – This is the key principle in the above quote. The perfection which has to be manifested, Swamiji declares – is already in man. When we already have it, what is the role of education? What are we learning? The process of education is actually a process of purification. A process by which we realise the perfectness within. A process which brings out the strength within and makes us courageous like a lion and help us stand on our own legs in this society.

Here lies the critical role of an educator – be it a parent at home or a teacher at school.

Here lies the importance of making education student centric.

It is an educator’s responsibility to throw light on the strengths of the student and facilitate ways and means to bring out those strengths, so as to nurture a confident and courageous adult. His/her role is that of a farmer, not a sculptor.

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