Rama seeks Ravana’s Wisdom

RamaKillsRavana

Rama Kills Ravana

At the end of the war in Ramayana, Ravana lies mortally wounded on the battlefield. Rama turns to his brother Lakshmana and says, “While Ravana was a brute he was also a great scholar. Go to him and request him to share whatever knowledge he can.”

The obedient Lakshmana rushes to Ravana’s side and whispers in his ears, “Demon king, all your life you have taken not given. Now the noble Rama gives you an opportunity to mend your ways. Share your vast wisdom. Do not let it die with you. For that you will surely be blessed.”

Ravana responds by simply turning away. An angry Lakshmana goes back to Ram and says: “He is as arrogant as he always was, too proud to share anything.”

Rama looks at his brother and asks him softly, “Where did you stand while asking him for knowledge?”.

“Next to his head so that I hear what he had to say clearly.” said Lakshmana

Rama smiles, walks to where Ravana lies. Lakshmana watches in astonishment as his brother kneels at Ravana’s feet. With palms joined, with extreme humility, Rama says, “Lord of Lanka, you abducted my wife, a terrible crime for which I have been forced to punish you. Now, you are no more my enemy. I see you now as you are known across the world, as the wise son of Rishi Vishrava. I bow to you and request you to share your wisdom with me. Please do that for if you die without doing so, all your wisdom will be lost forever to the world.”

To Lakshmana’s surprise, Ravana opens his eyes and raises his arms to salute Rama, “If only I had more time as your teacher than as your enemy. standing at my feet as a student should, unlike your rude younger brother, you are a worthy recipient of my knowledge. I have very little time so I cannot share much but let me tell you one important lesson I have learnt in my life. Things that are bad for you seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination. That is why I was impatient to abduct Sita but avoided meeting you. This is the wisdom of my life, Rama. My last words, I give it to you.”

With these words, Ravana dies.

Ankur launches its Youtube Channel

Hi Friends,

Ankur is glad to announce the launch of its youtube channel.

Click the link below to visit the channel. Wish you happy viewing 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC89VnHIo2f96ayel6UO2O4A

Need-gap in Yoga & Life-skill trainers in India – A Report

Interactions with several senior members of school management, principals, etc.,; and the discussions during sessions at CII national summit on education, strengthened the belief we had in Ankur that there is a huge need for life-skills educators in the country. However to confirm our belief further and understand the extant of the need we made an initial study. This initial study to estimate the need brought to light the huge gap which exists and extent of work to be done in this space to fill the gap. We also included Yoga in the study as this is also an emerging need in schools. We are sharing our first findings here for further research and study by those working in this space…

Education systems all over the world are re-organizing so that they inculcate skills such as creativity, communication, empathy, adaptability and social skills all of which are being increasingly emphasized by employers and others in the global society, apart from high standards of academic qualifications, including literacy and innumeracy.

Various studies in India alone have thrown light on the poor employability levels of Indian graduates and the lacuna is in their soft-skills. This being the case, global demographic trends point to the fact that, India shall emerge as the major provider of human capital to the global community in the next couple of decades. (more links on this burgeoning problem has been shared in Sep’13 edition of uvAcha)

Discussions with several experts in the training and development field brought out these facts:

– Sensing this need more and more soft-skills trainers in corporate and college space are taking steps to expand their scope to life-skills education and expand it to K-12 space.

– They are however facing several challenges in terms of curriculum and delivery method for children.

One good news is that the premier school education board in the country, CBSE has started releasing detailed life-skills manuals for high schools. They are working towards having such manuals for all classes in K-12 space. Lot of effort is also on to train the existing faculty to deliver life-skill programs. However the interactions during the CII summit made us realise that this is a specialised space and one need to have dedicated age-group specific life-skill trainers in schools and colleges.

This calls for a larger initiative to identify this as a specialised knowledge domain and work so. Skill-building for quality trainers with this understanding will go a long way in nurturing confident and responsible global citizens.

Now time to take a look at some of the statistics…

With the current and added enrollment projected in school and higher education, for an average teacher to student ratio of 1:35, for life-skills and yoga training

  • What is the requirement of incremental human resource for teachers and trainers?
  • Do we now have the required number of qualified Yoga and Life skill Trainers?

As per the statistics provided by NSDC –

  1. By 2022, it is expected that 95% of the population in the age group of 5-18 years, would be enrolled in schools.  The enrollment in school education would then increase from 243 million in 2008 to 298 million in 2022.
  2. The dropout rate (between class I to X) would continue to decline from the current level of 62% to under 45-50% by 2022.
  3. The demand for higher education is expected to increase at a CAGR of 11% to 12% till 2022.
  4. There are about 1.3 million schools in India with a total enrollment of over 227 million students from the primary to higher secondary schools.  Of this 227 million students enrolled across different levels of education, about 60% of the enrollment is in the level of primary education.

With a projected student teacher ratio of 1:35, the above report mentions there is an incremental need of 52,64,000 teachers in school and higher education space. With the availability of  71,09,000 teachers currently there is a need for 4,15,000 teachers to be trained annually.

This report however does not consider specific need for Yoga and Life-skills trainers in schools, which is an emerging trend. It is only in the past couple of years CBSE, ICSE and an increasing number of state and higher education boards are emphasizing on the need for yoga and life-skills education making it compulsory in schools and colleges.

Going by the above statistics, there is a need for 7,56,000 qualified yoga and life-skill trainers just in the K-12 space. The need in higher education is additional.

We may thus conclude that:

  • To meet the above gap there is an urgent need to educate aspiring youngsters, career counselors, higher education institutes, etc., about this gap.
  • Collective effort is the need of the hour to complete the below tasks:
    • Create a life-skills curriculum framework that is flexible to adapt to the needs of different cultural, economic, technological and social backgrounds
    • Recognise, Educate and promote this as a much-needed, evolving and promising career opportunity
    • Design train the trainer and master trainer programs to train the huge number of aspiring trainers in this space
    • Recognise and certify institutes that can train the trainers effectively
    • Create a forum which will
      • Provide opportunity to various individuals and organisations working in this space to exchange, discuss and evolve standardised assessment and evaluation methodologies taking into cognisance both qualitative and quantitative aspects
      • Provide opportunities who are working in this space to travel together to realise the overall goals of holistic education as envisaged in the National Curriculum Framework for Education

Some of the links of reports (online) for further study:

In North India itself there are 5442 CBSE schools that have acute demand of qualified Life Skills trainers to teach and evaluate under CBSE program of CCE (www.lifeskilleducation.in)

Indian schooling also has a dubious student-teacher ratio. There is a huge shortage of about 15 lakh teachers. Average student teacher ratio in India is 42:1, much higher than RTE stipulation. The phenomenon of ‘missing teachers’is alarming i.e. teachers who sign the school attendance and go elsewhere “on duty.” (Dr. N. Ramasubramanyan is the Founder Correspondent of Shri Natesan Vidyasala Matric Hr Sec School, Chennai in an article CCE:a critical analysis in The Hindu Sept.28, 2012)

Children have the right to have at least 1 qualified and trained teacher for every 30 pupils. Currently, the national average is about 1 teacher to every 34 students, but in states such as Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal 1 teacher works with more than 60 students.  Approximately 1.2 million additional teachers need to be recruited to fill this gap. Currently, about 1 in 5 primary school teachers do not have the requisite minimum academic qualification to ensure children’s right to quality learning (www.unicef.org)

A lot of work is happening in this direction across the world. With a huge young population, India has a bigger responsibility to fulfill in this space.

 

uvAcha Quiz – 3

a.   Janmasthami is a popular festival to celebrate the birth of …

  1. Rama
  2. Krishna
  3. Surya
  4. Buddha

b.  This festival is a celebration of the relationship between brother and sister.

  1. Diwali
  2. Raksha Bandhan
  3. Holi
  4. Onam

c.  This festival is a harvest festival

  1. Holi
  2. Pongal
  3. Dushera
  4. Diwali

d.  Onam is an important festival of which state?

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Tamilnadu
  3. Kerala
  4. Karnataka

e.  Kite Festival is celebrated in

  1. Chennai
  2. Assam
  3. Gujarat
  4. Kashmir

Send your answers to uvacha@blissgroup.com

Walking Yoga

walk

Walking, no doubt is a good exercise for the body.  Have you observed how you place your feet while walking?

You are right.  Your feet are placed in a V-shape, slightly bent towards the sides as you walk.

Next time try practicing to walk with your feet parallel to each other.  You may do this daily while you go for a walk in the morning or any time during the day as you move around.

Benefits:

  • The hip joints become more supple and flexible
  • Improves concentration

Happy “Walking Yoga”  🙂

Festivals of India

India is a land of many religions, languages, culture, traditions, etc.  It is also a land of festivals.  Some of the festivals are celebrated throughout the country while others have specific regional associations. Some festivals are celebrated to welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest, like Pongal, Baisakhi, etc., others are celebrated on religious occasions, the birthdays of God, Saints, Gurus or the advent of New Year.

Some of the common Hindu festivals celebrated are :

 NAVARATRI

 navaratri

 Navaratri is celebrated through the first nine days of the Hindu month of Ashwin.

It is the celebration of the end of the darkness of ignorance and evil and it is said to bring knowledge, goodness and bliss, thus spiritually enlightening the human mind.

The first 3 days is dedicated to Mata Durga, the destroyer of Mahishasura the buffalo headed demon.  The next 3 days are dedicated to Mother Lakshmi. By invoking her grace we are not only blessed with virtuous qualities but also by Daivi Sampatti  and by gaining victory or self control over the mind. The last 3 days are dedicated to Mother Saraswathi who is the bestower of light of Knowledge.

The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadashami.  It is among the most auspicious day in the Hindu calendar.  It signifies the victory of the good over the evil.  This day marks the victory of Mahishasuramardini and the defeat of evils.  It also depicts Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana.  On this same day the Pandavas too, took out their weapons which they had kept in the Shami tree and they revealed their identity after one-year of incognito.  This marked their preparation for the war of Kurukshetra.

In West Bengal, the festival is called Durga Pooja. The festivities last for ten days, of which nine nights are spent in worship, and on the tenth day, the idols are carried out in procession for immersion in a river or pond.

In Gujarat, the exuberant Navaratri celebrations include dancing the lively and fascinating Garba dance. The men and women dance around an earthen lamp while singing devotional songs accompanied by rhythmic clapping of hands and wooden sticks.

In Himachal Pradesh, a week -long fair is held in the hill town of Kullu, From the little temples in the hills, deities are brought in elaborate processions to the main ground in Kullu, to pay homage to the reigning deity, Raghunathji or Lord Rama.

Vijayadashami is an auspicious occasion for children to commence their education in classical dance and music, and to pay homage to their teachers.

 DIWALI

diwali

 It is a five day Hindu festival.  Diwali means a “row of lighted lamps” or the Festival of Lights.  According to the legends, it is the day when Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.  Another story is that it is the day Lord Krishna killed Narakasura – the demon of sorrow and hell.

In different parts of India, Diwali is celebrated differently.  Generally the festival begins with Dhanteras, a day set aside to worship Lakshmi.  On the second day, Naraka Chaturdashi – Kali, the Goddess of Strength is worshipped.  On the third day, Diwali, lamps are lit, gifts exchanged and crackers burst.  On the fourth day the business accounts are settled and new books are opened.  On the final day (Balipratipada) of the festival, Bali, an ancient Indian King is recalled.  He had destroyed centuries old philosophies of the society.  However, he is remembered for being a generous person.  Thus the focus of this day is to see the good in others, even in our enemies.

 HOLI

 holi

Holi is celebrated in early spring on the full moon of Phalgun.  Holi means “The festival of colors’.  It signifies the power of the virtuous in encountering and over-coming the evil.  It celebrates the joy of the end of evil.  It also signifies the acceptance of all the colors, that life brings.  A huge bonfire called the Holi Fire is burnt every year to commemorate the success of Prahlad’s devotion and the tragic end of the evil demoness Holika.  The next day of Holi, a festival of colours i.e. Rang Panchami or ‘Dhulivandan’ is played.  People throw colours at each other, thus spreading colourfulness into the lives of everyone.  On this day people forget the bitterness and enmity and forge friendship with one another.

 GANESH CHATURTHI

 ganapathi

 It falls on the fourth day in the month of Bhadrapada.  The birthday of Lord Ganesha is celebrated in great fanfare.  This festival is the most colourful and happy event in the religious, social and cultural life of India. This festival is celebrated for 10 days with great pomp and festivity.  The day before the festival, idols of Ganapati which are varying in sizes, designs and shapes are purchased and brought home.  On the next day the Lord is welcomed and worhsipped.  On the 3rd, 5th, 7th or 10th day after performing Puja the idol is taken out in a grand procession to immerse it in the nearby tank, lake or ocean. The immersion of Ganesha only points out that a seeker after purifying oneself through study and worship, transcends the form and realizes the Lord as the formless.

Children Yoga Festival 2013 – Zonal Level Festival

Commemorating 50 years of Bihar School of Yoga, Ankur has joined hands with Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane to celebrate Children Yoga Festival 2013 in a grand manner. The mission is to take the message of Holistic integral yoga, to introduce Yoga as a FUN and Enjoyable experience to children of 50 schools in Chennai.

As part of the festival events are conducted at School, Zonal and City levels.

The festival was inaugurated on 14th Feb 2013 at DAV Girls HS School, Gopalapuram by Shri Jaydev Ji, Secretary DAV Group of Schools, Chennai in the presence of Shri GPN Gupta, Chairman BLISS Group of Companies.

Various schools across Chennai and its suburbs have made use of this opportunity to introduce Satyananda Yoga to their school children in this historical year of yoga. Many more are registering to conduct this festival in their schools. Unique features of this event are – it is conducted as a festival; participation gifts are provided to all the children making presentations; and souvenirs are given to all children and teachers of participating schools.

The Zonal festival is scheduled to be inaugurated on 9th Nov 2013 at DAV Boys Senior Secondary School, Mogappair.

Ten teams of 10 members each from 10 schools shall demonstrate their yogic skills and knowledge in YSD, while twenty participants will share their knowledge on various topics on yoga in OSD (Oratorical Skills Demonstration).

Watch out this space for more details about the event, images and videos.

4 Essential Life Goals of a Successful Person

BLISS / HAPPINESS:

Smiley

SMILE

This is the greatest and primary goal of an individual. All decisions – small and big, we take are based on the principle of pain and pleasure. We either seek to move away from pain or move closer to pleasure.

The decisions are always in the direction of big pain to a small pain to a small pleasure to a bigger pleasure…

We snooze the alarm in the morning and sleep for five more minutes – it is because we find more happiness in sleeping for five more minutes than getting up from the bed. If there is a train/flight to catch, we refrain from snoozing the alarm, because we know the pain gained in missing the train / flight is more than the joy gained  from sleeping for five more minutes.

The longer we can be in a happy state more satisfied, fulfilled and blissful; simply put… more successful we feel. We strive continually to stay in a state of happiness. As the state of happiness fleets, we restart our search to regain the state. The journey of success thus continues…

We hook on to people, things and situations that give us happiness and move away from those that give pain.

The best way to realise this goal is to train ourselves to be in a state of continuous happiness irrespective of people, things and situations around.

This leads us to the next two important goals of life – Security and Pleasure, the prerequisites for attaining the goal of Happiness.

SECURITY:

Fear is an important factor which keeps us away from happiness. To be in a state of happiness we need to feel secure. This security is required in terms of people (relationships), things (money and other possessions) and situations. These are essentially the wealth of an individual giving them emotional, financial and social security. So security can also be translated as wealth one possesses.

People come and go, possessions gain/lose their value while situations keep changing as change is the essence of the world around.

How to remain secure and keep the feeling of security in this ever-changing environment?

What attitude and approach to life is required to feel secure midst change?

What career path is to be chosen to feel financially secure?

What knowledge is required to meet the above?

Finding answers to these questions and empowering ourselves with the essential skills help us feel secure, happy and successful.

PLEASURE:

We are emotional beings. We feel joyous when our big list of desires are fulfilled. We feel happy when we are able to enjoy the relationships with our people, enjoy the things we have and be in joyful situations.

What kind of relationships make us joyful? What kind of interaction with people help us keep longstanding healthy relationships? What things and situations give us long-standing joy and pleasure? These may be described as the rightful pleasures one should aspire for. The pleasure that gives us joy today but pain in the long run; or a joy that is short living is to be avoided.

How can we gain Security and Pleasure that is long-standing? Next goal provides answer to this question.

HARMONY:

Being in harmony with people, things and situations around us is the key to gain real happiness. Wealth gained and desires fulfilled will give us long-standing happiness only when they are earned in harmony with the environment around. Else, they will come back to haunt us later in life.

Wealth or desires fulfilled – relationships with people / possession of things / career situations gained, by causing pain and trouble to others will not keep us in a state of lasting happiness. Security and pleasure so gained will either lose value or slip away. Hence we need to keep up harmonious relationship with the environment around. This environment includes people, animals, nature, etc., around us.

Ignoring the care for nature during the last four centuries of rapid industrialisation and technological advancements provided us with lot of pleasurable goods. But there is always the fear of global warming and its consequences lurking behind.

Man is a social being and hence he is bound to be a socially responsible person. One need to develop a feeling of oneness with the world to be able to care, love and show compassion to those around and thus be responsible.

To conclude we may thus define the life-goal of a successful person, “To gain security and enjoy rightful pleasures through harmonious interaction with the world around to attain an everlasting state of BLISS/Happiness” 

The skills that help one to achieve the above life-goals are called as life-skills.

The Road to Success… The current K12 system – a case study

28th Sep 2013.

It was the second day of national summit on quality in education conducted by CII. We were in one of the last sessions of the summit. It was a well planned and executed event by CII team headed by Mr Senthil Kumar.

As the next speaker was introduced there was widespread aura of appreciation among the 550+ audience comprising management heads of schools and education service providers from across the country. This young and accomplished speaker had achievements and recognition, at least one a year in his short career this far. The audience was wondering about the list of achievements and recognition he would gain in future.

As he rose to speak, Suhas was welcomed with a big round of applause. He offered salutations to his school principal who was in the audience. It was surprising for the audience to hear that this young and intelligent achiever was dubbed a failure while in school. His marks and hence his future was a great cause of concern for his parents and teachers alike. He did not hide his concern, as a student, that his leadership skills and computer skills were not recognised and accounted for in his academic records. Hence he was dubbed a failure. He however expressed happiness that the current education system, especially CBSE has started addressing this need.

The attention was drawn to the real concern when a principal rose to ask, “Suhas, What do you attribute your success to  in life. How far do you think has your school education played a role in your success?” She went on to explain that the motivation behind the question is to understand the core ideas of discussion for the past two days – How to educate and nurture socially responsible and corporate citizens for the 21st Century? How to inculcate values and life-skills in children? How to develop the humane part in an individual apart from academics and marks in various curricular activities?

In total, the discussion that followed was lively and thought-provoking emphasising on the need-gap that is to be filled in the education system and the work ahead of school management in addressing this. The discussion also validated the direction of work at Ankur, which complements the efforts of schools in fulfilling this huge need gap.

(We shall share in a future post Life Goals and Life Skills for Success in 21st Century)

The two-day event which focused on measurement, assessment and evaluation of subjective aspects of learning; scholastic and co-scholastic skills; life-skills education and evaluation; case studies and sharing of experiences by institutions in recording and administering huge volumes of records and data was appropriate, focused, educative and lively.

Ankur Children Yoga Festival 2013 makes children Love Yoga

Apart from principals and teachers, children are also very thrilled to take part in Ankur Children Yoga Festival 2013.

Listen to the sweet voices of children and enjoy their innocent smiles… while they share that participating in CYF 2013 made them LOVE YOGA…

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