A meditative mind is a ready ground where knowledge takes root. A mental canvas has to be calm, poised and steady for the teacher to paint on. The cell phones, iPad, TV and newspapers never leave his mind alone. Whether at home or at school, his unprepared mind is constantly bullied and shocked by these gadgets. The adult world of violence, sex and political turmoil has already gate-crashed into his innocence. What depth of learning can then take place? Not even the best teacher can paint on a shaking canvas. Teaching then becomes a pain and learning a torture. It should be a joy. Stuffed with data and information his mind learns by rote, rejecting all creativity, innovation or subtle inquiry. The student’s business in life then becomes grappling with the world around him rather than joyfully unfolding his capabilities to their highest potential. Hard pressed for grades, students forget the real purpose of education. They never find enough mental leisure for an in-depth earnest inquiry into the “why” and “wherefore” of things. Most education then becomes surface learning.
The most powerful influence on a child is his home atmosphere. A parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. He must alertly reinforce the noble values taught in school, constantly correcting negative outside influences that a child must learn to reject. Parents can easily teach a child to weed out the wrong values by living the right ones themselves.
A Hindu tradition is to pray for a calm, undisturbed mind before learning “Akshar Gyan” (the beginning of education). The student prays to the Lord to brighten his intellect (Gayatri mantra), calm his mind and his surroundings to enable his receptivity, creativity for intuitive learning to take place. How can intuition succeed in an atmosphere of tuition?
Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission Delhi can be contacted at prarthnasaran@gmail.com