Knowledge has always been regarded as sacred in India. It was never bought and sold like merchandise. Any kind of knowledge or skill could only be imparted to a deserving student, not to anyone who paid. Books, pens and teachers are still worshipped in India as bestowers of life skills, who enabled you to earn your livelihood and attain your life’s goals. Attaching marketplace values to education degrades it to a commodity.
The attitude of a student is of great importance. The Hindi word for a student is “vidyarthi” (one who begs for knowledge). The word implies an attitude of humility when faced with the giver of knowledge. It denotes a mindset that is eager, alert and receptive to learning. The flow of knowledge, like water, is always from the higher to the lower. An arrogant and non-receptive attitude absorbs nothing as it places itself higher than the flow.
The erstwhile value based education has slowly packaged itself into a single focussed information machine. It sadly focuses only on grades, a good degree that can help get a good job! Education should be a holistic design to nourish all aspects of the student’s personality such as physical and mental health, intellectual and spiritual development with emotional intelligence and maturity. An expansive view of life is a must today, as the whole world is now connected. Any country’s problem is a world problem. Education cannot afford to be lop-sided.
It is a trend to mistrust all ancient knowledge as “not been researched into”. What did ancient great scholars do if not research? Names like Aryabhatta and Dhanvantari, Chanakya or the great Vyasa? While we accept and believe blindly anything that the western way of life says, does or believes. Accept it, yes surely, but after honest, deep and critical analyses.
Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission Delhi, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org