A son of a Marathi Sardar, Shivaji Maharaj’s triumph over Afzal Khan is one of the notable moments of Maratha History.
The treacherous Khan was killed in broad daylight in sight of his bodyguards, when he tried to act smart and kill Shivaji Maharaj. Maharaj was well prepared and dug his dagger deep into Khan’s abdomen and pulled out his intestines. Yet the Khan fought back and tried to escape, when one of the Maratha Sardar’s beheaded him.
Maharaj won and the tyranny lost.
Khan was tyrannical. He had destroyed Pandharpur and Tuljapur temples and broken the idols installed there, while moving towards Shivaji Maharaj. He had killed a lot of innocent people and plundered their households. Burnt all the fields in his path, just to get Shivaji Maharaj out of his hole, as he put it. But Shivaji was alert and he stayed put at Pratapgad, a fort in the dense jungles of Javali, a fort near Mahabaleshwar hill station now. Slowly Khan drew up nearer and nearer to Shivaji.
At the opportune moment, Maharaj wrote a letter to Afzal Khan and agreed to meet him. But he had his own terms and conditions. They would meet at the foothills of Pratapgad. Accompanied by a few bodyguards and no one else. Khan felt that Shivaji Maharaj was afraid of him and so he agreed.
And this meeting took place on 10th November, 1659
And the rest is history!
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jay!
JAY BHAVANI! JAY SHIVAJI!
Am sharing the Powada of Afzal Khan vadh. We all have heard it in the movie “Mi Shivaji Raje Bhosale Boltoy” प्रतापगडाच्या पायथ्याशी खान …(३) आला बेगुमान नाही त्याला जाण शिवाजी राजाच्या करामतिची त्याशी नाही जाणीव शक्तिची करील काय कल्पना युक्तिची हा जी जी जी …(३) महाराजानी निरोप घेतला …(२) अन दंडवत घातला भावानीला तसाच आई जिजाऊला वकुत ह्यो वंगळ त्यों कसला पानी आल आईच्या डोळ्याला अन सरदार लागला रडायला अहो हे हे हे सरदार तर रडतीलच पण हत्ती घोड़ शिव ना चार्याला अन गाई बघा लागल्या हम्बराया असला बेहुद वकुत आला दुश्मनाच्या गोटामधी चालला मराठ्याचा राजा अहो राजा हो जी र दाजी र जी जी …(३) खानाच्या भेटीसाठी …(२) महाराजानी एक शानदार शामियाना उभारला होता भेटीसाठी छान उभारीला नक्षीदार शामियान्याला अन अशा ह्या शामियान्यात खान डौलत डुलत आला …(२) सय्यद बंडा त्याच्या संगतीला शिवबाच्या संगती महाला म्हणतात ना होता जीवा म्हणुन वाचला शिवा राजाला पाहून खान म्हणतो आओ आओ शिवाजी आओ हमारे गले लग जाओ खान हाक मारीतो हसरी …(२) रोखून नजर गहिरीजी र जी जी … पण आपला राजा …(२) काही कच्च्या गुरुचा चेला नव्हता राजा गोर पहात त्याची न्यारी चाल चित्याची सावध भारी जी र जी जी … खानान राजाला आलिंगन दिल अन दगा केला खान दाबी मानी मान्याला …(२) कट्यारीचा वार त्यान केला …(२) गर खरा आवाज झाला चिलाखत व्हत अंगाला खानाचा वार फुका गेला खान यडबडला इतक्यात महाराजानी पोटामधी पिसवा ढकलला वाघनखांचा मारा केला हे टरटरा फाडल पोटाला हे तडा गेला खानाचा कोथळा बाहिर आला जी र जी जी …(३) प्रतापगडाचे युद्ध जाहले …(३) रक्त सांडले पाप सारे गेले पावन केला क्रुष्णेचा घाट …(२) लावली गुलामिची हो वाट …(२) मराठे शाहिचा मांडला थाट हो जी जी …(३)
The shlok uttered by Arjun, the disciple of God, talks about Him being the Creator of everything that you and me can see, hear, feel or touch with our senses, again created by Him and he offers a 1000 salutations to Him again and again.
You are Vāyu (the god of wind), Yamraj (the god of death), Agni (the god of fire), Varuṇ (the god of water), and Chandra (the moon-God). You are the creator Brahma, and the great-grandfather of all beings. I offer my salutations unto you a thousand times, again and yet again!
Have purposely taken this shlok today to celebrate the coming of my elder brother, my teacher, the creator of Swadhyay Parivaar, the recipient of Ramon Magasaysay Award for Community Leadership of 1996, the John Templeton prize for Progress in Religion of 1997 and the Padma Vibhusan, the second highest civilian honour in India of 1998, Param Poojaniya Pandurang Shahtriji Athavale ( Dadaji, as he is widely known to Swadhyayees). We celeberate His birthday as Manushya Gaurav Din, “Human Dignity Day“.
It is His 100th birthday and today we sit at His feet, trying to understand His thoughts and His work and His experiments on humanity. The work of human upliftment. Instilling a sense of gratitude towards God, society and self, He has guided millions of people, mainly Indians, across the world.
In the early 1920’s, a feast in the temple in a village of Roha, situated in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. The rituals have just finished and people rush towards the area designated for lunch. The Gods have been offered a “bhog” which will be distributed as “Prasad” amongst the devotees. Some people wait at the steps of the temple for the Prasad. A few moments later, the head priest of the temple emerges from temple onto the steps with a few leaf – plates in hand and some morsels of food in it. He throws them onto the group of people waiting there who just grab it and eat out from them. It is an intriguing sight. A boy, very small, is watching this from not so long a distance and feels that something is wrong. He questions, “Why are these people being treated in this inhumanely manner? How come they do not feel bad being treated in this manner?”
The same boy after a few days, asks his grandfather the reason for taking a bath after returning from the so called downtrodden slum after teaching them the Dnyaneshwari. Laxmanraoji, a Brahmin scholar by himself, used to go regularly to the slums and teach the Dnyaneshwari to the people living there. A time when even the shadow of these people falling on oneself was considered inauspicious, he on his own went there and sat amongst them and taught them Dnyaneshwari, which in itself was very revolutionary. But keeping the sentiments of his community in mind, after returning would take a bath and then enter the house. On being explained this, the boy asked a pointed question to his grandfather, “If it is God who has made us all, how can they be down trodden? If God resides in us all, then how can they be considered inauspicious?”
After a few years, the boy is now in his youth, and has come to Mumbai to live with his parents. He has taken up reading at the Asiatic library. One monsoon evening after the library closed, he went and sat at the shores of Gateway of India. The waters of the Arabian Sea have swelled up due to the strong winds. A fisherman in his small boat is trying to balance his boat by resisting those winds and waves and trying hard to sail and save himself. The youth thinks to himself “What a brave man! Just look at the amount of energy he has. And people blame him and his society and look down upon them for all the vices. But if someone sits near this person and makes him realise his strengths and that God resides within him, then he can do anything which people feel is impossible for him to do.”
This youth today has transformed many lives and societies and has given them a self identity. He is none other than Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale, fondly called Dadaji, whose 100th birthday, is being celebrated by the Swadhyay Parivaar today.
An activist philosopher, who has not only propounded , but lived the philosophy of Indwelling God and Universal Brotherhood under the Fatherhood of God. These are not mere concepts, but today have become a way of living for many, who call themselves, Swadhyayees. These thoughts have changed the lives of many a people and society as a whole.
To imbibe and practise these two concepts Dadaji has given a small experiment, amongst his many experiments, a prayer, called Trikaal Sandhya, meaning to remember God, 3 times a day. He calls it an Atom Bomb. A householder might find it difficult to remember God at every instant, but he can do so at atleast 3 important junctures of his everyday life. First, in the morning, when he awakes. God gives us back our memory which we had forgotten when we slept. “SMRUTIDAAN“. Second during lunch/dinner time, when we eat our food and that converts to energy. God is there to oversee this process. “SHAKTIDAAN“. And at night, when God takes away all the thoughts from our mind, so we can sleep well. “SHANTIDAAN“. Being grateful to God slowly helps in experiencing the nearness of God and oneness with God. At the same time it develops an understanding, that what He does to me, He does unto others. So the other is not other. The other may not be related to me by blood, but we are related by the same maker of blood, God. So other is my divine brother. It’s a chain reaction which spread slowly Trikaal Sandhya being the neutron bombarded on the Human, the uranium atom.
This prayer, for you my readers, might sound like another ritual. But it is not so. If done with an understanding, it creates wonders. There are umpteen examples of what started as a ritual, but on understanding brought in transformation. A tobacco addicted man used to say it everyday. One fine morning, he thought that when I say “करमध्ये तू गोविंद ” meaning God resides in my palm, it means that when I rub tobacco on my palm, I rub it into Him. Now this thought changed his whole understanding and he left tobacco that moment itself. Yes, you may ask that this must be taking time. It does. It is slow and gradual, but permanent. And what if he never realises his folly? Then too it’s fine. He may change in his next life.
Let’s also talk about the transformation in the lives of the fisherman folk whom I mentioned about at the beginning of my blog. Dadaji went to them, into their houses and sat with them. He told them to identify themselves and live a dignified life. He told them “You are from the lineage of Vyas and Valmiki. Then why do belittle yourselves? You are following your father’s profession. ( आ पाप नो नहीं, तारा बाप नो धंधो छे।)” Instilling this self identity in them, the fisherman folk today see their lives change and transform. Dadaji calls them “सागरपुत्र”, the sons of the ocean. The relations that Dadaji built with them and their families is unparalled in the recent history. Similar is the case with the other castes and classes. In this modern world, where caste systems are still predominant amongst the society, people from the upper caste go to the houses of the outcastes ( called untouchables). Not only go to their houses, but live with them and share food with them. All this has been possible by a mind boggling thought of Indwelling God i.e. God resides in everyone.
Dadaji has stressed upon building relations. He says when you go to meet a person, first listen to what the person has to say. This is the stepping stone of any relation. Hear them out. You first relate with them. We do not go to them to change them, or give any advice to them or interfere in their ways of living. But we go to them as they too are sons of the same God who takes care of us. We are divine brothers. And It is believed that Dadaji himself has cultivated such relations with more than a lac families personally, transcending caste, class and creed. It’s mind blowing to see a philosopher so down to earth and ready to mingle with the common man.
His experiments of Yogeshwar Krushi, Matsyagandha, Vrikshmandir, Shreedarshanam, Loknath Amrutalayam to name a few amongst the many have brought about transformation in village and society as a whole. It is an alternative society in the already prevailing one. A society with no vices but just pure love and warmth for each other. A society of selfless relationships. It all sounds like an utopia, but one needs to see it to believe it.
But the crux of all this is the transformation of Humanity with God at it’s centre. The change in the individual. The change not through beheading but through the changing of the thoughts in ones minds and brain. This is true revolution. And so Dadaji’s birthday is celebrated as Human Dignity Day. His human centric life is always like a lighhouse in the vast ocean.
Even today his thoughts and methodology are the same which were at the onset of His Godly effort. The family spread across 6 continents and many countries works in the same way everywhere. This universal approach has been a guiding spirit to Swadhyayees through Dadaji’s daughter, Pujaniya Jayshree Athavale – Talwalkar (Didiji). She works with the same understanding as that of Dadaji’s and guides every Swadhyayee to work with the same spirit. As every year, even this year Swadhyayees are meeting their family, friends and relatives with this thought of God to build God centric selfless relations.
So, today Swadhyayees aptly celebrate Dadaji’s birthday as Human Dignity Day – Manushya Gaurav Din.
Wishing you all and your families a very Happy Human Dignity Day.
Today I want to express my gratitude to all my students, past and present who have cooperated with us during all these times. With you all being there has always kept us young and always in the mode of learning.
I dont why but I always wanted to be Teacher,
My parents despised this decision in worry of my future,
The idea of learning, all negativity to withstand,
Is the driving force of my passion, hope all understand…
The smiling face of my kids with questions ready,
Thir opening up with their likes, though slow and steady,
Their dislikes too need to be understood and heard,
So that they do not become the part of the herd…
I just love the days that I spend with my students,
Kids they are, facile, not a hint of fraudulence,
They make me noble and drive out my aggresion
For that’s the reason, that am a teacher by profession…
Wishing all the Indians a very Happy 74th Independence Day.
On this day, I first bow down to God as He is the one who got India, Her independence. You, my reader, may ask me, How come God gave India independence? What was His role in it? How come you Indians always get God involved in everything? On the onset let us clarify this point as such. Yes, God is always a part of my writings and our Indian thought cause we believe that we exist because of him. Not only us but the whole creation exists because of Him. And yes we can logically prove that India got independence according to His wishes. Also at this point I should clarify that this thought has been imbibed in me by Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale. The World War II ended on a victorious note for Great Britain and it’s allies. Winston Churchill, the then prime minister, had led his country to victory through one of the toughest wars. It was he who has given the world the sign of Victory as “V”. He had kept up the high morale of the British troops and citizens during the war. The elections were due that same year and after this victory Churchill coming back to power was a foregone conclusion. But the results were surprising. Labour party with Clement Atlee as its head came to power. Labour was of the view of granting independence to British colonies including India. Winston Churchill’s idea and arrogance about India and Indians is well known to us by now. Now how did this happen? How did the electorate change its mind? I feel that God must have changed their minds. God had his own expectations from India, that let Her be free and guide the world over. (Have we been successful in living upto His expectations? is another question). Thus I first bow down to God.
I secondly bow down to the people who left their careers, families and laid down their lives for the independence of our country. My young readers in today’s times, it is difficult for us to imagine the situation or the battle at that time. Whom were we fighting against? A nation on whom the sun never set. Yet these people (freedom fighters) just selflessly offered themselves to the country without expecting. anything in return. Neither success, nor an expectation from Indians to remember their sacrifice. They just jumped into the burning fire of the independence struggle. A 16/17 year kid, Khudiram Bose, went to the gallows with a smile on his face. One 65/70 year man, Lala Lajpat Rai accepted the brunt of the English batons and gave up his life. A youth of an age of 30/35, Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Sawarkar, accepted a two 50 year sentence in jail with a question “Will British Raj rule India for that much time?”. Our heads are held high even today while taking the names of Bhagatsingh, Rajguru and Sukhdev for their supreme sacrifice. Tatya Tope, Mangal Pandey, Vasudeo Balwant Phadke, Chandrasekhar Azad, Ramprasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipinchandra Pal, these and many other names make us feel a sense of pride. Let us also not forget the women power of India. Their participation too was to the fullest. Rani Laxmibai, Kittur Rani Chenamma, Kalpana Dutt, Aruna Asaf Ali and many such brave women participated actively in this fight. We can go on and on with these names, but we will just pause here and now bow down to all the known and unknown freedom fighters.
Thirdly I bow down to the person who unified India, as it exists now, and for that he travelled to every nook and corner of India. He is called the Chanakya of Modern India. He integrated more than 500 big and small kingdoms into India with love and understanding and persuasion. Those which could not be pursuaded through understanding and love were then integrated in the way and language they understood well. The person is none other than, the most ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. If Congress was strong then, ready to listen to and follow the Gandhian way, it was because of Vallabhbhai Patel who went around meeting person to person, village to village, city to city to propogate the ideas and ideals of Congress then. It does not matter whether we honour this great man with Bharat Ratna (the highest civilian honour in India), but he is truly a gem produced by Mother India. It is with utmost sadness, Will we be able to understand the sacrifices this man has made? is a question that I leave to my reader to ponder over. Does India know the living generations of his family? The behaviour / treatment with the family of this great martyr makes one think, that did we fight for this? He did not have any expectations, agreed. But the question is that do we have any responsibility towards people like Sardar?
As the day is of celebrations, so is the day to sit back and think about a few things. Where do we stand? Where does Bharat stand today in the world? Are we the torch bearers of humanity for the world? Will only technological development and strong economic policy make us one? There was a time when the world recognised Bharat for its spiritual doctrines and borrowed from them. Swami Vivekanand and Gurudev Aurobindo were it’s guiding light. We had selfless social workers in Vinoba Bhave and Ravishankar Maharaj (Gujarat) who tirelessly worked towards the betterment of the society as a whole. Where are we today? Lest someone understand am against technological development, let me clarify that am not. But only technological development is not going us to lead unto overall development. Don’t we feel that we are taking care of just one part of the developmental process and ignoring others? We, Bharatiya will have to think holistically. That will help us regain our prosperity and respect. We will have to change the way we think. Will have to imbibe love and emotions for our country through our education system. If we do this today, then we will be able to see it’s fruits a few years later, cause change is slow.
Today we need to inculcate one’s love for his country and the pride of being an Bharatiya amongst all of us. We will have to study our true history for this. We will have to come out of the dogmas of left wingers and right wingers and think; write in that manner and live what we write and demonstrate. . त्यजेदेकं कुलस्यार्थे ग्रामस्यार्थे कुलं त्यजेत् । ग्रामं जनपदस्यार्थे आत्मार्थे पृथिवीं त्यजेत् ॥ (For the good of many, we will have to leave out one. For the good of the village we will have to leave out many. For the good of our country we will have to leave our village. And for self development and realisation, leave this worldly pleasures) We all have to rise above the narrow mindedness of selfishness, victory and listen to each and every citizen of India. We do not know, who will be guided by the God’s to suggest or speak the truth!
We will have to take all our decisions keeping Bharat and Her greatness in mind. We have done this before. The best example is our constituent assembly consisting of people coming from different areas, thoughts and leanings. Yet, for India, they all discussed, argued, debated and made unanimous decisions. Every person should know that it is his responsibility, our responsibility to run this country in a proper manner. To take care of it and to carry it forward on the path of progress is my responsibility, our responsibility. The day we realise this and are able to do this, will be the day when we will be democratic and independent in its true sense.
And for this, we will have to reach out to every nook and corner of Bharat. Reach out selflessly to each and every Bharatiya and develop a relationship based on love for our country. Will have to rekindle the fire of Spirituality with love and affection. That will be the rise of true nationalism. From that day onwards, India will again be a true torch bearer of humanity.
My readers, if we are unable to do this, let us all be helpful to people who are into it. If not helpful, let us appreciate the people who are trying to do it.
On this 74th Independence day, let us all pledge to contribute to Bharat in our own small ways, so that our Bharatmata would be happy and would also bless us with Her most valuable blessings.
Intelligence plus Character – that is the goal of true education
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Education means to inculcate good qualities in Human Beings.
Education makes a human being.
Education, today, is bread oriented. It teaches a person to become a good engineer, a good doctor, a good Chartered Accountant. But it does not teach the human being to be a good father or a good son.
They learn from their teachers less and parents more.
Actually when I think that education should imbibe qualities in a human being, in todays context, it becomes quite impossible to do all the things that is expected of it. As kids stay at school for just 6 to 7 hours. The rest of the hours, the kids are at home.
Do parents complement todays education?
Do they give such an atmosphere that the child can grow and develop?
It is always easy to pass on the blame than take it on us. But today we need to think about what we are doing as parents. Paying up the school and class fees just does not suffice.
Spending time with kids and playing with them is also a very important part of their life and upbringing. I still remember my grandmother, my neighbour telling me stories of Ram and Krishna in my childhood days and they have played a big role in shaping my thoughts and life. My mother was always there for me and always helping me find new and new books. She not only inculcate the habit of reading in me, she thought me my mother tongue,(Gujarati) as I studied in a Convent school. I see my wife doing the same for our kids.
After all this, it is also the atmosphere the child stays in and takes decision of what to pick up and what not. He needs guidance even there, and we peers need to be present at all such times.
So, in all, education begins at home and should continue in school and society.
And it is not only the responsibility of the school or school teachers only. Only thing is that we all need to play our part sincerely and honestly. This would help us all to make good citizens and better human beings.
The next part is that education removes vices. Was thinking over it that how can education have a negative definition; actually it should have been education means one which draws out the hidden virtues with a person.
But sometimes to build a positive narrative, we need to understand its opposing negative part. This helps in making our understanding about a subject as a whole.
We begin with a simple vice, laziness. Who doesnt love to be lazy? But it is not a virtue at all. I still remember my dad switching on all the lights of the house early even on a sunday or even in vacation. I didnt like it then, but thank him now at my age for imbibing the quality of diligence, at that age, which is helping me now. Now I feel that early morning schools are always a better option than afternoon schools as they leave the whole day free for kids to play and study.
Let us take another one like anger. But the educationists need to talk about patience and compassion. Patience is the key to success. It is the impatience in today’s lives that is the root cause of major problems in our lives. We need to be taught to learn to be patient. “Jam yesterday, Jam tomorrow, but no Jam today” – is a sentence we all will remember learning at school or home. Compassion comes with maturity, but that is possible if one has learnt to patient.
We can go on discussing many such vices which need to be substituted with a virtue, for example greed – generosity, pride – modesty / humility, jealousy – gratitude and so on.
Now we come to our question that does today’s education helps us do this or rather makes us do this? The clear answer is NO.
Frankly today education has nothing to do with character building, it is just career – making and bread oriented. Ethics and values do not form a part of the curriculum. Economics goes to the extent of saying ethics has no part to play in economics. Now if this is the state of education in our country, why expect loyalty or ethical behaviour in our society.
So we need to find a solution to this. Right now the onus is on the parents to impart value education to their kids which sometimes is overlooked in case of working parents or parents having only a money-minded attitude. Also the society as a whole need to sit back and think about this.
Let us, parents and teachers, together find a solution to this
Let us draw out the hidden qualities with our child so that he / she can become a better son / daughter, a better father / mother , a better brother / sister and so on…
And that is the reason I began my blog with Swamiji’s sentence that these things are already there inside, we need to draw them out…
9th August 1942 – Quit India movement was launched
9th August 1925 – This is an important date in the independence fight of India against the British.
Members of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) looted the government treasury from the mail train near Kakori, 22km away from Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
The members of this association were keen on not only throwing but uprooting the British rule from India, through an armed struggle.
The idea of this robbery was the brainchild of Ramprasad Bismil. It was not for money that they planned this lot but to make the government at that time aware about the problems of the Indian people and their cry for self rule. Agreed that the path taken by revolutionaries was not approved by many Indians, and so they did not support HSRA in any way. So our history teaches us that they did this robbery out of need of money. But people who have decided to die for the independence of India, would loot the train for money is something which does not appeal my mind and conscience.
People involved in this plan were Ramprasad Bismil, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ashfaqullah Khan, Keshab Chakravarty, Sachindra Bakshi, Murari Sharma, Mukundi Lal, Manmathnath Gupta and Banwari Lal.
On 9 August 1925, the Number 8 Down Train travelling from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow was approaching the town of Kakori (now in Uttar Pradesh), when one of the revolutionaries pulled the emergency chain to stop the train and subsequently overpowered the guard. It is believed that they looted that specific train because it was carrying the money bags which belonged to the Indians and was being transferred to the British government treasury. They looted only these bags (which were present in the guards’ cabin and contained more than 100,000 rupees) and escaped to Lucknow.
More than 40 people were arrested from all over India and sent to trial.
Ram Prasad Bismil and some others were charged with various offences, including robbery and murder. Fifteen people had been released due to lack of evidence and a further five had escaped, two of them — Ashfaqullah Khan and Sachindra Bakshi—were captured after the trial.
Chandrasekhar Azad, reorganised the HRA in 1928 and operated it till 27 February 1931, the day he died in a heroic act in Allahabad. On the day, He was surrounded by police and after a long shootout, holding true to his pledge to never be captured alive, he shot himself dead with his last bullet on 27 February 1931 at Chandrasekhar Azad Park, Allahabad.
Charges pressed against a further four men were dropped. Damodar Swarup Seth was discharged due to illness, while Veer Bhadra Tiwari, Jyoti Shankar Dixit and Shiv Charan Lal have been suspected of providing information to the authorities. Two other individuals – Banwari Lal and Indu Bhushan Mitra came to be approvers in return for a lenient sentence.
The punishments given were as follows:
Death sentence: Ram Prasad Bismil, Thakur Roshan Singh, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Ashfaqullah Khan
Deportation to Kala Pani (Port Blair Cellular Jail, Andaman and Nicobar Islands): Sachindranath Sanyal and Sachindranath Bakshi
I have purposely highlighted the people who were sentenced and their sentences as the kids today do not know about all this. NO books of history teaches us all this. We do remember different occasions today, but do not recall such events which also are proud moments in our fight for independence.
On this day, when we pay our respects to the people who does in the “Fat Boy” explosion at Nagasaki, or the people who gave their everything for Quit India,
Let us also remember all those who lead and fought an armed struggle for the Independence of our Motherland.
To draw out questions, to draw out vices in life and to draw out the already imbibed yet undrawn (hidden) qualities in a human being.
Keeping in context with the above definition, let us have a fair discussion about the same. First I raise a few questions.
Does our Education encourage curiosity?
Does our Education remove the vices from our life?
Does our education inculcate good qualities in us?
There can be many questions but I will stick to the above mentioned three.
Curiosity (the art of asking questions) is an inborn characteristic of a human being. It is out of curiosity, that human kind has developed and progresses to where it is. From the Stone age to the artificial intelligence age, it is this curious nature which has kept the humankind going and growing.
It is this curiosity which helped man discover the art of lighting a fire to lighting a bulb.
It is this curiosity which helped humankind, transcend the shackles of earth and even the solar system and move beyond it.
It is this curiosity that helped him looked outside as well as inside.
It is this curiosity which helped him to move to broad mindedness from narrow mindedness.
Does today’s education do this? The plain answer is yes and no both. The courses are designed in such a way that they do support a few questions coming to our minds. The teachers are well trained but do not have the time to answer each and every query of their students as they need to finish their portion in a stipulated time. So this acts as a hindrance in teaching.
Some schools, I have seen do not cover the whole portion and do a few chapters during the year, so at least the topics that are taught are taught nicely and at length. But then the other parts not covered are left behind, so the students missed out being exposed to them.
Also students learn in language that they do not speak at home. They think in their mother tongue and learn and write in another language which again psychologically possess a big problem. The problem of finding correct words to express themselves possess a problem due to lack of knowledge of words. At the same time we also know that learning different languages from a small age helps a lot. I know from my own example that from my childhood days, I was exposed to Gujarati (my mother tongue), Marathi, Hindi and English (my medium of learning). Later was exposed to French, Urdu and Kutcchi (a local dialect). Due to this it has helped me communiacte easily with people around me and understand them too.
According to psychologists there are 5 dimensions of curiosity:
1. Joyous Exploration – this is the prototype of curiosity – the recognition and desire to seek out new knowledge and information, and the subsequent joy of learning and growing.
2. Deprivation Sensitivity – this dimension has a distinct emotional tone, with anxiety and tension being more prominent than joy – pondering abstract or complex ideas, trying to solve problems, and seeking to reduce gaps in knowledge.
3. Stress Tolerance – this dimension is about the willingness to embrace the doubt, confusion, anxiety, and other forms of distress that arise from exploring new, unexpected, complex, mysterious, or obscure events.
4. Social Curiosity – wanting to know what other people are thinking and doing by observing, talking, or listening in to conversations.
5. Thrill seeking – the willingness to take physical, social, and financial risks to acquire varied, complex, and intense experiences.
It is education which will help us inculcate these 5 dimensions in ourselves and our kids. The pshycologisys further go on to say that from their experiments, they have found evidence of 4 types of curious people:
1. The Fascinated – high on all dimensions of curiosity, particularly Joyous Exploration
2. Problem Solvers – high on Deprivation Sensitivity, medium on other dimensions
3. Empathizers – high on Social Curiosity, medium on other dimensions
4. Avoiders – low on all dimensions, particularly Stress Tolerance
So now let’s decide how we want to be? How do we want to mould our life and that of our kids? And how can education help us with all this.
पापान्निवारयति योजयते हिताय गुह्यं निगूहति गुणान् प्रकटीकरोति | आपद्गतं च न जहाति ददाति काले सन्मित्रलक्षणमिदं प्रवदन्ति सन्ताः ||
Meaning – Wise and noble persons have pronounced that the symptoms of a true friend are that he prevents us from committing sinful deeds and urges us to do things that are advantageous to us, keeps our secrets and brings out our virtues and qualities, does not desert us when we face misfortune, and helps us whenever we are in need of any help.
Do we get to meet such a friend today? And if we meet, will we keep such a friend? Need to ask this question as we every year in India celebrate the first sunday of August as friendship day.
We do give promises to each other but do we keep them? We make promises of being there always in life and death, but do we keep them? Do such friendships truly exist? Yes, they do.
The love and affection of Ram in his friendship with Sugreeva is something unimaginable today. Ram not only befriends the left out Sugreeva, but also gets his wife and kingdom back for him. Their bond of friendship is such that Sugreeva on learning that Rama is giving up his life in the waters of Sarayu, enthrones Angad, and joins Rama and enters Sarayu with him.
So we have many such ideals in front of us as a part of our history (though many foolishly call it mythology). We need to find them out, study them and learn to live like them.
On this day, let us try to find such a friend in our lives who is true. He / she may be only one but we need to have one true friend.
Wishing all my readers a very Happy Friendship Day…
We began the quest to know oneself in the last blog. Furthering the cause to know oneself, we move a step ahead today.
We will sit at the feet of the great Guru of mankind and try and learn from Him.
Jagadguru Shankaracharya answers this question in His own way. The following 6 verses are together known as Atmashtak or Nirvanashtak. It is His own way and philosophy of non-dualism emphasized and explained in the 6 verses. It’s one of the best ashtaks I have heard (though my reading and understanding about the vast Vedic literature has its limitations).
मनोबुद्ध्यहंकार चित्तानि नाहं
न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे ।
न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 1 ।।
Mano Buddhi Ahankara Chitta Ninaham
Nacha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghrana Netre
Nacha Vyoma Bhoomir Na Tejo Na Vayu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham – 1.
I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego,
nor the reflections of inner self (chitta).
I am not the five senses.
I am beyond that.
I am not the ether, nor the earth,
nor the fire, nor the wind .
I am indeed,
That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva,
love and pure consciousness.
न च प्राणसंज्ञो न वै पंचवायुः,
न वा सप्तधातुः न वा पञ्चकोशः ।
न वाक्पाणिपादौ न चोपस्थपायु,
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 2 ।।
Na Cha Prana Samjno Na Vai Pancha Vayu
Na Va Saptadhatur Na Va Pancha Koshah
Na Vak Pani Padau Na Chopastha Payu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham – 2.
Neither can I be termed as energy (Prana),
nor five types of breath (vayus),
nor the seven material essences,
nor the five coverings (pancha-kosha).
Neither am I the five instruments of elimination,
procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking.
I am indeed,
That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva,
love and pure consciousness.
Jagadguru goes in to explain every detail in the remaining 4 verses. Would love if my readers would make an effort to find them out and learn them. As it a quest, we have to make efforts for it too.
And he made His image in his dearest creation, the Human!
He bestowed upon his son the best of His blessings in the form of Intellect, Money, Power and Name.
He started using his Intellect, started gaining knowledge, got a lot of money and power. People started knowing him and calling him. His arrogance and ego grew. He started questioning his very own Creator. He didn’t realise that he has started questioning his own existence.
This is the time when the Mother Goddess ‘Maya‘ struck him.
Slowly, she engulfed the little human into her arms and he too lost himself in her, forgetting all his responsibilities and goals of life.
He forgot even himself and his Creator.
He lived in this world of illusion.
The question arose in his mind, Who am I?
One fine day, a Human Being descended on Earth.
Lived a life full of God’s blessings but didn’t entangle himself in the worldly pleasures.
He looked for his Father and looked here and there.
Around him he saw nothing but illusion.
He looked within and lo behold! he found Him! His Creator.
Sitting quietly in his heart and waiting to talk.
As the man sat back and talked, Maya decided that her days are now over and left.
The Human is no one now, but a pure and an infinite soul, a universal soul…