Jeevan Vigyan : The Science of Living
- The Building of a Spiritual cum Scientific Personality
- Efficiency of Working
- New Dimensions of Education
- The Resolve to build a healthy Society
What and Why?
Man has been progressively developing ever since the earliest times. There are three developmental dispositions in him : Jigyasa (desire to know, inquire, investigate), Bubhusha (desire to be or become anything), and Chikirsha (desire to make or do or perform). Man has Jigyasa. At times he wants to discover new facts. He has Chikirsha. He wants to do something.
Man wants to remake himself, wants to become something. These three dispositions have helped the various stages of development. Today development has reached a very high stage for which education has been chiefly instrumental.
Education has been the chief determinant of all development. The basic means of education is practice. Nowadays we have forgotten this basic meaning. Today by education we mean studying. Now the practice is of two kinds : that meant for acquiring and that meant for properly using. Acquiring or knowing is also proper education but it is not all of education. Putting to proper use what one has acquired or learnt is an important part of education. These sequential stages are as true of religious education as of mental education.
Today religion is repeatedly faced with the question : Why is it not being effective?
A man went to a hermit and asked him, “Why is religion so ineffective these days?”
The Hermit asked :”How far is the King’s palace from here?”
The man answered :”Two hundred miles.”
“Do you know it ?”
“Yes I do”
“Have you actually got here?”
“How could I? I am right here. I can’t get there unless I go there.”
At this point, the hermit said : “Now you’ve got the answer to your question. You know the Kings palace but you can’t get there unless you proceed in the right direction. The same is true of religion also. People do know what religion is but unless they act accordingly to its precepts – unless they advance towards it – religion will have no effect on them.”
There is an analogous story of great significance. A disciple went to his guru and said : “Gurudev! Since times immemorial people have been trying to know why religion proves ineffective. The same question is troubling my mind today.”
The Guru knew the trends of the times. He said, “My son, go and bring a pitcher full of liquor.”
The disciple was amazed to hear the word liquor. He wondered what sort of demand it was. The guru and liquor! He was nonplussed.
The Guru repeated himself : “What’s the matter? Go and bring a pitcher full of liquor.”
The disciple went away and returned with a pitcher brimming over with liquor. Placing it before the guru he said : “I’ve obeyed your order.”
The Guru remarked : “Drink all of it.”
The disciple was amazed.
The Guru said : “Be careful. You have to take the liquor but without swallowing it you have to spit it out.”
The disciple began the exercise. He would take a mouthful of liquor and would at once spit it out. It did not take long for the pitcher to be empty. He went to the guru and informed him : “Gurudev, the whole pitcher has been emptied.”
“Did you get drunk or not?” the Guru asked him.
“Not in the least, Gurudev.”
“You say you have emptied a whole pitcher full of liquor and still you are not drunk.”
“Gurudev how could I get drunk when not a drop went down my throat?”
The guru said : “You have yourself answered the question asked earlier by you.”
” Don’t understand you.”
“Look. People practising a religion never internalize it. They do it superficially. In a manner of speaking, they never take it down to their throats but just spit it out. How then can religion have any impact on them? How can it intoxicate them?”
Education is proving ineffective these days as its process remains incomplete. The full process requires that on acquire it first and then put it to use, try it out in life. Know and experiment. But today the later part – using, experimenting – has been all but forgotten.
Patanjali was asked :”How can one control one’s mind?”
He replied :”In two ways : Practice and freedom from all worldly desires.”
Likewise, Arjun asked Lord Krishna : “How can the mind be controlled?”
Lord Krishna gave the same answer and said :”Parth, the mind can be controlled by practice and freedom from all worldly desires.”
In the present, we have given up practice-oriented education and have retained education confined to merely acquiring knowledge. This has lamed it and therefore it is not yielding the desired results. As we have seen, all three dispositions of man – Jigyasa, Bubhusha and Chikirsha – are mediated by education. All three are helped by education. In other words, the skill of doing something, the courage to change and become something and the ability to know and acquire something are the gifts of education. We should also know the respective scope of Jigyasa, Bubhusha and Chikirsha. The temporal and spatial context of these is also worthy of consideration since no thorough investigation into anything is possible in the absence of their knowledge.
There are four dimensions of education : Bodily development, mental development, intellectual development and emotional development. Between them, these four encompass everything related to the individuals’ development. In this context let us now consider the great present education – its successive stages and its methodology. It does not sound appropriate to call the present education system faulty. Anything operational is successful. If we want to examine the good and bad points of a thing, we will have to think of its results and achievements. Looking at the results of modern education, it cannot be said that its results are useless. The results we are getting are related to the type of education being given. It is producing good doctors, good engineers, lawyers, teachers – all of them expert in their respective fields. How can we say that the education field is faulty? When its achievements are combinable, how can we say that the education system is not good? This raises the problem – What after all is not good?
Our system of education is not a balanced one. In a balanced system of education, all four dimensions of personality development in a balanced manner. The body, the mind, the intellect and the emotions have all to be developed. Modern education stresses only two of these four dimensions, the physical and the intellectual. The other two are neglected. As a result, while there has been considerable development of the body and the intellect, mental and emotional development has been lagging behind. It has created an imbalance. Let us have a look at the achievements of this unbalanced system of education.
Today the educational institutions are facing many problems which are far too many in the case of colleges and universities than in primary schools. The problems grow intractable with the increase in intellectual development. How can we under these circumstances expect that the students be disciplined? Educational institutions, the family, the society all expect the students to be disciplined bad that they should have a good character. We want education to develop character discipline, restraint, and toleration. Somehow this is not happening. Modern education has nothing to offer for the students mental and emotional development. Our schools are full of teachers of physical exercise and yogic postures as well as of those who dole out enormous quantities of materials for intellectual development, but they have hardly anyone who can take care of the students mental and emotional development. The Government is not in the least worried about it, nor does the present system of education offer any method for solving the problem. We want to reap fruits without sowing the seeds and blame the system of education for everything. How surprising! It is a clear indication of topsy turviness.
What is happening today is that desirous of seeing due importance given to the character of the building and to discipline, but finding both neglected in practice, man feels relieved by laying all the blame on the system of education. He forgets that it is in vain to seek the effect when the cause is absent.
The Science of Living visualizes a balanced system of education. In fact, the Science of Living and the Balanced system of education are being used synonymously. And the word balanced is meant equal importance given to bodily and intellectual development on the other. It alone can make education balanced.
What are the facts involved in a balanced education?
The first fact is a balanced vital force (pran-dhara). The development and balance of the vital force are essential for mental and emotional development. It courses through two vessels – idaa (a tubular vessel – one of the principal channels of the vital spirit, that which is on the right side of the body) and pingala (the right of three tubular vessels which are the chief passages of air and breath). These names belong to Yoga philosophy. IN modern philosophical terms they are called parasympathetic Nervous System respectively. Unless these two flows of the vital breath (pran) are balanced, we cannot realize the ideal of the type of student we cherish. If the right course of the vital breath is hyperactive, the tendency to indulge in insolent and irresponsible behaviour as well as vandalism is roused. If on the other hand, the left course of the vital breath is hyperactive, the individual suffers from inferiority, fear and weakness. A balance between the two courses is vital for a balanced development of personality.
Modern medical science has established the truth that it is the left lobe of the human brain that is connected with all learning activities. Logic, mathematics and language are all related to the left lobe. Though scientists do not know everything about the brain, it has been proved that whereas the left lobe is responsible for the development of the intellect and of knowledge, it is the right lobe that determines spirituality, inner consciousness and all mental attitudes.
The modern malady lies in a disproportionate growth of the left lobe at the cost of its right counterpart. Otherwise over the development of on and retardation of another has created a serious imbalance.
The second fact involves in the Science of Living is the establishment of a biological balance.
The third is creating faith in one’s own competence. Man is unaware of his potentialities. From the point of view of philosophy infinite knowledge, power and joy inhere in man. Modern science reiterates the same hoary truth.
Some time back a technique of super learning was developed by Dr. Lopnov. It is based on applying the principle of man’s limitless capacity to learn. By applying it he made a pupil learn a thousand words even though at first the latter was reluctant to learn even five to ten words.
Science has proved that of his infinite potentialities man hardly uses five to ten percent. He who uses ten percent becomes great.
Through the Science of Living students have got to be made aware of their limitless competence and they have to be further made aware that it lies in their power to activate it.
Creating faith is a great achievement. The great historian Tounbee says that we face two questions concerning faith and bread. Faith without bread and bread without faith can both prove dangerous for us. We need both bread and faith. Again a balanced outlook is called for.
The fourth fact involved in the Science of Living is refinement, which has three forms : refinement of outlook, behaviour and feelings. Nations have risen and fallen according to these three refinements have been present or absent. Right outlook, right behaviour and right feelings are basic to all progress.
The Science of Living will have it as one of its important functions to effect these refinements in the students.
Here it will not be out of place to ask : What causes our outlook, behaviour and feelings to be vitiated? For this, it is necessary to know who or what the controller is. Scientific investigations have revealed that they are controlled by the hypothalamus and the endocrine glands, specifically, the pineal and the pituitary glands and the adrenal gland is affected by these two. We have to concentrate on the Hypothalamus first, which will refine the secretions of the endocrine glands and this, in turn, will refine our outlook, behaviour and feelings.
It is true that man’s outlook, behaviour and feelings are affected by outer circumstances also. but their influence is secondary to that of the secretions of the endocrine glands. While circumstances can be regarded as the instrumental cause, the secretions can be regarded as the material cause. The latter is more important than the former. An analogy might help. IN the case of an earthen pitcher, clay is the material cause and the potter and the wheel constitute the instrumental cause. While the latter is important, the former is much more so at the time the pitcher is being made.
To effect refinement is one of the functions of the Science of Living. We must be convinced that it is desirable. We see progression everywhere in the world. If we observe any stage of change we will notice progression there. On that basis, we can talk about the final stage. There can be nothing final where there is no progression. Indian philosophy has reflected on every element in the context of progression.
In every field, we can observe different kinds of progression. We have to size the point where refinement can be effective.
When a child first joins school he brings with him a certain state of progression. Education should bring about refinement in him. It is not our contention that Preksha Meditation alone can bring it about. What we are stressing is the need for affecting refinement.
When the human mind feels the need for refinement, the feeling itself is the outcome of the process of refinement. In this sense, the system of education must give utmost importance to the refinement of the student’s minds.
Viewed thus the science of Living :
- The balance of the vital force
- Establishment of biological balance
- Rousing faith in the individual’s potentialities
All this will yield results of four kinds :
- Bodily development
- Intellectual development
- Mental development
- Emotional development