Saturday, February 2, 2019

Vidhyabhyasavo? Vidhyabhasavo?

Author: Narasimha Bhatta 
English Translation: Mukundan, Hyderabad

Pursuit or Preposterousness of Vidyaa?

Prominence has been attributed in our Country to the pursuit and assimilation of Vidyaas not only today, but from times immemorial. The fact that respect and patronage that were witnessed in this regard during yester years, are being witnessed even today, reveals the global status of our country. We should offer salutations to our revered fore-fathers who have preserved and nurtured our Vidyaas. Whether they are retained with the same spirit? Have we contributed to its preservation? It may not be an unsavory conclusion if it is said that the present day Education is going awry.

The reason for this situation may only be attributed to the following:

Our Rishis of yore divined the answers to such fundamental questions as "What is Life?" What is the Goal of Life?" whereas we are engulfed in an illusion having lost the vision of our Seers.

We were all once a speck of that Divinity. Having assumed the state of Jiva, we have descended to the plane of Prakruti, after getting separated from Him, as per His Sankalpa. Our journey of Life started since then and this should continue and merge with its source. This full traverse along a circle was termed as Life. This is also the Goal of Life i.e. culmination at the origin. It should end at the source without losing oneself in the intervening beauty and pleasures of nature. We have to pursue Vidyaas for this purpose. If we are able to reach our source, only then it may be called Education in the real sense. If not, it is an illusion. Is our pursuit of knowledge as on today oriented towards this goal?

Raashtrakavi Kalidasa succinctly describes the lifestyle of the Emperors of the Raghuvamsha Clan as below:

"They assimilated Knowledge in childhood, spent their youth in sensory pleasures within the framework of wisdom gained through Vidyaa, pursued ascetic life as introverts in old age and embraced death in Yoga Samaadhi. Having fulfilled the requirements as called for in different stages of life, they attained the Supreme Goal. This is Life and Vidyaa is for this purpose. In contrast, as on today, we are neither able to assimilate wealth effectively, nor fulfill any worldly passions without gaining the requisite wisdom through education during childhood. Further, without performing penance in the third phase of Life, what else is possible in the fourth phase! We are facing a situation, wherein we are forced to take our last breath in agony, without experiencing pleasure, in any of the phases of life.

Nowadays Education is tailored and streamlined for a specific vocation, which serves to be a means of earning money. In the present day scenario, there is a meagre support or encouragement for an all-inclusive life. Whatever higher values of Life were embodied in the learning methodology in the past, have now been classified as extra-curricular education, which is seen to be imparted rarely to children. This confirms the state of delusion and preposterousness.

Jnaana is not symbolized by a book. Its concept is quite different. If producing a library of books were to represent Jnaana, everyone could become Jnaanis. Only when we are able to attain the level of our Rishis and understand the concept of the Vidyaas, we will be able to realize that the present-day education will not accord the much needed peace in life. "Vid Jnaane yaa praapane" - whichever culminates in the communion with the Lord, who is the embodiment of Jnaana is Vidyaabhyaasa in reality (pursuit of Vidyaa in the real sense). Anything other than this is definitely Vidyaabhaasa (absurdity or preposterousness of Vidyaa).

Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs