«Published Annually Vol. 6, No. 1 ISBN 978-0-979-7593-3-8 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS Sawyer School of Business, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts ...»
1. The education recognized two kinds of knowledge, para and apara as complimentary to one another. Para vidya is spiritual science and Apara vidya is material science. Spiritual science includes the science of the consciousness/self and the science of Supreme. The education recognized the basic tenets of Indian philosophy, like existence of eternal self which evolves to unfold towards divinity, the karma(cause and effect) theory and principle of reincarnation(rebirth). Material science includes knowledge about temporal body and the phenomenal world. This education has to be applied in the understanding of higher dimension of knowledge to transform our inner self. Without this link, the apara vidya or material science has no value. As Dr.
T.D. Singh puts it, “if apara vidya doesn’t help us to understand what is the most important duty of life, it becomes useless.” 38 Vedanta is considered the most advanced form of scientific and theological treatise of the spiritual and cultural heritage of India. It is the second and most important part of the Mimansa or third of the three great divisions of Hindu philosophy. The system although belonging to to the Mimansa, is also called the Uttara-Mimansa, Brahma-Mimansa or Sariraka Mimansa. [ Adapted from Sir Monier Monier-Williams, “Vedanta”, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Motilal Banarsi Das, c.1, p.1017] 39 Niskama karma is an effort centric action rather than result centric action. Niskama actions are performed intelligently as a duty for a higher cause without expecting rewards and maintaining equanimity under all circumstances.
40 Mundika Upanishad 1.2.12 Conference papers © Knowledge Globalization Institute, Pune, India, 2012
2. Central to education was the relation between teacher or guru and student or shisya.
The gurus were dedicated to their profession and were held in high esteem by their shisyas. Unlike today’s education where student pay tuition fees to register, formerly, a ceremony called upanayanam was conducted to establish the relation between guru and shisya. The guru wouldn’t accept gifts or dakshina(tution fees) without fully transforming the student. The student being motivated by such a teacher revered him for the rest of his life and took his complete blessings to accomplish success in life. A strong bond based on awe and respect was established between guru and shisya.
3. To facilitate the above, a gurukula atmosphere was provided. It was insulated from the buzz and chaos of town and cities and was close to nature. The education was not mechanical; hence there was no need for technological aids to impart knowledge.
Purity of mind, sense control, calmness and serene space, pollution free air, harmony with nature and revered bond with teacher and study based on observation, reflection and assimilation all these contributed to transformation of student. Overall the ancient gurukula system imparted experimental and experienced time tested knowledge which remained with the student to guide him through out his life’s journey beyond the purpose of economic necessities or similar immediate benefits.
5.4.2 Examples of Transformational teacher The ancient legends convey how the great Saintly teacher Narada, set the best example of a transformational teacher influencing all his students belonging to different groups and background and different era to become transformational teacher themselves proving that transformational teacher can be made and that they needn’t necessarily be born.
Following are some examples:
1. In the Skanda Purana there is a wonderful narration about a hunter named mrgari who became the most enlightened personality after he accepted saint Narada as his teacher. As a hunter, he used to pierce several innocent animals of the forest with an arrow and make them half-dead. He derived pleasure in watching them cry in pain. Sage Narada while passing through forest was disturbed to see the crying animals and confronted with the hunter, knowing him to be the cause. While the hunter proceeded to abuse Sage Narada, he was unable to do it when he saw the sage face to face. Without his knowledge he was naturally attracted to the sage. Subsequently the Sage instructed the hunter, on the laws of nature that even the uncivilized has to pay a price for giving unnecessary pain to any living entity. The hunter revealed his survival problems as the cause behind such sinful acts. Subsequently the sage accepted the hunter as his student and guided him to engage in civilized occupation for survival. After a year when sage Narada along with his friend sage Parvata visited former’s student(hunter), he was pleased to see the hunter imparting knowledge of spiritual science to another group of tribal people who had become his followers. The transformation of hunter was also manifested externally when to receive his guru(sage Narada), he would remove the ants on his path with his hands and place them in another path. Thus he totally avoided killing other living entities.
2. In another era, we learn how Valamiki in his earlier days was a dacoit and plunderer. He used to kill innocent people on the road and rob them. One day by chance he met sage Narada and by his association he was rectified. Subsequently he became student of sage Narada and received sacred knowledge for self development, which he meditated on for several years. He was transformed to such an extent that he became fully self realized and wrote the great epic Ramayana which epitomized morality and ethics that even today this epic is quoted for ethical and moral direction.
Besides the above, we also have rajarshis (self-realized kings) like King Janaka and King Bali from ancient India who got transformed through mediation on self for several years and subsequently excelled in their duties as a king. From other eastern traditions we have Mahavira, Buddha, Guru nanak, Confucius and Lao Tzu who were transformational universal teachers emphasizing education’s purpose primarily to transform the inner self in a student and thereby developing a personality exhibiting an universal outlook through inner transformation.
41 from Puranas and scriptures based on ancient traditions 42 Narada was a great transformational teacher of ancient Vedic era. His famous student was Srila Vyasadeva who is known as the original teacher of Vedic literatures who compiled Vedic literatures comprising all four divisions of Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata and in whose honor every year gurupurnima (a day when pupils offer special respect to their teachers as an expression of their gratitude) is celebrated all over India.
From the above discussions we get a clue that real transformation involves self evolution leading to transformation of inner self and it has positive impact in our entire disposition. It also means continual forward growth of a personality unfolding towards divinity or developing godly qualities. This can be best understood by the analogy of bud blooming into flower. When a bud starts blooming, intermittently it doesn’t shrink back to become bud again as per laws of nature, but grows further to become a flower. This is real transformation of bud into flower where the impact of closed bud is lesser(different) than the impact of fully bloomed flower. The complete flower carries complete aroma, attracts the bees and beautifies the surroundings, creating a pleasant atmosphere which is not so with the bud. This analogy indicates that a transformation based on forward self growth is genuine and it will always have a higher or better impact than a lesser transformational stage. If the impact is inconsistent or it varies in terms of high and low, then it is not a real transformation but a relative one. Subsequently the relative transformational leadership based on different moral reasoning conditioned by country and culture cannot be practiced at universal level. As an example such a situation can possibly arise during student exchange program or faculty exchange program. The impact of such a transformational teacher will be restricted and therefore this relative approach of transformational leadership is narrow and conditional.
Under the circumstances it would be appropriate to have a glimpse of ancient knowledge to build a real transformational teacher who by virtue of developed consciousness(inner self growth) is internally awakened to nurture his end values like integrity and influence her/his students positively beyond their culture and group identity. This transformation is not based on external stimulus of what is moral or ethical but the stimulus arises within to develop favorable virtues in order to realize his self and benefit his followers in the same spirit of benefiting his own self.
Transformation of inner self is ‘real transformation’ because ‘real’ or ‘eternality’ or ‘existence’ is the property or characteristic of self. The attribute ‘real’ ideally is a prerogative of self.
“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.” BG. 2.16 And consciousness is the symptom of self(soul or life particle).
According to Vedanta, consciousness is the living energy and the fundamental quality of life particle and it is purely spiritual.
The ontological nature of consciousness is non-physical. It is the source of all our knowledge and experience. (Singh TD, 2004) As per Vedanta, our life in its entire dimension can be perceived by understanding different components of existence like body, senses, mind, intellect and the self and the natural constitutional hierarchy of the different components is expressed in
“The working senses are superior to dull matter, mind is higher than the senses, intelligence is still higher than the mind, and he(the soul) is even higher than the intelligence.” B.G. 3.42 Therefore the growth of each one is ultimately depended on the development of the self (Consciousness) as it is situated on the top of the hierarchy or forms the root of our existence.
Although a bud appears shrunken, it has the potential to bloom into a flower.
Human consciousness has similar potential. So, human beings have the innate ability to develop their consciousness to an almost unlimited extent, up to the point of knowing the Absolute Truth. Consciousness continues to evolve in this way until it reaches fully bloomed state (T.D. Singh, 2004) Conference papers © Knowledge Globalization Institute, Pune, India, 2012 At this stage a human being is considered completely transformed. He becomes a touch stone for his followers who are attracted, inspired and motivated by his good virtues.
To attain this fully bloomed state, it is essential to sincerely inquire into nature of self, practice regulated spiritual discipline, then one’s bud-like spiritual consciousness beings to expand or evolve. (Singh TD, 2004) Therefore self awakening is vital to kindle and sow inspiring ideals in the consciousness of the followers. Lack of spiritual awakening can make a man aggressive and intolerant, who forces narrow dogmatic idea on the followers.
The import of above discussion is knowledge of eternality(self) gives a clear understanding about the nature of the impermanent phenomenal world. From pragmatic perspective, the path of inner transformation naturally enables one to accept change as inherent to changing science and technology as they are part of phenomenal world. Therefore a teacher who is transformed following the path of spiritual disciplines, doesn’t come under pressure as a result of changes in the syllabus or teaching pedagogy or any other policies connected to education system. He or she following the path of niskama karma yoga not only takes up fresh challenges with ease and integrity, but inspires and transforms the students in the same spirit. He becomes a role model in the life of his followers with regard to overall attitudes and beliefs while performing an action.
6. Concluding Remarks
Somebody has rightly said, “You can’t always get what you want”. Scarcity is the fundamental challenge confronting all individuals and nations. So we all have to make choices. How we deal with these limitations or how we prioritize and allocate our limited and depleting resources is the basic economic challenge that is confronting individuals and nations today. It would be appropriate to recall here Gandhiji’s Economic ideals.
Gandhi's economic ideals, much like everything else in his life, were governed by ethical and moral considerations. His stress on rural economy and emphasis on a simple life, coupled with his concern for universal well-being formed the foundation of his unique views on economics. Gandhi's economic models were based largely on his understanding of the Indian situation.