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Ideas on Indian Culture and Indian Education

Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man, said Swami Vivekananda. He always emphasized, “We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one's own feet.”

The 24th webinar organized by Vivekananda Institute of Human Excellence on “INDIAN CULTURE AND INDIAN EDUCATION” was embarked on this prime; enlightening the vision of Swami Vivekananda and the New Education Policy. The subtly woven fabric of Indian culture speaks volumes of its good will, vitality and ethos. Magnanimous rich Indian Cultural heritage is all weaved with patience, courage and wisdom. India was the choicest place of divine where wisdom was first born, said Swami Vivekananda. India was the favored destination for education worldwide, in the past. Our mythology, history, literature, art, architecture, cultural diversity, the geography and topography all attracted the world community .The enriched education system was backbone of our Golden days. The Gurukulas, the famous universities of past such as Takshila, Nalanda and many more produced Scholars with Human Excellence. Historical accounts sing sagas of the extraordinary education system of India. All this makes us a proud Indian and we all celebrate being part of this rich and divine heritage. Is it not?

Nevertheless, today, where are we? What has happened? Where is that magnanimous culture and education system? What happened to that power which is capable of providing education to entire world? Where has that thriving indigenous education and education system prevalent during those days vanished?

Dear friends do these questions bother you? Can we feel the pain and loss we have undergone and still undergoing? Have we been too much wrapped in the thorny blankets of narcissism and self-centered diction - I, Me and Mine? Don’t you feel to contribute to the nation to awaken it to its original valor .Don’t you feel the need to work hard, with sincere zeal to dive in for its resurgence so that our India revives and shines much brighter and prosperous than before. VIHE WEBINARS are submitted to this pious purpose and aim.

Addressing to these fundamental questions of prime concern and harboring a strong conviction towards the making of a Resurgent India, the Guest Speakers for the webinar were Swami Vedatitanandaji, In-Charge Polytechnic College, Shilpamandira Ramakrishna Mission Saradapith, Belur Math, Kolkata and Sri M. Pramod Kumar, Assistant Professor & Coordinator, Amrita Darshanam-International Centre for Spiritual Studies, Amrita Vishwapeetham, Coimbatore. They shared their views on new education Policy in the light of Indian culture and Swami Vivekananda’s vision.

Swami Vedatitanandaji inspired us with swami Vivekananda philosophy on education. Arts, Science and Religion are 3 ways of expressing the same reality but to understand that we need the right understanding of the Theory of Advaita. He said ‘Atman Shraddha’ and ‘Human Excellence’ are the building blocks and mandatory requirements for manifestation of perfection already present in man. Swami Vivekananda said, when the infinite power of atman is brought to bear upon matter evolves the material development, made to act upon thought bring intellectuality, made to act upon himself makes a man of a boy.

The talk drew a beautiful connect :-

Regular Work with Sincerity -> leads to -> Character development -> leads to -> Self-Direction (means Conscious Self Restraints) -> leads to Concentration -> Perfected Concentration -> leads to -> Samadhi.

Perfection means being best. Infinite works through perfection. Perfection is to be manifested in all acts including charity. Conception of perfection is Ahimsa. Mahatma Gandhi acknowledged this, in 1947 chose to stay in Calcutta to live this truth. Perfection is an independent standard to be reached irrespective of comparisons. Swamiji always said it is important that the student “thinks” that he is atman and not just know. It is this Ideal of faith in us which is the greatest help to us!

Mr. Pramod Kumar motivated the minds with his powerful perceptions, thoughtful provocations on current education system by drawing the comparison between “what we were” and “where do we stand today”. His presentation on the golden education system of past enriched the hearts with gratitude and pride. His thoughts compelled the viewers to revisit their mental ideologies and rethink to change to meet the real India hidden within us. Citing the brilliance of sparkling, honest role of Guru, the teacher in the making of the genius of the sincere, devoted disciple. He traced the examples of Rishi Vishwamitra, Rishi Valmiki, and Guru Dronacharya in the making of Ram, Lakshman and Arjun as Extraordinary Beings. India is the birthplace of such great sages. The teaching and role of teacher in education is the foundation on which the growth of nation rests. The standards of teaching and the role of teacher requires a devotional and conscious effort in chiseling the mental capacity of its students. The think tanks are the nation builders. The intellectual genius should not be trapped in wave of monetary gains but be harbored to the shores of selfless service. Mentorship is lacking in teachers today. Mr. Pramod highlighted Macaulay’s Minute, how the policy of British government engrained with destructive motives toppled our functional education system. Deviation from right direction and clinging to the colonial dictations was responsible for our downfall. India produces 2 million IT professional workers who work overseas. Nevertheless, how many at the prime domains of design, manufacture and create? Just a handful! We are used as nuts and bolts in the machine while we should be at the center generating power. We need to realize this. Independent Thinking is needed. Let us not become mere interpreters of the west.

Oath to promote revive The Indian Culture by the Youth of Bharatha:

A team of five young women aspirants from Chennai took the pledge to spread the message of revival of Indian culture and strengthen it. The women student brigade - Prashanthi Vinoth, Dikshita, Srivarsha, Akshita, Nivedita and Vatsalya spellbound the audience with their perceptions, views, charismatic appeal and enthusiasm. Volunteers Akshita, Mahita, Sugandhi and Manojana also joined the team and took the oath to shoulder the responsibility with commitment.

Vedanth Bhardwaj presented a beautiful composition by Shiv Guru, a disciple of Kabir. The song professed that the root of wisdom sought from Guru harbored in the inner core paves away the impingements of lustful senses. A devotional connect to the divine Goddess of learning, Ma Saraswati was made by the performance of Dr.Shradha from Bangalore. The young students of Balavikas thrilled viewers with the powerful messages of Swamiji reminding us about our true nature, each soul is potentially divine and we are the creators of our destiny.

Man-making and character building education is what we need. How to bring back the rich education system back to its complete functional form in the light of Vedanta is the need of hour.

We should abide by what Swami Vivekananda wanted us to do. He said,

"Teach yourselves, teach everyone his real nature, call upon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity."

Please go through the webinar in youtube as well.

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