are we heading in our quest for happiness?
global society is overwhelmed by problems: gun
culture, drug addiction, terrorism, rape, child abuse and psychosomatic
ailments are draining the people of their energy, engaged as they are
in a rat race to achieve more, acquire more, accumulate more.
objective of all life is 'Quest for Happiness.'
Every action of ours is dictated by this search for happiness. But we
fail to realise that we do not get more and more happiness by merely
acquiring more and more objects to satisfy our immediate needs and
is Real Happiness?
you love gulab jamun. You visit your friend,
whose mother has made it specially for you, knowing it's your favourite
sweet. You eagerly eat two
jamuns; then, your friend's mother coaxes you to have one more, and
you do. Though you do not enjoy it as much as the first two jamuns,
you eat it to make your friend's mother happy. Then, she forces
one more jamun on you, and then one more. With each extra
jamun, your distaste for the delicacy you love,
was the law of diminishing interest, and not
increasing pleasure that was in operation in the case of the jamuns.
Similarly, acquisition of an increasing number of external objects does
not assure greater happiness. Real Happiness lies in achieving an inner
state of peace. Education must help us transform our search for
happiness from one that merely seeks external objects of enjoyment to a
search for what the Upanishads call 'Reality', or 'Pure
consciousness' or 'Bliss' - Sat-Chit-Ananda - within the silence of our
Vedic way to Real Happiness
can be there in the silence of our hearts?
Only void. But void is not just zero, it is also infinity, taught
our ancient seers - there is nothingness in space, which is
infinite! If you deduct the Infinite from the Infinite, what do
you have left, except Infinity itself?
purnamidam purnat purnamuduchyate
we think that Vedanta is only for the
aged, forgetting that it was taught to students in the gurukulas
of ancient India. What we need today is a revival of this
spiritual basis for our education. Education must not merely be
oriented towards 'bread earning'; it must re-orient itself towards
'man-making'. Modern Science, which is the knowledge of the West,
can help us understand the physical universe, but it is yet to fathom
the subtle. On the other hand, the knowledge of the East, of
which the Prasthana Traya consisting of the Upanishads,
Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras are a part,
teach a holistic value system.
need for a new, global system of education based on
might have heard this famous episode relating to
Michaelangelo before: Once, the famous sculptor was asked how he could
create such beautiful images in stone. Michaelangelo replied that
the images already existed in the stone, and all he did was chip away
the portions that did not belong to the image!
the stones in which Michaelangelo 'discovered' the
images, Education must help the individual get rid of the impurities
that cloud his mind and discover the perfect self within himself.
being uni-dimensional, tending only to our body which
is in a continual state of flux (the Nirupadhika Brahma, as the
Upanishads term it), we are inclined to completely forget
to nurture the unchanging entity within us - call it the self or soul
or, as our Upanishadic seers did, the Sopadhika Brahma.
Apara Vidya or the knowledge of the external world must be
taught alongside Para Vidya or the knowledge of the inner
of a model education system based on
and Sanskrit have been found to revolutionise the
way children think, feel and learn. Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anushthana
Samsthana (SVYASA), a deemed university, began an educational
experiment based on the tenets discussed in the preceding paragraphs,
in Arunachal Pradesh, in the 1970s. The areas chosen were so
backward that distances in the locality were measured not in miles or
kilometres but in terms of days' walk - that is, the number of days it
would take to move from one place to another! The people were
almost unlettered and the area, undeveloped; there were no buses, or
even roads! No teachers would go there, initially. But
SVYASA's initiative bore such remarkable results, that the organization
now runs 18 Vivekananda Kendras, or residential schools, and 5
non-residential schools in the region.
challenges before the new millennium are combating
stress, promoting health and providing value education. In the
USA, 90% of the students are reported to have tried minor or major
psychedelic drugs at some point in their lives, and 3% get stuck with
major psychedelic drugs. Murders and suicides committed by young
people are becoming more commonplace throughout the world. It is
the stress and restlessness brought about by unrestrained desires that
lead to greed which cause the youth to adopt such extreme
must impart a holistic value system. Our
country needs an education system that will inculcate in us civic
sense, patriotism, service mindedness and a zeal for nation
building. What is required is a multi-dimensional solution, with
a spiritual basis, for addressing our physical, mental, emotional and
intellectual needs. And a solution for this lies in our Vedas, as
SVYASA has shown.