Education is per se regarded as an activity that is “charitable” in nature. Charity, a divine virtue, helps explore such other divine virtues as love, honesty, truth, tolerance, cooperation, integrity, etc., in a man. In other words, education needs to focus on man making and more so management education. Spirituality emancipates divine potential like charity. In this paper, it is argued that spirituality needs to be a basis, a foundation stone, of education, including professional, without which education remains merely bulk of crude and cruel information, likely to turn man into passionate beast. Without spirituality, man cannot aspire to attain his total evolution leading towards perfection. Some tools, like, Namjap, devotion and dedication to the Almighty, etc., have been advocated to inculcate and attain spirituality, that is so essentially required in a teacher who can act as a vehicle of spirituality for his/her students. This paper presents some elements of Yogic Practices that can help promote spirituality in an individual. It has been pointed out that the ancient Indian “Gurukul” system was spiritual based that had shown unimaginable outcomes that today we can hardly think of. It is believed that the paper shall prove of interest to all concerned, especially those concerned with value education.
The expression ”spirit” can be considered to be synonymous to the breath of life, the soul, a specter, vivacity, courage, mood, essence, real meaning, intent, etc. Spiritual means pertaining to spirit, and not essentially to material, mental, intellectual, ecclesiastical world. And spirituality indicates quality or state of being spiritual, spiritual nature or character. It is now accepted that spirituality plays a key role not only in one’s day-to-day routine life but also in such several other areas as manufacturing, management and medical sciences. International Congress of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry hopefully look towards spirituality and yoga for attaining mental health. Spiritual and meditation (a spiritual technique) practices, it is reported, can help cure people.
What is spirituality? How to measure it? Spirit can be regarded like other concepts as “God”, gravity, vacuum, etc., which are felt, the effects are seen, but may not always be quantitatively measurable obviously because of the present scientific limitations. Can we measure love? If one cannot measure it, does it mean it does not exist? That is exactly what A Venkoba Rao; B C Roy award winner says: “If you cannot measure it, it does not mean it does not exist”
One often comes across certain self-queries that remain mostly unanswered throughout one’s life. For example: Who am I: brain, hands, heart, or what else? What is the aim/mission of my life: wealth, degrees, quality life, political power, more and more status/ recognition, name and fame, self-realization, or service to society? Are not these life’s attainments intertwined? Or do they stand in isolation? How can one resolve this issue and reach to an acceptable proposition? What are the ways to find out solutions to such awkward queries? Who will help me to decide/select the right path? From time immemorial, man is after such and similar queries. At times, man finds himself near to the solution, but the very next moment he finds himself as remote as he could imagine. However, education has been considered, from the time immemorial, as one of the prime paths invoking one’s spirit to resolve such queries. Education, therefore, is expected to deal with mundane activities of the world and beyond as well.
Undisputedly, the history of mankind uncovers the fact that a knowledge based technological society proves to be a competitive one, a society that generates welfare, well-being and prosperity. To achieve this, some models of education system can be as:
1. Gurukul Model:
This is an ancient Indian model a few remains of which still can be perceived in India. It is duty, service, renunciation and spiritual based model. The peak of the scientific temper leads to spirituality. The pivotal point of the “Gurukul” system is the “Guru”, the most revered master in the society, and essentially a Yoga master. It is a time-proven model transforming youths mainly through a learning process based on the Guru’s experiences and that of an individual. The Guru offers knowledge and his experience to one according to one’s potential, making one useful to the society. The system was eco-friendly, students used to stay with the guru’s family away from cities, back to nature, and to learn through it. The system was flexible, e.g., it turned Bhima as the best wrestler and the best cook, and Arjuna as the best warrior and the best dancer.
2. Western Model:
The model is being used by most of the developed countries, like, USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan, etc. It is right, materialistic and scientific temper based. It, being an outcome of industrial revolution, mainly deals with the promotion of economic prosperity, sometimes at the cost of social and moral ethics. It is more or less curriculum – lecturer-student oriented.
3. Indian (or British) Model:
This model is designed by the British in order to enable them to administer and control this vast country with the help of a few Indian natives, mostly coming from the privileged class. The model, even after 56 years of independence, still exists in the India. It essentially represents a lecture – based method of learning, and is curriculum- lecturer-student oriented.
4. Problem-Project Based Learning Model:
Most of the industrially advanced countries have introduced the Problem-Project Based Learning (PBL) model three decades ago. It is problem-coach-problem solver based and has three essential components, namely, learner identity, learning context and learning in relation. The essentials of the PBL model are: (a) curriculum around problem rather than discipline, integrated curriculum, and emphasis on cognitive skills, (b) conditions: small group working, tutorial instructions and active learning, and (c) outcomes: development of skills and motivation with ability for life long learning.
5. GYM Model:
This model is an attempt to put spirituality (the peak of scientific temper), industry/societal needs and PBL model together. It represents the Yoga based Gurukul system combined with Strategic Quality Management oriented Problem Based Learning.
The education system all over the world has been rapidly changing since the last four decades. The system is under a heavy pressure because of such forceful factors as market demands and forces on one hand, and value based society on the other hand. This has compelled for worldwide exploration of new but appropriate model(s). Many models like lecture-based, rote, learning by doing, etc., have been proposed. Scientific temper has been considered as one of the necessary characteristics of any education model. But these have hardly come to man’s rescue. What needs for creativity? For innovation? That is the intuition. Intuition is like a flash, a spontaneous pure thought entering suddenly into a calm or intensely concentrated but relaxed mind. Intuition is a divine potential, to be nurtured, a result of spirituality. Therefore, today, management sciences talk about “Management by Intuition”! In fact, a very few scientists like Einstein could realize that the peak of scientific temper leads to spirituality.
Though, it is a Herculean task to define spirituality, an attempt is made earlier to peep into the expressions, like, “spirit”, “spiritual” and “spirituality”. Can one define what is mind? Gravity? Electrical current? God? Infinity? Is it not an abstract idea? Does it not depend on one’s perception about it? In fact, such concepts in a true sense cannot be expressed in terms of some alphabets. The effects or results of such concepts are seen, if these are implemented in a true spirit. Likewise spirit is to be felt, to be experienced, and to be realized by self. Naturally, the effects of spiritualism need to be understood. Spirit is that divine force within, which, if perceived correctly, leads to total evolution of man, the ideal of human life, which is nonexistent in animals due to lack of reasoning power.
In a sense, man is endowed with this force or voice within. How to be communicative with this voice within? There are different paths advocated, rather prescribed by each religion, which, if observed in a true spirit, can lead man for self realization, salvation. Salvation is a very ambitious goal, achievable by a few great men, like, Swami Vivekananda, Adi Shankarcharya, Jesus Christ, and Muhammad Paigamber. It is also seen that by observing the call of spirit, man can accomplish many great feats of worldly nature. But it is not the real objective of being a spiritual. Spirituality can be nurtured through various paths, like, a simple prayer, Bhakti, Namjap, Karma yoga, Dhyanyoga, being dutiful, etc. What exactly happens if a man adopts a spiritual path? It helps one to realize, and to have a proper perception about the true context of worldly affairs, its priority, importance, and relevance. True perception of our acts is very important. True perception, it has been realized worldwide, leads to higher creativity, innovation, better vision and foresight, good decision making ability, positive and constructive approach, stressed free relaxed life, effective management, etc. For example, man is born with zero (i.e., nothing carried with) and leaves this world again with zero. What lies between these two zeros? Man carries out several major and minor activities during his life span, i.e., between two zero-points of life, achieve some goals and get joy and happiness, looses something and becomes sorrowful. Then what does lie between two zeros? It is one more Zero!! Is it not the true perception of life, for what one struggles throughout? But who does help to mould man for such a true perception? Parents, society, nature and most importantly the teacher.
If a teacher realizes the true perception of his/her occupation, perhaps many of today’s ills, like, discontentment, corruption, terrorism, passions, antisocial activities, etc., shall have no place on the earth. Indeed, teachers have to play a vital role in building up the knowledge and technological society of the 21st century. Education, therefore, is per se regarded as an activity that is charitable in nature. And students and teachers are the very vital ingredients of the education process, the dynamic teaching and learning process. Thus, a teacher assumes the highest responsibility for making or marring the world.
“Gurukul” system, as mentioned earlier, is spiritual based. It represents a process of total education, and encompasses all desirable characteristics that the education system is expected to possess, like, flexibility, eco-friendly, motto of service, renunciation and duty (and not of right?), to one according to one’s potential, multiple entry, students tuition and living free, no discrimination on the basis of sex, creed, religion, age, caste, etc. Therefore, it is vital that a teacher needs to be spiritually charged. How to achieve this? One of the widely accepted paths is Yoga.