What are we doing?

Two male students in the classroom

Education is the key to empower one with freedom from fear and uncertainty. But sadly, the “factory kind of education system” is causing greater harm to the children as compared to those deprived children who could never go to school.

Fifty years ago in India, schools were in “scarcity” but now the schools are “scary” because of what they produce in the campus with atmosphere of intense academic stress.

Plato talks about four cardinal virtues in “The Republic” : Wisdom, Courage, Justice and Temperance. He was even skeptical about “Art and Music”, thinking that these abilities take one away from reality. Indeed, there is some truth to that. The liberal art has produced and is constantly producing children who are away from reality but surely have unrealistic ideas. For instance, the entertainment industry and performing artist quite often have unrealistic and stupid ideas. Nevertheless, the music and art which is devoted to dharmik values will always steer the minds of seekers.

Dharma sastras repeatedly emphasize on the “freedom from slavery” as the primary reason for education. However, modern education offers the greatest slavery in form of peer pressure and over expectations for the children. Therefore, kids drop out & take drugs or they are down with depression & are developing sucidal tendency.

Srila Prabhupada called modern education a “slaughter house”, a very strong statement to digest but the schools are proving him right as so many kids are slaughtering themselves literally and symbolically.

What is the way out?

Certainly, the schools cannot be closed but adding some fundamental values assertively by the parents in the life of their kids is an important tool that can bring the foundational change.
Stated below are a few underlying values that can help children overcome distress:

  • Introducing them to “reality of duality” which is the absolute reality of life
  • Giving the narrative and experience of social sensitivity, political alertness and spiritual taste which is secondary reality for today’s time & age
  • Learning, experiencing, and creating the legacy of “Niskama Karma”
  • “Physical prowess” is the way towards “mental stability”, as prescribed in the Mahabharata
  • Most importantly reminding about the pitfall of modern education which turn children to be mere showpieces of their efforts

Both parents and schools need to establish the method of integrating life and skills so that children experience success in life and meaning in relationships along with giving their best for their future growth by staying fixed amidst pleasures and pains.

 – HG Govinda Das