Ananda Marga Education
ANANDA MARGA COLLEGE
The aim of education is: Sá vidyá yá vimuktaye. “Education is that which liberates.” The real meaning of education is trilateral development – simultaneous development in the physical, mental and spiritual realms of human existence. This development should enhance the integration of the human personality. By this, dormant human potentialities will be awakened and put to proper use. Educated are those who have learnt much, remembered much and made use of their learning in practical life. Emphasis should be given to moral education and the inculcation of idealism – not only philosophy and traditions. The practice of morality should be the most important subject in the syllabus at all levels.
We have to keep in view three fundamentals before imparting education. The first is that education must always be based on factuality. There must not be the injection of any dogma or fanaticism or any type of geographical or racial chauvinism in the education system. The second fundamental is that education must awaken the thirst for knowledge in the students minds. They will constantly pry their teachers, their parents and their neighbours with questions like: Why is this so? What is that? Why does that happen? Why does this not happen? etc. The third fundamental of education is that teachers and students should have a balanced mind, unaffected, unassailed by unimportant entities.
The Ananda Marga system of education has been formulated in such a way that the fundamental Práńa Dharma of humanity has been fully recognized. The educational system of our schools is based on the principle of Práńa Dharma. (The word práńa dharma means the specific characteristic of a person which differentiates one person from another. Just as each human being has his or her own traits, similarly an entire race living within a particular geographical, historical and cultural environment will also inherit some traits which distinguish that particular race from other.) It includes the study of various aspects of modern branches of human knowledge, as well as the development of qualities such as reverence, good manners, humility, dignity of labour, social consciousness, etc. The Western system of education has miserably failed to inculcate these rare qualities in the student’s minds. That is why we stress the need to start “Ashramic Schools” in every village of India. If this is done, the corrosive tendency introduced by the British can be checked at an early stage. Our Ananda Marga school curriculum is based on the práńa dharma of the people of India, and furthermore, it strengthens the people in their práńa dharma.
Proper care should be taken in the selection of teachers. Academic certificates are not the only criteria for selecting teachers. Qualities like a strong character, righteousness, social service, selflessness, an inspirational personality, and leadership ability should be evident in teachers. Teachers should get the highest respect in society and their economic needs should be properly looked after. Remember that strong samája gurus must be developed. A samája guru simply means a teacher. That is why we in Ananda Marga lay great emphasis on education – in order to bring about a widespread expansion of learning, and remove all defects in the world of education.
The examination system should undergo a radical change so that the knowledge of the student both in the applied and theoretical sides can be properly assessed. Students should be encouraged to involve themselves in social welfare and other constructive activities within their school or campus. After completing their education, students should be guaranteed appropriate employment. Education must be free from all political interference. Education should be free at all levels.
Ananda Marga believes in one universal society with one ideology and one cosmic goal.
The real meaning of education is trilateral development – simultaneous development in the physical, mental and spiritual realms of human existence. This development should enhance the integration of the human personality. By this, dormant human potentialities will be awakened and put to proper use. Educated are those who have learnt much, remembered much and made use of their learning in practical life.
We can only call those people “learned” who have read a lot, understood what they have read, remembered what they have read, and understood and acted according to what they have read, understood and remembered.
Educated and learned people may or may not be illiterate, and literate people may or may not be educated.
Teachers - Now, education means assimilation, conversion or transmutation of external physicalities. Knowledge regarding this collection has been transformed into your mental realm. This transformation of the external objectivity into internal subjectivity is education. So education is the transformation of external objectivity into internal subjectivity.
What is the duty of a student? The major tapasya (penance) of a student is to study. The duty of a student is to study, to go through, to assimilate, that imparted knowledge.
What is the duty of a teacher? The schedule of a teacher is, say, five hours a day, but teachers have other duties also. Do you go marketing? Do you do cleaning? When you are marketing you are not doing the job of a teacher. You cannot neglect your other duties. Society is in a catastrophe. Should you restrict your duties to teaching, or should you help the society? When a society, nation or human world is in catastrophe or calamity, you have to do your duty to the entire human world. Sometimes this duty becomes the major duty. Sometimes it happens that people do their major duty but neglect their social duty. If they neglect their social duty when the society is in a calamity, are they not committing a social crime? No, because sometimes the minor duties become the major duties and substitute as the major duties for the time being.
The proper knowledge of teachers will help much in removing dogma from the dogma-stricken human order. The social order is defective and is in a lopsided condition. It is to be brought in proper order first. Everything should be done accordingly. In order to prevent a person from degenerating into a great sinner, it is necessary to impart good education from childhood. It is a social duty. The people who are entrusted with this task are called samája gurus [preceptors] of the society. The teachers in primary schools, high schools, colleges and universities are, in this sense, social preceptors. That is why they are always to be respected.Teachers must possess such qualities as personal integrity, strength of character, righteousness, a feeling for social service, unselfishness, an inspiring personality and leadership ability. They are samája gurus (preceptors of the society), and for this reason it is not possible to accept just anyone as a teacher. Because teachers have an extremely important role to play, their professional standards must be very high.
Samája gurus [social preceptors] are those who lead the entire society by virtue of their extraordinary intelligence, deep wisdom, towering personality and leadership ability.
The Role of Youth The nature of life is to change and to grow. Where there is no change, it is just like the condition of death. In all living structures, the young are resilient and open to change. If a limb of a child is broken, it heals quickly. If a child is mentally wounded, he or she soon recovers. When new ideas and technology come forward, it is the young minds that can grasp them. The old become fossilized. To move the old is an effort; for the old to adapt to change is difficult. Our world needs a great change in order to move forward and progress. A new order, a new wave, will have to take the place of the old to remedy all the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual ills of the world. As the vanguard of this new movement, the youth are indispensable. It is the youth, and the youth only, who have the vigour to bring about the necessary change. It is the youth who have the resilience to change and adapt and implement the vision of a new society. Without this vision, without the youth, the world will continue in the morass of suffering, injustice and exploitation that is our present social condition. It is the youth of the world only who can help bring about the new world order and the vision of a new humanity.
Conclusion – Education For ALL You will have to elevate the standard of both the downtrodden masses and the downward-moving masses. You should chalk out a plan and materialize it as soon as possible. One of the most important reasons for psychic ailments, defects and deformities is the lack of proper education.
Education means proper psychic training and exercise. This training is initially imparted by teaching literacy. That is, it is done through teaching the letters of the alphabet: A-B-C, ka-kha-ga, etc. You can see that in most of the countries in the world – in almost the entire world – the vast percentage of the downtrodden people are illiterate. They are lagging behind in the realm of education. Everywhere, especially in Muslim countries, you will observe that the major portion of the population is downtrodden. Even where there is no shortage in wealth, in Muslim countries and certain other countries, the people are still in a downtrodden condition.
Vested interests have taken advantage of human ignorance and have penetrated deeply into every arena of society: social, economic, psychic and spiritual. They want to suck dry the entire vitality of humanity. Vested interests do not want the ignorant to see the light of wisdom or the downtrodden to climb up the social ladder; they do not want the hungry to eat proper meals or the superstitious to be freed from their dogmatic beliefs; and they do not want the human race to gain spiritual knowledge and a thorough understanding of science, and thus get the opportunity to progress towards the realm of [inner] effulgence.
In order to remove the imaginary line of demarcation between the educated and the uneducated – to eradicate this irrational distinction – the value of human beings must be recognized. Mundane knowledge and spiritual knowledge must be as free as light and air; and like the unhindered flow of a fountain, they must keep society in a dynamic state and be a continuous source of inspiration to one and all.
So, education is a must – education is mandatory – and you should do something to spread education in each and every village throughout the world. You should do something clear and concrete in the realm of education. Proper education means elevating the standard of downtrodden humanity.