Vidya Vs. Education

“The kind of seed sown
Will produce that kind of fruit.
Those who do good will reap good results.
Those who do evil will reap evil results.
If you carefully plant a good seed,
You will joyfully gather good fruit.”
– Dhammapada

Sanskrit word ‘Vidya’ as it was used by the Rishis, Gurus or teachers of ancient India. ‘Vid – ya’ means that which light up, illumines. As such, it was identified with knowledge that illumines the mind and soul, liberates from the fetters of ignorance – Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye. When Vidya is imbibed, assimilated with the help of Guru, who always guides you with the moral compass keeping you rooted to the North, the righteousness.

The most important tool in a ship, which sails in the high seas is the compass, without it, it will be lost in the vast ocean. No matter how so ever advanced or state of the art that ship is, without compass it’s like a floating log. Similarly no education would be helpful and would give the desired result for the benefit of self or society if it does not have “Value-Compass”.

In today’s world when we see so many state of the art ships sailing in the high seas, you admire their beauty, you admire their technology, you get awestruck by their mere size, but then you feel shocked and surprised, when you find these ships sinking, losing their ways. Huge ships like Enron, Satyam, which were sailing all right suddenly hit the iceberg and sink. When the reason for this mishap is searched, lack of moral compass somewhere always comes as a common cause in all these instances.

Values are the glue of society; values are responsible for holding together the person, organization and society. Value based education is an educational framework. It gives equal status to both character development and academic attainment. Values-based Education is a combination of philosophy, methodology, teaching and learning materials, organizational processes and know-how. Value based education forms the base and is fundamental for larger good of the society, values of goodness in speech, value of kindness towards all those one comes in contact with whether professionally or otherwise, value of service with compassion, these are the integral component of value based education. Gautam Buddh said “Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”
In fact if it not value based, it is anything but education. All books of knowledge and wisdom have the elements of value as the core element. In Upanishad, the guru and shishy both pray to God to help them learn in the environment of camaraderie, where they learn and enlighten themselves together. The spirit of doing things together is born out of the value of cooperation, support, helping, associating and guiding.

Om Saha Navavatu,
Saha Nau Bhunaktu,
Saha Viiryam Karavavahai
Tejasvi Nauadhii-Tam-Astu
Maa Vidvishwavahai
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih

( Om, May God Protect us Both (the Teacher and the Student), May God Nourish us Both, May we Work Together with Energy and Vigor, May our Study be Enlightening, not giving rise to Hostility, Om, Peace, Peace, Peace)

Somehow in the process of refining the body we have removed the soul and now we are running around with the lifeless skeleton of education system, which is devoid of everything which it should have never lost. Value education makes you compassionate; it is basically education of the heart, in contrast to the education of the mind which dominates everything. Man is much beyond logic and reason; it is compassion not reason which associates two individuals and makes the society bonded and saves it from anarchy, so it is not simply the heart of education, but also education of the heart which is paramount to the education system. Education is a small component of Vidya, which probably doesn’t have a synonymous word in English language.

Vidya has always been referred to as education with values as now we are re-discovering as value based education or VBE. Bharthari in his Neetishatak eulogizes Vidya as follows –

Vidya naam narasya roopmadhikam, prachchhanaguptam dhanam,
Vidya bhogkari yashah sukhkari Vidya gurunaam guruh
Vidya bandhujano videshgamane Vidya para devta
Vidya rajasu poojyate na hi dhanam vidyavihinam pashuh

(Vidya is such a cosmetic which makes a man attractive, Vidya is hidden and secret treasure, which makes available all worldly pleasure, fame and happiness, Vidya is the teacher of all the teachers, in foreign land it helps and supports as your friend and relative, it has the God like power of fulfilling all your desires, even kings worship Vidya, a person without Vidya is no better than an animal)

Values define the conduct of an individual, an individual’s conduct define the attitude of the society. There are three elements Vidya, Buddhi and Vivek. Vidya means that which lights up, removing the darkness of ignorance and Buddhi is derived from budh- to be awake, to understand, to know). Buddhi denotes an aspect of mind that is higher than the rational mind and that is attracted to Brahman (i.e., to “Truth” (sat) or “Reality” (dharma). Buddhi is that which is able to discern truth (saty) from falsehood and thereby to make wisdom possible. Buddhi play an important role in liberation (i.e., enlightenment) within Hinduism, Buddhism and Yoga. In Kathopanishad defines the significance of this entity called buddhi as

Atmanang rathinang viddhi sharirang rathmev tu
Buddhi tu sarthing viddhi manah pragrahmev ca

Consider Atma as the passenger on the chariot, body as chariot, buddhi is the driver of this chariot and mana being the rein.

Vivek, is the ability to discriminate, differentiate right from the wrong, is the ability to use Vidya and Gyan (Knowledge) appropriately, as rishi Patanjali describes the attributes of one who has Vivek (Vivekinah)

Parinama tapa samskara dukhaih gunavritti
Virodhat ca dukkham eva sarvam vivekinah

The discriminating person knows, that all conditions are distressful, because of circumstantial changes, strenuous endeavor, impulsive motivation, clashing aspects and the vibrational modes of the mento-emotional energy.

Assimilation of value attributes brings out all these qualities in the students and if education is devoid of values, it generates situations where a person has the power but doesn’t have the sense or diligence to use it appropriately. Many anomalies of our society and present day’s world may be traced back to persons and organizations using their resources (which include power) in senseless manner.

Attributes of Value based education:

1. Refinement and development of mind (buddhi): Rishis invoke Guru Brihashpati and Sun God to grant the wisdom to develop buddhi and have all round development of the individual

Brihaspatey savitarvardhayainam jyotyainam saubhagaay
Sanshitang chit sangtarang sang shishadhi vishvang einmanu madant devaah (Atharved 7:16:1)

The objective of education is to develop and refine the student’s buddhi, to sharpen it and to help him progress on the path of development of self, doing an all-round development of the individual.

2. Character development and behavioral (Aachaar) education: The objective of Vidya is to make the person humble, one of the most significant value attribute in an individual.

विद्या ददाति विनयं विनयाद्याति पात्रताम् ।
पात्रत्वाद्धनमाप्नोति धनाद्धर्मं ततः सुखम् ॥

(true/complete) knowledge gives discipline, from discipline comes worthiness, from worthiness one gets wealth, from wealth (one does) good deeds, from that (comes) joy.

Education may be imparted but Vidya must be imbibed, the person should be ready to accept it. The beauty of Vidya is in its voluntary acceptance, a seeker of Vidya is always hungry for more, and is asking for more, looking out for more, and this brings in humility which makes the person respect his teacher. There is a story in Ramayan, Raavan was a great scholar, capable ruler and was a very learned king, was respected all around for his wisdom, at the end of the war, when he was lying wounded, Ram was victorious, he sent Lakshman to seek Raavan’s blessings and learn Raajneeti Shashtra from him, Lakshman went as stood there near his head, but Raavan didn’t speak a word, disappointed Lakshman, returned and told Ram, that Raavan didn’t utter a word, despite his request. Ram asked Lakshman, where were you standing, and when Lakshman said I was standing towards his head, Ram scolded and said you should go to him and stand near his feet, because if you wish to learn something from someone you need to be humble, and respectful towards your teacher, irrespective of who he is. The value called humility the pre-requisite for Vidya.

The value based education inculcates an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful brings in humility and vice versa.

Humility is further highlighted in following shloka

Sukhasya moolang dharmah dharmasya moolang arthah
Arthasya moolang rajyang rajyasya moolang indriyajayah
Indriyajayasya moolang vinay.

Gratefulness which comes out of humility is eulogized as

Kritartho hyacharyo naam bhavati (Taittariya Upnishad – Shankarbhashya)
One who is grateful becomes the learned.

Tulsidas in ramcharit manas says

तिमि सुख सम्पति बिनहिं बुलाए, धर्मसील पहिं जाहि सुभाई
Timi sukh sampati binahi bulaaye, dharamseel pahin jaahi subhaay
(Ram Charit Manas, Baalkaand )
To a virtuous man the world abounds in happiness and
जिमि सरिता सागर महूँ जाहीं जद्यपि ताहि कामना नाहीं
Jimi sarita sagar mahun jaaheen, jadyapi taahi kaamna naahi

Such a virtuous man gets all the good things in life without even asking, as all the rivers flow into the ocean without ocean even expressing its desires for it.

3. Objective to focus on the goal with dedication: Working with sincerity and dedication to achieve one’s goal is paramount in achieving success. Importance of dedication is mentioned in Yajurved
व्रतेन दीक्षामाप्नोति दीक्ष्याप्नोति दक्षिणाम्
दक्षिणा श्रद्धामाप्नोति श्रद्धया सत्यमाप्यते
Vraten Deekshamaapnoti deekshyaapnoti dakshinaam
Dakshina shraddhamaapnoti shraddhyaa satyamaapyate (Yajurved 19:30)

Sincere effort makes person gain knowledge, with knowledge comes expertise, with expertise comes respectfulness and with this attributes one attains the truth.

The emphasis on the truth and on righteousness in the Ved and Upnishads and their connection are similar to what we find in the famous doctrine of Socretes, “Virtue is Knowledge”.

4. Amalgamation of Vidya & Buddhi: Knowledge and Wisdom go hand in hand; in fact Atharv Ved says that knowledge (Vidya) without practical wisdom (Dhi) is not of much use. Knowledge which is devoid of practical and social wisdom is not knowledge in true sense.

शं नो देव विश्वदेवा भवन्तु शं सरस्वती सः धीभिरस्तु (अथर्वेद 19.11.2)
Kind to us be the Gods and Visve Devas, Sarasvati with holy thoughts be gracious.

5. Coordination of Spiritualism and Materialism: The values propagated in ancient scriptures and ved stress the importance of coordination and balance between spiritualism and materialism, because only materialism or naturalism is of no good and pure spiritualism is even worse, therefore a balanced coordination of the two is desirable. Materialism solves the problems of physical world and spiritualism gives solace and inner comfort.

Contributed By
Mr. K.K. Bajpai
Associate Professor
SMS Varanasi


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