Archive for May, 2012

Education: A Vedic Perspective

Panchajana (पञ्चजन), or ‘the five heavenly tribes’, a key concept found in Rig-Veda, paves the way for a practical and continuous realization of the illimitable potentiality in Man. In contrast, the Upanishadic wisdom “Tat Tvam asi” (thou art that/ God) starts from what was already given as established in Rig-Veda, but fails to take off from there, fails to lead to real implementation.

These five tribes are five aspects the exploring of which leads to the rise of Immortality, or Aditi, in us: for how can one die when one already has become everything?

These five tribes are: The Spiritual, The Thinker, The Artist, The Lover, and The Athlete. All five are equally important, and are responsible for the channelization of different realizations.  The Vedic Rsis (who looked like witch-doctors of just another tribe in the Indian subcontinent)  discovered this formula and framed their education system accordingly. This had had a multiplying effect, a whole race of Aryans rose up, having invented along their way systems of Logic, Language, Politics, Economics, Art, War, etc.

The result was a complete diversity of ideas and ideals on one hand, and surprisingly, a complete unity of the same on the other. There was complete freedom and still they thought and spoke similarly, the same language and thought.

Sacrifice, or Yagna, became the mechanism: the Thinker had to die so that the Spiritual could be born, and so on. This ensured that the products of the system were well-rounded personalities. Further, each of the five domains of knowledge had five sub-domains: The Athletics, for example, had the Spiritual, the Thought, the Art, the Love and the Athletics sub-domains. This ensured that the system produced experts.

Rig-Veda is the only text-book left to us from that age. It belongs to the Thought domain (with Indr getting the highest care), its details are various Gods and their modes of functioning that constitute the whole Creation. So, Rig-Veda explains ideas and terms, but that doesn’t make it into a scientific or a mathematical text: its language, even up to the detail, is naturally applicable to all other branches too, such as Arts, Political Science, and so on. There is no doubt in my mind, as also explained in my book, as to the number system (which has zero), democratic institutions, and the science of music, to name a few,  coming out of a thought pattern very similar to that present in the Rig-Veda.

The discipline of mind and body, gained by spiritual methods, today finds a substitute in the ‘factory’ hammering done by schools; free, god-like people have been substituted by brute, titan-like ‘workers’ of Industry.  All-understanding and harmonious Suras have been substituted with all-ignorant, egoistic Asuras of today.

The modernist may ask: what would happen to History the subject, when you *begin teaching Love*?

The answer would be: how many ways are there to state History? leftist, rightist, feminist, dalitist, or others. So, knowing the perspectives, or knowing it through a language (such as of Veda) where all perspectives arise and melt away, reside and attain immortality, the rest becomes no more than filling in the facts. Knowing the ways is knowing the ends, the rest is detail which one must only know where to retrieve from. 

The traditionalist may ask: isn’t the ability to correctly memorize and recite the Vedic verses central to the whole learning process?

The answer is: this tradition, of recital and of sacred thread, is a vow imposed on society to preserve the Rig-Veda and to let it be revealed again, on its own, at a ripe moment. The moment has indeed arrived, and the efforts and the people behind the preservation of Veda- especially when one finds that everything else had failed fallen and faltered in India- cannot but be lauded.


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