Self-Consciousness and the Culture of Education.
It is well-known fact since ages that the human body is composed of five elements and is a part of nature. Just like all the other elements of jad (matter) and chetan (consciousness), it is made up of atomic and sub-atomic particles. It is a human being’s consciousness which sets him apart from the other parts of nature. Just the way a body is considered to be a part of nature, similarly, the tradition of considering the soul to be a part of the Almighty has been carried forward from the Vedic Age. It is the soul which holds the capacity to feel. The body only gives rise to reactions. The evidence of this reaction is found either in the parts of the body or in the blood or hormones.
The soul is not visible like the other parts of the body because it is energy and not an element. This energy, through the brain, controls the entire body. The body’s nervous system connected to the brain works under the control of this energy. The method and purpose of the use of the spiritual energy determines the pace and direction of one’s life. The consciousness is a form of one’s internal energy. Mind and intellect are also abstract, they utilise the spiritual energy and produce consciousness. From the time it has become a practice in the field of science to believe the facts only which are proven through experiment, the question of the study of the soul in the field of education has been erased.
After the year 1920 the facts of the Quantum Theory came to the surface and highlighted that there are innumerable forms of energy. Science only believes in the existence of those forms which provide evidence. However, the reality is that it is energy itself which exists in atoms and connects them to form elements; and then produces a consciousness in these elements. Pain can be felt by both plants and human beings. However, energy of expression is not explicitly manifested in plants because even though it contains an element of consciousness, the pervasion of the nature of energy in the two is different. With time, with the confinement of science in limits on one hand and the disregard to the question of the concept of the soul in the culture of education on the other, the perception of people has been wavered. Education is capable of honouring a thought-process at the social level by influencing the perception of people. Since the question of giving a thought to the soul remained neglected in the field of education, the knowledge about the energy which resides in the soul could not spread. It is because of this, that problems like violent temperaments, dejection, the feeling of being worthless, opportunism, etc. at the level of the soul found a fertile land to thrive upon.
The human body, functioning with the help of energy, is only an apparatus. The energy which drives it is called the soul. This is the energy which becomes life and keeps the mortal body active and through the consciousness and thoughts provides pace and direction to life. The brain present in the body is only an earthly element, which can be called the control-room of the soul. Mahatma Gandhi had said that if a person’s thoughts are in the same direction as his words and actions then his life would be an assimilation of joy. When a man starts neglecting the nature of the soul and starts running after external sources of happiness, then joy starts diminishing from his life. In this case, the soul does remain in the body in the form of life but the ignorance about its form as energy confines a person’s thoughts at a materialistic level. Without nourishing this identified energy, its impact is not seen on the consciousness of thought or the personality.
The question related to the development of an individual’s consciousness has an undifferentiated connection to education. In the present system of education, due to the lack of a subject related to the identification of the soul and the its connection to the universe, the new generation lives in utter confusion. Today, due to man’s ignorance about the self-power, problems at the level of the soul like those of violent temperaments, dejection, feeling of worthlessness and opportunism are leading him to a path of moral degeneration. Film and books have played a huge role in the degeneration of the concept of the soul and the encouragement of superstitions.
Today, the concept of the soul is only discussed in philosophy. The chapter about this self-consciousness which provides a direction to life is a small part of a specific subject in the present education system. Where the whole society is captured in the negative impact of the lack of morality, there the weapons required to come out of this problem are lying neglected in philosophy. The study of the soul and through it the identification of the nature of one’s own soul can become beneficial for the evolution of the lifestyle and the perspective towards life of the new generation. The perspective towards life, like a compass, can show the direction of the way of earning a livelihood in such a way that it may form the basis of the prosperity of the society and the culture.
In order to provide weightage to the English culture and language in India, the education system started by Lord Macaulay continues to have an impact. A very few people are aware of the arguments that Lord Macaulay had laid down in order to start this education system in India. In this context, it is important to have a look at a statement made by Lord Macaulay in the British Parliament,
“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is good is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”
It must be noted than from 1835 until now, even though there have been changes, but in its depth, there still lie the in the subjects and methodology of the the education system, the values which were categorized by Lord Macaulay. The British culture filled with pomp and show sits firmly in the foundation of education. In order to challenge this situation, it is important to include the subject related to the soul in the curriculum from the school level to the university level. To connect this subject to the already disconnected education culture since centuries, capable scholars and effective educators are needed to create a unique curriculum.
In the present system of education, there is seen an unnecessary susceptibility to simplify the subjects which are newly added to the curriculum. In order to simplify, if there arises a need to destroy the sharpness of the subject and for the ease of the teachers to teach and to prepare students for a written examination , if the content is enclosed in a capsule and made lifeless, then there remains no reason of teaching the lesson. Only that simplification should be accepted which is done so that the subject is made more comprehensible and which may protect the sharpness of the subject. The relation of this simplification is to the value of the education system.
During the commencement of such a curriculum at the school level, if there can be the organisation of a public seminar for the guardians and if there can be the availability of books right there, then there can be an increase in the awareness of the subject among guardians. Apart from books, this material should be available on digital platforms as well. If the examination of this subject can be oral and be conducted before a special audience, along with the provision of recording, then there can be a control on the nature of teaching it lightly. In this way, the students getting prepared from the school level itself will become capable of organising public seminars by the time they reach the level of post-graduation. The students of colleges and universities can establish a network with schools and can conduct seminars related to the soul in schools. With this effort, there can not only be a challenge to the preaching which spreads superstitions and disillusionment in the society but also can it prepare a generation of alert citizens in the years to come.
Author : Dr. Rakhi Roy Halder
Translator: Harshita Srivastava ( Translated from original text written in Hindi)