Value of Education and Education of Values

Why be Educated?
One of the great saints of India, Gunatitanand Swami [], has said," Gadhe se gadha mile to kare latamlat, gnani se gnani mile to kare gnan ki baat." Imagine a world full of illiterate people! It would unarguably be an animal kingdom. Perhaps, what makes us elite from the animals, is Education. It is the education, which bridges the gaps between people from different communities, countries, races, and unites them into a cognizant group of so-called "intellectuals." As cited by Aristotle, "Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity." Not only does education benefit an individual, but it also produces a ripple, which extends to strengthen the nation by itself. This is why John F Kennedy said, "Education is the means to develop our greatest abilities because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation." India being a developing country, is in an urgent need to educate people. There are various government initiatives, like mid-day meals, and free primary education to girls, which has accelerated the percentage of literate people in India. A survey by UNESCO in 2005 shows that 'The number of students attending universities for education is the highest in the United States(1,43,50,000) followed by India(50,07,000). Illiteracy leading to poverty, larceny, can be eradicated by education. And hence, education is a fundament wherein, an individual, a country, and the whole human race may envision a better standard of living.

What's Missing?
Ironically, the United States has the largest number of students studying at universities but also the largest number of prisoners(20,33,331). Victor Hugo had said, "He who opens a school, closes a prison." Indeed, the contradiction is apparent. India is also not an exception to the above statics. Being educated does not ensure a better living. For example, The Times of India dated 26th October 2009, flashed headlines as: "IIT-D Ph.D. student: A pervert maniac." Apparently, he had raped a 19-year-old girl in Delhi. The Graduate Student of London's Eton College, Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah(Prince of Nepal), murdered his own family members, over a dispute. In Satyug, Ravan had studies 4 vedas, but his lascivious acts need no briefing. Mohammed Atta's knowledge of flying airplanes was ceased by crashing the aircraft into one of the twin towers on 9/11.

The question is, where does education alone take us? Awarded as one of the best scientists of Pakistan, A Q Khan, invented a nuclear atom bomb, which could devastate the entire human population. 30,000 people at pentagon(Defence Headquarters, US), devise machines and mechanisms which could kill people. A Non-Destructive Bomb, invented in the US, if exploded, would suck up all the oxygen in the 5km radius, thus killing "only" living beings keeping the inanimate materials intact. What are we learning? To kill humans, to destroy peace, or to destruct humanity? Education was supposed to be bridging the gaps; instead, it's widening the barriers.

Rather than clear, it is quite evident that 'something' is missing. This fact has been realized by many philosophers, thinkers, and visionaries. The following is a pledge, that is read to all teachers and parents, in a school in the United States, by its Principal.
"Dear Teachers,
I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes have seen what no man should witness:
Gas Chambers built by learned engineers,
Children poisoned by educated physicians,
Infants killed by trained nurses,
Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates.
So, I am suspicious of Education.
My request is, help your students to become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmann, Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more Humane."

This opens our eyes as to what kind of effects education alone can impact the students with, as told by the principal of the school himself.

Value-based Education is the answer.
This brings us to a point where we realize that not just education, but VALUE based education would solve the inferno mentioned above. P.P Pramukh Swami Maharaj, one of the 20 most influential people in the world, states that "Education without values, destroys, and education with values, protects."

The world today needs value-based education. Professor Dean of Morehouse College, Dr. Benjamin cites, "We have more educated people than at any time in history. Yet our humanity is a diseased humanity. It is not knowledge we need, humanity is in need of something spiritual". The world needs both education and spiritualism. Either is incomplete without the other one. If education is blood, spiritualism is the heart. If education is speed, spiritualism is direction. The greatest scientists of all time, Newton, also admits that even after inventing/discovering more than sixty discoveries, a simple mechanism of working of the thumb makes him believe that there is someone superior who has created this universe and is indeed great.

Spirituality teaches us values. And values, along with education is the need. Value-based education has the iconic resemblance to the Indian culture, and more specifically, the Gurukul systems which prevailed in ancient India. The students had the utmost respect for their teachers, and vice versa. It was bound by the feeling of love, care, and respect, which facilitated the learning process. But time has brought us in a new era. Teachers/professors are just employees at schools/universities, who are paid to 'impart' the information to students[as quoted by Vinoba Bhave in 1960]. Students, on the other hand, speak disrespectfully of their teachers, and also sometimes insult them. Extreme cases have also been witnessed where students even try to kill their professors and vice versa.

On the other hand, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has not only realized this problem but also has taken steps to impart value-based education. He has created and manages various schools, colleges, and chatralays, which produces thousands of value-centered educated individuals every year. With his interview with Pramukh Swami Maharaj on 13/6/2001, the then president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, had asked that to bring about a change in India, we need valued individuals, valued leaders, and valued professionals. What needs to be done to improve the numbers of these three kinds of people in India? The gist of what Pramukh Swami answered is that he insists on imparting value education with modern sciences in schools and colleges and also teaching them about scriptures from our tradition and culture. Einstein had once said that only education without morals and ethics would make us like trained dogs and nothing else.

My Pledge!
As an educated youth of India, let us govern our lives, in a way, that welfare's our own personality, our family, our nation, and the whole human mankind. Hence, to sum it up, let us not only study textbooks but also understand our scriptures. Let us not only attend colleges but also visit temples. Let us not only learn from our teachers but also communicate with our saints. Let our education be a confluence of these aspects. Let us live not only by Competence but also by Character. Because "The Heart of Education is Education of the Heart."


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