October , 2023
Mental Haze and Value Education
12:40 pm

Dr. Ravindra Kumar

Mental haze, synonymous with the words like ambiguity, doubt, suspense and uncertainty is not an unusual state. It is, in fact, a normal state. It is a situation of duel in the human mind. In the entire human history, not a single human being remained unaffected by this state. Greatest ones like Gautama Buddha –the Light of Asia, Tirthankara Mahavira, Adi Shankaracharya, Swami Dayananda ‘Saraswati’ and Swami Vivekananda also passed through this state in early phases of their life. Same thing applied to great people from other parts of the world, who, more or less, felt confronted with the same situation at some or the other stage in their life. All of them faced a conflicting state of mind, fought with it and successfully came out of this dual situation of perplexity –mental haze. But, the fact remains, that having once overcome the state of uncertainty, no one of them allowed ambiguity to dominate his mind. Their mind became crystal clear for the rest of life.

We all face this situation, more or less, in life. Especially, students, researchers and all those, who make continuous endeavours to find solutions to inevitable problems with the purpose of creating such an atmosphere in which society, nation and humanity as a whole step forward to the pathway of welfare and prosperity of one and all, pass through this situation time and again. They get rid of this state of mental haze– doubt, suspense or uncertainty only through an effective, result-oriented and welfaristic way of value education.

Value education is currently a burning topic of discussion and analysis at national-international foras. Seminars, symposiums and workshops on significance and utility of value education are being organized continuously at various levels in every country of the globe. Along with this, efforts are being made to make value education an essential part of the process of learning. How can education pave the way to all-round development of one according to its meaning, purpose and basic spirit and lead him to reach a goal in life as truly and beautifully explained in ancient Indian dictum, “Saa Vidyaa Yaa Vimuktaye”, work is now on to explore in this direction. Prior to further discussion in this regard, i.e., to analyse here how education successfully achieves its objective, it will be appropriate if we get familiar with the meaning of education –Shiksha in Indian terms, and value education in particular.

In the great Indian viewpoint pertaining to education, it is one of the six Vedangas. Starting from there, especially keeping the meaning and basic spirit of education in the centre, if we are made to analyze the views of great ancient Rishis, also Vardhamana Mahavira and Shakyamuni Gautama, further Rabindranath Tagore, Shri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda from contemporary-modern periods, we arrive at one common conclusion that education is the manifestation of virtues already within. It is a process of development of virtues and on the strength of them to build a worthy and meaningful structure of life. It is the basic spirit in the root of the Vedic proclamation of  “Saa Vidyaa Yaa Vimuktaye.” Anything, contrary to it, does not relate to education, i.e., it is not in consonance with the true meaning and purpose of Shiksha.          

Besides India, philosophers-thinkers and educationists from the rest of the world also held the same views about education. Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, has said that education is to draw what is already within. Plato, another Greek thinker and disciple of Socrates says that it is the acquisition of virtues by a child. Others can also be counted in the same way.

Now, if education is the manifestation and development of virtues already within, if it is a process of making life meaningful on the strength of virtues, it is precious or valuable already. The word value is naturally, inevitably and necessarily connected with it. Why is the need for further discussion in this regard? Why are various topics related to value

education being discussed and analysed in seminars, symposiums and workshops at national and international levels? Answer is quite simple. Education and value, despite being connected integrally to each-other in principle, the practical aspect of the issue is not the same. In spite of education being essentially valuable, the reality is different. It is unfortunate that for the last more than two thousand years education has not been imparted according to its true meaning and basic spirit. It is also an irony that education is taken as a means to serve an immediate purpose. How much emphasis is laid on making education a goal –Sadhya to make life meaningful, we can ask this question from  ourselves –all those associated at any level with the process of education.

Taking education contrary to its meaning and purpose, it has been used only to earn livelihood. That is why; education has driven away from values. Resultantly, education has not contributed towards real self-sufficiency of man and become less supportive even to earn livelihood through virtuous demeanours. This state is, in fact, the main reason for mental haze or a situation of uncertainty, when what we deem education is only an illusion.

It is to be borne firmly in mind that education is not just for livelihood. It is for the escalation of life-values and an all-round development of one’s personality on the basis of these values. One who builds his character on virtues –values, he can establish himself respectfully in the society along with earning livelihood through fair means. He can be well capable of dis-charging his responsibility towards the nation and humanity as a whole besides making his identity at national or global level.

Our universities, colleges, and prior to these primary-secondary schools impart education according to prescribed syllabi culminating in obtaining a certificate or a degree. These institutions undoubtedly accomplish a mammoth task. In a way these institutions play a vital role in this regard –in the development of one’s personality and growth of society of which man is an indivisible part. Despite this, the emergence of the state of mental haze, uncertainty or a stressful situation resulting in one’s non-performance –insufficiency in life is really unfortunate. This state clearly indicates flaws in the process of education –lack of values. In such a situation, to make education valuable with the purpose of bringing out one from the state of uncertainty or confusion and to pave the way to his self-sufficiency according to its meaning and basic spirit, the fourfold knowledge –education is necessary.

General education imparted according to prescribed syllabi at various levels –from a primary school to a college or university is one part of a fourfold knowledge. In other words, it is one aspect of the fourfold education. The second relates to games –bodily exercises including the Yoga making one physically healthy also to lead one towards auspiciousness. This aspect of education plays a significant role in making one mentally sound, static, courageous and fearless, and helps in developing a constructive approach in him. It also helps him in overcoming the state of confusion, suspicion, fear and dilemma. The next covers the moral and ethical aspect of education, which is not merely a parochial subject of religious belief, but necessarily related to righteous acts –Shuddhaacharna. It is moral and ethical knowledge that develops in one the spirit of responsibility. On the strength of this knowledge, he steps forward to discharge his duties towards the society, the nation and humanity. 

Without proper coordination and deliverance of these three aspects of knowledge, the process of education is incomplete. Education cannot be imparted well in terms of its real meaning or basic spirit.

The fourth aspect of the fourfold education relates to virtues, qualities or attributes possessed by every human being right from childhood. Everyone has many qualities or attributes within by birth and among them one is the chief attribute, i.e., forte. Identification of one’s chief quality and development of his personality on the basis of that one can undoubtedly accord self-sufficiency to him even at higher secondary or graduate level of education. It is, in fact, the most important aspect of the process of education. Identification of the chief virtue, its development as a skill and through this the process of self-reliance, one can wipe away the state of haziness –the mental haze and uncertainty bringing about clarity of thoughts. This is the way of making life worthy and meaningful, achieving the object of education or making it valuable in a real sense. Hence, fourfold knowledge, the briefest outline of which I have placed here, and practices accordingly is the proper process of education, freeing one of ambiguities, confusions –the mental haze and also to make education valuable. Great men from all the ages, who led life successfully, became exemplary in their lifetime and also for generations to come, and names of some of them we have mentioned in the beginning of discussion in hand, underwent this process of the fourfold education in one way or the other. That is why; they successfully conquered all sorts of perplexities, impossibilities and mental duels to emerge to be ideal. This is what we also call enlightenment.

Let us comprehend in this direction and make sincere endeavours accordingly in a planned way for making education valuable to lead one to make his life meaningful. 

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