We all know that human being like animals, used to live in jungles. Gradually, they could channelise their intellect to rise above all other beings. As such, it can be said that refinement, creativity and education were the factors that led to civilisation. And with civilisation, we started amassing wealth and power.
The great German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, has narrated the predicament of modern day man in the following words, “All men who are secure from want and care, now that at least they have thrown off all other burdens, become burden to themselves.” Mankind is grappling with this problem. Einstein had said that science can divide atom and plutonium but it cannot erase the badness that is in the heart of man. Science can create amenities but cannot make us happy.
Physically and intellectually we have made immense progress. However, we have to understand that our salvation does not lie in uncontrolled consumption but in self-control, self-restrain and self-denial.
We have to realise that subjects like physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, astronomy and botany are important. It is equally important to gain knowledge of business management, engineering and others. However, we have to gain knowledge about ourselves as well. The great physicist Niels Bohr had stated, “We are both spectator and actors at the same time.”
Today, we have the energy of speed but lack the knowledge of our direction. In spite of all-round progress, why is there a steady increase of crime in society today? In ancient times, our education system was tuned to ensure a balance between physical, intellectual and moral powers. However, the British introduced a new education system that was far from our own education system.
Swami Vivekananda could visualise the moral decay of our citizens. He said that emphasis of education should be on man making with a view on nation building. According to him, education should inculcate strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy and courage of a lion.
The great psychologist, William McDougall had stated that youth must have ambition but that ambition should be integrated with certain ideals of character. Swami Vivekananda has defined education as manifestation of the divinity that is already present in man. Education that does not help common people to equip themselves for the struggles of life is unworthy of pursuing. After the British changed our education system, it started churning out peons and clerks. On a higher plan, students are being told to be ambitious. No high ideal of character or human excellence is placed before them. We find in our country that there are pockets of affluence but miseries far outweigh them. Students are fighting for their own cause but they seldom think about their role in nation building.
This is a really painful situation, when we consider that the first university in the whole world was built in our country – at Takshila.
The missionary zeal of teachers and school managements that was prevalent before independence has vanished. Character, honesty, sacrifices and sincerity of social reformers, politicians and other sections of the society were exemplary. Even when the country was under British rule, they could not take away the moral strength of our countrymen. The present situation of decay, conflicts and misery reflects our misplaced priorities. The money spent on welfare programmes are not reaching the beneficiaries due to corruption. Judiciary is overburdened with crores of pending cases and crime is increasing. Spirituality can lead to course correction.