March , 2024
Value Education for Ethics and Global Peace
23:16 pm

Dr. Ravindra Kumar

Education, which is imbued by values and inspires one to indulge in righteous acts –Sadachar, can be the true Shiksha according to its basic spirit. Such education can get one realize his responsibilities towards the humanity; thus, to pave the way to Vishwa-Shanti –world peace. 

Hence, a topic like Value Education for Ethics and Global Peace is not only important, but also as much significant in global perspective as in regional and national context. More particularly the discussion and analysis of this theme in global perspective is more pertinent today for the reason that the world is developing continuously at a rapid speed. Mother Earth is swiftly converting into a global village and in such a situation going forward together –walking hand-in-hand is inevitable, lest we should fall apart and suffer.

Let us start from value education; especially, keeping in mind the current process of education, or education being imparted to a student through schools, colleges and universities according to prescribed syllabi up to the age of 20, 22 or 25 years, which generally completes with obtaining a certificate or a degree by one. 

Can we really call it a value education? Straightforward answer to is question is in negative. Such education, besides being a part of the process of education, cannot stand a real test according to the spirit at the root of education or Shiksha –its objectives and principles. It is just a small effort of acquiring knowledge in a particular direction, not fully in consonance with the goal of education. How? We can well understand this if we get familiar with the real meaning of education –Shiksha and basic spirit in its root.

In India the oldest mention about Shiksha (education) is found in the Vedangas–sciences focusing on helping to understand and interpret the Vedas, their universal applications –message of complete unity (Indivisible Whole), harmony and all-inclusive peace to be achieved through righteousness –ethics, and true meaning of Shiksha can be derived from that mention making a minute analysis thereof.

Shiksha –education is the first among the six Vedangas, which is basically connected with phonetics (ध्वनि-विज्ञान) and makes man mentally ripe to achieve the goal of life; thereby, attaining the state of the Paramananda (absolute happiness). Undoubtedly, the spirit of optimum development of virtues that already exist within is the nucleus here.      

If a course of discussion about education takes place starting from the Vedanga, especially according to its basic spirit and purpose viewpoint further comprehending the views

expressed by the greatest Indians who were also the great Acharyas – teachers in their respective times, we arrive at one common conclusion that education is a process of acknowledging and developing the virtuous being within us. The sole objective of this process is to discipline a holistic development of one’s personality.

What is a virtue? It is, in fact, a good propensity, each and every human possesses within. The realization and development of virtues transforms one to be welfaristic to one and all. Moral excellence –prudence and righteousness in practices, and sincerity to discharge responsibilities are connected with it. These together form the acid test of this process of honing up the human virtues. Hence, virtues are the fountainhead of human values.  

Now, if the realization and expansion of virtues already within are the nuclei of the process of education, then an all-round development of one’s personality on the basis of one’s own virtues is the purpose of Shiksha, it should, undoubtedly, be based on values. Therefore, a separate course of discussion on value education seems pretended to me. It does not appeal to me. To me, it is hard to believe that if education is imparted according to its basic spirit and purpose viewpoint aiming at developing a constructive society, it still lacks in values to live a worthy life. I am of the firm opinion that if it is done accordingly there is no question that one will not get self-sufficiency in life along with growing as much morally and ethically as socially, and economically.                             

For appropriate realization and development of virtues, there is an essential need for the fourfold knowledge. Besides imparting knowledge at different levels –from primary to higher level according to the prescribed syllabi, physical and moral-ethical education is necessary. Further, development of the principal virtue, possessed by each and every one, is necessarily included in the fourfold knowledge process. One’s skill development is related to the development of his chief virtue. Hence, through this, i.e., the fourfold knowledge, which, without a doubt, completes the process of real education, the all-round development of one’s personality is possible. This can lead one to the righteous acts –upright behaviours (ethics), to build his personality imbued with responsibilities and to dedicate his life to the wellbeing of all, and for the cause of peace indeed.

In this era of globalization, the tempo of development in all walks of life is going high and as has been said already the world is promptly converting into a global village, it is a natural result of the process of progress and advancement, and this has still to go forward. On the other hand, many hazardous –destructive problems are also before the world to challenge the process of progress, peace and harmony. They are increasing in proportion to block the way of development and peace at the global level. Competitions and longings for achieving prosperity at the cost of others for individual sake or in the interest ofa group of individuals are among those foremost reasons, which hamper the pathway of progress. These are the blocks, which can be witnessed, more or less, at the roots of every problem, dispute or clash, and these blocks mushroom up in man due to lack of proper education –scarcity of morality. As it only the true education, which on one hand generates the spirit of responsibility in man and on the other, inspires him to indulge in righteous acts at every step in life, today, if condition and direction of education are not proper, it is only due to the lack of this aspect –morality in the process. Resultantly, education has gone haywire –lacking values, getting short of ethics. It is proving itself incapable of getting one realize his duties towards the society, the nation and humanity as a whole, and his obligation for harmony and global peace.  

Hence, it is expected from all those who are associated with the process of education at any level, directly or indirectly –each and every educator, professor or teacher, to impart with certainty the fourfold knowledge, a brief description of which has been given. It is a work calling for discharging responsibility. Only through this, education can meet with its desired expectations –according to its meaning, significance, basic spirit and purpose.

India is Vishwa-Guru. On the basis of original thoughts and practices Bharat has since ancient times led the world. India is the treasure-house of inventive knowledge in various fields including art, science and spirituality. But, it is an irony that we have gone astray from this reality, knowingly or unknowingly. Turning faces from great Indian values, traditions and established ideals in which morality and ethics are the nuclei, which call for getting familiar with true knowledge –realization and development of virtues and to dedicate life for universal wellbeing, large-scaled harmony and global peace, we get attracted by external viewpoints or imported ideas in which materialism, individualism, distrust and cynicism remain nuclei. Need of the hour is we should get well familiar with our great educational tradition, which along with proper physical building, essentially includes moral-ethical  knowledge and emphasizes the realization and development of virtues to make all-round growth of one’s personality. This, thus, prepares the ground for a fourfold education –complete education leading one to discharge his responsibilities towards the humanity –to contribute to the cause of world peace. 

— A Padma Shri and Sardar Patel National Awardee Indologist Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a Former Vice Chancellor of CCS University, Meerut; he is, currently the Ombudsman of Swami Vivekananda Subharati University, Meerut (India).    

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