Education, values & skills

December 27, 2019 09:19 pm | Updated 09:19 pm IST

The study system of yore was designed to inculcate a comprehensive set of values and life skills in children from different walks of life. During the period of study, children were entrusted in the hands of a guru and had to stay in his dwelling away from home. They were taught both Samanya dharma, the universal values and code of conduct applicable to all, and Visesha dharma, or professional ethics and skills, pertaining to the livelihood that each one inherits by birth, as a brahmin, a kshatriya, a vaisya and so on, pointed Swamini Satyavratananda in a discourse.

The focus was on ethical and moral disciplines such as yama, cultivating of moral values such as truthfulness, ahimsa and self- control; niyama, acquiring regular habits of study and worship; asana, sitting quietly in order to achieve tranquillity; pranayama, taking breathing exercises in order to gain control of the mind; pratyahara, freeing the mind from the thralldom of the senses; dharana, concentrating; dhyana, meditating and Samadhi, rising to the super conscious state. Side by side, professional training was given to make each one competent to pursue one’s livelihood. In God’s creation, people are born in specific varnas, based on the gunas or qualities they had developed in their previous births, and also the type of activity or work relevant to their background.

For instance, a brahmin is trained in the Vedas, as also in the method of performance of rituals and yagnas. A kshatriya gets trained in archery and such skills that help him follow the kshatriya dharma, as also a Vaisya, his specific skills and so on. Moreover, it is shown that learning is a continuous process, and the wise person directs what he has learnt to ultimately reach God and get freed from samsara.

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