Para Siksha – A Symposium on Vedic Education Day 1

DAY 1 THE CONCEPT OF VEDIC EDUCATION

  • Without proper education people will not know that the goal of life is becoming God conscious.
  • There are strict rules in the Vedic system, but they are applied to the individuals.
  • The individuals must be interested in gaining that benefit.
  • The values of one generation have to be transfered to another, but those values are the values found in the Vedic literatures.
  • Culture changes because the values are not transmited to the next generation. Every generation perceives that something is being lost.
  • Parents are not able to give full attention to educating their children because they have other occupational duties, while the teachers give full time.
  • The child inherently pick up religious elements in the house, but it is not conscious.
  • Generally children are similar to their parents, but sometimes they are not, like Haridasa Thakura.
  • Children are trained according to their nature.
  • To be trained according to one’s individual nature, one has to be removed from the greater society.
  • The place of training should be away from materialistic surroundings. In a simpler environment one sees who one is, what is one’s nature etc.
  • What makes things work is how confident one is.
  • In a classroom setting the teacher is not able to see what the students do with the knowledge gained, but in an ashrama situation they can.
  • When something is applied for years, that makes the change of consciousness and lifestyle.
  • Children’s ego is less, it gets deflated in a group, and gets inflated at home.
  • To properly train the children one has to see what they do.
  • Highly learned means that one has knowledge and skills, and also has a character.
  • In the Vedic system, if one does not have the culture, then what is the use of one’s learning.
  • One makes money to live a life. If one does not have a character, one would not have a life, actually.
  • Character does not happen just because one wants to. The whole educational endeavor should be based on developing a character.
  • Each student will be going through the educational system in a slightly different way. The main thing is an interaction between the teacher and the student.
  • To fully adjust to an environment takes 2 years – one for the gross, one for the more subtle.
  • Relationship with a teacher has to be developed before the child attains puberty. The earlier the child starts the training the better.
  • Properly trained boy can fully run the Pujari department at the age of 16.
  • Formerly great things in the world were done by younger people because they started earlier.
  • If the parent tries to keep the child for the time that the child is supposed to be in the Gurukula, after that the parent may not see the kid much for the rest of their lives.
  • Unless the children are trained as humans, they will not function as humans.
  • One is supposed to respect mother, father and teacher for the rest of one’s life. If one does not respect them, one is not human.
  • The Vedic education is a cooperation between parent and teachers.
  • The relationship between children and teachers is parental rasa, but there is no attachment, so therefore there is more objectivity.
  • The children have to have the suitable behavior and intellect for the training in Gurukula. If student does not fit into Gurukula, other alternative educational systems can be applied.
  • In the testing period teachers evaluate whether the child has a potential for training.
  • Krsna is always who He is, that is constant, but we do not have anything constant here. So by doing regular activities that are in  direct connection to Krsna, we become purified and attain taste.
  • As a result of practice, sadhana becomes part of student’s life.
  • Boys never thrive in an environment of variety because they are not conscious. In a regulated environment they become conscious. Girls, on the contrary, are always conscious.
  • The boys are slower, but once they figure something out, they are steady.
  • When boys do something for years, then it starts to sink in. The vacations for boys are very short, otherwise they do not sink back into the schedules.
  • Traditionally boys never leave the school until they graduate.
  • Girls, on the contrary, thrive when there are 3 free months, but boys in that long time get adjusted to doing nothing.
  • When boys clean every day, they start to develop the ability to clean.
  • There is the service activity and the service attitude.
  • The boys ideally should be at least 12 years in the Gurukula system to become steady. Minimum is 4 years, but that just gives very basic things. We get what is invested.
  • Untrained sons just give trouble to the mother, while trained gives satisfaction.
  • Activities become devotional because of the attitude.
  • The conditioned living entity always has to blame someone else for their troubles. So parents will blame the system if the child does not do well in the Gurukula.
  • Children should be trained in the human environment, not regional. Regional only works in a specific area, but as human one can function anywhere. Hindus generally fit in anywhere and do even better than the locals. But those from other countries usually do not fit in anywhere.
  • Upanayana or purascarya viddhi is preparation for spiritual initiation that works in the gurukula environment.
  • For first generation chanting is what purifies us.
  • Vedic knowledge must be realized, and realization comes from practice. Unless one has knowledge of all the aspects of cooking and applies it, one cannot cook.
  • Knowledge has to come from authority.
  • Western medicine only figured out a hundred years ago that there were germs, but the Vedic always teaches cleanliness.
  • Para and apara vidya. Cooking on itself is not a spiritual activity, but it becomes apara-vidya when connected to Krsna. But knowledge of cooking of a chef who never cooks for Krsna is avidya.
  • Apara vidya that is not used for Krsna will distract us from devotional service, even though the distraction will be in the mode of goodness.
  • For us as Gaudiya Vaishnavas the main book is Srimad Bhagavatam, we have to see everything else in connection to that. There is no use of knowledge and skills if they take us away from Krsna consciousness.
  • Veda is approached through the language, then through Jyotisha one knows the proper time.
  • Language has a natural grammar that can apply to any language – the language comes from Krsna therefore there is a way how it works. If one learns that grammar through Sanskrit, one can apply it to anything.
  • Next, numbers also have a nature and work in a particular way, and that is learned in mathematics, astronomy.
  • Modern education repeats things over and over again because knowledge is never practiced and is therefore forgotten quickly.
  • People who can actually do something with their knowledge are generally humble and consider that they don’t know much.
  • The 14 books of Vedic knowledge are grouped in a particular way.
  • All Vedic knowledge must be seen in connection to Srimad Bhagavatam. Bhagavatam gives knnowledge on how to connect everything to Krsna. More detail on various subjects is available elsewhere.
  • Krsna and balarama followed the Gurukula system perfecly. We are simply following them.
  • 14 books of Vedic knowledge are considered general knowledge. The core is philosophy. Having learned that, one specializes.
  • Krsna and Balarama specialized in knowledge relevant to kings.
  • The Vedic system is that one always learns the science first, otherwise with arts mind and senses will take prominence and one will adjust things how they feel better. But with science first, the mind will always work in the realm of intelligence.
  • The 64 arts are all the different applications in human society.
  • Only 64 arts are given, otherwise it would be difficult to focus, but they can be combined in various ways.
  • Q. The importance of developing character at a young age – by using intelligence one can develop character in any age, but one would have to have character to do that.
  • Q. What should parents do before child goes to gurukula? They should be very clear on what they are doing. Raising children is a science, it does not happen on its own.
  • Q.Is it guaranteed that the character developed stays for the whole life? The only things guaranteed are death and taxes.
  • Q. The importance of Garbhadana and other samskaras. Based on one’s previous samskaras one will have a certain attitude when coming to the school. Without the samskaras one’s life does not go so well. E.g. Samskaras for digestion; samskara for staying in one place etc.
  • Q. What to do in order that our childen are not like Rishyashringa? That they would be more robust? Rishyashringa was doing very well after leaving Gurukula. The boys in Gurukula have a life and know how to work, so they CAN make it in the world. The Asians do better in the West than the Westerner. Just because people can say things, it does not mean that it has any importance. Google was started in a garage, but the IIT people are not trained in garages. All it is is that Gurukula experience is different from what we are used to. The culture of modern education does not exist anywhere in the modern life. E. g. many people of the same age together. One has to separate the study environment, otherwise how one will be able to study?
  • Most of the problems of the society would not be there with a proper training.
  • Q. What is the best way to learn this knowlege for one who comes from a background of passion and ignorance? It happens by association, just like in Gurukula. We should associate with like-minded people who are more advanced.
  • Q. Daiva, manushya and rakshasa – is it important for school? They are trained in cleanliness etc – then of the rakshasas one would be the cleanest of rakshasas.
  • Q.The education for boys and girls For girls there is always more variety, shorter classes, more subjects. Boys do better when it is more uniform. Girls should have home environment, boys – monastic.
  • Q. Children who have short attention span. Such problems arise from imbalances of mucus, bile and air and it can be adjusted by performing various activities.
  • Q. Speed of education. Everyone goes through the studies at their own speed.

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