Education for Life

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Today, the subject is about the relationship of yoga and education. People have been demonstrating and giving you the details of different research and experiments that have been conducted to show the efficacy of yoga in the improvement of the quality of the youth, the youth's mind, the child, and the child's mind.

One important research study was con­ducted by BYMM in relation to the personal development and discipline of a child when performing yoga. The data collected from this research was presented in a workshop today. Those of you who have participated in that workshop will appreciate the multidimensional approach of yoga. Education is not just cramming the mind or the intelligence with knowledge of things that are never used in life. Sri Swamiji often says, "All the learning in my life that I am expressing today has come from living in the ashram. All the things I have learned in my school and college days, very rarely have I applied that knowledge or information in my day-to-day living."

In your day-to-day living, how are you concerned about how many wives this king or that king had? In your day-to-day living, how are you concerned whether you know mathematics in its ultimate form? They are subjects of specialty. If that is your inclination and your profession, go for it. If that is going to be a useless, futile exercise in your life, then how will that education help you grow?

The effect of this education is that both hemispheres are blocked. You know, the brain has two hemispheres: the left and the right. With the influence of modern education, in the left brain hemisphere there is nothing right, and in the right brain hemisphere there is nothing left! Therefore, there is always confusion.

The purpose of education is to educate the mind to respond efficiently and effectively to situations in life with the resilience of wisdom, the clarity of aspirations and goals, and the determination that becomes the motivating factor to reach what you aspire for.

Education has to give samskaras. You educate yourselves in many different forms. School and college education is only intellectual, baudhika; however, samskaras are psychic imprints. You receive those psychic imprints from your family; the values, the ideals, the thoughts and the culture that your family follows are the samskaras that make up your traits, character and personality. They make up who you become in life.

Education as a doctor makes you an efficient or qualified doctor in the course of time through experience. In the same manner, the impressions that you receive from your family become the samskaras that you express later in the course of your life. Those values, sentiments, traits and characters are expressed by you. They are known as samskaras.

These samskaras are the deeper level of education, not intellectual, but in the region of chitta. When you educate the chitta aspect of the mind, then the form of education is samskara. When you educate your baudhika or intellectual mind, that form of education is known as 'studies'. When you are aware of your aspirations in life to attain the best and to express the best, and when you connect with your creative force and that becomes an expressive power in your life, then that is the final education. There, every action and every thought will lead you to illumination. That should be the purpose of education. We can become enlightened by cultivating our own strengths and qualities, and not become slave or subject to the stress and tensions that inhibit and restrict our efficiency and creativity.

Education should also teach us when to relax and when to be active so we can learn to deal with the mismanagement of our mind and life. That is the system, the concept and the ideal that evolved in the gurukul system in India. The spiritual and the material were combined.

Once, I made a list of the sixty-four kalas that used to be taught in the gurukuls, and the subjects that were being taught in the modern education system as science, arts and commerce. Believe it or not, the parallel between the two forms of education were just uncanny. The only difference was that in the gurukul system, an equal emphasis was placed on adopting spiritual, moral and cultural values, and to live those values.

—Welcome Address, 25 October 2013, Polo Ground, Munger