VARËÄÇRAMA EDUCATION Original Natural Simplified
GURUKULA BOYS Recess time Taking a swim
Meeting 3 Needs VARËÄÇRAMA
CONTENTS • A. What is Varëäçrama? • B. What is Education? • C. What is Varëäçrama Education? • D. Five Pillars of Education
A. What is varëäçrama? • The word varëäçrama is divided into: (1) varëa (social order) and (2)äçrama (spiritual order). The four social orders are the intellectual class (brähmaëa), the administrative class (kñatriya), the productive class (vaiçya) and the worker class (çüdra). The four spiritual orders are that of renounced life (sannyäsa), retired life (vänaprastha), married life (gåhastha) and student life (brahmacarya).
SANÄTANA DHARMA IN TWO FEATURES • In the Vedic literatures varëäçrama is often connected with the word dharma. The expression “varëäçrama dharma” is also sometimes referred to as “sanätana dharma”. This “sanätana dharma” is also known as “bhägavata-dharma” the word “Bhagavän” referring to God or Lord Sri Krishna
VARËÄÇRAMA DHARMA • The eternal dharma of the spirit soul when situated at the level of “conditioned soul” (baddhajéva), being influenced by the three modes of material nature, is called varëäçrama dharma.
BHÄGAVATA-DHARMA • Sanätanarefers to that which is eternal while dharma refers to one’s original nature, quality or duty. The eternal dharma of the spirit soul when situated at the level of “liberated soul” (muktajéva), is called bhägavata-dharma or pure devotional service to Lord Krishna.
DAIVÉVARËÄÇRAMA • When all four varnas and fouräçrama are performed in unalloyed devotional service to the lord, the system ofvarëäçrama dharma becomes known as the (divine) daivé-varëäçrama dharma, thus enabling one to once again attain to the status of liberated soul.
B. What is Education? • Education is that which deals with the acquisition, cultivation and dissemination of true knowledge. [Bhagavad-gétä 7.2] True knowledge means to understand the difference between matter and spirit, the origin of both and the relationship between them all. Knowledge has also been explained in the Vedic literatures as that which awakens one to the reality of matter (body, mind) and life (spirit) encompassing 5 levels of consciousness (anna-maya, präëa-maya, jïäna-maya,vijïäna-mayaand änanda-maya). [TaittiréyaUpaniñad 2.9]
THREE TYPES OF “VIDYÄ” • In Sanskrit, knowledge is known as “jïänam” or “vidyä”. There are three types of “vidyä”: • 1. Parävidyä:knowledge revealed directly from God (çruti) found in the Vedic literatures. • 2. Aparävidyä: knowledge revealed through self-realized souls (småti), found in the Vedas. • 3. Avidyä: knowledge outside the Vedas.
EDUCATION AS FORMAL, NON-FORMAL, INFORMAL • Education is categorized as formal, non-formal and informal. • 1. Formal education: long-term studies generally limited to those more intellectually inclined. • 2. Non-formal: vocational or apprenticeship training for skills, trades or manual occupations. • 3. Informal education: knowledge one acquires in the course of one’s daily life and general activities.
C. varëäçrama Education • Varëäçrama education refers to the systems of varëa and äçramaas a self-contained educational institution based on the Vedic teachings which lead individuals and society at large towards the perfection of life, i. e. individual and social emancipation. It takes into account the fullness of the living entity, fulfilling his physical needs, his emotional, intellectual and social needs, as well as his spiritual needs.
AGRARIAN BASED SOCIETY • This system of varëa and äçrama is best practiced within an agrarian based society where life remains simple and time can be given for self-realization. Economic development no longer remains the main obsession or preoccupation of individuals and society. One should not wrongly conclude, however, that automatically individuals will become poor and that society will revert to primitiveness. Traditional village life was valued and still remains ideal in all respects, including the material aspects
VARËA EDUCATION • Varëaeducation is based on “aptitude based learning” which leads to “aptitude based occupation”.
ÄÇRAMA EDUCATION • äçrama education teaches “phased lifelong learning”, from gradual awakening of consciousness to “self-realization”, culminating in “Krishna consciousness”. Varëäçrama education is meant to be the norm and standard in society.
D. FIVE PILLARS of education • 1. Definition • 2. Disposition • 3. Delivery • 4. Design • 5. Direction
1. Definition • Actual education means the simultaneous cultivation of jïänam (phenomenal) and vijïänam (numinous) knowledge through formal, non-formal and informal practices. Bhagavad-gita 7.2
2. Disposition • A correct education entails that both the teacher and the student must demonstrate specific traits or qualities. • A qualified teacher displays 9 basic qualities. • A qualified studentdisplays 3 basic qualities.
QUALITIES OF TEACHER • Çamaù peacefulness • Damaù self-control • Tapaù austerity • Çaucam purity • Kñäntiù tolerance • Ärjavam honesty • Jïänam knowledge • Vijïänam wisdom • Ästikyam religiousness • 1. peacefulness, 2. self-control, 3. austerity, 4. purity, 5. tolerance, 6. honesty, 7. knowledge, 8. wisdom and 9. religiousness. [Bhagavad-gitä18.42] Similarly, a qualified student must have 3 qualities: 1) submission, 2) inquiry and 3) service. [Bhagavad-gétä 4.34] Thus, education should only be offered to individuals who demonstrate proper motivation as well as natural ability and proper inclination. In light of the above, we should understand knowledge and education to be a privilege rather than a right.
QUALITIES OF STUDENT • 1) praëipät submission • 2) praçna inquiry • 3) sevä service Bhagavad-gétä 4.34
3. Delivery • The ideal environment which fosters lifelong education and which provides the best training and education to all individuals is the scientifically planned village social structure. Such village organization, established on the principles of Vedic architecture (Vastu-çästra), helps individuals elevate themselves to the mode of goodness and beyond.
BOARDING SCHOOL • Training and education are best conducted within a boarding system where both the teacher and the student live together, as opposed to the formal modern day “schooling” system.
FREE EDUCATION • Since knowledge is meant to be shared or given as a gift, the teacher performs his service without a salary. • The Vedic traditional educational system advocates free education. At the end of his education, the student will offer some dakñiëä (gift) to his teacher, according to his means.
4. Design • According to Vedic culture, by definition and purpose, the systems of varëa (aptitude-based learning) and äçrama (phased life-long education)] are in themselves complete and scientific educational institutions. Bhagavad-gétä 16 1-3
VEDIC CURRICULUM • Varëaand äçramaeducation provides complete knowledge to all its members based on methodology and Vedic curriculum corresponding to each varëa and each äçrama. This education and training encompass both the material and spiritual spheres, the foundation of which is the practice of sädhana-bhakti or practical devotion to God.
5. Direction • The ultimate aim of all education and knowledge is to help individuals, and society at large advance towards self-realization and God consciousness/Krishna consciousness. • Education and knowledge, devoid of such objective, are incomplete and imperfect. Bhagavad-gétä 18 64.65.66
CONCLUSION • Mantra 9. Those who engage in the culture of nescient activities shall enter into the darkest region of ignorance. Worse still are those engaged in the culture of so-called knowledge. [ÇréÉçopaniñad, Mantra 9]
CHANT HARE KRISHNA & BE HAPPY