Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Spirituality: A Panacea for the Growth of the Nation -Professor Dr. Ravindra Kumar

Spirituality, a term for the journey from being to becoming has been derived from the word spiritual, which in turn, is derived from the word spirit. In Indian terms it is the Adhyatmikta from Adhyatmic and basically from the Atmik. It signifies in general to remain active as per the call of the soul [आत्मा]. The soul [आत्मा] represents the existence of the Supreme [परमात्मा] in each and every living being. Therefore, it is a clarion call for righteous acts [शुभकर्म], which is in reality the path of the Dharma [धर्म] to make finally life of an individual worthy and meaningful on one hand and on the other, to head towards the proper conduction of the system up to the global and universal level. It is for this reason that in the Atharvaveda it appears that this world is upheld by the Dharma [धर्म], “Prithiviim Dharmanaa Dhritaam.”
Hence, spirituality is not just an idea. Neither it is an imaginary, nor, a small article, nor it is limited in its scope, and nor a subject of narrow thinking. It is also not confined to a particular region or a religion, or to any religious custom, ritual or tradition.
Contrary to it, spirituality, due to its emphasis on making righteous acts the basis of day-to-day practices and taking Shubh Karman [शुभकर्म] as the foremost and necessary duty of life, emerges as an enormous subject of continuous practice. Further, due to its all-inclusive scope and comprehensive and all-welfaristic approach, it surfaces as an inevitable and universal essentiality to pave the way to rise and prosperity of one and all. In this regard, to quote a Vedic prayer seeking universal happiness, peace and prosperity of all is fairly appropriate here:
“May all be happy! May all remain free from disabilities! May all see auspicious things! May none suffer sorrows!
Thus, importance of spirituality in life could be comprehended from the basic spirit in the root of the word itself, from its all-embracing and macroscopic approach, and more from its insistence on making virtuous acts an essential part of general individual behaviour.  
The Shrimadbhagavad-Gita [श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता], a distinctive Vedic-Hindu treatise, beautifully explains the importance and role of Karma [कर्म] in life. The Gita [गीता], while declaring Karma [कर्म] to be natural, stresses on making it upright. Further, the Gita [गीता] urges for self-less or desireless action [निष्कामकर्म], an action performed without any expectation of fruit, or result and also without attachment, and keeping firmly in mind the welfare of each and everyone, and for this to be ready always even to make the highest sacrifice.
This is the way to rise individually in all manners and to accord growth or prosperity to a nation that is made of individuals. The Karmas [कर्म] of individuals are entirely responsible for the development of a society, a country, or a nation. If they are filled with spirituality as explained above in brief while having the message of the Gita [गीता] as the nucleus, and if they make the approach of welfare of one and all the foremost of their practices and show readiness to sacrifice, the rise of the nation is certain. Such is the worth of spirituality.
In this regard, the utmost need is to understand the meaning and objective of spirituality, and its significance in life of an individual as well as a nation. Further, it is to be comprehended that spirituality brings one to overcome the state of narrow-mindedness, self-interest and all kinds of false vanities. Spirituality leads one to realize his inner strength. It inspires him to self-purification and to dedicate himself to the cause of humanity –welfare of each and everyone, and thus to make life meaningful. The followings Shloka [श्लोक] from the Shrimadbhagavad-Gita [श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता:5:15] is worth mentioning here: 
“Nirmaanamohaa Jitasangadoshaa
Adhyaatmanityaa Vinivrittakaamaah/
Dwandvairvimuktaah Sukhaduhkhasangyer
Gachchhantyamuudhaah Padamavyayam Tat//”
[One who is free from illusion, false prestige, and false association, who understands the eternal, who is done with material lust and is freed from the duality of happiness and distress, and who knows how to surrender unto the Supreme, attains to that eternal kingdom]
Thus, spirituality is a vital subject of life. It has undoubtedly its own importance in the growth of a nation on the basis of righteous acts of individuals. Spirituality is not momentary or a subject of particular occasions. It is rather all-timely, and its role in the rise or progress of a country cannot be minimized. Spirituality is not a matter of superficial preaching, but a habit and a school of thought to keep the mind awakened and progressive and peace-seeking in approach.

Kerala Hindi Sahitya Academy's Shodh Patrika endorses Ravindra Kumar on Vishishta Bharatiya Rashtravad: Ek Drishtikon in Hindi

Friday, October 24, 2014

Common Features of the Cultures of India and Myanmar: Binding the Two Bilaterally –Professor Dr. Ravindra Kumar

Culture is the mirror of a society. It presents before the world those iconic characteristics of people within its ambit, which are the signs of their own identity. Along with this, they become ideals to be followed by others. A culture envelops ideas, works, planning, values and achievements of people of its domain. Especially, values and virtues occupy the foremost place in a culture. They are the result of a long-term process of thoughts and actions. That is why; some of them emerged as doubtless and timeless accepted greatly and widely. They prove to be exemplary for generations to come. Along with guiding people for the best and their large scaled welfare, they cause a long term impact on those in its direct range. Hence, importance of culture in life is self-evident.
Example of Indian culture and its unique features are well before us. We all know that many of extraordinary features of Indian culture became ideal long ago for the people all over the world. They are still exemplary and inspiring. Not only this, they will be so for the next thousands of years. It is exclusive qualities of Indian culture, which established Hindustan as a leading nation of the world, the Adhyatmik Vishwa-Guru [spiritual world-teacher] even in ancient times. It can be said without a doubt that Indian culture contributed significantly in building India’s position unique. Further, it played a vital role in the making the identity of Indians distinctive in the world. 
The three, harmony [amalgamation], co-ordination and evolutionary approach, are the leading qualities of Indian culture. The basic spirit of Indian culture is to guide and lead each and everyone through these basics to the pathway to universal welfare. Along with this, Indian culture on the strength of forbearance and tolerance, the two best and the most practical expressions of the supreme human value of Ahimsa [that is an essential condition for the safety of existence, progress and achieving goal also], calls everyone on this planet to think and work for the development and rise of one and all, and peace in the world so that the whole humanity comes blissfully within the scope of unity. Not only this, in accordance with its true meaning and purpose, Indian culture has in its long journey of more than five thousand years continuously stepped forward urging people to tread the pathway to progress with large scaled co-operation and co-ordination. It has always made the people remind the message of the Vedas, the Rigveda in particular, to think and act as per the demand of time and space, and has also led them in making situations conducive. In this process, Indian culture has also incorporated all welfaristic features of cultures of the world, which came in its contact from time-to-time. Keeping its own basic identity intact that is Swadeshikaran [indigenousness], it has been safeguarding and nurturing cultural values of others as well as infusing life in other cultures of the world. It has, thus, contributed tremendously in making the globe civilized and unified.
This is the only reality about Indian culture. In other words, it is the real picture of Bharatiya Sanskriti and anything contrary to this has nothing to do with Indian culture and its basic spirit. Indian culture is, as is well-known, one of oldest cultures of the world with its glorious history of thousands of years and high respect and recognition the world over. I do not need to go in any further details in this regard.   
Burma, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar today [nomenclature of the both of which emerged from the Bamar ethnic group, which further emerged from the unique and historical blend of the early tribes that reached in the region from India like Piyu, from Tibet like Lisu and from China like Miao, and Myanmar is itself in a way or the other the literary formation of the word Burma], is one of the oldest country of the South Asian region with its old and wonderful history and civilization. Before it got its name as Burma it was, in fact, Bagan a variated pronunciation of Pugan [a present day Burmese name of a city] that is again derived from Pukam origin of which could be well found in the Pali word Arimaddana-Pura, the city of templesIt is also said that Bamar is derived from the Vedic-Hindu word Brahmin [related to priestly class]; therefore, Burma is itself a variation of the word Brahmin
There are evidences of hardworking inhabitants in this region since eleven thousands BC [the Stone Age]. It is also evident from the engravings on a number of stones and cave-paintings that people of the region of today’s Myanmar were engaged in nature care [plantation and harvest growing] and animal rearing [domestication] in ancient period [between 10000-6000 BC] as is evident from the cave paintings near Taunggyi city, the current capital of Shan province of Myanmar. This also reflects people’s engagement in developing art, caring for environment and carrying out a number of other constructive works even in those days. Further, it has had in its splendid history the famous Pagan Empire, known as the Pagan Dynasty also [the first kingdom to unify during its rule for approximately 250 year between 1044 and 1287 AD the regions that would later constitute Burma and Myanmar of the day, and the Taungoo Dynasty, particularly responsible for creating a legal and political system during its reign of approximately 266 year between 1486 and 1752 AD in the region in the medieval period while the Konbaung Dynasty, the last dynasty, which ruled Burma from 1752 to 1885 AD and created the second largest empire in the history of the region, the Burmese history, and continued the administrative reforms begun by the Toungoo Dynasty in the Nineteenth Century AD in particular.
This series of events undoubtedly proves that like India the region of Myanmar was stepping forward on the pathway to development since ancient time. People of the region were marching ahead with a spirit of mutual understanding, harmony, co-operation and co-ordination, which is self-proved from unprecedented amalgamation and unity of tribes, arrived in the region especially from India, China and Tibet. This also eventually endorses the presence of a culture in Myanmar of which harmony, co-operation, co-ordination and acceptability were the leading features, quite similar to the qualities of Indian culture. Hence, without a doubt it is easy to be familiar with reality of common qualities of cultures of India and Myanmar. Along with this, these foremost features of the culture of Myanmar, like those of Indian culture, have remained ideal for others.
Along with this, developed art and method of music [known as the multileveled hierarchical system, melodious and combined with verses into songs], singing [retain melodic and stylistic patterns in particular] and dancing [especially traditional dance started during the Pyu period in 802 AD through ingenious musical instruments], creating literature [both in poetry and prose and focusing local folklore and culture, and using words from Pali], dressing [quite typical, in fact adopting lungi from India, being wore by both, man and woman ], games [mainly the Chinlone as an indigenous sport, utilizing a rattan ball and it is played using especially the feet and the knees, but the head and the arms may also be used except one’s hands] and cuisines [a good combination of Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisines with domestic ethnic cuisines] of Myanmar have been unique for hundreds of years and this state of affair is also similar to India. Burmese traditions and many ceremonies, wedding and funeral, celebrations and people’s respect for social values, [morality and ethics in particular], and making them the part of day-to-day practices could also be equated with those practiced in India. Like Bharat, convention of faith and devotion, mutual respect and goodwill too are the vital features of the culture of Myanmar.
Along with other elements, local-indigenous beliefs and traditions, people’s conduct, way of thinking and working, and their dynamism in particular, the Indian philosophy have also played a vital role in the development of features of the culture of Myanmar. It is entirely true that the basic source or the basis of development of cultures of India and Myanmar, both, remained the Indian philosophical tradition, the way of life and values. In this process the Vedic-Hindu philosophy, traditions and values have contributed significantly. They left a deep impression on life and works of people of the region, which could categorically be observed even today from daily practices of people of Myanmar.
Later since the first half of the Third Century BC Buddhism started becoming nucleus in life and practices of the people of Burma. It was the time of reign of the Great Mauryan King Ashoka in India. Ashoka, the Great, sent the two, Sona and Uttra, in 228 BC to Suwarnabhoomi [Burma] to propagate Buddhism there. Buddhism undoubtedly accorded a new dimension to the culture of Burma [Myanmar], deeply affected socio-religious life of the region. It is still so, which could be well comprehended from the number of Buddhist monks and nuns and temples in Myanmar. The number of Buddhist monks in Myanmar is approximately five lacs out of more than one million Buddhist monks in the whole world. In comparison to Burma in Thailand, one of the leading Buddhist countries of the world, the number of Buddhist monks is three lacs. The monks of Myanmar are besides religious teachers and guides, social activists, reformers and workers. There are more than 50, 000 Buddhist nuns and ten thousand temples in this country. 
Basic sources or the basis of cultures of both the countries, Indian philosophy indeed, has for thousands of years contributed predominantly in developing mutual relations between the two, India and Myanmar. History of deep mutual relations between them speaks by itself. It is glorious, magnificent and inspirational, and is available in many of socio-religious treatises, especially in the Buddhist scriptures of Myanmar. In this regard the names of other works namely Maha yazawin gyi and Hmannan yazawin dawgyi by Burmese scholars presenting history of the region could also be mentioned. Cultures of both the countries have also contributed significantly in developing their mutual economic co-operation, besides social relation. This process still continues and can be noticed from current economic-commercial relations between India and Myanmar. Currently, India is the fourth largest trading partner of Myanmar after Thailand, China and Singapore. Hindustan is the second largest exporter of goods to Myanmar after Thailand, and it absorbs twenty-five percent of total exports of Burma. Further, India is the seventh most important source of imports from Myanmar.
            India and Myanmar are not just the two neighbours, but the people of both the counties have somehow blood relations also. They are, therefore, inseparable from one-another. Further, they have, for thousands of years, been connected to one-another on the strength of a combined culture –values, traditions and rituals. A combination emerged on the basis of cultural values does not break easily. That is why; interests of people of India and Myanmar are naturally common and no one can separate them from one-another. It is, therefore, the demand of time that people of both the countries taking it as their responsibility come forward, having the common features of cultures of the both, India and Myanmar as the nuclei, to smoothen social, political and economic relations between them. It is also necessary and inevitable in these days of rapidly growing process of development at global level that they work in this direction for the security and balance in the region. It will pave the way to the common welfare and progress of people of both the countries and will also accord strength to all the positive and constructive efforts being made for peace in the world.               

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Managements in a University –Dr. Ravindra Kumar

“One whose knowledge is confined to books and whose wealth is in the passion of others can use neither his knowledge nor wealth when the need for them arises.” 
        –Vishnugupta Chanakya
Before starting a discussion about the role and importance of management in a university, which contributes tremendously in developing man’s personality, or which accords a dimension to human life, it is appropriate to get first of all familiarity with the meaning and purpose of management.
Management, an academic discipline, covering all faculties of the process of education, is, in reality, the function to co-ordinate the efforts of people to accomplish objectives and achieve the goals using available resources efficiently and effectively. Further, planning, organizing, staffing, directing and leading, controlling and taking initiatives to reach the goal are the parts and parcels of management. Along with this, deployment and arrangement of human resources, financial resources, learning resources, technological and natural resources are the prime features of management.
Thus, how important is management and how vital is its role in the ongoing process of globalization, it could be well comprehended from the short discussion we have had. Especially, when forecast, plan, organization, command, co-ordination and control emerge as its important tools, the worth and significance of management at all levels and in all walks of life become apparent.
Education is, undoubtedly, the most important feature in human life. It is a lifelong process. Ramakrishna Paramahansa, a great contemporary mystic from India, rightly said, As long I live, so long do I learn.”  The all-round development of one’s personality is possible only through education –Shiksha in Indian terms.
The Vedic-Hindu philosophy calls for a worthy living. It urges that each and everyone can make her or his life valuable by taking it to a moral and spiritual height. The acid test of worthy living, the high life, is to base her or his life on purity; in other words, imbuing it with ethics and dedicating actions to the great cause of the welfare of humanity as a whole. It is, in fact, an altruistic notion and urge of Vedic-Hindu philosophy with a universal objective. In this regard, important is that the Vedic-Hindu philosophy declares education as the only basis, means or the way to achieve the goal. From this, the significance of the process of education could also be realized. It is due to this reality that a person like Mandela has admitted, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”  
In such a significant discipline, which, to re-iterate, plays the vital role in making and shaping one’s life, or leads a human being towards achieving a goal, the importance of management is also self-evident. In this regard, it can be said with certainty that at every level of the process of education from primary to higher stage, proper and smooth management is inevitable. Along with this, in comparison to primary and secondary levels, it is more important at higher stage of education, institutions of higher studies, or universities. Why? This question could naturally emerge in one’s mind. In answer to this, it could be said firmly:
1-A university or an institution of higher studies is a centre of knowledge and learning for people of high age-group. Co-ordination between teaching staff [Professors] and managers and those who are of high age-group is naturally important and, at the same time, it is also a challenging task. For this, there is a great need for the best and co-operative management;
2-A university or an institution of a similar stature is essentially a centre for a wide range of researches and experiments besides imparting education through various faculties at the higher level. Here, education is not confined to attending classes for lectures and reading books as it cannot take to the real task. The accomplishment of task of generating energy is very much expected for the development of one’s personality, mental level in particular, and achieving the fixed objective or the one previewed already. It is possible only through an able-bodied management, by its foremost features mentioned above;       
3-A university, an institution of higher erudition, plays a vital role as directing-force through studies and by conducting tests including field work, to raise a man as a law-abiding and responsible citizen, under the supervision of well experienced and knowledgeable professors. It is quite necessary for proper conduction of the system –from individual to national, from national to global and from global to universal level. For this, planning, which is the foremost and preliminary part of management, is required; and
4-A university or an institution is meant to prepare, in a nutshell, a solid ground for the one, who studies and carry out research to achieve the goal. It plays a vital role by providing varied experiences for making one’s personality, or in developing individuality, not only for her/his own sake, but, in fact, for the purpose of working on the basis of her/his achievements for the progress and uplift of the society and humanity as a whole. This is indeed the purpose of education and the basic spirit is in its root. True education urges for use of each and every accomplishment, newly developed whole-person approach, method or model for larger welfare of one and all. It necessarily demands utilization of built up programmes, organizations, and human systems for people without any kind of discrimination –racial, gender or community-oriented. It is to integrate all fellow beings by promoting goodwill through human services in all manners.
The brief discussion we have had till now, particularly having the four points in the centre, categorically reveals itself the importance of a university or an institution of higher studies in the making of one’s life. It emphatically unveils side-by-side, the role, contribution and significance of management in achieving the desired goals.     
Currently, the world has reached to its new and unprecedented state. In reality, it is rapidly converting into a global village as per Indian dictum of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. In such a situation, stepping forward together has become necessary, and for this, co-operation of each and everyone and co-ordination among the all persons on this planet is a pre-requisite. For certainty of this, the role of process of education is vital, especially, well-managed education in the universities, or institutions of higher studies and that too directed by ethical values could lead the world for the purpose. This can pave the way to accord appropriate opportunities to everyone to rise.     
Today, there are a number of challenges before any university. Non-preparedness for adequate studies1 and shortage of competent teachers-professors2, low standard, non-availability of sufficient facilities and finances3, high cost, lack of co-ordination among faculties, or continuously increasing competition at the different levels, could be counted in this regard. They hinder studies and research, both; the skill development. Almost all universities face these challenges, more especially in developing countries of the world.
All these challenges or other related problems could be met only by effective and accountable management. Through available resources at local and regional levels, and by gathering national and international support in the form of co-operation and co-ordination, university education could be made more conclusive for universal good.
Management is itself an act to solve the problem, or to meet challenges and to pave the way to achieve. This is the only effective way to solution and to accomplish as per the expectations. But, while doing so, the significance of values cannot be overlooked, as they are the only base to make the tool of management, worthy and meaningful.
1.       In the United States of America, almost half of the students [fifty percent] in four-year degree programmes do not graduate. In the Netherlands, the completion rate for students enrolled in four or five years programme is approximately fifty percent. In New Zealand, the completion rate for students enrolled in Bachelors programmes is little less than fifty percent.
2.       For various reasons, renowned universities in India like DU, JNU, Madurai Kamaraj University, Patna University, and IITs are, according to the report, lack in professors-teachers up to fifty percent. It has been reported recently by P Pushkar, a research fellow at the Institute for Study of International Development at the McGill University through  his article entitled,  In Search of India’s ‘Missing’ Professors, which has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education [September 12, 2014] that India faces a shortage of 3,00,000 faculty members in its universities and colleges. It further estimated that the shortage will increase at the rate of 1,00,000 each year. These are big numbers even for a country of one billion-plus people and counting.
3.       This is the problem being faced more or less by every university or an institution of higher studies in the world. Just for an example, one of the prestigious universities of the world, the St. Augustine’s University at Raleigh, North California, United States of America, was in heavy debts due to lack of funds, it has stopped payments of many bills of which one amounting to approximately $675,000 came to disclose in 2013.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

With Special Reference to Buddhism Indian Viewpoint: Amalgamating Education and Psychology Indian Philosophy: A Cultural Blend of Education and Psychology* --By Dr. Ravindra Kumar

आत्मानं सततं ज्ञात्वा कालं नय महामते | प्रारब्धमखिलं भुञ्जन्नोद्वेगं कर्तुमर्हसि–Naadabindupnishad [नादबिन्दूपनिषद्]
[Meaning thereby: O intelligent man! Spend your life always in the knowing of the supreme bliss, enjoying the whole of your Prarabdha without making any complaint”]
Education and psychology are inseparably inter-twined. Any discussion done to know the effect of one on the other at any level has its own significance. Why and how they influence each other? Before comprehending this, it would be appropriate to get a familiarity of the meaning along with the basic spirit in the root of the both –education and psychology.   
Education: It is a lifelong process drawing out what already exists within a human being. Further, it develops human virtues and connects them with the natural process of actions [Karmas] to pave the way to an all-round progress of man. This is the only true meaning of education, and the basic spirit in its root. In this regard a great contemporary Indian scholar Swami Vivekananda rightly says, “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.” The statement of another Indian thinker Tagore that goes as [the scope of education includes] the high head, free knowledge, truth coming from the depth, tireless striving stretching arms towards perfection also reflects the reality in this context.
Psychology: A branch of knowledge studying and analyzing behaviour of mind. In other words, psychology is a science systematically studying human practices, mental-physical actions –thoughts [Chintan, also Manan –a process in which mind indulges with curiosity in a search], emotions [Bhavanayen, also Manobhava –a source of insipration] along with emergence of incidents and their connection. Realizations [Anubhootiyan –to pave the way to express and act and] and sensations [Samvedanayen, –mental experience in general or Bodh] are also within its scope and the purpose of this is to make analysis of the elements of conscious-state and their reciprocal relations, and to search for those regulations [Niyamas –universal acceptance] that could decide their various forms.
                Hence, psychology is, without a doubt, one of the main branches of human knowledge and as is evident from the above brief discussion it is an important part of the process of education.
The history of psychology goes back to the remote past. It cannot be confined to Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt [1832-1920] –a German physician, physiologist, philosopher and professor of the University of Leipzig [whose endeavours, works and experiments, paved the way in establishing psychology as an independent subject].1 It cannot even be confined to the Western world, Europe in particular, despite its presence in thoughts of a philosopher like Aristotle.2
Indian Philosophy: The history of psychology is in fact quite old. It has existed since long in the Eastern philosophies, especially in the Indian philosophy. The Vedic-Hindu, Buddhist and Jain philosophies have since ancient times been at the forefront in this regard.
The presence of psychology in Indian philosophy could be well observed in great Vedic treatises, in the Vedas itself, in the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Smiritis and more particularly in the Gita. Unique features like realization [Anubhooti], imagination [Kalpana –one of the chief features of the mental process] and valuation [Mulyankana] are the basis of making an opinion or the view [Vichar] before taking a decision [Nirnaya] followed by its application [Kriyanvayan] in psychology are  also present in Indian philosophy. These are the foremost characteristics of psychology of the Indian viewpoint and its history, to re-iterate, goes to the remote past.
The Indian psychology is unique in itself as its ultimate purpose is to make the life momentous. It leads the one to the pathway to the deliverance –the Moksha, the Mukti, the Nirvana or the Vimukti. In this process, i.e., in the making life worthy and meaningful, or achieving the goal, the psychology of the Indian viewpoint calls for embracing values [Mulya –reflecting worth of Sanskar and essentially connected with morality and ethics] at every step and in all situations, with is quite significant.
Values are always significant and welfaristic if they are embraced in their refined form as per the demand of time and space without compromising on the basic spirit in their root simultaneously. Maintaining values in the process of education is inevitable. Otherwise, the whole process becomes worthless and aimless. Psychology is an important and indivisible part of education and the psychology of the Indian viewpoint is essentially connected to values. Values are, as known to us, the guiding force of Indian tradition of thinking or philosophy, which, in turn, is the basic source of psychology. Nothing, but cultural values can inspire people to dedicate their lives working in different walks of life for the welfare of others. It is, therefore, not only an important state, but a subject of prejudice-free studies and analysis at different levels and in different forms.         
The Buddhist Perspective: The Buddhist viewpoint of education is not much different from the general Indian view of education [Shiksha], the basic spirit of which is to realize, develop and draw out what are already within, and on the basis of them to lead a human being to the pathway of holistic development. The Buddhist teachings reveal, that the real knowledge, true education, the first thing is to know oneself; further, to know is to realize the part of us that is pure, wise, full of truth, peaceful and perfect. Similarly, Buddhism is in agreement with the common Indian vision of psychology. The foremost features of Indian psychology –perception [Kalpana], realization [Anubhooti], imagination [Kalpana or Anumaana] and deliberation [Vichar] in particular, are also observed in Buddhism. On the basis of these characteristics Buddhism also lays stress on preview and to decide, and implement. 
Along with this, Buddhism, by making the process of study and analysis, especially related to the state of self-realization [Aatmanubhooti], meditation [Samadhi] and deliverance [Nirvana] minutely and more systematically, accords a dimension to the Indian view of psychology. It is the  worth and significance of the Buddhist perspective of psychology that it has from time-to-time left its deep impression on thoughts and works of scholars, teacher and thinkers all over the world, as well as the educationists of the West in particular. Not only this, due to its uniqueness3 Buddhist perspective has widely impressed Maslow’s theory of self-actualization and transcendental actualization, which established the link to the major part of ancient Indian theories and methods and the whole of ancient Indian writings that become in one way or the other physiologically relevant. It could also be categorically observed from frequent influence of writing, Buddhist scriptures in foremost, on psychology of consciousness, parapsychology, psychology of mysticism, psychology of religion, and transpersonal psychology.           
Along with Sigmund Schlomo Freud [1856-1939]4 the Buddhist influence could emphatically be seen on thoughts and works of scholars like Franz Alexander [1891-1964]5 –a Hungarian-American psychoanalyst and physician and Carl Gustav Jung [1875-1961] –a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist, who saw much substance in the Eastern thought, especially in Buddhism from psychology viewpoint. Not only this, the three prime treasures of Buddhism –the Buddha [the Awakened one], the Dharma [the Law –natural, spiritual and teachings] and the Sangha [the community of monks] are from the principles of their structure, state and place have for hundreds of years been a great source of inspirations for thinkers, scholars and educators of the East and the West both, especially the renowned psychologists.
In his work entitled, Buddhist Psychology, an eminent psychologist Eric Pettifor6 [quoting Mizuno] recognizes the above three very important treasures of Buddhism for all those associated with study and research in psychology and writes, “The formula, ‘I take refuge in Gautama [the Buddha] the World-honoured One, in the Law [the Dharma], and in the Order of Monks [the Sangha]. World-honoured One, from this day to the end of my life, recognize me as a believer who has taken refuge’ occurs time and again in the earliest Buddhist scriptures and means that even without theoretical understanding, a person who has faith in the three treasures is a true Buddhist.” 
The Buddhist thought and method are, even after approximately two thousand six hundred years, in line with the objective spirit of modern science and the law of parsimony of science. It is the testimony of the Buddhist view and method of psychology that it can be easily incorporated into a scientific framework. Moreover, the psychological relevance of the four noble-truth [चत्वारि आर्यसत्यानि –the truth of the Dukha, anxiety or suffering; the truth of the origin of the Dukha; the truth of the cessation of the Dukha; and the truth of the path leading to the cessation of the Dukha], the eightfold path [अष्टांगिक मार्ग –the right views, the right thinking or the right thought, the right speech, the right action, the right way of life or living with pure thoughts-words and deeds, the right endeavour overcoming of evils in life and making an uninterrupted progress in pursuing the way of truth, the right mindfulness and the right meditation] and the Shunyavada or the Madhyamaka [equating to Zero]7 in Buddhism, and Buddhist techniques of meditation are of worth considering at different levels in modern psychology. From this, the significance of the subject in hand, Education and Psychology in Buddhist Perspective, is also self-proved.   
*Extracts of lectures by Dr. Ravindra Kumar at the University of Lucknow [India] on August 12 and 13, 2014
1.        Also recognized as the father of modern psychology.
2.        According to the Western belief the history of psychology goes back to the time of Aristotle [384-322 BC] who himself was greatly impressed by the thoughts of Plato.
3.        As it is imbued with systematic and minute methods of study and analysis [research].  
4.        An Austrian neurologist who is known as the founding father of psychoanalysis. Existentialism, a philosophical viewpoint focusing on individual as the creator of himself in all manners, root of which are found in Buddhism [connected well to the Karma-Phala theory] could seen affecting Sigmund Schlomo Freud in his works and experiments.    
5.        Who is also considered one of the founders of psychosomatic medicine and psychoanalytic criminology, and from study of his write up entitled, Buddhistic Training as an Artificial Catatonia [1961] this fact becomes apparent.
6.        From the department of psychology at the Simon Fraser University, Canada.

7.        Approximately six hundred years after the Buddha, a great Buddhist thinker Nagarjuna expounded the idea of Shunya, which equates everything to Zero and place the ultimate truth much above the apparent universe. 

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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Gospel of Mrityu [Death] –Professor Dr. Ravindra Kumar

Mrityuna Grastamakhilam Namarupatmakam Jagat!
Brahmantattvam Parigyaya Muchyate Yogasanshayah!! 
“Mrityu [death] swallows the whole world [the universe] made of Maya [delusion]. This [world] is, in fact, the subject of desolation; it is fully within the ambit of fatality. Knowing reality of the Super Element through the Yoga is the remedy –to win the Mrityu.”
The above-mentioned Shloka, which I have quoted a number of times as one of the best commentaries on the Kathopnishad1 is, in fact, the reflection of the Gospel of Death.
Further, this Shloka categorically divulges the reality of death. In other words, reveals the truth
pertaining to death that is eternal on one hand and the manifestation of inevitable law of change on the other. It is a clarion call of realizing one’s own humanly duties and responsibilities in life. It is also an inspiration to each and every human being to discharge well her or his duties overcoming all states of darkness, falsity, fantasy and suspicion. Thus, it is a call of stepping forward on the basis of righteous acts to make the life meaningful and exemplary. That is why; it has always been said by learned ones that there is no reason of fearing the death as it has to come and it will come. Human beings2 are afraid of death and wish to delay it as long as possible. Rather, remembering it every moment is beneficial and welfaristic. The part of one of the Mantra [18:1] of the Rig-Veda in which it is desired from Mrityu to pursue a special pathway apart from that which gods are wont to travel3 is worth quoting here in this regard.  
Mrityu is in fact an inevitable state of cessation of physical or biological functions. In other words, when vital bodily organs reach the state of non-functioning completely, death is declared. Despite this, the deeds of life, or work accomplished before death are never declared dead. None of them can be undone either.
Any work accomplished in life, irrespective of its nature –bad or good, could not terminate immediately with the end of the body. Rather, if deeds are carried out righteously, a personal worth is procured through them and that worth is utilized in larger welfare of one and all, they also become iconic of one’s life. They also become the basis and source of one’s glory, regard and reputation even after the cessation of body –death. Hence, the worth and immortality of life remains alive. It becomes exemplary and ideal for hundreds and thousands of years for generations to come. Coming generations follow it as legacy left for them and keep their work alive as ideal for long. It is for this reason that in one of the Richa of the Rig-Veda [7.59.12], the oldest treatise of the world and the basic source of Vedic philosophy, Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism, it has been desired, "Deliver me from death, not from immortality."
“Tryambakam Yajaamahe Sugandhi Pushtivardhanam Urvaarukarumiva Bandhanaanmrityormukshiya Maamritaat”
Thus, Mrityu, death is inevitable, but immortality is possible. It could be achieved on the strength of righteous acts, on the basis of deeds accomplished to make one’s own life valuable and exemplary on one hand, and for the larger welfare of fellow beings as well as all living beings on the other.     
Hence, Mrityu is an unavoidable dimension. It compels us to realize that we have counted number of days, months and years to live in this world so we should make our life meaningful on the basis of virtuous deeds. It is for this reason that death is termed as a door where the assessment of one’s life starts from. Therefore, it is the duty of every individual to remember this ultimate reality of death, which is to embrace him sooner or later necessarily, so he must indulge in righteous acts to make his life meaningful. This is the only right and true way that has been recommended by all the learned men through the ages to tread upon. This is the essence of death, the Gospel of Mrityu.             

1. By Swamipad [Datiyapeeth, India].
2. Even all living beings. 
3. “Go hence, O Death, pursue thy special pathway apart from that which Gods are wont to travel.”