God manifesting in human form as Sri Sathya Sai Bhagavan,
has, like in earlier Avatars, not only made His life His Message but also
blazed many new trails. While Swami's monumental Missions in Healthcare and
Drinking Water Schemes have understandably attracted much attention, it is
through His Mission in Education that Swami is sending His most profound and
revolutionary message to mankind.
Swami constantly reminds us that character development must be the backbone
of all educational systems, whatever their worldly objectives might be.
Values occupied, until recently, the foremost place worldwide in the
grooming of students. Lately, however, education has been reduced, with
alarming rapidity, to a marketable commodity with heavy focus on specialised
skills rather than on fundamental human values. On the face of it, such a
shift of emphasis seemed a smart way of adapting to changing times, and
churning out whiz kids became the order of the day, especially for the
so-called brand institutions. However, the realisation is slowly beginning
to dawn, at least in some quarters that knowledge without compassion can
lead to inhuman behaviour, with dangerous consequences to Society as a
For over forty years, Swami has created single-handed, a miraculous and
seamless blend of ancient values and modern curriculum, to give new meaning
to higher learning. Indeed, Swami's achievement in the area of value-based
education is both remarkable and path breaking. Yet, it has received little
global attention even though it has become almost indispensable for the
survival of humanity today. H2H has therefore decided to create an OPEN
FORUM on Value-based Education and invites all who are seriously interested
in the future of education to use our space to air their views. What we are
looking for are not mere blue prints of do's and don'ts but scholarly
reflections on the road mankind has tread in the past, where we are today,
where we should go in the future, and what fate awaits us if we choose not
Elsewhere, we offer a brief thumbnail view of the journey of humanity thus
far and the cross roads at which it finds itself today. Hopefully this would
help readers to do their own introspection and inquiry.
- Please go carefully through our survey, incomplete though it might be.
- Please spend some time reflecting intensely on what we have written.
- Look out into the world of today, and examine how, in your view,
value-based education can help.
- Look up web sites dealing with various socio-economic issues relating to
poverty, crime, exploitation of children and women, gross social injustice,
excessive and reckless consumption, huge and wasteful military expenditure,
unwanted polarisation of Society based on narrow sectarian views, economic
- Collect statistics related to the above and mull over it. And then examine
how value-based education can produce better citizens who would open the
floodgates of love, sacrifice, and compassion, leading to the mitigation of
misery the world over.
- Finally, give expression to your thoughts and conclusions via a scholarly
essay prepared for our Forum, so that you can share your views with large
audience. Before you send your essay, first critically examine it please,
and may be, you could try it out on a limited circle of friends to check it
This is a great opportunity for you to make your views known and be heard by
the world. To the extent possible, we would do our best to use H2H and Radio
Sai to share your views with the world at large.
The time has come to speak out forcefully in support of Dharma
(righteousness) and tell the world in no uncertain terms about what Swami is
doing to strengthen the practice of Dharma in innumerable ways, especially
by reshaping and giving new depth to modern education.
Hoping you would respond to our appeal.
The following overview is an attempt to stimulate and
steer your thoughts towards the issues that confront humanity today. It is
our perception that the future of humanity depends crucially on how
individuals relate to Society and Nature, a relationship that could prove
disastrous unless based on basic human values. In practical terms, it is our
belief, that unless education everywhere is based on Swami's model, unless
Educare is taken seriously and made the basis of all educational systems,
humanity is in deep trouble. Right now, humanity is faced with troublesome
issues like terrorism, poverty, AIDS, exploitation and so on. Yes, there are
concerned people and organisations that seek to address and fix the problems
listed above and many that have not been. But unless all individuals have a
universal outlook and mindset rooted in Sathya, Dharma, etc., and unless our
lives both at the individual and collective levels are firmly based on
Swami's teachings, we just would not be able to really solve in any
substantial measure the problems facing modern society; anything else would
be at best a band-aid approach.
H2H wishes to make people come out and express themselves so that the world
becomes aware of the urgency of reshaping education everywhere and giving it
a firm foundation, without which, we would at best drift to more and more
chaos and insecurity. H2H hopes all concerned devotees would take advantage
of this opportunity and give strong expression to their views on this
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF MANKIND'S PROGRESS THUS FAR
When man first appeared on earth, his preoccupation was almost entirely with
individual survival and security. He had to personally take care of all his
needs related to food, water and shelter. In due course, thanks to God-given
intelligence, man learnt to go beyond himself and his family to develop
association to form tribes, communities and societies, leading turn to
increasing diversity, structure and stratification in mankind. Man then
realised that for smooth functioning of a stratified society, there had to
be appropriate rules and codes of conduct. Guided by inner instincts, rule
of law slowly came be based, to some degree or other, on principles of fair
play and justice. With the emergence of religion and philosophic thought,
primitive and intuitive regulation gave way to more sophisticated and
organised rule of law, often with strong moral overtones.
Over the centuries, even as human society became progressively more and more
complex, specialised activities began to take root. For example, there came
a stage when agriculture had to be supplemented with facilities for trading
and bartering. From the middle-ages onwards, the growth of complexity and
the emergence of specialised sectors have become increasingly rapid. Thus,
within the last thirty years or so, thanks to the revolution in
microelectronics and the consequent communication revolution, the world has
seen the emergence of a new sector, the Information Industry, which,
incidentally, is beginning to dominate our daily life in increasing measure.
The communication revolution , rapid growth in air travel, the exponential
growth of population [with population currently standing at 6.5 billion and
threatening to become 10 billion by 2050], the emergence of terrorism as a
disruptive force, the ugly scramble for natural resources, the devastation
of the environment and the eco-system, the increasing signs of global
warming - all these are sending strong danger signals. Red lights are
flashing and alarm bells are ringing, but like Nero of history, humanity
seems to be steeped in supreme indifference, oblivious to the threats round
Many say: "Why bother? Have a great time and let future be damned."? If our
ancestors had behaved this way and if they had not worried about future
generations, would we be where we are today? Did God create humans so that
they could sink low in selfishness, self-indulgence and sense gratification?
Is the human body designed for such high-speed and reckless living? Is it
necessary to sustain a life style, which makes even two-year olds get sucked
into the rat race by attending tough pre-kindergarten schools, so that their
parents could admit them into "good" kindergarten schools? Should family
give way to people living together to suit their convenience and are old
people to be discarded the way old socks are? Have compassion, forbearance,
tolerance and selfless love become wholly irrelevant? Can Society really
survive without them?
Swami says that without love, we cannot survive. Indeed, while a calf can
stand up almost as soon as it is born to drink milk, human babies have to be
picked up and fed by the mother for almost a year; otherwise they would be
dead. Later the baby may become a whiz kid, win the Nobel Prize and all
that, but when young, it is as helpless as anyone can be. Yes, it is
mother's love that has kept us all alive and seen us through childhood.
Should we now create a new order in which the sacrifice of the mother is
conveniently brushed aside with a variety of false arguments, so that we can
be "free"? and do we as we please?
The issue of indifference to the physical mother is closely related to the
indifference that is being increasingly shown to Mother Nature as well. Is
Nature a mere repository from which we draw as convenient and as we please
or is it our collective Mother? The time has come to give serious thought to
these and related questions.
Irrespective of religion and political philosophy, the hard fact of the
matter is that
1. The amount of land available on earth is fixed.
2. The amount of water available for humanity is fixed.
3. And the population is constantly growing.
The time has come to seriously ask:
- Can we go on forever as we are doing now?
- Is the future to be decided by a competition between the various
specialised sectors of modern society and a related struggle for survival?
- Can we live intensely in the present ignoring the future?
Many have been concerned about such matters and all sorts of solutions are
even being proposed. However, they are all localised solutions. For example,
some are concerned with fighting the spread of AIDS. Some are concerned with
moving away from fossil fuels. Some are concerned with elimination of child
abuse. Otherwise are fighting hard to eliminate poverty, and so on. All
these efforts are welcome and are to be commended. But from an overall
perspective, they represent a patchwork with plenty of rough edges. Harsh
though it might seem, the fact of the matter is that it is like trying to
treat a badly wounded man with band-aids.
The problems mentioned above are interlinked, and any solution must
therefore be a comprehensive one. If one examines carefully, the problems
all arise because of a variety of human weaknesses and the propensity of the
Mind to follow the senses. In turn, this implies that unless one takes
Swami's teachings seriously, one cannot really hope to find lasting
solutions and escape from the slippery slope on which one now finds oneself.
Which brings us to our theme: Go back to basic values, and make sure all
education is based on these fundamental and primordial values.
It is well to realise that Truth, Righteous conduct etc., are basic to human
nature and came much before religions did. Sathya, Dharma etc., cannot
therefore be dismissed as mere "Hindu value system"? as some are prone to
do. Love, forbearance and compassion reflect the spirit of the Soul latent
in all humans. The question we are raising is: "Does life really have a
meaning if the Soul which is the very core of our being is shut out?"
For centuries, in the name of sense gratification, the Soul has been denied
self-expression. That in turn has allowed the ego aspect of humans to
dominate, causing all the problems we now face. Allowing the Soul to express
itself and guide our lives is what really Educare is all about. How can our
lives be complete if the Soul is denied expression? How can there be light
if all doors are shut?
Dear Reader, what we have presented might not represent a scholarly
editorial. We hope, however, it has enough substance to make you take a
minute off to reflect on the issues we have raised. They are crucial to your
own future, the future of your family and community and indeed to humanity
as a whole. As a matter of fact, they touch upon the very existence of this
beautiful ship given to us by God, called Planet Earth.
Remember, there is only one ship and this one has no life-boats! Should we
not preserve it? How to, is the question, and our view is that making
Educare a universal philosophy is the answer. Think about it and write about
A WORD TO INTENDING CONTRIBUTORS
As mentioned elsewhere, this is an Open Forum and we welcome serious
contributions. To prospective contributors we would like to say:
- Please make sure you give your full name and address.
- Please include some details about your educational and professional
background, including where you are employed .
- Please include proper references, like the websites which you have
consulted, the books and articles you have quoted from etc. We need this
information because later we might like use those sources ourselves.
If you need any further details or clarifications, we are at your service.
As always, we can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you. Jai Sai Ram.
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