19810819 Bhagavad-gita.9.2. Education For Tomorrows World @ Kathmandu, Nepal
The following is a class given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaja on August 19th, 1981 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The class begins with a reading from the Bhagavad-gita Chapter 9, Text 2.
pavitram idam uttamam
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam
This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed. Bhagavad-gita, 9, 2.
It gives me great honor and simultaneously humbles me to be invited to speak on this most important subject and I beg to address His Holiness Mandaleshwar Ishwaranand Swamiji and our Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the President of the Sanantan Dharma Seva Samiti, our life patron members, the devotees and the mothers who are present. Offering you all my respectful and humble namaste. Very pleased to speak on this subject. This is one of the most pressing subjects, problems, which our society is facing today; that is education.
In terms of the Vedic culture and the modern world, I would like to bridge the gap by tying in the problems of the modern world with the lessons and the heritage and the culture and the history of the Vedic way through this discourse. Because, there is a need to study the problems in the light of the Vedic tradition and insight to come to the proper solutions. And to analyze the problem in a clear perspective.
I am sorry that I am addressing this assembly in English. My… just learning Nepali and my Hindi and Bengali – probably may not be appreciated here so I am speaking in English. First is that there are two things, one is education, knowledge and the other is tradition that doesn’t have the connection with the education and the knowledge. Today we are faced with one of the difficult situations that many traditions, based on factual Vedic instructions, are being followed without the knowledge as to why those traditions are there, what is the purpose of those traditions? And this following could be termed as a blind following.
When blind following of a tradition begins in society, then the chance for many superfluous, unrelated, unimportant, or even unauthorized rituals and activities may creep in. There is a story that I would like to say to illustrate this. One time there was a young girl who was about to be married. At her marriage there was a cat who was creating a lot of ruckus, a lot of noise, screaming and shouting, just meow, meow, huge noise. So the mother of that girl said “You take that cat and catch it under a basket and keep it there, so it will stop making all this noise.” So the boy caught the cat and kept it under a basket and the marriage went on.
Now later, that girl she grew up, she had her own son, her own daughters and when came the time to marry her own daughter, to marry her own son, at that time, the wedding ceremony was held. Suddenly she remembered that “When I was married, my mother had a cat caught, put under a basket and kept by the yajna sthana. So this marriage cannot be complete.” she said, “Stop the homa, stop the yagna. You must immediately go out and catch one cat and bring it here otherwise, this is our family tradition. If it is not maintained, the marriage will not be successful.” So everyone thought this is a very unusual request but since it is their family tradition, we have to follow. So they went scouring through the neighborhood looking for a cat. Finally they found one on the roof top and chased it, captured it and brought it and kept it by the yagna. Then only the marriage could be completed.
So naturally, this type of situation can happen when simply one is following the tradition or the ritual without knowing the actual Vedas, without knowing the actual history and the sastra, the scriptural evidence. So there is a difference between education and tradition. Tradition is based on knowledge and proper education. When the education on religious matters, spiritual matters are not kept up and simply the traditions are being followed, then as the future generations come, when they ask their mother and father, “What is the meaning of this, they say, don’t ask these things, just do it, this is our culture.” Then so many foreign influences, Western influences are coming. They are saying, “Don’t believe all these things. Believe in this,believe in that.” Then a crisis of faith can come up and then they can even discard the traditions, discard the heritage and take on things which have nothing to do with their own heritage and tradition, which actually are no better, or much worse, but due to lack of proper education in those cultural and spiritual matters, they have rejected, due to all these outside influence.
So this is one point of great concern that here in Nepal, that we are concerned that the heritage and the culture of this great and la… only Hindu kingdom in the world, may suffer due to lack of any spiritual education. Because the constant pressure from outside of different cultural and social pressures are there which are playing their effect. The only protection against that is… proper education is necessary whereby everyone can know the real value of the rituals and the traditions and the purpose behind them.
So, in comparison with Nepal which is steeped in spiritual tradition, which is steeped in spiritual heritage, we see that in the modern society, there is a great lack of spiritual education. In this regard, I would just like to read something from our Founder Acarya, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, to throw a little light. This is his Preface of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srila Prabupada, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, has said
“Human society at the present moment is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has made rapid progress in the field of material comforts, education and economic development throughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the society body at large. And therefore there are large scale quarrels even over less important issues. There is a need of a clue as to how humanity can come… become one in peace, friendship and prosperity, with a common cause. Srimad-Bhagavatam will feel… fill this need for it is a cultural presentation for the respiritualization of the entire human society. Srimad-Bhagavatam should be introduced also in the schools and colleges for it is recommended by the great student devotee,Prahlada Maharaja in order to change the demoniac face of society.
kaumāra ācaret prājño
dharmān bhāgavatān iha
durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma
tad apy adhruvam arthadam
Disparity in human society is due to lack of principles in a Godless civilization. There is God or the Almighty One from Whom everything emanates, by Whom everything is maintained, and in Whom everything is merged to rest. Material science has tried to find the ultimate source of creation very insufficiently. But it is a fact that there is one ultimate source of everything that be. This ultimate source is explained rationally and authoritatively in the beautiful Bhagavatam or the Srimad-Bhagavatam.”
So this Srimad-Bhagavatam is a hope for the human society. kalau naṣṭa-dṛśām eṣa purāṇārko 'dhunoditaḥ Just like the rising sun this Krishna consciousness movement also is proposing various programs to end all kinds of disharmony and argumentation. We have the sincere faith that by proper implementation of Vedic culture, that is the only hope.
Today there is a lack of spiritual culture in the modern society due to lack of spiritual education. Everyone is in the darkness of the bodily concept of life. They are all thinking they are the body. They don’t have any clue to the soul or to the needs of the spirit soul. We know in our Vedic culture that when the soul leaves the body, the body is useless. The soul is the most important part of this body. So this raja-guhyam, confidential knowledge of people… this confidential knowledge is knowledge about the relationship of this body and this world with the soul and the spiritual reality. Common people do not get this confidential knowledge.
Today there are so many departments in our universities – physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, history, sociology, political science, and so on and so forth. It is not possible for me in one hour to name so many departments that are in a university. But it is unusual that in the whole world out of thousands and lakhs of universities, we do not find that in the university there is a subject dealing with the science of the spirit soul, of the jivatma, you see, in the whole world. Even though it is the most important part of the body, you see. So this is a great lack in the world today and I would like to show how this lack in society is causing chaos throughout the world. Because we are looking towards the society of Nepal, the only Hindu kingdom in the world to eventually be the first country to revolutionize education with courses on the science of the soul for the benefit of the whole world.
Today, in the modern society, the girls and boys are mixing together freely, especially in the western countries. There is free sexual mingling especially in the schools and in the colleges and universities. As a result, the children which are produced are varna-sankara, they’re unwanted, unqualified children, you see. As a result of this chaotic moral standard, the whole society is in chaos. The whole world is in chaos.
Take for instance, the institution of marriage, vivaha, shadi. Marriage in the United States of America for instance, recently the previous president, he declared a national emergency that over 50% of the marriages in that country are failures. They end in divorce. So we can understand that socially the country if it does not have family unit, then where is the basis of that country? In Sweden the government is offering a bonus due to the advancement of family planning techniques. No one wants children any more, so government is offering a bonus if anyone has a child, they will pay him a special bonus, cash because the national population is going down and they are afraid that the whole country will be extinct if they don’t induce the people to have children.
In addition to that, you see, because no one feels responsible neither to God nor to the society. The whole basis of the society is then turned… sense gratification. Eat, drink, be merry, have lots of free mingling of men and women. So what is happening? No responsibility. Why? Because the basic spiritual education has been neglected.
In addition the present educational system is simply producing sudras. A big technologist is a big sudra. Just like one man is fixing the motor cycle, he is fixing a nuclear reactor. It is still technology according to Vedic standard, he is a servant, he is a sudra. Kalao sudra sambhava. So simply by this academic qualification, no real spiritual instruction can be imparted to the people.
Bhismadeva instructed that at least nine minimum qualifications should be there for a civilized society. One should not get angry. He should not lie. He should equally distribute his wealth. He should forgive. He should beget children in his legitimate wife. He should be pure in mind, hygienic in body. He should not be inimical to anybody. He should be simple and he should be responsible and support his servants or subordinates. Anything less than this is uncivilized according to Bhismadeva. So where is this basic education? This Krishna consciousness movement is meant to provide and inspire qualified brahmanas to spread the spiritual education around the world to make the people happy. So the need today is for actual, suitable education.
Take for instance Krishna and Balaram. As soon as they grew up in Nanada Maharaja’s alaya. Nanda Maharaja sent Them out, Krishna and Balarama, go out and take care of the govatsas, the calves. This was the Vedic system. If one is in a family of brahmanas or if one is in a family of Ksatriyas or vaisyas, then immediately they would be trained. A Brahmana would be trained in education, literary, academic, teaching, worship. A Ksatriya trained to take care of the state and defend it. Vaisya to cultivate and tend the cows and the calves. There is no need for every single person to go for higher education or to go to school. The falsely educated people, what they do is they create unemployment.
Today why in Nepal and India, in Britain, in America and the whole world, you have unemployed, educated people. Because there was no need for them to be educated in that particular field. There was need in agriculture, there was need in defence or there was need in some other field. But due to no coordination they get falsely educated, they get some degree, they sit and they simply are a burden on society. They are not a useful member. Because the important system, especially the trouble is not only isolated to third world countries, look at Britain today, all the riots, but especially it is acute in the third world countries where economic situation is difficult. Because we have no scope, we have no excess capital to support unemployed people. So today there is a need for suitable education, you see.
Narada muni, he was sent by Narayana to Dhruva Maharaja, when Dhruva Maharaja was looking for Narayana. And he offered him, “You don’t go for this being a king and all this. You simply become a sadhu here and you do meditation and go back to your house and simply worship there.” Dhruva rejected his idea to be a Brahmana because Dhruva had the characteristic of a Kshatriya. He said, “Forgive me, Narada, you are a great saint, you are travelling through the whole world, but I want to have a kingdom greater than my grand father.” Dhruva’s grand father was Brahmadeva. “If you will help me then I want to find God, I want to see God face to face. This the only way I can get revenge for the insult that was done to me.”
So each person has got a characteristic, you see, and the real Vedic system, the ancient gurukula system was that what is the psychological movement of a student? That should be studied. Is his movement as a Brahmana, or a Ksatriya, or a business man, or a technician? And accordingly he should be trained and those qualities should be developed. Not that artificially everyone is pushed without any system.
A system should be developed to judge the candidates by guna and karma. That will be the success and they should be trained accordingly. Because of this lack of training, our spiritual master, Prabhupada, he pointed out that when the USA was at war with Vietnam, they had the draft. But the boys, they did not want to go in the Army. They were avoiding the draft because they have been trained from very birth as sudras. How can they go and fight as Ksatriyas? Because here still the Vedic tradition is there. Nepal has no trouble finding people to fight in their Army. Because the Ksatriyas are in enough quantity here, because their tradition is here. But if the Americans and these Western countries want to go to war, they can’t find anyone because they are simply trained as sudras. This Western education means sudra training. Therefore society simply gets a headache in the long run.
So I would just suggest that the imported educational systems are not perfectly suited or suitable for Nepal or India. As a result we can see that the students, the schools, they are always dissatisfied. They are always dissatisfied and they are always engaged in so many different other activities other than their educational pursuits. This is the sign that the system is not perfect.
So training is necessary from the very young age. Prahlada Maharaja as I mentioned, he said kaumāra ācaret prājño– start from the very youth. This human life is so rare that if we want to understand the spiritual life, we have to begin from the young age. That means the youth should be trained in tapasya, in penance, in austerity. They should be developed morally, they should be developed educationally, and they should be developed occupationally, all together. With the goal being their spiritual development. This is the perfection, you see.
Without a complete viewpoint of education, then you will not get a complete person – you will get a quarter person, a half person. And the half which is missing is the essential half! That is the moral and character and spiritual half. Which is what is missing today. Hiranyakasipu, he tried to force Prahlada, to simply teach him materialistic knowledge, but Prahlada rejected it.
Instead he trained the students in his school to build character, to chant the name of God, to worship God. As a result, his demoniac father wanted to kill him. But because of Prahlada’s character, because from the womb of his mother he was trained by Narada, he was able to see even as a child God, face to face. He was able to see Nrsimhadev face to face.
Dhruva Maharaja, when he was old, he was already a king, he had grown up. At that time suddenly from the Vaikuntha loka came Nanda and Sunanda, the dear devotees of Narayana in a special vimana. They came down and they told Dhruva, this is what they told:
bho bho rājan subhadraṁ te
vācaṁ no 'vahitaḥ śṛṇu
yaḥ pañca-varṣas tapasā
bhavān devam atītṛpat
That because you have satisfied the Lord when you were five years old therefore we are coming down from the spiritual world to take you back. You come back with us, live with us eternally. There is no birth, no death, no old age, no disease there. You can get on this sacred vimana and you come back with us. “
So when Dhruva Maharaj saw that, he was overwhelmed. He simply remembered that his mother had told him you will find God and now Narayana Himself is sending down the viman. He went and took his bath, said his morning spiritual prayers, took the blessings from the swamis and the sages, circumambulated the vimana which was as big as a house – not a small thing – as big as a house. Then he saw personified death was coming but he wasn’t afraid. When personified death came, paid his obeisances, he put his head on the head of death and went into the vimana. Modern science, they should take a lesson from this.
Our Vedic culture has got the greatest science. Now a days we are flying around the world in these jumbo jets. But even though they have the name jumbo jet, they are very packed up, crowded and one has to suffer so many difficulties. But just like this vimana that took Dhruva Maharaja as big as a house, Kardama muni, he created a vimana as big as a city with parks, gardens, palaces, everything and he took Devahuti on that. Before they get very puffed up about their present mechanical science, they should try to create a vimana like Kardama muni – a whole city, which can travel all over the universe, even to Visnu loka, has unlimited fuel! Or, like Dhruva Maharaj’s viman did not need any fuel. Can even go to the spiritual world. Unless they can do that, they shouldn’t be so proud.
Our Vedic culture have all these things millions of years ago, based on spiritual potencies. So, the Pracetas, the sons of Maharaj Pracinabarhi, they went out when they were youthful, to get training, to do tapasya. Because of their sincere desire to reach the truth, Lord Siva, he blessed them. He told them, because you are devotees of Krishna, therefore you are dear to me. And he blessed them and he gave them spiritual instruction, you see.
This is necessary that the father should send out, should train the child in spiritual life. So this is the next thing which is necessary. That is proper, spiritual, family planning. A spiritual education automatically will give a spiritual family planning. The present artificial means of family planning which is being proposed in society, creates simply a society of the animals, you see.
A spiritually advanced person, he will have no desire for unrestricted sex life. He need no force, no artificial type of uh, means is necessary to stop having a child, you see. Simply by spiritual education any father will be responsible, any mother will be responsible, not to have children like cats and dogs. So we can understand by proper spiritual education where the mother and father want to see their children transcend birth and death, all the deficiencies of society will be overcome.
Prisnigarbha and Sutapta… Sutapa, they performed penance together to get Krishna as their son. This is necessary that mother and father, they should perform austerity in order to gain spiritual advancement to have good children. We do not need less children, or more children, we need higher quality of children.
If a higher quality of child is there, then you will see in the society there will be no problem because they will all be beneficial, contributing members of society. So this automatically happens when the youth are trained in the goal of life, in spiritual education. Then all the types of family planning are automatically achieved by this simple method.
So today what is necessary, is that there is a great need for qualified teachers. Today the modern education system, our Srila Prabhupada said, is condemned, it’s condemned. Teachers, they are simply judged by academic qualifications. There is no evaluation of the moral standards. No one should be a teacher if he drinks or smokes or has immoral habits.
So there is a need for real, qualified brahmanas to teach the society and reestablish real brahminical qualifications. This training program is required. No one is born a brahmana, they become a brahmana by going through samskara, by dvijatva, then they become a brahmana.
Brahmanism is not a system to create a monopoly for a particular class of men. Everyone should have a chance to be educated as a brahmana. A first-class brahmana, according to the vedas we can train anyone, regardless of his caste, to be a transcendalist. Birthright is less important, than education. So this need of proper education for teachers is essential.
Nandisvara, He cursed Daksa for simply having materialistic knowledge. Our teachers, to teach this type of rounded education must have both material and spiritual education. Otherwise like Nandisvara cursed Daksa, they will be cursed. That curse is:
“ vidyā-buddhir avidyāyāṁ
karmamayyām asau jaḍaḥ
saṁsarantv iha ye cāmum
Those who have become as dull as matter by cultivating materialistic education and intelligence are nesciently involved in fruitive activities. Such men have purposely insulted Lord Siva, may they continue in the cycle of repeated birth and death.”
The so called teachers, they don’t know the goal of life. Therefore they cannot elevate their students to real spiritual knowledge. The result is those who are well educated, they have become disinterested in ritualistic ceremonies, but… because these ritualistic ceremonies are not giving them any effective instruction on the goal of life. But still in spite of them rejecting this, they are not benefited because they are not achieving any real knowledge. So this Krishna consciousness movement abandons stereotyped ritualistic practices, commonly called as various religions which give no spiritual knowledge for upliftment of all classes of mankind.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He was asked by Ramananda Raya, “What is the best part of education?” He said “The best part of education is God consciousness, is Krishna consciousness.”
Caitanya Bhagavat instructs us
tāhāre se bali dharma, karma sadācāra
īśvare se prīti janme sammata sabāra
What is called… What is called dharma? What is called education? That activity which is filled with good qualities, sadacara, good characteristic, where actually an attraction for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is created, that is known as real education. That is real religion. So right now, to achieve this goal, a proper education in the modern world, we need the blessings… We need the blessings of the Almighty.
So, I would like to… for special intelligence, for this I would like to repeat the prayer given by Lord Siva to the Prachetas:
“namas ta āśiṣām īśa
namo dharmāya bṛhate
My dear Lord, You are the top most of all bestowers of benediction. The oldest and Supreme Enjoyer amongst all enjoyers. You are the Master of the world’s metaphysical philosophy. For You are the Supreme cause of all causes. Lord Krishna, You are the greatest of all religious principles, the Supreme mind and You have a brain which is never bewildered, under any condition. Therefore I repeatedly offer my obeisances unto You.”
So our Srila Prabhupad, he has given a special advice that to give the boys and girls intelligence in our schools, they should study Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. If they just do that - that alone will make them qualified as great spiritual scholars. People will recognize them.
So, in conclusion, I would like to simply request that although I have no position, I have no intelligence or education, only whatever credit I have is simply by the mercy of my spiritual master, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, he has given me whatever I am today. So, his advice, I have taken to heart. Therefore I would like to simply make this one message, is that in my humble opinion, the Western system of education has failed to produce a proper society even in the West. So many different types of hippies, dissatisfied people, drug addicted people, frustrated people are being produced.
Our Prabhupada gave the example that one time the message came out the Himalaya mountains, they were going to produce a baby. So everybody came to see what baby would be produced as from the great Himalayas they were producing a baby! It must be a huge, wonderful thing! They all waited. Out came rats! “Oh!” Like that big, big universities, big education centres, what is being produced? So many types of hippies, so many types of terrorists, so many types of different, dissatisfied people, because… that proves that there’s not a complete education, that they are being given. They are not satisfied.
So I would say that Nepal should not imitate the Western failing systems. The Western failing systems may have enough capital to afford so much waste, you see. Nepal should have its own system which is suited to spiritual culture, based on the Vedic heritage and on the spiritual fibre of the people which is unbeatable in the world. And based upon these social economic climate of this country. Not simply a stereotype taken from the West which will never work here and will simply create disturbance and ultimately may even threaten the very basis of the culture of this country.
So specially suited training, not on the Western lines but by varna. Creating… this creates a non competition society. A non competition society, each person is trained where it is needed in society and according to his own qualification. Therefore there is no competition. It is like the whole society is unionized based on qualification and on work.
So in conclusion I would like to say that this is a pioneer field… pioneer field of all-around education for making the students and the society happy, in this life and in the next. So we see that Nepal, the only Hindu kingdom in the world, is the potential leader of the world in this spiritually orientated all-around perfect, educational system, raja guhyam, raja vidyam idam uttamam.
Thank you very much.
Transcribed by Jayaraseshwari devi dasi 3rd June 2014
Revised by Jagannatha dasa Brahmacari