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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Life a learning process

Avinder Ghura, Hindustan Times

Have you ever seen the wonderment with which a child observes a butterfly, a bird, a rock or a flower? Everything is a new and exciting experience for him. They are eternally fascinated and delightfully spontaneous. They  do not analyse and work everything out. They are just busy “being”.

Teaching has given me the opportunity to be re-acquainted with the magic of childhood. There is so much to learn from children. I admire them for various reasons. For one, they know how to laugh. They don’t need much to laugh at. Sometimes they don’t need anything at all! Then, they are very accepting. A child is not concerned by your religion or your politics. He accepts you regardless of whether you are pretty or ugly, fat or thin, rich or poor, black or white.

They accept people or circumstances until we teach them not to. We adults are the ones who complain  about everything; the  weather, relatives, colleagues, bosses, politicians—and just about anything. Then there are times when I’m stunned and envious of their honesty. “You are getting grey hair ma’am. Now you are old!!” Or, “You had  promised  us a free period but you didn’t give it, you are a liar.” I don’t remember when was the last time I could be so brutally honest!

As a teacher, I observe senior children working in teams, giving suggestions, coming to a consensus even if it means giving up their original idea. They share everything, their English notes, lab coats, sorrows, joys and lives with so much ease that I feel elated and disconcerted all at once.

There are times when they question our hypocrisy. The other day a senior student stunned me: “Ma’am, since our resources are limited, why can’t we share them with others?  Why can’t our school premises be used in the evening for classes for the less fortunate children?” I, a so-called ‘advocate’ of conserving and judiciously using our resources, had never thought of it. I did not have the magnanimity to say “yes, why not?”
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Relevance of intuition

Bhartendu Sood, Hindustan Times

During his brief stay in India in the ‘70s, Steve Jobs had said that Indians worked more on intuition as compared to those in the West. I don’t know whether that was a compliment or a barb. 

While attempting to analyse the underpinnings of intuition in the Indian context, another  important aspect is 'faith' as intuition and faith are directly linked.
We need to understand that faith and blind faith are two different aspects. Faith is born out of reasoning and it rests on the pillars of logic whereas blind faith defies reasoning.

Intuition has a direct link with faith. If faith is not blind, intuition can drive us to actions that most of the times will be rewarded with positive outcome. But if it is born out of blind faith, then such intuition will bring unfavorable results. There is nothing wrong in working on intuition but it should spring from sound faith backed up by reasoning and study.

Two great Indian sages who gave new direction to established religions of their respective times are the Buddha and Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati. Both warned their disciples not to accept anything blindly, even if it was said by them.

In the words of the Buddha, “Don’t accept my words, simply because they are my words. Accept but only after duly examining them with reason. Believe in yourself only then you can be a torchbearer to yourself.”- Attadipa Viharatha Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, who was always guided by the supremacy of reason, in his magnum opus ‘Light of Truth’, says, “Vedic scriptures never ask to take anything on trust but to examine everything, and then to come to any conclusion. When we practice tapas, we are called upon to practice our reason and reflection and judge them by our capacity to conform to laws of reason and thought.”

Steve Jobs' assessment about Indians appears to be right but what is required is that we in India  ift out the truth by reasoning. Only then our actions on intuition will get us good results.
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