Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Samartha Bharat Parva - Mind and vs Mindset

Have deliberation and analyse, and when the result agrees with reason and conduces to the good of one and all, accept it and live up to it. - Swamiji

Mind and Mindset

This Shaping Young Minds Programme is a great idea. And why do I say it’s a great idea?  When we look at the 21st century, many people say that it is going to be the century of knowledge, but people who think more deeply about it say it is going to be the century of mind.

Just think about it. Can you imagine that with the demographic advantage that India has, with 55% of its population being less than 25 years old, you are talking actually in terms of something like 600 million odd young minds shaping the destiny of this country.

There was never any doubt about the quality of the Indian mind.  Today, we talk about the digital economy. Digital economy would not be there, if binary digits were not there. And what are binary digits? It is zero and one. And who discovered the zero? It was an Indian mind. So, I think India and Indian mind can rightfully take the credit for laying the foundation of the digital economy.

Do you know what is Olympics of mind? These are competitions among young scientists -science Olympiads, where we send the contingent of young students. Year before last, I remember the statistics exactly, we sent 19 young people to represent us in science Olympiads. Can you guess as to how many came back with medals? 19 out of 19 came back with a medal !  That shows the power of Indian mind.

I think we should re-look at this theme of “Shaping Young Minds Programme” and what I am going to propose is something very fundamentally difficult. There is a fundamental difference between the mind and the mind set. Mind represents the intellect, mind allows you to do smart observations, smart analysis, smart synthesis etc. but it is the mind set, which determines your attitude and your approach to life. In India, there is this huge battle between the Indian mind and the Indian mind set. The Indian mind is taking us into the 21st century, and there is no question about that, it is the Indian mind set which is drawing us back into the 14th, 15th, 16th century ……. you name it!

Mind Vs Mindset

Let me illustrate this battle of Indian mind Vs Indian mind set.  Today, everybody talks about global village as a great idea but who talked about global village first ? Who said Vasudhaiv Kutumakam? It was an Indian mind. In Maharashtra, Dnyaneshwar is held very highly as a great saint philosopher. He said ‘He Vishwachi Maze Ghar’ i.e this entire world is my home. So, our great minds talked about a global village long time ago. They were actually 21st century minds but what is our mind set today?

We say that we are all one family. But do you know that when one Japanese and one Japanese come together, how many Japanese do they become? You would say two. No! They become eleven. They form such a great team. Somebody was joking the other day when he asked, ‘you know when one Indian and one Indian come together, do you know how many Indians they become?’ Not two but zero! They neutralize each other! They do not form a team.  That is because of the Indian mind set.

So, my basic premise is that it is not so much shaping the Indian minds, it is shaping the Indian mind set and we should start looking at the issue of both mind as well as mind set. Not only how will we have clever minds, more intelligent minds, more observant minds, more analytical minds, better minds who synthesize in a clever way but also mind sets that are positive mind sets, constructive, forward looking, mutually reinforcing mindsets that will make it possible for us to shape the 21st century India.

Let me give you another example.  We say Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishno Gurur Devo Maheshwarah, Gurur Sakshaat Parabrahma Tasmay Shri Gurave Namah about our teachers. So we taught to look at our teachers as Gods and so on.  Isn’t it?  I had presented a little story about my own Guru in my school, Principal Bhave, in the Presidential address at the Science Congress in the year 2000. Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the then Prime Minister.  He inaugurated the congress.  During lunch, where some Nobel Laureates were also present, a question was raised as to why such great teachers don’t exist today. And I still remember Atalji saying Mashelkarji aapko pata hai aisa kyon nahin hota? Is ka kaaran yeh hai ki samaj mein aaj unko pratishtha nahin hai. He said, the research we do not produce Bhaves any more is because the society does not respect and value them. So, here the Indian mind says Gurur Sakshaat Parabrahma and the Indian mind set does exactly what our erstwhile Prime Minister is saying no respect and value for the teacher in the society, so how do we reconcile with this great battle of Indian mind vs Indian mindset? That is going to be the big challenge.  I just gave two examples.  I could give many more.

My young friends, while we are building those great minds of the 21st century, we also need to build the mind sets of the 21st century. So, I would simply propose that we don’t have the symposium theme on shaping young minds but we have the symposium theme — “Shaping Young Mind and Mind Sets just to emphasize this challenge..