Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Assimilation of Ideas

  ॐ वीरेश्वराय विद्महे विवेकानन्दाय धीमहि । तन्नो वीर: प्रचोदयात् ।

When we consider education as the means for the assimilation of ideas, spiritual or secular whatever it may be, it cannot be limited to mere book learning or collection of information. As Swami Vivekananda remarked, Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested all your life. The same idea was expressed by Shankaracharya in his book Vivekachudamani: A network of words is like a dense forest which causes the mind to wander hither and thither. In fact the higher the field of study, the more the assimilation of ideas is expected not only by students but also by teachers. Especially in imparting spiritual knowledge, the expounder is wonderful and the receiver is wonderful; wonderful is he who knows under the instruction of an adept, as mentioned in the Katha Upanishad. Even in the field of secular knowledge unless a scientist goes into the root of the problem assimilating inherent features involved therein, one cannot find a solution to the problem.
 
But external achievement is not the end of the education. Despite the external success, fulfillment is not complete unless this is associated with the finer development of internal faculties of a human being.  Furthermore, when the assimilation of ideas is to be executed in one’s own life, the perspective of education widens and assimilation ends in being and becoming. Then the assimilation of ideas is judged in terms of character building and man making. The strength of character or manliness is judged by the spirit of philanthropy, sacrifice and self confidence. Then, education will not only be a means for earning livelihood but also a source of inspiration to live for others. Criticizing the so-called system of education, Swami Vivekananda questioned, ‘The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy and the courage of a lion – is it worth the name ?” According to Swamiji, “the training by which the current and expression of will are brought under control and become fruitful is education.”
 

In the field of spiritual education where the goal of life is realization of God or Self or Atman (i.e. transcending all limitations and attaining Godliness) the so called education is of no value. The individual-self is to be raised to Divine Self by one’s own self only. As declared in the Katha Upanishads, “The Self cannot be known through much study, nor through the intellect, nor through much hearing. It can be known through the Self alone that the aspirant prays to; the Self of the seeker reveals Its true nature.”  So the transformation of self-centred personality to God-centred personality (or in other words lifting the veil obstructing the manifestation of divinity already within man) is a real challenge and the goal is achieved when the ideas i.e. realization of God or Self or Atman are perfectly assimilated and personified into one’s own self and there ends the education as there is no more imperfection. This is the highest level of assimilation or personification of highest ideal in human life.